On Sunday, I attended and performed at a fantastic little gig at the Harrison near Kings Cross. I like the Harrison. It knows its own glories and its own limitations. There’s a small variety of food but it’s all really tasty. It has a small venue downstairs (holds about 50 people) but it’s affordable (in central London!!) and friendly and has really good sound. And any venue named after my favourite Star Wars actor has got to be good!
The event was basically to celebrate the continued aging of Mister Tony Wakeford, Neo-Folk Godfather, disgruntled diplomat for dissatisfied youth, high-priest of the humorous and the petulant, canon of the cantankerous, and all round good egg!
I was on first, in the guise of Hi-Reciprocity. I think I provided a good mix of the silly and serious, achingly British folk poetry and universally macabre song. I got to try out a few of the longer pieces of poetry from the new album too, which made me happy. No ducks or rats were harmed in the performance, although I suspect my hat may have been made from a real teddy bear!
Then came Autorotation: a band that I (and many others) struggle to pigeon-hole but Tony helpfully called it his favourite ‘Serbian Ginger Pop Band’! A crowded stage, littered with their copious instrumentation, meant that they couldn’t move much but everything seemed more powerful as the two vocals played off each other and the doubled drums beat in unison. It was brilliant and my favourite performance of theirs so far; possibly because the small venue meant that I really felt surrounded by all the sounds or possibly because I’m starting to recognise the various parts of their eclectic electric repertoire. And it was great to see Tony guest-starring on bass and vocals. Following on from Theresa May’s helpful advice that there were ‘Girl Jobs and Boy Jobs’, Tony insisted that Bass was for boys!
And whilst talking of ‘helpful gender stereotyping’ from politicians stuck in the Victorian era we were lucky that the final act had come from the past to teach us all a few lessons in 21st Century morality: The Time-Travelling Suffragettes. Kitty and Lilibet were fantastic and anyone who points out any physical similarities with Rosie Garland (novelist, March Violets chanteuse and ‘writer of lies’!) and Eilish McKracken (Guinness-powered freakishly-gifted instrumentalist) is, of course, a cad and a bounder. This is something new and different… or at least it’s something old and familiar that has been twisted into something deviant and sly and subversive. It’s old music-hall numbers updated in such a way as you realise just how far we haven’t come since the ‘Good Old Days’!
What a weird and wonderful collection of noises and human beings. Loved the bands. Loved the audience... and loved the apple crumble, too.