An Old Crow and a Confused Chick

The past few weeks have involved the above…

I gave my sisters and cousins a ticket to see Old Crow Medicine Show for Christmas. You might know these cats from Wagon Wheel – which, to be fair, is all we knew and loved them for.

The concert was in the glorious Shepherd’s Bush Empire on  a Monday night. We decided to teetotal it, but that didn’t matter  – the old crow was medication enough.

The thing about watching country old timers like this is you soon realise a) how much country you know AND b) how many other musicians have ‘borrowed’ sounds and ideas from this genre…

The music was a magnificent present to the ears.  The talking was a bit more challenging. I really tried to understand the Old Crow’s Tennessee accent but failed. I do know they talked about Kentucky fried chicken. But that’s about it.

They ended with their own country rendition of Hang the DJ by the Smiths. It couldn’t have been more appropriate. How far we’ve strolled from REAL musicians –  just men and women with their instruments. Perhaps one or two DJs do need to be hanged so we can crow once more!

On leaving the empire, the grin on my face grew when I saw the support band jamming on the doorstep among the desperate t-shirt sellers. It really was a hell of a gig.

So an old Crow became a confused chick later that week when I went to see Harold Pinter’s Old Times, at the Harold Pinter Theatre (of course)

It is an extraordinary  play set in a room in a remote house by the sea. There are only three characters: Kate, Deeley and Anna who reminisce about their early days together in London. Their memories are conflicting and sexual tension fills the stage.

It is almost impossible to distinguish who is good and who is  manipulative, who loved who, and even: who is dead and who is alive. But this was Harold Pinter’s aim with Old Times. Anna makes this clear when she says: ‘There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened. There are things I remember which may never have happened but as I recall them so they take place.’

Each character describes what they remember or have chosen to believe…

Just to confuse things further – the actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams change characters each night! They look very different and I think I would have interpreted it quite differently had I seen it the night before. It is one brave and marvellous idea.

Harold Pinter plays with your mind like it’s a Juke Box. There was one point where I thought ‘Oh shit have they made a mistake’ but apparently that is just Harold – he LOVES the awkward pause. This one was so awkward I was tutting into my fruit pastilles. But no – it was part of the play.

It didn’t actually matter that I didn’t know the truth – I thoroughly enjoyed all the fragments of it. All the truths that may have been.  And this is where Harold Pinter’s genius lies…

Life is just a load of different people’s truths. And I am just one confused chick pecking at grass on Shepherd’s Bush Green, knowing that on the other side of the roundabout it is ALWAYS greener.