In which we do stuff…

It has been a busy week. I even did some (proper) work.
If you can call it proper.

Mostly though, it involved music. Either playing, practicing or writing. It involved planning, emails, telephone conversations. Some great news, no bad news, and an awful lot of time spent whizzing from A to B in the car, hoping that whatever gear that had made it into the boot was the required apparatus of musical distraction we needed to do whatever it was we were going to do in the first place.

I’m glad that’s all clear.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on..

Apple have moved into the streaming music game.
Understandable I suppose, it’s meant to be the next ‘tomorrow’, and, let’s face it; Apple are short of a bob or two and need to rake in some readies.
We (that is, your golden foolish chums) already stream through iTunes and Spotify and Gawd knows what else. CD Baby takes care of that side of things for us, on our behalf, and gets us the very best deals.
Or not.

Much has been made in the media recently of the fact that the streaming services are, if not killing the market, at least beating it repeatedly over the head with a blunt instrument.

It is said that people do not buy music nowadays. They stream it. They don’t even download it (legally), they just use on demand systems like Spotify or the new Apple system called, with stunning imagination; Apple Music.

That opinion is, of course, round, made of rubber and when dropped; bounces.

We still sell a fair few CD’s at gigs. Not in shedloads, not even in cupboardloads, but enough – certainly a heck of a lot more than we sell on CD Baby or Amazon.
However we do sell lots of tracks on the streaming services, and we get paid too.
Very, very badly.
We can get paid as much as 0.0005 of a cent for each play.
That is not going to make us very rich, but I suspect that the streaming services do very nicely, thank you very much.
So despite, lots of plays, we make a few bob, but it is a few.
The argument runs that the streaming services, by not rewarding music creators sufficiently, are killing not just the market but the system.

I don’t know about that, but it does seem that ‘The Man’, is in charge, and is likely to remain in charge while the little fellers get used as target practice by the seagulls.
Quel Surprise.

This week has been another very busy FG week. Lots more enquiries for next year, which is great, some very interesting work on offer from organisations (all I can say for now), and the usual running round of shows in care homes, clubs and libraries. We did a show in Cruddas Park Library this week.

Let’s face it; Cruddas Park, in the West End of Newcastle is not noted for it’s literary bent.[1]

It is known for teenage prostitution, drug addiction, unemployment and disorganised crime. Many years ago, the council thought it was a good idea to build several very big tower blocks and fill them with hitherto happy and employed people. This was a mistake, and, as it turned out, it was also a mistake to build a shopping mall under one of the big blocks of flats, as it rapidly adopted the patina of a Scotswood Beirut[2].

After many years of the locals enjoying (or not) a life untrammelled by the petty restrictions of the law, the place was done up – quite well too. The shops are all gone, as, in the main, is the community spirit, but they did build a new Library…

…and asked us to play in it.

And it was great.

We got a nice little crowd, were very well looked after, and everyone really enjoyed the show, CD’s sold, smiles, singing, the works.

It just goes to show.

I have no idea what it goes to show, but it shows it just the same.

Well done Cruddas Park.

The pictures are of course by The Wrinkly Wroadies. Pauline has adopted a new method of taking photographs longways up – instead of rotating the camera, she just has another couple of pints, and can then take sideways pictures from her new position on the floor.

…and away we beaver.
Still we chop and saw, hew and fashion, whittle and… stuff.
The new production of ‘Stories with Strings’ is taking shape. Some new songs, some songs kept in from the last show, and some old songs under serious consideration for dropping into the ‘stories’ format.

The visuals are being rethought and retimed. The whole contribution of the visuals – video, slides etc is being hacked about a bit to make it better and more, well, ‘Wow’.
Sonically, changes are afoot as previously heralded in these sacred pages.
FG leaps forward into the 19th Century through the adoption of guitar pedals.
Shock, Horror, Probe[3].

In truth it’s only a couple of pedals, very (very) carefully chosen, to add a little something to the live sound.
However, I can report, Acoustic Chums, that I have had loads of fun (clothes on) playing with these pedals, and have designed a pedalboard that means we can set up the whole thing in about 5 seconds.
Clever me[4].
Now all I need to do is learn to play the guitar.

It has been quiet at The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club recently. Obviously they had their festival; everyone else does, so why not? It followed the traditional and indeed hallowed pattern – no-one who wasn’t a player turned up, the musical standard was low, the PA sounded like a cat being introduced to a blender, the beer was very expensive and no-one got paid.

Apart from the headline act, who, curiously, went to school with Chairman Dave – how ‘bout ‘dat?

Chairman Dave is considering a Summer recess. It seems that attendance at the club has still not rallied. Actually it hasn’t even beat a hasty retreat, it has, more or less, surrendered. A good night can be seven. Seven what is not recorded, but in Dave’s case, usually pints.

So a recess?
That would allow all the regulars to learn some new songs, practice on their instrument[5], and polish their performances to a lustre fit to dazzle any audience.

Of about seven.
Of course it will never happen.
What else would Dave do on a Thursday night?[6]

And so as the festival fairy flutters to a field near you, she remembers to bring along her good chum the Wizard of Wazz himself, Ranulf The Rainy, without whom no festival…

Thank you for reading.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Stoppit.

[2] Actually, they used to get visiting planners from Beirut, just to see how dereliction should be done properly.

[3] It always amazes me, when reading the Hillbilly abduction reports, where the aliens chose to stick the probe…

[4] stop press. They don’t all fit onto the board I want to use. Not So Clever Me.

[5] Do you mind not sniggering? This is serious.

[6] Look, I already told you about the sniggering…


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