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Over a year ago, I went to the amazing Gig and Art Show which was one of the rewards for Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter. And through a newsish friend I met on twitter and at that gig, I got an invitation to one of the Kickstarter House Parties, which took place on Saturday.

Mary Wollstonecroft
And Oh, it was fun. It was held at Newington Green Unitarian church, which is a very long established Unitarian (formerly Dissenters) church, dating back to the early 18thC. Mary Wollstonecraft was a member of the congregation there, and there is a graffiti portrait of her outside. It was also the first religious establishment n Britain to refuse to carry out any weddings, until gay people have equal marriage rights with those who are straight. So, all in all, a good and welcoming venue!

I was a little later arriving than I'd planned, due to First Great Western's inability to stick to their own timetable, but fortunately the party started a couple of hours before Amanda was due to arrive.


Amanda (and friend)

I wasn't quite sure, at first, whether I'd found the right place, but when I went into the building and the first person I saw was an incredibly elegant woman in an evening gown, FreakAngels tattoo and bottle of champagne in one hand, I knew I must be in the right place.

I only knew 7 or 8 of the 40 people at the party, (well, that's all I knew when I arrived. Later . . more than that!) While we were waiting for Amanda to arrive we did all the things you do at parties, chatted, drank, ate, founded a new religion...

The religion will be rolling out worldwide as soon as we can think of a really good acronym and a reliable source of communion absinthe. I think. I was enjoying myself too much to remember the details.


The Grooms await their Bride
There was music, too, even before Amanda arrived. Clara (our hostess) and several other guests had brought instruments and talents.

When Amanda arrived, she spent a little time mingling, then we all drifted through to the church. And around that point, it was decided to hold a ninja wedding, for three of the house party guests, Thomas, Meta and Aurelien.

With help from flower-girls, ring bearer, holders-up-of -the chuppah, photographers  and such, all  recruited from the guests.
Presenting the rings
(In case you are wondering, the chuppah was an (approximately) 70 year old, one-eyed fox fur stole named Nick (after Nick Fury).)

While the vows were being written, the rest of us sang some hymns (All Things Bright and Beautiful, and 'We Will Rock You', but not Bohemian Rhapsody,)

Amanda in the Pulpit

The Bride was radiant, and the vows were beautiful, and there was much love and laughter. I felt it was a privilege to be there.

Amanda and Meta duetted with 'What a Wonderful World', then, like all the best wedding, there was more partying.

We were treated to a fairy tale, and then Amanda played and talked to us, about love, and music, and her visit to Palestine, and then sang to us,  including 'Coin Operated Boy', 'Map of Tasmania' 'Vegemite', and a candlelit rendition of 'Hallelujah'.



And more mingling, and conversation, and hugs. And people sitting on other people's shoulders (well, if we're honest, mostly people sitting on Random Dave's shoulders) That one may have involved more absinthe, in at least one case.

Me'n'Amanda



 And, well, FUN.



The party ended all too soon,although even the clearing up stage, being in such good company, was more fun than the average party. (admittedly, the average party does not involve mugs of champagne)

I know that some of the other guests went on, later, to the White Mischief Hallowe'en Ball. I would have loved to go, but one must (occasionally) accept one's limitations, and I've sadly never really mastered the art of going without sleep, so I ended the evening asleep in a rather dull hotel, rather than partying with beautiful zombies and vampires.

And feeling very grateful that I had the opportunity to go to such a great party. Thanks again to Amanda, for coming to play to and with us, and to Clara who organised it all, and trusted us all to come, and pay our share.


 I think (and hope) that Amanda enjoyed it too.

(My full photoset is here ) Another nice thing which happened at the part was that Hijo told me that there is an article in this week's New Statesman magazine about amanda's relationship with her fans, which includes a photo from the London Kickstarter show.. which was a nice way of reminding me of where this whole party started..)
marjorie73: (Default)
The full title of the post should really be "In which there is family, and art and museums and friends and Rock and food and beer and meeting people and brownies and lots of fun" but that's a little too long.

