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.


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:

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?

Fires at Midnight

At last.

An hour or so to myself to tap out this week’s Blog.

Carol is busy downstairs, looking for the kitchen. I’ll know when she finds it; the Fire Brigade always knock quite loudly…

And with that, Be Welcome, Gentle Reader and read on…

lanchester2 poster

This week has seen FG back to musical form – such as it is – busy as heck and wondering where the time goes. It’s also the week where I go public about a new guitar.

Another one? I hear you gasp, incredulity and a lump of sarcasm dripping from your otherwise respectful tones.

A man cannot have too many guitars. The day you stop lusting after a new axe is the day that you leave masculinity behind and join a boy band. Either that or the missus says no.

Still I could always hide it in the kitchen.


So, this week then?

Four care homes and a folk club visit and a lot of rehearsing for shows that are in the pipeline. Any Acoustic Chums who may fancy the Care Home circuit should be aware that the job brings with it an element of emotional burden.

Not a heavy burden however; au contraire mes braves[1].

The burden of which I chunter is the burden of mixed happiness. We play to a large number of residents who have fallen foul of nasty Mr. Alzheimer and his amazing memory loss system. It is amazing too; I found myself introducing a mother to her daughter this week. No, the emotion is playing to room that is to all intents and purposes largely switched off[2]. The Residents are always well represented by a few hardy souls who are really out to enjoy themselves, but sometimes a fair few are, like Jeremy Bentham, present but not voting. Then all of a sudden, we’ll play a song that literally strikes a chord of memory and they start to animate: sing, smile, clap and respond to the environment in a way that they may not have done for quite some time. This causes family visitors to marvel and of course be pleased, but sometimes become teary too – quite understandably.

Care Homes are not easy, but they are hugely rewarding.

 This week; introducing Frank the Folkie, an unlikely musical blokie…


The Folk Club in question was The Cutty Wren. It was a hotspot night at The Bowls Club in Redcar, (Fran and Colin Edwards – well done them) which is still in the middle of the municipal graveyard. When I say in the middle of the graveyard, it pretty much is; the Racecourse is immediately behind and the other three sides are given over to the curious habit of planting the deceased. Even more curious is the habit of placing solar lamps on the graves, but then, that’s Redcar for you.

The club night was grand – we always have a good night down there, and it was very (very, very) nice to get some good feedback from folks about our sessions at the festival just gone. Musicians generally work pretty darn hard to deliver of their best and when somebody says afterwards “I liked that”; it makes it all worthwhile.

And so it was that I used my new geetar in a Folk Club for the first time.

My brand new PRS Angelus SE Standard was wielded in anger for the first time, and jolly fine it was too. Or would have been if I had taken a bit more time with the b*****y capo.

This beastie is lovely and will probably become my main gigging out guitar.

Why? I hear at least two of you cry.

My Taylor 810 CE is one of the best guitars I’ve ever touched, let alone owned, so why would I want to (apparently) downgrade?

Two main reasons, the Taylor is too good, too valuable, too precious to get dinged, banged, bumped, dropped or otherwise abused. And, as a dreadnought, and given that I have a happily ham fisted approach to the right hand action, it’s damn loud and getting louder as the sound table starts to really move and resonate. So much so that I can easily drown out Carol’s tenor guitar or even voice (I sometimes get paid more for doing that, but that’s another story).

So the smaller body of the PRS is better in that regard. It is a beautiful guitar. Paul Reed Smith makes lovely instruments, the Angelus Acoustic is $4,500, but the SE range, made in Korea, not quite so handsomely priced. I have to say that I am delighted with it. The Taylor I think will come out now and then, and be used in’t studio, but for now, expect a PRS in me mitts. The neck is very like an electric and is silky smooth and much quicker than the Taylor. Upper neck access is also very good, which given my experimentation with twin capo settings is proving very useful.

The photos this week are courtesy of The Wrinkly Wroadies and show The Cutty Wren in all it’s manifest glory. I’ve also added some pics from a recent Stories with Strings show at Blackhall Library, which may be of interest to some Gentle Reader, who wonder how (if not why) we do it.


And so the sound of crackling reaches upstairs indicating that Carol has found the kitchen and cooking over an open fire. By the time she reads this, the fire will mostly be of Taylor and PRS…

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’



[1] Trans: ‘Nah man, it’s nurt’ (for Ashington readers)

[2] Yes, I know I could do a joke about Folk Clubs, but I’m just not that kind of boy.

The Born Again Folkie

There is, apparently, a sub-species of Homo Sapiens, known as the ‘Born Again Biker’. This genus is populated almost exclusively by 50-something former Alpha males with large tummies, who either:

  • were not allowed a bike when they were younger


  • fell off one and waited till their knee got better.

Now that the career has gone well, the kids have left home and the coast is, as it were, clear; the BAB turns his thoughts back to the joys of the open road, and led by the example of Mr Toad, purchases something big, shiny, expensive and usually too fast.

