Hail, Fellow…

As the leaf falls, softly, from the tree; so the weeks wind, swiftly, through the year.

I mean, heck, it’s not long until Christmas.

Some people have even lit up their houses, with plastic Santas, Plastic Reindeer and Plastic Cheer. Come the revolution, they’ll be first up against the wall.

But I might put some holly on the top.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

And so onward.

Another week down and one wonders exactly what it is that we have done.

Well, let’s see. The new Tommy Ferens song is making some progress, not as fast as we’d like, so we switched back to another song we’d set aside for a while and ‘presto’ it seemed to click pretty quickly. We had been trying this, arranging that, doing it this and that way until it was a muddle. So when we went back to the song after a time and just played it, it was great! “Three Shillings and Ten”, a story of Lord Londonderry and the Candymen will hopefully get an airing soon. So will another song, but that’s a sneakret.

On Sunday and we and a full set of Wrinkly Wroadies for The Gala Theatre – strictly The Studio at The Gala, for the purposes of an entertainment offered by one Jez Lowe[1]. We have seen him several times before, this was a very good show, easily the best we’ve seen. Sound was not bad, a bit loud but we were at the front of a long narrow room; Jez did two 45’s and played and sang wonderfully throughout. Just solo, with lots of open tunings, but bags of personality. A good night.

..and it has a surprise ending too.

At the end of the concert I turned round back to face the table we had been sharing with strangers.

“Ian?” timorously, I had to ask, the face opposite seemed strangely… Ian-ish.

“Steve?” an equally unsure response followed by recognition and much back slapping and ‘hail fellow’ noises. The guy was indeed Ian, keyboard and vocals of a band in which I used to play bass. It was a worship band called Ichthus, which shows that they must have been pretty desperate for a bass player; but I hadn’t seen Ian for thirteen years or so.

And we shall catch up further soon, when we visit his club held in The Tap and Spile Framwellgate Moor on a Thursday.

So there.

Thursday and we for Ashington Folk Club. Back in the club room – last time we were there it was as support for Prelude in the big room, and the usual warm welcome as the room slowly filled up. A goodly selection of local worthies, guitarists, poets, songwriters, unaccompanied singing – you get the idea. Two spots for FG (thank you!) including the honour of the last spot. Carol caught a croak in one song, I caught a crab in another and no-one minded and all was well below in the world of men. We enjoyed the night, as did the entire Wrinkly Wroadie Wroadcrew, who turned up mob-handed to help advise on how gear should be carried, find the loos lest they be required later and have paper hankies on standby. And take photies – here appended for your approbation and review.

Every band should have a Wrinkly Wroadcrew.[2]

A little shameless promo, if we may. FG will be struttin’ their funky stuff[3] at The Artsbank Centre in Saltburn on Friday 7th December, Tony Morris and Ironopolis are also on the bill, and this promises to be a very good night indeed. Tickets £7 from Artsbank 01287 625 300 or www.wegottickets.com

There has been much made in my blog and by others, and also in Facebooky utterings of the parlous state of the Great British Folk Club.

The myrmidion of foreordination has indeed been most clamorous.

While I don’t think it’s really terminal, a little judicious resuscitation might be useful.

A shot in the arm, a tonic, boost or even a fillip.

How about this for an idea.

Strictly Go Folky.

The idea is that we get a well (or lesser) known folky and pair them up with a celeb[4]. The less musical and tone deaf the celeb the better. They are then given a week to rehearse a well known song, poured into a silly outfit and, midst great razamataz, perform said ditty to the derision of the nation.

Some suggestions might include, Steve Tilson and Ann Widdicome performing ‘The Fields of Athenry’. Perhaps Maddy Prior and Boris Johnson romping through ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’?

You get the picture, I’m sure. That might do something for the public perception of what fun it can be to go to a folk club.

It might do something for it.


Specifically, the yoof of today.

How strange they are.

They worship at the altar of odd, not good, music, and venerate bands with strange dress sense and stranger names.

Witness last week when an outfit took to the television stage sporting their moniker –“Two Door Cinema Club”.


What’s wrong with proper band names, like what we used to have, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Incredible String Band and the much underestimated Germans; Wolves in the Throne Room.

Proper names we ‘ad then.

I even heard that there was once a band called The Eagles.

And not one of them was actually called ‘Eagle’.

There is more news from The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club too. Now that Chairman Dave has been democratically re-elected.

Or at least; re-elected…

… he can pursue his policy of bringing new forms of folk entertainment to the masses.

This is of course a Good Thing, as long as you don’t actually want it to be a success.

Apparently his latest plan misfired somewhat at last week’s club night, when he put on a surprise guest. It seems that, while on holiday in northern Finland, Dave saw some ethnic folk dance and booked them to do a night. Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, the regulars stayed away in droves, but the club was unaccountably full of slightly older, savoury[5] gentlemen, clad in full length grubby overcoats, possessed of lank hair and thick spectacles. Some of them where visibly steaming. They sat through the evening in silence and looked, apparently, highly confused. They all left, silently, as soon as the first half was finished. Dave then had to take down the poster outside the pub. It read:

“An Evening of Lapp Dancing”.

And so as the bass player of Fate plays out of time with Destiny. And Destiny pokes him in the eye because she was the fiddle player; I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Not ‘Jezebel’ as my predictive tablet embarrassingly posted on Facebook

[2] For a suitable monetary agreement, any band can have ours!

[3] Carol can look funky: if I try it, I appear to have piles.

[4] That means someone who was on the telly once

[5] In the sense that cheese apparently formed a substantial ingredient percentage of their deodorant.


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