Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Variety's back - from the frozen north to the Thames and the Tyne

Alex Gold messaged me last night from Skagway, Alaska. As you can see it looks like a frontier town out of a Bob Hope comedy.

Skagway's the latest stop on his current tour with the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra. He joined them last year for a tour of Germany. Since we were organising Word In Your Ear gigs at the same time we were in regular contact and I could never get enough of his reflections on finding himself in a musical comedy act. Everybody gets to do a party piece. His is Viva La Vida. This clip was recorded on their German tour. Makes a change from the thankless life of the indie musician, doing your own songs. "People turn up," he said to me once. "And they really enjoy it. I'm not used to this."

That's another sign that Variety's back, obviously, and not a moment too soon. On November 11th at the Islington we're presenting country duo My Darling Clementine and best-selling crime novelist Mark Billingham in The Other Half, a specially-written marriage of words and music. They'll also be playing a few bar-room weepies favoured by Mark's hero from the Tom Thorne Playlist. Tickets and details here.

This Saturday afternoon I'll be at the Sage in Gateshead playing classical records for Radio Three's Saturday Classics. This promises to be an unusual way to spend the day. I'll be in the foyer, I think, disturbing the peace of people who've innocently wandered in to have a cup of coffee and look at the Tyne. It's all part of their Festival of Free Thinking and you're more than welcome to turn up if you're in the area. On the Sunday I'm taking part in a discussion about how digital distribution may or may not have changed people's tastes and habits. It's all free. Further details here.

I don't miss mainstream entertainment at all.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. A variation on this seems to be happening with open mic nights. Just a few years back, an open session was mostly was wrist-slasher acoustic droners. Now, at my locals you'll see - stripped down reggae, jazz duos, boogie-woogie pianists...

    One evening two students, not yet in their twenties, did a full-length version of Floyd's Echoes