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Blog: A Croydon Of Two Halves

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I was back in Croydon on last night in order to ROCK it. If it seems like I do MOST of my gigs in Croydon these days, that's probably because Mr T Eveleigh of Freedom Of Expression is pretty much the ONLY person left who still books me!

I got there a bit early so that I could get some TEA. I remembered that there was a Vegetarian Indian Restaurant somewhere on the High Street, so decided to take the opportunity to try it out. The experience was "mixed".

The food was fine - quite hot, but pretty tasty - but GOODNESS ME the service was SURLY. The woman who took my order seemed to be on a MISSION not to SPEAK to me or make eye contact, and other people working there seemed ANGRY to see me too. I wondered what they thought I'd done, then noticed a sign in the toilets that said "Please Do Not Spit In The Handwash." Who spits in the handwash? And how? And WHY?! The handwash bottles had screw tops, so presumably whoever HAD done it had gone to some effort to do so.

It was only when I left that it dawned on me - it must have been someone who looked like ME! That explains EVERYTHING!

The gig itself was happening at The Royal Standard, a tiny little locals pub next to the flyover, which I'd not been to before. Ms J Lockyer was in charge of proceedings, and she explained that we'd be playing next to the TOILETS. We were in a small corner, away from much of the rest of the pub, so I thought I'd avail myself of the PA system in order to make myself HEARD.

Mr W Pilkington arrived, having made the long journey from his flat on the other side of the underpass, as did Mr T Worth, the other act, and a few Audience Members, and so at 8:30pm I kicked off with THIS:

  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • I'm Doing The Ironing
  • Cheer Up Love
  • In The Pub (Talking Crap)
  • That Guy
  • I Did A Gig In New York

  • It did not, in all honesty, go very well. It turns out that having a CURRY before a gig is NOT a good idea, as my throat was all dry and spicy. Also I remembered why I usually chicken out of doing new songs (THREE new ones here, including a DEBUT!) as it is SCARY and I tend to forget bits. ALSO the nature of the gig made it extra difficult, as round the corner in the other side of the pub some of the regulars were SHOUTING at each other. This was particularly difficult - clearly they were doing it on purpose and what they were shouting was the kind of nonsense that I thought people stopped doing in the 1980s (e.g. "Another PINT for MY COMPRADRE Good Landloard!") but then again it WAS their pub and it was ME who was coming into to it to make a right old racket when all they wanted was to have a chat, so couldn't really remonstrate with them.

    I was quite happy when my first set was all over, and I was able to make way for Thom Worth to come on and make a MUCH better job of it all. I did notice that he was sitting down, so I thought I'd have a go at that for my second set which, after a short break, went like THIS:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • We Did It Anyway

  • This went MUCH better - partly because The Chief Regular, who had been SHOUTING the most, had left (and so everyone else stopped doing it too), partly because I was sitting down so it didn't feel so much like I was demanding attention, and partly because I was doing a load of songs I actually KNOW! I really enjoyed this section, and wished I could have gone back and done the first half all over again!

    I went to the bar for a celebratory BEER, where I discovered that the woman behind the bar was ALSO from Peterborough, so we did the traditional thing of naming PLACES to each other - you hardly ever meet anyone other ESCAPEES, so it's Mildly Exciting to hear someone else say "Wisbech"! When I got back to the table Thom, who had just started his set, pointed out that I'd left most of ANOTHER beer at the side of the stage, which meant I now had TWO. The evening was looking up!

    I fear I may have got OVER JOLLY at this point, as I forced him into a discussion about how old our Soundman was - he was born in 2000 (!!!) so I pointed out that he was therefore underage, and there followed one of those conversations you can only really have after a few pints, trying to work out if it's possible for someone born 17 years ago to actually be 18. Spoilers: It Isn't!

    And so the evening came to a rather pleasant close - it feels like a WHILE since I did a gig like this, and though I didn't enjoy the first half I certainly did the second. On the way home I popped in to The Spreadeagle, where Tim was running ANOTHER gig, and said thanks to him. After all, if not for his efforts I'd hardly be doing any gigs at ALL!

    posted 27/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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    I thoroughly enjoyed it, didn't notice that the first set was a struggle. Reminded me of the night's I used to watch John Hegeley and The Popticians at Deptford Working Men's Club in the early 80s. Amused me that Spotify included The Lovely Eggs as a similar band as I'm seeing them Wednesday. Keep up the good work.
    posted 27/10/2017 by Peter

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