Folkiquette

He was there again this week.

The bloke on Fellside Road who thinks that 32 mph might catapult him clean out of earth orbit so plays it safe. And guess what? I was behind him again.

Mind you; by the time we had reached the end of the road, so was 90% of the product of the European car industry. I feel I know this man now, in his sensible micra[1] with the cushion on the parcel shelf, and a gaze riveted on a point 20 metres (sorry; yards) ahead. Maybe his neck doesn’t work. Still, it again gave me a chance to mull over the forthcoming blog…

…which brings me here, with you all once again, ready to bid you Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

 

Another week rolls by without winter making an appearance. Does anyone else feel slightly cheated? However much has been in the folk event horizon this week, so, as Joey Ramone may succinctly have had it; “Hey Ho, Let’s Go”.

Firstly, a big thank you to you all – last week’s blog stats saw an astonishing hike on the average number of reads. I do wonder why you folks read it… but am glad you do!

I note with interest that the much troubled Clennell Hall Festival[2] may have a second lease of life, at a different place and probably time. The ins and outs of what, who, why and which wheel fell of when are none of my business, but I’m pleased to note that Dave has picked up on an interesting offer from The Trap, near Druridge Bay in Northumberland, to host some form of gathering. This is a Good Thing, and I hope it comes off. Anyone interested in finding out what is going on, look for the Clennell Hall thread on Facebook.

This week we have mostly been rehearsing for The Comrades on Saturday, I should be able to scribble a report to drop in at the end before this bunny goes to press. In the process we are building up the duo repertoire and a few new songs are still bubbling away – should be fun. A new instrument should make its appearance on Saturday – my octave mandolin, which I wield with the rapier like dexterity of a blind nun chewing a brick. Also, we have been finding musical contribution lines for the new Stormcrow CD on which we have been invited to play. Boy, but it is hard to find lines that fit someone else’s vision, especially when songs like The Stormies are very complete entities already. However, we have man (and womanfully) tried and have a few ideas to bring to the table. Full report on the recording session next week.

 

Now; round these parts, we like to be helpful. In fact, we is known for being helpful. Anyone who has had my help certainly never forgets it.

As we are philanthropic sorts here at the FG Foundation for being Dead Helpful, and we like to help young musicians, giving them a little push over the threshold of Acoustic Music and into Folk Clubs. It is in this spirit of helpfulness that I’d like to offer the talented little…. musicians… a few tips.

So, Acoustic Virgins, print this next paragraph out, learn it by heart and apply it.

Oh yes.

This advice is primarily intended for young performers, perhaps still in the first flush of G, C and eventually D, who have learned some Folk Club standards, such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, ‘Enter Sandman’, or the ever popular standard: ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (easy version, arranged for G, C and eventually D), or better still, who have writted some songs about what a sod life is ( I mean, no, it is) and intend to perform them all.

How to Make an Impression at Your First Folk Club.

Upon arrival at the folk club:

DO

  • Set up your guitar and practice amp on the stage immediately on arrival – this always impresses.
  • If there is a session in progress, start a rival sing-song in the opposite corner. Anything by The Smiths would be good.
  • When the chairman calls the club to order and makes opening remarks; talk to your mates – it demonstrates independence
  • When the other performers are on, either:

a)       Talk to your mates loudly – it has to be loud as someone is singing, otherwise you won’t hear what’s being said, will you? Or..

b)       If the club is very trad, join in uninvited. This will work in any song which uses G C and eventually D. Don’t worry if you get glared at, they all do this.[3]

  • When you have performed, at the end of your last Nirvana cover, look the chairman in the eye and ask to do another couple – this always goes down well

 

DO NOT:

  • Applaud other acts
  • Buy a raffle ticket
  • Wait until the end to leave
  • Look like you are enjoying yourself
  • Go back next week

I really hope this is helpful, and if anyone does follow this advice, let us know the visiting times, and we’ll pop in and cheer you up with more advice.

 

Just time for a very quick report on The Comrades evening last night – for those not in the know, Acoustic Chum John (The Power) Jeffrey, fresh from big stage conquests, organises an Invitation Evening at this club in Whitley Bay. Ably assisted by Berkley Gerry, whose fingers are a blur of lithe pinkness as they caress guitar, harmonica and mixing desk, despite occasional confusion ending up with him strumming a microphone or blowing up a guitar, provide the sound; this pair produce a very friendly and easy going night of Acoustic Loveliness. There are a very few pics below, maybe more next week. Great to see so many fiends, and nice to see AC  Michael Whip back on his pins.

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And so, as the end of Fellside Road eventually arrives, and my new pal turns right as soon as there is a clear gap for three light years in either direction, I notice the word count has risen alarmingly. Consequently, as the young follower of our helpful tips attempts to extract his headstock from a place not originally intended to receive it, I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’



[1] One of the original wooden ones

[2] To assist readers from foreign parts, this is a festival, held at Clennell Hall. Hope that helps.

[3] At least that part is true

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