Brrrrrrrinng! Brrrrrrrinng!

There are not too many occasions when an amateur musician’s phone rings, so it is generally a mad fumble to extract it from pocket, then hankie and then not press the wrong…   …click.

Hope they ring back.

Until they do, Be Welcome Gentle Reader and read on…



Thank God[1] for that.

Click, “Hello, Steve Robson”

Now it’s a toss up – is it someone wanting to give me a new gas boiler, tell me my PC (which is a Mac) has a virus or perhaps, just maybe…

“Is that the right number for Fool’s Gold?”

Hurrah, result, small happy dance. They can’t see; just as well, I’m straight out of the shower.

“Yes it is; can I help you?”

“Are you the musicians? The… err.. (you can feel her squinting at a scrawled note, written in green ink on the back of 10p off Swarfega coupon) folk musicians?”

Some words, when they are spoken, come out in italics, have you noticed?

“Yes, that would be us”

It would take too long to argue the toss, let’s go with folk for now.

“What do you do?”

(Well, obviously we juggle elephants with a spoon while I play Ukulele with me willy[2], but…)

“We have lots of things we can offer, what is the occasion you have in mind?”

The conversation goes on from there, and when we have both convinced each other that a new gas boiler is not part of the conversation, a booking sometimes resolves itself.

I know this to be true, as it has happened a few times this last fortnight. We must be doing something right.


So in detail,

Last weekend we went to visit Acoustic Chums David and Chrissie, the purpose purportedly to see what FG sounded like with a drummer. David is such a beastie, and proved it by thumping tubs to a few of our greatest hits. We then tried percussion and once again David demonstrated considerable prowess at a vast range of things round, thin, wooden, skin, and invariably, thumpable. Drummers are a rare breed in my experience. They have a brief dalliance with daylight between wakefulness and falling down drunk and in between times can usually be found beating the living bejeasus out of anything that sits still long enough. David is none of those things.

Well, to be fair, one or two of them might have crept in ‘cos it was a great weekend of music, food and falling down water. Our grateful thanks to D & C.

…and no, FG music does not work with drums.

At least not yet.


Then into a week of madness.

Six shows in a week?

Not counting a visit to Lanchester Club for Ian Tute’s singaround session. Nice too see it still soldiering on. (pics courtesy of the Wrinkly Wroadies)

A great U3A meeting at the start of the week in Washington, a full house 130 or so strong responded very well to the Stories with Strings show, great people, great contacts made. Next up a Care Home – if you want to know what Folk in the tropics is like, try this. Another lovely time playing music for people whose ability to enjoy is undiminished by the inability to walk, or in some cases move at all. That got an immediate rebooking – eek, more material needed. Then a dash down the road to Leeds to play at The New Conservatory Bar. This was interesting because no-one there had ever seen us before. We played a furious set, met some lovely people from the Leeds circuit, made contacts, made more Acoustic Chums, heard great sets and generally had a great time and received some of the best feedback we have ever had. Very, very nice. Thanks to Jan and Claire for the photos.

Then back home ready for a Stories with Strings at Sacriston Branch library. Some low people hinted that Sacriston People do not know where the Library is. This is not true. They all know that it is just behind the fourth betting shop on the left, next to Billy’s Knocking Shop[3].

I can afford to poke jest at the Sacriston stereotype as it is patently not true; the library had set out a little performance area, the seats filled up, Stan ‘Durham Ranger (sans She Bear)’ Tunstall Otterburn turned up to do a video podcast and interview for his highly commendable music podcast (look on FB) broadcast (podcast, net cast, he casts the bl**dy thing somehow) , and our great thanks to him for the time taken and the interest in FG. Pics from the Wrinkly Wroadies, who now know their exposure from their f-stop. the show was very well received (thankfully) and we have a number of libraries interested at the moment. Jolly Good.


Then on to Clennel Hall where we were down for two hour shows.

You know what a Folk Festival is, yes?

A sort of mixture between music, a meeting of chums, a drinking extravaganza and a silly hat competition (congratulations Dave).

With Clennell Hall this is true, but I think you must add an extra dollop of friendliness into the mix. Great congratulations should be hurled towards Dave Foreshaw for organising the whole shebang; especially as these things:

a)     never are straightforward

b)     always have some sort of hitch

c)     always have some grumpy bu**er in the background somewhere


A few stages and constant music, we met lots of old friends and made several new ones. The photos will give some idea. We had a wonderful day, heard some great music, sang a lot[4], and got very tired into the bargain. We did two one-hour spots. The first in the cellar bar, which in fairness is a stone clad hole, but a very nice little burrow it is, and has a great atmosphere. We started in there with just us and Michael Whipp as MC, but it soon started to fill up and we ended up with a happy crowd, singing along like good ‘uns to the ol’ FG canon and even getting up to dance in the aisles (had there been an aisle) to Rake Down the Moon. A quick encore later and so to lunch. We met up with Buddy and Andrea Freebury (Sandwich), hitherto Facebook names only, and had a good natter – it seems Welsh Wales has the same sort of scene as here. The second spot was in reception and was quieter, but people sat and listened – which was very nice.

All in all a very good week of music and generally having fun with ones chums.


And so, as the blog deadline of destiny looms large on the horizon of time, and the cutoff of fate fatefully cuts off something, which is hopefully not too vital, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’



[1] Various flavours are available. One size does not necessarily fit all.

[2] Willy is me long lost brother who also plays… you didn’t think… you didn’t

[3]Not Norman’s Nookie House, as Billy’s has the better loyalty scheme. Apparently.

[4] I’m thinking of auditioning as backing singer for jiva. I have purple underpants.


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