Idly I sit and survey the rain soaked back yard. My mind wanders and I begin to plan a bold and single-handed crossing of the big puddle that is developing there. Mentally I construct my craft; broom keeled and door hulled, sails fashioned from teacloths and with a cardboard telescope glued to the eye not covered by a used teabag eye-patch, I don imaginary sou’ wester and oilskins[1] and, dressed overall, set off on my epic two metre voyage.

And that is the last that is seen of the good vessel ‘Inscrutable[2]’.

Gasps of horror leap from the throats of Gentle Readers across this vast globe we call home.

What can have transpired, back yard hurricane? Pebbledashed Tsunami?

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader and read on.

Crikey what a week for your chums FG.

Three gigs, radio, organising, festivalities as well as writing and re-arranging songs. Good grief where to start?

Ah, yes, I remember it all now, as if it were only last week…

The weekend began promisingly with more rehearsal with Dave, learning and polishing more bass parts; more of him later, I fancy, but at that point it certainly sounded good, with the track ‘Fool’s Gold’ gaining a definite kick in the bass. Sunday evening and Carol and I for The Cluny 2 in Newcastle, to see Skinny Lister perform. Supported by This Little Bird from Seaham; Skinny Lister were excellent. A full on folky blast of shanties, songs, and tunes delivered at 300mph and with a large dollop of enthusiasm that made it infectious.

While on the subject of theatres, don’t tell anyone – promise?

No go on; you have to promise.[3]

Thank you. Yes we are planning a theatre gig for 2013, we have a co-headliner sorted out, but at this stage, I ain’t gonna tell you who.


You didn’t all promise.

So then Monday. And another new song is born. That’s two in a fortnight which is quite good for me. This one is quieter and more of a love song. Both the new song (Year and a Day), and the other new one (Rake Down The Moon) need a lot more work before we bring them into the public gaze, but as usual, great fun. Carol and I both playing new (ish) instruments too. A quick trip to Newcastle to appear on Acoustic Chum Kyle Thompsons Golden Folk Show on NE1FM – that was interestin[4] , and then it’s Monday evening and Stockton Folk Club. There is apparently a largish Royalist faction in Stockton, as the club was relatively quiet, but we had the usual good time, and laid before those there assembled a few of the FG wares you know and love. It must have been ok as we have been invited back – subject to confirmation – later in the year.


So now it’s Tuesday, and that meant Jack’s in Stanley. Even more Royalists apparently, but we did an extended spot and had a really good time – much mid-set banter and laughter – and flogged a decent pile of CD’s for Help for Heroes. Thank you to all who supported, especially of course to Jack Burness. The news from that part of the world is that Jack is migrating – or rather returning home. The new home will be… The Beamish Mary Inn. It will be great to see a club back there again, and starting on THURSDAY June 21 8.00pm it should be the gathering point of choice for all Local Yokels.

Wednesday, as you all know, is The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club. You have to get there early to get a seat, as quite a few of the regulars have a tendency to chew the furniture. We didn’t get along unfortunately, but we have heard unreliable reports that the Hawkwind theme was well responded to by the floor singers, the a capella version of ‘Warrior on The Edge of Time’ by the Seaside Shanty Crew being the big hit of the evening. Our friends Sandy and Julian, better known to us all as ‘Sellotape’, rendered their acoustic cover of Silver Machine on ukulele and bodhran, and it was fun to see Sandy holding the Bodhran while Julian hit it with a uke. Sandy sang. Sort of.

Sellotape Live(ish)

Sellotape Live(ish)

Let us skip now to Thursday. Ashington Folk Club and a support slot for FG supporting Prelude. An interesting night this, Prelude were of course very good – and we seemed to do alright too, judging by the kind, and firm, offers of rebooking for support slots and extended spots. Thanks to Ben and Doug for their support and kind words for FG and the Help for Heroes project.

<click an image to launch the slideshow>

And the voyage across the puddle?

Storm winds they do blow and the backyard turns into a scene to freeze the heart of the most seasoned Matelot. Not this Captain however; grimly hanging onto soggy cardboard telescope and wooden spoon oar, I set course for the back door, where…

…hang on, there’s a song in this[5].

“Wrapped up in me oilskin and jumper,
Down by the docks I’ll be found,
For a wink and a kiss,
I’ll show you such bliss,
And you’ll still get some change from a pound.”

Back to reality, in time to close:

Beat The Drum (Help for Heroes EP) available on Amazon buy here

…and iTunes and CD Baby!

Just time to edge in a quick word about The Trap Nuts in May Folk Gathering – thanks to AC (and MC) Dave Foreshaw for putting together the first year of a great folk gathering – a good venue, good sound, good folks and music – it must go from strength to strength. Good on yer Dave.

And so, as the frenzied activity of the holiday week gives way to relative calm of the working week, and at the folk club, Jose Milburn, whose frenzied flamenco fingers of fate, flash across the fretboard of fantasy, and someone notices that the slinky strings of splendour were sadly stolen, resulting in a stunning strum of Spanishy silence[6] I notice it is the end of this blog,

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Not easy with a bog roll on one eye and a tea bag on the other.

[2] Because I couldn’t get a Scrute

[3] I can’t believe how many of you just muttered ‘promise’. What are you, nuts?

[4] And great thanks to Kyle for having us on!

[5] Called “They’re coming to take me away…”

[6] Spare teeth are available at the office.


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