Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A bizarre absence of glitter and an auspicious TV appearance

The best thing about Saturday daytime was the simple fact that Nottingham Forest didn't play a game of football so I didn't have to get ridiculously angry and/or burst into tears at about ten to five. The second best thing (Also football related) was that East Fife were playing Forfar. Every football fan with a sense of mischief longs for the result East Five five Forfar four but it's obviously never happened. It normally doesn't even get close. It did on Saturday. It got to East Fife four Forfar three, which although not perfect, was close enough for legions of tweets (including my own) to bombard cyberspace. My one even got re-tweeted and that made me feel clever. There's something reassuring about getting re-tweeted. It means that a. at least someone out there is paying attention to you and b. they don't think that everything you're writing is utter dross. I am going to re-tweet more things now in an attempt to spread love and joy across the cyber cosmos, because as you know, I am an extreme hippy.

To be honest I really just dossed about on Saturday until about five o'clock when I booked a taxi to Hitchin and started getting ready to go to Dolly's Autumn Barn Party - the latest in a series of cabaret shows I organise that normally involve me being by far the most out-of-order man in the room and also getting covered in glitter. Not this time, sunshine, not this time. The honour of the former was reserved for my mate Felix who was celebrating his fortieth birthday. This had turned the gig into as much a celebration as a serious comedy and burlesque evening featuring two comedians, two burlesque acts and a comedy-magician. Oh who am I kidding? The capacity crowd didn't care - they had a ball. There were a few eyebrows raised when we didn't start on time but that was because the birthday boy was fashionably late to his own do. Bad form? Yes. Forgiven? Of course. He was too much fun while he was there for anyone to mind too much. The problem was that by making him the centre of atttention I had unwittingly set him a challenge. We're both a pair of show-offs and trying to out-show-off me at my own gig (even if it is also sort of your party) is foolhardy in the extreme but if there's one bloke who can do it, it's Felix. He did - spectacularly - but his mistake was to do it during our locally-famous drinking game "Roxanne". The basic premise of "Roxanne" is that every time Sting (Or The Police) say or sing the word "Roxanne", you have a sip of your drink. Over the three minutes of the song it is reasonably easy to drink an entire pint. In this time of austerity and global accusations of "Binge Britain" it is perhaps fitting that we still carry on like this regardless. We've been playing the game for a couple of years at these events and it's always a laugh, not least because there is a point half way through the song when you think that Sting (Or The Police) are going to say/sing "Roxanne"...

...But they don't.

Anyone caught  taking a sip of their drink at that point is honour bound to finish the rest of their drink off in one go. It's amazing how keen their mates are to grass them up. The mistake Felix made was to (when invited on stage to share the limelight with additional birthday girl Sophie) bring three pints of cider with him rather than the usual one pint of beer.

Official photography shows us on stage all drinking sensibly...

Guerilla photography from crowd reveals that Sophie and I have finished but oops! Felix is still working his way down his third pint! That might not be such a good idea.
Later on I tried to get him to stand on one leg with me to re-create the famous pose of fish-obsessed annoying prog rock flautist Ian Anderson but he actually couldn't without falling over which really annoyed me because I wanted a funny picture of us and it didn't happen and grr.

I didn't realise he was leathered. Five minutes after the show finished his wife very sensibly took him home. It was her birthday as well but she hadn't really made a big thing of it. The show itself was a little up and down but ended magnificently with Wayne The Weird offering some classic comedy magic (And anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to admit that) and Dolly Rose performing her classic "Weight Loss" burly turn. All that was left to do was to carry on drinking, so we did. When The Vic shut we were understandably not let in to The Croft (I rarely am) but did manage to get as far as The Kings Arms (known locally as "The Armpit") where apparently The Face Of Croatian Toni & Guy repeatedly shouted at me to get my attention but I was too busy looking at/talking to/leaning on anybody else.  I thought I'd talked about her before in these blogs but I obviously haven't and can't be bothered to explain. Look - she's called Emma and she works in Sainsburys. The rest of it is too involved to get in to. I got home at some point and judging by the detritus in the flat the next day, I may have had a burger and I may  have carried on drinking.

I took it easy on Sunday, nipped round my mum's for a cup of tea and then headed off to The Harlow Square to do a gig. It's a great venue, the crowd are always brilliant, the sound is fantastic and on this occasion I was also being interviewed for Harlow TV. That's right - there is actually a station called Harlow TV. I'll say it again Harlow TV. When I got there John the compere said "Ah I'm glad you're here - you can help my son Joss set up the Scalextric". I wasn't expecting that. Anyway, we couldn't get it to work so walked over to the garage for more batteries. On the way over there I asked him about a guitar chord that I play but can't find out what it's called. Joss is sixteen. I am forty one. I have been playing guitar for twenty six years. He is already teaching guitar.

I know.

The point is that this chord is an open "E" with an additional little finger on the third fret of the high E string (The G position). Joss scratched his head a little. I explained to him that I had gone through every photograph/ tab of E-chord variations on the net and couldn't find it anywhere. He asked me to repeat what it was that I was playing. I did. He said it was a sort of a major thing going on with a sharp ninth but it didn't really make any sense because it was a (And then my eyes glazed over). I said it had to have a name. He replied

"It has"

I said "Well what is it called then?"

He said

"A strange chord".

batteries procured, we walked back to the gig. I carried on with the line that it had to have a name but he was still non-committal. It was like hearing a scientist tell you he might have a cure for something terrible but didn't want to say he definitely had for fear of derision/failure/redundancy when he finally snapped at my constant bothering and said

"Well if I had to give it a label I'd call it E major sharp ninth ish)

So there you go. I play a chord in my set that is E major sharp ninth ish). This can be shortened to Emaj#9ish and obviously I'm now building a set around it. I was interviewed by Harlow TV's Clare (lovely and gorgeous) and I think it was all right. They also recorded a bit of my act. If it ever reaches the internet I'll let you know as I think it could be quite funny. She's ever so sweet. The scalextric was there to decide the running order of course and after a competition that all twelve of the crowd got to see from on stage, I went on in the middle.What can I say? What a terrific gig! I exploited Emaj#9ish throughout and dreamt one day that it might become known as "The Edwards Chord".

When I got home I had an email from Joss the guitar teaching sixteen year old Wunderkind. In it he offered the following link: and I was momentarily crushed. On closer inspection of said article, however, there is no reference to the actual chord that I am currently playing in my excuse for an act. Maybe it is The Edwards Chord after all.

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