October 19th 2002, 20:00
The Old Coffee House
49 Beak Street
I get to the Old Coffee House at around 8:00, and it’s already shaping up to be a quiet evening – Kath is there, and a couple of floor performers, a poet and a singer. last time it was packed, apparantly. So the Peacock Effect strikes again; I preemptively empty rooms. Hurrah!
I sit and twiddle on the guitar as Kath gets the room ready. Still no sign of people, really, but the other acts arrive (Steve Dowsett and The Children) then Ann Dalton (who I haven’t seen for ages) turns up bringing three people with here, and Dave Russell appears and so we have if not a roomful, then certainly an audience as long as not too many people try to perform at one time.
So there are several floorspots – enough that Kath can alternate singers and poets, and then one of Ann’s friends reads a couple of Sufi (I think – I’m guesssing and may be completely wrong, but they seemed Sufi, or at least Sufish), then there’s a break, then me.
It goes quite well, really. I start with The Things You Get, which Ann had perticularly requested, then most of the rest of the set is as yet unrecorded stuff: Unison, Mr Wrong, 100 Horses (there’s a stifled round of applause when I get through the noodly bit of that unscathed, and I’m so pleased with myself that I mess up the next, perfectly straighforward, bit), then I try the long intense and as yet untitled slow one out on a listening audience and it goes quite well. I finish up with Comforting Lie. I enjoyed that and would like to do it again. That’s probably the best way, eh.
Following me is Steve, playing songs from his new album – crafted political pop, as long as he doesn’t mind being reduced to three words.
And after him, The Children, playing electrically (!), with matching Behringer amps. Most people (apart from me, I suppose) mention the late PJ Fahy who died around this time four years ago, and who ran one of his famous evenings in this very room a long, long time ago (he also used to run something in the room that later housed the VAC at what became Moriarty’s and is now something else altogether in Islington).
During the Children’s set, Kath passes me a note to say that the standing up thing is an improvement and I tend to agree.
Oh, and Dave Russell sells me a CD of him intoning over a techno backing, just to add another layer to the evening’s fineness.