Glad to see you – sit down; are you well?
Never mind that, we have work to do. After all, it has been many the week since I allowed myself the luxury of a good old rant.
So buckle up, be welcome and, Gentle Reader, Read on…
Lest you walk away from this blog (and how very dare you) with the impression that everything in the FG garden is rosy, I’d better inject a quick dose of reality therapy here.
Looking back at our recent posts, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that everything we do is great, wonderful, triumphant, successful etc. etc. etc.
To be fair, most of it is like that – the vast majority in fact. But in the interests of balance, here’s another side…
You probably know that we’ve been doing some library shows. Basically we offer the shows to the library, and they promote it amongst their constituency, and we trot along, do the ‘Stories’ show and the library is able to engage with a group of people and point out just how wonderful they are: “see; over there; a computer…”.
And so it usually goes.
Recently (and it was a while ago probably) we went to a branch library somewhere in the deepest, darkest Dumpshire. We had been previously, discussed the show, emailed, confirmed, rung up and spoken and provided posters and so on.
On the day, the Library staff seemed surprised that we had actually turned up but had heeded government warning about the health risks posed from using blu-tak by not putting any posters up.
Or mentioning the event.
Presumably tired out by all the effort thus far expended, the staff proceed to ignore us, nodding only to a corner which was to be the performance area. Then they went back to talking.
Which they continued throughout the entire time we were there, not venturing anywhere near throughout. They were genuinely surprised when people did turn up – presumably due to our publicity, and we had a nice time. We left, and I think I’m right in saying we got a ‘Thank You’ from the Librarian.
Mind you, she didn’t look up from the cat she was neutering.
It wasn’t like that this week (or anywhere else, thankfully).
We went for a second visit to Newton Aycliffe Library. Last time we were there we had a great time and were thus hopeful. Initially, we were disappointed as the posters and fliers were nowhere to be seen. Strange, last time they were as keen as mustard and had advertised in the local press and all sorts.
Surely not another one like, you know, that one?
It turned out that the reason for the lack of publicity is that it had been taken down when the room limit had been reached some weeks previously.
They were right too, in fact a bunch more folks turned up on spec and frantic chair finding games ensued. We did the ‘Beat The Drum’ show, and everyone had a grand time, singing, clearly enjoying the show and generally making us feel great. Especially when they bought a load of CD’s too.
The reason for this unabashed wallowing in the mud of self-congratulation?
The library service is in my narrow, blinkered and undoubtedly biased view, quite a Good Thing. They fulfill a number of extremely valuable community roles, only one of which has much to do with books.
We’d like to go back again to Newton Aycliffe, but we have to wait while the staff re-apply for their jobs, the viability of the branch is assessed, new working conditions are drafted and, inevitably, the service is further reduced.
Moreover, this is the third round of this cultural butchery and it is not confined to Darlington, but is also rampant in Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and Durham too.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom. There may not be money for libraries, but we hear that Cotswold Council paid £19, 000 for the services of a ‘Motivational Magician’.
Now, that’s what I call magic.
Photos are this week courtesy of The Wrinkly Wroadies, who, as our road crew, look after the equipment, or at least all the bits they can name.
So, this week again busy bunnies. Apart from the Newton Aycliffe show (which really was good fun), we’ve been as busy as ever with other musical ventures. Just one care home this week, but a few more have been on to us, which is lovely. A big meeting on Tuesday may yield more loveliness (we will have to see about that, I must be learning something in me old age as I’m keeping me gob firmly shut), and we got an invite to play a main stage spot at a Festival in Kent – lovely lad that Bill Pardon.
Recording has moved further forward since I took the decision basically to start the Harland album all over again. Listening back, the takes were good, nice choons with nice ideas, but it lacked a certain tightness. One quick injection of music technology later, and ‘crikey’ – that sounds better. We’ve got more done in a week that in the last six months, I’ve given up guessing when this will be ready, but it is moving forward faster than before.
Finally, we’ve diaried in a round of Folk Club visits. We haven’t been out much for a while, so it’s time to hit to road in what I like to call “The FG Floor Spot Tour’. You’ll probably be able to get T-Shirts ‘n everyfink.
Should you be remotely interested in having a natter, a pint, or pretending to be a librarian and talk through our contribution, we will be at:
Monday 2nd March The Bridge Folk Club
Monday 16th March Iron Horse Folk Club (Newton Aycliffe)
Thursday 19th March Ashington Folk Club
Tuesday 24th March Cutty wren Folk Club, Redcar
Tuesday 7th April Foggy Furze Folk Club, Hartlepool
Thursday 9th April Beamish Mary Folk Club, No Place
Please note, these are not gigs, nor nuffink like it, (although the Foggies are very kindly giving us an extended spot) we’re just dropping by.
And so as the librarian of doom reads the date-stamp of destiny and caustically informs the folky of fate that his ideas are overdue by forty years, I notice it is the end of this blog.
Until next time, Acoustic Chums,