St John's Church in Farncombe
It started off as a day of stress, a layer-cake of problems with oblique solutions, talking to angry students, getting angry myself because I could see their point of view, then driving round the M25 to Surrey; I picked up Martin Stephenson on the way, and we rolled up at Farncombe to find ourselves in a unique place- they had food ready for us, and the PA all set up for the soundchecks. The gig is in a church which has the most beautiful natural reverb, a cool and clear sound that puts Barnet Church to shame; you could tell at the soundcheck that it was going to be a real pleasure to play there.
Then the audience drifted in- a real mixture of people from Daintees fans to local residents in their old red coats; there was the occasional baby but I'd actually put the average age at 60! The all settled in their pews and looked as though they were ready to enjoy themselves immediately- there wasn't going to be any London-type snooty evaluation going on- this was Friday night, in a special place, and they trusted the promoter, Julian Lewry, to provide them with something they would like.
Honestly, the difference between this and the sort of places I play in London, battling against drunk people yakking (often other songwriters on the same bill, I'm sorry to say) was completely amazing. Little old ladies rocked in their seats, they laughed at my crap jokes and clapped at the end. What more could a singersongwriter want?
The sound was crystal clear and I felt so relaxed i really enjoyed playing, even tho' I cut the set a little short because I still have a cold and it started to kick in a few songs down the line.
They absolutely loved Martin and by the end they were sprawled in the pews roaring with laughter at his quirky sense of humour and some of them (I could spot the hobby-guitarists) were watching his flying fingerpicking like hawks.
We did a couple of songs together- Hamilton Square and Loverman- before Martin finished his set and they all went home for cocoa.
The sound engineer made a recording of the night; we had a bit of a listen and it sounded really good, so maybe we will do something with it. He was great. Probably one of my favourite places I've ever played, I think.