by Mistress Nagini
I often wonder what the audience is thinking about what I do when I step onto the stage: light up a torch, stick needles into my skin or snap a mousetrap onto my tongue. One of my favourite tricks is to pound a nail into my nose, we affectionately call this “blockhead”. I take my time setting this one up: I come out wearing a huge rubber horse mask, smacking myself with a riding crop. I then pull the nail out of the horse’s mouth and display it to the audience before I hammer it into my nose. This is one of those moments I connect with the fans to help psyche myself up for this feat.
Imagine my surprise when I spotted Mr. “No” at a show at Amigo’s Cantina in our hometown of Saskatoon.
I must admit I can be distracted when I am on the stage: I’m trying to put a good show, avoid the instruments, think about safety and keep track of where I am in the song. I relish those moments when I can look into the audience and see the dawning realization of what I am going to put where. That space is where I feel I truly meet like-minded people, who are just as strange as I am.
Then there’s that “No” guy. He stood tall, above the see of faces nodding and yelling encouragement, with feet planted wide and arms crossed. I paused, as his stance looked out of place. Our eyes met and that’s when he moved; slowly shaking his head and mouthing “No”. I stopped dead and my mouth fell open. I felt like I had done something naughty that my parents would not approve of.
I had to look away from the mesmerizing “No” guy; my part in the song was winding up. I pounded the nail in my nose, all the while imagining the disappointment emanating from my guardian out there. It reminded me of the first time my boyfriend’s parents saw me, up on stage, steel-corseted, rear up in the air, shooting sparks over the audience.
New Jacobin Club stagecraft can appear just plain strange.
In our quest to make the next show the Best Show Ever, we plan more elaborate tricks to thrill and amaze. There is a danger if we become immune to our own craft: instead of merely eating fire torches, why not wear a belt of fire and eat flames coming from my fingertips? What new and interesting things could I staple to myself? Maybe I could pound two nails into my head for the amusement of all?
I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I love to do, but I must thank that “No” guy for reminding me that what the New Jacobin Club does is not everyday entertainment. We hold a unique space as musicians and entertainers, and always need to present our craft in a professional manner. We could not act out our fog-shrouded, flame-tipped, spooky dreams unless the audience meets us in the middle. Mr. “No” reminds me to always be grateful to our fans for their support and keep safe and professional so everyone has the Best Show Ever!
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Ad Serpentum, Mistress Nagini
*editors note- Mistress Nagini made her vocal debut on the New Jacobin Club’s Soldiers of The Mark providing the incantation – in TWO languages – for the theatrical accompaniment track “Garthim” – listen to it HERE!