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GIGS 2012

Saturday 21st July 2012

The Greyhound, Wargrave, RG10 8BU

Boho in the Country open-mic hosted by Rob Sowden

"What If The Train Did Eventually Come But You'd Given Up?"

I'd heard on the grapevine that this evening might be thin on numbers so I decided to show some collective support and end my "performance holiday" a few days early. I haven't been playing at all over the past few weeks so it felt a bit ropey at first but it was also good to pick up the guitar again.

Prior to going I ran through a completely different set to the one I actually played. This was due to us being in a different room in the pub to the one that I had anticipated, one that is less intimate and means you have to compete more with the bar. So the old reliable Cold Heart and The Things She Said got dusted off. I hadn't rehearsed either of them, and I'm guessing it must have showed, particularly on that damned arpeggio chorus of the second song. However the final two songs had been practiced and seemed to work better. The last song's performance I'll dedicate to Jayne Ferst, a thus far unrecognised novelist that I've met on Twitter, and who seemed to be having a crisis of confidence last week. She'd posted:

"What if we're all waiting for a train that doesn't come? Oh dear. Have got to that stage of commuting when you start contemplating Life."

As naive as ever, I responded with:

"What if the train did eventually come but you'd given up?"

Which she seemed to like. I also pointed her towards the lyrics of You've Got The Magic Back which I thought were related to the conversation and she responded:

"... they are great lyrics. And very pertinent to my thoughts."

Which was a great thing to read and made my day! I realise it would've been very difficult for Jayne to say anything else but I get the impression she doesn't use her words lightly and I'll choose to believe she was being sincere here. I've written elsewhere how You've Got The Magic Back has always been a problem song for me (I even stupidly damaged my hearing in the quest to try and get the record right). I've always felt that I've failed the song somehow, never ever been able to play or record it to the potential that I felt it had. Because of what Jayne said about the lyrics and because I had planned to cover Jackson Browne's Barricades of Heaven, (a song that I've been too lazy to fully comprehend but have had at times had on constant repeat for days on end. What is it about the song? What is it about "Song" that makes you do that without understanding what it's about?) I had the idea to slow You've Got The Magic Back down to a similar tempo. I didn't have the chutzpah to do the solo part in the middle that I also had an idea about but yeah I think it worked, you can at least hear the lyrics better now I think. It felt good, the best it has ever felt when I've been playing the song. It's quite a breakthrough.

Finally Jayne, if you're reading this before I get chance to tweet you, thanks for the comment and, more importantly you might find this encouraging too, I certainly did.

My Set: