It’s pretty brutal here in the library in Rotherham. You move for a few seconds and they steal you seat.
I only went to the toilet, but when I returned my table had been occupied. Maybe I should have left my bags and stuff on there, but if they’re going to take your seat who knows what else they’re going to take.
Luckily, there’s another place to sit, and it’s slightly further away from the children’s book section, from which the noise of screaming children (ssh, this is a library) had been occasionally eminating.
It’s been an eventful few hours since I left home. Admittedly, I’ve spent much of that time not moving much, driving or typing, or watching TV, but mentally I’ve travelled far.
Let’s first talk about the gig. I arrived a couple of hours early. This was good. It gave me plenty of time to put the drive behind me, try to work out what material I wanted to do, and generally mess about on the guitar. This was a nice warm up and both helped and hindered.
So Warm I Was Cold
It was quite nice being in a “green room” with a guitar and no distractions. I played and sang some songs. I played:
- Perfect Love Song – by the Divine Comedy – fixing chords I disagreed with from the online tabs
- Babies – by Pulp – a tribute to being in Sheffield
- Dream a Little Dream of Me – which I really enjoy playing
I had TikTok-ed a duet of this song
So all, in all I was having a merry old time in the green room.
Then Harriet arrived, and we had a lovely chat. In many ways it was one of the nicest green room experiences I’ve had in a long while. No offence to green room chats at the gig I run, but my brain is usually in far too many places at once at those.
Then my fingers stopped working.
Your Fingers did What?
I have no idea why my left hand fingers stopped working. I went off to grab a drink which helped. Perhaps I was cold, or cramped, or dehydrated, but my left hand was being quite off-topic.
The Actual Performance
I’m messing around with the content of my set a lot at the moment. Having become somewhat frustrated with its relevance and how old the material is, I’ve set about reworking things. To be fair to reality, the material on display still spans a very large number of years, and I’m sort of bringing in some older, rarer, stuff as much as I’m writing new stuff at the moment.
However, all of this ends up requiring me to remember more than I’d normally need to. It’s not so much the material itself, as much as the order. When you do set piece stuff you need to have a narrative to it, or at least a comfortable way to move through it. This requires knowing what you’re doing.
I hadn’t quite firmed up the running order or all the beats of the new bits I wanted to do… so I was standing at the back of the room rewriting notes on my notepad as I watched Harriet do the opening MC bit.
As a comfort blanket I took the notebook on stage, but other than glancing down once at the bullet points to ensure I’d missed nothing, I didn’t need it. And to be fair, I clearly hadn’t needed it when I momentarily looked at it.
Tonight may still end up in a dry patch.
That’s the game.
My fingers generally behaved themselves, though some chords sounded mushy to me, so maybe they weren’t quite on top form. Either way, I confidently drove my way through the material and the events in the room. I got through less material than I expected. Maybe this was because some stuff took longer than expected, or because things were slowed down by laughter. Let’s hope for the latter.
What About The New Bit?
The new song I’m running in never quite found its moment to come in. By the time I got to the the place in the set where it belongs, it was time to start finishing. Less is more with these things… hopefully I’ll get another bite of the cherry tonight. We’ll have to see.
Night Time In The Hotel
The man with the skin condition at reception gave me my room key and the advice that I could use the lift or the stairs.
What he should probably have mentioned was that the lift didn’t work, so I HAD to use the stairs. The lift sort of came when called, though it took a while. Then the doors opened. I got in, pressed the button. The doors closed… and then nothing.
That’s not a lift.
That’s a weird cupboard.
I took the stairs.
The room was not particularly unpleasant, smoky, uncomfortable, or dirty. It’s a definite step up.
What I do when I’m booking is search booking.com for “Squalid” and the back it off a couple of notches to just above that.
Night time in bed was iPlayer, Louis Theroux, and YouTube. I ended up watching videos into the small hours on how to attach electronics to USB PowerBanks. More on this in a moment.
Following a green room discussion, I also watched a particular stand-up comedian’s YouTube recordings/TV appearances to determine whether “You’d get cancelled for that these days”. It’s nice to leave a gig with homework.
The solitary life away from home is weird. The peace and quiet isn’t really peaceful and quiet and is sort of oppressive… My hope would be to get useful things done. I think it’s fair to say I’ve done more displacement activity than productive things.
Regarding peace and quiet, life is too often a case of being immersed in other people’s noise. I think the months of lockdowns and social distancing have reduced my capacity for being close to other people and the way they behave.
I got quite arsey in a Starbucks in Rotherham when there was a guy angrily shouting into his mobile phone about roofing. Normally, I’d love an angry conversation about timber and roofs, but he was using his phone wrong.
Why can’t people use a phone these days?
You don’t put one end against your ear and then switch back to shouting into the same end. You use it… well… like a fucking phone.
Free wifi notwithstanding, I couldn’t bear to be in the Starbucks for long, so I drove to this library.
A library where you can just walk in off the street is already excellent… but then one where there’s a free carpark next door… it’s like a dream come true.
I’m definitely going to re-use these facilities on my next trip (if there is one).
Silence in The Library
This is no time to quote Doctor Who episode titles. Though it’s easy to get one in. Here’s another. Blink and you’ll miss it.
So, despite the crying baby, I’ve been sitting here in outward silence, with music on the AirPods and nothing but my TODO list for company. I wrote the TODO list in the Starbucks over breakfast about 5 hours ago. I can proudly say I’ve done very little of it. This isn’t helpful.
I WILL be doing my VAT return presently.
I did write to Big Clive, though. I’d watched one of his YouTube videos last night and thought he might also be interested in the electronics challenge that I’ve set myself. So I wrote to him explaining it, for him to either do something with or not.
Then there was some rejigging of website stuff.
The hope is always to use down time to write new funny things. However, that’s not always possible.
I ended up conversing with someone on Twitter regarding a programming thing, and then writing an article about that same programming language on my CodingCraftsman blog. That article won’t appear for a few days.
A sneaky peak behind the curtain of that blog reveals how I keep posts coming three times a week by writing them as I fancy, often a few days in advance:
I think the recent blog entries are a positive thing to come out of bickering on social media.
By this, I mean the passing of time and not:
- the social media time wasting platform
- the Netflix musical about Jonathan Larson
The day seems to have frittered itself away to this point. The library closes in half an hour… and then there’ll be four hours to stage time. That’s a lot of hours!
I’m not sure how I’ll bridge from now to then. Possibly getting to the green room early to make some TikToks… oh, maybe I do mean TikTok after all.