Last night was part three of my Sparkle Dress Comedy Challenge and a trip to Sheffield’s City Hall for ‘Lefty Scum’.
I worked all day in Meadowhall, got changed into the sequins in the staff room behind some mannequins (getting semi stuck in the previous dress as I went) and headed to the tram stop, hoping to get to the venue on time. I found my seat, but had to take the long way around to get to it and missed out on a trip to the bar – but then the queue was long and I have very little money left at the end of the month, so never mind.
I chatted a little to the couple to my left (naturally) about recent things they’d been to, I’d been to, how they’d moved up here from London recently and are looking for more stuff to do and to meet new people. They seemed lovely and, coincidentally, the lady I was sat next to on Thursday came up and said hello to them – she the girlfriend of one of their friends, they told me. Foolishly, we didn’t exchange names or details to meet up, but they might read this, so ‘Hello!’
The gig was kicked off by Josie in some great dungarees doing her bit of ‘chatting’. I’ve never seen her live before, I’ve heard some of her podcasts: Short Cuts, Robin and Josie’s Utter Shambles, Book Shambles and as a guest on others like The Made of Human Podcast with Sofie Hagan.
She talked about how she went door knocking for Labour before the election and was heartened by an old lady offering to rip up a Conservative flyer, that she has a B in French, how paying an extra £1.49 on a fertility app might be a good investment for some, that she has discovered that baby brain is a thing, you can get a badge from TFL to wear if you are pregnant. I looked this up since I’m visiting London a few times this year, but they won’t post one outside of London! Fair enough, I suppose, I don’t actually need one but I like sitting down…
I know there are big signs saying no photos, but I took a couple of sneaky ones anyway… sorry, but not that sorry.
Next up was Grace Petrie, protest singer songwriter. I like using song lyrics as titles for my posts where we can and the title of this one is from Grace’s song ‘You Build A Wall‘. I’ve seen her before at a couple of folk festivals and heard her on The Now Show on Radio 4. Her songs are elegantly written, powerful and moving, her introductions funny and poignant. I really loved the song to her niece, Ivy, about getting back from Glastonbury in time for her birth. How many times do you get to see Dolly Parton live? I’m on one so far and hope for another one sometime soon.
Jonny and the Baptists were totally new to me, kicking off with a song ‘Swans’ about freeing them from the Queen’s reign and the aftermath. This was followed by ‘Hey Dad’… My first thoughts were that they reminded me of a British version of Flight of the Concords and Tenacious D.
They got me waving my sparkly arms at the thought of burying Margaret Thatcher once a week and thinking that blocking relatives from your kids if they read the Daily Mail is how I’m going to start off when I’m a parent. Oh, and it turns out that Josie’s dungarees are actually Jonny’s.
In the interval I had some people come up to me and say they liked the dress and hair – thank you people – and a talk with Hannah, who was sitting behind me and is running the Speed Mating with GirlGang Sheffield I’m going to on Friday. The dress does seem to be a good talking point, I did feel a bit self conscious at this event, but I suppose that’s part of the point of wearing it.
The second half was Grace, followed by Josie (if you’re reading this Josie, then I think you’d like Chris Wood’s song Mad John about John Clare from his album Tresspasser, it’s a cracker, if you fancy learning just one folk song…) and closed by Jonny and the Baptists. I’m not going to describe more, because I didn’t take notes and there are still dates left so you could potentially go along yourself!
I laughed loads, joined in with a bit of singing and was the solitary cheer for the Northamptonshire poet. It was a great night and a happy addition to my year of comedy.
If you want to find out more about the performers, click on their individual pictures above for links to their sites.
Sparkle dress evidence when I got home, with a fair bit of reflection!