I’ve been burning the candle at both ends this week. And now I’m paying the price, so having a lie in with a cup of tea. Yesterday was spent at an open day for university, with my youngest son. Too early a start for a Saturday, but very informative, and can see him thinking very seriously about what he wants… course/campus/distance from home/finance/social life issues to be balanced…time will tell! I can’t believe he is so big and old and making these decisions already.
Went to see my friend Dan play at the Hare and Hounds, King’s Heath on Wednesday – school night! Some of my colleagues were horrified that I went to a mid-week gig. But if I didn’t go to things I wanted to see, just because it was on a Wednesday, I wouldn’t be working to live, I’d be existing to work. Not a Good Thing. Dan was supporting Carina Round, who I felt I owed a proper watch and listen, as last time I saw her it was a few days before a knee operation and I went home half way through her set in pain. She was really good, amazing voice…think Joan as Policewoman with a bit of Jesca Hoop thrown in, but much tougher and rockier, so much rockier, I feared the escape of her bosoms from her gorgeous dress, which certainly added tension to the performance, and elicited a proposal of marriage from the audience.
Dan’s performance was well contained within his clothing. But his songs escape him and affect the room in a very different way… he wins them round every time. He has a modest, dry/dead-pan, funny way of addressing the audience, which is very endearing. I have heard him sing those songs so many times now and they are always different. Sometimes he is alone with his guitar, Wednesday he had Simon Smith on double bass with him. He has a collection of musicians that play with him in all sorts of combinations at different times, and occasionally all of them. The songs always work, have a life of their own. The lyrics are deceptive, seemingly simple and straightforward, but carrying such depth of meaning and conversational style. I am, as you know, a big fan. I get angry that the world has so many talented musicians and writers that get such scant acknowledgement. If you want to see Dan in the venue he deserves, he has a pre-Christmas celebratory gig on 15th December in the Recital Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire. The collected friends of his band will be there, and June will be playing the grand piano… I can’t wait!
Friday was the preview night for all sorts of wonderful stuff at New Art Gallery Walsall. My friend Zoe took pity on me and introduced me to all sorts of lovely folks, as I was on my own. Despite myself, I quite liked some of the Damien Hirst, sat amongst the gallery’s permanent Garman Ryan collection. Jodey Carey’s work was interesting too… stepping away a little from the crafty, but with a solid work ethic, plenty of studio time evident in it still. Fiona Rae’s paintings were curious, and I’m going back to have another look when there aren’t dozens of people milling about them. I loved Harminder Judge’s installation of a huge edifice of shed-like materials, with geometric protrusions. It sat so well in that high fourth floor gallery, both the installation and the gallery being constructed with naked, honest materials, used to such grand effect. Going back to that too. I loved the sprinkled debris on the floor… I could almost imagine a pair of very sparkly red shoes sticking out from underneath it…. Walsall certainly ain’t Kansas, Dorothy.
I apologise for the extra long post with no pictures, it’s been a busy week!