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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some people say that friends are there to share the good times and help you through the bad times. Personally I just want them to provide me with blog posts. Which is why I value the friendship of my good chum Andrew. Over the past year, I've witnessed his bowling technique, watched him set light to an exploding flower, photographed him with a cat in a wedding dress, and seen him constantly surrounded by beautiful women...

                           Cheeky                                                       Cheekier

I've even handled his sperm, which is not something I want to do again. But now, just when I thought it was safe to put down the camera... ANDREW'S GONE GOSPEL!!!

If it wasn't for women in specs, he'd have been in the front row.

Anyhoo, having seen Paranormal Activity last weekend, Lisa and I decided to opt for more of the same last night by heading over to Hove Town Hall to witness the unlikely sight of Andrew singing in a community gospel choir. We had to take Stefan with us too, because frankly he refused to believe it either unless he saw it with his own eyes.

It was actually the annual Christmas concert of Brighton Goes Gospel, "a non-religious (all religions and none) community gospel choir run by volunteers". You don't have to audition to get in, which probably explains a lot.

As it turned out, the concert was actually very good. Here's Andrew holding sway with the best of them...

It's hard to believe he's only been doing that for fourteen weeks. As recently as September, he could barely move from side to side. And don't make the mistake of thinking that's easy. You only need to look at the bloke on the right to realise how tough it is to sway in time to the music. Andrew has nailed that in less than three months.

Anyhoo, the star of the evening was obvious, but there were other people performing. The lady with the belting voice is Susan Harriott (no relation to Ainsley), an amazing singer who, according to the programme, has worked with artists such as Corinne Bailey Rae and Westlife. The first video above features rare footage of her beaded belt, which snapped as she sat down after the first song, sending beads all over the floor. I personally picked up three of them, whereupon I realised they weren't genuine pearls, and decided to give them back.

That wasn't the only rare sight of the evening though. If you'd been there at about 9:30pm, you'd have seen me, Lisa and Stefan standing in a line, clapping, and doing the actions to an up-tempo worship song. That's not something you see every day. Admittedly not all of us managed to clap in the right places, and at least one of us had trouble with the hand rolls, but we got into the (holy) spirit of the thing, and I'm confident we managed to get onto the DVD they were shooting of the evening. Lisa in particular had a starring role, when she decided to beat the queue for the toilets by walking out before the interval, right past Karen Gibson, the choir director, who was being filmed at the time. I can't wait to see that on the big screen.

Other highlights included the look of fear on Lisa's face when a member of the choir walked into the audience with a microphone during 'Let It Be' and tried to get people to sing... and the fact that Susan Harriott didn't know the words to 'All I Want for Christmas is You', and had to stick them to the seat right in front of me. It looked like she was singing the entire song just to me. I've never seen such a heartfelt performance. Fortunately her husband had left at that point to get changed into a Santa suit and hand out chocolate to young people like myself. That was the other highlight of the evening. I haven't had a finger of fudge in years.

Anyway, a good night was had by all, and having held a debriefing session in the corner of The Tin Drum pub shortly afterwards, we're now on the verge of starting our own choir. At the moment it's just me, Andrew, Stefan and Lisa, and two of us are refusing to sing, but between the four of us we've got two guitars, some leather trousers and a cowboy hat, and frankly that's all you need.