It was silent apart from an occasional sigh, a deep, slightly wispy breath that sought to convey not just disappointment, but also bemusement.
The back room of the King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs was dark. Because, as the Landlord had pointed out, there’s no point in paying for the ‘lectric if there’s “knee one there”.
Slightly unfair, as of course there was someone there.
At least there was this week.
Chairman Dave sat, in his customary chair in the corner of what should have been the Folk Club, while the ghosts of former guests and regulars danced, cavorted, played and sang round and round his head.
The actual room was, however, empty and silent.
And Dave did not understand it.
Not at all.
He had sort of noticed that attendances had been dipping a bit; well, more than a bit if he was honest, but the club had been through quiet patches before. It would pick up, he’d said.
But it hadn’t.
The dip had continued, and Dave’s ostrich approach to crisis management had deepened. The poster on the wall in the pub entrance accurately listed last years’ guest artists, all of them good, been coming here for years, all of ‘em. It also boldly proclaimed the folk club, every week at 8.00pm; All Welcome.
When Dave arrived at quarter to nine as usual, the room was empty.
And he really could not understand it. Apparently there had been people turn up last week, but, well, he always has his holiday that week, or thereabouts, and he was sure he’d mentioned it to someone.
The internet? No, Dave didn’t hold with that thing. Didn’t own a computer nor want one. No need for it see?
What good would a website be? Or one of them Facebooky things? Twitter – what’s that for? Nonsense.
People would just know, they always knew, Thursday night, in the back room of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs at 8.00 sharp.
Or 8.45 ish really.
And they would know when the guest nights were, and who was on, and how much it was and what time it started.
About 8.45 ish usually.
They just knew. Always had.
Dave sighed again and in the gathering deepness of an empty room he looked down at his raffle ticket.
Of course, there are no clubs like that(1), are there?
Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…
A crackin’ busy week again for us. Club visits, songwriting, gig organising, rootin’, tootin’ (sorry, probably the artichoke) and a-whoopin’ and a hollerin’…
Oh yes, and it happened a little bit like this….
This week and we for Guisborough. In this case, the Sunday flavour of Guisborough Folk Club, still to be found in the Rugby Club. (By the way, the website doesn’t work on all browsers. Just sayin’ like). We’d emailed ahead to check a floor spot was on the cards, and were assured a couple of songs. Great stuff.
Last on to close the night with a twenty-five minute spot was quite a ‘couple’, and a real privilege.
Lovely night, lovely folks – good to see Trish in fine voice tonight and we enjoyed playing for them as ever. The photos are here somewhere. Thanks once again to the Wrinkly Wroadies and their collective shutter fingers.
Then, later in the week to Durham City Folk Club at The Tap & Spile. A very trad evening this one, but welcoming to all sorts of musicians, including the FG variety. Ian McCulloch is an old mate from back in the day, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable, leisurely paced evening, even getting to air a new song. Very nice.
A few more emails came through to the helpline this week:
Dear Dr Gold,
I am learning to play the guitar and have three gigs next week. If I practice really hard, do you think I could have three 40 min sets ready, with an encore, just in case it’s needed? Damien, Glous.
The Doctor replies:
You clearly have little idea about anything, far less how to play the guitar. You are probably a shallow, callow, mindless moron with talent you could measure not with a depth sounder, more like a dipstick. You probably dress like a 60’s folkie and in all probability, still smell of Brut.
If you do, you should go down fine, welcome to the club.
Dear Dr Gold,
I have been told by my friends that I have a good voice, and they like it when I sing ‘Speed Bonny Boat’ or whatever it is called. I also know the national anthem.
The point is, I’m a bit skint, do you think I can make a living with this repertoire on the Folk Club circuit?
The Doctor replies:
Only if you leave out ‘Speed Bonny Boat’ (or whatever it’s called).
This week we also pushed the bonny boat (2) out a bit in terms of contacting new places to play. We contacted seven venues and got seven ‘yes please’ responses. That’s quite a success rate. Of course a ‘yes please’ response doesn’t really count until the agreements are finalised and in the diary, but hopefully the won’t all change their minds. When they’re confirmed (or should that be ‘if’…) I’ll spill the beans, until then, least said, soonest mended. I might come clean about the new instrument too. Patience, my pretties…
Still, ‘Seven at one stroke’; we felt very Brave Little Tailor indeed.
A few new songs in the practice list too, this week. Several of them should make the set unscathed, one has been tried out this week. Surprises? Yes, I’d say so, if only because a couple are not original, which is for us, pretty earth shattering. Are they straightforward re- runs of the originals?
Well, now, that’s just you being silly. The covers do have our stamp on them. If we did the same old stuff as everyone else, we’d get a booking at The Kings’ Head and Washerwoman’s Legs every year.
We’d be on about 8.45 (ish)
And so as the reverberation of the the last bon motte disappears into the background echos of tutting establishment disapproval (3), I notice that this is the end of this blog, Until next time, Acoustic Chums,
(2) It is a little known fact that this saying is biblical in origin. Apparently when the flood started, Noah found himself, and his unlikely vessel stuck in the clarts. Not fancying a plodge with the good dress on, he asked the unicorns if they could give him a push, promising he’d come back for them. Bl**dy Christians.
(3) Oh, I do hope so…