Thursday, 19 February 2009

In Which there is a Big Spike, music, and poetry, and a brace of authors

Monday’s planned highlight was the Amanda Palmer gig at the Sugar Club, but that was in the evening, so I had a day to explore Dublin a little (Louisa was working, bookshops sadly not being capable of running themselves) so after breakfast, and socialising a little with Louisa’s big beautiful cats, I set off to see the city!

I saw the Big Spike (which made me wish I had a Really Big piece of paper, to stick on it). It’s actually really useful, as it sticks up above almost everything else, so if, like me you are directionally challenged, you can use it to re-orientate yourself from time to time. I found Trinity College, and Dublin Castle (Which is surprisingly difficult to track down: for a castle it’s remarkably good at hiding. I didn’t go in, because you can only go round as a guided tour (Which is understandable, as it is still a working government building)and I’m not big on guided tours, but I wandered around outside, and while looking for the Chester Beatty collection I found that there is a also a Taxation / Revenue Museum! Whoever would have thought of having a museum about tax? I was intrigued, it was free, so I went in.

It’s very small, and has display cabinets with various counterfeit and confiscated items (an eclectic mix of wolf skins, counterfeit condoms and pirate DVDs) plus copies of cartoons and other historical documents involving commentary on tax – most educational. Did you know that the term ‘Daylight Robbery’ comes from the imposition of the window tax?

I also visited Christchurch Cathedral (Because I like cathedrals) which has some lovely tiles and stone carvings, and also a mummified cat and rat.

But you are waiting to hear about Amanda Fucking Palmer, and the gig….

The gig was at the Sugar Club, and the plan was that we would at some point meet up with Peter Murphy, Louisa’s friend (and recently published) author) who had been interviewing Amanda Palmer during the afternoon and who knows Neil from previous interviews.

We were running a little late, not helped by the fact that I had managed to turn my ankle so was hobbling fairly slowly. When we got to the club we had to queue briefly , feeling sorry for the people turning up begging for tickets and being told ‘no, it’s completely sold out’. Once we got inside found that it was filled to capacity and there was no seating left available, so we ended up standing right at the back, which had the disadvantage that we could only see the stage (or Amanda) intermittently, but the advantage of being very close to the bar. . .

The guy who opened for Amanda was an Irish guy names Rohan (I didn’t catch his surname) who played some cheerful ballads with titles like ‘the Undertaker’s Ball’

Then Amanda came on. I don’t often go to gigs, so don’t have much with which to compare it, but I loved it!

It was just AFP on stage with a piano (or, for a couple of songs, a ukulele), and a big room full of happy people. Amanda opened with ‘The wind that shakes the barley’, and the went through a full set which included ‘These are a few of my favourite things’, Astronaut, Ampersand, Mrs O, Dear Old House Where I Grew Up, Half Jack, ‘I Google You’, ‘Oasis’ – Amanda also read a poem which she had written. The show came to an end after about 2 hours, and then Amanda came back for an encore – she sang ‘Creep’ while wandering through the audience, accompanying herself on the ukulele and with the entire audience singing along… (link here - this is not my recording)

Peter had told us not to rush off, and when the show was over he took us backstage to chat with Neil, and another guest, Cheryl (who like myself, is a Somerset girl, and of whom more later), a guy named Jody, who I gather had done the publicity for Amanda's European tour, and one or two others. Amanda was busy at the door, signing autographs for, well, the entire audience, as far as one could tell. Neil's opening comment was "come in and help drink some of Amanda's beer" - well, who could refuse? Neil left after about half an hour, the jet lag having well and truly caught up with him, and when we left, after another 20 minutes or so, Amanda was still signing autographs.


Dragonsally said...

Oh my. You got to have beer with Boss.
I'm just sitting here WOW-ing.

I love that spike. I want one in my back yard, on a smaller scale obviously.

Cheryl said...

More later, eh? That sounds ominous...

Well done on finding video of Amanda's encore. Off to listen to it now.

Phiala said...

What tremendous fun!

When I was there in 2005, I attended a reception in Dublin Castle. No fuss with tour guides, AND there was wine. Some bits were roped off, but we had mostly free run of the public areas. Very attractive. I believe I have photos somewhere.

I don't think that beats beer with Neil, though.

Marjorie said...

Sally, me too. (the WOW)

Cheryl - not ominous at all (well, I wasn't planning to be ominous, but maybe now you've mentioned it...)

Chantrelle said...

That sounds awesome.

I had a hard time finding the castle when we were there too! I did and tried the tour but ben was only 2 so we only made it through part of it and everyone else on the tour hated me by the end ;-)

Glad you had such an amazing experience!

Ticia said...

My iPhone dumped the fabulous comment I was going to leave. ::sigh::

Suffice it to say - I love your travelogs.

Jess said...

Hee! That's a fun clip. Looked like a really good gig. I'd have happily stood at the back for hours for a performance like that.

Hooray for backstage beer! What beer, though? :)

ariandalen said...

That is so cool that you got to have a beer with Boss. Sorry you didn't get to meet AFP; maybe next time?

Now we just get to ruminate on what you may, or may not, say about Cheryl. CX

spacedlaw said...

That is a cool effect on the Amanda picture.
And so good of you to take a poppet along!

I am thinking standing all that time on a turned ankle must have felt rather awful.

Marjorie said...

Jess, it wasn't Guinness. (it was bottled lager - have to confess that noting down the brand wasn't my priority!)

Standing wasn't too bad - we did find a bit of wall to lean on, and my ankle was fine for standing, just a bit unreliable for walking.

Phiala, if they'd been serving wine I would absolutely have done a tour!

Marjorie said...

Oh, and the 'cool effect' on Amanda's picture comes from being at the absolute limit of my little camera's zoom!

louisa said...

I'm thinking we should have done a photo of poppet and cats just to get a sense of their Enormousness. Looking forward to Part Trois!