I’ll be honest and say that I’ve rewritten this article a couple of times, with varying levels of success, but they have each, ultimately, ended up in the virtual bin. This current edit might end up the same way, but I want to share a new game which is generating a bit of interest and […]

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve rewritten this article a couple of times, with varying levels of success, but they have each, ultimately, ended up in the virtual bin. This current edit might end up the same way, but I want to share a new game which is generating a bit of interest and could soon arrive at a lounge near you. I’ve been hosting regular ‘gigs in me lounge’, with local musicians and poets performing for me and my friends, making me believe that the Lower East Side of New York has moved to my front room.

Perhaps I should start this piece by saying that thanks to these gigs in me lounge I’ve been getting my fill of music, poetry and art about once a fortnight, all for the price of one small gig (which is actually pretty much £0 by the way, cos it’s me lounge). This is the equivalent of a five-a-day arts habit, leaving me a happy soul, capable of suffering the slings and arrows of this Conservative government.

I could begin this article by explaining the benefits of having small gatherings like this, where I get to listen to the music I like in an intimate setting and after a few goodbyes I’m able to climb a short flight of stairs to my blessed bed – evidence, it would appear, which shows I’m aging into my father’s slippers.

Maybe I should start by sprinkling a few platitudes on the wonderful Jim Ghedi, Ash Gray, Tom Baxendale and other local musicians who have played these private concerts, as well as poets like James Lock and Ben Dorey delivering their latest verses. I’ve also had Sampa Mulenga kindly drawing the musicians for me, keeping an artistic record of the proceedings. I’m sure that would go down well with them, at least.

I could wax lyrical about the benefits of not having to go to some trendy bar or club to half hear a band that I was only half interested in seeing anyway (see above about father’s slippers). No more gigs listening to musicians better suited to Radio 2 for me. This is my one-man fightback against the corporate elites. I’m taking them down one lounge gig at a time.

But the truth is that each of these openings wouldn’t do justice to having these gigs in me lounge. They are a bizarre and fantastic way to enjoy an evening’s entertainment and, with spring now upon us, they will be migrating outdoors and evolving into ‘gigs in me garden’. In the past I’ve thought that some gigs are more expensive than they’re worth and this is a nice way to re-engage with the local music scene. It allows musicians to play new tracks or try something that usually gets relegated to the b-side. I’ve since looked around and there are a number of similar events like this happening up and down the country, so it would appear that I have simply plucked this idea from the online ether rather than thinking of it for myself (check out HouseGig, and Gig in Your House on Facebook).

There are a lot of interesting and talented musicians across Sheffield just waiting to be discovered or wanting to play music for you and your friends. It only requires opening up your house for an evening and, after a bit of organisation, you too will have your very own gig in me lounge. I feel like I’ve stumbled on a way of getting a bit of money directly into musicians’ hands by way of a sublime night’s performances.

Give it a go. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the music, the clarity of the poetry and the fun that can be had by doing things a bit differently. Just remember to invite me to the next one.

giginmelounge.co.uk

James William