Today is my first Dollop at the age of thirty-one. From now on these Dollops will possess a marked increase in maturity, erudition and wisdom. Tomorrow I intend to write about stocks and shares, but for now, here’s part 3 of my account of Tuesday. You can read the first part here, and part 2 here. But don’t worry if you haven’t got time to read all that, as it’s not dependant on you understanding today’s Dollop.
Our gig in the industrial Canadian town of Trail was a surreal affair. I’d cut myself just half an hour before going on stage. Not deliberately. I mean, hanging around with Michael for days on end can be a bit gruelling, but it’s not that bad. I cut my lip while shaving.
I’d decided, half an hour before setting off for the gig, that I would have a shave. I thought I’d have plenty of time, but the razors I bought were just so blunt. I think the mistake was choosing to buy disposable razors in the airport. They probably blunt them deliberately for safety reasons. I’d seemingly chosen the worst place ever to buy a razor. I hadn’t had a shave for months, and after fifteen minutes, the razor had barely scratched the surface. Well, actually, that’s probably not the best phrase to choose, given that all this razor seemed to be capable of doing was somehow cutting the face beneath all the hair, while leaving the hair more or less fully in tact. These razors weren’t a deliberately ineffective terrorist weapon; they were just crap.
There was now just fifteen minutes before we had to leave. I would have to pick up the pace. I grabbed another disposable razor, and began to frenziedly shave. This razor seemed to be more effective than the previous one. I \plied my face with shaving foam and began to wildly take swipes at the beard, and I mean that in both senses of the term, as I was both shaving it and shouting profanities at it, because it still just wasn’t shifting anywhere near fast enough. Twenty minutes later, the beard was off, but I’d made a gash in the top of my lip which was pouring with blood.
There wasn’t time to do anything about it, except hold a tissue against it. Half an hour later, we were on stage, and my mouth was still pouring with blood. If this had been back at home in Britain in a folk club, a festival or an arts centre, where most of the audience know who we were, then this could have been really funny. If I’d come on stage with my face pouring with blood in front of a late night festival crowd, then it would be hilarious. We could make something of it. But when an audience have no idea who you are, have never seen you before, and you’re in a park at a council-run family event, then the reception you get is very different.
And it happened yet again. We were introduced as an Irish band. The first thing I planned to do was to come on the stage and make a joke about this, but when I opened my mouth, blood came out, which kind of changed everything. Whether we were Irish or not was neither here nor there to the audience, who were more interested and distracted by the man standing on the stage, dripping with blood.
It was a strange setup anyway, regardless of the blood bath element. It was an outdoor event, and the audience had all brought deck chairs to sit on and food to eat. There were meant to be nearly a thousand people in attendance, but the crazy storm earlier, and the storms that were currently happening just a couple of miles away, had apparently put a lot of people off. The 200 people that did make it were interspersed all over the park, and no one was sitting very close to us. This kind of gig is especially difficult for me, because the distance of the audience to the stage, along with the fact that it’s outdoors, means that I can’t really hear the audience responding. And unlike the other two, I’m not able to get any visual feedback about how the gig is going. Add all this to the fact that my mouth was pouring with blood, and you can maybe understand why I felt pretty uncomfortable with things.
On top of that, the sound wasn’t very good at all. We came onto the stage, having just been introduced as Irish, to the sound of deafening feedback. This probably added to the audience’s confusion even more. They thought they were getting an Irish folk band, but then they got deafening feedback and an Englishman spitting blood at them, and they maybe started to wonder whether the organisers had booked the wrong group, and had accidentally got an English death metal band instead.
The gig was by no means a disaster though. People were clearly enjoying the music, and there were many who were laughing at my bloody mouth saga. Someone threw some plasters onto the stage. I tried wearing a plaster, but it proved almost impossible to sing, as it clung to my face and the blood congealed underneath, meaning that I could hardly move my lips. You can hear parts of that gig on a forthcoming Young’uns Podcast.