Sunday 1st June
Liberte! Egalite! Cabaret! was the excellent crowd-sourced name for the Queer Alternative's Pride fund-raiser, that I found myself mostly in charge of after volunteering to recruit Andrew O'Neill, who is a close
Facebook friend of mine. We hoped to raise £1,000 for the Pride float. We hired the Elixir Bar, who didn't charge us (yay for my DJ credentials there), and all of the acts except for EastEnd Cabaret and The Priscillas agreed to perform for free. (Those two gave us a big discount.)
We were heavy on performers, half of whom I'd recruited and half of whom had come through the cabaret scene via Shehzad. I volunteered my nervous self for the first slot, which was supposed to be with another group member, Alex Shutler. She was going to sing one song and play ukulele, then I'd accompany her on piano for "Coin Operated Boy", and then I'd play and sing the silly song I'd written in Berlin after being rejected -- for the third time!! -- by a girl I'd previously been sleeping with. Alex had come all the way from Manchester on the train to rehearse for a half hour. But on the day of the show, she texted around 11am to say she was too ill. This left just me
and one song. I debated whether to opt out, but I'd posted on Facebook that I was going to play a song I'd written, and Aden and sashagoblin
would want to hear it, and I'd have to bring my keyboard for EastEnd Cabaret anyway, so I figured I'd better not chicken out. In the shower I realised I could pull off a decent "Creep Or Without You", having sung it on my own while rehearsing for the Memepunks acoustic gig, to pad out my set into more than two minutes.
And so I put on my cabaret outfit (tux with tails and hotpants) and took a taxi down to the Elixir Bar. The requisite pre-show wrinkle was that Elixir -- despite their contract saying they were open from 11am Sundays -- wouldn't have anyone at the venue until 4pm. With so many acts, several wanted to soundcheck; the priority was the Priscillas, and one particular performer was getting increasingly agitated that he might not get his full half-hour to run through his act. In the end he did have enough time, and the doors opened only about 10 minutes after the advertised 6pm start time.
I went onstage at 6:30 to sing my songs. Ironically, neither Aden (who'd also come down ill) nor Sasha were there to hear them :( (Sasha turned up after Act 1, and I said, "It's great to see you -- but it's terrible to see you NOW.") It was scary singing in front of a crowd; I focused on pleiadeslion
who was in the second row. "Creep Or Without You" went fine after one initial stumble; I tried my best to just get through it and pretend no one was there. "She'll Shag Me In London (But Not In Berlin)" was well received, particularly the jokes, and I made it through that one as well in spite of my left hand starting to shake just after the key change. The lyrics resonated with a few of the punters there :) Maybe I should try my hand at stand-up...
The first two acts ran ahead of schedule. The Kate Bush puppet show was brilliant, and I got dragged into preachermuaddib
's sideshow act to stand on his head while his face was in broken glass. But running ahead of schedule meant a bit of an adjustment. Frank Flag wasn't on hand early for his set; Scott and andyravensable
held down the tables until he arrived. I asked both The Priscillas and EastEnd Cabaret if they could pad their sets a bit. EEC said they would add one song. Unfortunately, this is where things logistically started to go wrong. EEC's "one more song" extended their set from 20 to 45 minutes. And then it was time to call the raffle, which was supposed to take place with help from Andrew O'Neill. Unfortunately, Andrew was playing another gig nearby, and this gig was running behind
. So by the time The Priscillas got a chance to go onstage, it was the end of the night and they had to be cut off after three songs :(
That was the second worst thing that happened. The worst thing was that someone knocked the bar flap ONTO MY HAND just before the raffle, crushing my right ring finger in a most excruciating manner. Fortunately Preacher was on hand to provide first aid, and d_floorlandmine
gave me a lift home and helped me carry the keyboard and stand, which I now wouldn't have been able to do. I think I am going to have scars.
But! The best news is that when all was said and done, we netted £970 for the float! Which is much better than I'd hoped! The raffle prizes were a big help, but the turnout for the event itself was really impressive. Overall a great success -- and if I had to hurt my hand, thank goodness I did it AFTER playing two gigs back to back!