Step on it…

Ah, the great British Summer. It can always be relied on to deliver. Just not sunshine, warmth, blue skies or anything that resembles the summers of children’s fiction. Especially around the Glastonbuty festival.

However, the poor state of the weather means that damp folkies, moist acousticians, or even soggy singers can seek solace in a page or two of tripe.

By good fortune, that is exactly what you’re reading.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

If you are a petrolhead, it will be alloy wheels, go faster stripes or furry dice. If you are into DIY it will be the latest power tool, if you are female, it will be everything in the shop[1]. I refer of course to toys, trinkets and gadgetery, the shiny geegaws, appurtenant impedimentia, which, while not strictly necessary, are much sought after.

Guitarists are well catered in this regard.

Any amount of trinketry is available for the gullible[2], easily led[3] and cognitively challenged[4] plank spanker. As I’m currently playing with our live sound, I am losing hours of otherwise useful time gazing at YouTube videos of products. I’ve found the weirdest stuff imaginable, roughly as useful to Fool’s Gold as a tin of gold paint is to a Parrot. However it is fun, and I’ve found two things:

  1. You can pay the earth for pedals
  2. You don’t have to pay the earth for pedals.

It’s probably just me, but I like pedals. They will figure in my developing rig, but only very subtly. However, that doesn’t stop me dribbling over pedal websites like a Vicar in Amsterdam.

Hence acoustic chums may like to head over to the wonderfully named http://www.donnerdeal.com. Not, as you may suspect, an online emporium of loosely Turkish comestibles, designed to give you loosely Turkish tummy, but a Chinese company who cheerfully buy pedals from other manufacturers, take them apart, and make their own versions, to the same standard, at about a third of the price.

This week has been another week of FG madness, and therefore highly enjoyable. A Care Home, a Village Fete, a ladies group, a Primary School, Armed Forces Day in a park and a Concert venue.

Keeps you off the streets and on the road, I suppose.

All lovely times and good shows, highlight for me? Hard to choose, we were honoured to support Armed Forces Day, the Care Home Folks are always nice to do something for, nice to be back in a school for a bit, but I think Newbiggin Maritime Centre was the highlight for me. A full FG two set performance of Stories with Strings, the big PA, a big projection wall, lights, all the gear in other words, and even, heavens be praised, an audience. Not a huge one, granted, but they all enjoyed it bought CD’s and signed up for the newsletter, which, unlike this blog, is sensible(ish) and written in English.

Pictures this week are, as usual, the creative work of our ever supportive mobile (mostly) road crew, The Wrinkly Wroadies. In fact we quite often celebrate (or lament) a gig with a curry in our local emporium of fine Indian cuisine. So much so, in fact, that we are tolerably well known. The waiter passed by our table last time we were in;

(this waiter comes from the great Indian state of Byker)

“Howman; is that yor Muttha in Laaa pished again?” he asked, conversationally.

“Why not likely” sez Ahhh, “It’s the forst time shiz been pished th’daay”

Next week is slightly less insane, although only a bit. Hopefully we will be working on some new songs, and also resurrecting a couple from the back catalogue – we did ‘Sundown’ a couple of times this week and it was tremendous fun to play it again – even if I am now playing a slightly different lead as I can’t remember the original part.

So, we’d better get on with it.

As the clouds of inevitability cover the hopeful Glastonbury skies and the first big drops fall upon the upturned faces of the masses, it seems that God really doesn’t like Florence and the Machine.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] The first shop.

[2] Me

[3] Me again

[4] Guess who?

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Origins

Another one bites the dust. No not another departed folkie to lament, but rather another set of seven days disappear over the hill in a cloud of dust and hoofbeats. If Time rides that horse any harder, we’ll all be in Sundown by the time the morning comes.

On which poetic note, I had better bid you Welcome, Gentle Reader and invite you to read on.

The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs public house was built in the late 1950’s, embracing the ‘bloody miserable’ style of pub architecture then prevalent. It retains much of the original warmth and character to this day.

