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Pete Atkin >> Gigs >> Another date for your London diary
(Message started by: S J Birkill on Today at 19:46)

Title: Another date for your London diary
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 19:46


Thanks to MV member Peter McKinney, Pete is booked to play the Poetry Society's Poetry Café (https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/) in Covent Garden's Betterton St, on Thursday 4th October. Once again it's a small venue (just 50 seats) but perfectly formed -- should bring the perfect audience for Pete's songs. No booking details yet, but we'll let you know when tickets are available.


Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by S J Birkill on 16.08.18 at 19:57
Poetry Café tickets now on sale from Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pete-atkin-at-the-poetry-cafe-tickets-49092462878 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pete-atkin-at-the-poetry-cafe-tickets-49092462878)

The tickets (all seated) are £12 (plus booking fee/VAT = £13.16). Book early -- the performance room holds only 50 or so.

Thanks to Peter McKinney


Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by S J Birkill on 10.09.18 at 16:53

https://www.peteatkin.com/images/poetrysmall.jpg (https://www.peteatkin.com/images/poetrysocposter.jpg)

Only one ticket left at Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pete-atkin-at-the-poetry-cafe-tickets-49092462878)!


Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by S J Birkill on 11.09.18 at 16:19
If you're interested, stay tuned -- there's a small possibility 4 or 5 more tickets may become available.

Title: Poetry Society event Sold Out
Post by S J Birkill on 14.09.18 at 16:30
Sorry, regret no extra tickets came through -- event is officially Sold Out.


Title: Poetry Society set-list
Post by S J Birkill on 05.10.18 at 17:18
MV member Colin Crookes has posted last night's set-list to the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/121229350012/). Here it is for anyone who's a member here but not there:

The Master of the Revels (k)
Touch has a Memory (k)
The Beautiful Changes (g)
The Way you are with me (g)
Canoe (k)
Screen-Freak (k)
A King at Nightfall (k)
The Last Hill that shows you all the Valley (g)
An Empty Table (k)
Beware of the Beautiful Stranger (g)

Have you got a Biro I can borrow? (g)
Me to Thank (k)
The Hypertension Kid (k)
All I ever did (k)
Senior Citizens (g)
Girl on the Train (g)
Thirty Year Man (k)
Laughing Boy (g)

The Flowers and the Wine (g)
The Original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues (g)

Coming soon: a review from member Andrew Curry.


Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by Andrew Curry on 07.10.18 at 00:31
Not so much a review, since we’ve all seen Pete sing these songs, more some notes on the gig–on the UK’s National Poetry Day, as it happens–at the Poetry Society Cafe, and organised by Midnight Voices member Peter McKinney. The space was the performance space in the basement of the Cafe, and it was, well, poetry-sized. I didn’t count the seats, but 60 people would have packed it out. (And did, since the gig had been sold out for several weeks). One advantage of this was that I more or less bumped into Pete as I squeezed into my seat, since he was chatting at the back. (The friend I was with, who had introduced me to Driving Through Mythical America in the days when it was almost young, was delighted to be able to say hello, and we both thanked him for a lifetime of listening pleasure. Pete’s response, being Pete: “I hope you still think that in a couple of hours”.

Colin Crookes has shared the set-list, so I don’t need to repeat that, although it’s striking how well the early songs perform in this kind of setting, perhaps because they were written and arranged for minimal set of instruments. The Master of the Revels opened the First Half, and Beware of the Beautiful Stranger closed it. Laughing Boy made an appearance in the second half, described I think tongue in cheek as one of Clive’s few autobiographical lyrics. And Original Honky Tonk Train Blues closed the evening, but I’ll come back to that. Girl on a Train was played as a blues, which worked well. Pete said in the introduction that if he went on playing it for much longer he’d have to start explaining what a “cheque” was.

As ever with Pete’s performances, the commentary between the songs was as interesting as the songs themselves. Before he sang All I Ever Did, which runs just under a minute, he mused that although most bands responded to the advent of the LP by taking it as a licence to write ever longer songs, it also provided the opportunity for much shorter songs. He’d got interested in that through listenig to Rodgers and Hart, who wrote some very short numbers in their musicals.

Senior Citizens, similarly, was influenced by musical form, he said: in this case the introductory verse that prefaces the song before the melody kicks in. I’ve never been a big fan of Senior Citizens, although I know Pete likes it (it was one of the songs that made the cut for Midnight Voices). I get that it’s a reworking of the French courtly romance, which is recurring theme in Clive’s lyrics, seen through the old rather than the young; but even when I was young, I felt that despite its empathy, the representation of age is a bit one-dimensional. Pete acknowledged in the introduction that when they wrote it as young men, he didn’t expect to be playing it when he was old.

French horns
And while we’re on music, Pete played The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley on guitar as a chugging blues, which worked well. He observed that it worked better with a band, and said that one of his regrets in orchestrating it on King At Nightfall was that he didn’t have the budget to put in some French horns. French horns, he said, are the reason that the song Singin' in the Rain suddenly feels like it opens up half way through. I hope that someone who knows the history of musical theatre and musical better than I do finds the time sometime to sit down and talk to Pete properly about all this stuff.

Other favourites: King At Nightfall itself was played as a ragged version with lyric slightly off the beat, which I liked. I thought it conveyed the disorder that had fallen on the king’s world. The title is a phrase from Eliot’s Four Quartets, apparently; Clive decided to take the phrase and explore it as a lyric. I could listen to Canoe over and over, which I heard Pete sing in a Cambridge folk club in the late 70s but wasn’t released on record until The Lakeside Sessions. He lost the lyric for a moment, and explained at the end that it was harder to remember because it doesn’t have a single rhyme in it.

Time and space
Being National Poetry Day, Pete introduced An Empty Table with a quick disquisition on the difference between a song and a poem. I can’t remember if this was in Ian Shircore’s book Loose Canon, but the theory was that because of the music, a song only exists in time, whereas a poem exists in space, on the page. Like other songs on Winter Spring, An Empty Table seems to be a conversation with earlier songs, in this case Between Us There Is Nothing.

Ian Shircore was there, with freshly minted paperback copies of Loose Canon. He told me afterwards that his book on Clive’s poems is now with the publisher, including a story about Jimi Hendrix, although I don’t know how that fits in to the overall story. Also in the audience was a woman who is visiting Clive at home three times a week to talk about poetry (I’m sorry to say I didn’t get a reliable note of her name). Clive had insisted she ought to come to the gig to hear the songs.

Oh yes, and the Honky Tonk Train, which Pete played as one of two requests by way of an encore. The first was for The Flowers and the Wine, which he thought was a downbeat note on which to end a show, so he asked for a more upbeat suggestion. Pete always introduces Honky Tonk Train Blues by explaining that it’s one of the few songs for which he wrote the lyrics for. I didn’t know this before, but he wrote it overnight for a revue show at the Cambridge ADC theatre, when a student, because the producer told him he’d written him in for a slot at the end of the first half. He borrowed the tune (from a couple of places) and wrote the lyric from a diagram of a steam engine in a 1953 children’s encyclopedia he had in his room. I hadn’t heard this story before, but the song certainly sent the audience home smiling. It always comes in handy if you want to catch cows.

Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by Peter McKinney on 09.10.18 at 15:21
Thank you, Andrew, for sharing these magical thoughts.  It was a superb performance. Pete was on absolutely top form - couldn't be better.

Title: Re: Another date for your London diary
Post by Seán Kelly on 13.10.18 at 14:15
Yes thankyou indeed Andrew for this report and accompanied musings - much appreciated!

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