It is nearly Christmas and the season of the amateur drinker is truly upon us. Normal behaviour is suspended and the streets are awash with random events just waiting to happen. And happen they do as, in the space of but a few minutes, two inebriated Norwegians ask me how much is the time and the Glasgow Polis (God bless them one and all!) descended, in force, upon the old men of the Scotia Bar. Finding The Mighty Sparrahawk – all five of them squeezed on to a stage barely big enough to hold a folk singer and his Aran sweater – across the road in The Victoria Bar doing offbeat urban poetry and a perverse choice of covers was therefore not that much of a surprise. Finding that the Victoria Bar serving the paralysing effective Brewdog IPA on draught was more of a surprise if, on reflection, rather appropriate.
As the inspired insanity of The Mighty Sparrahawk filled the room with tales of kebabs, hungry seagulls, rain, tonic wine and the joys of finding a junkie on your doorstep, a cast of oddball characters assembled themselves no doubt drawn like moths to a flame. This wasn’t just limited to the stage either – although watching Andy Flett taken hostage and being made to play really cheesy keyboards was a bonus – as, in no more time than it took to consume two pints of Brewdog’s finest, a blonde MILF, a singer called Dixie Beaver, two (obligatory for Glasgow) incoherent old men, a tattooed barmaid called Kelly and the ubiquitous Crawford Smith had written themselves into this skewed, illogical reality. Add in distinctly oblique covers of “Superstition” and “California Dreaming” to the soundtrack of this surreal soap opera and what’s left of my fuzzled brain actually expected Buckfast Bill and The Drunken Piper to escape from the pages of Sparrahawk’s prose and stagger through the door.
“The Wheel is Turning but The Hamster is Dead” is the name of The Mighty Sparrahawk’s album. I’m not sure if it comes with the free alternate reality that accompanied tonight’s performance so just remember that, sometimes, two plus two won’t make four no matter how hard you try.