Back in December, before the Christmas madness kicked in, I went to a series of gigs — and managed to record little souvenirs of each experience, either on my iPhone or my (relatively new) Sony Cybershot.
The first was the 'A Word in Your Ear' gig, curated and organised by founder and publisher of the now-defunct Word magazine, Dave Hepworth, at the Lexington pub in Islington on December 4.
There were several acts on the bill and it was held in a tiny, cramped, hot, sweaty, oven of a room filled with people of a certain middle-aged vintage — and I'm talking people a lot older than me. Most of them were there to see English journalist and radio DJ Danny Baker in conversation with Mr Hepworth, but once that was over the venue cleared out a lot — and then we had a great time watching Skinny Lister, a young English folk band that reminded me a lot of Weddings Parties Anything that I used to follow around a bit when I lived in Melbourne in the early 1990s.
I recorded them singing one song — the first time I'd ever used that facility on my iPhone — and despite standing right at the back (near the bar), I'm surprised by how well it turned out. Though you might beg to differ.
The next week, T and I head to north London (again) to see Squeeze at The Forum in Kentish Town. I wasn't that familiar with their back catalogue, probably because they were never as popular in Australia as they were in their native territory (in fact, in Oz the band was always known as "UK Squeeze"), but I did know a couple of their songs — namely Cool for Cats and Tempted.
I took along my Sony Cybershot and using the low-light setting, we got some terrific shots despite the fact we were tucked away off to the side.
It was actually a surprisingly enjoyable gig — most of the audience were in their 50s and well-behaved (listening to the music instead of gabbing to their friends and playing with their phones which everyone under the age of 35 seems to do at gigs nowadays). And the music — and sound — was slick and polished and professional.
And finally, on December 18, I went to see ABC with an English friend at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. Once again, we were probably the youngest people in the audience. We had terrific seats in the Upper Circle that commanded an unobstructed view of the stage — and lead singer Martin Fry's gloriously shiny suit!
It was a really fun —and rather nostalgic — gig in which the band performed their 1982 album The Look of Love in its entirety to mark the 30th anniversary of its release. They were accompanied by the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Anne Dudley, and the sound was just magical.
I filmed the title track on my iPhone not thinking it would capture the sound as well as it did — with hindsight I wished I'd swung my camera around to capture the people around me really getting into it. The song went down such a treat, they performed it twice!