The first snows of winter…

“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
and the fire is soooo delightful,
and since we’ve no place to go…”

Yes, my small but wonderfully proportioned Acousticians, as I sit and tap the latest installment of what many literary types call “Rubbish”, it is indeed chucking the white stuff down over Old Stanley Town. This is because Stanley is:

a) higher than most places
b) colder than most places, and
c) deserves it.

As the Festive Season draws ever nearer as an Iceberg to a Titanic[1] my thoughts turn to the business of gifts.

What to give, you already have our CD’s; proving that all Acoustic Musicians have wobbly tables, so what to gift the muso who has everything?

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…


Isn’t Facebook wonderful?

And I mean that most sincerely folks[2].

And literally too, how many times do you look at a post and think; “I wonder why…”

However, it can alleviate a great deal of the pain of Christmas, and if you don’t think Christmas is a pain, you must be under twelve.

How so?

Just wait until someone on your friend list posts a message, which will get you out of a dark, and potentially deep, present-shaped hole. Often they will say something along the lines of: “Hey! Check out my page for downloads of my new album “Damp Patches” – it makes a great present for Christmas!”

Unfortunately, and there is always an ‘unfortunately’ in such stories; lots of people have thought of this and so my Facebook page is going ‘tingalot’ as many the troubadour seeks to flog me their own version of Damp Patches, although in fairness the titles are a bit more jolly, for example – ‘Christmas for the lonely depressive’, so far I have manfully managed to resist.

The important thing to take from this is that although it is now a heck of a lot easier to advertise your wares on the internet (and for goodness sake, don’t Google that phrase, at least, not when the Vicar is due), it is much harder to flog anybody your music.

Free is King.

This is quite obvious.

Look at U2: megastars of the firmament, talented chaps all – can’t stand them meself – but their latest album was not only given away for free, but rammed down the broadband of anyone daft enough to use iTunes.
The only problem with it, is that because it was free, I didn’t value it at all, listened to it once and have subsequently ignored it.

So it’s true then; you really can’t give it away – and don’t Google that either.



This week the world of FG has been particularly busified. We’ve played six times and been similarly busy with other music projects too. We started out in Chester le Street playing to about 130 U3A members, the first run out of the Christmas show. It went very well too, apart from the song where we were playing away and the audience burst out laughing, I was slightly put off – until I remembered that the video clip behind us had to do with some very corpulent reindeer and a slippery roof, so that’s ok. Rebooked for 2016 (!) we raced off to the next thing, a Christmas Party, then the next day a care home. Following a quick visit to see Jack and Chums at The Beamish Mary (another good night – Jack tells me he’s looking for someone to take over, so if you fancy it…) then the next day a WW1 event launch with no less a personage than the Lord Mayor of Newcastle (he didn’t know us either) then a big Beat The Drum Show in Consett.



As we trundled to the gig in the FG band transportation and logistics solution[3] we passed a large sign, which proclaimed boldly “Consett Bypass”.

I chose to disregard this advice and went on in, the gig was in the YMCA and what an amazing warren of community resources that place is. We set up a fairly big show upstairs (see Wrinkly Wroadies pics appended elsewhere to this missive) and then set up lots of chairs in front of us.

You may think this to be a wise precaution, but sales of Woad in Consett have dropped markedly, and the seats were in fact for the ‘Just Ukes’ band who opened the show. Eleven Uke players gave a lovely performance, then time for FG to go through the BTD show.

It’s nice when it all works, and it did that night. Hopefully the British Legion made a small fortune on ticket sales and raffles etc. Their work is to be very highly commended, it’s just a shame that it is necessary at all.

The final episode of the week was a social evening with the SWAP songwriting group led by local heavy metal folk outfit jiva. jiva are a folk institution in these parts, and will probably soon be in one[4], but they are to be congratulated in maintaining the songwriting group, which helps folks hone their chosen craft in a pleasant social setting. Well done them. A bunch of these worthies graced our threshold and ate, drank made merry and sang. A very pleasant evening.


The funniest thing this week was probably the Plumber.

He came to service the heating and is a nice and very chatty bloke. Just before he arrived, Carol asked me to spruce up her shaky egg high tech percussion device, which is cunningly fashioned from turned wood. It was however a bit grubby and dull, so when the plumber arrived he was visibly puzzled as to why someone should be oiling a wooden egg. I didn’t enlighten him, and y’know what?
He never asked.


And so as the Maraca of Fate shakes a defiant rattle at the Passage of Time and, as is inevitable, we end up with a shower of peas on the floor, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’













[1] …and often with similar consequences.

[2] If anyone would care to explain to me why Hughie Green was so popular, I’d be indebted.

[3] The manufacturers call it a Citroen Xara, but what do they know?

[4] Sorry you two, sometimes the pull of the darkside is just tooooo strong!


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