Yes, I know that the more traditional amongst you will have shuddered at the use of ‘n’ to represent ‘and’ in the title of this blog post. But that’s how it was, down with the youf about 10 days ago, when Harry Baker and his friend/support act Chris Read came to perform at Norwich Cathedral. Harry Baker is ridiculously young, having only graduated last year. He now has the sheer brass neck to be earning his living doing what he loves, which is what exactly? Well, it’s a combination of poetry and rap, written from the perspective of a maths nerd and performed with energy, verbal dexterity and naïve enthusiasm. And strangely it works!
My husband and I went to see them last year and enjoyed it so much that this year we bought 4 tickets and invited my daughter and son-in-law too. You know how it feels when you’re responsible for recommending the entertainment? I started saying things like, ‘they were really good last year’ ‘we hoped you would enjoy them too’ ‘ they were so clever’. Until I settled with ‘ let’s see how it goes tonight’. Which we did.
Let’s rewind an hour or so before the performance started. We pitched up to Norwich Cathedral with some old duvet covers to sit on (are we the only family not to possess the standard tartan picnic rug?) and our cool bag full of goodies. There was a pop up bar selling very respectable Pimms and we soon spread ourselves out on the grass in the cloisters. We motored through our sausage rolls, dips, fruit and cake as others arrived (with or without snacks,) until we were ready to be entertained.
The splendid venue was one of the modern rooms tacked onto the side of Norwich Cathedral. Here, you get all the advantage of being very close to the flints in the ancient walls and you are able to see the cathedral spire from the window, while being in the ease of a light, airy, modern room with comfortable chairs.
When Harry Baker started a familiar poem I remembered how good he was and knew that it would all be fine. His poem about the love life of Number 59, how odd he feels and alone, until he meets… oh no, I won’t tell all, but suffice to say that number 60 is just a bit too ‘perfectly round’ for him, whereas number 61 was ‘just as quirky’. Often writing from the perspective of the outsider, Baker writes about unfashionable preferences such as playing Monopoly and being interested in dinosaurs and FIFA video games. Chris Read played his guitar and sang, both on his own and also while Baker recited. It was very entertaining and very original. Both young men retained a fresh, unpolished, studenty approach to being on stage. They chatted easily with the audience and this helped us to see life from their perspective.
Luckily my faith in the HarrynChris show was vindicated and my family enjoyed the performance. Baker said that they will be in Edinburgh next week. Why not check them out?