That was the year that was…

Boys And Lasses Like Santa.

It’s my new organisation, and you’re all invited to join.

Membership brings with it, as you might expect, certain privileges and rights. Chief among these is, as a member of the club, you get to put up your Christmas tree in September. You are allowed to wear silly bits of felt on your head and be insufferably jolly round the shops.

But wait – Boys and Lasses are already doing this – am I too late to organise this movement or, as I am beginning to suspect, is Christmas already organised Balls?

Right.

Now I have nailed my colours to the festive mast, be bid welcome, Gentle Reader, to this the Fool’s Gold 2014 roundup.

Now, pray; read on…

City BTD poster

 

2014 eh?

Who’d have thought it?

No sooner do these year things start than they’re over.

But this one – well this one has been a bit special.

Momentous even.

Big.

So many changes, developments and hopefully good ones at that – it seems that FG is a very different beast to the ragamuffin enthusiast collective it was in December 2013.

So what went on? What sticks in the febrile, fevered brain of your favorite idiot?

…The biggest change was the decision to make music a priority.

As full time workists, we were keen but usually tired. Recording took forever and it was getting hard to muster the enthusiasm to go out to clubs in the evening.

Now that we are (semi) retired, that’s all changed. Now we are permanently tired, have no time at all for recording and never go to clubs in the evening.

Well, hardly ever.

148.

That’s the scores on the doors, or at least most of the score on the door. Our year planner has 148 things what we did. That does not include floor spots or club visits. That’s gigs, bookings, care homes, libraries etc. And the interesting thing is that up until April, when we packed in and threw the towel of work into the face of The Man, we had 20.

Then it went daft.

We decided that life is for the living, not the working to make a kind of living. Cue the early pension and a revised contract. Carol now spends all day looking for the kitchen[1] and we spend all day every day playing at Fool’s Gold – which oddly enough seems to take all day.

FG is now a musical beast. We do Folk Clubs, shows, festivals, talks for groups, presentation shows and Care Homes. We write, rehearse and play. We phone people, mail people, meet people and talk gigs. In short we have a bl**dy good time enjoying being musicians.

That’s amateur musician to you.

I got told recently that we’d ‘gone professional’.

Laugh? I nearly passed me fags round.

For us the music is about enjoying life and enjoying what we do. It is nice when it pays for itself – puts petrol in the tank, pays for a jolly or takes us out for a meal, but if we ever thought of ourselves as professional, doing it just for money, I think it would rob the game of most of the fun.

Apart, perhaps from one thing.

We, that’s the Mehm Sahib and me (the punkah wallah), do take it very seriously, so if there is an element of professionalism, it’s when we see a ‘pro’ perform and we say to ourselves (not too quietly either) “we can do that”.

And we do.

 

Highlights of the year?

Blimey, that’s a hard one.[2]

Too difficult to think of really. Highlights include:
Lymm Folk Club where we went down rather nicely, Loughton Folk Club where it was so hot we nearly melted, Festival on The Moor where it was so muddly that we thought it was cow doo-doo, which unfortunately turned out to be the case, Beat The Drum in Consett, where we got it right, City Library shows which were great fun, the new CD – which sounds quite good, certain shows – mentioning no names – where the publicity was done after we started playing, Weardale Town Hall which was a blast…

I noticed myself playing something the other day and realised I could not have done it a few months ago without turning my fingers into a half hitch with a fully spliced monkey’s fist[3]. I heard Carol belting something out at a gig recently and thought “She sounds rather good”…

We have some great gear, thanks to retiring and very supportive Wrellies. I’ve a new PRS Angelus SE (no, not the American one), Carol parps through a decent flute and some nice whistles, the tenor is a Martin and the uBAss is magical…

…but none of the above really matters if I sit back and think what is really important, and that is simply that we are enjoying the music, enjoying life and enjoying playing for you all[4].

Only 50 gigs on the board so far, but… Roll on 2015!

 

I’ve hear that The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club is revising its policy towards visiting guests. Apparently they are to be allowed to live as long as they don’t play a guitar or a song they wrote themselves, which is a huge step towards a liberal inclusive society. Chairman Dave opposed this change, on the grounds that there is nothing wrong with music from 1715 and we should jolly well stay there.

He only changed his mind when someone pointed out that Guinness, and therefore folk music, was not invented until 1769, at which point he relented and said that he would try to drag the folk club right into meaty bit of the 18th Century.

Which is progress.

However, before you reach for your instrument, and pack the car, remember that the club (every Thursday in the back room) has a booking policy. If you want to play, you need to give your name and your King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs licence to play voucher to the door staff. If you feel that you may not have said voucher, it’s bluey-purple and has a 20 just to the right of the picture of the Queen.

That usually does it.

 

And so as the sand timer of fate pours the grains of destiny towards the lower bowl of fate, and several sharp bits get stuck in the underpants of inevitability, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] I keep hiding it behind the hoover, and so far she hasn’t found it.

[2] The Wrinkly Wroadies have immediately leapt to the ‘Bishop and Actress’ punchline, so to save time, I suggest you do too. Yes I know it’s childish – so, if you think about it, is making up nice noises on a guitar.

[3] Which may make some sense to knot fans. I do hope not. (sic)

[4] Mainly those of you without some form of independent locomotion.

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