Yesterday I did one of the more unusual gigs of my career, at Cambridge’s Pink Picnic 2005 (‘the biggest open-air gay event in East Anglia, ever!’ – would you believe it?)
I spent most of the set ad-libbing around a keyboard which seemed only to want to make Hitchcock-style atmospheric string sounds. Since I couldn’t get it to work, I left it to the techies and entertained the gathering crowd with entirely spontaneous and non-musically oriented chatter. By about ten minutes in, there were six techies on stage all trying to make the keyboard work, and no sign that they were having any success. On the bright side, it was the best warm-up I’ve ever done, and by the time I got started properly I had a far larger audience than I’d had to begin with.
It was just rather a short set.
But to make up for it, they presented me with a parasol, a gesture which nearly moved me to tears.
I did a performance of the increasingly dated Michael Howard song which made a small boy (who surely shouldn’t have been there at all) nearly wet himself laughing. In spite of his youth, it was evident that he knew exactly what the word ‘scrotum’ means.
The rest of the ‘picnic’ (I use the term reluctantly for there was not a hamper in sight) seemed to consist of different tents with peculiar things happening inside them (one of them had two half-naked men picking up litter on stage – was it part of the act? – it had a large audience, in any case) and something called ‘Pink Idol’ which you’ll just have to imagine.