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Janis Ian

30 September 2004

So this was a good day. Started bad: I slept atrociously last night, including one of those getting-up-at-four-in-the-morning episodes that confuse Misha utterly, because she doesn’t know whether to ask for breakfast or snuggle, and then I go back to bed and sleep late and rise late and face an abbreviation of a day.

But I put it to good use, what there was of it, writing five pages, a couple of thousand words; and then I went off down to the station and caught a Metro to South Shields, to see Janis Ian at the Customs House. Anyone of my temperament, my generation, she’s iconic; bizarrely, this was the first time I’d seen her live, and she’s fabulous. Witty and caustic and funny and sharp and ironic, and that’s just the talk between the songs. Then there’s that voice, that voice, ethereal with a steel spring to drive it; and guitar that’s like spring water, bubbling and flowing but stone-clear, stone-cold, stone-hard. Magic evening, not even spoiled by the drunken pillock who kept shouting, who wanted a singalong; and in the end, the final encore, she gave him one. She gave us ‘I Got You, Babe’ - and there’s something kinda scary about finding yourself one among an audience where it seems like utterly everyone knows all the words to that, if not necessarily in the right order.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.