Alice in Blogland

You’ll all know by now, that this missive, this tome of learned wit and wisdom, is constructed entirely without a safety net or indeed, a plan. Writers block is not a problem, writers torrent of boll … rubbish probably is.

So, to discover who (and what) we are to meet in the wonderful world of Blogland this week, take my tentatively proffered paw and Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

Fuse BTD poster

When Alice woke up, she found herself in a little room.
On a table was a bottle, labeled ‘Carlsberg’.
Alice drank it all up.

When Alice woke up…

That probably stands as a good metaphor for the week.

No, not the drinking, you clot[1], the rather looping cyclical feeling that seemed to creep up on us, tap on our shoulder and softly whisper ‘haven’t we been here before?’

I have mentioned that while FG has just entered its second year as a more purposeful unit[2], we have been exploring all sorts of ideas, avenues, contacts and possibilities.

While all of them have, in their own way been good, it is fair to say that some have been gooder than others.

We are, in short, Learning.

Probably in the bottom class, probably slowly, sitting on the table with the raffia and plasticene, but learning nonetheless.

We have learned that a gig is not necessarily a gig. We have learned that we cannot arrange a booking with a promoter (or host) and simply leave it at that, turning up some months later at the appointed hour, and expect it necessarily to be a success.

This message was driven home with a large lump hammer recently, when we turned up for a show, and discovered that not only had the promoter told the general public at large diddly squat about the event, but had not actually informed the staff at the venue either. We had done some promo for it, so we were able to play, but it was not quite what it could have been.

However, as I said we are learning and the lesson learned is that you have to do more yourself.

And we have some ideas…

This week, we have been as cyclically busy as busy people on a cyclical. Two library shows, a care home and the first show of ‘Waters of Tyme’ at Bede’s World.
Oh and a venue called Sage[3].

Bede’s World was fun; not many in the audience (again), but not our fault I fear; there weren’t too many folk in the museum at all on a rather grey day. However, we did get to play in the big conference room, which has a huge projection system, ideal for our shows. So we played to a smallish audience using this massive screen and got a good run out of the show, which I am pleased to say went rather well. Something must have worked, as the museum has asked us to return and repeat the show on their big busy day of the year on May 4th. This show will be at 1.30, and it’s a Bank Holiday. Historically (sic) this is a big day for the museum, so we are hopeful…

The library shows hammered home the point about getting effective engagement from promoters, and again, I think we have this one taped with a very useful contact in the library service. To be fair, library shows this year have been very difficult for the whole sector, as they have been the victim of a disease called ‘restructuring’. This is the sort of restructure where many of them lose their jobs, have their hours cut, or are simply led out the back and shot.

Never mind, there’s an election soon, it’ll all change…

The Care Home was again a lovely experience for us and without a doubt brings you down to earth with a bump.

The Sage show was interestin’. This was our second spot on the euphemistically entitled ‘Concourse Stage’, as there isn’t actually a stage. It’s a great place to play and real privilege to be asked. The idea, this time round, is to get folks to play before the main act of the evening. This night there was Kate Rusby in Hall One and a Latvian Lady with an accordion on Hall Two doing performance poetry. Not sure who we were identified with. This was especially interesting as the PA had been provided but no tech guy and indeed to bits of wire with which to connect, for example, a guitar to a PA.

Thankfully, I’d thought of that and we trotted along with enough of our own kit to make it all go bang. The real trick is trying to get a decent sound out of a small PA, in the Sage concourse, while people are already in and looking at you.

Howsoever we did exactly that, and its seemed to go well – people actually listened and made nice noises. We finished five minutes before Kate Rusby started, so our audience vaporized as soon as we finished playing.

Which I think we shall take as a compliment. Great fun to play Sage though.

Images this week courtesy of the Wrinkly Wroadies, who despite appearances are really quite Wrinkly.

As I intend to be less verbose than usual this week, I’ll share this final(ish) insight. We have a to-do list which is a long as your arm and most of your leg (right up to the bits where your leg gets medically interesting). We have two CD’s to finish, a set to rewrite, new songs by the score sitting in books waiting to be polished up to performance standard, banners to design, software to play with, instruments sitting begging to be played and gigged… so I’ve started something else.

Actually, it’s related to all the musings above. We have something quite interesting in the performance shows (must think of a better name) and have decided to take them to the next level of goodliness. To this end, I’m busy developing ‘In The Cage’, one of our prog-folk epics, into a test piece to try out all sorts of presentation ideas, both musically and visually. As it is a test piece, I am merrily throwing the kitchen sink at it. All of my cunning IT tools are getting a run out, the music production owes a lot to the ‘Harland’ project (unfinished) with virtual and sequenced musical bit galore. I’m thinking about props, lighting, perhaps a troupe of exotic dancing elephants clutching flamingo feathers in entertainingly unusual ways?

Who knows, but Prog-Folk is alive and undergoing restructuring.

And so as the idea of destiny is placed on one side while the phone call of fate is answered, only to fall down the back of the settee of time, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Oh, hang on – I forgot – never insult your audience. Remember what happened to nice Mr. Farage when he did that? I think he blames the immigrants.

[2] Because we have more time. And a huuuuge bottle of ‘Purposeful’. It’s purple.

[3] This one of those geet posh places which does not require a definite article. One knows one is entering the halls of a cultural Valhalla if they have dumped the ‘The’. Look at ‘Baltic’. Or rather, don’t.


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