Sitting in the window…

One of my earliest memories relating to the performance of acoustic music is of our local Butcher, based on a small parade known universally (at least, universally in Benwell) as ‘the top shops’. Mr Milne was an old school Butcher even in the early sixties and resplendent in whites and stripy apron, he would daily strew fresh straw upon the floorboards and religiously arrange his shop window, displaying his wares to the best advantage.

Earliest memory of the performance of acoustic music?
Be Welcome, gentle Reader, and read on.

A busy enough week this one. Monday and we for Saltburn, in progress. Saltburn has a very good Pizzeria, but also a very fine folk club. This august body meets at the top of the stairs in The Marine Hotel and offers grand views out to sea. Not that you spend a great deal of time gawping outward, as inward, your appetite d’Gawping is admirably sated. The room was full of talent, much of it belonging to Acoustic Chums. Mark and Amanda Hadlett, better known to the acoustic community as Stormcrow were in attendance and very nice it was to catch up with them. Ian Wright – fine touch on the guitar, Pauline and Ian Young (aka Full Circle) shone nicely as did Guy, who displayed an unsuspected gift with languages and drum, specifically on this evening, Cheyenne. The evening was hosted by the inimitable Tony Morris, fresh from rearranging the architecture of Whitby with his head – thankfully both survived. Dave Brunskill deserves a mention for bringing down the house with his deadpan rendition of ‘Teaching my worm how to swim’. Excellent stuff.

Photos once again courtesy of the Wrinkly Wroadies .


Early Rant Warning…

A nice gentlemen approached us in the car park at The Metro Centre the other day. Clearly not a native to these parts he was sadly lost and needed a helping hand – even an FG hand. We tried to explain how to get to the airport, which was lucky as that was where he wanted to go, and even tried to get him to follow us to the A1.

That’s what should happen, if someone asks you a question, you answer, politely.

A VERY nice man, again perhaps not exactly an autochthon of the North East, rang me up recently and wanted to warn me of the dangers of a virus he had found (presumably by magic as I don’t have the computer I told him I had) on my laptop. He offered, there and then, the fix it for me.

Nice Man.

I politely made several suggestions to him as to my opinions on the matter, and somewhat rudely, he hung up.

But I was polite.


So. Why is it when you approach a venue, hall or whatever it is, especially when they put their contact details on the website, that they do not have the common courtesy to reply.

One such place recently didn’t reply, but did put me on their mailing list.

Which isn’t rude, just taking the £!$$


The remainder of the week, bar Saturday, was spent in getting the recording underway, and I am very pleased to report that underway indeed it is. I finally managed to get everything working on about Tuesday night; all the midi working correctly(ish) all the Mackie emulation spot on, audio feeds and busses correctly configured and everything, to borrow from Mr Bowie; Hunky Dory.

And I hadn’t sworn once.

When it didn’t work on Wednesday morning, that’s when I broke out like a Trooper with a boil on his bum.

However it now all works and a few guide tracks have been laid down – as much as to try everything out and see how it all works. Readers concerned about the earlier midi reference can be reassured that just because we have access to hundreds of synth noises, drum machines and weird sounds that it does not automatically follow that they will be thrown willy-nilly at the tracks.

They will be thrown very carefully.


And so to the Butcher’s Window.

Mr. Milne knew how important it was to present a shop with it’s finest wares facing outward to the public. In the case of Lakeland Music in Penrith, this logic extends to Acoustic Musicians’ bums, as we spent a fair bit of Saturday in the shop window of said establishment promoting Learn to Play Day by demonstrating to great effect what happens if you never have a lesson in your life – presumably on hearing me play, this would encourage the neophyte to get lessons quick in case it happened to them.

We had lots of fun in the window and it was lovely to catch up with Acoustic Chums Lynn Goulbourn and Steve Hicks. Steve is a lovely bloke and it must be quite difficult for him to be loved by all except guitarists. This is because ‘gifted’, ‘talented’, even ‘bloody good’, do not, in fact, describe the lad adequately. I spend a fair bit of time at the dusty end of the neck, but he has a flat down there. Excellent, inspiring stuff. Lynn even lent me her phone.

And I gave it back.

I must be slipping.


And so as the shop assistant of fate at closing time is surprised to find a Musician of Destiny squatting in the window, but applying staff training diligently, sweeps him out with the rest of the rubbish, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummim’




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