On Tuesday (May 26) night I went along to the second Instigate Debate night at London’s Boogaloo pub.
Aside from the likes of Jon McClure taking to the stage to lambast ID cards, the environment and Rupert Murdoch (more on that here), the night mutated into possibly the strangest gig I’ve ever been to.
Shortly after midnight, I found myself in a well-to-do Hammersmith house, surrounded by a gaggle of excitable kids, worried-looking grown ups and some of the UK’s most notorious musicians.
Set up by Carl Barat, Drew McConnell and McClure, the idea behind Instigate Debate is that people should record (with permission) public figures being asked about the issues of the day – from politicians expenses to footballer’s wages. The best contributors are rewarded with nifty Flip Video cameras and – better still – their own private gig featuring whoever the musos can rope in.
All of which is why we were all standing in schoolgirl Hannah Webb’s kitchen. Her questioning of Ken Livingstone for Instigate Debate won her the prize, although I’m not quite sure how pleased her mum was about hosting the event.
She wasn’t the only one with cause for concern. “I thought it was gonna be at some student house or something!” a bemused Carl Barat said as he walked in. “Not somewhere nice like this… It’s a bit weird doing the gig here.” He’s right. In one corner, we’ve got a sheepish Lee Mavers accidentally knocking over glasses of wine. In the other, Mrs Webb diligently hands out trays of cold sausages, crisps and dips to the assorted crowd. The Rhythm Factory it ain’t.
McClure, resplendent in green trackie top and thick Yorkshire brogue is in the middle of the throng, telling all who’ll listen that he thinks the impressively shiny kitchen-top is brilliant and that, yes, he will have another glass of wine. Things get even weirder when Eastenders actress Kim Medcalf (better known as Sam Mitchell) randomly turns up and takes her place in the 50-strong audience alongside African hero Baaba Maal, invited along by McClure and a visibly in awe McConnell.
As the clock struck 1am, we got a series of impromptu jams from the assorted acts. Here’s the room where the action happened. Note the McClure-approved kitchen surface.
And here’s the music…
Drew introduces proceedings and plays ‘Killamangiro’:
Lee Mavers reels out an ace version of ‘Feelin”:
Carl plays ‘Time For Heroes’
…followed by ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’:
Lee Mavers – ‘There She Goes’:
After the performances, all the musicians expressed their enthusiasm for Instigate Debate, saying they’ll carry on rewarding those who join them. So what are you waiting for? Get involved at Instigatedebate.com.