Sunday, February 22, 2009


The 'Life After Bingo' gig at the Gregson was very enjoyable.
The evening kicked off with a couple of squares (rounds? frames?) of bingo, which was highly entertaining, and then names were pulled out of an envelope to determine the running order. I was drawn last, or 'top of the bill' as we say in the music industry.

First up was Jess Thomas, with her big voice and nice guitar technique. Really good.
Second was Jo Gillot with her tiny hands. Different guitar style – very fast and intricate, ditto her voice – and again, she was really good. And get this for an update from the future... she'll be interviewed and will play on Steve Lamcq's Radio Two programme in a couple of weeks. Excitement ahoy.
Third was a young lad called Kish, and – darn, wouldn't you know it? - he's a terrific guitar player too. He put on a wonderfully woozy, atmospheric set, although I hope he loses the John Martyn 'too drunk to care' vocal stylings sooner rather than later, and finds his own voice. But it was a great, solid performance. He's about fifteen or sixteen or something, the talented little freak.
And finally there was me, Idiot Johnson. Oh come on, it's show business - you've got to make a bit of an effort, no?

I played and sang a few bum notes, of course, but on the whole I was quite pleased with my little set.
I was especially relieved that a horrible cough (mine) called a truce for the thirty minutes I was on stage. It must have been the adrenaline taking effect, because it certainly wasn't the one-bottle-a-day-Buttercup-Original-Syrup habit I've recently acquired.
I sang some of my own stuff, and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For on kalimba, and finished with a low key piano version of Born To Run, which raised a few eyebrows, hopefully in a good way.

I believe somebody recorded the whole shebang, although I've not heard it yet if they did.
Everyone tends to be hyper-critical on hearing themselves played back – or at least, it's to be hoped they are – so I'm ready to concede that I was actually shit. At the time, though, I was buzzing and happy.

Girlfriend's new yoga friend S came along to watch, never having heard me sing before, and she didn't fall off her chair in hysterics or anything. I call that encouraging.
And of course, all I want now is to do it again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black Cherry 

Neil, my former team leader, came round this morning shaking a bucket.
He said he was collecting for Guide Dogs For The Selectively Deaf but we pretended not to hear him.

He stood there jiggling for a good ten minutes, maybe twenty, looking dumb and hopeful, as if he'd arranged to meet somebody on a blind date - “Meet me at ten in the sys admins' office. I'll be rattling a bucket of loose change. Wear something foxy” - before Terry, quizzical and sucking a cheap ballpoint, was the first to crack.

“Hey Neil,” he said, “Any good at crosswords?”
“Furious? Livid?”
“No, I mean newspaper crosswords.”
“Yes. I've heard of those.”
“OK then. Good.” Terry cleared his throat. “Overburdened postman?”
“How many letters?”
“Fucking hundreds.”
“Yes, but how many letters?”
“Fucking hundreds. It's a joke.”
“Oh, absolutely. A joke. That's very good.” He gave his bucket a little jangle. “But you're going to have to tell me. How many letters?”
“You've still a long way to go,” said Terry. “Somewhere between eight and nine hundred, if you must know.”
“I see. That's still quite some way, isn't it?” He stared long and hard into his bucket, then walked to the door. “I can't stop but ping me, would you, when they're all counted? The letters?”
“As soon as I hear anything.”

“That's pretty good, that,” I said to Terry, as soon as Neil had left the room. “'As soon as I hear anything.'”
Terry looked at me blankly.
“As soon as I hear anything? Guide Dogs For The Selectively Deaf?”
“Forget I even mentioned it,” I said, and poured a yogurt into my lap. Black cherry.

Friday, February 06, 2009


As my train approaches the platform, an identical train departs in the opposite direction.
For a brief moment, it's as if there's a huge mirror at the point where they intersect, but which image is the reflection and which is the train itself?

Or maybe what we have here is one elongating train, regenerating itself from the centre, a real-life CGI effect right under our running noses.
A second later and the supertrain is uncoupled, unstretched, on it's separate ways.
Is this what they mean when they say universes expand from the inside out?
We arrive, we depart, we come undone.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Copyright(c) 2004-2010 by Tim, A Free Man In Preston.
It kind of goes without saying, but this is my blog. I own it.

Slightly daft MP3 disclaimer: All MP3's are posted here for a limited time only. Music is not posted here with the intention to profit or violate copyright. In the unlikely event that you are the creator or copyright owner of a song published on this site and you want it to be removed, let me know.