As well as the lino.

In its heyday the pub sold rather poor beer, at rather inflated prices to rather fed up customers who had strayed from rather more welcoming establishments elsewhere.

The heyday has long since passed, however with a stubbornness that makes one proud to be British, it continues to sell poor beer at inflated prices.

There are less customers.

In addition to the darts team (membership two) it also has a vibrant Leek Club (membership four), which meets regularly to discuss leeks, using descriptions that are, frankly, a double-entendres aficionados dream.

The final draw to the establishment is the long-standing, or at least long-wilting KH&WL Folk Club, resident on the premises since the foundation stone was laid.

Some stuff sticks and refuses to wash off.

The club has been run, overseen, dominated and generally cudgeled into shape by Chairman Dave. Chairman Dave has been in charge since the first chairman disappeared in 1959, whilst on a lone trip to the loo.

Dave has firm views on what a folk club should be.

Warm, welcoming, open, inclusive and friendly are watchwords.

They are words that Dave watches carefully, to make sure that none of them accidently apply to the club. Dave formed his views about folk music in the 50’s and has seen no reason to update his thinking, on the grounds that you’d have to think first. Chairman Dave regards Sandy Denny as a young upstart and reckons that if Fairport Convention stick around a while longer, they might be worth a listen.

You can spot Dave easily if you ever go to the club. You will need to go with a regular; not because it is hard to find, but because you will not get in without one. He’s the lad at the front, with the big beard, a large leather hat, wearing a waistcoat of black, somewhat eggy material and corduroy trousers that make your legs itch just to look at them. His white granddad shirt is not a stylistic choice, it’s just that it belonged to his Granddad[1].

The club runs on traditional lines.

Or tracks, if you prefer.

The first half of each evening is a sing-around. Regulars take turns, in the same order, to sing[2] the same songs each week. They do this out of a sense of duty to ‘the tradition[3]’. Then after the Beer Break, there is often a guest, who will be well known to the club members as he (always He) is usually one of them.

Singer Songwriters, funny songs, guitars (anything with strings that isn’t a fiddle) are discouraged[4]. There is a raffle and in keeping with ‘The Tradition’ the winner is ‘in the bar’.

Regular guests from further afield visit annually, you can set your clock by them. Of course they’re getting on a bit now, and one could be forgiven for feeling that not only do they know the songs because they’ve done them so much, but because they were there at the time.

It’s usually a grand night; you should get yourself down.

It’s a lot nearer than you think.

This week the world of Fool’s Gold has been as gloriously daft as ever. Bookings in, bookings out (we’ve had a couple of cancellations, double booking and illness – it happens), good news from museums and libraries, recording project still moving slowly forward – the Narrator arrives this evening to record his parts. Two Care Homes and two club visits to report on. Monday saw us at The Iron Horse in Newton Aycliffe. Genially hosted as ever by John, it was good to meet up and sing along with friendly regulars. I am very pleased to report that the resident star (and he is too) Mr. Bert Draycott is up and about and as entertaining as ever. Only Bert could get five minutes of top quality material out of reading out his medical notes. A grand impromptu spoons solo from him and John finished the night.

Thursday was Ashington FC upstairs in The Portland, which the barmaid informed me was ‘probably the most expensive pub in Ashington’. She was right too.

A small room turned up which was shame as they missed the heating, which was on tonight.

As it happens, it was an easy, gentle evening, we did a couple of sets as there is a rule about ‘no show without Punch’, and resident trio Greenheart Junction did a feature spot – well done them for their individual take on classic folk songs. Other spots from regulars concluded the night, which you can see in the documentary photographs captured by our own Primordial Paperatzi, the Wrinkly Wroadies, who once again show what you can do with a camera, even when you’re too *****d to stand. I must admit, I hadn’t expected them to do that with them.

