Monday, 29 April 2013

The Hairy beast in the hangout


So the continuing story of my adventures in get-together land, or as they call them on Google plus Hangouts on air. 
Last night I found myself being invited to do a late show, well it was late here in the UK, 11pm to be precise. Over in the US of A it was 3pm on the west coast which is where the host was for this particular outing. Well I wasn't too sure whether I would do this one as I was at the wrong end of a bottle of wine by the time we were due on air. On top of that looking at the line up it looked very thin, in fact there's was only me in the list and the artist who was going to be doing the featured slot. That was earlier in the evening though, and I supposed that come the time to go there would be more of us. I was wrong.
The invite dropped into my inbox at about 10-30pm, time for a soundcheck. I click the link, and when the screen opens up I'm seeing a hairy beast thats half Gorilla and half wolf. It's not a real hairy beast but one of those silly overlays that follows your face.
Our host Jefferey has decided that the show needs more "entertainment" and seeing as he's bought himself a new webcam with effects built in he's going to use this big bear face to conduct the show. From then on in it's going to go downhill. There's just me in the chat window and him with his new found avatar face that's a bit distracting, and not exactly conducive to presenting heartfelt songs. 
Never-the-less we go through the sound check, me with my new fangled mini mixer, hoping it's going to come out sounding sweet on the other side of the world, playing to a hairy beast, and a transparency of some  suspension bridge by night. God knows how that fitted in, buy hey I'm a wee bit tipsy so what do I care.
No-one else shows up by the time we're due to go live. "Do you want me to start, or do you wanna go on straight away Colin" says Jeff.
I opt for the first spot, mainly to get it out of the way as the wine is starting to kick in. I start off with one called Honeypot hero, a jaunty tale about a fella that died too young. Jeff likes to mask the people in the get-together so I'm playing to a ghostly white screen, but there's only Jeff there in his daft hair beast mask so I figure thats for the best. 
I haven't done this tune for ages, and what with the wine and no lyric prompt, I stumble on the second verse, although being the pro I am I get away with it. Nobody notices cause there's actually no-one there, except the hairy one of course. I finish to a deafening silence, no applause, just Jeff saying a delayed well thank you Colin, have you got another. I do a song called Pepperpot, which if you come from Ulverston you'd get, but I'm not sure it's a west coast hit, but hey, I'm doing my thing for England.
By the end of the song, lo and behold someone else has popped into the film strip of the hangout, another songwriter. That song also meets with silence as they've both got their mics muted. Oh well this is not exactly setting the airwaves on fire, and Jeff wants to go over to our new recruit for a tune, and asks if thats Ok by me. Sure says I. But now we have technical difficulties as he's not ready. Jeff says he'll do a song, but Jeff has got a dreadful sound on his guitar, or was it my bad ears, been having trouble with them this week, bit bunged up in the eustation tube dept, so maybe it was me.
The after his song it  all starts to fall apart tech wise. We can't here the other guy, he can't hear us, Jeff      clicks buttons and links, and the whole show grinds to a halt. Jeff says he's going to abandon ship close down and come back in. The screen goes blank. .........................
I decide I've had enough and bed is calling to me, almost half eleven and this get-together has not got together at all. Nobody came, shame, the format seems to have run out of steam just when I was starting to feel comfortable with it.
Perhaps it's to do with the time it happens for the States, maybe there was other stuff happening, that attracted the better artists to play elsewhere. Who knows. 
Next week I'm the featured artist on with Johnathan next Sunday, maybe that will be better. I just hope it's not a repeat of this week. To work it needs a full house in the chat window at least. You need an audience, although it won't be the first time I've played to an empty venue and I don't suppose it will be the last.
Perhaps the format is wrong, I've discovered The Pirates Pub which has a much better atmosphere, much more jolly, as pirates are. The songwriters showcase is a brilliant concept but it's going to need more pazzaz to  attract a wider audience, but I'm afraid that the hairy beast is not the way to go, sorry Jeffery.