The Winter Sails

Some weeks come and most weeks go, but as they go, this one should have been quiet, ended up being not so, and as usual for Fool’s Gold, full of new things, new ideas, songs and all sorts of unexpected adventures on the high seas of folk. So, me hearties, hoist yer anchors and point your jib to the west and set sail with us on another unlikely bloggy voyage.

As ever, be welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

Sunday and an unusual musical excursion for us. Carol and I, in good company with others met for the purposes of appreciating the fine musical art of one Mr Hawkwind at the Carling Academy in Newcastle.

I am of course aware that very heavy spacer acid rock may not be, as it were, the ‘bag’ of our many Acoustic Chums, but nonetheless there we were.

I have seen Messrs. Wind before, way back in the day at the City Hall. In those days a Hawkwind gig was accompanied by its own microclimate consisting of a strange vaporous cloud that quickly made everyone in the building feel unaccountably happy.

On this occasion I was looking forward to it a lot as they were performing, in entirety, their classic album of yesteryear (yestercentury) ‘Warrior on The Edge of Time’. I must at this point say that we were on the guest list and had our tickets free. Thanks to Chris for that, very much appreciated.

The show?
Well, it were Hawkwind werrnit? Dancers in strange costumes, kaleidoscopic lights, film shows that were slightly to the left of where your imagination usually sits, and a big band, replete with big instruments and even bigger PA.

What were the band like?
I have no idea.

The sound was, to be kind about it, godawful.

The sound desk was not so much manned as babooned by someone who new a lot about volume and the grand total of sweet FA about tone, balance, EQ, clarity…

It would be churlish of me to bang on in this vein, but I did feel sorry for the band – at the end of the tour they probably wanted to go out on a banger; in the event, they went out with a mash.

During the week and we for Windows, the emporium of guitars and some things expensive at the Metro Centre. Not for the purposes of purchasing, as:

a)     I didn’t need anything and

b)     I did not have a mortgage application form with me

This was for the Taylor Guitars Road Show, and needless to say good Acoustic Chums jiva were in attendance, just to keep the presenters straight on the details. Nice to natter to Jimmy and Val and hear that all in the jiva camp is doing well with new projects aplenty – good for them. Then the roadshow, very well presented with some great demos of the new T5z and interestin’ stuff about wood and body shape. It was well presented and very informative if you are seriously into guitars. Free Elixir stings too – can’t be bad.

The rest of the week has been busy chasing tails, loose ends and bits; which, curiously enough, I hear they are also doing down at The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club.

If you are a new reader (welcome, by the way), you may not realise that the King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs is still on, every Wednesday, in the back room unless it’s the Leek Show and is back under the careful tyranny of Chairman Dave. Dave has been busy dismantling the changes made by the previous administration[1]. Poster references to ‘Open Mic’ have been eradicated from history, the entry in Folk Roundabout has been re-written with any contribution made by the former committee removed. The bookings have been redone, with singer songwriters removed and replaced by ‘proper singers’, which is to say loud nasal ones, without instruments unless it’s a melodeon, which is, of course, fine. The compulsory wearing of leather waistcoats has been extended to include the men; and committee members will be recognisable by a leather hat with a copy of anything by Sandy Denny sticking out of the top. Soon, we hear that the room will have the carpet removed, sticky lino replaced, the bar will sell Tetley’s and Guinness only and the ceiling with receive a light coat of nicotine paint.

At which point it will be a ‘real’ folk club again.

God help it.

Finally, we played our last ‘offical’ show for 2013 on Saturday night. The venue was Sacriston Old Church, now privately owned by Paul and Janice, currently undergoing conversion into a venue. We played in the straw bale room (doesn’t look like it except for the three foot thick walls) which was for all the world like a huge farmhouse kitchen. A decent enough turnout we felt and ably supported once again by Chris Kelly we had a very nice night indeed, trotting out a few new things and trying out a couple of new ideas. The twin neck setup has been changed and made a big difference to the sound which will make it much easier to gig more live next year. Thanks to all who came and supported, we hope to play there again next year.

At the end of this blog post, after the usual sign off, is the list of instruments and gear I have for sale. I’m selling it to create space and hopefully so that it will get used, possibly to the benefit of other musos as I don’t have a need for it any longer. There are instruments I don’t, can’t or won’t play, some outboard I don’t use and some recording gear that I have upgraded. The stuff is all in working order, all in pretty good condition and is offered to new home for, well, offers. Do your homework, check the second hand prices and make me an offer if anything takes your fancy. Any reasonable offer will be happily accepted. If there are two offers, the better offer (naturally) gets the bunny[2].

If you do see anything you like, the easiest way to get in touch is here:

Happy Offering!

And so as the dust settles on the grand musical jumble sale of life and the rocker walks proudly home with his new Flying V, the Opera singer triumphantly carries a music stand and the Folky realises he has bought another beer glass, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

Instruments/Equipment for sale

(Pictures of this gear can be found in this week’s gallery.)

Epiphone Twin Neck

Yes really!

The Jimmy Page clone, sounds great slight ding on headstock, otherwise perfect. I just never use it and someone should.

Epiphone Gibson Special

This has a real grunt and attitude, I love using it for solos, but these days don’t.

Cort SFX-6B NAT Ovankol

Nice acoustic, very comfortable and lovely feel. I use it as my main practice/writing guitar, but want to use my Taylor 210 for that so…

Clearwater Baritone Uke

Complete with pickup, we used it for a few gigs, then stopped when Carol upgraded to Tenor guitar.

Ovation celebrity Mandolin MCs 148

Includes fitted hard case, lovely instrument, plays well, looks and sound great – I’m just not using it.

Ovation Celebrity CC-44. Looks great, feels marvellous (if you like Ovations) I used it as my main guitar for quite a while, then moved to Taylor.

Lexicon Omega Audio Interface

Great sounding audio interface for your computer. Takes two mics or four jack inputs.

Zoom Multitrak Recording Studio MRS 802 + CD Burner.

Blimey, this is few years old – BUT works great, easy to use, and you can burn your finished project out all from one box.

[1] That’s the one that threw him out…

[2] Hence the expression, “to the money runs the bunny”. Well known round our manor, squire.


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