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Blog: True Stories Told Live

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I was full of THE FEAR last Wednesday night - as i turned out, this was a symptom of The Coming Illness (a week later I'm STILL off work from an VIRAL INFECTION that I'm prone to, which usually announces itself with ANXIETY, As The Silver Surfer Doth Announce Galactus) but I thought it was just because of the gig itself.

For LO! this was my re-jigged performance at True Stories Told Live, a rather lovely night that myself and The Words In My Story went to last year. The idea is that they get five people to stand up in a room above a room and tell some stories, the only rule being that the story is TRUE. Well, actually, since the last time we went they've initiated a NEW rule which says "and cannot be longer than 12 minutes long." WISDOM.

I'd actually been meant to be playing at the first one - they always have a MUSICIAN (hem hem) doing a story and SONG in the middle - but i got BUMPED for Chris Difford From Squeeze. Which, you know, fair enough - if he wanted to play Totally Acoustic I'd probably bump ME too! Since then they've had Thomas Walsh (from Pugwash and the GRATE Duckworth Lewis Method) and Luke Haines, so I was a little bit worried that after that parade of People That You've Probably Heard Of they would be a little disappointed to see ME lumbering in front of them. Also it's organised by, amongst others, Mr D Hepworth From The Word AND there's a fair smattering of Media Types, so that I felt a bit like a Conscientious Teenager who's been allowed downstairs to have a glass of wine with The Grown-Ups. i.e. SCARED!

My fear was slightly abated when I saw that afternoon on Twitter that Ms J Rogers was ALSO going to be telling a story and that Mr S Evers was going to come along - I was going to tell the FIRST story from My Exciting Life In Rock, which starts at a gig in Stoke Newington that was organised by Jude, and the Editor who features so heavily in THAT story was actually Stuart, so I felt a bit better knowing there'd be some people there who could VERIFY the story's VERACITY.

Just before setting off I was listening to 6Music, where Rhodri Marsden was on the Lauren Laverne show talking about Time Wasting Games. "Ooh, like Tower Defense!" I thought... and ended up making myself LATE by playing that. I HATE being late so was a bit FLUSTERED, and MORE nervous, when i RAN in but everyone was very nice, so I popped downstairs for a Calming Pint... as Rhodri Marsden walked into the bar! I THINK I've met him once before, and was about to go over and say "HA! You made me LATE!" but realised in time that this MIGHT make me sound like a LOOONIE. So didn't.

Soon it was SHOWTIME and the first act on was Lance Gerrard-Wright a.k.a. "Mr Right" a.k.a. "Blimey Didn't He Used To Be Married To Ulrika Jonsson?" I felt a bit BAD for thinking that, as I guess did pretty much everybody in the room, as he told a long (12 minutes was widely ignored!) and suddenly SCARY story about being NEARLY KILLED IN BOSNIA! Then a young woman called Delia told a story about becoming, very briefly, a member of Flight Staff at Virgin Airways - I didn't realise they have to do so much training, including HOW TO COMB YOUR HAIR!

And then it was ME... and PHEW, it all seemed to go OK. I told that first story in FULL, even with a couple of extra bits along the way. I'd been a bit worried about the ending, because it just sort of STOPPED on a DOWN NOTE before, in the show, I'd do the proper introduction to the HIGH CONCEPT, so this time said about turning it all into a show, having so much fun that we went on to do Dinosaur Planet, and then THE BIG REVEAL of dedicating the song to Stuart, as he was "The Editor". Then I did I Did A Gig In New York and that was THAT.

I really REALLY enjoyed it - it's ages since I've done the storytelling BIT like that and, with a lovely, sitting down and listening, audience it was a JOY to do. I have to admit I even allowed myself the slightly big headed thought "I'm quite good at this" at the end - i know, it'll be dressing rooms full of puppies and M&Ms next - and went downstairs for a Pint Of The Well-Earned. I couldn't help but notice that I was CLEARLY the only person there actually in a band, as I got downstairs WAY before anybody else. In fact I ended up stood at the bottom of the stairs, like a Vicar after a service, saying "Oh, thanks very much!" as people came down and said nice things. I didn't mean to, honest!

Things got MOVING in a MOVING sense in the second half, as Jude told a story about her brother, Welsh Male Voice Choirs, and Robert Plant, which was ACE. Afterwards she said she never realised that, from the stage, you can't actually see people's faces - this was surprising to me, and made me think, once again, that people who write about music should be sent on a Being In A Band Boot Camp to get exactly that sort of insight. I am volunteering to LECTURE!

Finally Danny Brainin told a long, involving, beautiful story about holidays in Austria in a place tainted by Nazism and different reactions of members of his family to it - I don't really want to summarise that one as a) i don't think I could and b) if i did it would be GLIB, which the story wasn't. It wasn't DOUR either, it was v.funny too, but suddenly at the end everyone had TEARS in their eyes. It was LOVELY.

And that was that - all done, MUCH to my relief. All that was left to do was sit around and have a bit of a CHAT, which featured me saying "NO! You must go to INDIETRACKS!" quite a lot until Mr J Walsh LOOMED into view (as detailed by himself) and got HUGGED, before we headed off home into the night.

It was a BRILLIANT evening - little did I know it was going to be my last night of HEALTH for the next WEEK!

posted 20/1/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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Your story was excellent!
posted 20/1/2010 by Rhodri Marsden

also, you two have met (i was there too!) at a sarandon gig at the windmill, although it was quite fleeting, also quite drunken i seem to recall...
posted 21/1/2010 by CarsmileSteve

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