On Friday night i stayed in trying to do a flyer for the Seven Inches' gig on October 23rd with LISA LI-LUND (sister of Herman Dune and a favourite of mine), Schwervon and Toby Goodshank. It had been pointed out to me that we (that is, me, Helena and Melanie who are putting the gig on) really needed to be promoting this gig at Saturday's gig because there was such an overlap in audience between those artists and Jeff Lewis. I finally finished it on Saturday morning though it was of a very simple nature (just pretty lettering, no pictures.)
It had been a pretty useful way to put off cleaning/tidying the house, which desparately needed doing. It was disgusting, depressing and offputting the state to which things had come, and what with guests coming to stay, even MY pride couldn't take it. So i did a rush job on SOME of the jobs which needed doing....
The guests were Gareth from Manchester (aka welsh rugbyball on my friends list), my dad who'd come all the way from Oxford to see me play, and my steady girl who'd come all the way from derbyshire to see me play (among other things.) I didn't prompt them to come, honest, it was all on their own behoof.
My dad arrived early afternoon and had to hang around while i got the fliers printed and bought spare blankets and towels for this night of extra lodgers.
I was kinda keyed up with nerves all afternoon. I knew my beloved was coming, but i hadn't told my dad that, or many other people. talking to my dad and thickening up Friday's soup, and showing my dad the kitsch campsite photos helped me keep my mind off my nerves.
Zoe arrived about quarter an hour before i went on. None of my friends knew who she was, and i wasn't about to go about introducing her to everyone, because she was feeling very delicate due to bad things happening to her. In consequence i was not much in evidence to my friends for the remainder of the night, except when i was actually playing. Some people i never even said hello to. Which is pretty bad considering how nice an audience everyone was being.
It was ironic that i opened with my bitter song "Couples holding hands" as we were being as couply as you could get. I'm sure people thought i was a hypocrite, but that song isn't supposed to be a self-righteous manifesto. Maybe some people even thought I was snogging someone I'd just met, owing to some kind of new performing-star-confidence. Maybe nobody thought any of these things. I guess I don't care anyway becuse i had no choice but to spend time with my dad and my beloved while i could.
My setlist was
Couples holding hands (written in 2003)
Super Folk are go (with Emil on harmonies and shakers, written in 2005)
Pettigrew Crescent (duet with Helen B, written in 2000)
I like to drink whisky (2003)
The Great Outdoors (2003-6)
We Said we'd never wear beige (2006)
Open-ness and Honesty (written with Alice and Shaun in 2001)
Friends don't mix (2003)
I made lots of mistakes, but not half as many as if i hadn't practiced so much, and everyone laughed at the mistakes, so at least they had entertainment value. I think i got right everything i got wrong at the zinefest gig- i was determined not to be all shy and apologetic this time. I got what seemed to be a huge lot of applause. My guitar kept going out of tune, that was the big headache, so i borrowed Jeffrey Lewis's guitar for the last two songs. Everyone reckoned i planned it that way, so i could tell my grandchilders i played on the great Jeffrey Lewis's guitar. But it was actually a headache i could have done without, as my guitar, being a spanish one, has frets further apart than a normal one, so my fingers were all over the (wrong) place on Jeff's guitar.
If Jeff didn't enjoy my set, he certainly gave the very tactful impression that he did. When he played, he umpromptedly plugged the Schwervon/LISA LI-LUND/Toby Goodshank/Seven Inches gig that i stupidly forgot to plug myself. The fact that he evidently knew who the seven inches were now and thought that we were probably a Good Thing temporarily overcame me, but luckily Helena at the bar had the presence of mind to shout out the gig details. At least someone knows how to promote a gig.
It was a very strange set from D. Millard. He suddenly had all this new material, all sounding more dark and obtuse than his old solo stuff, and i couldn't make out any of the lyrics. the sound was such that it must have sounded to the uninitiated that the lyrics weren't even supposed to be important, and I imagine a lot of people must have wondered what the fuss was about. A shame, because he's a genius lyricist.
Jeff's set was unbelievably wonderful. Even more new material than Duncan, infact the "Will Oldham" song was the only song that I remember having heard before. His new songs are even more original and individual than the old stuff, and he also at one point read out an extract from George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London", to clear the pallette, which was a great idea.
He had two new "lo-fi videos", one of which, "creeping brain" reduced the hall to hysterics.
I don't know how he has time to write all these long songs, memorise all the devilishly complicated lyrics, draw and colour in the "videos" (big big sketchbooks) and draw all his comics. I suppose he doesn't sleep. He had THREE issues of his new comic series out since i last got one. I excitedly bought them all and his new CD of rare old stuff too. This week i am in Jeff Lewis heaven.
I had to leave and miss the disco after he played because my dad (who loved the Jeff Lewis set, and who turned to look at me every time he heard a line he particularly liked, which was often) wanted to get some rest and so did me and Zoe, because we were getting up at the crack of 7 to go to Matlock.
Why? you may ask... it was all arranged before we knew Zoe was coming to Leeds. As she visited me a few weeks ago, I wanted to visit her, but she didn't want to receive me in Ilkeston, where she lives, so we would meet at Derby and go walking in the neutral ground of Matlock. Had we known that we would both have woken up together in Leeds we would probably have arranged to stay in bed longer and go somewhere a bit nearer. still, we weren't going to waste my train ticket, so off we went, and had what would have been a mediocre day if it weren't for each other's company. If someone tells you that there's an AMAZING bookshop in Cromford, don't believe them. It's only good. And Matlock Baths (as opposed to Matlock proper) is best avoided on a summer weekend. It's funny how there are all these places that i'd never heard of before that are as touristy as Quebec city.
We both had a buit of sleep deprivation an dwere both dreading the following day's day at work, so we lay resting in a field for a good part of the afternoon. A train ticket costing nearly thirty quid (for me: she managed to find a way to get a cheaper one) just to lie in a field. It was pretty though.
We stretched the day out to its limit and i finally got back in Leeds at midnight. Its only two weeks till i see her again (she's moving back to Leeds for a while) but it feels like it's going to be an eternity. I don't want to come down to earth.