A gig at a Benedictine priory – should I invite the vicar’s wife?
After a while you get used to the different kind of gigs where you play as a musician.
Some audiences are noisy, some listen to every word. Some want to sing along, others remain resolutely mute. I’ve played at village halls where it seems almost obligatory for someone in the front row to fall fast asleep during the first number. In one folk club, there is always a woman knitting a scarf in the front row, her knitting-needles providing a gentle percussive soundtrack to the evening.
I’ve played a gig where one of my songs so outraged the vicar’s wife that she wrote a letter of complaint. My songs were fine, she said, but should not be sung in what she called ‘mixed company’.
The truth is, I enjoy them all – the quiet, the noisy, the relaxed and the tense. I’d even quite like to return to the village of the vicar’s wife, if I hadn’t been told that I would probably have to change my name to be allowed back in the parish.
There will be none of those problems when I return, with a show called From Here to Obscurity, next Saturday, 17th March, to one of my favourite venues, Abbey Hall in Eye.
A beautiful brick barn, built in the 16th century as part of a Benedictine priory, it has been brilliantly converted into a performance space by Gary Rowland and Viva Pomp.
Gary and Viva believe in making Abbey Hall performances into a social event, with wine and a cheeseboard as part of the ticket. I was last there with Louis de Bernières in 2016, singing our songs and chatting about writing and music.
It was, for me at least, a really memorable evening.
I’m flying solo next Saturday, and will be playing – and talking about – songs from my new CD ‘Enough About Me’. This is an evening I’m really looking forward to – everyone, including the vicar’s wife is welcome.
Tickets are available on line – here.