Book and Record Bar Open Mic #1
26 January 2024, 7:30 pm
Book and Record Bar
20 Norwood High Street
London SE27 9NR

The inaugural open mic at the Book and Record Bar – lots of fun. I took the thinline-strat-with-humbuckers, which is a lovely guitar but a the sound is a bit unwieldy. Also, plugging in the fly rig and getting the sound right was a bit fiddly. Or perhaps that’s just an excuse. All the Things That I Don’t Know went very slowly, I thought. It doesn’t seem to have been much of a problem, but when I realised I thought “Oh, well, that’s the speed it is tonight”. Some times you don’t have control over these things and it’s more comfortable than playing things far too fast, which is what usually happens. For the second time round, I borrowed Tom’s 12-string to play Apples and Walnuts, which seems like a good idea at all times other than the moments I’m trying to hold down the strings. New bits in the introduction, too, which surprised me. I hadn’t planned that.

Anyway, lots of lovely acts, and already looking forward to the next one, which will be in March. I don’t drink during January or Lent, and I’m not sure whether that one (which seems to fall on Good Friday) will be a drinking day or whether I’ll have to wait until the one in May to have a beer while I’m playing. Writing that down, I wonder whether I might not be overthinking beverages.

Setlist:

The Things I Threw Away
All the Things That I Don't Know
Apples and Walnuts
VAC #3
22 January 2024, 7:30 pm
Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Quieter than the previous two, though that meant an extra song and everyone was great. Got to noodle along with Rob on his second song: I think a new song might be emerging in some way. It’s a mysterious thing. For the first one I tried Magical Thinking again, which is still not as automatic as I’d like – I have to take a certain amount of attention out of the singing because I still it need it in the fingers, and that makes the performance feel slightly stilted to me. Tigers was reliably Tigers, and I went for All the Things That I Don’t Know last because I felt like a bit of all-out bellowing. And verily I did bellow.

Setlist:

Magical Thinking
...And the Tigers
All The Things That I Don't Know
Green Note Open Mic
21 January 2024, 3:00 pm
The Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

A new year, and back at the Green Note. As I don’t drink during January, it’s interesting to be sober all the way through. Packed today, too, as was the tube up from Elephant (and they all seemed to get off at Camden Town, too) – it’s as if today was the first day people decided they could go out, so they all did. Fun jam with Rob before the influx.

I realised I’d not played either song here for a while, so I did. The nice thing about playing stuff I’ve done so often is that they have no (or very few) nasty surprises, but the downside is that it’s less likely that one will find anything new.

(It’s amazing the places you can go trying to accelerate out of a potential car crash).

I did shoot a video, but the way the iPhone was positioned chopped off my head. So there was my headless body playing the guitar and the only other thing of interest was the Spanish couple in the corner looking, frankly, unimpressed by my performance. So.

Setlist:

Down Below
The Things I Threw Away
VAC #2
15 January 2024, 7:30 pm
The Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Not quite as busy as last week, in fact the perfect number of people to fill the time exactly. The popularity of The King of Anhedonia reminds me that I must finish recording it. This week I set up the camera in front of me, made sure it was framed correctly and it stopped working several seconds into my performance. I think I may be entering the Vexation period of my autovideography career.

Setlist:

Shame
The King of Anhedonia
VAC #1
8 January 2024, 7:30 pm
The Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Rammed to the gills, of course, as befits the resurrection of the Virtually Acoustic Club. Writing this two weeks later, so no sure what I remember, except it was a long night. My official role is Piano Provider, which I wouldn’t ever have expected to become. Looking at the setlist it seems like a very strange pair of songs to choose, but perhaps it made sense at the time. I set up a camera, but the crowded room and the tiny screen meant I only appeared in the top left-hand corner.

Setlist:

Disappear
Iodine
Green Note Open Mic
17 December 2023, 2:30 pm
Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

Looks like it was the first time I played Return the Key in public, but apparently there was something strange going on with the guitar (or maybe a microphone?) – I couldn’t detect a problem, but it was evidently bad enough to require some kind of immediate intervention, so the performance should probably be considered a wash. I guess? Also the little camera turned itself off, so I don’t know how bad it was. As I’ve had no other problems with the instrument, and other people were using the same gear with no problems I have to conclude that it was some kind of evil fluence. Things that are too time-consuming to find an explanation for can generally be blamed on maleficent supernatural forces.

Setlist:

Return the Key
Disappear
Tatami #3
8 December 2023, 7:30 pm
Oneforty
140 Vaughan Road
Harrow
HA1 4EB

This was lovely and intimate – Oneforty is a tiny arts place in Harrow, and Tatami is a music night there (they do all sorts of other things as well). Also, I got to try my new telecaster, which was good.

Setlist:

Gravity
Down Below
The Things I Threw Away
The King of Anhedonia
...And the Tigers
River Rise
Horse Bagatelle
100 Horses
Green Note Open Mic
31 October 2023, 9:00 pm
The Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

I did The Rest Of Our Lives again! After I did it last time. I mean, I have at least several songs to choose from, why do the same one twice in a row? It’s possible that I’d actually intended to play a different song with the same picking pattern, but it’s hard to tell with my brain. It was lovely and cosy, though, an excellent night with all sorts of groovy acts. The cosiness means that the video’s quite blurry (cosiness and blurriness often go together, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed). It’s always fun to do All The Things That I Don’t Know but looking at the video I wonder whether I wouldn’t benefit from instruction by someone in musical theatre. A bit of an off the wall thought that, but I’m not sure I have any thoughts on the wall. My wall is denuded of thoughts.

Setlist:

The Rest Of Our Lives
All the Things That I Don't Know

Oh, yes…

It turns out I was overoptimistic about my ability to keep on top of the site, but I’ve added accounts and videos for the last few gigs to the Performances section. Oh, and I’ve decided to video gigs wherever possible, as an intervention to shame myself into practising more efficiently and/or effectively. While I’m familiar with a Tory chancellor’s aphorism that “if it’s not hurting, it’s not working”, I’m not sure that just because it is hurting, it’s automatically working. But as it is hurting, I can only hope. Or despair. One of the two.

Green Note Open Mic
15 October 2023, 3:00 pm
The Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

Back again for the Green Note Open Mic, Rob’s having returned from his travels. As he does everything my status as stand-in (or even stand-in’s stand-in) is slightly false, but never mind. Loads of terrific acts. When I play, I go into an extended bit regarding my nagging internal voice and the small camera I’ve set up at the front of the stage. I think the nagging voice may be making a comeback at some point. As I learned from the Book and Record Bar gig video, the camera provides lots of useful information about things I can improve (or things I’m not doing as well as I’d like, depending on taste and state of mind), but I think I might upload them anyway as an act of self-immolation.

Setlist:

The Rest of Our Lives
Iodine