When I finished the first draft of my thesis, I decided that nothing says "I'm sorry for being nocturnal and emotionally fragile" like tickets to see Jay Brannan. The show wasn't for another two months, but the good part about that kind of present is that a) it's kind of a great surprise when it sneaks up on you later in the year and b) I guess it prevents you from getting dumped in the short term. I'm a fan of both of these things.
To make it climactic, we decided to treat the day as a mini-vacation from Oxford. We caught a train to London around noon, went to Notting Hill and poked around the Portobello Street markets for a couple of hours and found a park to eat our gigantic slabs of homemade pizza, swung through the Tate Modern, picked up dinner from M&S and got mauled by pigeons when we tried to eat it on the steps of St. Paul's, and then hopped onto the Tube to Shepherd's Bush for the concert. (I could narrate how we got from place to place after discovering that the Circle Line, half of the District Line, and a chunk of the Jubilee Line were all closed, but it mostly involved me tweaking out and cursing at a map and David calmly pointing us in the right direction.)
"Jay Brannan is like the Anderson Cooper of folk music."
"Are you only saying that because you want to sleep with both of them?"
The concert was awesome, but the crowd was totally weird. Everyone just sat on the floor until the opening act started, and then everyone just stayed on the floor for the entirety of the set. (To be fair, I wasn't a huge fan of Arthur Delaney live, although we listened to some of his stuff the next morning and I was totally sold. I think it was because he kept doing this weird thing where he and his guitarist would almost press their heads together for no apparent reason and I get distracted easily.) We did all stand up when Jay Brannan came out and sang "Housewife," and everyone started singing along in this weird cathartic domesticity that would have been obnoxious except David and I were in the front row and not engulfed by it. And then the audience taught Jay Brannan how to use the word "cunty," and then Lily Allen was mentioned and I almost yelled "DRINK THREE PINTS OF WINE AND SING WOMANIZER!" because that part of the Lily Allen concert was one of the highlights of my life. He sang "Bowlegged and Starving" and then came down to the piano and was like five feet in front of us, which was awesome, except some guy who had apparently never heard of the zoom function kept sticking his arm over the barrier and taking pictures of every one of Jay Brannan's pores. I was like, if you chase him away before he sings "Stringalong Song," I will break your arms. (I didn't have to, because that happened anyway.) He also did a kickass cover of "Blowin' in the Wind" which was approximately a billion times clearer than when I saw Bob Dylan in concert. (And it involved a story about Bitch and was followed by a song co-written by Margaret Cho, and Dylan didn't have any fun stories about them.) And then someone tore off part of the wall in the back of the room. Um, welcome to England.
We basically had to bolt during the encore to make our train, but the day was a smashing success. And afterwards, I felt weirdly compelled to buy tickets to Po' Girl's concert in Putney, so I booked them so I'll have something to look forward to as I finish this last essay. Incidentally, nothing says "congratulations on your manic, sleepless week of high-pressure writing about the future of anthropology" like tickets to see bluesy female Canadian folk singer-songwriters.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that I think when I'm back in New York next fall and I'm unemployed and verging on homelessness, I might become a groupie.