The final event of the week was a concert in Hebron Village Hall. We had the privilege to meet Gareth Davies-Jones and play support to his fine set. This was a village social night, despite the interesting ‘Snatch Raffle’, which encouraged the social niceties of The Somme. There was also a small drumming troupe, and (not kidding) cotton wool provided. Hailing from the favelas of Hexham, the group pounded the… seventh bell… out of their drums to excellent rhythmic effect. From what I could tell behind my cotton wool.

A lovely venue, the church has lovely acoustics and we enjoyed playing to a good house. Jim and Allyson Wigfield, well known on the local folk club circuit are to be commended for their sterling work.

And so as Time and his horse disappear once again on the road to Destiny, leaving behind only the faintest whiff of Dobbins’ legacy, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] There is a story that Dave’s Grandad was due to be buried in the shirt. He wasn’t, so it makes you wonder if he’s hanging around in the wardrobe.

[2] Unaccompanied. What do you think this is; fun?

[3] …as is Traditional.

[4] By being broken in two, while the owner is stripped naked and flogged through the streets. At least that’s what it says in the Constitution.

Fishing

We have in our office a large whiteboard. The alleged function of this item is that we should write on it all the jobs we have to do fairly imminently. So posters, visits, gear checks, emails, letters of confirmation as well as eating and sleeping all go on the board. The problem is; I need another board somewhere to remind me to look at the board in the office. Stuff gets written down and my head goes down into whatever we’re doing, and the board, its contents and important little messages disappear from conscious view into that la-la land inhabited by dreamers, poets and people who think they can sell me a kitchen on the phone. Saltburn Folk Club (one of our faves) is on there for Monday evening!

However, there is one thing I never forget, so here it is, all polished, shiny and ready to go.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

Monday and we in finery and ruff, for The Bridge Folk Club.

The Bridge, lest you not be from round here, touts itself as the oldest folk club for miles around. Probably is too[1].

It turned out not to be the open singers night we expected, but the Fourth Year Student showcase from the traditional music degree course at t’university down t‘road.

There are pics of the evening someplace around here, courtesy of the Wrinkly Wroadies, who despite copious amounts of beer managed to keep taking photos even when they had long since fallen down.

There were two big impressions that the degree students made upon me.

One, and this the strongest impression, was that the standard of the musicianship was simply fabulous. The players were utterly amazing. It is unfair to pick people out as they were all better than good, better than me, but not as good as they are going to be, however Alistair on the guitar was very, very good indeed and the lad on Bodhran (it probably wasn’t, but looked like a deep bowl version thereof) would be an asset to any ensemble he wandered anywhere near. Oh, and the flute player; he was great, and… and…[2]

The rest of the gang were accomplished musos, despite being light in the passage of years, were heavily burdened by raw, but rapidly polishing, talent.

The second impression, and it hit me quite forcibly, was that there was only one contemporary, original, self –composed (call it what you will) piece all night. All the covers were performed to a really superb standard, and most were a hundred years old. I cannot believe that such talented musicians didn’t have compositions of their own to show off – it would have been nice to hear some of them – I bet they would have been wonderous.

And yes, it was us.

H’mm Folk Clubs…

…it’s probably just me[3].

We were summoned to appear before the Consett branch of The British Legion on Thursday night. Not to play be to be presented with a nice certificate. Apparently, they felt the need to say ‘thank you’ for our contribution to their fundraising via a performance of ‘Beat The Drum’ earlier in the year. To get the certificate was a privilege, and the support was our pleasure.

I do not wish, in the pages of this blog, to endlessly burden you, Gentle Reader, with a ceaseless flow of verbiage to the effect: “Wow – isn’t FG doing well”.

I don’t want to but…

We’re doing ok, certainly better than ever before. The phone rings, the emails ping, and the musical life is, surprisingly, damn wonderful. We even have to say ‘sorry’ to folks; either because we’re already booked, or because I’d really like to live to see another dawn.

But I will share with you an amazing happenstance from this week[4].

You will all, Acoustic Chums, know that when touting for gigs, there can be a collective deafness, a corporate silence that blankets and smothers advances from the acousto-muso in search of a booking.

