My good friend David Studdert called to ask if I could step in for a band that had pulled out, so I slipped along to the West End to do a set. I was on first. Feeling secure in my favourite white dolly shoes, I mounted the few steps up onto the little stage.
If you haven't been to the Twelve Bar, do go find it tucked away behind the drag of tourists and consumers parading Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street. It's the most delightful snug place, with a little gallery above the stage, a standing room for the audience, and a bar where people can sit and still hear the music. The undecided hover in the doorway, drinks in hand. Sometimes they come down into the main room, sometimes they like to stay standing there; the sound is good, and you have a higher vantage point. The venue is full of interesting angles from which you can see the performers.
Everyone wanted to have a good time. I played to a lot of laughter. I love when the audience show me they get the jokes. Some listeners had heard some of my songs a few times, so those folk are beginning to find the smaller nuggets of humour among the more attention-grabbing puns and word-shocks.
Then David, who is a poet and storyteller with music, began his expressive tales of the trials and tribulations and joys of youth and love, in his own savage style full of animal noises, whoops and hollers. He tapped his snakeskin shoes either side of the chair, creating a crazy bluesy vibe, and the dancing started, one very cute woman in a sleek black dress kicking her legs making beautiful patterns in her slip-on heels. A very tall lanky chap let his emotions go by pogoing, limbs jutting everywhere.
It made me wish people could dance to my music - and why not? David had no other musicians - he was moving the room with just his guitar, wild voice and rhythm from his body. Note to self - devise a bluesy number with an infectious riff.