The Wedding Singer

A slightly frantic call at midday from Christina C to the effect of "There's a fundraising thing outside a small church you've never heard of and my son said he'd film it but he can't so can you record it with your movie camera please."

Well, I found the church - The John Pound Memorial Unitarian Church - complete with a garden containing twee elderly ladies sitting at tables munching scones.

John Pound is a local hero - a disabled philanthropist who set up schools for poor children around the 1840s. There are actually two seperate theatre companies in Portsmouth doing plays about his life and works - one a serious portrait of the man and the times he lived in, the other a light and frothy musical with lots of feelgood humanitarian sentiment.

This event was a half-hour selection of songs from the latter - and combined public entertainment, dress rehearsal, and advert for the play. Some funds were raised by a raffle, but I don't know what they went to.

I got an uncomfortable premonition when the song by the line of 'ragged children' became a little too ragged - the CD backing skipped and they dischordantly lost their places.

Still, I've 45 minutes of footage to transfer to DVD - requested by the director of the other John Pound play.

Another call, from Anna of Strict Machines when I got home. She had a bad sore throat so they had to pull out of the gig, but she'd come along to see me perform. Paul of course could see no point in going to a party if he wasn't performing his music there.

I suspect he was also a little ticked off that, a year after I was their support act, they were mine ;-).

There were about 35 people in the pub garden - student activists on one table, Roxanne's family on another, and the family of her ex-boyfriend on a third. For three hours I flitted between them, like a social(ist) butterfly drinking too much rum and coke.

Then the time came (2130) when I couldn't find any more excuses to delay singing.

warping a few notes on Science Fiction, Double Feature out of tense nervousness, then relaxing into the drug-addled rap of The Puppet's Dream, and feeling like I'd hit my stride on Friends of the Earth. 28 minutes and 10 songs, 4 of them raps and 2 of them Kamakura covers.

I can never tell when an audiance is politely tolerating me, generally enjoying the show, or even understanding what's going on. Applause is hard to read, and boredom looks so much like attention.

The audiance reaction during and after the set, and the individual comments were all positive - indeed, effusive - but again I couldn't tell whether they were just being polite or indulgent. But long after there was need to be polite, and after minds and tongues were loosened by excessive alchohol, the praise continued.

It seems I genuinely did make a good impression - they thought the music was original and good, the lyrics intelligent...and I got an offer to play at a wedding!

Robbie - a good professional portrait painter and equally professional bluff middle-aged beer guzzler - said the entire audiance was "entranced". Rather OTT and unbelievable, but welcome.

Simon M, who'd dropped in especially to hear me, said I was "camp as a treeful of pink monkeys on laughing gas"! A comment to be treasured nearly as much as CW's "Almost as good as Toyah".

CW missed the show through some misunderstandings about directions, but we spoke on the phone afterwards, got a little bit lovey-dovey, and said we'd try again soon.

The night wasn't quite over. Myself, Roxanne, her emminently sensible boyfriend Tom, desperately shagable brother Craig and hippy dippy friend Pippa trundled to The One-Eyed Dog and got drunker.

We were accosted by a swaggering Irishman who tried to persuade us he was Shane McGowan's brother. We sat through his blarny, trying to look unskeptical, until he wandered off to impress other strangers with his familly connections.

Then it turned out he actually was Shane McGowan's brother. Oh well.

After the traditional birthday party and the traditional pub visit there comes the traditional curry. Including the traditional narrowly avoided fight. Craig has a amazing talent for saying exactly the wrong thing in every situation, and Pippa always tells the exact truth as she sees it, expecting the recipient to mull over her insight with buddha-like calm.

After annoying the propriator by asking if he minded us smoking weed in his resteraunt, aggrivating a table of yobs by repeatedly yelling at them to chill out, and presenting a homeless man with a popadom and a bunch of flowers, my self-destructive friends finally decided to leave.

Back in the amazing heap of mess that Roxanne calls her home, the discussion turned to politics. Well, it would have done if Pippa hadn't come too. "I'm an artist and a university student, so I'm more artistic and insightful than most people. What we should do is make art and music that persuades Tony Blair to pull out of Iraq and get rid of all the corporations. I mean we should all just be nice to each other and keep the politics out of it."

Much as I wanted to stay snuggled up to Craig, it was a relief when he and Pippa decided to go swimming in the sea at six in the morning. According to a later telephone call, they survived jumping into feezing cold saltwater next to a sewage outlet and, as predicted, she wouldn't let him shag her because she's too spiritual for that kind of thing.

One small annoyance, I think my wallet was lost or stolen in the One-Eyed Dog. So when the new switch card arrives, it will be my ninth.

1 comment:

  1. 'camp as a treeful of pink monkeys on laughing gas'
    Chortled muchly :)
    I can't find my blogger logon so still a non mouse.