Performance Cancelled by Pat Byrne


So it was exciting. My first gig as a singer songwriter. A big affair with full backing band. A sell out.  The dressing room was exactly like the wee room where I met Ruth Marsh at Glasgow Film Theatre when I interviewed her for my podcast.  Slight problem having no mirror but I’d done my makeup before I left home.

     You’re up, said Carla.

     She was acting wardrobe mistress or something like that.  We worked together in the cafe in the theatre during the day. (She looked just like my old school friend Maureen). 

     I need to change my shoes

I’ll get them.

     I followed her out, round a corner and up some stairs onto the stage. I sat down and Carla pulled off my socks and trainers. I put on my patent high heels. 

     I stood in front of the band – guitarist, double bass, guy with a fiddle and a torn faced drummer. Never saw so many drums in my life.  They didn’t as much as acknowledge me.

The curtains opened. I stepped closer to the edge of the stage looking out into the darkness. I tapped my foot humming the first number, waiting for the intro.

     Jeezo! What’s that. 

     The drummer muttered something.  The band continued playing.  It was a familiar tune but it wasn’t mine.

That’s not my song.

     They carried on playing for a minute then stopped. The drummer seemed to be in charge so I walked over to him.

     What you playing at, he said.

    Have not got my play list.

     What playlist. You’ve to do a medley. Nancy Griffith, Joni Mitchell.   

     Carole King, piped up the guitarist.

     People were shouting out from the audience.  What’s the problem? Get on with it.

     I shouted back. They aren’t playing my songs.

     Some of my pals had come along to see me, they’d be so disappointed. I felt as though I couldn’t move then somebody started to boo. I ran off the stage.

     Carla followed me down the stairs back into the wee room.

     What are you going to do? she said

     My shoes are up there.  I’ll no be coming back here.

     It’s a shame.

    There was a knock at the door. It was Mr Campolucci. 

     What the hell was that about. You’re fired, he said.

     I think he meant from my day job.  I’d known him for ages,  he was my old boss back in the 70s from when I worked in the Albany.

    Well, you better stump up with my taxi fare because I’ve got my baby with me. 

I’d brought a roast joint wrapped in foil. I cut some of it into slices and gave it to the baby to eat. I changed his nappy then put his wee coat on. Carla phoned a taxi for me. She stood and waved as it drove away.

Don’t forget about my shoes, mind.

 So that was my latest lockdown dream.  I’m going to phone Maureen now.

Pat Byrne, May, 2020

(Jim and Pat’s West End Chat – Podcast Pat chats to Ruth Marsh Head of Marketing Scottish Press, Glasgow Film Festival )

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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