After a morning of being yelled at by little kids in keyboard classes, and an afternoon of 'working' at my 'day job', the cool dark evening saw me trundling down Fleet Street, in my spiffy new black shoes purchased on the weekend, then turning right onto Fleet Street, which grows into the Strand. Walking, as I always do, close to the speed of sound, passing all my fellow dayjobbers on the way home, Nelson pops up momentarily above the building in front, and I know I'm going the right way.
Ambling my way past those gigantic lions, I leave the square at it's southernmost corner to enter the Trafalgar, tonight's stop on the gig trail. Nice little duo spot with singer J, easy, chilled Tuesday job.
I enter the establishment. The whole place has a feel not unlike many other places I've seen in this town - schmick at first glance, or if you were walking past it on the street, and there's obviously money invested, but on closer inspection, it's got a strange Truman-Show-esque vibe, like a studio set, like everything was put there five minutes ago, and will be gone in ten. I've been to restaurants like this too, where the appearance of the building is more attactive than the menu.
The laptop DJ has the most random collection of whatever that I've ever seen....Coltrane? Pointer Sisters? Incognito? Doesn't matter! No-one's listening, no-one cares.
The decor has changed slightly tonight - there are pictures and photos up around the place, and some brochures on the bar...perhaps an attempt by management to inject some life and flavour into yet another soulless shopfront, housing the masses of after work suits in here for a quick cocktail, the kind of place they go when they're not working or sleeping or holidaying. I'm expecting the management to come out and say, "Yes, that's right, sorry darling but we've got a function on tonight...didn't anybody tell you?" But no, my fears are allayed when J get's there...
Easy set up - the place has a house keyboard (bit of a rarity) and for once the DJ desk that we're plugged into yields a sound first time! J and I get some house reds on the band tab - a dry little Argentinian number, goes down quite well, and at five quid for the punters it ought to!
I have to say though that J is one of the most delightful musicians I have ever had the pleasure of playing with, and that usually saves this gig for me. We play a couple of sets, all the usual stuff. We get a couple of quickly stifled claps for one song over the two and a half hour program, and after another two house reds it's all over!
Don't get me wrong here - I've never been one to knock back work because I'm not interested. I don't want to stop doing these duo jobs, and after the year I've had I'm still willing to take whatever I can get my hands on. It's just that it's WELL PAST time for me for other stuff to be happening.....along the lines of maybe more band work? Maybe something (gasp) original? To fulfill the creative side, the artistic output of what I do, as a counter to the money gigs, to keep me sane....
Quick packup, a kiss on the cheek, and then it's on to the night bus home, stopping early at Kensal Rise for a three quid fried chicken extravaganza before the chilly stroll home...watch some TV with housemates, go to bed.
Another night on the gig trail...