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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lisa and I went to see Floors and Walls again last night.

But enough about them. It's Ben Poole!

Big in Beds
He's big in Bedfordshire.

Anyhoo, last night was Children In Need, and as anyone who's ever seen me in a charity shop knows, I like to do my bit for people less fortunate than myself. Although it's often hard to find them.CIN City So in an attempt to get out of the house before the Spice Girls came on TV, I dragged Lisa across town and raised a grand total of £8 for needy youngsters by buying two tickets for Captain Bob's annual fundraiser at Hove Town Hall.

Sadly we missed the under-10s disco, but we did arrive in time to catch the last song from The Rylics, a three-piece rock band who have been together since 2004. Which isn't noteworthy until you find out they're aged 15, 15 and 13. It wasn't so much Children In Need, as children in need of a record contract. But they were surprisingly good for their age (he says patronisingly), and it was well worth them staying up past their bedtime.

The Rylics were followed by Republic of Heaven, a band featuring the former guitarist of Thousand Yard Stare, Giles Duffy. He's bald now. Their music was less hair-raising, unfortunately, and to be honest I had a more exciting time getting Lisa a Coke from the bar.

Playing PooleThe evening took a sharp turn for the better, however, with the arrival of The Ben Poole Band. I spent Tuesday afternoon writing an article about Floors & Walls for the next issue of The Kemptown Rag, but quite frankly I feel like running straight down to the printers and jamming a guitar into the presses to halt production, because Ben Poole was simply stunning. Well, his music was stunning. He was no oil painting. But quite honestly I have never seen a better guitarist in the flesh. In fact I haven't seen a better guitarist full-stop since my brother made me sit through an Yngwie Malmsteen video in 1989.

To be honest, it was slightly depressing to think that at the age of 34, I've probably been playing the guitar longer than he has, and yet even if I practice for the rest of my life, I'll never be as good as he is now. I feel like jacking it all in and taking up the tuba.

But my lack of talent aside, Ben made good use of a wireless radio transmitter plugged into his guitar, which meant that while his bassist and drummer took to the stage, Ben could start his set from the bar outside, which is where I took the first photo above. He repeated the trick towards the end of the gig, wandering out of the room like the Pied Piper with a bunch of teenage rats following his progress through the foyer, while everyone else wondered where the music was coming from.

Paddling PooleAnyhoo, it's at times like this I wish I was an A&R man for a record company. I even discussed with Lisa whether we have enough cash to start our own label, just so I can sign Ben Poole. The answer appeared to be no. But I'm telling you now, that kid is going to be a major star. And I'm never wrong about these things. After all, I saw Maroon 5 in London four-and-a-half years ago, and nobody would listen to me about them either.

Ben's band were excellent too, although the bass player looked like one of the Hanson brothers, which was slightly disturbing, and he seemed barely old enough to get into The Rylics, which was even more worrying. Since when have children been allowed to be so good at rock music, that's what I'd like to know. Haven't they ever heard of Playstation?

Children in NeedAnyhoo, on top of being a phenomenal guitarist, Ben Poole can sing better than I can and write his own songs, but can he rap along to Floors and Walls whilst jumping up and down in a cardigan with a bunch of 14-year-olds? No, he can not. Or if he can, he didn't want to. So while I loitered at the back of a group of needy children who appeared to be taking the name 'Floors & Walls' too literally by doing American wrestling moves on the ground and slamming each other into the walls, Ben just sat on the Poole table at the side with a bottle of beer. Some people have no stamina.