Last time I looked, it was January, and ahead of us, stretched into the apparently infinite distance lay the land of 2013. Full of promise, a time of opportunity and plenty.
Twenty seconds later and here we are at the end of 2014, looking back at the dusty trail and remembering adventures, signposts, twists and turns.
So the journey then?
Did we get there?
Was it plain sailing to the safe harbour of best gigs ever?
Or did we break down and stop at the motorway café of fate and consume the cold burger of bitter fate?
Well yes of course we did.
But where was the café, how cold was the burger?
Be welcome Gentle Reader to the FG review of 2013 and read on…
First up, a quick review of the week just gone, lest I forget. A quick visit to Ian Tute in Lanchester, where I am pleased to report the session is picking up a bit, with a few more folks sitting round and joining in – good stuff. Then Friday and we for Ray Freeman’s gaff for a pre Christmas party in the company of a few Acoustic Chums, all called Ian. Wright, Tyzack and Young (with Pauline of course). Plus Ray and Ben, and a few beers, a lot of chat and a lot of music. Eventually crawling into bed at 2.30am must have meant it was a good evening and it was – thanks again to Ray for being a most generous host.
The year just gone has been a very busy one for FG. We have played about 60 performances (as opposed to floor spots and club visits) some have been one or two song appearances at things, some full, hour plus sets. Some full acoustic, some to near empty rooms, some to packed halls. We played in art galleries, festivals, cafes, shops, libraries, gardens, stately homes, old folks homes, folk’s homes. U3A meetings, folk clubs, pro theatres, clubs, pubs and back rooms. We have played to the old, the very old and audiences who required carbon dating. We played to young folks, church folks, drunk folks and folks who loved us. And to folks who wished, on the whole that they where undergoing current anaesthetic-free trepanning rather than hear another note we played. We had reviews, radio podcasts, press and plaudits. We received brickbats, knockbacks, no kickbacks sadly and one occasion, the Grand Raspberry. So, you could say we have been busy.
We’ve played as a trio with Dave (currently in the Alps, pretending to run a Hotel, whilst secretly snowboarding), and as a duo. We played guitars and basses, mandolins, flutes, whistles, keyboards and more kit than you can shake a baton at. We played through PA, no PA, big PA, good PA, awful PA and sometimes very LOUD PA. We’ve used FX units, pedals, loopers, chorus, delay, flange, phase and boost. We tried different combinations of set, stage, clothes and kit.
We’ve sold about 100 CD’s, given loads more away, written shedloads of songs, recorded a few more. We’ve had radio play and internet play. We’ve sold 4500 (to date) tracks on a per-listen basis, and just released a compilation CD of work so far.
So we’ve cracked it then?
Nope. Not even close.
This year we have tried, experimented, (mostly) won and (thankfully rarely) lost. We have, I hope learned. Not how to win, at least not all the time, but perhaps minimise the risk of losing. We have, I think in the main, enjoyed the whole lot. Sure there have been a few late night trips home when I have fumed, not often quietly, about something that has rattled my cage – usually to do with the attitude or lack of manners of a rare few. But in the main, we have had fun, met wonderful folks and made a boatload of Acoustic Chums along the way.
That makes it worthwhile.
We even got paid a few times and although we will never be rich (not this year anyway), at least we put a few bob in the fuel tank.
So next year we have twenty one things on the board (yes, we have a board) so far and will obviously get out to clubs. The New Year resolution will be to spend more time as FG; more of that at some point doubtless.
And a big thanks to The Wrinkly Wroadies, who have supported us through thick and thin and taken countless thousands of photos of you all. I’ll select a few highlights for next week short issue. The next two blogs (Christmas and New Year) will be short note affairs, hopefully, you have better things to do.
The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club continues, we hear, to grow and become more popular under the resumed benign dictatorship of Chairman Dave. His return to the grass roots principles of the folk club has meant that regulars are now sure of a spot and probably a guest night. The raffle is comfortably predictable (the winner is in the bar). Committee members are once again approachable and much more importantly, bribable. Chairman Dave has adopted a fair and equable approach to all musicians who do not play a sqooze box of some sort, who do not have a story involving a member of Fairport, or who pretend to write their own songs.
He tells them all to…
And so, as the hands of time wave furiously at a pretend friend in the distance and slip past with a muttered apology, I notice, it is the end of the year.
Until Next Year, Acoustic Chums,
 Plenty what; that’s the question.
 We got a few free drinks, and on one occasion a cup of tea and a bun. Does that count?