Paul Goodwin

Canada Fortnight Pt 1

Published on Sun 17 Jul 2011

Life has got a bit busy in a cleaning/improving my DIY skills kind of way in recent weeks, which means both that I got way behind with this, but also that there's not that much stuff to talk about since the start of July. The second half of June was sort of busy though.

A few days after getting back from New York I went to a lower-mid level mobile phone industry awards ceremony with work (under a last-minute assumed name - Sam doesn't own a suit apparently) which was both pretty cool (it's been a while since the dinner jacket has been out of the cupboard) and pretty depressing. You can tell it was lower-mid level by the fact that Miles Jupp was hosting (though I did manage to predict it would be him, based on the fact it was Rufus Hound the year before). He was funny to begin with while pretending(?) to be posher than everyone else there, but lost it a bit when he spent 15 minutes essentially going "you when trains are late? that's annoying eh? And how come you can never understand platform announcements?". I was surprised he didn't break into Ben Elton's early 90s routine about station coffee and toilet roll dispensers. He did manage to keep a straight face while pretending the actual awards mattered, so earned every penny they paid him I suppose. The dinner was "gourmet" (too small - I had to get a Maccy D's on the way home) and featured something I've never seen before - a potato container filled with pureed peas. Which tasted very much like when you eat potato with peas. The beef fillet was glorious though. I came out £1 up in a guess which nominee is going to win the award competition. There was also a "shop idol" contest between the best mobile phone shop salespeople, with the prize being an expensive holiday. Presumably to Magaluf.

" Nice Nice Very Nice" by Dan Mangan is one of the albums (if not the album) of last year for me, so I was a bit annoyed when what looked like his only London gig this year clashed with The Weakerthans (the other amazing band that had somehow escaped me until last year) playing at The Garage, but thankfully he added another date, the day before. It was at St Pancras Old Church, which, despite being a sucker for churches and walking past it fairly often, I'd never been to before. I had heard that drinking opportunities were sparse there, so we got to Kings Cross a bit early. It's nice enough round there, but I wouldn't go as far as the town planners did:

The venue itself is wonderful. A tiny, ever so slightly creepy church. There's a sign on the way in saying that it's been a place of worship since 300AD or something, which is insane. This picture of the sun does look a bit pre-Christian I suppose...

Will Sheff and Emmy the Great both played there recently - I wish I'd been able to get to either. It felt a bit wrong sitting on a pew drinking one of the 20 or so cans of Carlsberg that they had on sale on the way in (they'd run out after about half an hour - maybe for the best). Once again I was surprised to see Singing Adams as support (though I shouldn't have been I guess, bearing in mind Dan Mangan played with The Broken Family Band on one of the few tours I didn't make it to). It was Steve on his own for the most part, and I really enjoyed it. We got "You broke my fucking heart" and "Going to Everglades" by Herman Dune, as well as stuff off the current album (which I've really got into recently). He was joined by some of Dan Mangan's band for a couple of songs at the end, and they were really excellent. I spoke to him after and apparently he'd seen us in the crowd at Okkervil River earlier in the year. Must think I'm stalking him or something. This happened with Emily Barker a couple of years ago. It's really not my fault.

I was very excited about Dan Mangan, to the extent that I was concerned it could only be a disappointment, but if anything it was even better than I expected. I really wasn't prepared for how brilliant his band were going to be either - quite possibly the best drummer I've seen, and a world class guitarist. The bassist was really good too, but it's harder to judge that stuff... They played everything I wanted to hear, (except Road Regrets) and I was grinning the whole time, especially during "You Silly Git". There were a couple from his next album which is due out in the autumn too and, I'm reliably informed is another step up.

Mangan has a really powerful voice - it sounds great on record, but I'd not fully realised how big it is. It really came to fore at the end, where the band came halfway down the aisle and played a couple of songs from his first album completely unamplified in the middle of the church. The audience acted as a choir and it was magical. I'm not sure I've ever described anything as magical before. They played a note for note version of Waltz #2 as a final encore and we went home a little bit elated. Again via Maccy D's.