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Blog: Croxjam

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On Saturday it seemed like everyone I knew was going to the big TUC March - I had no idea it was happening until the day before, when I kept getting messages asking if I was going, but couldn't anyway as I was booked to head to distant CROYDON to play at "CROXJAM", their all-day multi-venue GIG for Oxfam.

In all honesty I'd originally thought "I'll just pop over, do my gig and come home, and not much will happen", but this thought was ERRONEOUS. As soon as the timetable came out I knew I'd need to be there a while, as my venue was hosting Superman Revenge Squad, Tim Eveleigh AND Jenny Lockyer all in a row not long before MY bit - three Totally Acoustic acts in one go, I couldn't really miss THAT could I?

ALSO it ended up being full of people - including the ever marvellous Mr Dave Green, JD & The Longfellows (who I couldn't stay to see, unfortunately) and Mr Spoons, who'd brought some pals down. Over the course of day i had a LOT of chats, and filled up my Notebook with a whole PAGES of Further Actions and Outcomes. Croydon is the place to BE - I ended up getting some AMAZING ideas about Dinosaur Planet from Jenny, another possible date for Total Hero Team warm-ups AND another Green Dragon gig from Tim, a possible OUTING from Dave, ANOTHER gig possibility via Mr Spoons, and a possible Amateur Dramatic Society production of Dinosaur Planet! It was all a BIT MUCH really, and after all that i THEN had to get up and do a GIG, as follow:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was HARD WORK. I was on about 7.20pm, by which time the large room had filled up with quite a lot of people... who were quite happily CHATTING to their friends. This had started with the chap on two acts ago, who'd done INSTRUMENTAL songs - they were very nice, but did invite CHATTING, which continued over the next act and carried on for me. I asked the soundboys to make me "incredibly loud", but they could only do so much, so I was repeatedly tempted to turn the microphone stand heavily to my left and do the whole show to the half of the room a) featuring pals b) listening, but this had to be RESISTED. "Come on Hibbett", I thought, "there's a room full of people to CONVERT here, don't just take the easy route out!"

    THUS i tried FIXING people with LOOKS and doing audience participation, and NO QUIET ONES. This worked all right - some people drifted away, but I got at LEAST the half of the chatting room nearest to me to turn and look and listen. It was feeling GOOD - Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid got people singing along, I felt like I was starting to WIN... and then my pick-up conked out!

    LUCKILY i was near the end of the song, so managed to pretend it's MEANT to finish acapella, but then had to VERY QUICKLY get the young soundboys to rig me up a microphone for the guitar, whilst attempting to carry on talking and MAINTAIN CONTROL of the room. I don't think I quite managed it, which was a shame, but my traditional last two songs went some way towards WRESTING control back, and we did have a bit of a "Boom Shake The Room" singalong.

    It was EXHAUSTING though, and I did feel I'd put the effort in - I always say that EVERYONE should do these sort of gigs JUST as much as they do the nice easy ones where people come pre-prepared to listen, but GOODNESS ME it's a lot HARDER this way!

    Still, all seemed to be well so I finished off my BOOZE, did SEVERAL hugs and thank yous and headed off back into the night, my aforementioned notebook LADEN DOWN with things to do and exciting new ideas. Every time I tell people I'm off to do a gig in Croydon it always sounds like a Joke Gig or something - "Croydon" is one of those place names that people who've not BEEN there will use as shorthand for a dump or boring place, but GOODNESS ME it is one HECK of a HUB of activity, creativity and ACTION. I'm still knackered even now, I'll need a few weeks to get my energy back before attempting another visit!

    posted 24/10/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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