The bulk of the day is spent running around trying to get the various bits of work done. It’s all getting a bit out of hand, frankly, like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, but without the pointy hat. But with the water. Chiz.
Anyway, I do find the time to remind myself of which hand the pointy end of a guitar goes in before I have to set off for The Tinderbox.
Previously I’ve done Tinderbox gigs with the classical, but since I have to go straight off to the Purple Turtle for a Joan gig afterwards am experimenting with the Godin/VG88 tonight. Sadly, it wasn’t an entirely successful experiment – the patches I’ve written sound very tinny through the small hi fi speakers (to my ears, anyway, but then lots of stuff sounds tinny to me these days), and it was quite difficult to co-ordinate with something over the other side of the room. That said, I don’t think I play badly, but I do notice that the Cafe empties more than usually quickly when I start playing. So I don’t think I’ll try that again in a hurry.
I distract myself by concentrating on the voice – trying to position it in my mouth and not letting it fall down into my throat. I also become aware that I have a tendency to want to sing with my head over on one side, which causes a certain amount of tension in my neck. Unsurprisingly.
Afterwards, David, Spekki Chris and his girlfriend, Alastair, me and our gear all cram into David’s car and we drive over to Mornington Crescent, managing to park outside. On the way in another of Joan’s conspirators – a violinist – introduces herself when I explain to the chap at the door that we’re with her band. Then I repair upstairs (which has officially been designated a “band area” – ooh!) and wait for the word. Again we are supposed to be on at 10:00, but it’s quickly obvious that this will not happen. After a couple of spots and a band we go on and prepare to rock, but then the host announces that he’s going to play one first. So we’re delayed for a bit.
Eventually we’re on. This time I’ve been clear about the fact that the VG88 goes straight into the desk, and am taking a line out of the headphone socket to plug into a borrowed Marshall combo, which is angled so that I and Matt are more likely to hear it. It seems to work. This gig is a sort of triumph to the same extent that the last one was a sort of disaster. I’ve written out the patch numbers next to the tracks on the setlist and have plugged in an auxiliary footswitch to control the tuner, but the guitar plays nicely this time. The new tunes definitely rock and if occasional leaps in patch volume surprise the sound man a bit they add a touch of bite to the Drunken tune or Marrow. Hurrah. And I get people asking about the box, which is nice. A chap always wants to be admired for his gear.
I run away quickly afterwards. When I get down to the platform I find that it’s 11:45, which means that we must have gone on at about 11:00.
On the train a woman asks about the Godin, so I regale her with my enthusiastic recommendation, such that I miss my stop and have to turn around at Kennington (although that was a sort of boon too, since I would have had to get off at Waterloo and walk further, so… groovy).
Will probably not get up at the crack of before-dawn tomorrow.