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GIGS 2012

Monday 9th January 2012

The Jolly Anglers, Reading RG1 3EA

Open-mic hosted by Tony Brown


You know that feeling where you've begged and begged and begged for that girl (if you're female or gay just change the gender as appropriate - you'll see what I'm getting at) to go out with you and then she finally says "Yes"? Well I kind of feel that it's a similar feeling when a performance goes well with an audience.

Generally I thought my performance was okay last night but I didn't feel that I engaged the audience to start with. To be fair, they seemed more involved in their own conversations for many of the acts which of course is fine. Perhaps paradoxically (perhaps not) it was the quieter acts that gained the most attention last night. Even American Pie didn't seem to do it and The Jolly Anglers is where that normally gets everyone singing. However in my second set I decided to take a risk and do Hallelujah with a new final verse that I'd been playing with, written in response to Leonard Cohen's suggestion that a moratorium should be placed on the song. (1:30 here).

As I introduced the reasons for the final verse it felt it was then that it clicked with the audience. Indeed for much of the song it sounded like people were singing along with me.

My execution of the final verse was far from great, (it's going to take a while for it to bed down if I do it again) but it goes like this:

"So I hang my head in shame, for I know I have done wrong
I disobeyed L. Cohen, by singing this song
But you don't really want to hear about that now do you?
Do you?
You see, he didn't mind when it appeared in this film or that
But X-Factor was the final straw that broke that wise man's camel's back
The money sure helped out but still he cried

It's at this point that I had to interrupt the song and explain. When rehearsing I tried finishing the song by singing "No more Hallelujah" as the chorus repeating, but it was strange, I got this sense of foreboding, evil even. It made me feel very uncomfortable, almost to the extent of sensing the onset of nausea. It felt much better just to sing "Hallelujah". (Actually I remember rehearsing this with Andrew Holdcroft all those years ago and always feeling that Hallelujah seemed life affirming - I always felt better having sung it somehow. I sense a search to find out what it means - a bit late in the day really!) So last night I explained that although it didn't quite fit in with the sense of my "brilliant" last verse I would sing "Hallelujah" and encouraged the audience to join in. Surely what better reason is there than to get the audience to join in than fight the forces of evil?

Well I didn't get the girl but I guess it felt like I had. I think I must have driven home as if I had too because the police stopped me. But that's another story, though I'll add that it had nothing to do with the vandalism of great songs.

Set 1

Set 2

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