This weeks show however threw a new challenge at me. Just as the second half was beginning I noticed the room was getting very dark. A number of the candles had burnt out and I asked the audience if they wanted new ones or perhaps some electric lighting. But everybody liked the gloom, so I took a moment to think what story to tell. I find darkness is a medium that does not favour some types of story but definitely adds to others (like spooky stories or romantic tales).
As I was thinking I lifted my cup to take a sip of tea. Suddenly the most hellish and violent sound erupted all around me. The tea leapt out of the cup and my bones nearly leapt out of my skin. 'Hold on!' I cried to the audience and ran out the room. In the bar the complete absence of any sonic assault left me bewildered; the only sounds were those of relaxed drinking and eating; laughter and the clink of glasses and the rattle of knifes and forks.
I asked Siobhan behind the bar what the sounds in the blue room were, but she looked around the bar and smiled. 'Nobody else can hear anything.'
'I tell you there is the most awful roaring screaming sounds coming into the blue room.'
'And would anybody else hear these sounds or is it just yourself.'
'There is a crowd of people in there, shaking in fear and trauma,' I explained in proper storytelling mode.
'That's nice,' replied Siobhan.'Would they be wanting to order any more drinks?'
'I tell you, the gates of Hell have opened in the blue room.'
But even as I spoke it was clear that not a squeak of the noise in the blue room could be heard anywhere else in the bar. It was - and remains - a mystery but I could not leave the audience for long. I went back into the room. A few more candles had burnt out and the music was if anything louder and insaner. But the audience, from the little I could see of them seemed to be in great form. All smiles, laughter and merriment.
Who was I to be pissed off when everybody else was having a great time?
I stood up and began the second half. 'Well now seeing as we have the sound track to a 1970s slasher movie, lets say i tell you something dark and nasty.'
Which I did. I pitched my voice so it was just loud enough to be heard above the wailing, thudding, screeching sounds and began the story. And as I told it I found I began to enjoy the soundtrack screaming and roaring around me. Suddenly I was in harmony with the music and the very terror and madness of it lifted the story and made it darker and weirder and ever more horrifying...
And then just as I was coming to the climax of the story the music faded away, allowing me to drop my voice to a scary whisper.
It was a great telling, invigorating and uplifting. But I still have no idea where that sound came from. There is a room above the blue room, but nobody has been allowed in there since the 'incident' back in 2003. When I checked with the bar staff after the show they were adamant the room was locked as it always is... Which leaves me in a bit of a quandary. You see my audience enjoyed the night so much they want to come back for more stories with horror soundtracks...
So now I'm on the look out for any death metal bands in Galway who would be free on a Thursday evening to come along to my show to sing a wee tune or two about dismemberment and intimate relationships with corpses.