Gig for Ukraine

The music has started and my work is done.

This is an unusual one for me. Normally show start is when I peak. But today I’m Art Department and I’m tired. We are at Camden Roundhouse. We have come together to build a charity concert. I’ve been here for twelve hours. Now I’m here for to enjoy the music. I might still need to fix something, but if I did my job earlier I won’t need to. And I did my job earlier. We all did.

Huge bolts of polyester silk in blue and yellow. We cut it and hung it. A superabundance of sunflowers. We scattered them artistically around the space, keeping back many to sell to the public as a symbolic donation focus. It’s a lovely feeling to have some ownership over a space. I’m particularly proud of my sunflower garlands on the pillars. They pick out beautifully in the light.

Yuri Yurchuk just sung some beautiful opera for us. The crowd is certainly not as spare as some crowds I’ve been part of here. It’ll likely fill out further as well. Considering how last minute this all was, it’s come together well. There was a thought that we might try and paint the centre of 1500 sunflowers blue. But this was announced shortly over 24 hours ago and there aren’t that many of us.

Franz Ferdinand isn’t even on the playlist and they agreed to join today. It’s an evening done with heart in the traditional London manner. This is why I have persisted with this city so long. I love last minute heart. Tom Baxter is giving just that as I write. I keep having to stop writing just to let it wash over me.

It’s not much for me to have done considering what’s happening over there. But we do what we can, and I’m an artist. Making stuff is part of how I express myself, and making ephemeral last minute stuff has always somehow been high on my list of things that make me feel like me. I was part of a hasty team today. Hasty team done good.

The programme is pretty full. Chrissy Hynde will be playing later – I saw her in soundcheck. I’m tired so I’m not sure how long I’ll last here but hopefully I’ll see her set. It helps that I was building things during sound check as I won’t get FOMO if I leave to go to sleep.

Jack Garratt is now playing. These lovely charismatic musicians are mostly here for just one or two songs. It’s a big ask at last minute to come and play what is shaping up to be a big crowd here at The Roundhouse. I haven’t stood in a crowd this big for years.

Text DONATE to 70150 says the banner. I’m likely going to go and pay a fiver each for two of the sunflowers I’ve been throwing around all day. I’m going to switch my phone off. Joseph Toonga just did a beautiful kinetic piece called “Born to Protest”. I am going full audience from now.

That was fab. Chrissy Hynde is a legend. Camden Council pulled the plug on Franz Ferdinand. They had a finale planned. Buggers. Nevertheless, a lovely thing to be part of. I’m totally exhausted. Props to the people who organised this. I was just part of the machine.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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