To Oxford on Bank Holiday Monday to see a friend and a gig. London was grey and seemed pretty quiet on my way to Paddington, operating at Bank Holiday public transport pace. I missed the 11.10 train having forgotten, like an amateur, that the Bakerloo line isn’t stopping at Paddington at the moment; funny how even an escalator replacement project in tyr opposite corner of town can make south-east London feel more cut off from the west of the country.
Oxford seemed quiet too, not packed with tourists as I expected. I was there to help out a friend who was promoting a gig by Daniel Romano, a Canadian singer-songwriter who changes a significant chunk of his concept and aesthetic from album to album: a cause of delight and confusion amongst his fans, we learnt later.
With time to kill we walked up the wonderful Cowley Rd taking in Truck Records (where I bought the latestWoods album, which I’d been listening to on SoundCloud for a while), past a ‘speed queen equipped’ laundrette, and had a pint while watching simultaneously two great (well, maybe…) sporting occasions: England finally closing out a match against Sri Lanka that should have been won much sooner, and Wimbledon beating Plymouth in the League Two play-off final.
Back to the venue to sort out the band’s rider and various other admin, off to get changed, back to the venue, then the doors opened and I found myself working the door, which I enjoyed far more than I expected. I would definitely put my hand up and volunteer for that task again. The gig went well, with more people through the door than expected and the band and crowd seemed happy (we’d heard that some of the crowd had walked out of a previous night’s show – expecting, presumably, Romano’s Stetson-wearing, handlebar-mustached, pedal steel-accompanied persona). Vive la DIY!