Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside... II

First up I must must correct an omission from the last post. One of the other pieces I saw on the first day was Serena Korda's The Library of Secrets. This is a custom made portable library that looks like it was made in the 60s, the idea is that you select a book, and then write a secret and place it amongst the pages of the book, for someone to discover another time. I really like this idea, as I love discovering things left in books (plus I've also taken to leaving my gig flyers in appropriate books, as a random way of meeting new fans... possibly). I actually met Serena at the Seaside Cabaret and it turns out she's from the Harrow area where I used to live. She has a piece on Stanmore Station platform at the moment.

On with Sunday at Whitstable then. After a less than restful night at the artist house (the sound of hoovering at one in the morning turned out to be a pump for inflating blow-up beds!!), we headed back to the seaside for some lunch. Since this is the coast it was seafood we were after and we were not disappointed. We went to the Pearsons Arms and enjoyed a fine lunch of potted shrimp, scallops and local fish in the company of Vic Reeves (well he was in the restaurant at the same time as us, so that must count).

In the afternoon I caught some more video projections at the local museum (I saw the end of a Paul MaCarthy piece, I think) and the tail end of the Whitstable Tourist Board's tour of Whitstable Art, which it seems most people where not sure if it was a spoof or not. Since it was listed under the performance art pieces, I guess it must have been!

The Unwrong Quiz

A brief rest and a shower later and it was time to make my way back to The Smack to set up for the Unwrong Quiz. This is a format developed by Frog Morris and Mark Quinn which follows the standard pub quiz format except for the fact that there are no wrong or right answers. Creativity and originality rule the day and the answers are often very funny. In the company of many of the day's performers and artists the routine is to ask about 5 questions and then while Frog and Mark go through the answers I play some songs. An added twist this time around is that due to the nice weather we started out in the beer garden, so I did my first outdoor show for a while. Some of the songs are better suited to being al fresco than others, so I had to shift the set around to accommodate this situation. I was a little frustrated to start with as I'd brought all my clever kit with me to allow me to do harmonies, effects and loops and playing in the garden kinda prevented me from using them. I kept willing the weather to turn cold so we could all head indoors.

After three or four rounds (I won a set of emergency blankets!) we finally decamped to the warmth of the pub and I was able to use the equipment I'd brought with me. This produced a few nerves, but I feel that my first ever use of the VoiceLive box for my songs live went well. Even the use of the looper at the end of When The Snow Fell In Denver, which calls for accurate foot stamping whilst playing, went well. I can't wait to make use of this kit at full volume for a proper set, roll on The Fiddler's Elbow on the 16th... should be an exciting night! Despite the two location gig and the amount of kit involved I only repeated one song, which was I Need Your Love, this one works well both on it's own and with effects and harmonies, so I felt it deserved a reprise.

The final act of the evening was the sing-a-long, which we've been perfecting at the Montague Arms. We now have giant songsheets as well as handouts, so there is no excuse for people not joining in. First up was It's Summertime (which you can download here if you'd like to hear it) with harmonies and a delay effect it was a big sound and people certainly sang along with gusto. Finally another rousing chorus of Angry Badger (it's not my song... Frog maintains it's a traditional folk tune that he's arranged, but I'm not so sure... you can download a version from here if you'd like to check it out for yourself) wrapped the evening up - I even managed to play the chorus right and add the voice of doom!

So that was it, Whitstable was over for us and all that was left to do was pack the van and head back to the big smoke. If any of this sounds like your sort of thing, then do come down to Second Thursdays at the Montague Arms in New Cross (every 2nd Thursday of the month, next one is Ladies Night on the 10th July) or one of my gigs - next one is 16th July at The Fiddler's Elbow in Chalk Farm.

See you soon!


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