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Thursday, 28 July 2011

WamBam, Winehouse & Work

A week spent dividing my time between bouncing around some lovely London club gigs and talking at a wall at home in an attempt to remember all the words (so many words!) in my one man show. A show which will have it's first night , along with the first nights of two other shows I'm also in, next Wednesday. Eeep.

Played the Wambam club on Saturday night. Wambam is always a good night, and Lady Alex was on excellent form, which was just as well as a couple of tables were booked by kinda famous not very good cage fighter and celebrity vagina accessory Alex Reid, who was celebrating his birthday. I had a slight sense that things could go south, imagining that perhaps Mr.Reid would prefer the focus of the room on him rather than a smart-mouthed variety monkey in a nice suit, but in truth he was fine, behaved himself all night, and even bigged us up on twitter.

There was, though, a slight vibe backstage, as we had all just found out the sad news about Amy Winehouse on the way in to work. It was interesting how twitter played into this, at least for me. I got on my train at London Bridge and saw that there was a rumour that something had happened. By Waterloo east, a few people started asking for confirmation either way, and before I got off at Charing Cross it had been confirmed. There was a grim fascination in being able to watch the news literally break online, in 140 characters, before my eyes. From a friend of a friend who heard something, to a Sky News alert in a handful of minutes.

The news was, of course, completely tragic. Enough has been said about what a loss of talent it was without me stating more of the same obviousness. I was a little surprised to hear so many people saying that it was a shock though. Desperately sad, yes, but shocking? If you had been asked, a year ago, to map out two or three possible futures for her, surely this would have been one of them. That's why it's so sad, because it was so predictable.

I was a little annoyed by the amount of people equating, in some way, her self-destructive addictions with her talent. Two different things, and largely unrelated, in my opinion. On twitter one person even seemed to align her awful fate with "not selling out". How infantile.

She was good because of her talent, skill, craft and passion for her artform. Not because she was addicted to various intoxicants. There's have been plenty of addicts who have died young and created nothing, and plenty of maverick artistic geniuses who have lived, and created great works, into old age, living clean as a whistle. To find a connection is to do a disservice to anyone who creates good work, and it is to indulge those who have such awful illnesses. It helps neither.

To happier things..

Two gigs last night, one at Jojo's where I was a guest performer in the Folly Mixtures show. I always have gorgeous nights at Jojo's and this felt like one of the best - packed house of attentive and giggly people. Lovely. Then I jumped in a cab and zipped over to a show with Abi Collins, Fancy Chance and Mysti Vine at Home House. Tiny little packed room, and high-calibre fellow performers meant my fun night continued. It struck me, as I sat in the taxi flying between shows, that this was pretty cool. Another one of those "conversations with your teenage self" moments. I was always a shy teenager, and if that kid could see me zooming through the west end as the sun goes down, having just played one show, and on the way to another, still a little sweaty from the stage but ready for more - both shows full of talented and cool people who I am lucky to call my friends.. well, he'd want to make it to 42 much quicker than he ever thought he would..

Just a couple more gigs this week, and then a weekend set aside for clearing my head before I make the trip to Edinburgh for the month of August.

Rehearsals have soothed most of the panic, and now I'm just itching to get started. can't wait to get working and see what craziness the next 4 weeks has in store for me.

Tickets for "Mat Ricardo: Three Balls and a New Suit" at the Voodoo rooms, Edinburgh festival are now available here.

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