“Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I’m late!”, moaned the fluffy white bunny shaking his long furry ears in shame and humiliation. And he was. Very late.
Crotchety Man had outsourced his next Track of the Week to White Rabbit Publications because he was going to be otherwise engaged at the weekend. There was a final band rehearsal on Friday evening, a dinner party at Crotchety Mansions Saturday night and a few loose ends to tie up before the gig on Sunday night. The White Rabbit website had promised they could do the Crotchety homework for him for a very reasonable fee and, stupidly, the Old Man believed it. But they took his money and never delivered the blog post they promised.
So, in lieu of the full-fat Track of the Week, Crotchety Man himself has belatedly thrown together this skinny version.
Regular readers of this blog will remember from the Old Love post in early October that the Crotchety Musician was assigned to play bass guitar for Mister Bigg, one of five bands created from a rag-tag collection of ‘mature’ players. We had six weeks to learn 5 or 6 songs, which we would perform at a gig organised by a local music shop. Could we do it? None of us could know then. We’d just have to knuckle down, learn the songs and practice playing together. Only time would tell.
Our vocalist had to pull out before the first rehearsal due to work commitments. It was an inauspicious start but, as the weeks went by, the songs gradually came together. Two weeks before the gig the fluffs and stumbles had dwindled to the point where we wouldn’t be ashamed to be on stage in front of an audience. We changed our name to Loose Ends and ordered a set of T-shirts emblazoned with a hastily constructed logo.
The big unknown was how the other bands were getting on. We heard rumours that one or two were having problems: band members dropping out in one, a less than competent player in another, disagreements about the setlist. But some of the music emanating from the adjacent rehearsal rooms sounded much better than our still rather amateurish efforts. So, for the sake of our nerves on gig night, we asked the organisers if we could go on first. The reply was simply that the running order would be decided after the rehearsals were over, which wasn’t particularly comforting.
With four days to go the running order was published. Loose Ends would be on last; astonishingly, we had been given the headline slot. This created some trepidation in the band but, hey ho, we could only do our best and hope we wouldn’t be a disappointment to our families, our friends and the organisers who had worked tirelessly to make it all possible.
When the day came a certain amount of nervousness pervaded the air, but it was evident among all the bands, not just ours. The first band, Poundland, was actually rather good – definitely better than us – and they got a warm reception from the audience. If the others were even better our set would be a terrible anti-climax. The next three acts, though, all had some obvious rough edges; as long as we stayed calm we could hold our own in this company.
Finally, it’s our turn. Step up onto the stage, plug in, check we’re in tune, let the sound guy adjust the volumes a little. Looks like we’re all ready. So, here we go with Black Magic Woman, a familiar, up-tempo crowd pleaser. That one went down rather well. Next up it’s Old Love followed by Sunshine of Your Love, Hey Joe and Whiskey In The Jar.
The crowd had thinned through the evening as mums took their young children home after their daddy’s turn on stage but those that were left were having a really good time. The appreciation we’ve been getting isn’t just warm, it’s positively enthusiastic. No-one in the band could understand it but we didn’t care, we’d had our 25 minutes of local fame and that was the end of our set.
What’s this? Calls for an encore? No, it can’t be. But it is! The clock says there’s time for another song. I guess we’d better play the one we kept in reserve – here’s Simple Man. And after that we are out of time and out of material. Coming off stage several people come up to us to say they enjoyed our playing and “can we have a picture, please?”. Well, yes, of course you can, we’re flattered.
There was some magic in the air on Sunday and I have a sneaky feeling we have a big white rabbit and his pocket watch to thank for that. There’s no other conceivable explanation.