Thursday, May 06, 2021

Thinking About St Johns

I woke up at the Usual Time this morning, for verily, normal life carries on and I have to (a) vote and (b) do a whole lot of marking today. I do feel happy though, after last night! Part of it was quite simply singing out properly and playing with amplification; I do sing and play at home, of course, but politely out of consideration for the neighbours. These houses have very thin walls. Once, Offprog Two and me sat watching TV with the sound down and we could hear the dialogue from Eastenders coming through the wall.

There's a huge amount of traffic in London. We are all in our cars because we are afraid of travelling on the tube with people who don't wear masks, all squashed up in a viral soup. What should have been a 45 minute journey took more like two hours. The roads have been revised since lockdown and nobody knows where they are, and neither do I. Luckily I'm a short sound checker.

The church is beautiful and the organiser Gareth and sound guy Dave were the only people there when I got there. I tuned up, cleaned up, poured a cup of camomile tea (it was cold in there!), sound checked and waited until just before 8. There was one person in the audience, and the vicar passed through once or twice.

The lights came up, the music flowed and off we went! I imagined people at home sitting on their sofas, though I was in a box of lights with the paintings on the church walls looking sternly on, but it really was good to sing again in a  proper venue. My fingers felt like frozen twigs that I had to snap to form chords (even by the end of the gig they were still cold) but I did a gig in Spitalfields market in temperatures of -10 once, so they just had to obey the instructions to do as they were told. There was no PA system, just monitors; maybe it would have felt like elevated singing in the bath if I hadn't had my guitar in my hands!

Every time I do anything like this, I feel thankful because life might have been so very different. I can't articulate exactly what happened because it is private, but there is something so magical in this freedom that absolutely blasts its way through any desire to be a pop star or anything like that (bit too late, anyway). It's being able to stand there and sing what I want, the way I want to sing it, to have learned to play well enough to make music to sing to.

Afterwards, the vicar came out. What a sweet man. He had watched at home he said, because the sound was better there. We chatted about closed churches and mosques, and gigs in churches, and how good Peggy Seeger is. Imagine being an enlightened vicar who not only does vicarly things but also gets to see gigs in his church. Now that's some life.

Thank you to everyone who 'came along'!

No comments: