She walks on stage looking pale and enervated, like a ghostly image of heroin chic. Just what have they done to Thea Gilmore? Then two songs in she reveals she's "got the lurgy, big time". It turns out she's been taking nothing stronger than herbal tea to keep the flu at bay.
Photos of morris dancers adorn this home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, and the atmosphere is pin-drop reverent as the Prince's legions gather. Floorboards creak, glasses clink, and someone actually tiptoes. No wonder Will Oldham's first act is to wince, then hurl us into his world of gore, spunk, death and cunnilingus.
The mountain man who tore up British stages last time round has been replaced tonight by a straight-backed loner in the smart-casual dress of the conscientious worker.