The internet, tha’knaas, is not a local institution. Contrary to popular belief, the internet does not run out at Consett[1]. It extends even further south than Loftus, it even goes to France[2].

In this spirit, we are delighted to welcome Gentle Readers from further afield than the local club circuit. To our regular Indonesian chums:

Salam kepada sahabat akustik kami di Indonesia. Terima kasih telah membaca!

As for the rest of you; be bidden Welcome Gentle Readers, and read on…

I noticed last week that Acoustic Chum Graeme Carroll, recently returned from a small altercation with Cancer, has picked up his mandolin and a resurgent Brother Crow are back again starting with a local gig. This is officially Good News (apart from the bit about the mandolin, obviously) and we wish him, and partner in rhyme Andy the very best back on the road.

After an interesting weekend spent battling the forces of nature and Insurance Companies we are back to the business of music. Incidentally – and don’t tell anyone I told you this – I have discovered that it is possible to reason with the forces of nature.

Insurance companies have a different view of the world to real people, it seems that a water leak is my fault, my problem, I deserve it and it’s simply the richly deserved visitation of justice on a sinner.

Yes  possibly; but a sinner with a bloody policy. And that’s Sinner Sir to you.

So the music then?

Various irons in the fire for new giggery and possible new places to play. We are investigating local libraries – and that was our idea first, if you go and nick it, I’ll thcweem and thcweem until I’m thick.[3] We also have interest from some community venues about a show we are putting together. Shall I tell you all now… no, but it may well be called ‘Stories with Strings Attached’, which should be enough to give you a jolly good idea. Hope we will hear this coming week what is going to happen with that.

And so we this week for new destinations. Not all that far, only across to Ovingham, which is the bit where God forgot to cry ‘Stop!’ and over ran a bit, thus creating a small sleepy village right in the middle of a conurbation.

More or less.

The Old Bridge Inn is, appropriately enough, at the end of a single track bridge that links Prudhoe with, conveniently, Ovingham. There has been a folk evening here for a while, we gather, but they have been lucky enough for us not to have heard of them. Until now that is – we had a very pleasant, relaxed evening singaround and were proud on our first visit to be asked to finish the night off, which Acoustic Chums will know, we are well capable of, having closed many  a folk club permanently.

If you do decide to pay a visit, it’s well worth getting there a minute or two early, firstly to find the secret car park behind the pub, and secondly to get a seat in the comfortable back room. This really was a nice night and I’m sure we will return soon. Well done hosts ‘Canny Craic’.

The following evening (Thursday – do keep up), and another new place to play. The Acoustic Room is a great venue in a small (and somewhat warm, courtesy of a real range) room in The Low Lights Tavern, right down near the waatah near to the Fish Quay. Run by a lovely gentleman by the name of Jed, this is a great place to play. Tonight there was a guest, Eddie Walker who performed a great set of ragtime blues, for want of a better description. Nice stories, nice room, great music, a short sets from a couple of fantastic instrumentalists by the name of Doonan, and of course a few from your very own FG. Grand night.

I have been approached by several Gentle Readers recently, all anxious with pulchritude, to discuss the matter of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club. This has been safe enough, as they have been in possession of a current Pulch licence, granted by a sober magistrate, and anyway, most pulchs these days are of much smaller bore than the old ones, unlike their owners. They have been anxious to discuss the fact that they believe TKH&WLFC to be some synonym, a code; a mask if you will, for a Folk Club that cannot be named – The Club with No Name?

This made me smile, I must admit. It brought to my mind the vision of a folk club populated entirely by unshaven blokes in big hats and ponchos, sitting round tables each clutching a banjo.

No cigars mind.

English Public Houses have long since banned such disgraceful, evil, health injurious items from their premises. Bless ‘em; the little tinkers still get those banjos in somehow.

But it isn’t: TKH&WLFC is indeed the correct name, and how could it be otherwise? The pub name is on the sign.

And where is it?

It’s outside in the car park where all Pubs have their sign.

Several Acoustic Chums have applied (apparently-what would I know?) for gigs at TKH&WLFC. There is quite a long waiting list, as the Committee have to meet and dissect all applications. Actually they have been known to dissect artists too, but that, as they say, is another story. These conclaves take place every few weeks, and the lads will let the successful applicants know.[4]

There should be a blow by blow report of last weeks Stormcrow gig, but once again it will have to wait. That’s because our inside informer suffered a relapse and is back in rehab, and so we have to interview some people who were at the gig.

Who are we going to interview?

The survivors.

This week we have bumped into several Acoustic Chums, some we haven’t seen for ages, then oddly, twice running at different clubs. Take Jim Wigfield[5].

We hadn’t met for quite a while, and as stated, met again almost the next night. We exchanged greetings and tales, and it occurred to me that there must, somewhere, be a secret society of folkies, who meet at clubs; membership of which will establish one with the other as a fellow traveller on the road to acoustic enlightenment. The Dark Brotherhood of The Song would have many secret hand signs, usually made when the other member isn’t looking, and those inducted into The Brotherhood would be allowed to wear all black, sit silently in the corner and get away with longer introductions than anyone else.

Ring any bells?

The process of induction, but not acceptance, is a long apprenticeship of being ignored week after week, until one magical Monday evening, The Chairman greets the successful candidate publicly by name as they enter. This is the sign.

Next week, you watch.

They’ll be wearing black.

Next week, the blog should contain a pull out and keep free gift (and as such; therefore worthless), one which could build, week by week into a wonderful publication which you will want to keep and treasure.


What it is – is for next week, along with The Stormcrow gig review and more of our doings.

So as the first time visitor to the folk club of fate produces the winning raffle ticket of joy and thus comes to understand the true nature of being hated, and the last chorus of comradeship of the night fades into silence and the barman removes the earplugs of justice and finally smiles, I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next week, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] No, it’s hope that runs out at Consett.

[2] Which was invented by God or someone in a similar line of work, as a place to keep the French.

[3] …and I can, you know.

[4] ‘Lads’ is a catch-all term. There are two lady members of the committee; the real trick is the identification process. And don’t go hoping that beards will give you a clue either.

[5] Please insert own joke here.


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