Once more the day is spent staring pointlessly at the code, hoping that a really obvious missing comma or something will leap out at me, and by putting it in, the whole mechanism will work. Actually I have worked out that clicking a button on the diary page resets it all and I need to find a way to keep it stuck.
I spend an hour or so preparing my fingers to play for Joan C tonight and also test out the noodling-over-a-drone thing that I saw David Gilmour do at Meltdown last year. I have ascertained that River Rise is the only song in my current repertoire that will work over a drone and am tempted to try it.
Then up to Camden Town (which I identify as “Peckham that thinks it’s Chelsea”) and the sound-check. The gig is in the cellar of one of those bars. We quickly ascertain that all the gear does actually make sounds and have to pack up so that dinner can be served to … oh, to some people or other. Joan, David and Matt repair to a nearby Thai restaurant, whereas I don’t want to eat at all (it only makes me sleepy) so I buy a bottle of mineral water and set off for Regent’s Park. I pass a comic book shop and wander in. “You have one minute,” says the shop assistant with all the charm and guile that comic-book shop assistants are renowned for, so I immediately fire back “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume Two, Number One. It’s in the window.” He doesn’t seem to be impressed that I took considerably less than a minute.
So I repair to the park, with people playing softball and frisbee in the distance. They are doing this very badly – when you see Californians doing it on the television, they throw the frisbee so that the other can catch it, and it seems genial and relaxing. In England, someone throws the disk, it veers twenty feet up into the air, comes down and rolls, and they have to go running after it. It is nice to see that I’m not the only person who’s very rubbish at that sort of thing, though.
Mr Moore is obviously having fun with his series – this story starts with Gullivar Jones and John Carter on Mars, fighting alongside the Sorns from C.S. Lewis’ stories against the “molluscs” who fire themselves towards Earth from giant cannon. Essentially it’s set in fantasy fiction – there are references to Alan Garner and Michael Moorcock – although concentrated at the end of the 19th Century, and in the notes at the end we discover the sad story of Miss A.L. of Oxford who fell through a hole into another world (and later entered the same world via a mirror, returning with all her internal organs mixed around, and fading away). A party that enter the world the same way, comprising local tradesmen, come to a similar end…
After I’ve finished my bottle of water and my comic I take a stroll around the zoo and back to the venue where it’s already underway.
I’ve put my name down for a slot, although it takes a while to get to me – the chap in charge comes over to tell me when I’ll be on, but when that time rolls around has changed his mind. Eventually my turn waves from over the parapet. I play Mr Wrong (not so well sadly) and the with-endless-drone version of River Rise, which at least gets some attention (perhaps it was the entirely superfluous Chris Rea reference). It goes sort of OK, but I find it very difficult to “feel” where I am on the light-stringed Godin. Still it’s all interesting. That which does not kill us, usw.
Then there’s a break. We’re supposed to be on immediately after the break, but there’s been another rearrangement – firstly another spot, then a set by Katy Carr. During the spot I’m nervous, since I’ve left my guitar set up on the stand (thinking that I’d be right back after the break), but the chappy keeps walking past it on the way to fiddle with the sound and I’m afraid that it will get knocked over. Ms Carr alleviates some of my nerves – she’s playing with a drummer and double bass player. A very fine sound, somewhat reminscent of Kate Bush, but also the English folk tradition from which Ms Bush sprang. Ms Carr manages to overcome the, uh, lively ambience of the venue and the less-than-forgiving PA. I would very much like to see her play in a more congenial space.
A shorter set than the Donmar thing, but in some ways a lot more fun, perhaps because it was just a gig – the main criterion for the performance was that we should rock out and so we do, starting with the traditional One More Button, and then going straight into Summer Season, which means that I get to do my Gilmour solo early. The guitar seems very loud, but it’s not my responsibility, so I can live with it. Mother‘s clangy 12-string patch has a very satisfying noise to it particularly in the bridge. The best time we’ve done that bridge, I think. Anyway, I enjoyed it.
I exchange info with Ms Carr, and also give her some money for a CD which she promises I will receive post-haste.
I go half-way upstairs to pick up a long and complicated message from Glyn re the Jazz Jam (rehearsal this Sat?) and the sextet and something else and the bouncers are insisting that I go all the way up the stairs and into the street in order to listen to it. Power corrupts, absolute power blah blah blah.
The final act of the evening features the same bassist and percussionist, but ‘m so tired that I just go home (Matt has to hang around, since they’re using his kit…).
So, tube, horizontality, unconsciousness.