Well, I almost fell at the second hurdle this week.
My mission is to see some form of live music every week. This week, I was busy and as such it was a struggle to fit in a performance. But I had planned to make the journey up to Newbury on Friday to see the ever-wonderful Gaz Brookfield: http://www.gazbrookfield.com
I stumbled across Gaz several years ago supporting Frank Turner, so I knew he was going to be good. He’s a solo-acoustic guy (self-proclaimed via his latest album) and has a wide variety of songs on the whole spectrum of subjects. They range from the frivolous – an ode to a lost pub, a love letter to his touring van and a declaration of all that is good about maps – to the more sensitive – the strength drawn from the pain of bullying, the patronising statements made by the government and the ongoing darkness that hovers over all of us. (Sidebar – the slower version of ‘Black Dog Day’ he did was incredible: painfully true yet reassuring.)
Anyway, my point is that I had this planned. I had even convinced two friends to come along to the fantastic pub, The Monument, in Newbury. But as tends to happen, my plans fell through. For reasons beyond everyone’s control, my two companions couldn’t make it.
I had two choices: concede that it was a cold night anyway and not bother going, instead staying in the warm and having an early night, or going anyway on my own.
In the week that we lost David Bowie, I read a lot about the great man. Many people shared their barometer of the best course of action to take. When making a decision, they ask themselves: “What would David Bowie do?”
I asked myself this very question.
The answer I gave was that he would probably have imbibed a cocktail of drink and drugs and then proceeded to create and charm at will. Well, I didn’t think I was quite up to that, so instead, I opted for the second best option which was to drive up the A34 to Berkshire and treat myself to an orange juice. So that’s what I did.
And I was bloody glad that I did.
The Monument is a fantastic venue and is filled with lovely people. And no one cares if you’re on your own. I certainly didn’t. I was too busy listening to some fantastic music and singing along to some of my favourite songs.
And I uncovered a new, sparkling musical gem in the form of Nick Parker (metaphorically speaking if that’s OK Nick?) http://www.nick-parker.co.uk
This guy is touring with Gaz and has some some incredible, funny, poetic lyrics. And he has a new song that picks up the placard of protest against bad grammar. This is a good thing in the world.
So, as I was sat there on my own, I actually felt pretty damn happy that I’d braved the January cold and made the effort to come out to support Neil at The Monument, Nick and Gaz. This is what this whole mission is about. It’s about not sitting at home and actually getting to take part in the life that is happening every second of every day.
I think one of Gaz’s songs can get this sentiment across much better than I can. That’s the beauty of live music…