Hair of the blog

This year.

Crikey. It has disappeared fast, hasn’t it?

Only a few weeks ago, Santa had just disappeared back up the chimney and now here we are glumly viewing the prospect of beginning the whole dreadful process all over again.

Apart from the Santa bit, obviously.

Still, if you need a new and cheap PA, maybe some information contained within these august pages may help with the list.

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…


You’ll have noticed. I know you will, cos you’re quick like that.


Fashions change.

Some of you will remember flares, or worse, loons. Bomber jackets, the midi skirt (not in my case; never tempted); all have left mental scars that mean that I have never strayed far from t-shirt and jeans.

That’s my excuse and…

As I currently work with young people, the revolving wheel of fashion trundles past my eyes on a daily basis.

I have noticed that one current manifestation of this capricious beast is the trend among some young ladies to assemble all of their hair – lots of it too – on top of their heads in what a top stylist would probably call a ‘lump’. Many hours of strenuous effort will doubtless be expended at this industry; the style can also include the addition of pencils sticking out of said hairdo, for reasons that escape me.

The net effect of this expansive fashion is to make it appear that the young ladies have been the victim of a low flying and loose bowled pterodactyl, whose diet included, unaccountably, pencils.


We musicians would never fall victim to such sillinesses now would we[1]?


I was put into this thought loop when watching an acoustic chum wrestle with a Dylan inspired neck truss mouth organ and guitar outfit recently. The process of getting started is a bit like watching a cross between a welder, a deep sea dive and an escapologist. This is definitely a musical fashion which caught on. The visual effect is that one has been caught in a terrible car wreck; come to that, the sonic consequence is rather similar. Other musical fashions? I need say no more than ‘ukulele’. These seem to have a breeding cycle to rival a randy rabbit, indeed whole warrens of the things have been appearing, wielded to great, and lesser, effect. The ukulele is an object lesson in musical physics, the rule being, “just because its smaller, it doesn’t make it easier to play”.

I am still trying.

My eight string[2] (well, it would be, wouldn’t it?) is still making its way into a few songs and still a favourite to pick up and plunk.


Monday and we in mob formation for the Bridge Public House and for the Folk Club therein. The duo, the Wrinkly Wroadies, the Essex Contingent and a non combatant bass player filled a few rows. As always Mr D Minikin was in charge and it was nice to have a natter and catch up. Apparently he is still running the strandings for which he has garnered a degree of local fame. St Mary’s Lighthouse is the venue for these folk music events which occur between low and high tide thus stranding the muses and audience. What a shed load of folkies, complete with instruments and several crates of real ale might get up to is quite beyond my imaginings… Dave told me about a new, portable and cheap wireless PA he has purchased for Beeswing. Being a nice lad he sent me the link, and it does look interesting, and certainly cheap. I am assured it sounds fine. This is likely to be of interest to many the Gentle Reader, so thanks to Dave, you can find the link here.

It was as ever a good night, some grand music and several acoustic chums that we haven’t seen for a while. Jim Wigfield being one such : I am delighted to be able to report that Jim is exactly the same as he has been in the past, so, and I mean this most kindly, I hope he never improves changes. Pics of course taken by the Wrinkly Wroadies, who support everything we do.

Doing their own thing. As the Actress said…

The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs All Inclusive Ecumenical Folk (but not just that, we love everything honest) Affiliated Group Evening has been working hard to provide a community service, offering all and sundry in the area the opportunity to entertain, in a form loosely described as musical. The new steering committee, anxious to lay the ghost of the former, very trad, committee have introduced some innovations which may be of interest to folk club organisers. Chief among the blue sky thinking rapidly coming to set this club apart is the idea that a clapometer be employed to decide when an act should get another song. In other words if you are very good you’d stay on the stage ad infinitum. However there was an unfortunate incident the other week when a bus load of nudists came in. Their shuffling on the wooden pub chairs, and movement to and from the bar ensured that local duo Sellotape played for two hours.


Friday now as I tap into the trusty iPad. Saturday and a road trip to the Boro as we have a big gig at the little theatre studio. At this point in time, I have a raging sore throat and no voice at all. Nope, none, zip, nada, nix, nihils, sweet-bugger all. If they are lucky, it won’t come back in time.

Saturday morning update: coughing well, voice better but Barry White has (or had) nothing on me. I sound like the bottom end of a Barbershop Quartet, what should be my main range is nearly there, but apt to squeak like a tickled rodent at inopportune times. Will we cancel.

Not on your nelly.

Sunday now and it’s all over. Did my voice return? Almost is the answer, just enough to get through the set just about intact. The night was good fun, Ian Tyzack doing a great job in support and the room and venue is very good (see the pics of the way FG sets a room up, and an object lesson in how to get a lot into a car), the lighting setup in particular was worth using. However, and there is no way to gild this particular lily, the audience was very thin on the ground. Thanks to all those who did turn up. We will be using the gigs we’ve put on this year to inform what we do next year- we think we’ve learned some important lessons about why some venues work and others don’t. Last night it turns out Jools Holland was on up the road and in the club lounge was the very well attended quiz night. Sheesh.

We also take this occasion to bid Dave the Bass a fond aduei, as he leaves for the US of A this week. His contribution to live shows has been very well recieved and he’ll be missed.


So as the sun of experience sets on a whole world of learning and the confused cuckoo clock maker of fate has to wait until noon to discover where he put his sandwiches, I notice it is the end of this edition of the blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums

Keep Strummin’

[1] As if…

[2] I can’t find a twin neck uke.


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