Bad memories make good stories

Ok, so sometimes we’re going to get it wrong. Horribly wrong. Like we did a few months ago when we bought tickets and went to the wrong show.

How could we have done that? We asked ourselves over and over. But we’ve learnt – and we won’t make that same mistake again. We’ll just make new ones. No doubt.

A few months ago we saw an ad in one of the free magazines you get at the tube stations (those are fab sources of information, by the way!). The ad was for a “one night only” performance of SpiroGyra, in a cool old church building venue in North London, the Union Chapel. Does it get more hip and trendy than that? Well, maybe at the 100 Club. But not much more.

We really thought we’d stumbled on a well-kept secret; tickets were only twelve quid each and we managed to book them quite easily. No, we didn’t even start to get suspicious at that stage.

We headed off on our journey across London to make sure we got to the Union Chapel good and early. Seating was not pre-booked so we thought we’d be ahead of the masses fighting to get a good spot near the front. Our suspicions were still not aroused when we arrived and discovered that there were six people ahead of us in the queue. And, to be honest, about that number of people behind us. Even when the show started.

We went in, found brilliant seats in the second row, and waited for it all to begin. A very shy and diffident MC welcomed everyone (all 12 of us), and introduced the first of the three opening acts. As he shifted his weight from foot to foot, and read from his trembling script, we started to get the idea that this evening might not be all we had expected. Low-key was not a bad thing, though, we convinced ourselves.

Even when one of the opening singers responded to an audience “whoop” by extending her arms, palms facing the audience, and said, quite annoyingly, and eye-rollingly teenage-ish, “What?

I have to confess that the opening acts were excruciating. Each one of them. But we kept our chins up and thought it would be worth the wait. And imagine being one of a handful of people to see this amazing jazz fusion outfit? In London? One night only? Shu – all fired up with renewed enthusiasm, we managed not to yawn and shift in our hard seats too much for the next hour or so.

So, all the small fry were out of the way, and the inordinately bashful MC announced that the moment we had all been waiting for was now upon us. Drum roll please, as the stage was prepared for SpiroGyra. Our hearts sank, just a little, as we watched representatives of each of the opening acts – now all donning a variety of weird wigs – take their places on the stage. And on came SpiroGyra. A single gentleman. Wearing a purple dreadlocked wig. Made of wool. He began to sing and drum, accompanied by the previous “artists”. That sick, sinking feeling overwhelmed us, as we looked at each other, and realised we were at the wrong show. Big time.

We realised that the chap in front of us who had flown in from Romania had seriously specially flown in to see this singer. The front-row audience were seriously exchanging LPs (yes, not CDs) of this singer’s music. And we had come to the wrong show.

Our strategy was to get out as soon as we could. We planned our getaway – bear in mind we were in the second row of a very meagre audience, and leaving the venue would never be subtle. But leave we did. And quickly. And we ran to the tube station as fast as our legs would carry us. We welcomed the open arms of the tube like long-lost lovers. We sat down on the tube and laughed till the tears rolled down our cheeks. What were we thinking?

Immediately we got into our flat, we googled what we had just seen. And, having a look at the fine Wikipedia print, noticed something that might have alerted us at the outset:  This article refers to the British folk band. For the American jazz fusion band, see Spyro Gyra…

I heard an expression once that bad decisions make good memories. I’ve added my spin on that for the title of this blog. And now I have a new one: wrong spellings make bad concerts.

Sunshine signing off for today! We’re off to Manchester for the bank holiday weekend!


11 thoughts on “Bad memories make good stories

  1. I remember when that happened. Glad you snuck in a few pics to prove it all too. What a hilarious memory! Gotta have a few of those in life. I laughed reading this. You write really well. Enjoy your long weekend.

  2. I enjoyed that!!!!I remember we sat in a musical many years ago for about twenty minutes, shifting in our seats and wondering how to make our escape – the worst was some friends saw us leaving and when we saw them a couple days later they raved about what a wonderful show it was…

  3. Great story. Love your use of the word “briallant.” So British. I love when a Brit says to me “Oh, that’s brilliant” after I do something perfectly ordinary. Makes me feel like I just won the genius contest.

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