Even if it is offered for nowt.

I can’t begin to count the number of emails we have sent out, asking if people might be interested in our new show about a Carpenter who was present during biblical times at the Feeding of the Five Thousand.

Granted, ‘Fish ‘n Chippy’ was not our most likely commercial effort, but the number of times a nil response is recorded is staggering. Especially when the people you contact are supposed to be running a business or public organization.

Sheesh.

So, imagine my surprise when this week, we contacted a large public organisation, spoke to a lovely lady in the morning and by the afternoon had six new bookings in pretty darn good places.

Makes y’feel better about the world.

And no, it’s not for nowt.

They’re not on the website yet, as we’re awaiting times ‘n things, but this was an exceptionally good, if very scary week. There is a bunch of new dates on the website, should you feel so moved:

www.foolsgoldacoustic.co.uk

This week we’ve played four times. I think.

We’ve done care homes and some of our own shows too. We played to a severe dementia unit and it was the most wonderful experience. A man who never talks sang along with fervor, bless him, and there were smiles all round. Nice.

We played an organisation is Stocksfield on Thursday in a lovely little Methodist Chapel, great venue with a nice big white wall for projecting on to. This show was a blast from start to finish. We always enjoy playing, wherever and whenever, but some are better than others. When you get the audience singing along with you, and then a rather pleasing response at the end – it’s better than sliced bread.

With Butter.

And Jam[5].

So there you are; another week down and still no chance to get near the studio to work on the Harland project. It’s pretty frustrating but the only way is onward. Thusly;

Onward Mes Braves,

Onward upward, over the top,

And keep your ‘ead low,

It’s onward and upward and on with the show.

There’s a song in there somewhere, I must go and write it on the board.

And so as the inevitable last drip of the week falls down the trouser leg of time, may the warmth of Folk be with you,

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Just look at the residents. Old as us, some of ’em.

[2] They really were that good. Grrrrrr.

[3] …isn’t it?

[4] I hope you’re sitting down. I hope you’re comfortable and wearing at least some clothes.

[5] What do you mean, ‘Peanut Butter’? What do think I am; a pervert?

Ah, there you are…

Right, now you’ve turned up, I can begin. Next week, please could you tune in a bit earlier – I have to hang around on the Internet for ages waiting you know.

What delights await you InStore this week?

Well, we have the usual round up of things what we did, some rumination on things what we might do, and, rather unusually I feel, a set of apparently disconnected ramblings, which may eventually turn out to have a tenuous connection to our wonderful world of Acoustic Music.

Or not.

Who knows?
Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

And you Gentle Reader, are astute[1]. You will know that a great deal of what we are asked to consume in the name of musical entertainment is rehashed, reworked, and occasionally, regurgitated from older, usually better, ideas. I have been watching (with at least one eye) a couple of music shows during the past week. Some deal with the ‘new’ shiny stars of the scene, and at least one was basically recut episodes of ‘Top of the Pops’ (sans Mr Savile, curiously). To my completely open, balanced and entirely unjuandiced ears[2] the ‘new’ stuff, despite clamouring for my attention by being ostensibly ‘Acoustic’, was a glossy production of the stuff you can hear in any folk club, any week, anywhere. Just to rub salt into it, the stuff you might hear in the folk club might be better.

The TOTP episode showed some, then outrageous, now rather camp, cavortings, but the music was original, fresh and seemed to have life. Sadly, I knew all the words too.

So. The question is; is there anything out there that is new, original, but still listenable to?

Or has it all been done before?

This week, or ‘Previously on Fool’s Gold’; we have been out to play a bit.

And it was a little bit of a Damascan week for me too.

