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I could have done with some help when I arrived as I stepped out of the station to find that the map I'd printed out didn't have hardly any street names on it! I had to use my KEEN SENSE OF DIRECTION to get myself to my destination, so I was VERY pleased when I made it to The Travelodge, where i was staying - I'd hoped to have a good look at Beautiful Bath as I did so, but it was all a bit DARK. It DID look lovely, but I'd like to have a go in the daylight - even this morning, when I returned, everything was SO grey and overcast it was practically dark too. ALSO i saw plenty of Open Top Bus Tours, so i MUST return!
Anyway, once I'd checked in and got myself sorted out it was time to stride forward again, once more armed with my Not Very Good Map. This time I was heading for the suburbs, so was MORE worried about going wrong, but it all worked out OK and I soon found myself in the LARKHALL at the GORGEOUS Rondo Theatre, where I discovered Mr Gavin Osborn in the back room, having a bit of an old practice.
Gavin is currently ON TOUR, along with Mr Daniel Kitson, supporting Belle & Sebastian, and I must confess to being INSANELY JEALOUS having been a bit of a MAD Belle & Sebastian SUPERFAN one they first started. We chatted about them and I soon realised that, actually, it would be a BAD THING INDEED if it was ME appearing at every gig they did, asking if they were going to play "Pocketbook Angel". Again.
People gently filed into the theatre, Gavin went on and introduced me, and then I hit the stage to do THIS:
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
The Gay Train
The Fight For History
Billy Jones Is Dead
It Only Works Because You're here
Theme From Dinosaur Planet
I Did A Gig In New York
The Lesson Of The Smiths
As discussed yesterday I'd been a bit worried about what sort of thing I could do, but once I was on stage I relaxed HUGELY... especially after the first song when I realised that the reason my guitar wasn't coming through the PA was because I'd left the tuner switched on. These non-acoustic gigs can be CONFUSING! But yes, I relaxed maybe even a little too much as my mouth opened and REAMS of CHAT issued forth, especially around The Fight For History when the FULL FORCE of my BRANE THORTS came endlessly out. I was having a REALLY nice time though - it's strange playing gigs with BIG LIGHTS as you really can't see the audience, apart from a couple of people on the front, but luckily they were smiling so on i went - i looked at my watch at what I thought was the halfway mark to find I'd been on for nearly half an hour already so had to give people a choice between "a song about christmas or one featuring full frontal nudity". I Did A Gig In New York was the easy winner!
We then had a short break and I came back on to introduce Gavin, who was BLOODY MARVELLOUS. I know I've raved about his stuff beforehand, but it cannot be reinstated enough that his songs are FANTASTIC - I am MAN ENOUGH to admit that I WELLED UP a couple of times during his set, especially when he played "Sweet Bedford", which I'd never heard before. Parts of that song - like teenagers breaking into a Rugby Club, or hanging around near The Corn Exchange - are SO universal (at least to English kids) and yet hearing someone else singing about it brings a shock of recognition that's funny AND moving, especially with how we goes on to talk about it.
Does that make any sense? Basically, it was GRATE, as was the entirety of his set - it's astonishing that he's not better known or lauded, but hopefully the JAUNT with Belle & Sebastian will get him to a much bigger audience. Many people's lives would be hugely improved by his presence in it!
We got packed up and then headed down the road, along with a couple of PALS, for a celebratory DRINK where we swapped Tales Of The Road and did the beautiful RANTING that you only get to do with people ALSO in bands. It was BRILL, and I even got a lift back to the hotel afterwards - a pretty perfect end to a pretty perfect evening all round really!
It was thus a satisfied Hibbett who returned to London this morning, having completed his final trip away of a year FULL of trips away, ready for one last gig before Christmas. What a year of lovely gigs and lovely people it's been!
posted 16/12/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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