Yeeha! It's been like wandering in a desert, not having gigs. But I've had a few these last couple of months, and I'm definitely a happier person for it.
Firstly, a support at Ely Folk club - supporting the wonderful duo Dansmall. Shani and I were booked on support and on trust. Ruth, the club organiser, had never seen our duo, but even so we were booked and had a lovely night I have to admit. We seemed to go down well and it was our first half-hour set. We took a walk at the break. Wandering the small streets of the ancient Fenland town in search of - history? excitement? no - PIZZA! Which we duly found.
Then we did a support at Hitchin folk club. As a resident there I often play - sometimes with B, sometimes on my own, but this time I played with Shani. It was - er - odd. The main act was Lazarus - quite a folky trio (loved Kevin Dempsey's guitar playing, know Maart Allcock of old and Dave Swarbrick - well, back from the dead!). So the audience were quite folky. So our mix of folk and the slightly rockier stuff was unusual, but seemed to go down well. One day before the gig I decided Shani and I should do one of my songs that I was going to start with (on my own) so made her learn the song then and there. And I decided (hark at me - bossing her about) we should limit the gear, so I made her learn one song she plays on guitar on bass instead. As it happens logistically it was a sound dicision, but not quite as good musically in as much as our original arrangements are better.
But - the most recent gig and one that has finally prompted me to put this entry on my blog - was at Cambridge folk club. We'd played there a couple of months back, doing a two-song floor spot, and been offered a 'feature spot'. Hence, this evening, we had a whole half hour to ourselves!
The evening was Friday 16th March 2007. Which is Red Nose Day. Comic Relief. A day of fundraising for deprived children in Africa and the UK. Lots of silliness occurs across the country. This night at the folk club the bar staff all had their hair dyed red. One woman wore a 'red nose' (foam - looked like a microphone pop-shield) whilst she explained that the evening's raffle prize money would all go to the charity. Hey - we'd donate our fee! (Well, we would have if we'd had one, that is.)
We turned up (Shani and Nic arriving first - unusually) and our gear was set to the side. We'd set up in the interval. There were then a succession of floor singers and I have to say the quality was excellent. Good voices, nice instrumentalists, and even those who were not 'expert' in performance still did their best and entertained.
Half time we set up our gear - bass, guitar, electric guitar - and a microphone so that the sound engineer (Howard) could join us for our last number. Yes - I hate harmonicas, but the last song we do (Hobo) just begs for it!
The evening went on - more great performers (a duo from St Albans, a singer from Bury St Edmunds which is - funnily enough - where B's band were performing that same night), the landlord (complete with red hair) sang and recited a monologue and at the end a man who sat quietly, sang quietly, played gently and was completely engaging. It was now 11pm (psssttt... whispered in my ear ... we are overrunning a bit...).
We got on stage, were introduced with the 'Carolyn from Shave the Monkey' bit and I introduced Shani from 'all over'. We performed well, we played well, the room was full and we went down well. Our last number - Hobo - we really did well. Howard on harmonica, and our vocals at the end just worked perfectly. It was a good feeling. I felt very comfortable on stage with Shani.
Hugs all round girls - off home in our separate vehicles. I got home about 12, and my son (who'd been playing - and won - poker all night) disappeared off to bed. But I was buzzing. Still on a mild high from a good night performing. I checked my emails, rattled a quick one off to my pal in the US and then the phone rang. Probably B - telling me how his gig had gone. No! It was Nadine phoning from the US. She knew I was up (I had just emailed her) and as it was only afternoon in her neck of the woods...
We chatted for half an hour. This conversation involved me explaning the difference between a bog and a heath (I live near a heath), a rather too detailed description of the cat vomit I had to clear up whilst talking (cat is not well, poor thing) and general, light hearted talk - learning about eachothers lives and trying to put perspective and context to our friendship.
Well, that was a treat. A good gig and a long distance call from a friend. It was now 1am. Sleep? No way - too jazzed as they say. I had a bath. A hot, relaxing bath. I eventually went to bed at around 1.45am and just as I was drifting off, B came home. We had time for a brief chat - his gig had gone well too (and he got paid for his!). His had been videoed and I'd be able to see it in the future (albeit edited, of course). That would be nice. We don't seem to get to see eachother perform much these days.
Sleep came like a warm blanket, enveloping my happy, tired, simple mind. Simple because it doesn't take a lot to make me happy. Not really. Good music, good friends, and a nice warm husband to snuggle up to at the end of the day.
And on Sunday I am at Hitchin again - solo though - supporting a Welsh band called Crasdant. And I will sing the song I wrote last week, and the new song I wrote two weeks before that as well. I think ... I think I'd better go practice.