Afraid I’ll forget you, afraid I might try to

I used to write all my blogs sitting on my own in pubs in cafes. Mostly cause I didn’t know anyone for 15 000 miles and so I had the wonderful anonymity to be the weird guy in the corner of the pub on his own drinking his beer and typing way into his funny phone thing and silently sizing everyone up from a distance. Now being at home I’m rarely in a coffee shop or pub on my own (because I’m mr popular of course) and as a result I don’t get the writing done as it pops in my head. I have to save up the phrases as they form to write down when I get home. But of course I get home tired and sleepy and fall into bed with great plans to write the next day. And the day brings its own troubles and of course the moment is past and the phrases lost never to be recalled.

But tonight I’ll maybe make a special effort.

Had a lovely wee half day from work having worked all weekend. Though I say work it was actually a bit of a quiet one which mostly involved playing with the babies and rediscovering my technique for echocardiography. Except in babies they’re easier to get good images and they tend to have more holes in their hearts.

I spent the afternoon in preparation for the (the lovely) Gemma Hayes gig (more of which later) and listened to both her albums twice to get the melodies embedded in my head for the day.

Had the joy of getting the train down to Belfast (taking joy in such banal activities requires a certain knack), listening to (the lovely) Gemma in the headphone and reading Dickens and watching Armagh merge in to Down and finally to Antrim.

Found myself the sweetest cafe I have yet found in Norn Iron (we’re not exactly renowned for them…) in the Holylands and immersed myself in a Latte and the Irish News and a collection of simply wonderful tunes over the speakers (what cafe would play Arcade Fire, Clap your hands say Yeah, BRMC and Ryan Adams). After an hour or so they’d only played two songs I didn’t have on my computer. It was full of fresh faced students, whiling away the afternoon and a selection of bearded, wonderful indie boys who’ve never quite got over uni ending. I am home.

Skeeno joins me and I extend to him the sweaty hand of friendship (the downside of the Irish summer is that it is now warm enough for my palms to sweat – I fear the moisture is the first and most memorable point of contact with all whom I meet…) and we run through a brief catch up and wax lyrical on the benefits of having poetry in the pissers. The church rarely does what the world does as well as the world does but there are exceptions.

Sustenance in a Mexican in Botanic, and while not exquisite enough to make me cry was at least spicy enough to make my nose run. Me, Skeeno, Woodsy and two wonderful indie girls Skeeno knows from the Lowly Knights crowd. I find new people difficult, even more so cool people, or rather people I perceive as cooler than me  (which is most people). I worry I have neither the hair, the clothes or the opinions. Only rarely to get my head out of my own ass to be a human being.

My first gig in the Spring and Airbrake (any thoughts on the name) and golly gosh it was a good one. (the Lovely) Gemma Hayes has been pretty highly ranked for a while. As some kind of Irish angel of a troubador (I am perhaps carried away earlier). The duly required heckler (though in a nice way) shouted out Marry Me at the end of the first song, echoing possibly every man’s thoughts in the audience. (the lovely) Gemma gave a wry, slightly shy, almost embarrassed smile (I imagine that’s the only kind she does…) and continued to do what she did best – make me want to marry a girl with an Irish accent playing sad songs on an acoustic guitar. I made the mistake (though surely not) of standing in the middle 4 rows (not that it was a big enough gig to have rows) back, right where (the lovely) Gemma would stare as she sang, making me think she was staring at me, making me think that if I sang along with all the songs that maybe she’d marry me instead of the heckler in the front row

If the fajitas were not quiet exquisite then the band certainly were. I hold a deeply sexist view towards female guitarists which was left in tatters. There is something about professional musicians that make me want to give up the day job and wear skinny trousers and jackets over plain T-shirts. There is something in the drum fills, something in the reverb on the back pick up of the guitar, the gyrating guitarist with the resemblance to Michael Stipe, the slightly odd looking bassist who looks a like a roadie called in for the evening, the sheer tone of that voice…

But even with the encore, it’s got to end some time and the lights go on and the stage is empty and despite the set list in my hand, I’m in a rapidly emptying hall with my ears ringing and the M1 is calling me home.

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1 Response to “Afraid I’ll forget you, afraid I might try to”


  1. 1 soapbox May 6, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    ah the lovely gemma – i’m still holding on to the hello in the car park of the waterfront after she supported counting crows…


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