As it happened the film cameras had caught enough; the evening's premiere was very well received and raucous laughter rolled about the old microplex cinema. The film had been completed only hours before it's red carpet release, and in true Odd Folk style, in the wrong format! meaning half an hour before the guests arrived we were facing the prospect of a 100 people cramming around a laptop on the middle of the stage. Luckily, the filmmaker and the projectionist found a stray wire that enabled us to transfer onto the big screen and Oh what a lovely experience it was too; to see our endeavours played out in high definition with cinema surround sound to a beholden room full of our friends and fans.
We were warmed by the response and indebted to our friends at Construct Creatives, who'd followed and filmed us the autumn before and then crafted their pictures into a delightful little snapshot of life in a band. And all as a labour of love. We'd done little handmade thank you cards for the filmmaker and editor with hastily scribbled messages of praise and gramercy and then put the wrong cards in the wrong envelopes! Everything that can go wrong does go wrong!
A week followed before leg-two of the promotional campaign; the homecoming; the Penzance premiere, adding family to the friends and fans. Bigger pressure. A bigger audience. Would we pull it off as we had in Bristol? Would it go smoothly? Hardly! The night before the event we had no venue, no stage, no chairs and no PA! We had two newspaper articles, two dozen posters and the radio all telling people to go to The Union, we had tickets printed with The Union, but we didn't have The Union anymore! We'd pulled out after a barny over the bar and were facing the prospect of 200 people cramming into my mother's front room and watching us on the laptop! It was as close to a catastrophe as we've ever come! Which considering some of the mishaps we've had is saying a lot.
The night before the event in the driving rain I approached the PZ Gallery in my hometown. All I had was a DVD and a croaky voice. I had the hopes of hundreds on my back. We thrashed out a deal which included the whole gallery, the projector and a fully stocked bar. Deal done. Now all we gotta do is get the message to the masses (word of mouth, posters scribbled over, notice boards at popular watering holes around town), build a stage ("Dad please!"), get a PA (drive 30 miles north to re-hire the one we'd returned the day before) and post a sentinel outside The Union to re-direct the traffic ("Mum, you wouldn't be an angel and stand outside in the rain with a sandwich board on would you!?). We accomplished it with seconds to spare, the guitar player who had been stuck in traffic from Bristol, just slipping through the door as the lights went down in a packed gallery .
The drummer set his drums up on the largest level, the gold place, but had no room for his drum seat so had to sit on a highchair on the floor behind, which just bought him level! The piano player, on the lowest level, the bronze place, had barely enough room to swing a kitten and his pallet wobbled under the wood chocks and books. The final level, the silver place, housed myself, the bass player and guitar player, but little else, meaning the mics were balanced on an ironing board on the floor at the front. Space was at a premium, the structure was precarious, but it was our stage, our creation, and it worked. Just! We'd muddled through, calling favours from far and wide like The reverend Joe Gray lending us half a dozen church pews and John Voogd finding that stray wire that links the Laptop to the Projector! And giddy with gratitude we stood outside the gallery, the last of the instruments crammed into the van, a couple of groupies loitering on a nearby curb. I approached my bandmates with the brown envelope of the nights takings clasped in my hand. They looked up in total trepidation, teeth gritted, eyes skewed as though a firework had just been sparked. I cleared my throat and, "We made a profit of £80 boys!" The celebrations were wild, we roared to the moon and danced around the cobbled streets like kings and madmen. The band was £5 in the black! It was joyous feeling. 5 whole pounds. What we could do with such money? A latte and muffin from Starbucks!? A single trip on the London Underground in zone 1!? We were getting lost in the possibilities when the proprietor poked his head from the gallery window, "Err... before you get too carried away; I'll need £20 off you for the cleaner tomorrow morning!"
How NOT to be in Band!