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Blog: Cambridge

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Off to CAMBRIDGE again last night, to play at The Living Room. It always Gently Surprises me when i realise how close THE FENS nudges onto London, and it was LOVELY to be back. I always feel SAFER somewhere that's nice and FLAT, and personally think it's a LOT nicer to look at than all those messy hills, and the SKY last night was HUGE and BEAUTIFUL. Hills - PAH! Why on earth would people choose to live in such LUMPY places? Why not go and live somewhere that's already been LEVELLED, ready for easy house building, low impact walking, and pleasurable cycling? OK, The Fens ARE well below sea level, but HEY! It's not like that's ever caused anybody any problems, right?

Anyway, I got to Cambridge and STROLLED (easily, without recourse to gradients) over to the venue. Cambridge is a funny old place - it appears to be ENTIRELY inhabited by ACADEMICS. It's very hard to tell the difference between shops and houses, especially for the people who LIVE in them - one house had a WHITE BOARD outside listing the items which the owner had got bored of owning, and wished to sell. ODD SHOPS (one house was also a Bedside Lamp Showroom) proliferated, the slightly too long WHISPY FRINGE was the IN haircut, and even the Kebab Shop had a latin name. It's as if the city motto is "Baaaah! Why on earth SHOULDN'T i [where pyjamas to work/turn my living room into a chemist's/try to cure the common cold and invent a bomb to destroy existence as a side product]? Poo poo!"

When I got to the venue I found things were running a bit behind, so nipped down the road to The Man In The Moon for a quick PINT and some CHIPS AND PEAS from the shop over the road. A local CAT joined me for tea, harangued me for food, and then when i gave in turned his nose up at CHIPS. What did you THINK i was eating, CAT FOOD? Whilst this was going on i noted a HORDE of YOUTHS who were very obviously doing there first ever gig, and had brought their little pals with them. They were all dressed up as Californian GOTHS, but their attempts to eschew conventional morality and live as nihilistic children of the future were rather dampened by their broadly genteel accents and the FACT that one of their MUMS had driven them there and was sitting outside the venue keeping an eye an them. BLESS! I shortly realised that the MUM was a LOT closer to my age than the BAND were, and it was at this point i decided it was about time to head back.

The Living Room is the CELLAR underneath the CB2 BISTRO (who knew such things still existed? Academics LOVE a good Bistro!), and initially i was SKEPTICAL, as the STAGE was filled with a SOFA, and the floor was covered with SCATTER CUSHIONS... which i soon found to be RATHER COMFY. After a short soundcheck i nipped outside to Wander Aimlessly, only to discover Paul and Donna, THE FINCHES, two LOVELY people who i know from Back In The Day in Leicester. It was GRATE to see them, and a MIGHTY RELIEF to see some people i knew. We went inside and had a drink and chat, then went downstairs to discover JEFF and ED from round IPSWICH way were also there - aaah, it felt mighty FINE to be amongst such nice people!

I was supposed to be on first, but we had been visited by a long standing PHENOMENEN: The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night. Aah! I don't know what goes ON in the Open Mike WORLD, but they seem to have very poorly put together listings, as The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night is ALWAYS turning up at gigs i do, and he always appears to have travelled a Great Distance to be there. What ALWAYS happens (and did last night) is that the PROMOTERS feel sorry for The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night, and say "OK, you can do a couple of songs at the start if you like", because The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night only ever turns up at gigs run by NICE PROMOTERS in small venues. I personally would LOVE to see The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night try it on at SOMERSET HOUSE or something... anyway, this particular chap was actually all right, but he did what EVERY Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night does, and that is play at LEAST four songs, and make all of them REALLY LONG. Now, I've BEEN to Open Mike nights quite a bit, and I'm pretty sure you're only meant to do EITHER 10 minutes OR two songs, but this ALWAYS happens - maybe the Open Mike WORLD is TELLING The Guy Who Thought It Was An Open Mike Night the wrong date, so he won't turn up on THEIR night and play for 25 minutes?

Anyway, it was all GOOD because it turned out the bar was open until midnight, so running a bit late didn't really matter. My SETLIST had gone through the usual PERMUTATIONS - I'd intended to do ALL new stuff, and try "Girlfriend Alarmed" and - SHOCK - "We Only Ever Meet In Church", then SWAYED right over to usual UBER SET, and in the end settled on THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • Good Luck In Your New Job
  • Red & White Sockets
  • Breaks In The Journey
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I must say, i REALLY REALLY enjoyed myself, and felt like it went REALLY WELL. I think "Good Luck In Your New Job" will be ROMPING back into the set, "Breaks In The Journey" seemed to go down OK after some EXPLANATION, and I even got a little CHEER in the "Peace And Love" BIT of "The Lesson Of The Smiths". Ooh, it was LOVELY, i THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. I am now EXTREMELY EAGER to go back and play MORE to these delightful people - it's like playing in SHEFFIELD for levels of loveliness, except THESE people will probably end up being in THE CABINET in 20 years time.

    At 10pm it was time for me to GO, as I had a TRANE to catch... and it was at this point that Mr Mark Sutton DASHED in, slightly out of breath, having come from a WORK DO. It was LOVELY to see him as his is a SUPREMELY NICE CHAP, which he proved by then giving me a lift to the station. I popped into the Marks & Spencers Simply Food (Cambridge!) for a SARNIE, some FRUIT, and a DELICIOUS BEER (that key ring bottle opener i bought is a QOLED beyond COMPARE!) and was soon settled in for a gentle journey home again.

    All in all, i must say i had a BLOODY GRATE night out - more Cambridge for me please!

    posted 9/9/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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    Hi I'm from the band Facing The Sun that played after you.

    Yeah we really enjoyed your stuff, awesome songs, bloody hilarious. Come back soon :)

    posted 9/9/2005 by Phil Wyatt

    So good to see Mark on top form in Cambo and well worth the drive! The bloke who thought it was an open mic night took his name from a bodily organ - "Bile Duct" or "Anus" or something, and could charitably have been described as 'ballast'.
    posted 10/9/2005 by Jeff (Ipswich)

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