Reflections from the Lantern Society, Hastings’ Candlelit Acoustic Club, by Trevor Moss

The clocks went back only a few nights before this month’s Lantern Society, so by the time the clock struck eight and we were due to start, The Printworks already had the heavy atmosphere of a late night bar session. Maybe the lack of acclimatisation to the long, dark, cold evenings saw a few people sheltering at home, as this Lantern Society felt like one for only the most committed players and wandering night stalkers.
‘Tis the season to be glum. It seems like only yesterday our sunniest little party town was dressed up as something or other, sipping a cold refreshment of choice, buying ice creams from our favourite new hut on the pier and watching never-ending beautiful sunsets over our sunniest-town rival, Eastbourne. Now suddenly here I am on stage desperately trying to breathe life back into my fingers with my steaming breath, to pick our opening number and get the proceedings under way. My guitar creaks and moans as I wrench it into tune. It won’t stay in for long. It seems that it is not only me and my guitar who are suffering the seasonal disorder, as numerous players tonight introduce songs with ‘Here’s another depressing one,’ or words to that effect. They all did so, however, with a jolly disposition. This is a recurrent mode of singer-songwriters, offering a wry apology for conforming to the indulgent clichés of moaning about one’s life on stage. None of the songs tonight could be put into that category, though. The stand-out song for me tonight was by a young newcomer, Stephen (sorry, I didn’t get your surname), who sang a ‘depressing’ song written about his Granddad Cecil, in which he recalled good old days before the ravages of time took their toll on body and mind, and now longs simply to be recognised one more time, hoping his Granddad is proud of him. It was heart-breaking, tragic, but not depressing.

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The predominant purpose of a song is to communicate. To witness a recounting of a sad or traumatic time, eloquently and concisely summed up and expressed with honesty in the form of a song, is a beautiful act and can never be depressing. Quite the opposite, in fact, this is the most joyous kind of music, for it is the healing kind. Make no excuses, no apologies, and all the more joyous it will be.

• The next Lantern Society (Christmas Special) is on Thursday 6th December, and takes place every first Thursday of the month at the Printworks on Claremont Rd. www.thelanternsociety.co.uk


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