You see, Wednesday was the day (night) that Amanda Fucking Palmer was performing in Manchester. when the tickets first went on sale, I had to decide between the London and Manchester shows, and picked Manchester because although it involved more travelling, I got to combine the gig with a visit to my brother, and to introduce him and his girlfriend to Amanda's music, which seemed like a good idea!

I drove up to Manchester in the morning, and was able to meet R for lunch (unfortunately, my visit coincided with the only-available-about-twice-year-and-very-useful training day he needed to do, so he couldn't take the afternoon off, which was a shame, but such is life. R works at the BBC, at Salford Quays. It was odd for me to visits the Quays, as they have changed almost beyond recognition since I lived in Manchester - the area was almost all industrial wasteland in my day...

After lunching, I went to look around the Imperial War Museum North -which has exhibitions relating to modern warfare, and in particular to the impact of war, so there were exhibits about victims of shell shock, and trench warfare, and about prisoners of war, and victims of concentration camps, (and those who were involved in liberating them) as well as about more recent events such as the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks. Not an uplifting experience, but both interesting and thought-provoking.

A little later, after nipping back to R's house to drop off my stuff and park my car, I got a tram into Manchester and spent half an hour in the Manchester Art Gallery. I only had time to visit a small part of it, but it was nice. They have some lovely Victorian decor - I liked the fishes and bees, for instance...

There are also some quite nice pictures - I didn't get as far as the Lowrys, but I did see the William de Morgan tiles, which were always a favourite of mine, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new art - the butterflies are by an artist called Claire Brewster, and are all cut from ordnance survey maps... I liked them a lot!

I didn't get to stay long, as the gallery closes at 5, and I then had to leave, after which I met up with R and his girlfriend, J, for supper (an American themed meal, involving milkshakes)

and then it was time to head to the cathedral. We went via Sinclair's Oyster Bar, which is a lovely looking half-timbered building (built in 1720, and moved a few hundred yards, after the 1996 IRA bomb and subsequent redevelopment of the area) We had some rather nice beer, and met up with my friend Hellie, who was also heading the the gig.

And so - the main event!

AFP watching the stage
I have been to Manchester Cathedral before, for services, but never for a gig - it made for a pretty awesome space.

 Once inside, we spotted Laurie Pink and Essers (which was good, because it turned out that Twitter had been hiding their DM's from me, when we were trying to work out if we could meet up!)

They had cunningly spotted that there was space to stand around the side of the stage, where there was a good view! So we did standing there, too.  There was some brass band going on at the other end of the nave , then the vicar came to welcome everyone. I suspect he doesn't get massive applause and cheering on a Sunday morning, generally...
Friendly vicar says hello

Jherek Bishoff
Then there was music. Jherek Bischoff played - including a piece called 'Cistern' which, he explained, was written in an empty, underground water cistern and rarely performed, but the cathedral seemed an appropriate space to try it in (for the record, it really, really, worked!)


After the second opening act, Amanda Palmer started her own set (having introduced the others) with an a capella version of 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley', sung from the top of the (medieval) rood screen, above an array of painted angels. It was stunning.

She then came down onto the main stage and was, well, Amanda Fucking Palmer. Most of the show involved songs from the new album,  Theatre is Evil, but we also got 'Leeds United'..


It was an awesome night. We didn't stay for the post-show ninja encore outside the cathedral, on account of having to catch the last tram home, but even without it I was on a high.

And when we got back to the house, R revealed that he had specially baked some chocolate brownies for me, as a bleated birthday treat, and he & J stuck candles in them and sang 'Happy Birthday' to me at midnight, which made for a lovely, if slightly surreal end to the day. (plus, I got a whole lot of delicious brownies to bring home)

(more photos, as usual, on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/tmarjorie/)
marjorie73: (Default)
At the gig on Monday, Amanda announced that the venue would be open again on Tuesday afternoon for the art, so I decided to go back.
The gallery was deserted so I was able to spend as long as I wanted with the art works.

