The difficult part is getting the gig.
If I have ever possessed any magic it is in my ability to sidestep the usual barriers thrown up in the way of aspiring performers and writers, and get straight on to the stage. For little or no money usually (not tonight), but whatever. The difficult part is getting there, being offered the opportunity. Once offered the opportunity, you take advantage of it – you try and make that moment in the spotlight as special as possible, for yourself and those watching. Why wouldn’t you try and make that moment as special as possible? I really do not understand bands sometimes.
Totally empty and deserted but I pulled the emptiness into my set and made it another instrument
Last night at the Haunt, the room was empty, desolate. Totally empty and deserted but I pulled the emptiness into my set and made it another instrument. I embraced the awkward spaces and silences, and built upon them: used them for atmosphere, tone. It absolutely informed my performance. I chose songs about death and isolation and muted desire (are there any others?). A spoken word piece about the day Kurt Cobain’s body was discovered was followed by an old gospel lament, segued into my tale about the day I woke up to discover my girlfriend had changed into Courtney Love, segued into a near-silent (off-mic) reading of Television Personalities’ ‘Happy All The Time’. I knew what the fuck I was doing and finally – 20 years late – do not feel bad about who I am. Two punters walked out the venue during my reading of Ed Sheeran Is Shit. I finished up with a monotone, deeply sarcastic version of Patrik Fitzgerald’s monotone, deeply sarcastic ‘When I Get Famous’. I even threw in my old monologue about Daniel Johnston (and found I had forgotten most of the content). Commonly, I feel like a fraud if I perform the same song twice, but I did not feel like that last night.
I owned that stage, for what it’s worth. I had a backing tape of desolate beautiful disturbing violin music supplied to me by Maria because she could not make the show, and that fed into the isolation and sense of bereavement too. As did my divorce, and the fact I could not find a single friend to accompany me to the show.
I had been offered an opportunity by Tracyanne & Danny (the main band) and damn I wanted to take it. Don’t ever take these opportunities for granted. Tracyanne & Danny later dedicated their version of Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You In The End’ played in the style of the East Street Band to me, and it was very appreciated.
This song was one of the stand-outs of their warm, encompassing, magical set for me.
Amazon Prime had fucked up on the delivery of the cable I needed to hook the music straight into the PA system. so me and Andy the sound person rigged up a system whereby my portable Bluetooth speaker was mic-ed up and fed into the room, chilling. The soundcheck as ever took 5 minutes. I stopped the music when I wanted to, which was never.