Friday, 8 July 2011


i am here at the station in kings heath
thursday night is 'simply overmiked' night
my first serious stab at live solo performance
i order a pint of grapefruity moondance ale
and grab a table by the bar
about twenty or so people are scattered
around the back room of the pub
under a big blackboard
a large table of punters chats gregariously
opened birthday cards littering the tables
i've rehearsed four songs before heading out
'mymomatosis' and 'fourth of july'
off the all seeing i
(t-shirt proudly sported)
and two brand new tracks
'god's country' and 'an innocent abroad'
the latter polished off a few days ago
as the words and music flooded out
ben our host for the evening
places a sign-up sheet on the bar
i secure second billing after a threesome called kings of spain
ben kicks off proceedings
he has a decent voice
combined with the kind of technical ability on the acoustic guitar
that i can only envy
an easy way of picking bluesy chords
which like those shimmying football maestros
i could never dream of emulating
ben has some clever machine that slowly builds up a sequence
strummed and thumped guitar,
finger clicks and strange gurgles
over which he improvises a solo
(a kind of digital one-man-band)
it's good but all cover versions of other people's songs
as far as i can fathom
would i rather be a clumsy lennonian/kilbeyesque guitarist
who writes his own material
or a blues picker who never came up with a song in his life?
i know which one i'd choose!
after ben the kings of spain do their thang
a strongly rhythmic combo
complete with mariachi style trumpet player
i tough act to follow
before i know it
my name is being announced
i plug in
test the mike
and launch into 'myxomatosis' with as much gusto as i can summon
i am greeted with general indifference
the groups of friends go on talking
strangely i'm not bothered
i'm up there performing
their loss
happily the song is almost note-perfect
with just a couple of stumbles
at the end
i suddenly find myself departing from the script
jumping up and down
as i manically strum out the closing bars
faster and faster
until i go out in a blaze of glory
this seems to get a reaction
...and a round of applause
the other three songs pass relatively uneventfully
as i come off stage to polite applause
ben the host casually sidles over
'that myxomatosis was crazy, man' he says
i have made an impact...

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