Brighton Festival Roundup

10th May to Bom-Banes to hear Boothby Graffoe sing comedy songs accompanied by Nick Pynne. Dinner first, and though it was not my first time here I was surprised when the table started to rise. Not an excess of alcohol, just part of the fun that is Bom-Banes.
Bought his album, couldn’t resist. He urged us all to send a postcard to President Obama regarding the excessive horrors planned for the nerdish Gary McKinnon – he who was searching for evidence of extra-terrestrials when he broke through the US’s most secure web systems. Damn, they should be offering him a job.
With lines like:
‘Nobody saw the antelope
Ants are very small.’
who could resist.
Apparently he married a glowworm, who turned her light down at his funeral but wasn’t cut up about him dying, ‘plenty more where he came from’, she said.
The final chorus, or chant, suggests otherwise, ‘Here comes the boiling water’ (repeated).
Must mention he sang an Incredible String Band song – from Wee Tam and the Big Huge – better by the minute, right?
And finally another song line: ‘We had a horse-drawn wedding, should have got a photographer’.
23rd May to the Dome for John Cale. Never was a fan of Velvet Underground but Jackie was. He’s from Llandeilo, this I knew, as Jackie had family there, so a song that mentioned Swansea did not surprise me. Even better was a version of the Dylan Thomas poem, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.
The whole event was so very slick, professional and masterly. Probably something to do with being in the business for several decades. Just shy of 70 now, the Argus tells me.

John Cale on Keyboards at the Brighton Dome


Speaking of old men, Martha Tilston sang a song about Leonard Cohen at the end of her set at the Komedia on 25th May. Very sweet, taking themes from Cohen’s songs and flattering him nicely. She asked if any of us knew him, and if so could we get it to him.
Poor start, apart from being in the underground bunker that is the Komedia. Long wait until anyone came on, then her brother took to the stage to sing songs based on a couple of rhyming couples and a few random sentences, sung to a strumming tune. repetition was used to try to create a reflective mood. Dull really. (How do you spell rhyme?). On the up side I managed the whole evening without buying any of the Komedia’s overpriced indifferent beer – just a glass of water, and two big gins when I got home.
She came on 15 minutes late, but won me over straight away with her 60’s hippy style, wouldn’t be surprised if she was wearing patchoulli oil. She did live in Brighton, now in Cornwall (what did tell you). Sang a song in which she and a guy walked past St Peter’s Church and where struck silent by the moon shining through the windows. Went on to compare an emotional moment with the feeling of joy she got when a seagull flew through her window into her bedroom.
“You see, the true love flies in the open window
like seagull in my bedroom.
It bashes about and it freaks you out, but law!
You just can’t stop smiling”
(‘Seagull’ from Bimbling, 2005)
She made up for the late start by going on until just shy of 11pm.
One of her best songs was about living in the now, not be-moaning the past best times or hoping for better times to come. Sadly I cannot find the title.
Had a great bit about not waiting for fame, but enjoying present obscurity.

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One Response to Brighton Festival Roundup

  1. fred says:

    My table at Bom-Banes (for Jo Neary) went round (very slowly), tho it it took me ages to notice! Talking about dear beer, I bought a gottle of geer (they’ve removed the Harvey’s pumps in the refurb) and a Jameson’s whiskey at the new Old Market the other night and the round came to over 10 quid!!

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