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…we believe that most folks are essentially good,
and everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect

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One World Club founder Andy Gilbert writes:

In 2009 I went to Barnhurst, Kent, to buy a second hand Zafira, just right for loading up with guitars, amplifiers and speakers. The car was good but needed a service so I caught the train home.

On the platform I saw a man with a guitar in its case, so thought I’d go and talk to him. It’s easy to talk to musicians, we never grow up and always get excited when we think someone might be interested.

So I asked him (his name was Dave Penning) what kind of guitar he had in the case. Next thing, we were traveling on the train together and he told me about One World Club, an open mic in Greenwich run by Jon Skinner, a good man in his 60s who was dying of cancer and was keen that cultural harmony through performance should continue after his death.Save

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We exchanged contact details and Jon duly called me. His ideas about performance tied in with my own, and he arranged to come with an emissary from One World Club London, to a blues night I was staging in Stony Stratford. By the end of the evening we were talking about opening a Milton Keynes One World Club to run in unison with the London branch. Old friends Jon Meachen and Chrissy Lionhardt quickly threw their hats into the ring, declaring their support, Jon taking on the role of film maker while Chrissy undertook still photography. All this at the same time as mucking in with the donkey work of staging large events.

My wife, Lynda, immediately threw in her weight, which is not very much (I have to say that or I’ll get clobbered!) and became the show’s regular compere despite being a busy counsellor (of the psychological type) and running a counselling agency, The Well Being Therapy Centre.

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Sound engineer, Paul Rushton became invaluable, managing the sound in spite of caring for his disabled wife and six young children.

Joe Browne, who plays drums in my band, Crossroots, always stays behind after the shows to load the equipment into the vehicles with me, despite a dodgy back. Worn out after a hard day’s showbiz, everyone else is home in bed by this time. Sheniah Asiyama, who joined the band as lead singer in 2015, is another of that dedicated rare breed who puts others’ needs before her own, and stays to the last.

Putting on a show takes a day and a half. From loading up in the morning, to setting up all afternoon, the performance, packing it all away into the vehicle/s, then checking it over and putting it away the next morning.

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Why do we do it? Money? That would be a very good reason were it not for the fact that free entry is not exactly a recipe for making money!

Despite the fact that the world can be a hard and ruthless place where minorities often get the short straw, we believe that most folks are essentially good, and everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect. This is our way of turning our beliefs into action.

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David Duff, owner of a chilled food haulage, company lent us a van for shows in 2016, but we now find we can get it all into Lynda’s Honda Jazz and John Meachen’s Skoda. I don’t have a car of my own now. Lynda is usually happy for me to take hers for a gig, whilst local journeys are always undertaken by bike.

The Zafira was rehoused in 2015. The horn failed, preventing me from stopping a car backing into me. After that, and spending more on other repairs than the car was worth, it was time to get rid of it.

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