Marconi is guilty

That lad Marconi; he has a lot to answer for. If it hadn’t been for him fiddlin’ with his anodes, twiddlin’ his diodes[1] or erecting his Marconi Station in Aranjuez [2], then I as a spotty youth, may not have listened to the fading and crackling sound of Radio Luxemburg and become smitten with the world of music. Neither, if we take his invention a step or two further, might I have seen the majestic Richard Wakeman on ‘Whistle Test’ and thought; “I want to do that”. In the absence of a cape and keyboards, and now the hair too, we have the acoustic musician left behind, as a direct result of Mr Marconi’s mighty machine. Without it, it would have meant me not picking up a guitar, and no blog. As it is, he did, I didn’t and there is, so you’ll have to live with it.

Be welcome, Gentle Reader and read on…

This Sunday and we for South Shields Folk Club, by arrangement.

I always like this club, it’s unashamedly trad, uncompromisingly small and thankfully rude to everybody. We always fit in, apart from the rude, trad and small bit. We played the new stuff, the war stuff and just a couple of the old stuff, but it seemed to go well enough and the cd’s disappeared in unfeasible numbers. There wasn’t hundreds there, but two 25 min (ish – you know what we’re like) spots later, another £70 in the kitty and the Help for Heroes pot breaks through the £1300 barrier. Thanks very much to Ken and Brian for the support. We had a lovely evening and we will be back soon. Although you may have to restrain Regular Anne from attacking the Bing Bong machine.

And so, Tuesday.

At a loose end, and on impulse we packed the car, hoovered up the wrinklies and headed for The Daleside Arms and Croxdale Folk Club. I have mentioned in the past in these pages that we need to look after clubs, but in this case, the clarion call may have come too late. The room was in darkness and the barmaid unware – despite the prominent posters on the walls heralding an all-comers Folk Club. At twenty to nine, the grand total of nix, nihils, nothing; sweet f.a., bugger-all, nowt had happened so we came home again.

It’s a shame.

Have you noticed, Gentle Reader – and I’m sure that you have – there is a collection knocking about of undeniable universal truths. The inability of your favourite classic band to be quite as good as they once were, the inability to stay awake during Panorama, and the inability of Paul Daniels are all examples of this rule. However, one classic truth is being challenged; the one to do with giving an old dog a new camera. The Wrinkly Wroadies are official FG archivists and record our every nuance with hairtrigger shutter fingers. Imagine a kind of Silver Paparazzi and you’ll have the idea. In the early days Doug would record events in economy mode – that means he left all the heads off the pictures, but now Doug and Pauline have been producing some very handsome images, regularly used to grace these pages. The latest this week come from The Cutty Wren Folk Club whence we ventured gaily, last Thursday.

The club was set up to celebrate the Ruby Anniversary of Bill and Felicity, club regulars, and to them, our best wishes. We were warmly welcomed, and once again, it was good to see a number of Acoustic Chums in the room, Ian, Bob and of course, the arch-wizard of the Folk Club; Tinker Dick. A grand evening ensued, overseen by the affable John Taylor. Tinker played two songs, with sufficient enthusiasm and gusto for ten, and led the assembled masses in a heartfelt, scattergun gospel rendition of Rock My Soul. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters; I have seen the light. If you look in the photos, you can see it too. I also enjoyed watching Ian Tyzack working through open D progressions – good stuff! We played at the start of the second half and it seemed to go well enough, a singing room and happy faces.. Sadly, we had to mount a less than discreet strategic withdrawal during the raffle, due to:

a)       an early start the next day

b)       the Cutty Wren is situated at the farthest extent of the spiral arm of the Guisborough Galaxy; even at warp factor six and a bit[3], it takes our starship a while.

Our apologies for not staying to the end, but we shall be back as soon as we can.

The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs is one of the few folk clubs (with the honourable exceptions of those above, of course) where things are moving from strength to strength. What that strength might be might be open to debate, especially as the committee have decided that they are going to hold a regular’s hot spot every week[4]. This means that one of the regulars is gifted their 15 minutes in the limelight, enough to strut their folky stuff, or on the other hand, advertise the fact that enthusiasm and passion are not necessarily adequate replacement for the ability to sing and play[5]. Local progressive folk duo Sellotape, were due to have the first spot, but it seems that Julian has forgotten ‘D’ so their place will be taken by popular local funster Malcolm. Malcolm used to work in the shipyards and developed the unique ability to bellow above the din of the sheet steel riveters for periods of up to ten hours at a stretch. His floor spots demonstrate that this is a skill he retains to this day. It is rumoured, and indeed hoped, that his inaugural spot will feature his Geordie dialect reworking of ‘Beowulf’[6] which is held as an a -capella treasure by all who have survived.

Good luck to Malcolm.

This week is quieter in the FG canon, but we will probably drop out somewhere. The first mini CD is supposed be ready, although I feel a vocal re-recording coming on. And maybe a guitar…

As the word counter spins in a manner reserved for deceased Popes just before the day of judgment, I fear the end of this episode of disconnected acoustic ramblings is nigh; and so, as we rapidly approach the bus stop of the Apocalypse, I notice that the Four Horsemen have all come along at the same time[7], it is the end of this blog,

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Shall I go for three highly unlikely double entendres…

[2] …no one expects a Spanish imposition

[3] She cannae take it Cap’n, ye’ll burn up the engines (‘och’ and eventually ‘aye’)

[4] Anyone going to do the gag? No? I’m surprised.

[5] In the same way that Italian drivers regard a crucifix as a substitute for brakes. Or the ability to drive.

[6] The difference is, in fact, slight. Beowulf came from Hebburn.

[7] Thank you Humph


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