Make yourself a cup of tea, crack open a Wagon Wheel: this is going to be a long posting because I'm going to tell you what i did yesterday.
I was off to Denmark Street, wasn't I? Diana couldn't meet up even though she was there, as she's editing a big series for Resonance. But I bumped into Gary (Smeg from King Kurt) almost as soon as I got off the tube. He was doing the rigging for the Arctic Monkeys for their gig last night, a big deal as they's insited on having their own monitors installed, which were actually the same as the ones at the venue anyway. Anyway I asked him along to the 12 Bar on Tuesday.
I managed to get the strings I wanted for the geetar, had a quick look in Rare and Vintage- they had a Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean just like mine except mine has the f-holes cut out. the shop guy was on the phone so i couldn't get nerdy about it. Then I wandered through Chinatown and remembered that Dave Jago, who used to play trombone for me, had lived there for a while- we'd been round to see him a few times. Through Berwick Street, where I rmemebered buying a giant sloppy Brie for practically nothing and getting it home to find that it had become completely inedible just on the journey home. Not such a bargain after all, ha ha! Past where I think Dennis Cockell does his tattoos: Carl and myself both went to get tattoos because we liked the Stray Cats' tattoos so much. He said at the time he'd re-do the colours for nothing in the future but I calld up about a year ago and the person i spoke to denied all knowledge of such an undertaking. Bah. So I am one of those tattooed ladies with a plain blue tattoo, but I dinnae care, i think it's still funky anyway. Past Bang Bang, which has lovely secondhand clothes that are too expensive. Past the Berwick Street Cloth Shop, where I have bought some material with little goldfish on (reminds me of the kitchen curtains in the old house which I made of green net and stuck on orange felt goldfish). Into Top Shop, where I went down the escalator behind Caprice (what a beautiful woman, teeny and shiny like someone from a different planet altogether), to get a voucher for a freind's birthday.
Then I got on a bus to go to Gina's for a cup of coffee. I got off at the wrong stop but that meant I walked past a carpet shop that actually sol zebra-print carpet for people's houses!
Gina's children were in lively mode, and I brushed their hair for them and yakked with Gina- we haven't seen each other for ages so there was a lot of news to catch up on. She bought her eldest daughter (7) a guitar for her birthday, and she's learnt A and D, which means she can play Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman. What a fantastic song- I have that on vinyl and have just connected up the record-wheel again and I'll listen to it this avo. Ana came round to rehearse (they are doing The Raincoats at the Leeds Ladyfest this weekend) so i headed back home.
Then yesterday evening I went out to see A Smile and A Ribbon, who had contacted me over Myspace to say they liked the Chefs.
The support band was a group called Pocketbook who I really liked- they were slightly gauche, but the singer has a lovely clear singing voice and their songs are really good in spite of the keydoard player pushing nerdiness to the limits and beyond.
I thought i might miss A Smile and a Ribbon because I knew I was gonna have to leave early but I didn't. Funniest thing was that bid from the Monochrome Set was there because he plans to play in Finland. It was nice to see him because I haven't seen him for ages. He says he will send me deatils about doing gigs in Finland which I might ask Martin if he would like to do with me if I can organise it.
I loved a Smile and a Ribbon! They were like children. The keyboard/glckenspiel player wore what looked like a nurse's uniform from a children's fancy-dress set, adn one of the guitarists lined up his pedals before they played as though he was setting out the locomotives from a train set. The lead singer had Ruby Slipppers like Dorothy. And I was fascinated by their Swedish multiplug (don't laugh, these things are fascinating if you like gadgets). They spent a while looking for a lost glockenspiel beater, finally borrowning Pocketbook's, the nurse popped some earplugs into her ears and they launched into their first song, The Boy I Wish I'd Never Met. Great song! And the lead singer has a very good sense of humour, comparing her dress to the 'lovely soft toilet paper in England'. There was a real sense of tongue-in-cheek Butlins about them, with a strong line in appalling Melodica solos that made me burst out laughing! They did a cover of My Baby's Back with (oops) another Melodica solo. I think the best song was A Little Late to be Polite.
'We're just gonna drink a little water': the entire band drank a little water (that made me laugh too- I wonder if it was itemised on the set list?) then they did a cover of the Mekons' I Love to Play with Boys, which was absolutely brilliant.
What else- well I suppose they reminded me of the Chefs before we took ourselves too seriously. The drummer was a master of stiff-shouldered drumming (see, I watched that Aled Jones programme the other night where Stuart Copeland told him his shoulders were stiff, but he still managed to drum OK, Stuart).
I really, really enjoyed the evening- happy music, good songs, bloody twee but bloody refreshing!
then back home on the tube at musician's hour- double basses on trolleys, thoughtful guitarists sitting with their chins propped on their guitar cases, violin plyers with grey beard and anoraks looking weary.
Today... well I have made a chocolate cake. Paul the Girl, Rowen and Emerald are coming round to play songs- possibly more people. It's the first Salon des Chansons, and if the conversation or songs should happen to dry up, we can just stuff our faces with the humungously massive chocolate cake.