Half one was the screening and panel at The Roundhouse in the Sackler Space. It looked to me like it was a sellout which wasn't bad for 12.00 on a muggy Sunday morning. There was a great feeling in the room and although the more I see the film the more I see what needs to be done to finish it, it does pack a pacy punch. Again, the stories came over as warm and funny. The entire band of The Dollymixtures came, plus lots of other people that I haven't seen for ages, and to have the support from mates from long ago and far afield was a great feeling. There were people there from Australia and from the US too, and the whole audience was not just supportive of the film but also of the panellists- Gina, Shanne and Jess Allanic from the band Mystified. There was an interesting cross-generational discussion, because Jess, who plays guitar, was inspired by hearing The Raincoats and The Slits played by her parents (and she told me afterwards her Dad liked The Chefs too). The one smarmy questioner was dealt with in seconds by Gina (was he a plant?) and I hope that lots of people left with a feeling that they could document music themselves to avoid a one-track version of history and put some lost women back in there again. Below: Mystified
Half two was a song writing workshop. The last one I put on only had one person turn up so I was expecting a similar turnout, but ten people came along and we soon dived into creativity. It was all-ages, but because everyone was so open and willing to participate we ended up with a great song called Quietly Loud about suppression and revolution. Big luv to those people for sharing their ideas and their energy and passion.
Armed with a bag of sandwiches and fruit thoughtfully provided by Rachel at The Roundhouse, Offsprog One and myself bombed down to Hither Green, leaving a trail of crumbs and plastic containers in bins along the way. From a distance we could hear The Trombone Poet in the Manor Park Arts Cafe, a funky little building whose tin roof was being scraped by tree branches tossing in the breeze. Shuffling words, meanings and trombone comments around, Paul made the audience snort with laughter. Steve Beresford and Mandira De Saram followed; Steve is always great and this was a fantastic pairing that veered in and out of anger. I always feel that high calibre musicians reach a degree of skill beyond which the next step is explosion: BANG! Steve's fingers thrashed the piano keys, while an electronic caterpillar attempted a futile escape from a wine glass. Mandira sliced her violin strings with the bow, and they begged for mercy.
It was my turn next; I did another sitsy-downsy gig (the next one will have to be rock'n'roll stand-up) but it was a great end to the day to be able to perform my own stuff and I was chuffed that Paul, Karen, Anna and family, Offsprog One, and Karina were there to metaphorically hold me up and send a bit of positive energy across the room. On the way out of the park, we passed a toddler with squeakers in her shoes; hilarious. She really should have been part of Steve and Mandira's performance.
What a day- it ended on a 263 bus because the tubes weren't running on the Northern Line. Fortified by bananas and Doritos and mindless TV, the song faded out and I slept, only to be woken by next door's alarm going off at 6.45 this morning.
Thank you Richard Sanderson, for inviting me along. And thank you Roundhouse too.