Ant Noel at the Somerset House

Last Tuesday 30th August there was a celebration at the Somerset House in Princess Victoria Street, Clifton Village, Bristol, where Gary Spavins was ending his tenure as landlord at the said establishment. The object of the exercise was to drink the pub dry and in addition was a celebration for the last night of the open mic night that had been put on there for at least a couple of years there maybe more by Ant Noel. It’s close to where I live and Ant has become a very good friend of mine over that sort of period of time. He pays tribute to me on his facebook page as his biggest supporter there week in week out. I didn’t make them all but probably about 75 per cent. As I say it was close to where I lived and my friendship and admiration for Ant’s musical skills made me happy to support him when I could.

To tell the truth it was never really a place that was going to seriously dig my music. But I persevered in performing my own material although tending to concentrate on songs that I felt were easy to understand like

The Airman’s Prayers

Children of the Sea

Early Rising Late

which we played on Tuesday.

Plenty of other songs were played over that time but those in particular were often repeated because Ant and I have them down pretty well. Obviously if Everton, was there as he was from time to time and thankfully this week he was, he would join in too. Also James whose speciality is The Wishing Well, though he’ll do himself proud on anything.

There was a bad spell in 2010 when it was mainly just me and Ant playing and there often weren’t many punters either (though they’d often turn up shortly before last orders and then clamour for music when it was time). But invariably there was some good part of the evening when things would come together. And certainly in the last 12 months (now is September 2011) there were quite a few lock-ins which generated extended sessions where we ended up playing Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry etc. late into the night. Apparently in the end some students complained about the noise and we had to be more careful. I’m not a smoker but actually I quite like that moment when the curtains are drawn, the front door shut and the ashtrays come out. There’s a nostalgia element there. The worst thing in my memory of tobacco legislation was when they had smoking carriages on the Tube in London. Before, anyone was allowed to smoke on public transport and you didn’t particularly notice it because you were used to it. But when they brought in that legislation most of the carriages were non-smoking and there was one (maybe 2 I don’t remember) where you were allowed to smoke. If you strayed into the smokers’ carriage through necessity it was unbearable because everybody just got straight in there and lit up. I mean why else would they be there?

Anyway whatever hopefully Ant and I will keep up some sort of musical collaboration from time to time. I will keep you informed.

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