On Monday, I'd found myself wandering around, and every so often I would see a picture and thinks "that's gorgeous, I wonder who made it?" and then I would read the label and, about half the time, realise that it was an artist I already knew of - some, like Kyle Cassidy and Molly Crabapple I was expecting, (you can buy prints of Molly's pieces here)
Molly Crabapple's art
Others, like Raliel, I should have anticipated but hadn't,Other artists included Judith Clute, Michael Zulli, David Mack, (I immediately loved his pieces, but it took a long time for the penny to drop and to realise that he also did the art work for the 'I Will Write With Words of Fire' prints from neverwear)

Some of the artists were new to me - I immediately fell in love with Vladimir Zimakov's linocuts,(also available as prints)

and was impressed with the photography skills of one Neil Gaiman, who seems to be a newcomer as a visual artist...

I was impressed, too, with the ability of one Amanda Palmer to draw so well, in addition to the singing.

Kambriel's gorgeous 'The Killing Type' dress presided over all, with bullets (or shell cases?) in the bodice..

Alone in the gallery, I was terribly tempted to see if I could take it off the mannequin and try it on myself. I didn't, but when I tweeted about it later, Kambriel said she would have let me, had she been there. I wish she had been!
Kyle Cassidy's 'Bed Song' art
But there was one piece of art which I kept returning to. The set of 5 pictures by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, of people, naked, in bed. I kept returning to them because the pictures are beautiful, of course, but also because they felt so real - the people in the pictures. The pictures were beautiful, and so were the people in the pictures.Every curve, every line, every sign of lives lived. Seeing them on Monday night, during Amanda's show, I loved them. Seeing them the following day, in the quiet of an empty gallery, I was moved to tears.

(22.06.12. Edited to correct attributions)
marjorie73: (Default)
So, as everyone must know now, Amanda Palmer decided to fund her new album via Kickstarter, and was spectacularly successful. I initially signed up just for the CD level reward, but then, after failing to get tickets for the public gig on Wednesday, and realising that I really wanted the Art Book, too, Not to mention the fact that every Amanda Palmer gig I have been to has been so much fun that I would always go to one, given the chance, I decided to take the plunge and back at that level. All of which resulted in my getting on a train on Monday, to go to London, to the Kickstarter Backers' VIP Art Opening and Gig..
I think it is fair to say that the gig lived up to and beyond my expectations!
The gig was at Village Underground, in Shoreditch, and was easy to spot. For a start, the club has several Underground railway carriages on the roof, and to be going on with, there was a typical Amanda Palmer queue outside - lots of happy people, dressed in a vast range of styles from ballgowns and dinner jackets to the most casual of clothes. While we queued, we talked, and as we got closer to the entrance a young gentleman (who we later learned is AFP's cousin) arrived and serenaded the queue upon the bagpipes!

On getting to the head of the queue there was the inevitable frisson of fear lest my name turned out mysteriously to be missing from the guest list (happily it wasn't!) and then the pleasure of being given a goodie bag, which included a mask and a free book, and stickers, and a felt-tip pen (do not forget the felt-tip pen, best beloveds). And all of this before the gig even started.

Village Underground is a big, warehouse style space - all red brick and girders, and made a good backdrop for all the wonderful art.

There was time to look around, and admire it, and to trade the little cards marked with 'The Very Hungry Caterpiller' for drinks at the bar, and to admire the outfits of the other guests, and then, and then, the music started.

First up, Princessin Hans - who sang to us of passive-aggression, got lots of audience participation, and ROCKED in a wonderful silver dress and almost equally wonderful ginger beard...


And later, Amanda chatted with us, and encouraged us to talk, and drink, and admire the art, and swap books,
And we did. and I think it was round about that point in the evening that I got to meet up with twitter-friend @MsClara, who is even more beautiful and entertaining in person, (and her husband, the marvellous Mr. Mitch Benn. And then there was a further musical interlude, this time with strings, by Jherek Bischoff - wonderful, beautiful, wordless music.
and it was the kind of evening where you sit on the floor of this space, and close your eyes to focus on the music, and then you open them and realise that the person who just sat down on the floor next to you is Neil Gaiman...
Then - the invasion of the Grand Theft Orchestra - there were masks, and flashlights, and a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress, and saws and knives and a loudhailer and new songs and old.
And the music spilled out into the audience, and the audience surrounded the band, and at some point there was a singalong 'last christmas' too, although I can't quite recall why..
Amanda sang 'The Bed Song', and 'Trout Heart Replica' from the new album, and Neil sang 'Psycho',
and EVERYBODY sang 'Map of Tasmania' and the 'Ukulele Anthem'.
and then - did you remember the felt-tip pen, best beloveds?
This was the writing on a rock star part of the evening,