If you are not wholly up to speed with your Biblical references, (some of you live in far flung parts of the former Empire, where life is still primitive and make Sunderland look like a cultural city… oh, apparently it is). It happened like this…

One day Saint Paul (although at that point he wasn’t a Saint, or called Paul – and that’s just the start) was on his way to Damascus. The buses were off so he was on his cuddy. For reasons that involve a great deal of philosophical debate, no little faith and the suspension of reality, he ended up falling off his horse and, in a blinding flash of light, God (for it was She) was revealed unto him[3] and he converted on the spot from his Naughty Roman, Anti-Christian ways and went to live upside down on a cross.

So a Damascan moment is one of great change is it?

Well, I think I had one of them this week.

We played an Old Folks Home, we played a Folk Club, and previously we played a couple of our performance shows.

The problem is, that I have always placed great store on the Folk Club gigs. I have regarded them as the way forward and the goal for which to aim. However, this Nirvana has been challenged by the other gigs. To be perfectly honest we really enjoy the Care Homes, we have a tremendous time doing our Presentation Shows (I must think of a better name than that – it doesn’t sound very ‘zappy’). As we played the club, we worked with a small audience in a slightly chilly room. I suddenly fell off my cuddy and saw the light.

The other shows are easily as much fun.

If not…

Now, where’s me cross?

One highlight of the week was a chomping session with the PowerHouse of top folk-rock beat combo ‘Man with the Stick’[4]. David Pratt, the man who wields the stick, tub-thumper extraordinaire, (and a man who has no fear of numbers greater than, hang on; one, two, three, ohhh, hang on; had it before… ) visited Chez Gold and brought his carer Chrissie along too. I must say, that this musical community of ours makes for some great evenings with friends, spent, over a bottle or two, with some grub, chewing the musical fat and generally putting all aspects of the musical world to rights. We had a really great evening.

We met up with Chris Milner this week too. Apart from enjoying his music again, we’re delighted to announce that in addition to the Stanley show on June 20th Chris will do us the honours by opening the show at Newbiggin Maritime Centre on 10th April. This will be a ‘Beat the Drum’ show. Presentation show? Nah, I need a better name.

Pics this week, of course are through the lenses of the Wrinkly Wroadies support crew. You can’t get helpers like them; really you can’t.

There was a programme on the view screen this week; it concerned itself with the rise of Country Music. Much was made of the old-timers, a-sittin’ on the porch and a-playin’ on that thar geetaaaar.

The odd dosie was do-ed, there was a bit of “eeeh”, and a little “hahhh”-ing went on, all of which was mighty fine. When it came to the Poke Salad, I thought it a little odd, but; each to his own, just watch out for the horseradish.

The message I took away from the show was the sheer standard of musicianship. Apparent Hillibillies, with fewer teeth than shoes, seemingly effortlessly played banjo licks that defied Newtonian Physics. There was some early footage of Les Paul who was playing stuff that would surely confound the heavy metal WiddleMeister of today.

It just goes to show;

  1. one should never judge by appearances or ill-informed preconceptions
  2. there’s nowt new under the sun.[5]

And so, as the hands of time crawl lazily across the sky of possibility and the small black cloud of fate rains heavily on the mobile phone reader with no coat.

Which shows that unprotected text is quite dangerous.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] At least, some of you are a Stute. I know that at least a few of you are completely Stuteless

[2] …and The Pope is a Catholic. At least most of the Pope is a Catholic. Bits of the Pope probably go to Synagogue. Or Tescos.

[3] No, not like that. For goodness sake, grow up.

[4] Me neither.

[5] As I write, the National Lottery Draw is on (afore the News) and listening to the Perfect Toothpaste Band (or whatever she’s called) There is indeed, Nowt New under The Sun. She finished at almost the same time as the backing track.

Bouncing

Here we go again.

Blog time is happy time, so you could at least make the effort to smile.

There; that didn’t hurt did it?

But the rest might.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

Last week I was told off by one of our readership because there were no footnotes. As a consequence you can expect the page to be scrolling up and down like a politicians trousers.

lanchester BTD poster

When we was very little, I mean really little and were just starting out on the old folk club thing, the world was a strange and mysterious place filled with dreams. Prevalent dreams[1] revolved around the nirvana of the Folk Club world, which was (and in some ways still is) -getting a gig.

