Monday, February 23, 2009

Meetings And Partings

Life is made up of meetings and partings (name the film). And always more partings.

Last night saw the final performance of 15 Minute Club at the Living Room in Islington. The reason for this is Islington Council changing their rules on music licensing due to an incident on a packed Saturday night disco. The venue now has to have TWO paid doormen on any music night, even the sleepy Sundays that the 15 Minute Club acoustic acts put on. The economics don't add up, so the (unpaid) musicians have to move on. Ours was a quiet, family friendly night where acts of any age got their 15 minutes and then relaxed and watched the other acts perform, and it is no more. So much for the support of original music in the UK. One person and a lot of bureaucracy have closed an exciting and fresh venue.

I actually feel sadder about it today than I did last night, because it was a surreal night for another reason which I'll come to. All the acts performed to their best for the Sunday night eaters and drinkers. My set featured a new song (more on that very soon) and an new piece of percussion (any guesses?). I really enjoyed all the acts Denai Moore, Harley Moon Kemp, Amy Wyke and two other chaps who's name I didn't manage to retain (sorry guys) - if they get in touch I'll rectify that. The jam at the end was great fun too as I improvised 15 Minute Club related lyrics to Get Back!

The weirdest part of the night came just after I had met Harley. A guy walks into the bar who is the spitting image of one of two brothers that used to be in a very successful 80s band that I grew up listening to. After a little bit of covert glancing on my behalf he came over and sat next to me. He asked if I was one of the other performers and I became increasingly convinced that he was one of the two men in question, or just an amazing dead ringer. I quickly formulated a plan to find out: if I introduced myself to him then he would give me his name and I would know. So I did and I could have sworn that he said his name was Neil! That's my rubbish hearing for you, he did though say he was Harley's dad (and her mum introduced herself too) and when she was introduced as Harley Moon Kemp my heart gave a little start. I had, as you all probably guessed already, just shook the hand of Martin Kemp the bass player with Spandau Ballet and, it should be noted, Shirlie Holliman - one half of Pepsi & Shirlie. I missed out on the chance to perform my songs for him, as they left with Harlery and her friends shortly after she finished playing, but I have to say he seemed like a thoroughly nice man. I suspect he probably thought I did recognise him, but I'm glad that in my naive way I just introduced myself as if he was any guy. Which in way, of course, we all are.

Meetings and partings indeed.

In other news, I'm playing twice this week. On Tuesday I'm going to try my hand at the open mic night at The Eagle, and then on Thursday I'm a featured act at the Fused Bar in Lewisham. I've also booked a featured artist slot at the White Hart in Whitechapel on March 26th - this will be a full electro-acoustic gig and I promise will be a must see (and hear, obviously).

Don't forget that the Shrek Rap CD is still available and all proceeds go to Autism related charities.

Have a good week!



D..J. Kirkby said...

That really is a sad bit of news. Where are new acts supposed to have a chance to be heard? And, where can people go to enjoy a cheap night out with good music? This world is getting even crazier. I agree with you about just treating Martin Kemp like any other guy, that was a nice thing to do (even if by accident) and you will probably stick out in his mind becuase fo that too.

Daren said...

DJ Kirkby: Yeah it is certainly sad. It seems the UK governments "support" of musicians in this country is paper-thin. Levels of beaurocracy are increasing all the time and common sense has no say.

Meeting MK by accident was the only way... I have now met a few people who's music I grew up with namely:

Chris De Burgh
Tony Mortimer (East 17)
Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
Howard Jones
Peter Gabriel
Steve Lukather (Toto)
Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe (Pet Shop Boys)
Martin Kemp

I count meeting as shaking hands with... I've been on the same bill as other bands that I love, but don't remember ever meeting them.

Perhaps I should be blogging this?!


P.S. Out of all of those people, the most exciting one for me was Howard Jones, as I was a HUGE fan!!

Casdok said...

Quite an impressive list you have there!!

Clarissa said...

Sad indeed. Makes me want to write a letter or go all Joan of Arc on the council.