No, not a Jimmy Edwards[1] reference, but an acknowledgement that we are amid the well known and globally celebrated World Grunting Championships, in which two protagonists face each other across a lawn and grunt at each other until one gets fed up and goes home. To pass the time, they are provided with a bat and ball to play with, while a pervert on a podium shouts rude words and vital statistics.

In short, we need more musical silliness, and once again it is time to bid you, Gentle Reader, Welcome; and read on…

Reminder: Sunday 1st July Beamish Mary Inn No Place Stanley 8.00pm FG & Friends celebrate the completion of ‘Beat The Drum’

“May it please Your Honour, The Crown moves the case for the prosecution”

A lazy afternoon, the Centre Court[2], lit by god rays through dusty windows, highlighting the spiralling dust motes , the ascendant souls of past shantymen[3], is a leaden church, an altar for the barrister’s performance.

The words spat from the red jowls of the prosecuting counsel, whose inflated self importance threatens to burst forth from the restrictive black garb of his profession – the second oldest.

“The Crown moves the case, that the accused”, (that’s me, by the way) “is guilty ipso facto, in toto and Pinocchio of writing his own Songs”.

The words tumble through leaden air and threaten to wake the judge, but their effect of the jury is plain; two faint, one explodes and the others, clutching their banjos, simply blanch at the very thought.

It feels like that sometimes.

FG does tend to make it more difficult for ourselves – and probably the audience – by writing and performing our own stuff, almost exclusively.

So why make it this hard? Because for us, part of the pleasure is the creation of new music. Currently I’m robbing the vault of tradition, a vagabond minstrel let loose in the Bank of Song; but it is original stuff, and we hope people will, as in Roman times, lend us an ear.

And so to Liz.  Gentle Readers native to far off kingdoms of sunshine and sand, like Trimdon; Acoustic Chums who have been living, doubtless comfortably, down a mineshaft, emerging owl like in the dusk, the better to swoop on an unsuspecting busker’s night, may not know Our Liz.

Liz Franklin is a pillar of Barnard Castle Folk Club, but it is her guise as Master DJ of Folkal Point, the Radio Teesdale show, that we are chiefly interested.

This Tuesday saw FG yomping to Barnie to appear on the show. An early arrival for a natter and a quick live record of some tracks – we actually did seven, which is apparently a record – and then into the show for a relaxed hour of chat and natter and a great opportunity to promote the Help for Heroes work. Thanks to Liz, it was a great experience and one we appreciate.

Also under the banner ‘News Just In’ good chums The Stormies[4] inform us that we are on the bill for the December 7th  Arts Bank show in Saltburn. More details to follow. This is a signal honour and will be a great night.

Not the natural home of folk music? Maybe not, but our Thursday visit to Blackhill Comrades WMC was a real pleasure. Despite the torrential torrent and god-like piddlings, we made it – and so did they. We played a long set with lots of gear on a tiny stage! Great fun and an appreciative audience, CD’s sold etc and over £160 into the Charity Pot. Our very grateful thanks to the committee for supporting and having us on.

Some of the images this week are from Graham Brotton’s Retirement bash. A grand evening with a cast of thousands was held in Stokesley Town Hall – a great occaission for Graham. Naturally we wish his the very best of times, whilst inwardly we seethe with barely suppressed jealousy as we think of all that lovely music time! There may be some news to post here about Graham and Sam (and manager Doc Brotton) soon; stay chooned…

We heard this week that our appearance at Stockton Folk Club on Monday 13th August has been confirmed. Expect FG doing the 45 min hotspot, with all the toys present and correct! Our thanks are due to John Lawson for that!

Alas and alack, we have been unable to get down to The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club for a few weeks now – but we are heading there soon to do a Help for Heroes promo. I’m not sure that Chairman Dave has quite grasped the concept yet. He has however upgraded his Chairman’s uniform from a simple red and white (and a little bit of black) armband to include a fetching black jacket with silver buttons and matching knee length shiny boots – he looks lovely.

I suppose I should introduce you to another of the regulars there – you’ve met Dave and Julian and Sandy, and I think Colin the poet too. But you should meet Tommy. Tommy is a nervous performer despite having been a regular at the KH&WLFC for twenty two years, always singing the same song. He plays a top end Martin which costs about the same as a Sea Front Bungalow in Brighton, but plays it so that it sound like a wet cardboard box on the Embankment. He is so nervous that the pub staff put newspaper under his chair to save time at the end. When his call comes to do a floor spot – usually two songs – he shambles up to the performance area and in the full spotlight of  Dave’s withering gaze, apologises in advance for making mistakes – so he does; says he’ll forget the words – so he does; tells everyone it won’t be very good – so it isn’t. It’s a shame really, maybe his second song would be better, but we’ll never know. As the final chord of the first song cracks out, Dave leaps to his booted feet and shouts “For you Tommy, the floor is over!”

Ah well, I’m off to a certain leafy London suburb, to fulfil a long held ambition. I’m going to stand on a show court, wait for the right moment, and bellow:

“C’mon Tiiiiiiim”

And so, as the word counter impersonates a lot of numbers going upwards, I notice that the Folk Court of Justice, hands down the poetic sentence of revenge as I head for the cells with a banjo player…

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[2] Did you see what I did there?

[3] This makes the assumption…

[4] Stormcrow. Please keep up.


3 thoughts on “Thwaaaack!

  1. Have missed your last few blogs due to extreme business – busyness?! You know wot I mean but am glad I read this one. Yet again, you’ve cheered up my day, especially with the “ipso facto, in toto and Pinocchio” bit (laughed out loud at that) – and so I will, indeed, “stay chooned”. All the best as always.

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