A booking.

A Gusset night, call it what you will.

Whichever term you use (don’t use the gusset one though, folks clubs are broadminded, but gusseting is unlikely to endear your cause to a promoter) a gig was the ultimate object.

Back in the day, I recall our first ever booking. We bounced, whooped and hollered for quite a while – we were quite soon told it was all a mistake and it wasn’t us at all, but I still recall the bouncing.

These reminisces have been called to mind this week as it has been a week for whooping, hollering and, should the circumstances allow for it, the odd bounce too[2].

Of course we are far too professional to stoop to such things these days. Long it tooth we are, accomplished ‘n sensible ‘n that.

So we’ve been bouncing our b*****n’ socks off.

The cause for all this unseemly up an down motion[3] is that it seems a few things have fallen into place, or the stars aligned, or God was in Her heaven[4] or something celestial of that sort.

This week we have added (we think) fifteen dates to the gigs calendar.

I mean, that’s more than Sting[5].

A few of them are Care Homes, which we are very pleased about as they seem to have come from recommendations, which is probably the nicest of the lot. We got asked to play a folk festival and a folk club asked us to do an extended floor spot – lovely. There have been bookings for our Stories with Strings show too. These are from U3A and Probus branches, the last few have had audiences of over 100, so they tend to be good fun to play.

Stories with Strings, in case you are interested, and indeed even if a B***er is exactly what you couldn’t give, is our musical show where we use a screen, images, video and technical trickery involving a laptop and a plug to tell stories of events, characters and places (often local) then perform the songs live. It goes well.

It must do, as I am chuffed to the elasticated bits to announce that on June 20th Fool’s Gold will present ‘Stories with Strings’ in the Alun Armstrong Theatre, Stanley. Promoted by the theatre, this show will be in the main auditorium, Tickets £8 adv £10 on the door. Autographs extra.

What makes it doubly wondrous, is that we are delighted to announce that opening proceedings will be Chris Milner, singer, songwriter, troubadour and part-time Turk[6].

It promises to be the best night in the complicated history of FG so far, so we really hope it’s a great night.

Bounce, bounce, bouncity bounce.

To labour the point; the images below are of one such show – not a ‘Stories’, but ‘Beat The Drum’, (similar, less jokes). Thanks to the Wrinkly Roadie press corps for the pictures.

In other news, we’ve played four shows this week, Care Homes and U3A. The U3A was in a lovely hall in Whickham; it is hard to play in the morning sometimes, but this was such ‘triffic fun that it flew by. That was a ‘Stories’ show. H’mm, methinks we’ll spice it up a bit for June. Dry Ice? Lasers? Miniature Stonehenge and dancing diminutives? Rock on.

The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club[7] is making a big push as the new year lumbers into musical action. They have decided that variety is the spice of life and have offered a special prize for visiting musicians that turn up and play a new or unusual instrument. Normally they torture anyone who has the nerve to turn up with any instrument[8]. However, they have remained true to their Folk Club prime directive – although you can play any instrument, it must be ‘Mountains of Maughan’ or the ever popular Fields of Athenry.

Chairman Dave will be the judge on the night so there will be no question of bias. There’s no need to question it, it’s just there.

And there I think I’ll leave it for another week. I mean, I’m not even here – even more than usual – as we’re playing at a house concert in Saltburn tonight. Rock Hard, Rock Heavy Rock Animal.

And so as the gig getter of fate bumps into the promoter of destiny and is booked for a summer season in kitchen at Harrods, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Except the one about the custard.

[2] These days the bouncing is less about starting it, but getting all to stop again when you’ve finished.

[3] …and you can stop that sniggering.

[4] Or down the shops, either way…

[5] Terms and Conditions apply, other Stings are available

[6] Look, you really have to read this stuff regularly if you want to have and hope of knowing what is going on. I write it, and it confuses me. Chris Milner played some gigs in Turkey a short while ago, and I have never let old ‘Turkish’ forget it. Good job he’s a nice bloke.