There was so much love and so much happiness and laughter...
And then evening started to wind down, and there was chatter, and hugs, and signing of books (did I mention there was a book in every goodie bag?) Amanda and Neil visited a couple of 2nd hand book shops in Charing Cross Road to buy books for everyone, and Amanda was telling us whether each book we showed her was a 'Neil Book', or an 'Amanda Book' (Mine was a Neil Book, and one day someone browsing my bookshelves is going to wonder why I have a copy of Micheal Chabon's 'The Final Solution' signed by Neil Gaiman, and I will explain it is because it has Sherlock Holmes, and because Neil was married in Michael's living room, and they will probably give me a funny look and move on. And I won't care, because to me it will be another reminder of a wonderful evening, full of friendly strangers and magical art, when Amanda Palmer kissed me.
marjorie73: (Default)
Amanda Fucking Palmer’s gig was at ‘Heaven’, a club in Charing Cross – doors opened at 6, and I got there at about ¼ to 7, which was handy, as it turned out that that was more-or-less when the music was due to start.

Amanda came on, in her underwear, to announce the first of the two supporting bands, The Jane Austen Argument, and to acquire various shiny things for her crowd-sourced costume.

I haven’t seen the JAA before, and only knew of them from hearing ‘Bad Wine and Lemon Cake’on Amanda’s ‘Down Under’ album, but I would be very happy to see them again…

Sadly they only had time for a few songs, then Amanda was back to introduce the second supporting band, Bitter Ruin, who of course I have seen before, several times. They performed ‘Trust’, and ‘Chewing Gum’ and ‘The Vice’ , and it was all good.

And did I mention that I bumped into Roz Kaveney, and @Raliel (both of whom I’m met before, but neither of whom I’d arranged to meet up with).

I loved both the opening bands, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited about seeing AFP herself…

It would be fair to say I was not, in any way, disappointed (well, except maybe in that I was quite a long way back, and a lot of much taller people suddenly appeared on front of me, so I did not have as good a view as I’d have liked, but that’s life J)

Amanda started her set dressed in a slinky sparkly blue frock, a feather boa, elbow gloves and a hat, none of which lasted long! Soon she was in corset and pink lame shorts

She opened with ‘Astronaut’ and continued with songs both old and new – Missed Me, for instance, Guitar Hero, and several new songs, which she asked people not to upload just yet. There was a great rendition of Delilah, with Georgia of Bitter Ruin, and Neil Gaiman was lured up onto the stage to sing ‘The Problem with Saints.

Tonight’s (or maybe this tour’s) band is called ‘Grand Theft Orchestra’ and included the awesome Una Palliser on violin, (she normally, it seems, plays with Shakira) Super Kate, (who belly danced) a 3–man horn section (stolen from Eric Clapton) and of course a number of other special guests..


Another of the guests was Tim Minchin, who I have seen on TV, but never live – he played a delightful love song; ‘You Grew On Me (like a Tumour)’ And then the final guest was Tom Robinson who quickly had the entire singing along with huge enthusiasm to Glad to be Gay.


The encores included ‘Map of Tasmania’ and ‘Oasis’ and the gig ended with a mass rendition of ‘Leeds United’ – it would be hard to say who was enjoying it more – the gang on stage (including all the guests) or the paying customers, certainly everyone was singing, dancing, and generally having a fantastic time.


This gig has to have been the biggest high you can imagine – bottle the atmosphere and you’d make a fortune!

