Uncomfortable silences, embarrassment, fixations (unhealthy) and libations (definitely healthy). Oh and obsessions, lots of those, some lasting with great gusto to this very day, others, sadly a victim to the wayside of maturity (no sniggering at the back), fashion or ultimately, simply to boredom.

Yes, Gentle Reader, as the more critically astute amongst you[1] will by now have realised, I refer of course to adolescence, that mind numbing, body breaking, soul shaping, ever changing merry making gap between the years of childhood and not getting a job[2].
But, mayhap, why? Yes, your cries beseech me over the ether, but fear not, for you are bid welcome, now read on…

Well for a start it’s not me who is adolescent…

…well ok fair enough; a bit, possibly, but that for me is a source of great pride! No, I feel that it’s FG who (or what, or which) is adolescent. We’ve struggled through the awkward years (a year-ish) and headed pell mell into teenage months, full of pride, self confidence and know-all skills[3]. Now we have hit the behemothic convolution of rampant musical hormones, no estrogen or testosterone involved, just developing songs, playing skills and respectful attitudes to mark our forthcoming birthday with.

And every birthday deserves a party; which brings me neatly, to Seafest…

For the initiate reader to this blog, a FG virgin, as it were, let me recap that Seafest is an annual festival of the sea and matters maritime held in Scarborough in July. The musical arm of the festival is headed and organised by Richard Grainger, and the great and the good of Folk and Acoustic music for near and far are summoned to present their wavy wares to the assembled masses. If you are the leader of a Shanty Crew, a retired but tuneful Captain ‘fore the mast, or someone who knows a song with a boat in it, you should look it up for next year.

Scarbie in July is a delight to the senses. The smell of candy floss perfumes the ocean air, and the sound of happy children playing drifts ‘neath the senseless skies, pursued by the grunts of equally insensible parents, and you may at some points feel that you had stumbled upon a lost Fish and Chip Mine, such are the battered riches of that fine culinary repast to be had, at less than extortionate prices.

All this is true of course[4], but the main attraction for us is a) the music and b) the friends. The usual organisation for participants of this event is for those engaged in the noble art of mellifluous minstrelsy, is to turn up at the appointed venue, at the appointed hour (for full details see programme) play for the appointed time, then run like buggery to the next one.

Repeat as prescribed until the pain goes away.

This we did, in fine order, seven at one festival, says my newly embroidered sash, not a Scarbie T-Shirt referring to crisp liaisons with ladies of negotiable virtue, but to the number of FG performances stuffed into two days and an evening.

And was it fun?

In the main, yes it most certainly was, and hats (tricorn) off to all those who made the event work, especially in these straightened times when arts grants are a thing of council folk memory, so well done to Richard and Jeanette and all the team of little helpers, like scurvy, and sometimes stripy Tars, who jumped to respectful attention and ran hither and thither to make sure that things went as smoothly as possible.

I know Gentle Reader that there are those who, eagle eyed, and lantern of jaw, will have spotted I said ‘in the main’ as a review to ‘did it go well’. This is only because in the manner of these things, some venues are pubs, pubs are public places and Scarborough is an inelegant place after twenty-two pints[5]. Our gigs were, bar one, a roistering success; I’m very pleased to say. We went down well, those before us, and after us did also, audiences generally listened, many sang, and lots said nice words afterwards. Those that didn’t like it, naffed orf, and that’s just as it should be.

Legends from the weekend? Obviously seeing lots and lots of friends, having the chance to natter, have a drink with, in many cases sing and play with these friends was truly great, and made for good performances too. Playing ‘Song of the Fisherman’ with Penni McClaren Walker as an honorary FG bandperson was a sheer joy, as well as speaking in binary to Mark Hadlett (and that was before the twenty-seventh pint too) , and managing to christen a folk icon with his own, never to be forgotten nickname, was a real privilege.

‘Blind’ Lemon Jefferson, ‘Big’ Bill Broonzy, ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt, ’Sonny’ Terry, ‘Brownie’ McGee; all true greats of Yorkshire folk culture, with nicknames a matter of public record. Now another graces the pages of this list of the great as ‘Almost’ Glen Coggin enters the limelight of the nicknamed alumni.

…and it happened like this: as the last note (and it’s a hell of a note) of ‘Justice’ rang out of ‘The Merchant’ at 11.00pm on Saturday night, following The Stormies and FG giving the song its ritual end of the evening rocket fuelled thrashing, enter stage right a hot Mr Coggin, loaded mandolin to the fore. A swift glance around the room, he took in the departing crowds, the shocked expressions and the lack of any actual music.

“Oh bugger” he said, crestfallen; “Almost”.

And a legend is born.


So as the Sozzled Shantymen of Fate, prepare for the Hangover from Hell, and the last lilting harmonies from a song about a prostitute drift off into the night, I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] That means, those of you with your own colouring books

[2] i.e. the bit skipped by accountants

[3] Sorry, that should read: b.all skills. Sorry.

[4] Except the bit about the prices

[5] Just like the Bigg Market on a Friday neet, but with more ‘kiss me quick’ hats


4 thoughts on “Spots

  1. How on earth did you find the time to right all that down.

    Oh! you missed a bit
    The rowdy crowd of lads in the Lancaster that we had to musically SHOUT OVER THE TOP OF but failed ‘Almost’

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