February 26th 2003, 7:00pm

Borders, N1 Centre

26 Parkfield Street,
London N1 0PS

A curious gig, I have to admit, but not without its pleasures. The gig it most reminded me of was the Prince’s Street Bandstand.

They understandably think that The Secret Agent’s Dream is called Shh (they wouldn’t be the first people to make that mistake), but spell it on their listening post (!) as Shhhh. So way out there.

The set contains a combination of things that are on the CDs (Where Did It All Go Right?, Iodine of course) with newer songs. The highlight for me was the long vitriolic and as yet unnamed ballad.
I have a couple of tables of people I’ve not yet met who seem to be paying attention, which is nice, and Ann Dalton has turned up, as has Alastair Artingstall, Terry and Denise and Ben appears halfway through.

The most disturbing moment is when a group of people stop at the sales point immediately behind me and discuss the CDs very loudly in Spanish just as I’m trying to play the tricky bit of Mr Wrong. More than occasional dropped notes, but it’s not the kind of gig where that sort of thing matters that much.

The fact that it’s so spread out (I’m playing to the bulk of the store, with the coffee shop to my left, so I have to turn to look at people), means that the quality of attention (which is there) is dispersed, A very unusual feeling, but one that makes one more inclined to rely on one’s own senses rather than relying on the “support” of the audience.

Oh, and the extra noises are interesting – the coffee machine (which reminds me of Joseph at the late lamented Bunjies, who was generally able to punctuate the music with bursts of steam at the most innapropriate times); incomprehensible announcements and the bleeping of the cash registers, which is, as I note, a bit like being heckled by Artoo Deetoo.