Played my last gig with Bone Turtle last night – and a good time was had by all. We were at Charterhouse School, playing a charity dinner-dance in aid of CHASE.
We arrived late afternoon, driving across the school grounds up long avenues, where the previous night’s wind had ripped chunks out of the trees, towards the gothic spires and Hogwarts-esque halls of Charterhouse. The building we were to play in was a large hall, far more suited to unamplified speaking than an electric band – drum beats and guitar solos reverberated around the woodwork for 5 seconds, creating a mess of noise which we had to work long and hard with the sound engineers to minimise.
We got set up and then headed to the pub – as we weren’t playing until 10pm, we had perhaps rather too much time to kill (at any rate, about 3 pints worth of time). At the pub Paul told us of his annual trip to Basel’s carnival, coming up soon. The whole carnival sounded amazing – lasting about four days, with numerous “cliques” (one of which Paul belongs to) marching through the streets from pub to pub, in full carnival costume and masks, from 4am every day playing military-style pipes and drums. The whole thing sounded peppered with mediaeval ritual and bizarrenesses, and well worth seeing.
We got back to the school and feasted on their sandwiches – another 3 glasses of wine-worth of time, and a quick peek at the 100-best Kids’ TV shows on Channel 4. We were obviously in a politics classroom – they had a good selection of books arranged around the walls, and Republican/Democrat stickers plastered onto filing cabinets. I amused myself by looking for references to Ed’s grandfather, Jim Griffiths, in the books on post-WWII politics, and found far more than I had expected. He wasn’t, as Ed had told me, Secretary of State for Wales in the 1945 government – that came about a couple of decades later, he was rather Minister for National Insurance, a pretty major role in the parliament that set up so much of the modern social service, and he was also tipped to succeed Clement Attlee as leader of the Labour party at the time – a role he never achieved, though he was deputy leader for a while.
Aaaanyway, we finally got on stage (about 30 minutes late), and I was rather drunker than I’d planned. I couldn’t quite flourish in the way I tend to do – had to stick to solid basslines to avoid fucking up. Staggered around the stage somewhat as well. By the end of the second set (2 or 3 more glasses of wine…) I was pretty wobbly and unsure of what I was doing, and having a great time of it. I lost my concentration on the last few bars of the last number, Smooth, and went all over the place. Ah well, nobody seemed to notice.
Afterwards, everyone was beaming – the band had all had even more fun than a couple of weeks before at the Fitz and Firkin (and we had a lot of fun then) – what we’d been expecting to be a fairly mediocre gig full of unappreciative crinklies had actually gone down very well (with the exception of the odd number, like those written in the last 30 years or so, we had a fairly full dancefloor for much of the night). Got a lift back London-wise, happy and drunk.