On bringing newborns to my gigs….x
Last week I had a lovely, lovely gig in Leeds library. The room was rammed, the audience was super and there were about ten parents with newborns. Maybe more. There was no problem at all with this. Like any parent would, when the babies cried then they were rocked and walked and fed or passed to friends who did the same and were fine. No bother.
I have loads of people coming to my gigs with newborns who they can’t leave. In Belfast on tour last year one of the pubs I played in had a full on line of babies being rocked at the back of the room.
So…if anyone is thinking they might wanna come to one of the gigs but are feeding a baby or have a baby they can’t leave for another reason, I think of it the same way the baby cinema works. The content is adult. My stuff is not child or family friendly. If you wanna bring your 12 year old that’s up to you (The poetry reading is verging between 15/18 I’d say – sex, swearing etc etc). But under 1s are all good, the same way they are allowed into 18 rated films.
At every venue I play in I am totally open to this. Sometimes, on very few occasions it isn’t possible if the venue has a legal over 18 policy and will get shut down for even babies (Ronnie Scotts for example). But if the venue is not an over 18 venue then my answer is always yes. If you want to bring a baby who you cannot leave then bring them if you fancy giving that a go. If it’s a mixed night with music too, then check with the venue cos the volume levels might be harmful. But if it’s a reading at a book / lit festival / library etc, that’s not the case.
That doesn’t mean all the venues I play in will have baby changing, push chair access etc. But don’t let them tell you that because the show is adult content that you’re not welcome. Or that I don’t allow it. I do. And you are.
Also – some staff – a lot – have talked to me concerned before gigs that people may bring babies. They have been concerned that if the baby screams, cries etc then other people won’t be able to hear the poems and will get pissed off. Every time this has been said, I’ve replied that no parent in their right mind would comfortably sit in a gig as their baby screams through the evening. It doesn’t happen! It never has. I’ve been asked to make announcements like: ‘Babies are welcome as long as the parent is aware of their noise levels’. But I won’t. Cos it’s ridiculous. And never happens. Babies start getting tetchy and the parent is ready with nipple, teet, rocking and walking every time. Also – I have a mic.
I just wanted to make that clear. If the venue isn’t over 18 and the music or other acts aren’t too loud but you phone up and they say that the show is adult only, that doesn’t mean babies strapped to your chest / nipple / back. I am totally fine for you to bring them.
Last week, I had to do a gig with my 6 year old daughter sat between my legs on stage. She was silent and I did the gig exactly the same as ever. Some might say unprofessional. I’d not x
So yeah – I can’t promise facilities. And my squeaky, slightly nasal voice when spoken loudly and quickly through the microphone is no lullaby. But I am absolutely happy for your baby to be there.