So I had the pleasure of Nick Tann’s company and musical talents for the Songs of Praise (unplugged) acoustic show that I run at The Roaring Donkey here in the Grand Duchy of Swindon. Nick does a neat line in soulful, jazz inflected, acoustica with great dynamic scope and wonderful between song banter. He wanted to try out a theory of his in that by not plugging into a PA you still get the same crowd response as the people who actually want to listen move within earshot of the music and those who don’t stay at the other end of the room and don’t just talk louder to get over the amplified sound. And I think it is a theory that holds a lot of water.
The highlight of the night especially, from Nick’s point of view, was that about 4 songs in one of the business types who where talking just loudly enough about their jet set life style so everyone could hear, peeled off from the pack and purchased a CD mid set. It transpired that not only did the guy offer double the price for the album; he also dropped Nick a generous tip….a $100 bill! And I thought inappropriate tipping only worked in negative directions.
A drink in The Victoria, well it’s on the way home, say some of the worst aspects of modern culture going. Karaoke! Now karaoke began as a gentle, audience participation, restaurant cabaret in the east but as with many things that pass orient to occident take on all the horrendous trappings of western culture and what I witnessed was a (largely) talentless clamour for even the slightest recognition as 30 or more people jostled join in and drown out the person taking their turn at the microphone. I had to walk out when Britney Spears “Hit Me baby One More Time” was being accompanied by screamo backing vocals by some twat in a baseball cap and beard.
One thing was left, a bite to eat from my regular take out vendor further down the hill and as the only other customers in there were two Russians who were telling the Turkish serves in there what a great man Putin was. Rather than get caught up in that conversation I grabbed my food and headed home.