Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Low key showbiz

In complete contrast to the Supertramp Gig, the Summer of 1976 was rather flat with the diary fairly empty at the City Hall. There were two things to look forward to on the horizon though- our new lighting and sound installation, and a two week residency at the nearby Gosforth Civic Hall, a fairly new building replacing the ghastly flat floor asbestos clad Central hall which burnt down in the early 70s. (I did see a couple of am-dram shows there and had my first attack of stage fright.)

The custodian at the Civic had a fortnight holiday and Colin had been asked to cover there for a number of events, mostly weddings and parties. I leant a hand and he split any tips he got with me. I took great pleasure in relamping everywhere and fixing anything that needed attention, as well as setting the stage lighting to best effect for the events.

It also had two backstage dressing rooms in a locked off area that were a handy hidey-hole for a bit of peace and quiet during the evening.

Our first proper show back at the City Hall was Richard Stilgoe, supported by a Christian group called Nutshell. (I still have the album they gave me, called "In your eyes", I have never played it!) Colin and I were sitting Front Circle with our new lighting & Sound desks and there were only about fifty people in the audience downstairs.

During the first couple of songs, they had some real problems tuning up and staying in tune. During a protracted tuning session and several apologies, I shouted out "Do you want to borrow a welder?"

Colin sat there chuckling right until the interval. When I commented to him that it wasn't that funny, he said that the funny bit was that it was me that had shouted it, being so out of character!


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Lovely insight into a world I know nothing about. It must have been exciting! I used to love Richard Stilgo - is he still around?

Delicolor said...

lshcakes, apparently he is still going, according to Wikipedia.

He did quite a big set on composing, choosing two notes working his way through the octave (C C#, then C D etc) and fitting them to various recognisable tunes. He was very good- but a smidge supercilious.

I'd only seen him as a regular on "That's Life!" previously and vaguely remember him from "Nationwide" occasionally.