Before we start, it seems worth noting that this far-from-august organ has been in existence for five years. Who, back in 2010, would have thought it? What pointless commitment to a rather foolish idea this demonstrates: if only I could generate the same long-term dedication to something more useful. So, that little bit of admin over, let us proceed with post 675!
I should start by making clear that I have no intention of impinging on the copyright of Messrs Radcliffe and Maconie: rather than linking tracks, I shall be linking gigs through the interstitial medium of my own life. Southampton has a surprisingly vibrant cultural scene, but does work quite hard to conceal this fact from the casual (or merely mildly determined) viewer. I am becoming better connected, largely by using social media to stalk any individual, group or organisation that, by lucky chance, I discover – but this is a slow old process. It would seem that most use social media to share images of themselves, their food or children and to shore-up their political beliefs and share videos of cats: I seem to mis-use it terribly by sharing bad jokes and attempting to find interesting gigs – but I don’t seem to be breaking any rules, so I shall continue with my slightly outré take on the virtual world.
Still, the last ten days have been pretty fruitful when it comes to finding live music. It started, as so much does, at the Arthouse Cafe with my first visit to a Three Monkeys gig. This involves three, unrelated guitarists who each play a song. This is repeated three times, followed by an interval and then another 3×3 set of songs. This is a very entertaining format and occurs every month – so I’ve only missed 24 or so. At the end, I discovered that an Oxjam gig was taking place the following day in a vault beneath Southampton High Street – not much notice, but better than the negative notice which often accompanies my discovery of local culture (which is less than helpful given that my best wormhole, to date, has only allowed a worm to move a short distance within space).
The Oxjam gig involved a series of ‘acts’ playing a ~30 minute set across the afternoon and evening. A broad range of music was covered, though mostly involving stringed instruments and remaining within sight (albeit sometimes aided by binoculars) of the folk genre. A lot of fun, if a lot of standing up, and a chance to see half-a-dozen acts before I was forced to retire (a wise decision as my walk home just managed to beat the start of the monsoon which has been such a major characteristic of the end of August 2015). Most significantly, the gig introduced me to a local singer-songwriter called Jack Dale and another two CDs were added to my collection. I also discovered that another charitable gig involving a line-up of local, musical talent was taking place the following Sunday (or ‘yesterday’ as I now like to call it – but only for another twelve hours or so) at a pub just a short walk from Fish Towers.
I rather enjoyed spending the afternoon in a dank vault as the last of the summer’s sun beat down on those foolish enough to be outside. No need to worry about UV protection for me! However, I can’t help feeling that Oxfam would have done a little better financially had the gig been more widely publicised: it was rather sparsely attended and I only found out about it by chance (and would like to view myself as fairly core, potential audience).
Yesterday (see above), the Big Gig at The Shooting Star – a pub with a bar billiards table (among other delights), a rare sight in these debased times – was huge fun (and, I was even able to spend much of it sitting down). The three bands on the bill, included two fronted by soloists seen the previous week at Oxjam. The Horse – fronted by the aforementioned Jack Dale – were particularly entertaining and meant that I ended the night with a smile on my face (and once again, a lucky return home just before the heavens opened: I feel I’m going to pay for this continuing good fortune at some stage). Another two CDs also managed to sneak their way into my flat: this burgeoning habit might start becoming a storage issue if I’m not careful.
The chain of musical events will continue on 3 October, which I now know to be Music in the City: where live music fills all manner of odd spaces across Southampton (and of which I’ve only missed two through complete ignorance of their existence). I can only hope that this in turn reveals more musical events which have so far been hidden from my insufficiently curious gaze…