Saturday, February 11, 2012

Matt and Pete's Big Night Out

So the day of the Pollard & Kenny Clameur launch. Betty back this morning full of pep, armed with gifts of an unusual beer, and for me a large letter P made of chocolate from her trip to the low countries. After breakfast, Betty and I popped around to Masquerade where I hired a smart grey jacket with tails (although Betty and I assessed several others including gold and red sequined affairs. I was rather drawn to these until I looked at Betty's face).

A little later Lorraine and I drove off to collect Mum from the station. Mason still getting over his chesty cough and it was thought best not to brave the ice and long journey. The next few hours given over to preparation, shoe cleaning, shirt ironing, a strategic nap and so on.

Off then to the Unitarian Church and rehearsals began. Thank God we had lots of people to help us. Lorraine and as usual helping everything happen. She is so unbelievably supportive of me, it makes me feel very lucky. Beth too. Amy and Jamie, Betty's friends also arrived and helped out greatly. Wayne had made rather delicious sandwiches for the performers and, with Jamie, was overseeing the wine drinking.

One of my favourite moments was when I was carrying a black dress that Lorraine was about to change into. I passed Matt and said 'you know we were talking about doing the performance in drag...' (which we had done with Wayne and Lorraine laughing over a few drinks) and I lifted up the hanger. His momentarily rattled expression was a joy to behold.

The evening, thank goodness, was a success. I was delighted and rather amazed that so many friends had come from far and wide to see the show, with Craig, Mel, First Matie, Pat and Judith, Lakshmi and Aimee among others coming down from London. Loads of local chums too. Anton sporting his Russian hat, Cath, Dawn, Ross and Lene, Richard and Glenda, Steve Cartwright, neighbours from the Twitten, and Lorraine's old street folks from The Basketmakers and so on. Fifty paying punters as well as performers, helpers and family meant the place felt full.

I started the night, talking about fire escapes and welcoming everyone before introducing The Shakespeare Trio, after lurking in a side room with them beforehand. Dipak showed me his hand which was shaking, but they played very well, and the audience really liked them.

Then a brief break before back to do Three Portraits for Poet and Piano. Me hanging on to Glen's cues for grim death. Managed to get through these without slipping up, which was something of a triumph. Unfortunately I found out afterwards that the sound balance wasn't right and the voice was too quiet in parts of the room. Clameur was sung really well by the choir. I find it very moving to hear my words about Guernsey being sung this way. Another break.

Finally we went into our This Concert Will Fall In Love With You epic. Matt and I very pleased with how this went. I thought Cem on violin played a blinder. Had the choir flanking me backstage for the last few variations. At one or two points it was aurally like having angels on my shoulders.

Again found myself having to hang onto Matt's cues for grim death. I had felt spaced out during day as I was still not right from the bug I'd had a few days ago, various pills and a grim ankle. But Dr Spotlight sorted me out and I was able to focus.

After clearing up the venue, the band and the Shakeys as well as half the audience surged off to the Brighton Tavern for some protracted merrymaking. There was a good deal of steam to let off, and we all had a rather splendid time. Mum talking to all kinds of people, Lorraine drinking shots, me having lots of chats.

Eventually Lorraine Mum and I walked home and after eating late crumpets (after Lorraine had forbidden me an ace pizza but then demanded a rum and coke once at home) and listening to Mum's Costa Rican piano in the jungle music we eventually went to bed at 4am.

Below a shot from the rafters with the whole lineup for This Concert Will Fall In Love With You. Left to right Glen on piano, at the back me in the grey jacket flanked by Matt's new choir, in front of us, Adam on vibraphone, Cem on violin, and Tom on marimba, and Matt with his back to the camera conducting us all.

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