There has never been a more inappropriate item of clothing than a high-vis cycle vest at a Diamanda Galas gig. I tucked it into my bike helmet and tucked my bike helmet under my seat, but still it glowed, like a radioactive ingot in a post-apocalyptic world.
What I should have been wearing, of course, was black. All over, from the inside out. That's what most everyone else was wearing, including the lady herself. I'd call her something like the High Priestess of Goth, but I don't think that would begin to cover it.
She sings of love, of despair, of death, of bleakness, of grief, of injustice. She does this in three languages and over three octaves. When singing isn't enough, she screams. I went with A, who has been waiting to see her live for 21 years, and his friend J, who said afterwards 'I can see why they made us drink out of plastic. She'd have shattered every glass in the place'.
I spent most of the set grinning like an idiot. Halfway through, A said 'is this *really* what it's like inside your head?'. Yeah, I said. Sometimes.
Her new album is called Guilty Guilty Guilty. Let's just say that as a lapsed Catholic, on Maundy Thursday, I could relate to that.
Right, I'm off for a shriek.