Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Don Foster Ukelele Orchestra feat. Billy Bragg

Last night the traditional end of conference Glee Club had a rival.

In one room you had Paddy doing the same joke as he has done for the past ten years (because the audience demanded it) and Tim Farron mocking the Speaker in song in front of an audience of several hundred.

Next door, there was a special fringe run by the Arts Alliance with a packed audience of 50 (it was a much smaller room). The Arts Alliance uses the arts to help prisoners to avoid reoffending and the performers included singers, rappers, a theatre group and headliner Billy Bragg.

Billy was as brilliant as ever - but I don't think he's ever had anyone in his audience knitting before.

Don Foster, as Party Culture Spokesperson, came along to say a few words and he had brought his ukelele. He announced that he would be playing the Jonny Cash classic Walk the Line in honour of the occasion. Unfortunately he didn't have a music stand (so Simon Hughes stood in) and he didn't know the tune (so Billy had to come and help out).

It was not a stellar performance I'm afraid. Somehow I just don't think that the ukelele is suited to the Man in Black. It was so bad that Bragg called time on the performance halfway through.

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