Are you being served?


Refurbishment, in my view implies a degree of improvement, making things better, quicker, faster, easier or just plain nicer. So with acoustic business of nature postal, we skipped into our local Post Office, a recent victim of refurbishment.


The noise came from some distance away. It was clear that refurbishment had indeed taken place. The old glass cages where staff were kept had gone, to replaced by a large glazed box running the width of the building. The staff beyond resembled bored yet exotic aquatics, an illusion heightened by the fact that one improvement was the use of  that glass which is virtually soundproof, even when you put your mouth up to it and the assistant, on the other side, places her ear close to the shiny surface. The result is that you bellow your private business at full volume for the entertainment of other customers, while the assistant can hear a faint busy bee buzz on her side, but no words.

The reverse, of course, also applies.

There is, however a small non-glazed slot just about the counter, about three inches high, with a stainless steel tray under it.

As another improvement is the removal of those engaging little red numbers that lit up to tell which window to go to, the teller being now reduced to placing her gob on the counter, level with the slot and yelling.


At least you do know which teller to attend; it’s the blue one.

And so with the theme of refurbishment established, be welcome Gentle Reader and read on.

It has finally happened. A putsch, a fragrant revolution, the velvet glove has closed its inexorable grip on the throat of Chairman Dave. Or to put it another way, he’s got the grand order of the E.

The Management of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs, home of our favourite Folk Club, disenchanted with empty rooms have decided that Dave is not, after all, the Chairman of their dreams, and invited him, in the kindest terms to b****r off.

The Landlord, let’s call him Chris, has taken over and rebadged the event.

Welcome one, welcome all to The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Open Acoustic Evening. (KWAKE)

This will be held, as is traditional, in the back room on a Thursday. Doors will open at 7.30 sharp, admission will be free to players, £1.50 to audience. There is no raffle, but there is soup. Each week has an open session for the first half of the night, the second half being a featured spot for 40 mins, then back to open session. At 6.00pm anyone who wants to use the room for lessons, sales, or music related activity is welcome to do so. Once a month there is a concert with a support and main act chosen from people who have played at the club, with visiting strolling minstrels as funds and timetables allow. There is no PA.

Chris has pencilled in a few club outings and events, barbecues outside in the summer, trips to nearby clubs and even a theatre showcase event.

Obviously this bloke knows nowt about Folk Clubs.

Should do well, then.

We have decided to take a bit of a rest from our relentless Folk Club visiting. I doubt that this will cause the great northern clubs too much distress, but it will save some time, petrol and a degree of vague depression may be lifted. We have been playing to all sorts of audiences, in all sorts of places, some big, some very small, but all enjoying and listening to our music. I’d rather play to one person who wanted to hear us than a room full of people waiting their turn and putting up with what we do until. Our 2014 diary is not bad, certainly better than ever before and we have a few plans to put on a couple of bigger shows next year. It feels like this is a better direction, and hurts less than bangin’ yer head against the wall.

This week two outings. One to the Oddfellows last Saturday (too late for the blog) and one at The Ballarat in North Shields, and two more dissimilar evenings would be hard to imagine. The Oddfellows, run and hosted by Acoustic Chums Trev and Renata is a bit different. A sort of folk club with T & R as hosts alternating with invited floor artists. The pub carries on around proceedings and is home to Mr Very Loud Punter, who is a particular admirer of the work of Ms C Athey, so much so he bellowed his conversation at his chums while standing a good two feet away from Christine[1].  The Oddfellows is in North Shields…

… as is The Ballarat, a former pub[2], now gallery and sometime venue. Karen and Mike are working hard to get the place going. This Thursday we played a full set, and attendance was, to be fair, poor. However, from those who did attend, we sold a surprising number of CD’s and made some useful contacts, plus the pleasure of the company of jiva[3] who turned up in welcome support. We hope to play there again soon, and wish them all good fortune.

And so as the blancmange of change settles on the custard of fortune and we discover that the just desserts of FG are actually quite tasty trifles, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Hats off the Christine for not resorting to physical violence as a method of communicating her disapproval.

[2] And apparently a very interesting one. Interesting in the sense that one’s kneecaps may go awol.

[3] jiiiiiiiivaaaaahhhhhh


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