As a Girl Guide in Cyprus in the early 1990s I thought I had it good. Singing, dancing, doing crafts, collecting clothes from the neighbourhood for recycling…it was a lot of fun. The annual Guide camp was the pinnacle of the year – I loved camping out under the stars and cooking breakfast over a gas stove every morning. The in-fighting, bullying and politics were another matter, but to get the opportunity to do all those things was great.
Last Saturday I saw just how far Guiding has come. Wembley Arena was host to the Girl Guide Big Gig 2006 - a pop concert open to Guides from around the country and starring Shayne Ward, Sugababes, Lemar, Lil’ Chris, Matt Willis, Orson and a couple of fairly nondescript new pop acts. A far cry from me and my fellow Guides reciting Romeo and Juliet to each other and making up dances Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’.
There were two packed out shows on the same day to accommodate all the girls who wanted to come and the atmosphere in the venue was brilliant each time. Lemar, Alesha and the Sugababes gave brilliant vocal performances but I was disappointed to see Jamelia miming – she went home ill after the first show though so perhaps that was why. Alesha made a point of talking to the girls between songs and reminding them to stick together and support each other, which I thought was really great, though after having been refused an audition for her band recently because her management “aren’t interested in female musicians”, I think she and most of her fellow pop artists could do a little more to even the balance. I really liked her single, though, and she dealt with some technical problems very professionally.
My weekend was rounded off nicely with an impromptu guest vocal as part of Open Mouth’s set at Viva Viva in Hornsey on Sunday night. What a great little venue - a world music bar/restaurant serving really delicious food, a big selection of cocktails and really nice milkshakes, too. Open Mouth played alongside Geoff Moore and Milltown’s Grace as part of A Night With David Goo, put together by, yes, David Goo (did you guess that?). We performed ‘Elegy’ by the tragically underrated Carina Round and laughed uncontrollably as the marvellous David Goo sang songs about bugs and hairy men.
Last night my sister dragged me away from eBay to see Enid Blitz play at the Horse & Groom in Shoreditch. Fronted by the ever dapper Barney Wade (an old pal from the Bury St Edmunds music scene), their punchy half hour set of seemingly sunny pop contained songs about World War 1 and 1960's architecture and they fought bravely against the two pronged drawback of zero-stage-lighting-in-a-dark-room and no-vocal-volume to prove themselves worthy of another listen. They’re based in Brighton but return to London for the Electric Proms @ The Barfly on 29th October.
In the audience were the boys from the brilliantly named Pull Tiger Tail (formerly of Antihero). Another band well worth checking out on MySpace, and they’re taking over Frog @ The Mean Fiddler this Saturday 14th October. If I wasn’t playing at someone’s wedding I’d definitely be there.
This Week's Five
1. Bug Party – David Goo
2. Love Buzz - Open Mouth
3. Paul Simon – Milltown’s Grace
4. Someone Else's Problem - Enid Blitz
5. Let's Lightning - Pull Tiger Tail