29.7.08

Rogues' Gallery


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Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Why is travelling to and from our capital city always so fraught! There's an excellent London-to-Brighton rail service and I have my bus pass (oh, and also a dud oyster card!) but just getting from A to B is always hard work. Last night A was Farringdon station and B was the Barbican, just one tube stop away, but as aforementioned oyster card wouldn't top up, I hadn't bought a Travelcard and I was buggered if I was going to spend 4 quid on a single, I ended up walking (the busses were all full)! I was meeting Peter, Lisa, Foz?, Nick and Rob to see Rogue's Gallery, an evening of rollicking sea shanties (or chanteys as they call them) based on Hal Willner's CDs. After a quick pint of London Pride at The Sutton Arms, Foz? and I took our seats on the row behind Peter and Lisa. Hoards of performers stormed the stage and we set off with Baby Gramps singing 'Cape Cod Girls' banging his battered National guitar and sounding like Popeye the sailorman! Then it was a procession of stars, some I'd seen, some never before, taking turns to be backed by the excellent house band led by Kate St John and a mass choir of other performers. We had the Carthy family of Martin, Norma Waterson and Eliza, Neil Hannon in fine voice, Shane MacGowan playing harmonica and singing 'South Australia' and 'The Leaving of Liverpool', sexy Martha Wainwright, the Thompson siblings Teddy and Kami, cheeky Robyn Hitchcock (who used to live in Guildford), new romantic Richard Strange (singing the very rude 'Good Ship Venus'), Suzanne Vega and, the star of the show, cartoonist Ralph Steadman singing the cannibal song 'Little Boy Billy' plus many more. But Tom Waits impersonator Sandy Dillon ruined 'Bully in the alley' for me by not taking it seriously enough! It was whole festival in a evening - 3 and a half hours with no interval. We had musical saw (David Coulter), harmonium (Roger Eno), all manner of other stringed instruments (Leo Abrahams), violins, accordians, traditional folkies, pop stars (but no show by Pete Doherty) and rousing moving music - but you can have too many laments and it was maybe a tad too long, meaning Foz? and I missed our last sensible train and came home on the 1am from Victoria, after an eventful crossing of the Port o' London - but that's another story!
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