Late Wednesday night I was lying in bed, alternating between Twitter and Facebook wondering what I could do with my (non-existent) budget in London for the next week. I know, my post-MA life is riveting. Then up on my Twitter feed pops The JAA with a quick little announcement about playing a #twitnic (their version of a #ninjagig ala Amanda Palmer) the next day atop Parliament Hill.
I’ve been follow The Jane Austen Argument since Amanda Palmer released her latest CD (Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under) which featured one of their songs (Bad Wine and Lemon Cake) which I absolutely adored. I knew I would be seeing them Friday night, but honestly Heaven is a pretty big venue, and there’s nothing like sitting and chatting and playing music on the side of a hill with some pretty awesome people. Suffice it to say, I was well excited and the hour train ride each way proved to be very worth it.
I found myself in NW London for the first time this year, and yet again wandering through an area where I had no idea where I was or really where I was going. Near the top of the hill is really as specific as you can get when the only landmarks are a hill and a bunch of trees. So up I walked. I was a bit early and there were a couple groups of people sitting around with wine and blankets that looked like they might be around for the #twitnic. Of course the ones whose faces I could see were neither Tom nor Jen (the dynamic duo that makes up The JAA). So I stood around for a bit with my blankets and apples and wine and refreshed Twitter on my phone hoping that they would get on with posting where they were at.
Around the time Tom posted a map, maybe 5 minutes later, I recognised Tom by the black wings that he wears, and made my way over to the group with a confident ‘of course we didn’t just spend the last five minutes glancing at each other wondering if we were all here for the same reason’. Introductions were made and we settled into chatting. Somehow in chatting with Tom the topic turned to Oregon – surprising with me? not really, but The Jane Austen Argument is thinking of stopping by Portland in a couple of months and I tried to sell him on the idea of a Eugene gig…
But back to the reason we were all there. People started showing up and soon we had a nice little crowd prepared to listen to The Jane Austen Argument as well as The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. TMWWNBBFN took the “stage” (a park bench) first. They were decked out in Steampunk and their songs were clever and witty. I enjoyed their performance and have to say that a saw makes a very eerie sound. Throughout the night TMWWNBBFN and The JAA both played twice, 2 or 3 songs each time. It was cold and windy up on that hill and the sun was rapidly setting as you can see from the photos.
When Tom and Jen took the stage a girl from the back shouted out that she had brought them lemon cake, and most of us had brought cheap (less than £5) wine. They aptly opened their first set with Bad Wine and Lemon Cake. I must confess at this point, that it’s the only song of theirs I know the words to. But I loved everything they played. Melbourne may be one of my new favourites. And Tom’s new song about the riots in London was absolutely beautiful.
Everything really was. Blankets were shared, wine was drunk, interesting conversation was had with new people who I may never see again (unless of course they find me tonight at Heaven). I have to say I hope this weekend isn’t the last time I see the JAA. There’s something about being around wonderful, talented, generous people that makes me burst with energy to do something to orchestrate more awesomeness.