January 1st 1970,
Or the valiant but sadly doomed attempt to take on the Massed Noisemakers of old Camden Town
There are two branches of the Purple Turtle that I know of, neither of which is particularly conducive to … well, anything really, or at least anything that doesn’t involve being paralytically drunk. There used to be an open mike at the other branch (on the Essex Road in Islington) on Sunday afternoons, where I first encountered how a raging noise where no one seemed to be paying any attention could actually be quite fun rather than oppressive. As long as one can hear oneself.
This was the first time I’ve played in a venue that has a vending maching for Pheromone Wipes (“To Attract Women”) in the Gents. Right next to the condom machine. To a certain extent, therefore, the establishment might be said to be exploiting the eternal optimism of the drunkard in search of sexual gratification. But no news there, really.
Anyway I’ve always thought that the decor looked like the set from the Tomorrow People circa 1972, but I seem to be in a minority there.
That said, it was only tonight that I noticed the torture implements scattered nochalantly around the place.
Joe’s evening is called L.O.D.S.O.S. which stands for Lots of Different Sorts of Stuff, a sentiment I can appreciate.
As I arrived, the chap doing the sound was just finishing up a couple of numbers – Steve possibly, sorry, I’m terrible with names – and then Joe did a couple, and then a singer called Ngozi did some stuff – quieter, sensitive sorts of thing, which had a bit of a battle in the context. Then it was me. As Joe played some suitably diverse records, I tuned up and warmed my
Perhaps because I’d had a while to warm up I played pretty well (ironically, really). Certainly if I’d played as well last Monday, I’d have been a lot happier. I played: Secret Agent, Where Did It All Go Right, Mr Wrong, Waltz Without Touching (followed immediately by Little Games), Unison and Comforting Lie. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. There was some interesting feedback during WWT, and it teetered on the brink it on other occasions.
There was a cluster of people over by the bar being appreciative, and another table to my left. This was nice.
And after me, it was Dave Russell, who was mighty as usual, although he was finally something that the drinkers could not ignore and a certain amount of foot-based voting took place, until there was finally just us, the knot of people who’d come specifically for the night, cheering enthusiastically. His version of Bus Stop in particular, was noise terror of the highest order, the guitar being dubbed and panned and what not – I’ve seen people trying that before and it doesn’t necessarily work, but on this occasion it was fairly devastating.
Oh and then I went home to bed.