Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Soho Square 2010


Every year, on the Sunday nearest her birthday, family, friends and fans of the late (and very great) Kirsty MacColl gather in Soho Square, London, to remember her. It’s a spot immortalised in her song ‘Soho Square’ and there’s a bench with her name on it. I went this year for the first time, and I shall certainly go again. Sitting on a bench (not the bench) before the start, I got into conversation with a friendly young man who turned out be Jamie Lillywhite, one of Kirsty’s two sons. Somehow I expected him to be “cloth├Ęd all in green O” (“Two, two, the lily-white boys”) but I held back on that witticism, which I’m sure he’s heard a million times before. He’s in the music business, I learned – managing young star Ellie Goulding.

After the gathering at midday, everyone repaired to the Phoenix Artist’s Club round the corner to toast Kirsty’s memory and sing her songs. This year, the tenth since her life was senselessly cut short by a maniac in a powerboat, was rather special, culminating in an all-star tribute gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire in the evening. I’m reviewing the gig for a certain publication, so I won’t say any more now except that it was top-notch, with Alison Moyet perhaps the stand-out among many highlights. Everyone on stage seemed to be having a ball – or, as compere Phill Jupitus put it, “We should do this every fucking year!” Let’s hope they do. Musical directors Pete Glenister and Dave Ruffy were hinting as much at the end. Here are some video clips from an unforgettable night. (In the final number look out for the wonderful Jean MacColl, 87 years young, rocking away at the back of the stage.)

Mary Coughlin, ‘Bad’
Billy Bragg, ‘Free World’
Billy Bragg, ‘A New England’
Alison Moyet, ‘Head’
Alison Moyet, ‘Walking Down Madison’
Brooke Supple, ‘England 2 Colombia 0’
Catherine Tate, ‘In These Shoes’
Kim Wilde, ‘They Don’t Know’
Andrea Corr, ‘They Don’t Know’
Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine, ‘Dear John’
Amy Macdonald, ‘Tread Lightly’
Amy Macdonald and Dave Ruffy, ‘Fairytale Of New York’
Phill Jupitus and ensemble, ‘There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop…’

On the Absolute Radio channel on YouTube there are seven interviews with the performers.

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