We had a somewhat interesting gig last night. It should have been an elegant and genteel experience after the somewhat surreal nature of our tour gigs so far. It was for a book launch at the Foundling Museum in London which, from the outside, looks like a rather nondescript telephone exchange, but once through the door, a tardis-like vision of baroque splendour.
The book, Vauxhall Gardens is a weighty, gorgeous looking tome about the famous pleasure gardens at Vauxhall. It looks lovely, and the authors, David Coke and Alan Borg were very nice themselves.
Things went wrong when Miss Wrighten opened her case to find the tailpiece, bridge and soundpost of her cello rattling around, unattached. Sig. Storace heroically held the fort with some harpshichord solos while Isabella and I frantically called around to find a replacement instrument. In the end, although we found someone willing to help us out, we couldn’t have got it to the gig in time.
I introduced the set with a reading from the epitaph of Johnathan Tyers, a famous manager of the gardens, I made Isabella’s apologies too, the audience thought I was joking and laughed, which is never a bad thing.
After politely listening to the first song, the audience then started talking and socialising. It was nice, in an informal, pleasure gardens way, but somewhat tricky in a I-can’t hear-the-harpsichord-or-even-myself kind of way. Isabella, meanwhile, worked the room like a pro.
Despite the fact that we were barely audible, the audience seemed to enjoy it, hopefully we’ll see some of them at our next performance in London on August 16th. It should have been a really tough gig, all things considered, but everyone was so nice and the atmosphere so sociable, that I rather enjoyed myself.
As an added bonus, I saw Sarah-Jane Downing, author of The English Pleasure Garden 1660-1860 on the train home. We had a lovely chat, and I bought her latest book, Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen, which she very kindly signed, and to which I look forward to reading tonight.