It’s just gone ten on a unseasonably warm night, and, my pocket stuffed with fivers, programmes and wristbands, I tell a group of punters trying to enter the pub I’m manning the door for that they aren’t allowed in: we’re too busy. They can try their luck at other venues on the street, I tell them, but reports are they might be pushing capacity.
Nine months of panicking that I wouldn’t be able to attract anyone to Oxjam, and here’s me on the night turning people away. I would have done a little ironic sigh, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d been on my feet so long and in such an adrenaline soaked state my mind was very much elsewhere.
The day started mildly hung over (blame a corking warm-up fundraiser at The Commercial), and early. I’m awake a good two hours when my 7.30am clangs into life, peaceful sleep impossible due to anxiety dreams: all involving empty rooms, tumbleweed and hollow echoes.
Fellow co-ordinator Heather and I drive over to BBC Radio Nottingham’s studios to appear on The Richard Spurr show: not just for an interview, but for an hour in the studio doing the papers, chatting about…err…stuff and promoting Oxjam. If you really want, it’s here: I’m on around 65 mins in. Terrifying, but thanks to Richard for having us on.
Jump in a taxi straight after, and to Beeston, to get the first band on in the Square, and begin the day….
I’ll write more about what ensued later, and as a piece in The Beestonian, but it was utterly terrific, utterly wonderful, and despite not stopping for around 16 hours, collapsed in an elated heap once the last band twanged off their last chord.
Highlights: again, too many to mention. But if pressed, the opening act in The Square exceeded expectations by a billion miles. A fantastically attired bunch of seemingly itinerant musical geniuses from the North East, they’d driven from all over the UK to be in Beeston. I’d expect them to be a bit pissed off with the journey, the rather unglamorous venue and the fact they had to be in Reading for another Oxjam later in the day , but no! ‘You have a beautiful town, my friend’ they told me, surveying Peacocks and Stumpy ‘Loving your jacket’ said another: true gents. Gents with a good taste in tweed.
And what a set! They swiftly filled the Square, and not a foot remained untapped, if not downright danced. A better bunch of superbly-dressed bags of talent you’ve never met. And, as with the all the better bands on the world, they looked and acted like a gang you’d really want to be part of. If they need an amateur maracas-shaker, I’m their man.
More stories to follow in the week: but now for some pan-handling. We’re raised a shed-load of cash, but we need more before Oxjam Head Office demands we send over our spoils in a fortnight or so…we are ambitiously going for £5,000 and are about £600 short now, so looking to hit the target by asking YOU to throw us some dough. I’ve had a few pledges, and I know you’re simply itching to let us have a fiver, a tenner, a ton…and you can, and you can here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser
Really, do it now. It will push us up to that stupidly ambitious target (£4,000 last year) and hopefully past: all going to a wonderful cause. You can afford it, I know you can. In doing so, I’ll promise I’ll never moan about doing this blog, and The Beestonian for free.
More later, but now I’m off to lie very still in a totally dark room. Tarah.