Saturday, March 01, 2008

An Afternoon in Church

What fun it was this afternoon! St Peter's Church was thronging with peeps; it was a benefit organised to raise funds to build an orphanage in Ghana for the children whose parents have died of Aids.
As soon as I got there, I was on; Three Little Fishies in the Itty Bitty Pool. Gina's oldest girl, who is about 8, got up with her own pint-sized microphone and sang along. I went through the tiny repertoire to the audience of tiny children who sang through their mouthfuls of chocolate muffin. Then Gina did a couple of Gina-songs, the second of which was 'I'm Glad I'm Me Today', a song I really love; she had films too, projected on a fabric screen stretched across the nave. I sat behind the screen and pressed 'play', and watched and listened to the show from behind.
Next up was the Hampton Gurney School Choir, with a great song about monsters that I wish I'd written; then there was a band with a bodhran and a fiddle who were good, but I'd spotted my mate Rachel Davies in the crowd, and I hadn't seen her for five years, and she had a lovely partner and also a baby boy, and it was just so great to see her again.
She made one of the films for Voxpop Puella, and finished a film about Manchester Girls' Choir a while ago. I used to do music for some of her films; her best one, though was one from after then called 'Gold', about girl gymnasts, and it is one of the most perfectly observed documentaries I have ever seen- the pleasure of little things like the spirals of dust lit by a sunbeam, rising from the container that the girls dip their hands into to help their grip on the ropes; and the way they look at each other out of the corners of their eyes, something that all teenage girls do, but you didn't notice it till Rachel filmed it.
So that was it.. chatting, until the Dirty Curtains appeared, a three-piece rock band of 13 year old boys, whose mums were there cramping their style like nobody's business. They started with a Johnny Cash cover, catching the beat-bounce in all the wrong places but rescuing themselves just in time for the next verse. Their own songs were much better, helped by the fact that they'd got the pose right before they even started.
'Turn it up!' shouted one to the sound man.
'It's up as high as it goes', lied the sound man.
'I don't think they are angry enough', said Rachel. I imagined their middle class cupboards stuffed with Coco-Pops and their freezers stuffed with rainy-day chilli. I don't think they'd starved for their guitars.
Suddenly, Mick Jones got up on stage and started to sing 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Fifty delighted daddies got out their mobiles and started filming.
I wonder if Mick Jones could have imagined this thirty years ago, standing on stage backed by a 13-year-old rock outfit, singing to a churchful of babies?

On the way back, an ostentatious silver car sped down the street, its hazard lights flashing. It was Simon Cowell.
I have news for you Simon: I do not regard you as a hazard, merely a sad squelch whose trousers do nothing to flatter you.


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