Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eyre Chapel and Beyond

What a lovely drive it was: the M40 buzzards were hovering on the thermals above the motorway, and somewhere close to Chesterfield six brown parachutes suddenly opened in the clear blue sky, floating like jellyfish in the air and looking for a moment as though they were going to land on the road ahead.
After checking in to the b'n'b, it was time to head for the chapel, where David Lelievre was setting up the lights and Mike and June were ready for the gig.
The chapel is beautiful, a tiny stone box painted white inside, with shield-shaped memorials to the Eyre family dotted across the walls, and an embroidered and patchworked wall-hanging on the back wall.
The audience sat on lines of chairs and there was a raised area at the front, which is where Martin set up the little Fishman P.A. system. There was a really nice atmosphere, a really nice audience.
Last year when we played there I was still mourning McDad and I found it very difficult to sing, but this year things felt a lot more relaxed and I enjoyed it a lot more. I left out the Daisies song, not because of the stinky teenage rant that someone posted on Myspace, but because when I play it people only seem to notice that one, so it's having a rest for a while.
As usual, Martin had the audience roaring with laughter but he played very well too with the best rendition of the Joe McKue song I've ever heard, and a lovely version of Nairn Beach.
Yesterday I went with him to Knutsford (once the land of Neil and Christine Hamilton), a very pretty and slightly twee town just off the M6. His gig was at the Liberal Club, an odd building that looked like a warehouse from the outside; inside, it had that youth club/community centre vibe and a lot of very jolly and very loud people who obviously spent a lot of time shouting at their TVs at home, and who yakked loudly all the way through the set of the poor support guy and his cellist, which was a real shame as they were good. Martin wasn't having it, and managed to tame them by about two songs in. Bravely, he didn't sing shouty songs- he sang a lot of the quieter ones and soon had them eating out of his hand, but it looked like very hard work.
We went for a walk in Tatton Park this morning before he headed north and I headed south; as we walked back though the gates, a voice from the pay-booth called us over. It was a lady called Jenny who had been at the gig, and loved it. How sweet and surreal!

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