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Sarcenet to Sabulous September

What a month!

31 days ago (on the 1st of Sept) I performed a debut gig in a small Greek Taverna, about halfway through the first set a customer from a table at the front of the venue (seating 30 people which was the vast majority of the clientele) asked would I let him say a few words through the microphone.

He proposed a toast to Debbie, the best ever daughter, mother, sister, auntie and everybody’s friend, please raise your glasses “Happy Birthday Debbie”. As the guy walked away I started to sing happy birthday, he immediately turned and gestured to stop, I did.

A moment later one of the younger guys on the table came over and told me that Debbie had actually died a few weeks earlier and this was a memorial get together on the date that would have been her birthday. He asked me to play a Barry Manilow song for her which I did and got a £20 tip.

There were a few more gigs at the beginning of the month but then on the 6th I travelled to India. The adventure was fantastic the punters, musicians and the group I was travelling with were fantastic, memories of the roof top restaurant in Dharamshala performing with an Indian band and the gig in a hostel in Varanasi will remain with me always.

Returning to the UK it was straight back into the home routine, a regular (residency) gig at Rixos was steaming and the punters were up to party, this was followed by an acoustic (no microphone gig) in The Imperial Courtyard was well appreciated however towards the end of the evening my voice stated to feel tired, this is very unusual for me but I think that the month was just too full on and my vocal folds thought this final performance (without a microphone) was the final straw.

I awoke yesterday with no voice! So spent the day sucking Vocalzones, drinking Green Tea (with honey and ginger) and not speaking. In the afternoon I went through a heap of material working out which songs could be transposed down a few tones so that I might have a chance of hitting the notes. I was still really dreading the gig in the evening but I could not dep it out as it was a debut.

I posted the gig on Facebook but didn’t get any responses.

From outside The Prince of Greenwich is a normal looking pub, I performed there about 12 years ago when it was a normal pub inside. The current owner is the most beautifully and completely mad Italian guy who has travelled the World, loves people and loves his pub. His clientele all love him, the family speak in loud happy Italian. He has filled every piece of wall and floor space with weird and wonderful things he has collected on his travels. It is no longer a pub but an experience that you have to take part in to believe (visit once you will certainly go back).

I was not sure if I should warn him of my vocal disability, he has never heard me so would think I was making excuses? I chose not to, he invited me to eat with him. One of the best pizzas I have ever tasted arrived at our table. His wife joined us and we spoke of the joys of travel (they left Italy about 35 years ago and have spent their lives travelling the World).

I was concerned about the time however my host told me to relax, I should start my performance when it felt good to start and that would be some time after we had enjoyed some wine. While we were eating the pub started to fill and to my amazement so many friends who I have not seen for years and years appeared, some friends from the Greenwich Inn, some musician friends, some friends from the Novotel and some from Dover St is was just wonderful to see them all. Strangely I felt better because at least now the pub was full of punters who knew that I could usually sing (even if tonight I was going to sound like Lee Marvin). Transposing the songs worked, the songs were very different (3 tones down) but strangely interesting. Amazingly as the evening wore on the gravel and sand in my larynx was washed away by the good silky Italian wine my host was plying me with. The second set turned into a party with a guest singer (who was very good) and some very entertaining dancers, we went Uptown Top-ranking and the good mannered crowd enjoyed Special Brew.

September was a very good month, other than 30 hours of dehydrated delusion in Delhi I loved each and every minute of it

.prince-of-greenwich stops georges imperial rixos open-mic-1-bw

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About Tobias. A. Hogg

My daughter, my nephew, Christian Scientist actors and now even my 80 something mum are all doing it and I have decided to have a go. My intention is to record things that intrigue or amuse me and the source of my experiences is probably going to be centred around my chosen profession gigging singer, but who knows what future blogs may bring.

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