So there we are then - we've had over 12,000 viewings of the Balcony Shirts song for Queens Park Rangers on YouTube and are in the top 30 country music downloads on iTunes as I type this, as well as getting a revue in no lesser publication than The Guardian! We'll be playing it live on the centre spot before for the first home game of next season at this rate!
Your humble narrator wasn't expecting to have any gigs over the weekend just gone, and so was readying himself for another episode of the all-too-sporadic 'Vinyl Rules!' column as I'd have time to transfer some more records over to digital format - however sometime on Wednesday I was asked by the long-suffering Shirley if I would like to contribute to a charity evening that she's involved in at The Battle Of Britain Club in Uxbridge on Friday. 'They're having a 'Britain's Got Talent' theme and Nick the organiser wondered if you'd like to do some solo guitar in the interval, maybe 10 minutes or so?'
What I should of course have said is something like 'I haven't really got time to get anything together at such short notice' - you and I both know I didn't say anything of the sort...
With Voltarol's radio show playing in the background (he played a 'Tommy' medley by Victor Biglione for me as well as mentioning this blog! Thanks Mr. V.!!) I re-strung my acoustic guitar and wondered just what I'd let myself in for. Solo acoustic guitar pieces are generally not very long - well the ones that I can play aren't anyway! - so I'd need five or so to manage the allotted time. Well there's the stuff that I played a Dave's funeral last week, and there's an Ike Isaacs piece called 'Just Funky' that I had a go at ages ago and might be able to remember, and I've been looking at 'Some Summer Day' by John Fahey, and there's that little idea of mine that I've been working on, and I've always fancied a go at 'Bron Yr Aur' by Jimmy Page... that should be enough shouldn't it?
As it turned out it was more than enough. I would estimate that 95% of my audience were young bank employees (Nick is a bank manager) unlikely to be interested in the likes of Isaacs and Fahey (I didn't bother playing either of their pieces - oh well, maybe next time?) even if they hadn't been queuing for their meals. Up until that point in proceedings they'd been entertained by 5 acts in 'Heathrow's Got Talent', although a better description of things might be 'watched some of their workmates make idiots of themselves and watch some others be surprisingly good at singing / dancing / comedy etc'. That said there were a few people listening, and a mention of Mr. Page got a beery cheer from the darkness to my left; I was just about to start said tune when a large gentleman came up to me repeating a car number plate several times in my general direction then demanding that I tell the driver to move it immediately. I referred him to the D.J.... I left the stage to what I thought was total indifference and thinking something along the lines of 'huh - I've been ignored by bigger and better audiences than this lot'; however quite a few people came over to say that they'd enjoyed it, and the long-suffering Shirley (who by now had been given the job of distributing the aforementioned food!) said that plenty of people had been listening. From my point of view I was relieved that I hadn't been as nervous as I'd been at Dave's funeral, and I played quite well although I feel there's still a long way for me to go before I (ahem!) launch my solo career - if indeed I ever do!
After the show Shirley and myself made the short journey to The Gardeners Arms to catch an hour or so of the Ace! club night, and very good it was too. Scott from Balcony Shirts basked in the glory of The Guardian piece, Shirley's brother Trevor introduced us to what felt like everyone in the place (he's a regular there, fairly obviously) and every record that was played was a classic. A good first night for Darren and Simon - let's hope there are many more to come.
In the meantime it's been very busy in the shop - maybe thanks to the song, maybe not? - and there is more acoustic guitar playing on the horizon this week. Following on from our impromptu performance last month I'm teaming up with Alan and Pete from The Good Old Boys for a performance at - you've guessed it! - The Load Of Hay next Sunday. Now officially christened The Rikardo Brothers (don't ask me, I only work here etc) we're rehearsing this evening- not entirely sure sure what material yet, but it should be fun...