Interview: Bridie Jackson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Fancy a night of top quality live music that supports one of Newcastle’s finest cultural establishments streaming straight to your home? Then you might want to tune into Brick’s Sofa Gig this Sunday (3rd May) at 8pm. It features the exceptional musical talents of Bridie Jackson who will be performing a set mostly consisting of songs requests, so expect some outlandish covers. The show is a fundraiser for Alphabetti Theatre, who, like so many arts organisations are facing an uncertain future in these worrying times (donate here).

We caught up with Bridie to find out how she’s coping with lockdown and, of course, the show itself.

How has lockdown been treating you? What have you been listening to to pass the time?
It’s been mostly ok, although I did attempt to cut my own fringe the other day which was tense. I mostly listen to music either on my state-sanctioned runs, which require lots of really stomping stuff, such as Savages, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, The Go! Team. Stuff like that. When I need to have a big, cathartic cry, I’ve been enjoying The Slow Show and Olafur Arnalds.

Have you taken the time to write any new material?
I probably should be writing music, but instead, most of my free time has been taken up with my new obsession, which is documenting the pandemic through the medium of ridiculous, satirical doodles/ cartoons. Seemingly, seeking the ludicrous angles in amongst the seriousness of it all is helping to keep me sane and relatively upbeat. I think after this is all over, I’ll send them all to The Private Eye! (I’ve attached a few for your amusement)

Can you tell us more about your sofa gig?
We’ll sit on our sofa and play a bunch of songs, many of which have been selected by others. People can have a bit of a nosey at our front room, we’ll drink a bit, we might tell a few long-winded, ultimately pointless anecdotes. Then we’ll all go home, except that we will all already be at home, which is comforting.

You will be doing some outlandish covers. Can you divulge?
Well, the covers people have chosen pretty much cover the spectrum from Madonna to Loudon Wainwright, so hopefully, there is something for everyone. We’ve been indulging in some lovely 90’s synth keyboard effects and my husband Nick has had a whale of a time interpreting wayward guitar solos on a viola. There will be plenty of sweet and gentle folky stuff too, tho. 

Why is The Alphabetti special to you?
I’ve been going since it opened and I remember walking in and feeling like I’d accidentally ended up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; it just so brilliantly encapsulates the excitement you get from seeing new, interesting work alongside a really engaged and lively audience and just this amazing atmosphere.

But Alphabetti is just one of many treasured venues and organisations that we all need support now and in the future. I fear the arts sector is going to take a real beating, and Newcastle needs its cultural spaces and artists. It’s so important.

When life returns to return to some level of normality, what’s the first thing you plan on doing?
I’m going to hug my sibling (Artist and drag king Lady Kitt and human of the year every year) and then we’ll go out and get sauced up and behave moderately badly. And the next day, I’m going to spend the entire day cafe crawling. Oh, and disable my Zoom account. No more Zoom, thankyou.

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