[7] In the back room, every Thursday. It used to be free, but there’s a cover charge now. Your soul.

[8] Unless it’s a squeeze box of some sort. Which to be fair, doesn’t really count.

Shy and retiring?

The last few weeks we have been very busy. In no small measure with music: playing, writing, relocating our recording gear (studio sounds a bit grand for the spare bedroom); but also in preparing for retirement, which, like tomato sauce, apparently comes in 57 different varieties.

So now it is here.

The retirement, not the recording.

So; what does the future hold for FG?

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

 

But first, the past. It usually works that way round. If it doesn’t the future becomes very confused.

This week has been very quiet on the going out front. So much so in fact, that we have not, unusually, been anywhere. Too much end of term-itis, too many loose ends and not enough get up and go meant that the week got up and went all by its lonesome. We did have some good results in FG terms even so, I think around eight gigs got added to the website this week, with a few more in the fire. The studio did get moved, and after much prodding about on the computer front, much cable swapping, plugging, unplugging, replugging and deplugging – it all works. I think.

A new song is emerging from the mist, and is a bit of a classic FG effort inasmuch as it is probably at least three pieces with a chorus and a solo musicy bit in the middle – or somewhere near the middle anyway.

Just a couple of photos this week of our Fuse gig, courtesy of that nice man Joe Pattinson – cheers Joe!

So, after many weeks of being out gigging, a week at home.

So we retired.

Strange feeling that. However, we did go out once to attend SWAP which is a songwriting symposium run with mechanical efficiency by acoustic chums jiva. This is an opportunity for writers of all manner of musics to share approaches, techniques and methods of producing a song. I have been unable to contribute a great deal having no idea whatsoever how to write a song. I just know I like doing it and that, with the correct amount of perspiration and a dash of inspiration, then it might just happen. I’m not sure you can learn how to do it.

 

The future, however looks particularly manic. Some weeks we have up to four outings, and some occasions more than one gig a day. Sometimes an old folks home, or a folk club, then a theatre and next an organisation of some description. Follow that with a dash of libraries, a café or two and more clubs and theatres and we are going to be both busy and happy.

Better get the studio turned on then.

 

So, before a somewhat truncated sign off this week, I imagine that one or two of you are agog (and believe, that vision is troublesome) to know what has happened at the King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club. I have been accused of making this place up. It has been suggested that local duo Sellotape and even the great figure of Chairman Dave himself, do not, in actuality, exist.

Anyone who has been in enough folks clubs however will know that this is definitely not the case. Chairman Dave, who has a grip like papier mache on sanity never mind music, runs the place like a little empire strictly according to a set of rules that he firmly believes to be the Only Way.

Made up?

These last few weeks Dave has noticed that the rival folk club down the road held at The Welker and Scallop Wrangler’s Institute has been getting audiences, visitors and generally people. Perturbed, as this is not the case at the KH&WLFC Dave has been wondering what to do about it.

The final nail came last week when the guest artist Dick Farage, known as The Father of the Melodeon (and knowing his past, he may well be)  drew an audience of two.

Dave apparently sneaked round the Welkers and noticed that they have some cutting edge ideas, such as telling people what is happening.

Posters, Fliers, start times, website, facebook and sharing are all words that Dave has learned this week. He has tried to register a domain name for the club, but apparently http://www.bogogffyourenotwelcome.com was already taken. We shall follow his efforts to embrace an open and clear culture closely.

But not hold our breath.

