Ten Things…

I am asked, really quite regularly, “am I a Gentle Reader, or an Acoustic Chum?”

Well, now, that depends, obviously.

If you are a musician, singer or song smith then we typify you, rightly or wrongly, as an Acoustic Chum. However, there are lots of you, no less valued than the last bunch, who do not sing or play. You are, in the myopic gaze of this writer, Gentle Readers. Of course such demarcation is arbitrary at best. For instance, you might be a banjo driver and have to wait for someone to read the blog to you, a Shantyman perchance, in which case you read it yourself, and then argue with it. A tortured soul of a poet, who worries why you are not mentioned. Or, mayhap you are a singer songwriter, in which case brother (yes, or sister); you’re on your own…

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

It strikes me, in a Holmseian sort of way, that many of our Gentle Readers are gentlefolk of leisure. Whether this is a result of time served, independent means or just plain lucky, there would appear to be a few with a little free time on their hands.

Now, this is a Good Thing, as there happens to be a situation vacant at Fool’s Gold inc. It works like this…

As I travel about the world as part of my day job, brumming happily along in my little red car,

The wheels go brummity round,

And as they turn, I hear a sound,

And the tune begins to grow.

And with the tune, arrive the words,

As I mentally edit.

Until I get home and realise,

Oh bugger, I’ve forgettidit.

So, as I cannot drive and scribble, or operate a recorder, I have a sits vac for a lyrics scribe – it would help if you could hum too[1]. Naturally, I would not be able to tolerate your actual physical presence within the car, so I wonder; would you be prepared to sit on the roof as we drive along? In this manner, I could partially wind down the window as we amble along the lanes, and shout such lyrics as occur out of the window for you to scribble down on the pad provided. Naturally, your creature comfort is of some importance, so I’d be prepared to affix a spare dining chair to the roof of the car, secured by a sturdy mount[2].

I think that, low bridges notwithstanding, this should be a workable arrangement. Applications are invited in writing.

This week has been the usual FG rush, organising more Help for Heroes bits and pieces and adding a few more to the list. The list can be found here

Now then, the club. No, not The Kings’s Head and Washerwoman’s arms – at least not yet – this time the club of which I speak, and in hushed tones too, is Blackhill Comrades Club. It is with great pleasure that I can confirm that FG, with the support of some local musicians will present an evening of acoustic music in support of Help for Heroes on Thursday 28th June at 8.00pm. This will be a first for your marras in FG, a clerb is not our home turf, and acoustic music ain’t necessarily theirs either. But it does demonstrate the willingness to support the charity and it must be said, that we and they are up for it, looking forward to it, and going to give it the beans!

Thursday 28th June FG Help for Heroes Blackhill Comrades Club Consett

We have been busy this week with FG admin and rehearsal.

I say rehearsal, but really it’s just fun, as we search for a route through the new songs. As soon as it is so complicated that we need a plan like a map of the London Underground to find our way through, when it has four tempo changes, three time signatures, a change of voice, gender and key; then it’s nearly ready. Two new FG songs at a club near you soon.

We’re delighted to be able to thank Terry Ferdinand and Liz Franklin for their support with the Help for Heroes project. We’ll be on Bishop FM and Radio Teesdale on the 23rd and 26th respectively – our thanks to them of course – get ready to folk!

Thursday and we for Darlington Folk Club. A goodly turnout made it necessary to thrice expand the circle, and a good night was had by all, especially good to see Forum play and sing – along with their own charity project to promote. http://www.fourumfolk.co.uk/

FG went down gratifyingly well, even flogging CD’s, and we will return when they vacate the soon-to-close Arts Centre and amble off, unbowed, to the nearby Copper Beech pub.

More info at: http://www.darlingtonfolkclub.com/

Thanks to The Wrinkly Wroadies for the pics below (apart from The Bridge; that was me!)

The online shop has started making sales (thank you Gentle Readers all), which is great as you can download the music cheaply and don’t have to listen to it! Result!

The cd shop is all over the place now, but try here if you are interested. Also available on Amazon if you already have an account.

We are preparing spiritually for Seafest in Whitby, so it may be useful to share the following to anyone intending to attend.

Ten things you will NEVER hear a Shanty Crew say…

  1. That’s enough verses lads
  2. That was a bit loud
  3. No thanks; I’ve had enough
  4. This one is about a Farmer
  5. This one has a happy ending
  6. We shall interpret this shanty through the medium of expressive dance
  7. There are no storms in this one
  8. Has anyone seen my cap?
  9. Nelson who?
  10. Should we finish with a chorus?

How can you tell if a Shanty set is nearly finished?

Look at the Leaders pint – it’s a good indicator.

What makes a songwriter?

Is it a troubled childhood? Delayed toilet training or a tempestuous and ultimately doomed love affair at Primary School? Is it the need to communicate, to express or to empathise, educate and join with the audience?

Any and all of the above, I imagine. In my case it’s the fact that I like stories and want to do my own stuff and not re-do Ralph O’Toole, Ralph the Wild Rover or Ralph who mounted The Maune. Many people do, and do it very well. Not FG though.

Someone at a club recently watched a poet read from a book, then muttered, almost audibly, that a poet is songwriter who can’t sing or play.

I could not possibly comment on such a foul calumny.

And so to the King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Arms. Again, we could not make it, and must rely on unreliable third party reports. It seems that this week the turnout was slightly lower than in recent weeks, probably due to the fact that Euro 2012 is on the telly. Many folkies stay at home on footie nights in case the noise from the bar is troublesome. In the case of the KH&WA Folk Club, it is more usual that the drinkers in the bar stay at home, as the find the noise from the Lounge interferes with the digestion.

So Chairman Dave, donned the red and black armband of authority and announced that this night would be a simple round the room, two songs each, with a third for anyone who bought him a pint. A new face Seanne, small, pretty, Irish and of the opposite gender, was a newcomer and in the spirit of a Folk Welcome, Dave allowed her fifteen songs. Sadly that means that Sellotape were unable to do their new Folk-Epic; a multi instrumental[3] concept piece (In D[4]) on the theme of Dick Turpin’s little known ride from York to Scunthorpe.

Finally, as a late news special, we tooled by The Bridge to catch AC’s ItsAcoustica and Chris Kelly do an all acoustic show in the upstairs room. ItsAcoustica went on first as Chris has other things on his mind and needed to arrive later, and turned in a set packed with favourites. A special turn was the uke band mid-set which was a fun interlude.  Some nice new arrangements added to the interest – at least for me. Andy once again displayed  scant regard for the sensibilities of the audience, appearing in a shirt which clearly displayed the fact that his tailor has a well developed sense of humour.  Chris arrived and produced a sterling set of delicate playing, gentle presentation and dry, dry, dry wit. Nice to see him play again.

Carol & I (and Dave sometimes) hope to see you around soon.

And so as the last chorus of the shanty of forever finally fades, and the crew leader makes that ‘round again’ sign with his hand, the audience of resignation takes one last deep breath and longingly eyes the exit of ultimate escape, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums

Keep Strummin’


[1] And some of you do

[2] I have some 3/15ths Imperial Sturdy Mounts in the garage, they are left handed, but if I use them upside down, should do the job.

[3] Guitar, ukulele, mouth organ and electric triangle. Sandy does not like the electric triangle. Julian always passes it to her ready plugged in.

[4] Not the key; the chord.

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One thought on “Ten Things…

  1. In 43 years, I have referred to you as lots of things, but the words “Gentle Reader” and “Acoustic Chum” have never passed my lips. The word I’m looking for is, er, maybe you can use your imagination.

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