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Blog: Camden Passage

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I tell you what, anybody who tells you Ballroom Dancing is easy, is WRONG. It's BLOODY HARD - and right here's where you start paying, in SWEAT! Oh no, hang on, that's something else, but anyway, it is DIFFICULT - i spent a Quite Frustrating hour or so last night trying to TURN CORNERS whilst WALTZING, and goodness me it did my head in. Am I facing the line of dance? Are we going forwards? Should I do an extra Linking Step? HELP!

My poor old BRANE was in a right muddle and ANGER at MYSELF was RISING - I've been rather enjoying our weekly classes up until now, but i get really wound up when there's something i KNOW i should be able to do, but can't. My dears, you should have SEEN the ARTISTIC STROPS during album recording sessions when I couldn't get a SOLO properly - at one point I had to STAND UP and pace around a bit. ARTIST RAGE!

THUS I was ready for a PINT when I got to The Camden Head, which is a dead nice pub in a SURPRISING bit of Islington - surprising because a) it's down a chi-chi little pedestrianised street/alleyway and b) it seems to think it's in Camden, and I'm pretty sure it isn't. I was there to play at the Shortfuse night, having been invited by Mr Nathan Penlington, the organiser, after playing with him in Brixton a while back. He wasn't there last night, as he was POORLY, but Mr P Knight WAS there, so he and i sat down to CHAT.

I had a quick go at a soundcheck with my NEW ELECTRO UKELELE... and discovered that the battery that POWERS the electro bit had run down, so i had to set up as if it was an ordinary NON-ELECTRO. CURSES!

Soon it was time to get going, and within about 5 seconds of starting i realised that, actually, it was such a nice little room (traditional upstairs room of pub with traditional Comedy Stage With Black Backdrop in the corner) that i didn't NEED any microphones... and, in fact, was a good deal LOUDER without them, so went acoustical and did THIS:
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • Programming Is A Poetry For Our Time
  • Ctrl-Alt-Delete
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine
  • Fucking Hippy
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • I had a GRATE time, tho it was STRANGE to be doing a Proper Poetry/Comedy type of gig, which I haven't done for a LONG LONG time. To start with i thought i was CAPTAIN HILARIOUS, as i made REMARKS, but then realised that there were People Who'll Laugh At Anything in the room. Don't get me wrong, these are GOOD people to have at Comedy Gigs, as People Who'll Laugh At Anything lead everybody ELSE into laughing a lot more and having a better time, but i found it a bit disconcerting - it was NICE when they laughed at GAGS or BITS in songs, but a bit strange when they LARFED at Normal Words. It's similar to when I've played Open Mic Nights where, as my OLD HEADMASTER used to say when we lost AGAIN, "We Applaud All Our Teams".

    Anyway, apart from my GIG CULTURE SHOCK, i had a FINE old time, especially as it was the sort of gig where GABBING ON between songs is positively ENCOURAGED, and i was PLEASED with myself for DOING a quiet song like Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine rather than going for more GAGS... although, to be honest, i didn't really have much choice, as the range of songs i can PLAY on the ukelele is SOMEWHAT LIMITED.

    So yes, it was ALL GOOD, but then I had another culture shock when Gwen The Compere Lady came on and introduced the next act straight away - again, i remember this from DAYS LONG GONE when I compered my OWN cabaret club, but it felt WEIRD to have to be quiet straight away after my gig. Mind you, it was WORTH IT, as the next act on was a poet called Hugo Williams. He was a PROPER POET too - he's won awards, published books, and is QUITE POSH! I'd been expecting to find it all A Bit Twee, but actually he was GRATE - really touching, really assured, funny, and with a lovely turn of phrase. I REALLY enjoyed his WORK - it feels a little UNCOUTH to describe his set as "a set"!

    After that there was more chat and then some MAGICIANS and then it was time to head home, with Pete demonstrating his FRANKLY AMAZING Transformer-Bike. OK, it transforms from a BIKE into a Much Smaller Carriable Square Of Metal, rather than a GIANT ROBOT, but still, it was GOOD. After I said cheerio to him at Leytonstone I walked home thinking how nice it was to do one of these sort of gigs after SO very long away from them. I wouldn't want to swap ROCK GIGS for this sort of thing, NOT EVER, but it IS nice to do something a bit different like this every now and again, and hopefully next year I can do a BATCH of them ready for when we go to EDINBURGH!

    posted 12/10/2007 by MJ Hibbett

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