It’s all New…

There is something about playing guitar that is very akin to the special intimate company of a beautiful woman.

The slender neck, fingers caressing the neck, until the neck gives way to the delicate curved shoulders…

I have no idea if any of the above is true, but as a method of getting the reader’s attention, it’s a belter.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader and read on…



It is Panto time.

I know what you said; but, Oh Yes it is.

The acoustic world is very like a Panto.

There’s the villain of the piece, The Folk Club Chairman of Panto, – usually called Avahbanana, or some such – basically it is his mission to make sure that all the folk clubs in the world book only melodeon players and unaccomplished singers – M’waa, ha, hah, haaa. (etc).

Then there’s the Drummer Brothers, busily wallpapering a room for no reason that anyone can fathom;

Tweedledrum: “We need four rolls”,

Tweedledrummer:“You said we needed one more than two”

Tweedledrum: “Yes, that’s four.”

Then there’s the leading boy (played by a woman) who was caught polishing his (her) instrument until it shone by his (her)Mother, (played by a bloke), who boxed his (her) ears with her (his) rolling pin for being rude.

And it was only a Piccolo[1].

Then there’s the wooden acting, paper thin plot and cardboard sets.

No wonder it gets recycled every year.


As you can tell, I’m in a good mood.

We have been busy again this week getting the new show pulled together. At things stand it is still lying in pieces all over the floor of a few computers, but it is coming together. It looks like we are going to have a large team sheet of songs, each with a story and presentation and we can put ‘Stories with Strings’ shows together as we please, allowing us to ring the changes and keep it fresh.


Limited work has also begun on the new CD. It will have a number of old songs on it, that haven’t been recorded in the way I can hear them in my head, and are not on the other CD’s[2]


It will also have a few of the new songs on it as well. Confusingly, the first song we’re recording is Tommy On The Bridge, which has not been recorded (by us) before and isn’t going to be on the new CD.



I hope that clears things up.


I hear this year that one of the oldest, longest running, most established and worst folk clubs in the area is still going. The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club is apparently still lumbering on. It might be on life support, but it is still breathing. Apparently, you can still get down on a Thursday night, and as long as the Leek Show isn’t on, the back room will ring to the sound of people grumbling and one or two snores. Chairman Dave (a.k.a Avahbanana) still has a firm grip on the helm and is keeping the club true to ‘the tradition’.

Which means that the average age of the audience is somewhere in the low hundreds, the most recent songs are still waiting to be translated from latin, and every chorus must, by club edict, contain at least a ‘Hey Nonny Nurdle’, a ‘Fah La La La La hey riddle[4]’ and preferably a reference to an agricultural practice that disappeared with the discovery of petrol.

This cuts down the available number of songs and indeed acts which can appear, which is just the way they like it.

I am pleased that the club is so forward thinking and pushing at the cutting edge. They have I notice, allowed local resident duo ‘Sellotape’ to continue playing. Longtime readers will remember that Julian and wife Sandy have been playing at the club for some years without visible change.

Or indeed audible change.

Julian has however changed his playing style somewhat. Hitherto he played everything in D – just D, all the way through every song. He has refreshed his sonic palette by retuning his guitar – no, not to open D – every sting is now tuned to D, which is simpler. It also means that Julian now has a free hand while he plays his guitar, which Sandy is keeping a watchful eye on. Sandy herself has been to vocal lessons and has had her voice described as not exactly ‘cut glass’, more ‘badly cracked’. At the moment, they are re-working the entire catalogue of Cat Stevens into D, which shouldn’t fit the club ethos, but they reckon that a ‘Hey Nonny No’ shoved into Matthew and Son[5] should keep everybody happy.


And so the New Year begins. A time of opportunity for us all. A bright new light shines and everyone sallies forth with hope radiating from scrubbed faces.

I hope that for you all, the New Year brings you the kind of Global Superstardom that all Gentle Readers and Acoustic Chums surely deserve[6].


As the sound of the Panto fades into the west, and the curtain rises for the last curtain call, Avahbanana calls the traditional “What happened to my career?” Equally traditionally, the audience reply in chorus: “It’s behind you…”

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] At least, that’s what Dandino said.

[2] So, not new, but new. Capice?

[3] I don’t know about you, but my head hurts.

[4] Which is tricky on the dentures

[5] H’mm. Maybe I could have worded that better…

[6] …and that’s a Good Thing?


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