Rock my soul…

A hearty greeting to you all, especially those misguided souls that have signed up for the blog this week. From now on, this missive will pop fully formed into your inbox, bearing news, comment and a hefty dollop of what literary critics accurately identify as rubbish.

Often the FG is light in tone, perhaps this week it mayhap be different.

Be welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…


I am very aware that there is a readership of this rubbish who are not, as it were, from round these parts, and have yet to visit this corner of our Septic Isle.

Whether this is because they are dissuaded from visiting by stories of pit heaps, poverty and naked natives is unknown, but they should be aware that the pit heaps have gone, the poverty has not and nearly everyone now wears something, even if it is just someone else.

And that’s just in Sunderland.


Guisborough is a place, vaguely in the north-east and equally fuzzily located in time. It is a smallish, quaintish town which, until recently boasted two folk clubs. As far as I know only one now remains, but it is in these two clubs that we first made the acquaintance of one Mr. Tinker Dick.


Tinker was, until this week, very well known around the southern Teeside folk club circuit. To suggest that he was a bit of a character, perhaps even a little eccentric is to suggest that the sea is quite moist; Tinker was unique.

He was loud, boisterous, fun, kind and gentle. He was a loose cannon, chaotic, and often haring up the down track at a rate of knots.

And thank goodness for that.


He used to travel to and from clubs on his bike with his guitar slung on his back – weaving in and out of traffic and, on the way home, just weaving.


His performing style was uncompromising. Sit, play, stamp (the stamping bit was really quite important) and forcibly drag the audience into having a damn good time. Gospel, spiritual, old time Rock and Roll, none were safe from Tinker.

And thank goodness for that.


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We knew him quite well, in the way that passing Folkies do, and have nothing but the fondest memories of the man. He also gifted us one of the best real-life ‘Carry On’ moments possible when we tried to visit him in hospital in Middlesborough.

Arriving at the ward, we realized that we had no idea what his real name was.

Who knows?

Nothing else for it then, and we approached the desk to be greeted by a ward sister who had clearly learned her nursing from a Wehrmacht manual. Pausing for thought at this point would have been good, but no; Robson puts his gob into gear and:
“Excuse me Nurse, do you have a Tinker Dick”?

It took a while to sort that one out.


Facebook, that fount of all wisdom and much to which wisdom is a stranger, informed us this week that Tinker has decided to go for a floor spot at the great gig in the sky. He will be missed, we will miss him, but, as we pass any of his old haunts, we will have a fund of fond memories to remember him by.

And thank goodness for that.



And so as Tinker wobbles unsteadily on the cycle path to eternity, what’s that noise I hear on the wind..?


“……. Strum, stamp, strummity stamp,

Strum stamp, strummity stamp;

Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,

Oh Rock my soul….”


Wherever you are Tinker,

Keep Strummin’



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