After coming out of the venue, I was happy to see the wonderful cycling piano moving away, having earlier entertained the queues, no doubt (it was parked, by the time I arrived)

I am so very glad I was at this gig. And even on the tube going back to my hotel I kept getting little bouncy feelings of happiness, as I saw other gig-goers, with beautiful tattoos, or butterflies in their hair, or multi-coloured hair, wending their happy ways home.

And did I mention that there were at least 3 people dressed as the 11th Doctor at the gig, and nary a raised eyebrow?

I didn’t get to sleep for hours, as I was still buzzing; I’m not sure I’ve ever been with so many people having all such a great time at once, before.

marjorie73: (Default)

I finally vanquished the YouTube demon and persauded it to let me upload! I give you Evelyn & Evelyn, and the Elphant Elephant song (from Saturday Night)



That was near the start of the show.

Much later, came the grand finale drinking song.

Yes, the camera **is** very wobbly. It's a drinking song. And Jason made us all get wasted by spinning in circles, before we were allowed to sing.;-) 


marjorie73: (Default)
Originally, back when the tickets for EvelynEvelyn first went on sale, and long before I knew Cheryl would be staying with me, the idea was to travel up to London on Saturday morning, see the gig, sleep, and head home early(ish) on Sunday, and I had prebooked cheap rail tickets with that in mind.
However, on Friday afternoon, my friend Cheryl mentioned that there might be an extra ninja gig on Sunday afternoon, that she was thinking of travelling up to London for the day to go, and would my train tickets let me stay too. . . Well, they wouldn't, but after checking out prices for new and more flexible tickets I decided it was doable, so we bought tickets for the gig, and arranged to meet up in Camden on Sunday once Cheryl's train arrived.
 
This meant that I had Sunday morning in London and I occupied myself with a soothing hour or so in the British Library.
 
Sadly, the new Maps exhibition doesn't open until 30th April, so I wasn't able to see that, but I did spend some time in the 'Treasures of the British Library' gallery, inspecting Magna Carta, Shakespear's handwriting, various illuminated manuscripts and the original, handwritten 'Alice in Wonderland' with Lewis Carroll's own illustrations.
 
This made me happy.

I then headed over to Camden, where I was able to grab some lunch, and enjoy the atmosphere of Camden Market, before meeting up with Cheryl and heading to the home of her friends the Clutes, who are lovely, warm and welcoming people, who live in a gorgeous flat filled with art and books and, as it turned out, rockstars and writers...

As we arrived, Amanda Fucking Palmer was just on her way out, to check out the venue - we were quickly introduced, and also met Amber & (a different) Jason, who I *think* are friends of Neil's..
 
Cheryl then took the opportunity to grab a quick interview with Neil, (Which has possibly the best opening question of any interview EVER), and which explained the chickens from last night.

Incidently, Neil did comment that he isn't really Neil Fucking Gaiman yet, as he isn't taking Amanda's name until they are actually married!
 
Then, when Amanda got back, Cheryl interviewed Amanda, about twitter, and gigs in space, after which Amanda & Neil left to do important pre-gig stuff.
 
Shortly afterwards, Cheryl & I went out to join Roz and @Cillygrrl14 in the queue, which was getting long, and quite full of ukuleles by that time.

 The venue, Underworld is in the celler of the World's End pub, and so is dark, and there are various places where you get good acoustics, but not a very good view of the stage, so for much of the gig I could not see much, although could hear perfectly! Unforunately it did mean that I failed in my attempt to meet up with another TwitterFriend, @MotleyHippie.
 
The gig itself?
 
Bitter Ruin, who opened for EvelynEvelyn on Saturday played, as did Robots in Disguise, who I think opened for them at the KoKo show - both had quite short sets,as of course time was limited, with another EvelynEvelyn show due to start, over in Shepherds Bush, at 7, but both were very good - well worth keeping an eye out for!

 
Jason & Amanda then both played - Amada started with 'Fake Plastic Trees', then they moved on to some covers of EvelynEvelyn songs, and some of their individual works - Icarus, Ways to Love, ElephantElephant, the Electric Blanket song,(including a bonus 'punk version) Also Jacksons 'BillieJean' and NWA's 'Fuck tha Police'..
We also got to hear 'Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass'
 
Evelyn & Evelyn wereresting, but their little cloth avatars were on stage (except for when they went crowdsurfing...) and a little later, Amanda follwed their example, crowdsurfing as Jason played 'Anarchy in the UK' - Amanda managed to surf across to Neil for a kiss mid-surf (met with huge cheers from the crowd!)

