Gareth Malone, The Bishop of St Albans and Tom Morley walk into a bar.
Barman: You three should form a company.
Bishop: Song Circle?
Gareth: Dot com.
Tom: That’s handy, I’ve got the URL.
Barman: You can get antibiotics for that.
Websites-drums-and-rock’n’roll. Vans-an’-hats-and-VAT. Running a team building business is 90% maintenance and 10% performance. Maintaining my sense of humour comes before everything else.
Gareth is such a lovely guy, as you’d hope, having watched his TV programmes. In fact we all deliver to the max, but not in a competitive way. There’s a way of boosting performance beyond ‘The Kindness Olympics’. Generosity is kindness in action and there’s a lot of generosity around today.
At this Community Care Centre in Herts we’re laughing all the time as we mingle, sing and drum together. It’s one of the ‘backwater’ places Mister Malone used to run singing sessions at before he was famous. “He always comes back to see us”, says Betty who runs the place.
I meet Betty six months before at one of those morning networking events where you think, “Never again”.
In fact, after my ‘Bongos with The Bishop’ session, Betty has organised a ‘World Tour of Hertfordshire’ for me, doing half hour drumming sessions at a number of cul-de-sac care homes. All for free.
You’ve heard of ‘Lyra Silver-Tongue’ from ‘His Dark Materials’? Betty has got the T-shirt.
I’m loving it. Like many of my ‘dot com’ friends I get paid well enough in the corporate world to be able to fund these community outreach ventures myself. My Gran, an East Ender who lived through the London blitz, is by my side. Not literally, but in spirit.
‘Maybe It’s Becors I’m a Lundunnner’ and ‘Let’s All Go Darn The Straaand’ are just two of the songs we sing on this day. I could write a book about Care Home Glee.
Pam, a resident of the last care home on the list, seems so at home with her drum I give it to her. The staff are trying not to cry as she hugs it to her chest while I put the rest of the drums in the van. I promise to put together a portfolio of drum sessions online for her to play along to on VIMEO.
“That’s great, we can play them on the internet TV in her room. But how can we access them?” asks an earnest tech savvy carer.
“Give me your email address”, I say smiling. “I’ll send you the URL”.