Mush[1] is being made of the C word. As you read this you may, due to the festivities, already have increased your waistband by several dress sizes.

If you wear dresses.

And who am I to pass comment?

We however, are dedicated acoustic musicians. Christmas or no, we continue to play write, record and feel the need to inflict it on the wider acoustic community in the form, to put it mildly, of tripe.

But festive tripe.

So, reach for a cracker, pull up a reindeer poufè; slip into a snuggly set of Santa slippers and, in the spirit of the season, be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

Idly, as I drove along on the way to the day job, I noticed the good burghers of Tanfield had, in the spirit of the season, erected a tree.

No ordinary tree. Untutored as I may be in matters arboreal, it was clearly a nice one. All the better for being decked out, in the festive style with twinkly lights.  As I trundled past, in the little red spaceship, I also gathered that one Mr. H. A. D’Safety[2] had also noticed the tree, and had obviously made professional comment- perhaps he felt, in their haste to appreciate the tree, that the good folk of Tanfield might rush from their homes, the better to appreciate the spectacle, thus exposing themselves to the risk of traffic accident, falling, or possibly; plague. Thus it was that the pretty Christmas tree was encased in a mesh of anodised steel, bounded by angular bolted metal poles, and sported a warning sign.

I have to say, it somewhat impacted on the overall effect.

But, as usual, I must ask; can the folk club learn from this?

Perhaps enclosing some players – banjo drivers perhaps – inside a large demijohn might afford the audience some degree of protection, as identified by our earlier pal, Mr H. A. D’Safety.

But no.


This could not be.

For, although the spectacle of a banjoist in a bottle would be one many would pay to see, the open neck of the demijohn would allow far too much sound out.

And way too much air in.

This week we have been recording – or at least limbering up to record. To this end the studio has exploded and taken over the dining room as we experiment with live recording as opposed to recording a guide track, then reconstructing it piece by piece later. As well as being considerably quicker, this also has the advantage of preserving some of the ‘feel’ of us playing together. Initial results have been encouraging. Hie ye hence to see what it sounds like as a small tryout. I’ve also been playing with samplers and other music tech; some of which might make it onto the next CD, plans for which are fluid to the point of being positively runny. It will still probably be a mini CD, but beyond that who knows as the shortlist is 15 songs. Long shorts obviously.

Wednesday and we for Ovingham Bridge End Folk Club, run in fine style by Canny Crack, a lovely warm and welcoming group of people and grand musicians to boot. This was their Christmas bash and a really good night it was too. Round the room is the order of the day, with an ‘anything goes’ appreciation for whatever people have to offer, and very fine the offer was. A full room made for a great evening in a relaxed and friendly setting. Make sure you visit them on their Facebook page. Say ‘hello’ too; they are nice people.

Down at The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs, I hear that the Christmas Party went off with a bang. Unintentionally so however, as it seems that Chairman Dave, in an effort to create a festive atmos, discovered some festive Bri-Nylon table covers and festooned the room. Sadly, he forgot that Folkies have a predilection for loose knit wooly jumpers. Apparently four of the audience were electrocuted before the beer break.

Which reminds me; we were going to go the KH&WLFC this week – I mentioned as much to my mate Kev, and asked if he’d like to come along.

“Oh no”

He said,

“I’m going Latin                                    Dancing”

“Why the long gap between the words?” Asks I, intrigued.

“Well” explained Kev, “it’s our dance teacher. He insists on the long silence if we say Latin ………..                               so that we can reflect on the spiritual and passionate nature of the dance; in fact he’s so into that side of it that he insists we practice in the nude”

By now I was fascinated.

And worried.

“Isn’t it a bit dangerous?” I enquired, troubled.

“Oh no” replied Kev, “we had a visit from a Mr H. A D’Safety and he gave us a little rule to remember”.

He passed me a slip of pasteboard on which was typed:

“You better watch out, you better take care,

Especially when your bottom is bare,

For Samba <pause> is coming to town”

And with that…

As the Singer Songwriter Virgin of fate nervously surveys the audience of destiny, I am reminded that his expression exactly mirrors that of a fairy eyeing the top of a Christmas tree.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] No, it isn’t a typo. It is a satirical observation. For goodness sake, it’s the first word – at this rate we’ll be here all week.

[2] His middle name is Anne – funny parents.


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