Derby Performers for Gaza’s Children
First up was the Derby Performers for Gaza’s Children. I’m not very political – I tend to feel that anyone who seeks power shouldn’t really be allowed to wield it and that the political disasters domestic and internationally have such a painful sense of stupidity, deja vu and inevitability that I can’t face getting involved. However, it does strike me that kids get the worst of it and I was happy to be invited to perform and mebbe raise ’em a few groats.
It was in a pub I’ve never been to in Derby called the Olde Dolphin Inne – very apt and satisfying name for a dinky little old-style pub. I told a couple of stories, which was remarkable as I’d given myself chemical burns to the throat on the preceding Friday by choking on a tablet and swallowing felt like gargling glass. Not fun. Oh, and on the day before I’d had a crazy allergic reaction to something and gone into shock. I was sort of fine for the gig… and nailed The Selachian Damsel and The Gastronomical Adventure to an appreciative and random crowd.
I also met and was hugely amused by Avital Raz, an Israeli singer and poet who fuses together the weirdest styles of music on guitar with fantastic and insane lyrics and vocal styles. She has a splendid song about being “Fucked in the Ass for Peace”. I can’t find that on online for you, but here’s another great song:
The Bookcafe Winter Acoustic Festival
This was a couple of weeks later, also in Derby where I seem to now be a performer more than in Nottingham. I am not complaining. It is lovely to be asked to compere. The Bookcafe‘s a really nice place – they sell books and random trinkets along with coffee, tasty pannini (dammit how many of I or N is in that word?). I’d never been in the evening before and was pleased to find it warm, welcoming and serving of beer. The festival had begun outside from 11am and I’m glad I missed most of it because it was freezing and I found the daytime compere (my friend Tony Peppiatt) with blue fingers huddled in a gazebo. It was funny, so I laughed.
I took over inside, and eventually wrangled the hour late running order back on time by the end of the night. Splendid performers who were very good natured, and endured by improvised pirate stories, anecdotes and ramblings between sets. I especially enjoyed mocking the “Fags and Maltesers Gang” of teenagers who had turned up to watch their friends Tarna and Daisy with some covers and originals. Great voices. I invented a lovely story about a pirate who lost his groin to a cannonball and had it replaced with an electric eel (thanks to Herr Gunther Garment, ship’s surgeon) and the risks of squirrels at sea.
I’m semi-ashamed to say that I don’t really listen to a lot of folk music, but Matt McGuinness is certainly educating me with these gigs. My line up had Leah Sinead (beautiful voice, and had also come over from Nottingham):
Followed by the string-breaking Scott Greensmith who did things I didn’t know could be done with a guitar, Delicata and showmen LaF. It was a very fun night and I got to catch up with a few friends I haven’t seen for a while either (hallo Tony!) They were all wonderful singers and songwriters and I urge you to chase down the links above, follow them and buy their albums.