The Human Soundwave Company

Thanks to my current state as a strange attractor
for chaos, we arrive late, just as the breaks is ending. This means that we
miss all the floorspots (inlcuding Dave Russell and Aiden McGee and several
others I’d have like to have seen).

It seems like quite a quiet night (or at least not
an overflowing night. Mainly this would be because with my recent email difficulties
I haven’t been able to send out reminders about the gig. But it’s not a problem
– the faces who are there are at least friendly ones.

Kath Tait is first up after the break, and I notice
that a lot of her set is newer stuff – The Cyclist From Hell, The
Wrong Train
, Bollocks! I’ve Got Too Many Lovers – which is nice.
The fact that the audience is often the same does tend to make some of us on
this circuit guilty about playing the same songs over and over. For my part,
the set is broadly drawn from the older material, because that’s what I could
give Steve to listen to. The percussionist factor will hopefully give it a twist,

While Nina Finburgh is performing (she does characters
to classical music – that’s the only way I can explain it. It’s sort of
like a revue act, and very fine), I tune up the guitar.

We’re on.

Originally billeda s a trio, it’s me and Steve Beaver.
Steve’s mostly playing a snare drum in different ways (brushes, stick rapping
on the rim, snare on, snare off, etc) and a shaker (on Little Games).

It is a very different experience, having someone
else to concentrate on. Normally my consciousness will be split between what
my left hand is doing, what my right hand is doing, what my mouth is doing and
everything else (audience behaviour more often than not). With Steve playing
there is another, very powerful influence, situated somewhere to my left –
on occasion I have to perform and be aware of timing shifts, and if we go out
of time, will he adapt to me or shall I adapt to him? Some ralls are a bit strange,
but that’s to be expected, I suppose. So not the tightest unit on the face of
the earth, but that really doesn’t matter, our intentions are in the right place.

I’ve written and used a set list for the first time
since 1996:

The Things You Get

Mr Wrong

The Secret Agent’s Dream

Idiot Child

Where Did It All Go Right??

Little Games

Sensitive Boy (dropped for reasons of time)


Comforting Lie


Some things change significantly –on The Things
You Get
there’s more drive, and I don’t have to power it along; on Where
Did It All Go Right
, with Steve going through the (normally quite sparse)
bridge section, I can just sit back and sing, dropping in chords as I see fit,
or not if that’s what I want; Little Games comes out a lot slower, but
that gives me more space to interpret the songs.

People’s reactions – Phil J, Kath T, Brinsley
S – are very positive indeed, and I think this is definitely a project
that I will continue with, and I’ll go looking for a bassist again. The main
problem will be remunerating the musicians for their time (given my dismal record
of promoting myself). It did remind me of things that I enjoy about solo performance,
but I’ll take it as a suggestion to me that I should perform more rather than

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