Sunday, August 08, 2010

Bard-Aid in Camden

Bard-Aid is an organisation that raises money to provide poetry books for secondary schools, and last night's gig was organised by Paul Eccentric, a member of the Rrrants Collective.
The gig lasted all day, and was held upstairs at the Camden Eye, a pub that is negotiated by pushing a channel through the sea of pissed young people that swarm around Camden Tube station at weekends.
Up the steep stairs that are hemmed in by nattily-tiled walls, the Kissing Lounge hosted a warm and friendly crowd who lounged on an assortment of odd chairs, jumbled together in a peaceful end-of-Saturday bonhomie.
I found a corner to slot myself into and listened to the quirky jazz of Paul's band, which sounded like a cross between ABC (except Paul has a much nicer voice than the frightening warbling of whats-his-name) and Michael Garrick's band (he was a 1970s oddball English jazz bandleader whose vinyl recordings currently command phenomenal sums on eBay). I liked their music; I am very fond of the alternative universe and this band would not have been out of place in the bar in the original Star Wars film (above).
It was my turn next, and the head-turning Green Gretsch turned heads; I loved the audience, who were a perfect mix of ages, styles and smiles. One group was noshing their way through their tea (chicken and chips  out of polystyrene containers). Other supped pints of lager or drank cans of Red Stripe. It was hot and sweaty, not good singing weather, but I abandoned my miserable songs and sang the uppy songs instead. People tapped legs, fingers, and I was told, bums along to Loverman.
This was probably my favourite gig in terms of atmosphere and audience this year. Maybe apart from the WIld Hare Club with JCC and Don Letts...
I also have invented a new way with set lists- a paper luggage label tied to a machine-head of the guitar.
It does the trick brilliantly! You don't need to bend down to peer at the floor, it's there at the end of you guitar neck ready for you to refer to or ignore as the mood takes you. You could have a selection, with different set lists on them....
Lovely gig, and thanks to Paul for inviting me. It is nice to feel appreciated at a gig!
LA Salami had a good night too and I am looking forward to being on the bill with him at the 12 Bar on the 23rd August.
I had wanted him to play at one of my nights of new songs, which I had to abandon because people got cross when I didn't invite them to play (it was one night, and I was planning more, and the cross people were going to be invited to play, but I got put off).
The other Rrrants events look good: I will certainly be going along to another.
Their website is

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