Friday, May 06, 2005



My life having revolved around libraries, revision cards and coloured pens for the last week I suppose it was unsurprising that the day that I put aside my work I ended up singing 'Girls and Boys', rather loudly and possibly not with much regard for either tone or key, on the Oxford Tube. Whilst this possibly doesn't excuse my need to start doing actions too, I'd like it stated as a mitigating factor.

When Nik and I had done emptying the Oxford Tube of all its passengers we made our way to the Bedford, via what we affectionately refer to as the posh burger place. McDonalds it ain't. It has fake Andy Warhols on the wall for starters. Children's meals consumed it was on to the Bedford proper, where we debated the merits of wearing sunglasses inside. So whilst the sounds of Riccardi's sound check floated through the front bar I found myself resolutely amused by wearing Coco indoors. Thankfully both of us had decided that not being able to see outweighed any comedy value by the time that Simon Guitar came and sat with us. Rather than discussing anything even remotely interesting I found myself talking about my current favourite subject - my looming finals and not for the only time that evening found myself discussing the merits and drawbacks of having to wear Subfusc. If someone could provide conversational prompts for me for the next few weeks that might be a good idea.

Rather than having a couple of acts do 20-40 minute sets Thursday night at the Bedford presents a series of acts who do a couple of songs in the first half and then a couple of songs in the second half. The only noticeable drawback last night was that Tony, the usual host, wasn't there and instead one of the performers had been drafted in at the last minute to do the links between acts. I'd say that my rugby playing is on a similar level to her ability to do this. It was all rather painful watching her die on her arse and get increasingly, and visibly, annoyed. But, this being the Bedford, and one of my favourite places in the world, the quality of the acts more than made up for how cringe making our temporary host was. I'd been intrigued beforehand to see Mel Blatt, if only because of the fact that in her former guise as one of the members of All Saints I'd danced to her songs at school discos. All Saints were, after all, the cool girl group when the Spice Girls had finished their five second burst of kitsch-coolness. And they single handedly brought combat trousers into the fashion domain. Even I had a pair. Since I would consider combat trousers to be a mistake in retrospect I'm not entirely convinced that I should be celebrating one of the causes, but the fact that I remember the ten second window when All Saints were cool meant that I was intrigued to hear what Mel would sound like. As it was she sounded exactly like she always did. Rather gentle and young sounding. In short, it was what Nik and I labelled "music to revise to". If anyone's wondering, though, she's absolutely tiny. Put in your pocket tiny. I did note that she had a very nice handbag though.

In the end Mel lost out rather spectacularly to the two other, much less known, female singers. Beth Rowley was a mass of curly blond hair and one of the most incredible voices that I've heard in the Bedford. The kind of voice that just makes you listen. It was hold-your-breath beautiful. At the end of her second set I even found myself whooping. Claire Toomey's music, in contrast, radiated that post "Jagged Little Pill" vibe; I loved it. I think she maybe needs a bit more confidence, maybe even brashness, on stage and a bit more of a quirky look but there are plenty of things that can be done about that.

Riccardi were somewhat blessed with being entirely different from all of the other acts and consequently got a very favourable reception. Ricci Drums had told Nik and I in a flury of "rock" hand signs during the interval that they were doing two new songs and we'd conseuqently been rather excited. And rather loud. Situated, as we were, behind the sound desk where it was possible for us to dance about at will, we were somewhat noticable to the crew. Cue us being told that "it's like there's a million of you". And in what was possibly the quote of the night Roberto, the sound engineer, felt the need to declare about us to nearby people "they bloody rock". Chuffed, us?

Putting aside my ego, the boys rocked too, though Louis Vocals rocked so much he had very scary eyes. Which did make me laugh a little. I'm not convinced that the five minute conversation we had with Billy Bass about jaffa cakes and it not being wise to dunk them was entirely rock and roll, though. Undoubtedly jaffa cakes are the rock stars snack of choice. Why wouldn't they be?

Having finally persuaded Billy Bass to show us his skateboard*, we made our sprint from the Bedford to the tube somewhat chuffed.

By the time we arrived back in Oxford it was to the news that Labour had won the election.

*That's not a euphemism it should be pointed out.


Cat said...

dunking jaffas?!! I can't even begin to describe how wrong that would be.

Nik said...

that's rad ;)

cat, according to billy bass, you then get to the orange bit quicker.

Cat said...

billy, billy, billy - what about the anticip........ation?

Darren Moynihan said...

Melanie Blatt was certainly my fave act in the Bedford that night! Loved her music and 'Love Sweet Love' is probably one of my fave songs EVER! Glad ya had a good night!

Anonymous said...

Feel free to come and check it out if you get time :-)

answer-man said...

site is

Anonymous said...

enjoyed it and I will be adding it to my favorites. I have a really cool