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Mister Marvels
2006-09-18: The smell of acrid smoke woke me up. It's 02:54 and I've just wandered out to find the source. As I was pulling on my trousers a fire engine crept down the street. Someone had set alight someone's binbag near the bottom of Tollergate. A couple of kids maybe 15 years old called me over and tried to score or sell some weed or smack or borrow a tenner or were joking. I said I never have, and they looked at me like "yeah, right". I think I look like I have. They reckon they saw who did it but didn't know their name.
So now I'm awake with a Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea and may as well blog as it'll take a couple of hours before I feel tired again.
I took some photographs of the old Mister Marvels Leisure Park. It's been dismantled ready for the new development, but some of the old structures are there. It's a photographer's dream. My partner said I'm a good photographer, which made me proper chuffed because she was studying photography when I met her so she knows a thing or two. A couple of other friends have said similar things in the past day or so too.
Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006
I rather like these two TellyTubbyesque leftovers from the dinosaur feature. Someone's graffitied on them. One says "fuck off", the other "cunt". I just got to thinking whether the perpetrator has in mind the message first and wanders out thinking "where shall I write 'fuck off cunt' today?", or whether the site came first and the message inspiration later. I didn't notice whether there was a comma. What a smart arse I am. Actually, it would be nice to meet the person who did it. Interesting.
Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006
As an aside, the other night I did meet a bloke who looked much older than I think I look (probably I'm misguided actually in that regard) but turned out to be younger than me, tattooed, just got out of prison. He showed me his papers .. theft and assault. Nice bloke, but a bit difficult to understand. Perhaps some things I didn't want to hear. Someone else he spoke with said he'd been abused as a kid. One tattoo contained a mark for every day he'd spent in prison. He wanted to get his life together and asked if I could help. My friend was drawing his face so I tried to engage him in conversation and give my friend a subject .. I asked him when was the best time of his life and he said when he was twelve years old and his dad took him to Morecambe.
I've no caterpillar pics for you caterpillar fans, but this decrepit Mr Marvels is a wonderful haven for wildlife.
Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Small Tortoiseshell, Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006
All that was on the way to the Acoustic Gathering.
Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006
If you haven't been to an event at Peasholm Park, the stage is on the boating lake.
Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006Mister Marvels Leisure Park, Scarborough, Sept 2006
Now I'm not really an acoustic typa guy, not in this sense anyway. One man and a guitar doesn't often do it for me. I guess Patrick Fitzgerald was pleasant enough, and you can't deny Billy Bragg. I'm probably missing a whole world of revolutionary music. I think I am. There's the blues for a start. There was talk of an acoustic movement. I'm usually late realising these things. In principle it should work because it appeals to my sense of minimalism. But generally there are a lot of people who think they are good enough to cut it, but aren't and they rest on the audience's good nature. After all, it's easy to play guitar. It's a lifetimes work to do it well (Allsopp's law: every field of endeavour is as complicated and difficult as humans can stand. In other words, there's no simple way, just a combination of hard work, perseverence, and luck).
We saw some of the artists around three till maybe five o'clock and, pleasant enough, but I couldn't help feeling what they needed was someone with a bloody big drum kit behind them. Beautiful atmosphere though and most people seemed to be treating it like backing music for a party with their friends.
Blodwyn something or other, the Welsh drugs and crochet poetess (I'm working on a link), was pretty fabulous though once she'd untangled her poncho from the music stand. I sat next to her friend who talked about going to rock festivals in the sixties.
My partner and I wandered home, ate a banana, watched the news, got a jacket and came back for Jon Gomm. Now he was good. Very skilled. Possibly alienated half his audience by joking about his groupies being dogs, but hey.
But for me it was a bit like one of those school projects where the teacher takes a grapefruit to represent the sun and a pea to represent Mercury and gives it to Jeremy in the front row, and proceeds through the planets until he reaches Pluto, (prior to its demotion, this is), which is so far away he represents it by placing a lentil in Uttoxeter.
Nick Harper was that lentil. But in a different sense. Actually, like this:
We liked Nick Harper at the Acoustic Gathering, Scarborough, Sept 2006
Nick Harper is all you need to know. Someone in the audience had travelled from Devon, 400 miles, to see him. He's the sun and the earth and the universe. He's love and freedom and joy. He's rock and roll. One man and a guitar. He filled the place with everything there is. He was like the centre of a black hole, so dense with talent. He has a party trick. He replaced a string and tuned up so seamlessly while improvising a strong vocal line with his fabulous singing voice .. a minute or so of acapella to beat anything we've heard. Just think about trying that: you've got to sing fabulously expressive vocals while finding the right string, threading it up, and then while keeping the vocal not just going, but keeping it fantastic, listen for the off notes from the new string while minimally disrupting the song, and tune it up. He did it so well, anyone who couldn't see the stage would have thought it was just how the song was. He got a massive round of applause each of the two times he did that.
We gave him a standing ovation (and I think the last time I did that was The Undertones in Liverpool in about 1979), and when a friend said, more or less "I beg to differ" afterwards, we couldn't allow him to speak. No. You don't intellectualise this. You feel it, and if you didn't then so be it. It's heart and soul.
If you missed him, I think he said he's playing York Fibbers in a month or so. Oh yes, I see on mySpace, lots of dates. Make the effort .. it's what life's for.
We liked Nick Harper at the Acoustic Gathering, Scarborough, Sept 2006
I've run out of breakfast cereal, no idea what I'm going to do in the morning.

By John Allsopp
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