On the tube, I folded a newspaper and stuffed it into my guitar case in case I needed something to read. Sometimes you need something to while away the minutes and to be your friend if the air is hostile, but I needn't have worried.
Where was I going and what was I doing? It had been a long time since I played, let alone a solo gig.
The bar was heaving with early-evening drinkers: but Karen was there smiling, and I chatted with her and her friend before heading into the bowels of the building which weren't there when Diana and myself ran our club Songbird there.
Downstairs has been converted into a lovely cosy venue with a low ceiling and warm lighting- and a surprisingly good sound system. Kath Tait was setting up microphones and we did informal soundchecks. I had the Green Goddess with me, who has been sitting in the living room being played by everyone who passes through. Oops: was that rust on the strings? I do hope not!
The room filled up- I was delighted to see Lyn and Dean from The Premises Songwriting Course, who were both excited because their music had arrived that morning. Valeria and George came too (hello!).
Brendan Power played the first slot, making particularly antipodean-sounding loops over which he sang some very witty songs. The one about Jimmy Savile was rather awkward because there was something of the Rolf Harris about his sound in places because of the didge-like drones that formed the basis of some of the loops; this provided food for thought for one member of the audience, who sat there stony-faced. The song he sang about his happy girlfriend was glorious though- very loving and tender with a satisfyingly uplifting chorus. Big round of well-deserved applause for him.
Next it was my turn, and for some reason I played some of the more introverted songs I've written, in spite of intending to play lots of skiffle and jolly songs. I'm not sure if it was the warm weather or whether it was my own general feeling of melancholy... but I did manage Sugarhill, Daisies and Heaven Avenue and Kath got me a fab sound. It was cathartic to do what I love so much; the past few weeks have been tough.
After a short break, Maggie and Lucy Lyrical took to the stage and gave us some almost burlesque, but often political, music-hall influenced songs which were very catchy and potent, and which were delivered in a really engaging way. Finally, Kath trod the boards and took us on a gentle journey through London. One song, about the doctors refusing a woman a facelift, saying it wasn't worth it and recommending a safety-pin instead, made me literally bark with laughter. We forced her to do Lentils as an encore. Lovely song. And I did the sound for her!
It was a lovely gig with a great audience who listened and laughed in all the right places.
Afterwards, I learned that you have to take your guitar case off your back when you go to the loo.
And I saw Caroline Coon just outside King's Cross Station. She looked fabulous, as a twenty-something man interrupted our conversation to tell her. What a nice surprise! We are going out artgallerying soon.