Up All Night @ The River Bar

November 28th 2001, Onstage 9:25pm, Doors 8:00pm

The River Bar

206-208 Tower Bridge Road
London SE1 2UP

So I’m on third today, which is a promotion of sorts. I also get eight in which is pretty good for me here. There are people awaiting the following band and even those left over from the first couple.

I’ve been here since 7:00, not really needing a soundcheck, but enjoying watching everyone else’s. It’s also good to be able to sit with my guitar and noodle, acclimatising myself to the whole environment.

I’m sort of hovering near the door in case someone with a flier turns up, so manage to meetngreet my own personal guests (Denise, Terry, Phil, Jules, Rich, Tessa and Osvalda. Rachel arrives during the set – I love the exclusive redundancy of that list of names), not being entirely compos.

It’s quite difficult to tell when the previous act are going to finish, since they spend a lot of time changing instruments. I can’t say that I blame them – I used to be like that once, and would given the opportunity, the transport and the income stream) probably be even worse – but I think they ran over, meaning that subsequent sets (starting with mine) are shortened somewhat. It does feel short – I do Secret Agent, Unison, Little Games, Waltz Without Touching and would have launched into Mr Wrong but yer man came up and told me I had one song left. I may be wrong and I may have forgotten one but that adds up to twenty to twenty-five minutes. There was the extended riff on learning all my German from the War Library comics as well, but even so.

Ah, well. I’ve been an MC, I know how it is when someone over-runs.

Seems to go down well though. Someone (Jules) does a very loud Shhh during Secret Agent , so people listen. There’s less of a barrage of noise as well, more individual voices in the gloom.

Occasional nice effects – the guitar is feeding back through the monitors on D, so at the end of Unison, which has a pedal D n the bass, I can let the ring, play the chords over the top quieter and quieter and then as the D is still ringing launch straight into Little Games.

Afterwards (as many other audience members have toddled off) sit upstairs with Terry, Denise, Phil and Jules and chat, which is nice. There ought to be a place in venues that people can go for a quiet chat if they want to (that used to be one of Bunjies’ strong points – the performance area and the chat area were close enough together that people could move easily from one to the other, and I think if attention-giving was more voluntary, then people give attention more generously. I may be wrong though.

It does set some plans in motion in my head, though.

(“What, as opposed to plans set in motion in your toes? Tch!”)

Virtually Acoustic @ Tinder Box

November 26th 2001, 7:30pm

The Tinderbox Coffee Shop

Upper Street
Islington

David had called this morning to ask if I’d fill in for
Davide Sanna, who was supposed to be playing this evening, but had to remain
in sardinia, and so I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

It was really nice and relaxed, and I did another mammoth
stint (about 18 songs altogether, most of which were recorded on Minidisk for
me to torture myself with later). This time, old/disinterred songs include Circle/Line
and It. According to the Minidisk, my pitching was drifting way off,
but I think this was to do with lack of diaphragm support under the notes, laxness
in the breathing. That is to say, not a natural incompetence, but one I can
address. I can hear on notes that I pay especial attention to, how pitch-crapness
tends not to happen (even quite difficult ones), so there’s a whole area of
meditation there on attention and the use of attention and all that. As always.

The more I play here, the more I enjoy it. It’s just quite
fun pulling odd songs out of the ether, and it seems less pressured
in that way than a “proper” gig. hence the fact that I can resurrect
all those old songs and play brand new ones, running ongs into each other without
worrying about whether the audience are going to clap or not (they’re too busy
drinking coffee). Tinderbox provides a mixed economy – coffee, merchandise,
internet terminals and occasional music, and although the bright lighting may
not seem instantly tune-friendly, but does work quite well at the end of the
day.

I forgot to bring my camera with me, hence not snaps. Sorry.

On The Mound

January 1st 1970,

On The Mound

Can’t do anything coherent on this one. Things to say:

  1. Quieter than the last one, but then not during a major arts festival so
    that’s to be expected.
  2. Several performances from the likes of Peter Michael Rowan (who manages
    to produce a violin from some Secret Violin Place. I wonder if all cafe’s
    have them. Is it stated in the bylaws that all places for the consumption
    of coffee and sundries must have a violin somewhere on the premises?

  3. And Pam of course.
  4. Also performances from Eko, Frank and Stuart.
  5. The pot plants are in the basement (where we were performing last time.
    This was not necessary this time on account of the cafe being quieter (since
    there isn’t actually a major international arts festival going on at the moment),
    and the upstairs being much warmer than the downstairs. The coffe machines
    are very loud though.
  6. I coerce Peter into trying to violin solo over the single chord of Waltz
    Without Touching
    . This might have been an imposition because it’s dead
    modal, and a bit of an unfair thing to drop on a chap.
  7. I do a bunch of stuff, beginning with The Things You Get and ending
    with Comforting Lie.
  8. A member of the audience, Meg (I believe), cross-examines me on the significance
    of some of the lines in my songs. I am worryingly unsure about what they mean
    – in terms of the exact significance of The Things You Get this may
    be becuase it’s several years since I thought about what it’s about. I may
    even have changed my mind since then.
  9. We are eventually ejected because the staff have a party to go to.