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

The summer doldrums appeared well and truly over, as a mighty wind of Lanterneers made it standing room only at this month’s club. Shoulder to shoulder, the night flowed harmoniously from player to player. The clock was ticking apace towards our closing number when, with a clank and clatter, my mood was derailed by words that strike terror into my heart, ‘Audience participation’.

The act in question received a rapturous response as the audience – in unison – banged tables, sang, and shrieked, ‘TERRACED HOUSE!’ to command. It was a heart-warming spectacle. And I was, indeed, a spectator. 

Entertaining Mr Stone
PICTURE: Trevor Moss

This goes a long way back for me. As a military brat, I moved home and schools at least every three years, attending three different schools in my first year alone. At one such school, I was kept back from assembly after repeatedly bursting into unexplained hysterical tears whenever the hymns began; to the great embarrassment of my elder sisters sitting somewhere behind me in the hall. In time it was revealed that, as I didn’t know the songs owing to my being the new kid again, I panicked, fearing I would get into trouble for not singing. Later, one secondary school report read, ‘Trevor would do well to be a little less intense in class. It would aid him socially to join in with the others’ high jinks from time to time.’ I have never really fitted in.

Skip forward ten years. It’s opening night of my old band Indigo Moss’s first major tour at ULU. I’m twenty-one years old and dressed in a white tuxedo. We have a song called ‘Start Over Again’ that opens and closes with a ‘La-la-la’ refrain – which we encourage people to join in on. I come off stage full of post gig adrenaline and our label boss, Simon Tong (from the Verve / Gorillaz), promptly says in his monotone Skelmersdale drone, ‘That was a bit Butlins.’ He was right.    

It’s standard folk club protocol to announce, ‘This one has a chorus’, before teaching it to the room in the hope it is murmured back at roughly the correct moment – for that warm fuzzy feeling of togetherness I’ve heard people speak of. Maybe my inability to fit in as a child has left me either incapable, or in retaliation, uninterested in joining in.

I am a spectator.      

The next Lantern Society is Thursday 1st November, and takes place every first Thursday of the month at the Printworks on Claremont Rd.

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