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Oh yes! It was like being on the set of an Old People's TV Show, in an episode where Inspector Morse (or equivalent) had to solve a case AT an all day music festival, as seated all around the room were various young people SLOUCHED in In A Band poses, chewing on cigarettes, wearing regulation THE Band clothing, including several SILLY HATS. Bless, some of them turned out to be dead nice - i had a LENGTHY chat to The Smoking Hearts, for instance, but it was quite a striking sight to come upon, especially at such high altitudes where my BRANE was starved of Oxygen.
I was told that I'd be on at 8.45, as a CROSSOVER with a band in the other room starting at 9 o'clock "as we don't want people all being in the same room." I politely but firmly (i was about twice the age of everyone else there, so it came sort of naturally) asked to move my set forward a bit, as everyone being in the room while i was on was pretty much the IDEA as far as i was concerned, and once that was sorted out I nipped over the road for a pint, a jacket potato and a spot of watching Celebrity Fame Academy... er... whilst, obviously, consorting with cocaine laden prostitutes worshipping beelzebub. Obviously.
I got back just before my set was due to begin, and got a bit worried, then got set up. AGAIN i was firm but polite with the sound chap, who insisted that everyone would be able to hear my guitar, when _I_ couldn't hear it, leaning down with my ear next to it. "It's your pickup!" he said, when actually I think it was the 10W amp i was playing through, but i CRANKED it up a bit, and off we went. There was quite a roomful of people by this point, and the QUIETNESS of my voice worried me a little, but it turns out that Bob had been SPREADING THE WORD, and a DISARMING number of people seemed to know the words and SANG ALONG. I did "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)" with a DISARMING amount of Joining In, and then was AGANE firm with the sound guys, and got them to turn me up some more - honestly, if things had carried on like that I would have started saying "I'm not upset, I'm DISAPPOINTED" and sending everyone to bed. HOWEVER, I launched into "Red & White Sockets" and starting ENJOYING myself. HOORAH!
BUT!! During "Clubbing In The Week" TERROR occurred - a STRING broke! This may not sound much, but when you are a SOLO ARTISTE lugging everything on the train, that means you've NO SPARE and not much you can do about it. I finished the song ACAPELLA and wondered if I'd have to do the REST of the set that way - i could feel, nay, HEAR the SWEAT cascading off the end of my nose and down the back of my neck, but then i noted a FINE YOUNG MAN striding forth with a SPARE GUITAR - PHEW! I did "Billy Jones", remembered that guitars need tuning, tuned it, then did "Perfect Love Song", "Fucking Hippy", "The Lesson Of The Smiths", "Easily Impressed" (with ENTHUSIASTIC joining in) and "Boom Shake The Room" at the end, which goodness me even got a CHEER, and loads of joining in at appropriate points. They even did an Accurate To The Original Recording "BO!" in that bit, and by now i was having so much FUN i leant back and everyone sang the CHORUS for me - it was ACE!
Afterwards a young lady RUSHED THE STAGE to give me a HUG and tell me it'd been GRATE, which is always nice, and then there was a steady stream of YOUNGSTERS who came up to buy CDs, it was LOVELY. One girl said she had TWO (2) siblings who were really jealous that she was there, as THEY liked me too - i was MOST impressed - and then I HELPFULLY wondered round the room a couple of times pretending to look for someone, just in case anybody else wanted to be nice to me. Yes, I am very good that way.
Afterwards I ATTACKED the FREE BOOZE, and had a chat with a young fellow called Chris who had come down especially from Liverpool to see me (and, I think, someone else too), and who asked if our conversation would get onto the webpage. Chris - yes, it did, look! There was some swanning around, some chatting to the various delightful people I had met (including one chap who was writing WORDS but not music, who i very sternly told to learn guitar as it'd make life easier - i was back to the BENIGN PATERNALISM i exercise in all these situations), and by 10pm I had had enough free BOOZE and was ready for bed. I wandered around saying bye bye to people, then got a TAXI down the mountain and down to my chilly boudoir.
It had been a BLOODY GRATE evening though - apparently they've had a festival like that every year, and I'm not surprised as it was ACE. Lucky sods who live there - they get a festival laid on IN THEIR HOUSE! With a proper PUB in it! I've never NOT had a GRATE time when I've been in Sheffield, and this was no exception. I might be going BACK again in a few months, maybe - i really hope i do. Sheffield, it ROCKS!
posted 6/3/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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