Friday, September 18, 2009

All The Way There And Back Again

It's been an emotional and creative roller-coaster for the past month, and it's been way too long since my last confession. I've been up north to Edinburgh, out east to Thetford(ish) and played and watched a whole variety of interesting performances. Here's some highlights:

Edinburgh Fringe
Where to start?! It was an amazing few days, lots of flyering on the Royal Mile (mostly in the rain) - late nights with friends, acquaintances and even the odd celebrity (failing to flyer Marcus Brigstock for example). Lots of good shows: I chiefly enjoyed Short Intention Span (especially all dressed up as Wally, and the creepy guy returning the condom), Moon Chavs, extremely sexy poetry with Richard Tyrone Jones & friends @ Utter, Robin Ince losing his mind onstage (downstairs at Negociants where I first played the Edinburgh Fringe in 1994), a mesmeric and intimate performance from Edwyn Collins, the filthy penis-obsessed Kunt & The Gang and, of course, the seminal, unforgettable, unexplainable and utterly unfathamable A Young Man Dressed As A Gorilla Dressed As An Old Man Sits In A Rocking Chair For 56 Minutes (about which plenty has been said already).

I must also mention TWINLESS by Charlotte Young - which was, after all, the reason why I was up there in the first place. Charlotte's piece was a combination of video and performance that certainly wasn't to everyone's taste. It concerned the death of her twin sister in a hideous tandom bicycle accident and how she dealt with the loss of a sibling and comedic partner. The performances all took place in the Crypt (very apt) below the Jekyll and Hyde pub in Hanover Street, after the comedy and before the eclectic A-Band. It was good to have a late evening slot as the subject matter was quite dark. Despite our efforts to warn people (my flyering technique of "It's about death, it's very funny" seemed to go down quite well) kind of, it was clear that the few people who had come expecting stand-up comedy or the like were to be very bemused as Charlotte shuffled in in her pyjamas and stood mostly in silence whilst the video ran. Those of us that got the humour though, found it utterly hilarious and wonderful, and this encouraged an initially nervous Charlotte to add extra lines during her raffle sections. The, totally ad-libbed, line of "It's that time again" spoken dead-pan made me laugh so much I nearly had an injury. The quietest night (just three people) was also excellent as they all won a prize and it was the only time that Charlotte almost lost it with laughter on stage... priceless.

It was with great sadness that I was unable to complete the run due to a family illness, but I just want to say many thanks for Richard Soames for stepping in to complete the run. It was a fabulous experience and it only remains for me to say THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS to Charlotte for a fantastic first Edinburgh Fringe run... may there be many more.

Oh, and also there are still t-shirts available for £7 if anyone would like one (pictured above).

After spending time with my family, I slowly managed to get back into playing and seeing shows. I fitted in a short performance at the Kiss Of A Lifetime (by Mike Chavez Dawson et al) and a trip to the Tate to see a Pil & Galia performance. Next stop:


Frogstock is one of those sublime english traditions that has survived in various formats for many years now. Last year I played at the acoustic, cut-down version and was regaled by Frog and Victoria with stories of fields full of stages, giant campfires, stalls selling all kinds of wonderous things, and young love (ah sigh). Frog swept his arm in front of him describing a marvellous field with a trailor mounted main stage, dance tent and many other wonders... ah how I envied experiencing these hedonistic delights... forward a year and there I was, walking into just such and arena of dreams (am I building this up enough yet?). This year the Swan pub in Coney Weston took up the mantle and lo! there was the main stage, lo! there was the acoustic / comedy stage, lot! there was the dance tent, bouncy castle, giant bonfire, stalls, food vans, t-shirt stand, impromptu performances, REAL ALE BY THE BARREL-LOAD and glorious english sunshine to cap it all.

It was a day about which only good things will be remembered. Young Henry playing on both the acoustic and main-stage, all the t-shirts selling out by mid-afternoon, impromptu Saxa-boom jamming, the Blo' Boys back to their best (pictured below), glasses of beer with friends in a field... what could be better? My own performance (at about 5pm on the mainstage) could not even be mired by a few sound glitches in the first song, or my glasses nearly falling off due to sweat (the stage faced directly into the setting sun). It was nice to revive All I Want Is Stu for another year, and songs like Lightkeeper were made for a festival atmosphere.

I even got the train back home after Deference Engine's performance, so was able to cap the whole experience by sleeping in my own bed rather than in a tent. Roll on next year, when I'm hoping I will have a band to perform with!

Well that's the major round up, off to catch up with a few Blogs now. Make sure you check out some of my up-and-coming gigs below and I hope to see you soon.


19th September 2009, 2 - 5pm
Nunhead Festival, Nunhead

21st September 2009, 9pm
RAW GEMS @ The Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, NW1 0UL

28th September 2009, 8pm
Liquid Nation, 161-165 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London, W10 6HJ

1st October 2009, TBC
Nine Bar, 146 Tanner Street, London, SE1 2HG

8th October 2009
Frog Morris Presents:
DAREN CALLOW + FRIENDS @ The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Rd, London, SE14 5JN

11th October 2009, 8pm
The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PP

18th October 2009, 8pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St Katherine's Docks, East Smithfield, E1W 1AA

24th October 2009
Faith! charity album launch - limited tickets BOOK NOW
The Lido, Ethelbert Terrace, Margate, CT9 1RX

1st November 2009, 8pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St Katherine's Docks, East Smithfield, E1W 1AA

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