I think this one is my favourite picture from the show - incidently, I am 99% sure that that is the back of Neil's head obscuring the bottom of the photo...

Amanda was also persauded to to sing 'Gaga, Palmer, Madonna'


(This video isn't mine - it's mjdanby's . I don't know who he is, but he shoots good youtube!))

The atmosphere was amazing, and Amanda & Jason both gave the impression that they were really enjoying being there!
 
After the gig, we spent a little more time with the Clutes before heading home.
 
All in all, a wonderful weekend
(Originally posted at http://margomusing.blogspot.com/2010/04/rockstars-and-writers-and-friends-oh-my.html comment there or here)
marjorie73: (Default)
So, Saturday morning involved a fairly stress-free journey to London (after seriously confusing the bloke in the ticket office in Trowbridge, by trying to buy single ticket to go from London to Trowbridge on Sunday...)

Shepherd's Bush, where the gig was, is unknown territory for me, so I decided to head straight there to find the hall and my hotel, which (somewhat to my surprise, as I have no sense of direction whatsoever, I found them without difficulty, so had time to change, and find food, before heading back to queue!
 
It was an interesting queue. I met up with Roz Kaveney (having been introduced via twitter by a mutual friend), was given a small elephant by a passing pirate (only an elephant, not an ElephantElephant, as there are fewer of them..) and a twix bar, met a conjoined twin puppet, and all to the sound of ukeleles in the queue... There was even a very brief, fly-by appearance by a certain Crazy-Haired writer en route to the stage door...
 

Inside, Bush Hall is interesting - lots of chandeliers & mirrors, and small enough to feel intimate.
Opening for the twins were Bitter Ruin who I belive were originally only due to open for the twins at the 'extra' KoKo show - they were excellent - having spent all my cash on EvelynEvelyn CDs and beer I didn't invest in their CD at the gig, but I think I may have to do so now!
Then the beautiful Miss Holly Gaiman, wearing a wnderful black & red dress which I didn't manage to get a decent picture of, brought "The Lost Airman" (later unmasked as Thomas Dolby) on stage to MC the twins show, in place of Sxip Shirey, followed, after a little encouragement, by the twins themselves.
 
The right-hand Evelyn (from their point of view) was suffering from a nasty cold, (and even blowing one's nose can be tricky, when it requires the cooperation of one's twin sister...) but carried on like the trouper she is!
 

We heard of EvelynEvelyns background & birth (with visual aids)
 
And about the Chicken Man (which involved a brief appearance by a live chicken, which, I was later informed by a Very Reliable Source, was one which actually belongs to, and lives at, the Bush Hall... sadly, the chicken seemed to be a little publicity shy, and I didn't manage to take its picture during its brief appearance. The twins were sustained with Twixes, then, between songs, they answered some questions submitted by the audience, after which there was some singing about Elephants (with enthusiastic audience participation) I have been trying to get my video to upload, but so far, without success - I'll add it later if I can get it to work.
 
After a lovely rendition of "I just need MySpace" the twins left the stage, although the standing ovation they got was enough to bring them back for an encore (Love Will Tear Us Apart") sung from the balcony at the back of the hall.

If you haven't already got the album , go get it now. What are you waiting for?

After the interval, we heard from Jason Webley, (Who looks most unlike himself, without his beard!) and then by Amanda Palmer - first time I have seen her play 'Coin Operated Boy' live.
Then Jason was back, for the heart-felt duet (born of touring) "Electric Blanket" and not long after thatm the evening ended, with a wonderfully raucous, full participation rendition of Jason Webley's Drinking Song . .

It was a wonderful finale to a fantastic evening, and if I could have gone back and started all over again from the beginning, and done it a second time, I would have.

I headed back to the hotel, tired, but very, very happy. 

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