Another odd one, I suppose, although the oddness was definitely all my fault. I had a feeling that it would be quiet when I agreed to do it, although I realise there could be an element of self-fulfilling prophecy about that. We arrived at about half-past eight to find downsatirs teeming with people and upstairs empty, apart from David and Stephen (the organisers) and Rich Barnard (a VAC regular and very fine singer-songwriter who’d seen me do a spot there the previous night and was enthused enough to come along). I discovered that the people downstairs had come to see the other act, and felt a bit better. I don’t mind playing to a handful of people, but find it a bit embarassing looking the promoter in the eye if I don’t attract an audience (probably because I’ve been that promoter myself, and I know how he feels). This way, I got to play, and he got his audience, and all was pretty good with the world, and God was in, or near, his heaven. A bit later, John Arthur (another V. fine S-S) turned up. So that was five, then. Laura was quite interested in trying to get some of the people from downstairs to come up, but I wasn’t sure – often when a group of people go to see a mate perform, they’re not really there for the performance at all, but for the social thing (in which I’d just be an interloper), and besides, how seriously were they going to take someone whom nobody had come to see?
So I set off at about 9:00 (after a couple of false starts, David getting his minidisk going – and it would have been a pity not to get all of whatever it was) with The Things You Get, explaining the lack of applause (which there was not, actually – those five people did make a tremendous noise) by saying that it was a packed out “benefit for people with no hands, or who have hands but are unable or unwilling to use them”.
Lots of little mistakes (which there always are, and they don’t get to me, but it is worth mentioning them), and occasional large areas of glitch – I almost forgot Calm Blue Ocean completely while I was in the middle of it, resulting in more a capella bits than usual. I did my new song – Mr Wrong – which I’ll probably continue to do, hopefully without having to sneak the words on with me, just in case I have a lapse of memory.
As I was finishing, since the other act’s time was approaching, his loyal fans began to dribble in. Quite a good crowd, actually. They seemed to enjoy him. I made my excuses and left (we were very tired – this rock ‘n’ roll stay-up-til-eleven-thirty-playing-the-geetar lifestyle does not agree with my new-found sleep patterns).