LanguageNovember 19, 2011
My return journey from the last date of my UK tour supporting the Miserable Rich culminated in an aborted 3am bus journey in the company of a sardine monster crush of wailing, jabbering flexing and vomiting half-baked and painted drooling students. Needless to say, two stops in, I walked home, laughing.
I learned a great deal, as I’d suspected I might, on this journey. That is, the two-weeks of gigs, not the 142 bus.
Partly, about performance. But equally, at least, about people. Given an extended period in the same company, you become quite aware of your own weaknesses. Your habits, though, can remain quite elusive.
This tour, for me, was the first one I’ve done, not as accompanist, but as a performer in my own right. So, the creeping in of habit and mechanism applied, I’m sorry to say, there also.
Around about the time I received the following review, I believe I’d come to neglect the questions of my work:
While his medieval and modern tales of swearing, sex and drinking would have gone down a storm down the A37 at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms this largely urban crowd just seemed a little confused
It applies equally in all areas.
Say, one morning, I complain about the weather. Why did I complain about the weather? Is that useful for something? Was that a choice, or was it a reflex action? How involved am I in these things I do?
So, likewise, why have I put these songs in the set for tonight? Are they right for these people, this place, or are they just what I end up doing lately so they’ll do won’t they I mean they were fine last night I’m hungry and christ there’s no toilets here either it’s a crypt…
It’s always a delight to notice yourself behaving like a stuck vinyl, in the full knowledge that we are terrifyingly free.
I haven’t a show-stopping voice, nor a band, nor any real skills on guitar. Genuinely communicating this nonsense of mine is my sole responsibility.
So, for the close of the tour, I developed a method that involves meeting some of the audience first. Talking to them, discussing life with them, then sitting down, and writing about the venue, the town, the day, the people, the atmosphere. And what I might offer all these, in terms of distraction.
I am to learn their language, before attempting to force upon them my own. This, for me, can make the difference between a discourse and a blind rendition.
Some more reviews, with kind thanks for each and every: