To muse or not to muse

Added on Friday 16 Oct 2009

I'm often prone to rambling about the live music scene in Glasgow. All that talent and it still reeks of decay with the unmistakeable stench of "pay to play" most prominent in my nostrils. Feeling the need for fresh air and a change of scenery, I went off to investigate the Lancaster Music Festival.

This was a three day event featuring music from many genres and musicians from many countries too. A not inconsiderable feat of organisation. Besides that, however, it was great. People were actually there to enjoy the music for a start and there were some particularly fine acts on show like Maria Jordan, Butch Ross - he plays the mountain dulcimer by the way - and How's My Pop.

The best thing about the festival, though, was the vibe. Admittedly, I was consuming a quite unhealthy amount of the local lemonade all afternoon, all night and all morning but it was abundantly clear that I wasn't the only one having fun. For a start, whoever was booking the bands for the indie side of things had a sense of humour as a Smiths tribute band called the Handsome Devils appeared right in the middle of things. Bartender (female, brunette) and I burst out laughing almost in unison. Bartender (female, blonde) turned out to be a reviewer as well and claimed to recognise me. She did look familiar so I did the decent thing and escaped to another venue.

With the local lemonade having filled me with bonhomie and after checking that I wasn't being followed by some potentially violent former "acquaintance", it was back into another pub to encounter a rather wonderful band called Red Gap over from the Isle of Man. I'm highly susceptible to female vocalists - no point in denying that - but, even so, Jo Earner just overwhelmed me. I was beguiled. Some hours later on my return to the hotel I discovered the place had wireless access. Since, like all Scotsmen, I am a strategic thinker and had the foresight to put six cans of lemonade in my suitcase, all I needed to write a review was present and correct. So I got a bit poetic. That approach is fine but it is predicated on the fact that you will never actually meet the woman in question.

So, the next night after catching the Mark Thornley Blues Band and the distinctly deranged Convulsions, the festival organiser - a larger than life character called Ben Ruth - suggested an opportunity to further consume lemonade. I thought that was an excellent idea. So I end up talking to this purring cat of a woman who - as it happens - is from the Isle of Man. She tells me the seals speak Spanish there. The festival organiser, being ever the genial host, comes over and makes a sort of formal introduction. She looks me straight in the eye and claims that she has not seen the review. I decide to hide in the toilet for a bit.

When my muse told me to write from the heart, she actually meant write from the heart about her. Not about any other woman. There is, I think, a Chinese proverb that goes something like "Be careful what you wish for as you might actually get it". So very true. Or perhaps all women are muses?

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