Saturday, 11 February 2012


We went on a journey today. Not one of those poxy X-Factor-style journeys. I’m not trying to add pseudo-intellectual depth to what was - quite literally - a train trip.

On a freezing cold day, my daughter, her "best mate evah!" and me hopped on a First Capital Connect carriage down to London, whizzed through the underground, jumped on a bus and met up with the girls.

The female throng (thong?) consisted of a couple of friends, one with a couple of teeny sprogs.

The Arctic Expeditionary Female Front
Our destination was the Union Chapel in Islington, which as well as being a working church also puts on live shows, including some rather splendid free lunchtime concerts. What with the special deal on Travelcards that got the girls there for the princely sum of £2 each, this was proving a frugal triumph.

Of course, first we had deal with the fact that as the show was at lunchtime, it could potentially impinge on...well...lunch. Our planning left a little to be desired when we stopped off for some pasta at an Italian restaurant, but realised they were still doing their breakfast menu. The smallest look of panic flashed across my girl’s face, before the wonderful waitress gave me a wink and said: “I’ll ask in the kitchen if they’ll do some pasta early for the children, shall I?”

Piney Gir and her bassist, whose sunglasses
presumably came with de-icer
So all was calm and well, and we headed to the venue, stationing ourselves two pews from the front to enjoy live music in a beautiful setting.

First up was an impressive mini-set from the wistful Herons!, whose pianist looked as though her fingers might freeze up in the cold. Then came the extraordinary voice of Mara Carlyle, with some pared-down versions of tracks from her album Floreat which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Or maybe that was just the sub-zero temperatures, again...

Piney Gir and her No.1 Belieber
But it was the final act, Piney Gir, with her 60s Pop-infused songs, who provided something extra special.

You see, Piney was the musical guest at last month’s True Stories Told Live, the event where I spoke about my daughter. And following this, Piney sent me an email saying how much she’d enjoyed my talk, and did I think my girl would like to come and see her play at a free concert?

Piney’s latest CD was duly purchased. A critical listening phase from boy-band loving daughter ensued. I spoke of how we could go and see Piney perform and maybe even say hello and get an autograph after the gig.

And, as promised, when the show finished, before the audience was booted out in order for a wedding ceremony to take place, we nipped to the side of the stage, my daughter clutching a Sharpie pen and her treasured copy of Piney’s CD, Geronimo!

Piney recognised me, and recognised my girl from my description of her in my True Story. She beamed, charmed, chatted and signed a message, and my daughter was shy, starstruck, and thrilled.

I wondered how my daughter would cope today. I wondered if she’d be too cold, tired, or bored to sit watching three acts in a cavernous church. I wondered if she’d be too busy worrying about her next snack or meal to enjoy the actual event. I wondered if the journey would wear her out too much.

But she had a great day. And so it was that on the train on the way back my little girl announced, with suitable gravitas: “I like Piney Gir EQUALLY as much as Justin Bieber.”

Sometimes I need a battle cry to face the day. And now I’ve got a new one. I’m nicking it from Piney. Sometimes you have to leap out of the plane and step into the blue. Sometimes you have to yell: “Geronimo!

Video is Mara Carlyle - Bowlface En Provence

Video is Piney Gir - Here's Looking At You


  1. as ever, dg, a heartwarming tale leaves me reaching for the tissues.

    much love to you all

  2. That's a lovely one. Well they all are of course, but that really was lovely. Lovely. (note to self; purchase thesaurus) Beezer.

  3. I did a little blog about this myself. What a lovely day that was xx Piney

    1. Thanks. Your biggest teenage fan thinks it's 'cool' that her picture is on a pop star's blog. You've made her day - again!