Thursday, September 13, 2007

"I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible"

8.10 On Time
"So, did you see the match?"
"" I shake my head, then the train arrives and spares me the explanation, which would've been: "No. I was at the worst open mic night in the world ... ever".

It started off promisingly enough, the location was an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about an hour up the road. Spectacular views, soft, quiet air, the motorway twinkling in the gathering dusk, leaves on the turn etc.

Funny how one man can poison an entire evening.

Adopting a world weary air he eased himself onto a bar stool and invited us to "smoke if you want to" in a tone which suggested he genuinely believed he was about to lead the room in an act of civil disobedience. A tip-off whisper had warned "he's not as good as he thinks he is" but I prefer to keep an open mind. Ten minutes later I was considering taking up smoking as a means of escape.

I scribbled my feelings down on the back of a raffle ticket. The more wine I consumed the less charitable I became.


"The lyrics would shame an adolescent"

"I am in physical pain"

"I want to throw my shoe at him"

"That was the worst fucking song I have ever heard"

"I am taking up smoking"

At a safe distance it's difficult to identify exactly what was so bad about him. After all it's not as if I've never been bored before and it's not as if I've never suffered excruciating lyrics before. The desperately unappealing combination of humourlessness, self-satisfied competence and smug disdain? Possibly. Or maybe it was just me?

I didn't win the raffle either.

Shakespear's Sister - The Smiths
English Rose - The Jam
Maybe I'm Amazed - Wings
Footsteps Fall - Eddi Reader
Two Step - Gemma Hayes
Pain Killer - Turin Brakes
The Impossible Dream - Matt Monro
We Can't Make It Here Anymore - James McMurtry
No Names - Kate Rusby
The Moneymaker - Rilo Kiley
Town - Richard Buckner


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