Shrill Clamour

The shrill clamour of the telephone apparatus shattered the calm but industrious stillness of the office, causing all those present to glance up from their various tasks.

Biggles, for it was he, lifted the receiver up to his ear and answered crisply, listened intently for a moment before replacing the device on to its cradle.

Algy was not alone in noting his chief’s change in demeanour but merely raised a quizzical eyebrow, in unspoken question.

“That was Air Commodore Raymond, requesting an immediate meeting”, was all in honesty that Biggles could at that point vouchsafe.

What can this mean? Be bid hurriedly welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

It was the matter of moments to climb the stair to the floor above and knock on the door of the Air Chief Inspector. In response to the peremptory summons, Biggles entered and took the proffered chair.

Raymond reclined in his seat and blew a long plume of blue smoke up to the ceiling. Biggles, who knew the Commodore has stopped smoking years before, was impressed and said so.

“I’m impressed” he breathed, truthfully.

At length, the Commodore spoke.

“Bigglesworth, I have what, on the face of it, may be your greatest challenge yet. I want you and your small force, to dress up as pirates and take part in the Whitby Pirate Day as a Shanty Crew. You must win the competition and return, with the trophy to this building. How you do it is up to you, but if you fail; don’t come back, there’s a good fellow”[1].

There can’t be a point to that can there?

In my view there doesn’t have to be one, but in fact, Gentle Reader, there is. This may look like loosely formed rubbish, but it is planned loosely formed rubbish. None of yer tat here.

You see, the musical connection is this…

…some folks are cut out for some jobs, can do them well, really well even, and hurrah for the Empire. However, it seems that the reverse is also true.

How many times have you been to a club, Folk, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Buskers or the All-Hampstead Spoon Sexing Championships, and been exposed to an performer who should, for want of a better term, be in receipt of counselling? The counselling would be along the lines of, ‘whatever you are doing, stop it, and stop it now or I will have to shoot you’.

This would apply to singers who are naturally talented as Yak whisperers, storytellers who, alas cannot actually read, guitar players who are unable to coordinate left and right paws[2], and of course singer songwriters who if they had to choose one or the other as a calling; would do well to choose welding.

And the cause of this bitterness?

Me. I’m battling with songs and got stuck, the above is self aimed frustration. Still, it does mean that at some point FG will have a whole new set of songs, in which my main aim is to get a really strong lyric and narrative, and maybe even a nice tune (see above for problems so far).

So far we have:
Rake Down The Moon – a tale of smugglers

Three Shillings and Ten – a tale of Blackleg miners and The Candymen

..and a Stormcrow cover, which I feel moved to reveal as the Stormies epic tale – ‘Justice’. We do it differently.

During the last great unpleasantness, one of the turning points of the war was the capture of the German enigma decoding machine at sea from a U-Boat, by, as history would have it, British forces, and not as Hollywood might otherwise have it, a bunch of late arrivals from the USA. Acoustic Chum Mike Weston does a song about it.

In a move not dissimilar, we can now decode the internal communications of the hierarchy of The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club. This involves a process not unlike standing in the gents while Chairman Dave discusses matters with his mates over a widdle, and pretending to wash your hands a lot.

Using such a subterfuge, an entirely unreliable informant tells me that the first guest of the new season has been formerly proposed (by Dave) seconded (by Dave) and therefore adopted (guess who) is… folk rock supergroup jiva[3] will be gracing the boards of the KHWLFC in the near future.

There will be a review on the blog, as long as my informant can stay in the Gents long enough.

Jiva secured the gig by cunningly using the form provided for that purpose on the website

Hang, on, that’s not right…

The cartoon this week is intended as a helpful starter to Folk Club Virgins[4] who may be confuzzled by the confuzzling tic-tac that goes on. I know I was. This would be great printed on a tea towel, as it would serve as a constant aide memoir every time you washed up. And some of you are pretty washed up. I know I am.

Instructions: Print on Tea Towel. Dry Dishes.

This Monday and we (this being the full complement of Wrinkly Wroadies) for The Bridge at the invitation of Dave Minikin to do the Help for Heroes ‘Beat the Drum’. The room took a while to fill, but fill it did, and a grand club night followed; with FG bringing up the rear to do a half hour hot spot – thanks to Dave for that opportunity. One special event happened when a regular at the club, a veteran serviceman, felt compelled to leave the room during our rendition of ‘Far Greater Thing?’ not for the usual reasons either; it seems that our song managed to connect, in this case with some personal impact. His words of praise afterward were some of the most genuine we’ve had, for which we are deeply honoured.

And we sold CD’s too, so, another good night.

This week coming we will be Beating The Drum in Hartlepool at The Foggy Furze on Tuesday, and at Barnard Castle Folk Club on Thursday.

A note on the sad passing of Fred Brierley this week. This blog gets read all over the shop, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, Poland, Japan and Ryton. Really, you’d think folks would have home grown rubbish, but no, they choose to consume this tosh[5]. Therefore for the benefit of Gentle Readers not of this Parish[6], please know that Fred was a friend, a charming entertainer, whistle player, Folk Club supporter and organiser, companion to Sheila and best of all a lovely bloke. We will all miss him, and so Fred, wherever you are, remember; always help a Toad across the road…

And so, as the sands of time cause the hands on the folk club clock to spin rapidly round, and the last pint of Guinness causes the chairman’s eyeballs to do likewise, I notice it’s the end of the blog,

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] The whirring sound you can hear is the late Capt. W.E. Johns. Spinning.

He wasn’t, in fact, a Captain, but did teach me how to mangle a sentence beautifully.

[2] Removing the mittens is only sometimes the answer.

[3] Or ‘jivahhhhhhhhhhhh’ ; if you prefer

[4] No, me neither

[5] For which we thank you!

[6] In this case, the ancient kingdom of Northumbria will suffice as a geographical reference. None of your modern rubbish mind, the old one.

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