Folkie Fundementalism?

Traditional?

Undoubtedly.

Radical?

A bit.

Fundamentalist?

Probably.

Here in the north east an insurgent movement is taking hold: one preaching a radical, fundamental, and fervent return to traditional Geordie values. Al Kebab take their name from the ritual meal traditionally partaken by Geordies on a Saturday, down the Bigg Market.

Why, oh Acoustic Chums should this worry us?

Because they have a musical agenda.

Be welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

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The world never stops for Fool’s Gold, except possibly when colds last more than a month. A resurgent (as opposed to insurgent) cold stopped us getting to a midweek club, but others things kept us focused.

Last Sunday saw the last of our self organised theatre style gigs. Supported by Teesside Acoustic Chum Ian Tyzack we played at Saltburn Community Arts, a sort of converted Church Hall. There was an audience, and there were plenty of good supporters there to make the night a good ‘un. Ian played a great set of open tune songs to get things going, then the FG duo played an hour of the greatest hits (insert own irony here) , we both thought that we’d done a good job, and had a grand time to be honest. This was the last in a series of four gigs we’d organised ourselves, and we are currently taking stock of the lessons we have learned, all of them very important:

1. It is vital to pick the right hall, one that has some sort of record of putting on successful music shows and is responsive no supportive to artists.

It is vital to pick the right night. We need to check carefully that the reformed amalgamated supergroup consisting of members of the Beatles, The Who and Led Zep are not playing a free gig next door. Beer festivals also give pretty stiff competition[1].

2. Promo is very important. Posters, radio plugs, concessions, offers to groups, personal invites, blackmail, kidnapping and general larceny are all not just useful but required.

3. Don’t be put off. We have thought sometimes that things were not good, or not going to be good only to have a great night.

So, are we discouraged, dissuaded, jaded, daunted or indeed dismayed?

The other thing we did this week is book two halls for next year.

So, Al Kebab?

This Geordie fundamentalist folk insurgency has been laying out its stall, making clear the demands that must be met in the face of threats of musical violence.

All folk, acoustic or busker events must include the Blaydon Races, Cushy Butterfield and The Lambton Worm.

All venues must sell Newcastle Exhibition and something called ‘Dog’, whatever that might be.

Only acts vetted and passed by the high command of Al Kebab may perform.

Infidel unbelievers will be given banjos and sent to Sunderland.

Any Geordie infidel who fails to conform to the strictly traditional standard, regarding choice of song, venue and instrumentation will be subject to a traditional “Howman[2]”, under which the high priests of Al Kebab will turn up and tut into their Exhibition and Dog[3].

When I started writing this, I thought I was writing fiction; now I’m not so sure…

A final word this week to recognise the occasion of Mr Wrinkly Wroadie’s significant landmark. Many of you will be aware that Carol’s parents, Doug and Pauline accompany us to many a gig, acting in their adopted capacity of official photographers and roadcrew. Mr Wroadie this weekend celebrated his eightieth birthday in the presence of a massed gathering of the clans.  We hope that he will continue to attend at least 40,000 gigs to come.

Photos this week are courtesy of the Wrinkly Wroadies.

And so as the independent singer songwriter of fate, heads rapidly towards the loo following a traditional Geordie Bigg Market Supper, he is reminded that retribution can come in many forms, some of them seated, I see that it is the end of this blog.

Until next time acoustic chums

Keep Strummin’


[1] We found that out in Durham. What made it worse was some folks came in thinking we were the beer festival. Shocked? I should say so.

[2] Named after the leader Heyman Howman.

[3] Apparently a traditional bottled beverage now traditionally made in vast beer refineries in the Midlands.

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