Be careful what you wish for…

So Harry the Folkie dies, mid set, and in the way of these things, makes his way to The Pearly Gates. He arrives on the doormat, on which inscribed in Gothic Blackletter, is the epithet ‘Home Taping is Killing Music’ ; after carefully reading the instructions (lips moving), he rings the bell.

A few moments later, St. Peter (for it was he) appeared in answer to the summons.

“Yes?” he enquired mildly, taking in at glance the ‘I Love Beer’ T-Shirt, ill fitting long shorts, and worryingly; banjo case. He also noticed the ‘Keep Music Live’ sticker and put that one down to irony.

For his part, Harry, noting the beard and sandals felt his spirits lifted, and enquired if this was, in fact, Heaven.

Known for his patience, St Peter agrees that, in the light of the evidence, this is probably the case.

“Ah” breathes Harry[1], “But is this a traditional Heaven?”

In answer to the St. P’s quizzically raised eyebrow he decided to expand.

“The sort where I wears me oilskins and jumpers, where there’s fish on a Friday. Sessions all day long, warm real ale, and lots and lots of songs all with ninety verses and a four word chorus with the word ‘Haul’ in it after each one”.

This gave the Prince of Apostles pause. The zephyrean air and golden light froze softly, then, quietly, lifted.

“No” spoke St. P. softly, putting away his keys and reaching for a suddenly apparent lever; “but I know a place that is…”

The moral?

To find that out, be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

Well, not bad so far, a one page introductory paragraph, and I’m just warming up: good job it wasn’t too busy this week then.

And so, to the news:

Sunday and we and the Wrinkly Wroadies aboard the newly repaired battlebus and bound for South Shields Folk Club. This is a place we have played many the time and oft, even as guests, and so we rather like it. Or rather, we like the people, and the music. The room they used to inhabit in the former venue of the Rugby Club was characterful enough, being entirely wooden, but could seem vast and feel empty. Coupled with changes in direction at the Rugby Club, Ken and Brian decided that the time had come (much as the Walrus did) to make a move. And so to the Customs House – or almost. Next door, but physically connected by a rather nice bridge, there is an annexe to the main Customs House Theatre in South Shields which contains function rooms and performance spaces and it is within one such comfy space that the club has taken roost. A very nice room indeed, and the same welcome, a nice performance area and even a PA should it ever be required. We had a lovely evening, good music and great stories too. Well done all concerned, see the pictures below, courtesy as ever of our Senior Snappers, The Wrinkly Wroadies.

Tuesday and once more abroad. This time bound for The Daleside Arms, long-time home of Croxdale Folk Club. In the past we have visited and found the place in darkness, deserted or with but a fistful of hardy souls.

This time?

Worse I’m afraid.

We LIKE Croxdale, and want to play there, but if there’s nee folks, well…

The posters (of which there are a great many) proclaim an 8.00pm start, we know better and arrived at 8.30. By 8.45 there was still no-one, and when the MC John arrived a bit later, it was quickly decided that this was a no-show.

It would help if there was some way of finding out what, where, why and when. We did, in our rashness, offer to set up a Facebook page for them, but we shall have to see.

On the subject of t’intenet, some of you have been and checked out our new website here. Chums Blue Sun, whom I may have previously mentioned we are playing The Cluny 2 with on March 23rd have also launched their new web presence. Well done Pauline, the results can be seen here.

Apart from out gig at The Cluny on March 23rd, to which many of you will be coming, I’m sure, there is also the chance to avoid us at The North Britton on Monday Mar 4th, Gibside (National Trust) in Rowlands Gill this Friday Mar 8th, and at The Ingleton Fundraiser on Saturday Mar 9th.

We have been very busy with the new songs, all of which are shaping up better each time as we become more comfortable with the melodies, harmonies, words, chords, key and tempo changes that usually accompany my sonic creations. Wooden walls, the tale of a gunner aboard one of Ol’ Nelson’s ships is settling well, and is as simple as anything in a DADGAD kind of way, but with other bits thrown in, just to fill up the holes.

Our very good virtual friends Sellotape (acoustic duo Julian and Sandy. Sandy wears the trousers, the bovver boots and has a better moustache) have embarked upon their promo tour of their new album ‘Is That It?’ Probably made up entirely of covers (it’s hard to tell) and all in D[2], the songs are to say the least, unique. They are turning up at Folk Clubs unannounced to promo the album in full. So far they have had a chequered response to the tactic. For instance they rolled up on a club night at The Ferret and Fusebox, a club they’ve been to before, and were surprised to find the room in darkness and empty apart from a bloke who looked a bit like the organiser, only sporting the addition of a large plastic moustache – and a bunch of shadowy figures giggling under the tables, clutching what might have been instruments. The stranger explained that, no, the club wasn’t here anymore, had moved ages ago, and no, he didn’t know where. Sandy enquired who the figures under the table were, and received the explanation that they were the cleaners, practicing. Thus satisfied, Sandy took Julian back to the camper van and drove sadly home. Being behind them, they probably didn’t notice the lights slowly flickering back to life.

And so as the band tour minibus of fate breaks the clutch plate of synchronicity outside the music night of destiny, and we enter to find the room full of cross dressing wrestlers busily line dancing, we might wish for better luck.

And the moral to the tale of Harry the Folkie? Be careful what you wish for, as you might just get it.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] Given the circs – quite a feat.

[2] The chord sheet reads: D/// D/// D/// D////

Chorus: D/// D////

M8: D/// D/// D/// :]]

That’s not for a song, it’s for the set.

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