This is a musical blog.

At least it is meant to be a musically based missal.

It isn’t meant to be anything other than the meandering musings of a mixed up muso making much of words starting with ‘m’. However, some seem to imbue this missive (there I go again) with attributes to which it isn’t particularly entitled.

Like truth, accuracy, reliability or reason.

Still, with that in mind; be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

Last week kicked off with two North East based playings – well, sort of North East as Sunday was Richmond, where we played as part of Paul Cullen’s annual Fund Raiser. As this year was partly for Help for Heroes we turned up (invited, I assure you) and did our Beat The Drum bit, which went down well enough I think. The night was famous for two things; one being the rainstorm that hit Richmond before we played. It was biblical in proportion, by which I mean it was big, not mistranslated from the original Aramaic, and secondly for a storming set from Fiddle Lyn Man Doris. They conjured an absolute riot and it was great fun to be up close and holler along – great stuff. Doug (official FG photographic Chronicler) being indisposed due to family commitments, the photies below are the work of my own fair hand…

…apart from those he and Pauline took at The North Britton on Monday night.

John Snowball in his usual high good humour drove a good night forward and we had the privilege of finishing off the night. I think that’s what he said. The new song, ‘Rake Down The Moon’ is bedding in nicely; changing a bit each time, but getting along well. We will have a few more opportunities to polish it this coming week too…

We hear Fred Brierley is still under the weather and wish him a speedy recovery.

So this week we have mainly been touring.

No, that perhaps puts slightly too glossy a sheen on things; this week we have mostly been visiting folk clubs, laying out our stall and hoping. We think that if you play, then sit in the corner crying and sucking yer thumb, promoters take pity on you[1].

So this week, in South to North order, we played at Bridgnorth, Brewood, and Frodsham Folk Clubs. All good nights; Bridgnorth in particular was a wild blast – an old-school pub based sing-around with never a chance of a booking as they don’t have guests, but what a brilliant night, some great singing, songs and of course banter. From the other two, we took away at least one promised booking so it looks like we’ll be seeing more of that part of the country next year, if all goes well. Still as a folkie holiday, it was great, good weather and mooching during the day, good meals in the evening – Porkie celebrating her, let me see now, what’s that number – you know – the big one, with all the noughts on the end – no; I forget[2], anyway, birthday while away. Then in the evening an Acoustic Club with the chance to show what you can do – can’t be bad.

All cultures have their famous rouges, vagabonds and, not to labour the point, thieves. Folk Clubs have theirs too, usually in the form of a lady who looks like, and often is, someone’s grandmother, whose sole purpose in the club is to relieve the punter of small amounts of coin, in exchange for a raffle ticket.

This is of course, as is fairly well accepted in folk circles, a form of robbery. Extortion possibly, fraud certainly, it is larceny with a leer, which when the leer is attached to someone’s Granny can be really quite intimidating.

“It’s all for club funds” they simper, “it helps us get good guests you know dear”

Not to-bloody-night it didn’t. Still, never mind, how much are they?


Good God, she’s even got a card machine and loan application form in her handbag.

Still, you hand over your couple (if you’re lucky) of quid and get, in exchange, a line of perforated paper slips, bearing printed numbers that you realise, really quite early on in your folk career, are not going to feature in the chairman’s announcements’ at the end of the night.

A table in the corner bears a bottle of wine that might have come from a little independent vineyard just behind the Cote du Netto; all appellation and little appeal, and a box of choccies, most of which, if not white when they went in, are now. This is known as ‘The Prize’, or alternatively ‘What You’re Not Getting’.

As there are constants all over the UK in terms of folk club characters; I can exclusively reveal to you, Gentle Reader, that there is another individual to be found in Folk Clubs all over the country – and that is the raffle winner.

His name?

“In The Bar”

The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club, continues – we hear – to grow and act as a repository[3] and stereotype for all that is real in English Folk Clubs. The website launched last week is, amazingly, still up, although Chairman Dave has still to manage to light the gas on his computer to get it updated. If you want to see the site so far, click here. I understand that the club is going to have a few acts we know on soon, so look out for the reviews in the blog before the year turns[4].

This week we are busy again, recording must be done, there is a rough version of the new arrangement of Fool’s Gold on Soundcloud (click here), but we must push on with stuff to contribute to the first of the mini-albums we have panned. Also, I fancy being REALLY silly in the studio and developing some more complimicated studio arrangements. We shall see what happens.

In the meantime, we hope to see as many Acoustic Chums and Gentle Readers as possible at The Sun in Stockton on Monday where we will be Beating The Drum, and then on Saturday next (18th) Somewhere in Hartlepool – is the Nursery? Then in the evening at the White Hart at Mickelby. Don’t be strangers, now.

As I type I notice that west – east coast jetlag is catching up on me and that the beckoning curry becomes a siren song too strong to resist, so as the itinerant folkie of fate bounces into the Folk Club of Promise, soul brimming with the hope of destiny fulfilled, and is confronted with the Room of Reality, where Tom Paxton covers resolutely rule, and you know; that was the last thing on MY mind, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next week Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] The weak link here is the suggestion that Promoters understand the concept of pity. Or paying.

[2] ..and that my friend, concludes my object lesson entitled “Wisdom in Action”

[3] Or was that ‘suppository’?

[4] Into cheese.


2 thoughts on “Raffles

  1. You can’t fool us – we know the difference between relative and absolute addressing, so were able to get past your cunningly disguised link and found the website! We left our gig request using the online form… wonder if we’ll ever hear back? LOL

    • Thanks for the heads up – that was WordPress adding all the extra gubbins, all because I forgot to add the http:// prefix. Ho Hum.
      A little bird tells me that Chairman Dave of TKH&WLFC will be in touch before too long. I hope you’re lucky – or should that be….

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