13/07/2012 06:41 BST | Updated 11/09/2012 06:12 BST

Songwriting - My Longest Gig

I think I just played my longest ever show, at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

Hebden Bridge (stunning little Yorkshire valley town in the Pennines, fierce non-conformist spirit, steep hills) is recovering from horrendous floods. It's amazing the Arts Festival went ahead really; many businesses and cafés are still shut to clean themselves up. So for emergency venue logistics reasons, my gig in the brand new (not quite finished) Town Hall needed to run concurrently with an improvised dance performance downstairs (since my audience had to walk across their stage to get to me, or more importantly to the bar!).

So I was asked to do two sets, with the first one lasting at least 40 minutes, so both audiences would go for their interval drinks at the same time. Inevitably then my second set just stretched out - it ran well over an hour in the end, so total performance time works out at 1 hour 55 minutes.

I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. Right now it feels great as an 'achievement' but obviously that has nothing to do with 'ace' or 'shite' gigs, really. The audience was proper lovely and (I'm sure) was honestly up for an encore, so that's a good sign after 90 minutes I guess.

Mostly I'm pleased I can do that with songs to spare (for example as soon as I walked off I was annoyed for missing out 'The Shape We're In') and I'm proud to say that although there was a bit of thinking beforehand about song running order, I didn't use an actual setlist, instead mentally connected 'chunks' of different sets that work well together. :)

By the way, if you were there and have an opinion on the lengthy set - criticism is fine - do let me know.

Here's the set, it's 26 songs:

Love Is Not Rescue

A Box To Hide In

Open Books

Old Men


A Plague On Both Your Houses

Preaching To The Converted

What If My Heart Never Heals?



7 Hearts

Stop Listening


Open & Shut


M1 Song

Shit From All Angles


The Huntsman Comes A-Marchin'

The Tin Man

Words Fail Me

Tall Woman

Elephant In The Room

The English Earth


Lines & Squares (A.A. Milne)

Market Square (A.A. Milne)

Tomorrow Morning

Then I drove home to Brighton. Get me, with the stamina.

By the way, I forgot to say: on my last tour I opened and closed with two Milne poems; 'Halfway Down' and 'Come Out With Me' (which then reprises a verse of 'Halfway Down' at the very end). If you're (by any chance) wondering why I didn't do that - and why there are only two Milne poems in the set, just thrown in the encore - it's because I also performed the full Disobedience A.A. Milne show at HBAF the previous day - and there were some people who came to both shows. So I wanted to minimise crossover. That's also why I didn't play 'Hedgehog Song' - it's in the Milne show too.