Back at this open mic after a fortnight’s absence and the compere has it sewn up: it’s quiztime. The theme this week is The Villages of Yorkshire. One question is ‘Is there anything interesting about Grange Moor?’. The correct answer is ‘no’ and Michael, in the front row, scores one point.
This is a flourishing garden of banter; new flora emerging weekly, weed blooms timely nipped. But always the purpose is maintained – the lawn is kept because the lawn is a stage.
One guy has a witty lyric about ‘shoving a massive camel through a tiny needle eye’. Someone else has an abstract talent for foot-shuffling, this time demonstrating his abilities from a seated position, in an exhibition that bears the hallmark of sobriety’s farewell. Yes, the Acoustic Club is in full swing, and remains this way until late, at which times uprising musicians litter the stage and jam, paying charming homage to one long-standing attendee by collective cover. That all six or seven on stage knew and could play this song impromptu, written by a member of the audience, pretty much sums up the genuine sense of community that is second nature here. It’s a group that thrives on an unthinking mutual respect, on collaboration and inspiration reciprocated; purely on the enjoyment of one-another’s creativity.
As for me, I first-half debuted and recovered from a first-verse choke, which is a nursery for confidence I guess, and didn’t mind too much my mistakes in the second song because you could hear a pin drop, and I liked that. It’s pretty rare I feel totally at ease on the stage but this was one of those.
And under these circumstances, a day’s work on three hours’ sleep is easy.