5,7,5 – 365   1st November 2015

5,7,5 – 365

1st November 2015

A haiku and a diary entry, everyday for a year.

After a crappy and completely pointless weekend at work, what could be better to find waiting for me when I come home, apart from Laila, than this, the 20th anniversary edition of Son Volt’s ‘Trace’? Remastered, with extra demo tracks and a CD of the band playing live in 1996. The hifi is all warmed up and straight away, ‘Tear Stained Eye’, an old favourite track, sounds more immediate, detailed and textured than before. It’s possibly even a little sadder too! This is just what I needed. In Jay Farrar’s words, “sad songs keep the devil away”.


On returning home

After a weekend at work

Sad music awaits

5,7,5 – 365  20th October 2015 

5,7,5 – 365

20th October 2015
A haiku and a diary entry, everyday for a year.  
Tuesday evening and it’s midweek London gig night. Lynne and I meet up at The Angel and walk to Kerbisher’s in Farringdon for some pre gig fish and chips. We have haddock in matzo meal, as it is meant to be done, washed down with a bottle of ginger beer – perfect. Afterwards we wander over to The Lexington Public House to see Simone Felice, supported by Anna Mitchell.
I’ve been to The Lexington for a few gigs now, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Delines, Futur Primitif and others. It’s a busy pub downstairs with regular DJ guest spots on the ground floor and nightly live music upstairs. I’m told it’s open till 4.00 in the morning but that’s way past my bedtime. As an aside, whilst not having the worst toilets I have used at music venue (so far, that honour goes to The Garage in Islington, where locks, soap, paper and towels are all seen as unecessary frippery), The Lexington’s unique take on the toilet roll holder acts as a symbol, though perhaps not a beacon, for music venues everywhere. Come on venue owner’s, how hard can it be to make your toilets a little less horrible? There should perhaps be some sort of official bog standard (I just added that because I wanted to write, ‘bog standard’).


Returning to the music. Laila and I went to see Anna and Simone play at The Ent Shed less than two weeks ago. That had been a lovely evening with brilliant heartfelt performances, so this was always going to be good but tonight, right from the beginning, it is as if everything has been turned up a notch. Anna sings on stage, sounding more confident and even more lovely than in Bedford. Simone too seems to have been energised by the touring. Performing with them, on lap steel guitar, is M G Boulter, adding new layers to the music.
At Bedford Laila had been singing along right from the start and is smiling throughout. I’ve said before that I love to see Laila sing at a gig, sharing the whole experience is what makes it special. Although Lynne had joined me to see Anna Mitchell play before at The Green Note in Camden, she hasn’t seen Simone play before. Before tonight’s gig I had sent Lynne a playlist of Simone’s work but as usual, like a naughty schoolgirl, Lynne has not done her homework. Sadly it looks like there’ll be no singing along tonight. But wait, what’s this? At the end of the evening Simone is performing his cover of ‘Wish You Were Here’ and I can clearly hear Lynne joining in – it’s one of Lynne’s favourites, it’s a special night.


Anna and Simone

Their Autumn road gifts something

Even more special

5,7,5 – 365 10th October 2015 

5,7,5 – 365

10th October 2015


A haiku and a diary entry, everyday for a year.  

It’s Saturday and it’s another gig night, this time at The Ent Shed in Bedford, Simone Felice with the support of Anna Mitchell.

Anna Mitchell charms us with her songs and stories before joining Simone for the main set. She has a lovely voice and a beautiful collection of sad songs, though she says she is determined to write a happy song to get it played on the radio. I remember John Fulbright at a gig explaining why most of his songs were sad, he said it’s one of the first rules of writing, there has to be conflict and conflict rarely ends happily. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with a sad song, I love a sad song.

I’ve told this tale before, about a different Simone Felice gig, at another time in another place. – More often than not, Simone’s songs are gritty stories, sometimes drawn from his childhood in The Catskills. Explaining some of the song’s origins, he told how his mother had once asked of the first Felice Brothers record, “why do all the songs have to be about losing a girl, and guns and murder, prisoners, drugs, prostitutes, murder, drugs and murder?” “Shit Mom”, he says, “it’s America!” Not all the songs are like that though and even those that are, are tinged with hope and delivered with more heart than most artists can even imagine.

Laila sings along right from the start and is smiling throughout. I love to see Laila sing at a gig – this is a special moment, truly shared. She pinches the gig poster from the door on the way out.


Grim Catskill stories

Sad songs keep the tears at bay

Special moment shared