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Upon arriving in that fair city by the sea i ROMPED down the main street towards The Travelodge, where i was already booked in. You know those adverts where they say "Rooms FROM £19" and you think "Oh yeah, i bet ONE person gets that rate and everybody else pays more"? Well yesterday that one person was ME! HOORAH! I was TERRIBLY excited by all this, and even more so when I discovered they had ROBOTS doing check-in. Not massively impressive robots... more like touch screen tellies really, but still, i got to my room without having to interact with any other humans. What a marvellous future this is!
Unfortunately i DID have to do some interacting, as I soon found that my toilet (which came pre-smeared with HUMAN WASTE") was completely broken, and had to go downstairs to get my room changed. It wasn't very impressive - not least that I had go downstairs to do it, as there was NO TELEPHONE in the room. I know Travelodge is driving itself to be CHEAP, but do they really have to RUB IT IN like that? It's almost like they're becoming the RYANAIR of cheap hotels. All right, that IS a little harsh - they don't come round and kick you up the arse in the night or try and charge you for WATER - but they do seem to be making an EFFORT to make things a bit crappy. It's not like they're generally cheaper than IBIS, for example, and their hotels are MUCH nicer.
Welcome to "Cheap Hotel Chain REVIEW"! So ANYWAY, i got all that sorted out and headed round to The Latest Music Bar where I was due to play at the final evening of The Ukelele Research and Development Society. As I walked along the seafront, swinging my guitar, I suddenly realised I had made a slight ERROR in my equipment i.e. i had brought my GUITAR, and NOT my ukelele. OOPS.
Nobody seemed to mind when I arrived, and indeed everyone was ACE. It was another evening full of lovely people, mostly of the Bobby McGees PERSUASION (for LO! it is they what runs it) but also Phil PIO who, it later transpired, had actually been to school with my friend and colleague Dr Neil Brown. I told him that Neil had actually WRITTEN several songs he OWNED, and he was AGHAST - it was GRATE!
The first half of the evening was Open Mic which, unlike so MUCH Open Mic, was BRILLIANT - over the time it's been running T.U.R.D.S. (yes) seems to have built up a CAST of performers who have LEARNED and GROWED together as songwriters and performers, so EVERYONE (yes! everyone!) was DEAD GOOD. They were all supportive of each other, but to be honest they didn't really NEED to be as everyone was GRATE. I have been to a LOT of Open Mic nights and that has not really happened before, i was MOST impressed with what the McGees had WROUGHT in this place - they also had a HINTS SHEET for everyone ("Don't sing in an American accent", that sort of thing) and TOOLS like Comments Books and SWEETS on the table to get people to NOT TALK during the acts. It was wonderful!
I thus felt a bit guilty about idiotically NOT learning up a ukelele set, so when i did the following I did the first half on the GUITAR and switched over to Jimmy's uke for the second half, as follows:
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
Hey Hey 16K
Theme From Dinosaur Planet
I Did A Gig In New York
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Boom Shake The Room
The Gay Train
It all seemed to go OK, although i DID manage to completely forget the chord sequence for the chorus of The Lesson Of The Smiths - i got a MENTAL BLOCK about how it worked on UKE - and did get slightly DISTRACTED by worrying about what I was going to do with the second half of the gig. LUCKILY, and rather brilliantly, someone in the audience new the WORDS and shouted them out at opportune moments. Thank you VERY MUCH INDEED, young sir, i don't know what I would have done without you!
So yes, it all seemed to work out all right in the end, though I did feel a bit stupid and slightly guilty about not preparing correctly. Luckily there was a bit more from the regulars afterwards, especially Graham and Becca from the Bobby McGees doing a duet which CLEARLY meant a lot to them and this transferred over to us. It was rather beautiful!
It was quite a special evening all round really, and I headed off into the Brighton night feeling slightly daft, but very grateful for being allowed to be part of it. Doing gigs, it's all rather good fun really!
posted 22/3/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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