The sky is very blue, and the sea a lovely milky turquoise, glittering in the late May sun. I’m waiting for the Madeira Tower lift, topped with a peeled globe, dolphins and a scaly roof, and it’s taking me down into Concorde2, Brighton’s music venue on Madeira Drive.

I’ve been back in the UK for 24 hours, and I’m feeling fine after the flight from Tokyo. Nervous, though: tonight is Ska Toons’ Ska-Kestra gig. It’s our annual big-band gig, featuring at least twenty musicians, in the Brighton Festival. We soundcheck, and it sounds terrific out front. Then we adjourn for coffee and cake to the café on the beach.

There’s a big crowd queueing at the door, and an excited buzz backstage. Helen’s nervous as well, so we wind each other up, enjoying getting rather hysterical. DJ Amma has got the crowd sweating, and they roar as The Ska-Kestra troops on stage. The band kicks into our opener – ‘Garden of Love’ – with the fifteen horns punching out the tune.  And the crowd are dancing, and they don’t stop.

Finally, Helen and I are cheek-to-cheek, sharing one microphone, singing the rousing closer, All Of My Life, and dancing. Heaven.

The next day, of course, I feel groggy. And the next. And…

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