Summer continues its own very English cycle of roasting us one moment and then suitably cooling us the next. Suntan ointment sales are only outstripped at our local branch of Asbo by umbrella elastoplasts, and many is the Acoustic Chum, who starts a song outside in the sun and finishes it inside, out of the rain. We need some stability. Something that you can depend on to be complete drivel, reliably misinformed and in some cases just plain silly – but predictably so.

Could it be so that, in this world of tumult there is such a thing?

Be still Gentle Reader, and be bid welcome to this week’s blog.

Now read on…

Stockton was the big event at the start of the week. We’d been invited to do a Hot Spot as part of our Help for Heroes charity thingy, and began the evening with a healthy £920 in the kitty.

The club, despite the traditional traditional august hiatus, was very well attended, with a goodly number of floor spots. FG did about 40 mins of hot spottery, including some tracks from the CD, with a setlist of 100% FG material, which is pretty much a new rule. (see below for a qualifier) The evening went well, and in the beer break we shifted a fair few CD’s, the wrinkly wroadies drygulching folks on their way to the loo, and a healthy wodge from the club as we were presented with the door money. The net result was that by the end of the evening we are now well past the £1000 barrier. Our grateful thanks to the organizers and regulars at The Sun in Stockton.

The images this week are courtesy the wrinkly wroadies, save two, one of which is an object lesson on how to look stylish sixteen years ago…

You all know Phyllis.

She gets into a few clubs, but her home club is The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs.

She may have a name that sounds like it should be treated with penicillin and a body odour problem that suggests that at sometime in the past she has been, but she is a kindly old dear.

Phyllis is much given to the wearing of randomly assembled pieces of tat that only old ladies could call hats. Her face is what they call lived in, and in her case it was apparently lived in by a whole boatload of Lithuanian refugees.

She drinks water, or, at Christmas and on certain royal occasions, a medium sherry. She has four grown up sons, three gay and one merely mildy happy, no husband (long story) and does not drive very far, just the club and home, usually. What she does do, and do it very well, thank you vey much, is sing absolutely filthy songs. Not rude, you understand, nor risqué, or mildly suggestive of a lower bodily fumble, no, Phyllis goes for the jugular, but usually prefers other glands, more centrally located.

It’s an object lesson in shock to see her perform. On open nights when it’s her turn, the regulars duck for cover, and the Chairman, wisely, goes to the loo. An introduction follows, from Phyllis, as to where, when and why the song she is about to deliver comes from, then from a cherubic face, albeit a wrinkly cherub, comes forth what can only be called a torrent of vaguely historical filth that would make an imaginative stevedore wince.

Phyllis, I notice, can be found in a few clubs, and strangely, there seems to be no limit to the amount of indescribably rude songs she knows. No subject is safe from a tortuously rhymed song missile; racism, sexism, homosexuality, what might be termed ‘free love’ if it wasn’t usually charged for, and every athletic form of bedroom gymnastics are all delivered with gusto, a wink and an expression of absolute innocence. I wonder if Dave will give her a guest night?

There is more news from The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club too. Apparently their new website (here if you missed it or got last weeks broken link) has had some responses from artists who would like to have a guest spot. I know that one incredibly well known power-folk duo (no, not that one, think harder; yes, that one!) have applied and chairman Dave will be in touch with them very soon. If they get the call, you can expect a review and even a few pics of how they get on at the KHAWLFC website, and probably a few words about it here too. Personally I think they’re mad to do it, but I have a feeling it could be fun…

It’s strange how few Acoustic Chums seem to have been there so far, odd really.

This week we have done something different. No, not played in tune, in time or even tunefully. I said different, cloth ears.

Despite what was said above about our setlist being 100% made up from our own songs, we have begun work nonetheless on a cover song. We have found an acoustic chum, or rather a pair of chums who have writted a song what we think we can mangle into a new angle. Very different, but still the same song, we are currently rehearsing a song, from the pen of the mighty….


(Yes, Mark said that too, when he heard)

Not telling you which epic tale of dragons/ghosts/castles/highwayman or pirates it is yet, we need to practice! Early indications are good however, and this song is given the full FG treatment, whatever the heck that is.
I am of course continuing my series of paragraphs that seek to guide the newcomer (as if I knew anything about it), over the next few weeks, expect the following helpful notes:

  • What unaccompanied singers have in their pockets that’s so facinating
  • 101 Folk Classics; arranged for easy introductions
  • What style of beard would suit my singing?
  • Waistcoats, the big debate – what are they for?
  • The Club Chairman; Snog, Marry, Avoid?

unaccompanied singer

As the player banjo of fate contemplates the window of opportunity as first he, and then his banjo pass through it into the street, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


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