Its been five days since my last post, the reason being I have been ultra busy with gigs – both my own and other people’s!
After my first solo acoustic gig for over a year, I had a crazy gig with my wedding duo on Saturday and then an even crazier gig with my wedding band on the Sunday. Bank holiday Monday saw a drunken acoustic gig at Alfie Kingston’s garden party, and then Tuesday it was off to London to see Maynard James Keenan’s (of Tool) ambient alt rock electronic side project Puscifer.
One of the hottest, sweatiest sets I’ve ever played!
As incredible as each and every one of those gigs were (and they really were!) it is what happened after Puscifer that I want to talk about. This blog is about my journey to personal, spiritual and musical success and I learned more after the gig than I have about myself and people in general for years.
Remember how I previously mentioned that most people are open to interaction but don’t necessarily want to make the first move? And about how I wanted to be the person that brings people together? Well I decided (admittedly after more than a few drinks at the gig) to just fucking go for it. After all, this blog means nothing if I don’t practice what I preach.
The gig was at the Roundhouse in Camden; and afterwards we went across the road to a small bar called Joe’s. It had the best DJ I’ve ever come across, a short plump woman around the age of sixty that played non-stop vintage tunes from the sixties era. We were all pretty god damn drunk by this point and on a mission to get, to put it in blunt terms, utterly shitfaced. We lined up the ciders and sat down on the only sofas available next to another small group of people. Fuck it I thought to myself and turned to the woman sat next to me with her boyfriend.
Hi, what’s your name?
In all my years I’d never visited Big Ben. Sadly no drunken club pictures
If there’s one thing I learned that night its this; those four words open doors. It was all the various people I chatted to needed to hear to instigate great conversation and fun times. I suppose it could have gone the other way – her boyfriend could have assumed I was trying to get lucky and punched me – but that didn’t happen. Instead I had a great chat with Jess, the primary school teacher from Wellington, New Zealand and her landscape gardener boyfriend Grant. Jess had been in London since September, Grant joined her in February. They were pleased that I could place their accents as Kiwi and not Aussie. They guessed I was from Bristol – a surprise for me as I don’t think I sound Bristolian at all! Grant bought me drinks. I introduced them to my brother, cousin and other friends and we all had a dance. They were no longer the girl sat next to me and her boyfriend. They were just Grant and Jess.
From there, again and again, Hi, what’s your name?
I met Rupa; an Indian girl who was down to watch Puscifer too. She didn’t take offence to my drunken distaste at the overpriced poster she had bought and we chatted about the gig and Maynard James Keenan. I met another Matt; from London. He was a pianist and London native who had just come from an open mic night. We had a long conversation about music theory, racism and class divide. I met Andrea and her friend Sergio from Sicily, Italy. I mainly had to explain to Andrea that I was happily married with children as she seemed quite keen; but eventually I chatted to her and Sergio about Italy and how I’ve always wanted to visit. As the night wore on Sergio managed to break his way out of the friendzone. You’re welcome, Sergio. And lastly I met Polish couple Tasha and Adam, plus their brother and cousin. This is where things got very fucking messy. Adam bought me cider. Then tequila. Then more tequila. By this point our group was down to me and my cousin Rich. They kept plying us with more spirits and beer, and then bought champagne for us; Matt the pianist and the barmaid, who Adam kept throwing twenty pound notes at every five minutes. Every time Rich and I tried to leave it was ‘Stay! More tequila!’ and more drinks would appear. In fact I don’t think I bought a drink all night – those four words seem to open wallets as well as doors.
Nelson’s Column…and huge lion
Eventually we said our goodbyes and stumbled out into the night. Tasha and Adam were the only goodbyes we made that evening – Jess, Grant, Matt, Rupa, Andrea and Sergio were long gone. It seems goodbyes don’t come to people any easier than hellos. I must remember to make that a point next time too.
After a delicious takeaway falafel and a drunken, slow philosophical ramble back to our hotel; Rich crashed out in our room. I rolled a cigarette (Yeah I know, I’m working on it!) and stepped out of the hotel. It was 4.30am, the dawn was slowly breaking, birds were stirring in their nests. As I smoked, an incredible realisation came to me – the last week had been one of the happiest in many years, probably in my life. I’d evidently forgotten what true happiness feels like, with all the shit going on in my life and in my head for so many years. I’d spent a week surrounded by music, love, laughter, light, friends old and new, family and strangers alike. I’m finally making my peace with who I am. I’m casting off toxic thoughts and situations, and opening myself to the world. And the world reciprocates.
This epiphany on human interaction is nothing new to many more confident people than me I’m sure; but trust me, my appearance is deceiving. I am confident on stage but have to work very hard to maintain an aura of confidence in social situations. I will take this formative experience to my gigs with me. This new attitude and zest for life might just take me where I want to be after all. Onward and upward.