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Liverpool. Royal Philharmonic Hall. Nov 20th. Existential Mo.

November 22, 2017

Do you not file in your head even the most spectacular gigs?
Where the applause is explosive?
Asks Sean.


Every gig becomes vapour.

Every gig that I am not currently occupying.

Every day evaporates

I will have no evidence when this adventure is done, that it happens.
That it happened.

Maybe this blog seeks to redress that, because my mind flushes.
It wants to.
A long held practice.

G says no paper would come to review my London shows.

It is a rare publication that seeks out art from my plain middle-aged hands, or will value any glitter of association by referencing mine in any discerning way.
No film maker that will covert this story.
No less valid.
No more a winning gene.
Another specimen of Poptopia.
Lived long, and bred out.

This assumption of aridity is why, I think, I have a horror of being boxed an 80’s singer.

What is it about that decade that people insist we remain Zoo exhibits?
I would not reject it half so much were I allowed to own my other years.
Are you a 90’s shopkeeper or a 30’s Tool maker or a 70’s dentist? How the the fuck do you identify?
Does your work have a different purpose when you tip into the next year. Have you ceased to learn?

But I show my age.
I am of a time when papers were taste makers.
Were purchased in great numbers.
When music was writ large.
Where things to consume were few and made to chew.

Kick our heels like a child who still expects a life remarkable.
Look at me, dad.
Me. Me. Me.
Un jut this jaw and your pique will vaporise like every other yesterday, but still hunger returns to us each morning.
Ever we wake up, empty vessels.

Tell me I must love what you love and I will love less.
That is the nature of freedom and the fear of its loss.

We drove from York to Manchester. Even though tonight’s gig is in Liverpool.
I have a day off tomorrow, and this means I can occupy one room for three nights.
That is a rare luxury.
I can wash my clothes with time to dry.
We check in and dump bags and head for The Royal Philharmonic Hall.

This room is an unusual configuration.

The stalls, squared as they are by slightly raised oblong boxes, give the impression of a small, almost Romanesque auditorium, but above, to the back, a wide, deep, shallow climbing tier of seats set beneath a seeming telescopic roof,
changes the story, and almost catches you by surprise.

I remember the floor, but not its hat.

Tonight, my daughter’s in-laws are in.
Lovely, lovely people.

I have always envied
Northerners their pride.
Coming from old cities that boast history and community and their long shared documented fights for liberties.

I am inordinately thrilled by genealogy.
I can see Neanderthal in the bony ridge of my forehead.
I rather like that.

I also recorded ‘Essex’ in Liverpool with Ian Brody.
The non sequitur in that took some time to register.
I was raising my New Town flag.
We were Basildon’s first generation.
We have that at least.

I have been drinking too much lately.
This has been a new thing.

In the 80’s, much to my Mother’s disappointment, CBS, knowing me to be tea total, excepting only my pre gig liveners, sent my Christmas hampers with Milk in them.

I found that to be charming.

Can’t they send champagne?
She said.
We can swap.

Tonight I decided to break this habit.
I went on without my pre gig shots.
On stage I had none lined up.

Stone sober I felt naked and shy to move.
I worried that in the glass lived my muscle memory.
My brave stance.
My insouciance.

The clarity was shocking.

I thought the clean would steal my words.

Instead, I pushed myself hard into the song and soon, really soon, I was engaged, and in control of my voice, and I made shape of every vowel and exhalation.
My body. It’s function. My lungs.
It felt wonderful.
I felt wonderful.

Back in the car heading to Manchester and our hotel, I looked woefully at the can of warm Diet Coke that occupied the spot that before housed a beaker of ice into which I would mix Gin and soda, from flask and bottle, and I felt flat.

I loved this ritual.

The reward.

I had been a dog at its tricks and no shitting Bonio.

Ah well.

What sandwiches have they given us tonight, Vinny?

They will have to be the whole party.

Oh, bollocks, says he.
What with not collecting your ice and limes, I forgot them.

Kick me while I’m down, why don’t you.
Never mind.

There’s a Macdonalds?

Fuck it.
Nuggets it is then.

Post Script.

I was asked if I actually enjoyed the show.

That my writing here didn’t really elucidate.

When you inhabit a show truly, the body thrills and this is what I was describing when I said it was responding to me. My body.

When I inhabit a performance I am assuming that’s what enjoyment means.

It’s not like a dinner that can taste nice. A single, simple fact.

A good show for me engages all emotions and that includes getting in touch with things we’d rather have never known.

Enjoyment then can be a misnomer.

I was faced with an audience I would not have swapped. I was in control of me, which is optimum and I left, glad that I had been here.

I don’t know if people enjoy pushing their bodies but the feeling it leaves them with is euphoric.

I guess that’s what they like.

It’s what I like.

I liked, here.

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