Aside from this very cool neon letting the bar clientele know that live music has begun in the other room, Hemlock’s other, er, idiosyncratic feature was the fact that the only thing separating the Mens restroom “number ones” receptacle from its “number twos” was a black polythene curtain that did not touch the ground. If one felt daring enough for number twos, the ways of ascertaining the status of said receptacle were:
1) look under the curtain
2) just peer around the curtain
But enough about art . . .
It was so great to see Barbara Manning play for the first time. She is a charming performer whose own personality shines through and refuses to be contained by her obvious respect for (and control of) certain traditional aspects of songwriting. I first heard Barbara’s voice singing a song on this album , which at the time I didn’t realise was a Verlaines song (in fact The Verlaines themselves were next on the tracklist with the immortal Heavy 33!). I went out and bought Barbara’s 1212 L.P soon after, which contains The Arsonist Story, to this day one of indie rocks most inspired song sequences. Who knew back then that over 15 years down the track I’d be getting the opportunity to play shows with both artists? Not me. I’d never even written a song. Funny how things work out.