Of such concerns are the occasional musician’s contemplations made up - others can be considered as such examples as “Whose turn is it to drive?”, “Do you mind if I come up a tad in the monitors?” and “So where shall we have dinner after the sound check?”
Helen responded to some mansplaining regarding the artist Norman Wilkinson with a consideration on the subject of her legwear, which was decorated with text from the works of Shakespeare. “You do tend to find it attracts people’s attention – you know, they're wondering which play is it, what font are they using - that sort of thing?” indeed, the gentleman beneath the framed photograph by table twelve appeared to have developed a keen interest in deciphering the works of The Bard whenever he thought that either we or his dinner companion weren’t looking. "I swear that was twelve point Verdana when she sat down" his rather flushed expression seemed to say.
Attentive tweenagers opened doors upon our return to the venue and solicitously wished us a good evening before we settled in to watch the openers – local band The Komodo Project, pleased to note that one effect of the cathedral-like roof canopy was that applause reverberated in a most satisfactory fashion.
We were up next, our confidence (tie-related shenanigans notwithstanding) having been bolstered by a successful run-through a few days earlier in the considerably more intimate environs of The Dove Street Inn in the heart of swinging downtown Ipswich. We’d decided to rehearse the set in as live a performance scenario as we could envisage, which essentially involved inviting as many people as we knew to the pub and doing a dress rehearsal in public - thereby getting used to the vagaries of monitoring and mic techniques, working out a few introductions, such as our “First rule of songwriting” schtick and, as it happens, staying up until much later than was sensible afterwards eating cheese and crackers with our beneficient hosts, putting the world to rights over pints of lovely Brewers Gold. In the spirit of many American establishments we put out a tips jar and were able, at the end of the evening, to at least contribute toward our pro bono sound engineer’s diesel money, still have a few Euros in loose change and not even have to break into that 100 Yuan note.
To conclude the evening, the magnificently bonkers Vienna Ditto, whose photo of our sound check is at the top of the page. I will merely repost what I wrote online about them. Wow, well that was something! Impossible to categorise, but if you put the guitarist from The Black Keys together with one of The Chemical Brothers, added in the singer from The Sundays and back projected a bunch of old OGWT films behind them while drinking mushroom tea you might be getting somewhere close.
My travelling companion – co-guitarist and singer Mr Wendell - and I packed up the car and prepared for the return home. “I think I’m going to change my stage name” he said thoughtfully. “To Papworth Everard”.