Phial by Jury

It’s a small phial, a bottle, a stoppered and wonderfully cut crystal decanter.

It sits somewhere in this world.

Probably it will be on a small, round, cherrywood table; in the tomb of a Chinese monk, or in a forgotten hall of kings, or perhaps in the centre of a protective girdle of slumbering medieval knights.

Should you, Brave Traveller, discover this wonderful container, you will discover next to it a faded and folded parchment.

Ye Instructions.

Unfolding carefully, lest they crumble to dust, you may read

Ye Acme[1] More Time in the Week Potion.

Drink for more hours in the day.

If you see it, let me know, I need it badly.

So, why so pushed for time?

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on.

This week has been a very odd week for FG. In the first place we have not been out more than once to play, which is quite unusual. We have done little, or so it seems, and yet the time has just simple disappeared. Let’s start at the beginning.

Carol’s parping stick has been away for rebuilding. It has since returned and is very much better thanks to new AC[2] Keith’s tender care. Re-seated pads, lowered action and Carol is parping more or less happily. In the meantime, while sans stick, we have been practicing with her new toy, which is a shrunken parping stick, a parpette, if you will, in fact a Piccolo. This is a beautiful thing, wooden, black and silver with a lovely tone and another instrument to play with. It sounds better than the Shaw and we’ve been building it in to some existing songs.

Due to various gas men, colds and croaks and the whole flute/piccolo thing, we have not really been able to get out. Hordes of rampaging gas men have rushed across our lawns, digging maniacally wheresoever the whim took them. At the drop of a protective headgear, the gas has been turned off, only to be restored after a wait of a mere four hours or so. They did a grand job, but it was wearing nonetheless. And stopped us getting out at least twice.

So we have practiced and mucked about and done some thinking.

Thinking is always a dangerous pastime, but it seems that our ruminations lead us to hardening of the opinion that Folk Clubs are suffering a bit at the moment. More muso chums that we chat to, reflect our own experience that in the majority of cases, clubs contain players and no audience to speak of. We have dug further into the possibilities of alternative venues to play, but this requires a functional shift in our thinking of what we are about. Certainly exciting possibilities exist for the intrepid Folkie who would like to take a risk[3]

I heard this week that one of our occasional haunts has seen very low numbers. As this was one of the few places (no names, no luggage restrictions) that an audience could be relied on to appear; this seems to be another indicator of changing times.

Are there too many clubs?

Might not be for too long.

Our congratulations go out to Acoustic Chum Chris Kelly, late troubadour of the Foggy Furze club in Hartlepool where he went down very well by all accounts: yet that is not the subjected the co graters. No, the laurels are heaped in respect of his success in the recent Grace Darling Competition where his song “Grace” (he could have worked harder on that bit) has triumphed and been accepted as one of six winners. Ours wasn’t so we’ll probably pull rude faces at Chris when he isn’t looking, but we are nonetheless chuffed for him.

Recording news and we have decided that four mini CDs will be created. They were going to be named after colours, but we decided that was, to be brutal, boring. They will now be named after four very famous fairies[4]. Answers on a postcard and the grand public unveiling next week.

I had hoped to bring you a full review of the Stormcrow gig at The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club.

The one in the back room.

On a Thursday.

If it isn’t the Leek Show.

However it seems that full details will be somewhat and mysteriously delayed. The reason is sadly simple enough. As we couldn’t get along on the night, a spy in the camp took notes on our behalf. Unfortunately, our quisling chum has never before been up close and personal with The Stormies and found the whole experience somewhat traumatic. However, after the gig and a few hours R&R in A&E he stopped gibbering and wrote down a few notes. Sadly the duty Shrink saw this, read the descriptions of Mark and Amanda, and instantly committed our correspondent into the care of the Northern Home for Nutty Nutjobs and threw away the key. We have managed to extradite him and once he is come again, we’ll get the full sp and get the review up next week. It sounds as although the pub will be able to reopen soon and that most of the damage was physical, not physiological.

As for The Stormies?

Apparently they went down, well, a storm…

…and they didn’t notice a thing…

So Saturday and the FG pantechnicon heads for Netherton Folk Club. One of our favourite venues, we set off in high hopes. Although running a tad late, we were welcomed by Jack announcing to one and all “I’ve just been ringing you to book you!”

We like that sort of welcome.

As always a lovely evening ensued, the boys on splendid form. Jack is lovely with these lads for whose club nights clearly offer a very special release. Good floor turns, including an ecstatic Acoustic Chum Jim Wigfield, who was ecstatic as he’d managed to meet the Wrinkly Wroadies! I think Jim might be up for a gig at The Kings Head and Washerwoman Legs soon too. Thanks to the Wrinkly Wroadies for the pics.

We got to finish the night off, a real pleasure and honour, and we are confirmed for next April. Excellent night.

And it got better too.

When we got back we found we’d been booked somewhere else too.

Time for a beer.

So as the happy folkies of fate trip up to the restful bed of destiny, you just know they’ll be back downstairs soon for one last chorus.

Until next time Acoustic Chums

Keep Strummin’


[1] Road Runner is one of my all time heroes

[2] For new readers: this denotes an ‘Acoustic Chum’ – usually a fellow traveller on the folk club circuit. If you are not a player, fear not; it still makes you a Gentle Reader. Many people are of course, both.

[3] So we did, and it did. More info about what where why and when later

[4] Look, I know the way your mind works –not that sort of fairy, right?

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