A Halo is more than a restaurant up the Gloucester Road, Bristol: it is a traditional depiction of the inner light thought in the past to emanate visibly from certain gifted individuals. Nobody glowed visibly on Monday 13th February 2007, but there was a profusion of verbal and musical fireworks. Andi set the scene
as our emcee
as she let free
about a relationship that ended up in A&E.
Sarah Class, with a great melodious and harmonious guitar, said “Baby I’ll know you, when our hearts beat as one” and most of the men and some of the women in the room were thinking (I can tell, you know) the same. So High was next, and it visibly took us higher. Andi, sensing that we all were drifting off upward, dangerously ungrounded, possibly without direction, wisely brought us down to earth with a plea for money in the jar to buy gaffer tape. It is thought that next time we are all going to have our feet taped to the floor at the written request of Health and Safety officials.
Wendy Day told us the story of a coffee loving couple who went out for a cup of coffee. I will not spoil the story by telling you how it turned out, but it wended up all right at the end of the day. (geddit?)
Andi rightly suggested that Caleb may have Californian genes in him, the way he covered his Neil Young, the wondrous lost lone dusty pathos of the Neil updated by a uniquely modern allure of a catch in his otherwise powerful voice that recalls the effect of a scratched CD that is nevertheless playable – and none the worse for that.
Next up was Richard, your present blogger, limping from a Bad Back brought on by budging outsize butts (Physician heal thyself, if thou canst get thy acupuncture needles round thy back), and poetizing of Sheds. Gina takes up the pen: “His inimitable self. Shed as a male handbag!! Prose poem, evocative memories from stored stuff. Eloquent & multilayered. The second piece mentioned Rudy Lewis, poet and editor of www.nathanielturner.com/ building a shed, taking in gods, trees and war. All in a shed…words flying at a level they are supposed to …” (Thanks Gina, will a cheque be OK ? – RL)
Next up was Keith, who let his fingers do the talking on the frets, talking about the Flight of the Raven, an instrumental, original, its black wings’ lightness worked from the wood of the structurally simple, musically uniquely personal, guitar, his strings wailing the feel of soaring flight (I know, you know) tossing the unspoken lyricism of a bird in swirling currents high above the hill top and the standing pine, rising and falling, at one with wind this is one raven celebrating Life.
Keiths second song: Someday I had a Dream, grabbed it, thinking it real, a song of the (broken?) heart through the seasons. It was a privilege, as always, for us all to be in the physical presence of a human telling the truth for once.
Andi’s enthusiasm for Halo virgins shone as she introduced John Christopher Wood, no virgin he to any but the Halo, for he did things with the names of the diminutive descendants of the dinosaur that we call “birds” – did things that so alien to nature (and yet so much in tune) that if John Reid knew what he had done, he’d pass a law against it before you could say “Thoughtcrime”. He made a steam train out of birds. And then, he did it again, with other birds names, taking their names in vain, not for a train again, but in a sonic avian trail that made even the strongest of us quail.
James White – guitar: what we are searching for …while the living dreams we had as children fade away…help you understand…
Now Derek and Mark are up: we talked amongst ourselves, while Derek had an earnest conversation with his guitar about tension and pitch (Derek’s motto: tune first, ask haiku afterwards). Mark’s rich voice went out to help Radiohead explain why she ran off (because he was a creep. Well, OK). Now we know that Derek’s poetry is better than Radiohead. Nice ploy, Derek.
Mark’s own poem gave voice for all of us who have fallen briefly in love with that well -turned - out maiden sitting opposite us in the Underground, this time with a tear in the eye.
Cute Looney on next! Guitar and bass building up to the sound of a full on 100-piece orchestra, building round a singer who sang in English, not Californish; full musical competence, the song of a black swan, building the music into some great shed of sound, the more intense for knowing that the song was born to die, for this band, this budding building band is bound for breakup. “I am free”, she sang, “‘cos I can’t hear you”. But we heard you, even if it was your last gig. Goodbye, Cute Looneys, good bye!
Next, Bryn on the Steel Guitar! (geddit?) And a unique instrumental improvisation on birth of Stan (Hi Stan) and passing on of Gran (Bye, Gran, we know you lived a good life, you produced a good musician to make the world a better place). Lilting, hunting, birth, death, and here’s the melody in between. Then he Bryn us the Caped Goat, walking along, the future belongs to Lucifure, he said…well, maybe, wait and see (I said that).
Then an nice little harmonious wife-pleasing piece that brought us all down to earth, called “I gotta please Louise”. That’s Louise, mother of Stan.
Brynning it all back home, for a finale, Bryn brought the hidden Ringo out of the audience, doing the rhythm part to “World Keeps on Turning”, tink-tinka-tink on the glasses. If the world turned that fast, we would all be flying off into space, wishing we had given more into the collection jug so Andi could have bought that gaffer tape…
Next – Wooooo – Pete SuperchargedJetTurbineUltrahighRevvingMotormouth Eldridge eruptingvolcanicsonorousjettingflurriesofverbalsound. I heard him say “People don’t always make sense”. This is true. But I would rather listen to Pete than Tony Blair any day. It may be a trifle challenging to catch enough of Pete’s words as they go whizzing past your ears faster than a boxed set of deadlines, to catch their meaning, but at least they sound nice, and they do not grab your heartstrings in a steely chill grip of death.
Pete gave us his North London version of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (I would like to mention at this point that your blogger met that Allen Ginsberg once and he wrote an Om on my hand. He looked as wild in the flesh as he does in the photos. I only mention it as an interesting point, and in no way am I trying to bask in any reflected glory. Ommmmmmmmmmm.) In a rush of words, he gave us a litany of the fallen, the collected lives of a hundred beings of light who came to earth, got messed up, got into heroin, and pegged it. It was a roll call of gonners, of people who chose to die rather than go work on Maggie’s (and Tony’s) farm. Pete, you shining crazy diamond, may you continue to tell their tale until you are old enough to get a bus pass and free prescriptions.
Enter Wilf, enter these walls with words that flood in torrents weaving and flowing in and our of the mountaintops corries coombes valleys woods meadows streams rivers estuaries seas oceans and clouds of human cognition. Those documentaries on TV don’t know the half of it, not a bit, they just do not get it. This is humanity, dig this jazz.
Steve came up and jus put rap into a phat cocked hat, like that.
Misty Blue, O Misty Blue, we all love you, your virgin blues
Big voice, and comely too, come back to sing we all love you.
[continued by Ian as I had to go at this point]
Acoustic Night is every other Monday, counting from this one. Just be there.