Next guests at the club apparently will be our own Wrinkly Wroadies, who have been gigging on the quiet, although with Doug in the line-up, it wasn’t all that quiet. That should be interesting…

 

And so as the sands of time drift and cover the career that becomes history, and reveals the pyramid of hope and a book of very long sentences, I notice it is the end of this blog,

Until next week Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

 

 

 

Acoustic Music and Peruvian Underpants

I hope you realize that you are a member of an exclusive community?
As you sit and gaze idly at this screen, wondering what rich seam of drivel has been strip-mined this week; you should know there are more of you than you think.
The FG blog reading community has been spreading, much like a disease, around the globe. As you sit there in your blog-reading underpants, there are others, all around the globe doing something similar . This week the word according to an acoustic idiot was read in:
• United Kingdom
• France
• USA
• Peru
• New Zealand
• Russian Federation
• Canada
• Vietnam

So, to all of you little folkies in your Peruvian underpants, as indeed to all of you; Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

Another roller coaster week lumbers to a close with a clutch of gigs. As we prepare to enter the twilight world of phased retirement , we seem to be getting busier and sillier as the days go by. This week several more bookings, some for concerts, some for village halls and a few for professional associations have rolled in, and the phone really did ring! Wow.
A new recording phase looms ever nearer as we contemplate moving the house round again to make access to the recording tech a bit easier, and song writing is again flowing, so – all good?
Well, yes it is, and it’s rather strange. We spent a lot of energy generating the word, and now the word is heard it is a little strange. Not that I have any delusions at all as to becoming professional musicians with a global, national or even regional profile, but just people asking us to play.
It is in fact, rather nice.
And so, playing?
Friday night found us at The Fuse in Prudhoe helping promote the facility as a live venue. It is a fantastic venue too. A huge screen; used to good effect by our slideshow, and a lovely 100 seater cinema style space with a good dead acoustic. Our little PA was all that was need to fill the place with some nice FG type noises. It is a new venture and we never expected to fill it; the audience was indeed small, but perfectly formed and remarkable appreciative too – thanks to all! We will certainly be going back to do more things there.
Saturday evening saw us on the bill at Acoustic Chum John Jeffery’s 70th birthday musical bash. For those of you with underpants of a Vietnamese design, I’d better point out Mr. Jeffery is a well-known and much loved figure on the local circuit, and so it was that a fair few faces turned up (by invitation, we didn’t just wander in off the street clutching a big mac and strawberry shake) to celebrate the evening.
And a very nice evening it was too.
Some great music, delivered by Acoustic Chums, and to a high standard. Too many names to list here, but mentions to Jimmy and Val (jiva – sorry jiiiiiiivaaaaa) who did wonders on the sound desk The Jimster twiddling knobs and sliders like a little pony-tailed sonic juggler making everyone sound good; and of course Wendy Arrowsmith who turned in a strong set with grand style accompanied by husband Paul on what appeared to be a banjo…
Photos of course by The Wrinkly Wreprobate Wroadies who can still take a fine snap when outside a bucket of Grolsch.


A quick report on Steve and Kristi Nebel at Croxdale should be writted; we saw our Pond Hopping Acoustic Chums this week and very fine they were – nice to catch up with them. If we thought our audience at The Fuse could have been bigger, I imagine similar thoughts must have floated through their minds too…

Last week I promised to reveal what happened when Chairman Dave, esteemed leader of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club – a sort of Kim Jong-il of the Folk World, had a relapse from his position of Folk Liberal and reverted to type as the kind of leather clad Folk Fundamentalist that regards a Melodeon as suspiciously technical and a PA system as the work of some kind of musically demented Satan. Since his reversion it seems that the club has plunged itself gleefully back into the folk dark ages. Guitars, it seems will still be tolerated, but only as a supporting instrument in any song that features death at sea. People who stand with their hands in their pockets, Chin on Chest, mumble, and sing very long songs about what it used to be like before the spade was invented will be given preference. Guest artists will be required to show a birth certificate to prove they are over eighty and visitors to the club will be, as is traditional, ignored.
To be honest, it’s great to have him back!

And so as the hands of time weave the semaphore of destiny, signing out a message of grim fate that apparently reveals it is twenty to four, I realize that it is the end of this blog.
Until next time, Acoustic Chums,
Keep Strummin’