Legend. No, seriously…

Old Joshua, he won the battle of Jericho,
Odysseus thumped the Minotaur
Midas was an old so-and so
But not half so much as Thor.

These heroes old, were brave and bold
The mightiest of the few,
But now it’s time for Legends old
To be replaced by Legends new.

The only question that remains
Therefore my friends; is who..?

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

We are ****ing legend.

No honest, ****ing legend; that’s us. Apparently.

Just after the intro to Sundown at Teeside Rocks Acoustic Stage, the gentleman at the front, who looked as if he may have been offering the beer tent his stalwart support announced, rather loudly to be fair, that in his considered opinion we were, to coin a phrase, ****ing legend.

Now, Sundown usually goes down well, but this is a first.

Teeside Rocks has, I understand been going for a while, but the acoustic stage is a fairly recent addition. It was held this year at Tuned In, a sort of Youth centre with knobs on, right on Redcar sands. Very nice venue. You will, Gentle Reader have noted, as you are as eagle eyed as an eagle eyed thing, that the title of Redcar Rocks indicates that this was in fact a Rock Festival with an Acoustic Stage added on.

You are, ****ing, legend.

Rock festivals are renowned for being, well, rocky, and loud. This one had three stages, one acoustic, and two with a slightly more amplified turn of mind. Guess which ones won?

However, I don’t think that’s really the point. The noise was intrusive and got a bit more so as the day wore on, as bands became more enthusiastic and sound engineers more relaxed; but fair do’s; it was called Teeside Rocks, so fairy snuff. We met lots of Acoustic Chums, Andy X, Jim Blenkhorn, Teeside Steve and Liz, and of course our chums Stormcrow[2]. There is a photo of a little girl watching The Stormies; I think it says everything that needs to be said. They turned in a grand ‘greatest hits’ set, and the beer flowed on, crack was good and organiser Jim Hayden did a good job of moving everything along. We even got filmed for a documentary; the young ladies being slightly phased by me taking more photos of them (for t’blog) than they did of us. Such Fun.

We took to the stage at 6:00pm, just as the band on the main stage cranked up to 11. However, we played and hit the boards hard.

The result?

Obvious Mes Braves, we were ****ing legend.

Unusually early in the week, Dave the Bass had a day off from being a clothing magnate, so we decided to sally forth in the general direction of The Brecon Folk Club, held that very evening at the Dun Cow pub in Bournmoor. This is a very nice pub and venue, despite having possibly the most expensive pint of San Miguel you can get without actually going there in person to buy it, then coming back on’t bus. Notwithstanding any of that nonsense, the evening was very pleasant indeed. The Brecon has changed and evolved over the years and now doesn’t have guests, every evening is a singers night and there is some very good local and not so local talent. The Ancient Mariners for a start, John Wrightson (and Joan) and Keith representing very fine playing and singing. We got an extra number on account of having invaded en masse, and it was a really nice night. Hot though – the window was jammed shut and the room a trifle warmer than the inside of a Turkish Wrestler’s conkers coat.

Photos courtesy once again of our senior support staff, The Wrinkly Wroadies.

One or two of you may know that as a day job I do something in education. If you find out what it is, do let me know. However, the bane of the school is the Ofsted inspector. It is he (or she, you can’t always tell) who holds the Sword of Damocles aloft, in judgement, with one hand permanently on the release lever. It struck me that something similar might be used to improve the standard of some Folk Clubs (not round here, obviously, oh no…) that may be offering a less than top line experience to their stakeholders and clients.

Imagine my surprise, when I read the very next day in ‘The Quisling and Informer’ the headline:

‘OfFolk to begin unannounced inspections’.

Apparently the Govt. (blessings be upon them, preferably gift wrapped in bricks) have agreed with me and set up an inspectorial department to ensure high standards of care in Folk Clubs. Naturally, as it is modelled on the school inspection system it has similar remit and standards; the inspectors know nothing at all about Folk Clubs.

Each club will be inspected against seven standards:

  1. Welcome and care of clients, including those with supervision orders
  2. Open and developing policy of music even if it does use electricity
  3. Open and developing guest booking policy[1]
  4. Open, transparent and fair raffles
  5. Gender, ethnicity and cultural diversity policy in place, even for people from Sunderland
  6. A fair hearing for all songs, even if they did write it themselves and they aren’t Jez Lowe
  7. Clean netties

The outcome of the inspection will result in clubs being placed in one of four categories:

  1. Outstanding
  2. OK I suppose, but really; sheesh.
  3. Notice to improve (by next week or we’ll bring in the Chairman from The Dog and Bucket)
  4. I haven’t laughed so much for ages.

Incidentally, lest any Readers (Gentle or Apoplectic) think that I am having a go…

…well in a way I suppose that’s true, but only based on what we see and hear from all parts of this sceptre’d isle. But, having briefly run a night at The Beamish Mary a couple of years ago, I know what a hard and usually thankless job it is to run a club. We never had guests, largely because we never had any money, so I’d fall foul of OfFolk. To be honest, hats off to anyone who is prepared to host, prepare, organise and occasionally throw folk out of (or in to) the club.

Idly as I leafed through the guest book on our website, I noticed that some Gentle Readers mistook the blog from a few weeks ago, entitled ‘Dr Gold will see you now…’ as an invitation to treat us as some sort of Folk/Acoustic Agony Aunt. Here are some extracts:

Dear Doctor Gold,

Here is a tip that I found the other day – I’m sure Gentle Readers will be stunned at its simplicity. Instead of using expensive phosphor bronze strings, simply take some ordinary garden string and paint it brown – creosote works best and they sound great!

F. Arbuckle

Littlehampton

Dear Dr Gold,

Please can you advise me how to be more popular down the Folk Club? I turn up on time, am always smart, sing melodiously and play some fine popular standards, in time and everything.

But as soon as I get my banjo out, no one-wants to know me.

Please tell me what I am doing wrong?

B. Keaton

Sheffield

Dear Doctor Gold,

Imagine my surprise when the other day I mistakenly played my guitar the wrong way round and it sounded a bit like a drum!

Perhaps your readers might like to try it out for themselves?

Yours truly,

L. Gish

And so as the sinking sun of wisdom causes the shadows of ridicule to lengthen on the ground of credibility, I think it should be the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] You must realise, this blog is fiction

[2] Mark wants you all to know that the windmills off Redcar are, in fact air conditioning for the town. I, on the other hand, wish you to know that he is nuts.

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