Fires at Midnight

At last.

An hour or so to myself to tap out this week’s Blog.

Carol is busy downstairs, looking for the kitchen. I’ll know when she finds it; the Fire Brigade always knock quite loudly…

And with that, Be Welcome, Gentle Reader and read on…

lanchester2 poster

This week has seen FG back to musical form – such as it is – busy as heck and wondering where the time goes. It’s also the week where I go public about a new guitar.

Another one? I hear you gasp, incredulity and a lump of sarcasm dripping from your otherwise respectful tones.

A man cannot have too many guitars. The day you stop lusting after a new axe is the day that you leave masculinity behind and join a boy band. Either that or the missus says no.

Still I could always hide it in the kitchen.


So, this week then?

Four care homes and a folk club visit and a lot of rehearsing for shows that are in the pipeline. Any Acoustic Chums who may fancy the Care Home circuit should be aware that the job brings with it an element of emotional burden.

Not a heavy burden however; au contraire mes braves[1].

The burden of which I chunter is the burden of mixed happiness. We play to a large number of residents who have fallen foul of nasty Mr. Alzheimer and his amazing memory loss system. It is amazing too; I found myself introducing a mother to her daughter this week. No, the emotion is playing to room that is to all intents and purposes largely switched off[2]. The Residents are always well represented by a few hardy souls who are really out to enjoy themselves, but sometimes a fair few are, like Jeremy Bentham, present but not voting. Then all of a sudden, we’ll play a song that literally strikes a chord of memory and they start to animate: sing, smile, clap and respond to the environment in a way that they may not have done for quite some time. This causes family visitors to marvel and of course be pleased, but sometimes become teary too – quite understandably.

Care Homes are not easy, but they are hugely rewarding.

 This week; introducing Frank the Folkie, an unlikely musical blokie…


The Folk Club in question was The Cutty Wren. It was a hotspot night at The Bowls Club in Redcar, (Fran and Colin Edwards – well done them) which is still in the middle of the municipal graveyard. When I say in the middle of the graveyard, it pretty much is; the Racecourse is immediately behind and the other three sides are given over to the curious habit of planting the deceased. Even more curious is the habit of placing solar lamps on the graves, but then, that’s Redcar for you.

The club night was grand – we always have a good night down there, and it was very (very, very) nice to get some good feedback from folks about our sessions at the festival just gone. Musicians generally work pretty darn hard to deliver of their best and when somebody says afterwards “I liked that”; it makes it all worthwhile.

And so it was that I used my new geetar in a Folk Club for the first time.

My brand new PRS Angelus SE Standard was wielded in anger for the first time, and jolly fine it was too. Or would have been if I had taken a bit more time with the b*****y capo.

This beastie is lovely and will probably become my main gigging out guitar.

Why? I hear at least two of you cry.

My Taylor 810 CE is one of the best guitars I’ve ever touched, let alone owned, so why would I want to (apparently) downgrade?

Two main reasons, the Taylor is too good, too valuable, too precious to get dinged, banged, bumped, dropped or otherwise abused. And, as a dreadnought, and given that I have a happily ham fisted approach to the right hand action, it’s damn loud and getting louder as the sound table starts to really move and resonate. So much so that I can easily drown out Carol’s tenor guitar or even voice (I sometimes get paid more for doing that, but that’s another story).

So the smaller body of the PRS is better in that regard. It is a beautiful guitar. Paul Reed Smith makes lovely instruments, the Angelus Acoustic is $4,500, but the SE range, made in Korea, not quite so handsomely priced. I have to say that I am delighted with it. The Taylor I think will come out now and then, and be used in’t studio, but for now, expect a PRS in me mitts. The neck is very like an electric and is silky smooth and much quicker than the Taylor. Upper neck access is also very good, which given my experimentation with twin capo settings is proving very useful.

The photos this week are courtesy of The Wrinkly Wroadies and show The Cutty Wren in all it’s manifest glory. I’ve also added some pics from a recent Stories with Strings show at Blackhall Library, which may be of interest to some Gentle Reader, who wonder how (if not why) we do it.


And so the sound of crackling reaches upstairs indicating that Carol has found the kitchen and cooking over an open fire. By the time she reads this, the fire will mostly be of Taylor and PRS…

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’



[1] Trans: ‘Nah man, it’s nurt’ (for Ashington readers)

[2] Yes, I know I could do a joke about Folk Clubs, but I’m just not that kind of boy.


2 thoughts on “Fires at Midnight

  1. Liked the reference to Jokes about Folk Clubs but noticed that your Blog has been silent on Chairman Dave he still Chairman, head of the board, or has the club been taken over as a Old Folks Home. These thoughts keep me up at night, worry bads are worn thin, What has happened to Chairman Dave, answers ona £10 note would be good.

    Hope he hasn’t run away with the Washer Woman.

    • Stay tuned, Dave is up to his usual dastardly tricks, and has a surprise in store… Rumour has it that the massed marching bands of the Stokton and district banjo, ukulele and gob iron synchronised folkers are coming down for a visit…

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