It was a race against the clock. Darren and Lorna had to get to Victoria station, via the Tube, by 11pm. At Highbury and Islington Tube station, they raced down the corridors, bustling the slower movers out of the way. Dawn and I were having problems keeping up with them.
Dawn was also in a bit of a hurry. She had to get to Waterloo by 11:15 to get her train home. I was the only one not stressing. I’d told Dawn it would take 20 minutes (it took 25) and we left the Union Chapel at 10:30. We arrived at Waterloo just as her train was pulling into the platform. I said goodbye as she boarded it and went for a coffee.
We’d been at the Union Chapel to see Thea Gilmore in concert. I first saw (and heard) her when she appeared in Hadestown, also at the Union. That was way back in January 2011. I thought she was superb and bought her (then) latest album, Murphy’s Heart.
She has been on a 17 date tour, the chapel being the 16th. And she was fantastic. She has a wonderful, gravelly voice and amazing song writing skills. Here’s the official video for her song You’re the Radio.
Her band was also very talented. A bassist, drummer, keyboard player and guitarist all combining to make some beautiful music. She’d borrowed the drummer and bassist from other bands, while the woman on keyboards has a solo career. The guitarist is her husband, Nigel Stonier. Most nights of this tour, their six year old son has played violin at one point in the show but, sadly, not tonight as school must come first.
Supporting Thea was a wonderful singer/songwriter called Fran Smith. She plays keyboards and sings beautifully. I am always amazed at these young performers who sit on stage alone but for their own instrument in front of a big audience. They exude such confidence and always manage to connect with the audience – very important for a folk singer.
Here’s Fran performing, unaccompanied at a folk festival in 2011.
It was unanimous among the Weasels, they were both fantastic and thoroughly enjoyed by us all.
The rest of them (John, Lorna, Darren, Lindy and Dawn) had started the day at the Bronze Exhibition at the Royal Academy and I met them in the wonderful Salisbury pub near Covent Garden. John is so familiar with this pub that he’s on first name terms with the owner…Which meant we had excellent service.
We were also joined by Totty (Lindy’s daughter, John’s niece) as she was passing through on her way to dinner.
All up, it was a lovely afternoon/evening/night except for one (not so) small thing. The seating at the Union Chapel, obviously, is composed of pews. Pews are extremely uncomfortable when sat on for very long periods of time.
It makes me wonder why God would want his flock to suffer sore bums and backs rather than insist on upholstery. Is there a passage in the Bible that states “Thou shalt sit on extremely uncomfortable furniture in order to thank me for everything I have done for you. Think not of any comfort and your reward will be in heaven, complete with cushions and back rests.“?
It seems to me that the church would have a few more in the audience every Sunday if they’d just make it a bit comfortable. Instead we get Pew Back, a known medical condition that is, fortunately, not permanent but hideous while being inflicted.