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Blog: Me, The Serious One

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I headed across town to distant BRIXTON on Sunday night, to play at The Windmill. The Windmill is a GRATE venue and also a dead friendly pub, but GOOD GOLLY it's a long way away from my house - it's almost quicker to get to IPSWICH from mine! Still, i had my book with me, so it all went pretty quickly. I arrived and had a quick chat to Shane from Unpeeled, who really is a top chap who speaks THE TRUTH. I also had a quick word with Tim who does the promotion, who is very much the similar.

I went to tune up, and got offered a spare Guitar Stand by Mitch Benn who thus ALSO turned out to be a nice chap. NICENESS, however, suddenly disappeared from view as - HORROR OF HORRORS - i SNAPPED! A! STRING! ARGH! FEAR AND DOOM! I did a quick soundcheck without it then spent an EXCRUCIATING 15 minutes crouched on the floor trying to get the old string out and the new one in, whilst PANICKING in a ludicrous style. When i panic THUS i GUSH sweat out of every pore, and this i very much did. It was not pleasant. I came off stage to find Carsmile Steve and co had arrived, as had The (ex)Cambridge Contingent, and tho it was lovely to see them all i felt a bit bad about WHIFFING so very badly at them. I felt LESS guilty when Steve said "So... is this a COMEDY gig then?"

For LO! It WAS! Shaun had earlier said that, at UNPEELED, they do not make narrow genre distinctions and were quite happy to have a night of comedy acts, non-comedy, and those straddling the BORDERLINES, and i KNOW that he is right to say so, but i still found it a bit hard to THINK about. This is largely cos i spent my EARLY CAREER trying very hard to NOT be put down as just a Comedy Turn (which usually meant having to be compere...), and trying to get across the idea that you CAN do funny stuff in a song or SET of songs and be at LEAST (and usually MORE) VALID as all the other bands on the bill being DREARY and singing about the Same Old Thing in the Same Old Way. I FLINCHED at the idea that after all this time i was back where i started, and did TOY with the idea of doing a set of ALL the most STERN and DEADLY SERIOUS songs. In the end i saw sense, however, and did a SUPER UBER SET, as below:
The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
Hey Hey 16K
Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Clubbing In The Week
Fucking Hippy
Easily Impressed
Boom Shake The Room
All killer, no filler! I'd meant to do "The Fight For History", but decided not to due to a)possible string detuning and b) quite enjoying doing ALL really EASY ones for a change. I'd not like to ALWAYS do such a The Obvious Ones set, but it was certainly nice to have NO worries about remembering how to play them, and to be fairly confident they'd all go pretty well. I rather enjoyed it i must say, especially towards the end as i RELAXED. PHEW!

The feeling of strangeness continued as I got the general impression that i'd been assessed DIFFERENTLY by this DIFFERENT audience as MILDER than everyone else they'd come to see, as everyone else was going straight and unapologetically for the LARFS. Things got MUCH MORE STRANGE when The Clashettes came on - four young ladies who dressed and danced almost identically to "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". It would have been fairly odd anyway, but it was made more so by the IRON WILL and DETERMINATION of the lead dancer. THIS was then immediately followed by Gary LeStrange, who did a GRATE and HILARIOUS first song as the ULTIMATE NEW ROMANTIC song. It was really REALLY funny, but then, for me anyway, tailed off a bit as he had to keep doing the same for the full SET, and eventually sounded not like a mickey take so much as a VERY GOOD version of HUNDREDS of Po-Faced Nurs who do it SERIOUSLY. His song "Modern Disguise" would, i feel, have been heralded as a stone cold CLASSIC of the ROMO era. I'm not sure who that's a GOOD thing for.

Then it was Mitch Benn - he was a lovely chap, his songs were EXTREMELY funny and his band were GRATE, especially when they did one about Liam Gallagher suddenly realising he didn't recognise anybody else in the band. It was DEAD GOOD. The only problem for me was that I was still stuck in Normal Gig mode, so wasn't enjoying it as much as if i'd just TURNED UP. This is all MY problem, i was very much aware of this by how much everyone else was ENJOYING it, and i QUESTIONED what i am doing - IS there, i wondered, much difference between what i do and what they do? AM i just doing AN ACT?

I know, but that's the way i think some times - in the end i realised there WAS a difference, when Mitch did his OWN song all about The Smiths. It was DEAD FUNNY and they did an EXCELLENT take off of how the band sounded, but it didn't really go anywhere apart from that. HOPEFULLY if i'm doing a song i TRY to give it a point and try to take it somewhere, whereas if you doing Comedy then instead you go DIRECT to try and get as many LARFS as you can. I don't know, maybe too many long journeys to and from gigs on my own has given me TOO MUCH TIME to think about things!

Anyway, despite the CONFUSION in my MIND and the INNER TUSSLING i had a GRATE night out, and look forward to a RETURN to the Windmill later in the week to see The Fighting Cocks. HOORAH!

posted 10/5/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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