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items (an eclectic mix of wolf skins, counterfeit condoms and pirate DVDs) plus copies of cartoons and other historical documents involving commentary on tax – most educational.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.
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.