Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nasty Women: End Violence Against Women

I would like to write a really long posting about this well-attended, buzzy and brilliant evening but the Universities are back and I'm immersed in preparing stuff for the next three days. The comedy section was really enjoyable, especially Harriet Braine who did the most hilariously awful impression of Kate Bush that I've ever heard and who could also play trumpet with her lips in a way that I've only heard the Scottish songwriter Scott MacDonald do before.
Deux Furieuses did a set without the drum kit (they are playing at the Water Rats on 10th November if you'd like to see them in full flow), but their music was still powerful and energetic. Feral Five did a superb cover of Germ Free Adolescence, and just get better and better. Kat did a great job of organisation as well, which must have made it all the more rewarding to get such a great reception. DJ-ing was provided by Ms Mohammed, and all in all it was a warm-hearted and very energising night at a fantastic venue- where else could you go out the back and see a family of swans puttering about in the canal, and where else can you see upside down flowerpots hanging from the ceiling?
The whole point of the evening was never far from people's focus, and the art exhibition with the scary Trump cake was fascinating to look around. The whole weekend was a success and the organisers should be bloody proud of it.
Thank you to everyone in the audience for your lusty backing vocals on The Sea, too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ramsgate Music Hall: Vic Godard, The Bitter Springs, Helen McCookerybook

It's getting a bit Septemberish this autumn, or perhaps the other way round. What better season and better reason than to drive down to Ramsgate in deepest Kent for a Friday night gig?
The Ramsgate Music Hall is an industrial building that has been converted into a neat and bijou music venue. The live area is small (but gets much larger when the huge mixing desk is restored to it rightful place at the back of the hall); it can hold more than a hundred people but feels pleasantly full at 50. Upstairs is a large bar area, and in the basement, a very welcoming band area with a fridge with real food in it, a proper coffee machine, and sofas that don't make you feel the you're going to catch whatever band infection is doing the rounds at the time. It's sufficiently rock'n'roll though; the drummer Neil Palmer was really excited about the traffic lights on the wall, and almost leapt into the air with joy when he realise that they did actually work. The amber light goes on when it's time to get ready, and the green one when it's time to go up the stairs and through the trapdoor to do your gig.
For bands, it's the ideal gig. There's a fantastic fish and chip shop round the corner (really fantastic: they even know which trawler caught your haddock) and Al the sound guy is really, really good at his job. Julian, the venue manager, is completely on the ball too, which made this one of the best gigs of the year so far. Ramsgate is indeed fortunate to have such a venue: it was well worth the journey behind 100 slow tractors with strange little green round things bouncing off their loads.
There was even an autograph hunter, just this side of scary.
It is so great to play a gig and be able to hear what you are doing on stage. Al made me loud, and also made the guitar sound bassy, so everything felt right. You guys in the audience, that was a rousing chorus to The Sea and bless your cotton socks Simon, I could hear you singing along to almost all of them!
The Springs sounded fab too; the music was was crystal clear and they managed their musician-morphing seamlessly before providing a scorching backup for Vic. It was a bit disappointing not to hear The Addison Brothers ( I was all ready to screech along, but will have to do that to the recording at home instead) but there is that to look forward to the next time.
Rumour had it that BobAndRobertaSmith was in attendance. I talked to a man in a hat at the bar; was that him? I'll never know. It was great to see Lee Edgington there (last seen at a Helen and the Horns gig in 1984) and all the jolly chaps and chapesses in the dressing room, smiling and band-chatting.
I had to leave a bit early to drive back because I didn't have a co-pilot and didn't want to fall asleep the wheel, but as I left Born To Be A Rebel was swirling across the car park in a joyous cloud of f*ck-everything Northern Soul noise. The happy feeling of the audience was pouring out of the door and into the street; there was something incredibly romantic about the night that summed up everything to do with getting up off our bums and going off to do gigs, despite the crap that life throws at you.
Thank you again to Mandy for doing the CDs. My next gig is Nasty Women this Saturday, then in Newcastle supporting Laura Cortese next Thursday at the Little Live Theatre.
I am happy!

Photographs all in the wrong order: Vic and Ruth; Vic and The Bitter Springs; Ruth photographed me photographing Ruth; Kevin Younger under the traffic lights (should he be going up to the stage?); Kim Rivers upstairs stands next to Simon, who is downstairs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Song

Couldn't resist arranging a new tune for these three plastic fantastics at the airport on the way home from a weekend break.


Catching Up

Review of Ramsgate to come, and remember it's loads cheepers to buy your tickets in advance for the Helen and the Horns gig at the Lexington (with Katy Carr and Honey Birch) on Sunday 1st October!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ramsgate Music Hall Tonight With Vic Godard and the Bitter Springs

Come out and join us in the amazing Ramsgate Music Hall tonight! Vic Godard with The Bitter Springs, and I'll be supporting. Three for the price of two, and lots of fun 4 U (that almost rhymes)
Tickets here, or on door:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

With Ruth Barnes on ResonanceFM Tomoz

Tomorrow afternoon at 3.30 I will be on Resonance FM talking about songs that have inspired my own song writing, and playing a couple of songs too. Tune in on

Monday, September 11, 2017

Feather Stolen In Camden; An Exciting Story

I went to Katy's to do an interview this evening. I took her a big feather to put in her hat. To keep the feather clean and flat, I put it in a little clear plastic bag to carry it.
I walked through Camden tube station, and changed on to the Edgware line.
There was a peculiar looking man on the train. I tried not to stare.
'Anyway, I look peculiar too, because I am carrying a large brown feather in a plastic bag', I scolded myself.
I looked down at the plastic bag to admire the feather.
It had gone.
Someone had nicked it at Camden!

Two Gigs Coming Up....

September gigs- Ramsgate Music Hall supporting Vic Godard and the Bitter Springs this Friday
Newcastle Studio at Live Theatre supporting Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards next Thursday 28th September