Royals and Stones

Let the royal trumpets sound
Brassy voices proudly sound
For its a blokey
That’s no jokey
A little princey, I’ll be bound.

More on that subject later, sort of.

But for now, Gentle Reader, Be Welcome and read on…

Sunday night and we with Dave The Bass for the WMC in Lanchester. Here can be found that rarest of animals, a bloke that tries to keep music going just because he likes it. Ian Tute I have hagiographed in these pages in the past, has for years tried to keep folk going in Lanchester. The WMC may be the last chance saloon, and attendence is a bit, well, low.

So we trotted merrily along, either to support or wield the misericorde .

So, Ian, Geoff and FG traded songs all evening long, just to ourselves and the assembled good worthies of the club. The Wrinkly Wroadies were in attendance – but that’s a bit like saying water is wet. To be quite honest, it was great fun, and a good chance to play and relax. Well done Mr Tute, says we. If you are in the area, why not support his efforts?

No more club playing for us this week, just lots of practicing with three new songs making their way vaguely setwards. And a biggish gig – that report’s further down. And we did sally forth twice in search of musical entertainment, and we found…

The Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead. Attracted initially by a great big sign that said ‘Free Gig’. Inside we found a large room, with a small peformance area and lots of chairs. Turns out that Music in the Museums is quite a big thing and that this one was a co presentation of music and art. Well, it is an Art Gallery. The music was courtesy of Austin Bradshaw and Bridie Jackson and The Arbour. The interesting thing for us was the size of the audience. 300 or so people were there, with a bar laid on and having a good time. Blimey, 300 is more than you could get in a pub back room. Interesting.

Then on Saturday evening over to North Shields so see Acoustic Chums Trev and Renata host an evening at The Oddfellows. A nice little pub, plenty of character and plenty of other acoustic chums in attendance[1] – see the piccies; including those showing Trev attempting to play every stringed instrument known to man!

Incidentally, the photos from Redcar Rocks, including the one of the ****ing legend[2], are coutsey of the Bucaneering Mr Hadlett, for fame known, both of imagery and various musicks.

I am not, in the way of it anti monarchy. I share with most people a vague disquiet when it comes to matters of privilege and cost, but ill will I bear them none.

I am however heartily pig sick of wall to wall dreck of something that happens rather a lot, with a fairly predictable outcome and resent being told that I am excited about it.

I am not, as it goes, excited about it.

However it did make me think about pointless press coverage….

Nicholas Witchell[3] and the satellite van have been outside the pub for some hours now, we can go over to him live for an update; what’s happening, Nick?

“Absolutely bugger all at the moment Steve. We are waiting here, outside the Kings Head and Washerwomans Legs, where, in a few short hours, a song will be sung. We don’t know exactly what sort of song it will be, or what key it will be in, but experts and press from all around the globe are congregating here to witness the  event, when, and if it happens. We have seen Dave the Chairman go in, and we think he will be spending a few hours, in the bar, getting bladdered, before, and it might be him who does it, the first song is sung.”

Friday.

And a first for FG. This was our first presentation to The University of the Third Age. Presentation because it wasn’t a concert, or at least, not just a concert. The U3A is a grand institution existing in branch form all over the Country, and for all I know beyond. The branch we performed for was Stanley and about 100 good worthies came from all over Stanley, and for all I know beyond.

There was the usual intro and chat and then the Raffle. It strikes me that the Boilers of Empire are stoked and fuelled by little old ladies with books of raffle tickets.

This does not mean that I advocate the immediate immolation of any Granny wielding a book of Raffle Tickets as this would seem at best, harsh. After all; it wasn’t too many years ago that the cry ‘Witch’ would see the entire community galloping to the village green dragging kindling and a stake, so maybe raffles are safer.

The U3A remit is that presentations must be broadly educational, so it was that we did a longish show, talking about the songs and the stories and people behind them as well as performing the songs. It was a really good session, great fun to do, with an interested and keen audience. It was rather hot though. Upstairs in The Lamplight Centre (afore it closes) and the temperature was just a bit hotter than that little spot just at the top of Pompeii in 79AD[4]. And for all I know, beyond.

Moses.

No, not that one, Moses Gibson, from just outside Winlaton; him – that one.

He got the job of climbing the mountain – more of a hill at the end of the Windy Fields really – and bringing back, on tablets of stone, the rules for what a folk song must be.

In stone mind, that meant no changing the rules, not without a chisel and some polyfilla.

History does not recall who was up the bl**dy mountain, but whoever it was must have been in charge of booking the acts, as the writ still holds sway to this very day. Moses collected the tablets, gave a receipt and trotted back down to his local club. Here his burden was relieved of him and he was given a half of best for his troubles. They are nothing if not generous in Winlaton.

So the stones, sorry, The Stones.

  1. Thou shalt not write a folk song lest it be about the sea.
  2. Or a maiden, maidens is ok.
  3. Come to think of it, so is mining and agriculture. Owt else is NBG.
  4. Hang about; anything with ‘Trooper’ in it is ok, and if the same line is sung twice, that’s ok too.
  5. May. That’s another thing. If it mentions May, it’s definitely a folk song.
  6. Pirates. Bugger, I nearly forgot about the Pirates. Yo-Ho-Ho and all that.
  7. It must be sung unaccompanied. No other music is allowed.
  8. Apart from guitars.
  9. Oh, and mandolins an’ that. Gob irons ‘n stuff and even a flute if you must. An’ whistles ‘n them funny drums y’have break yer wrist to hit. Them. And Banjos. Yes that surprised me too.
  10. But if you wrote it; no chance mate.

And on that bombshell, I notice that the chords of justice have caught up with the lyrics of timewasting, and justly a key change is in the air.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] Including Trev’s eldest, who was very good.

[2] See last ish – Ed

[3] …and we know what Chas thinks about him.

[4] Yes it was. I checked.

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