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Blog: Singing Alan Moore To Alan Moore

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On Wednesday night I found myself heading up to Northampton for an unexpected gig. Mr Robin Ince had emailed me on Monday, asking if I fancied popping up to play with him and Mr Michael Legge at their Pointless Anger Righteous Ire night. "Why not?" I thought to myself, so headed up... though not before spending a large part of Wednesday afternoon trying to work out how to play The Ballad Of Alan Moore. He is, after all, Northampton's favourite son and also one of my all-time HEROES, so it would have been rude not to, though GOODNESS ME it has some STRANGE chords in. Usually re-learning my own songs is PEASY as they only have three chords, but this had SEVERAL!

Anyway, I got to the venue, the NN Cafe, to find that it was nice and small and so i wouldn't need a soundcheck. I got a beer and went upstairs for a chat with Messrs Ince and Legge. This seems to be the thing to do if you're EITHER a comedian OR an Rock Band, as these are the only groups of people I know who ESCHEW Chatting To The Audience. It was all rather jolly, but still felt a bit naughty to be sitting in a HUGE cold attic rather than saying hello to people.

We came downstairs and the first half kicked off - the basic idea of the show is that they talk about things that annoy them then the audience votes on whether it's Pointless Anger or Righteous Ire. They then take suggestions of similar from the audience - it's rather an ELEGANT way of framing them getting ANNOYED, and was VERY funny!

Just before the break Robin started talking about getting their guest on to do a song i.e. ME - there had been some brief mention of maybe doing this, so I could possibly sell some CDs in the interval, but I'd forgotten about it! Thus I wandered on and said hello then had to COVER while I got my guitar out and TUNED it. I did It Only Works Because You're Here, which went down all right, though once I'd got offstage for the interval i did realise that I'd just done my BEST song, and had to go on and follow it with four more!

On stage I'd noticed that Alan Moore HIMSELF was sitting on the front row! As I say, he is very much one of my all-time HEROES, and so I WRESTLED with whether or not i could, or SHOULD, do my song about him. On the one hand, it might seem WEIRD and he'd come out for a fun evening without being HASSLED, but on the other... well, i couldn't really NOT, could I? Thus I came back on and did THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • The Ballad Of Alan Moore
  • Get Over It
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • It was a HUGE amount of fun - Mr Alan Moore took the whole thing very well, and I got to say the "Thank You" bit directly TO him. I'd worried that Normal (i.e. non-comics reading) People in the audience might not understand half of it, especially the bits about alternate universes, but this didn't seem to matter and it was a DELIGHTFUL experience, which led to the rest of the set going pretty good too. It was certainly the NICEST one of these comedy-type gigs I've done - i have learnt before that comedy audiences prefer SLOWER songs, so did all of the above at a much slower tempo than normal. It seemed to work!

    I sat back down and Robin said that if people wanted to buy CDs they should hassle me - Alan Moore himself shuffled over so i gave him a copy of Dinosaur Planet, and then very quickly had to RUSH OFF to get my train, stopping to WAVE to the audience before i went. They all waved back, it was lovely!

    Only when I left did the full factual force of FACT hit me: I'd sung the Alan Moore song TO Alan Moore AND Alan Moore now owns a copy of Dinosaur Planet!

    I staggered into the station to find that Northampton is one of those stations where they've decided to improve things by HIDING STAIRWAYS and REMOVING ALL SIGNAGE. I had a PANICKED five minutes of running around desperately trying to the entrance to the station, then to find my platform, then trying to work out how to GET there, but eventually MADE it, sat down, and breathed a sigh of relief. What a WEIRD, but also FANTASTIC evening it had been!

    posted 21/2/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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    posted 21/2/2014 by Adrian Taylor

    That's brilliant Mark. And now the world thinks you saw Alan Moore and just wrote a song off the cuff - you're the Richard Stilgoe of the 21st century!
    posted 21/2/2014 by Gareth

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