On consecutive nights, I was at two gigs which could not have been further apart. In content anyway, not geographically.
On Thursday, it was a very weird comedy gig I was performing at, and on Friday it was a music gig I was watching by a band starting with a ‘D’ and ending with an ‘Arkness’.
I will start in chronological order. Thursday’s comedy gig was down in Norwood, South London. It was in the main part of a locals’ pub, with many patrons looking slightly confused and scared at what was happening when all they had come out for was a quiet pint.
The start of the night was held up by some technical issues, which were fixed by an eight-year-old child in pyjamas who presumably lived upstairs.
The stage area was at one side of the pub, with the bar in the middle and people also on the other side of the room at the bar. To make things more awkward, by the stage area there was a wall and on the other side of the wall, there was a little enclave with a table of people who couldn’t actually see what was going on.
I knew the gig would either be horrific or weirdly enjoyable; thankfully, it was the latter.
They audience were actually all really friendly, but I had to work hard to get any reaction. In such an environment, you have to be constantly adapting to what is going on around you and material alone can’t be relied on. In fact, material should mostly be avoided.
I actually had a lot of fun, particularly with the people in the enclave. With the more visual stuff, I would perform it for the main room, then stick my head around the corner to the enclave and do it a second time for the people there, then compare audience reactions.
It got me rebooked by the promoter for another venue in January, as well as an offer by a punter for a possible support slot for a 60s and 70s covered band consisting of middle-aged men . Again, this would most likely be horrible and awkward, but I’ve learnt to agree to such opportunities as at the very least there’ll be a story out of it. Plus I quite enjoy the horrible and awkward.
Then last night, I saw The Darkness for a second time this month. This time it was in London, they were excellent, and for the encore they were joined by Brian friggin’ May.
Now, in the past decade or so, Mr May has done some things I have been quite appalled by; such as his collaborations with boyband Five, Claire Sweeney and Cliff Richard, as well as appearing on a Queen-themed show of X-Factor.
But however appalled I may have been, he is still Brian May and has written and played on some of my favourite songs of all time, so he can always be forgiven.
With the gig the gig in London, surely getting back to my house would be far easier than last week’s Brighton expedition. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I went for a couple of pints after the gig and managed to get a lift to Camden, where I thought it would be easier to get back from.
I now know that there are no night-buses that run from Camden to Walthamstow, so I got the bus to Turnpike Lane and thought I’d be able to get a direct night bus from there. I was wrong and walked the 25-minute route from Turnpike Lane to Seven Sisters at 2.15am. I am hardcore. Actually, I’m not, I was preparing to run away at the slightest hint of trouble. Fortunately, there was none and I was able to enjoy my walk, shivering with just cold. When I arrived back in Walthamstow, I bought a chicken tikka roll at 3am for no apparent reason.
It has been a bizarre couple of weeks. I have seen three of my favourite things in Mick Foley, The Darkness and Brian May. To complete the set, I may have to see Mr S Lee before the month is through.
December, you can only be a disappointment.