Apparently in biker circles, it is commonly held that the greatest number of fatalities belong to this group.

This is also true of the Born Again Folkie.

Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…


As usual these days, we have been pretty much full time FG. A couple of grand gigs in nice places and the prospect of a full scale festivule this weekend and life is pretty full.

We played the first live show of ‘Beat The Drum’ at Bede’s World on Tuesday, a few people came specifically to see it, which was lovely, and a few passing visitors were drawn in by the narrative and music. Bookings are picking up for that show, with a big event planned for Consett later in the year.


Wednesday evening and we in finery for Newcastle, the City Library for to visit.

It’s always fun to go into a big place like this through the back door – it gives you a good idea of how the place ticks. In this instance the City Library in the Centre of the.. well.. City is a big shiny new edifice and runs along with clockwork precision. The performance area where we’d been booked to perform the ‘Stories with Strings’ show is lovely, a great stage, nice atmos, great lights and, importantly, a fantastic projector and large screen system for our visuals.

For those not in the know[1], ‘Stories with Strings’ is a musical concert with the addition of lots of slides and video, all about the songs. We tell the audience all about the characters, events, history and any odd-bod snippets of stories that caused the songs to leap into existence. It’s bit like a Folk Club with very long intros that are meant to be there. It goes down well.

Any road up – a good few folks turned up – no musos at all, (with the exception of my bass playing son, who was on hand to decide if I was up to scratch or not… the jury is still out) just Joe Soap Public, which was great. The show went very well (pics here) and we had a great time performing and talking afterwards – and plenty of CD’s sold too – bonus.

This missive is being tapped out before we hit the road to Saltburn Festival where three shows await – hope to see a fair few of you there.




There seems to have been a bit of an explosion of home produced albums at the moment. Rumour is that FG even have new stuff out…[2]

Among the current crop is a welcome release from Acoustic Chum Ian Tyzack. Ian is well known around the Teeside music scene, playing thoughtfully arranged classics and originals, mostly in an easy sounding open tuning delivered with a laid back style.

This CD “Out of the blue” was recorded by Bob Fortune – another stalwart of the Teeside scene – and he has adopted an almost documentary sound for the proceedings. There may be the odd overdub, a bit of bass from Bob, percussion from Stormcrow’s Amanda Hadlett or Hayden King (unknown to me), but the overwhelming feeling of this recording is an intimate live record of Ian’s singing and playing. It is clearly ‘live’; the room, setting, ambience and feeling of the recording sessions are all very evident in the mix, with Ian back off the mic adding to the live feel. It’s bit like having him singing in the room. There’s no real post production to speak of, it really is a live representation of Ian as he is in the club. The CD comprises some 13 tracks, a nice, easy mix of classics and self – penned originals, all delivered in Ian’s distinctive style. I’d have reduced the room sound a bit if I were producing, but it works here. The whole is nicely packaged and presented, the profits from all the CD sales are destined for the Prostate Cancer Appeal, making it worthy on a number of levels.



So, the Born Again Folkie eh?

The born again Folkie has a similar lineage to the biker variety, but instead of a motorbike, the money goes on a very, very expensive guitar. Or, if an unaccompanied singer, a very expensive waistcoat. If a returning lady Folkie, it’s just expensive. These good worthies are welcomed into clubs around the land and with gusto and élan give their all. Sometimes a rare gem emerges – a real lost talent, a shining star in the folkie firmament is revived and flares – however briefly – in the rarefied atmosphere of local fame.

Mostly however, they either get a puncture or fall off.

As do we all.

See; ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same…’


And so as the Deep Orange Sunset of fate slides down on the Born Again Biker, the Born Again Folkie simply slides slowly beneath the bar, I notice it is the end of this blog, until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’






[1] And for those who couldn’t give a bugger, as I’m going to tell you anyway.

[2] The new ‘Beat The Drum’ CD, with the original four and three new songs is available at gigs as of…. Wait for it…. Now!

A weak in music

Wake and remember musical jobs to do; rehearse, writing, practice, recording, arranging gigs, meeting people updating websites, blogging, following the scene on facebook to see what is happening.

Then, after breakfast, more of the same until bedtime (which might be after a club visit or if you’re lucky, a gig) then dream about music until it is time to wake up and do it again.

Blimey, we need to go back to work for a rest.

But what else could fill the week of your crusaders for the lost chord[1]?

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…


This week has been pretty much a revolving meander through the list in the paragraph above, but with a few additions and diversions along the way.

Monday saw us visiting The Bridge Folk Club in central Newcastle. I am aware that this rubbish is consumed around the globe, and that you, yes you, Gentle Reader, may not know what The Bridge in central Newcastle actually means.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then…

The Bridge is reputedly the oldest club still running in Newcastle and it is certainly based in one of the oldest pubs. The Bridge (much refurbished now, but still nice) is situated at the North end of the High Level Bridge, a double deck affair with rails above and road below. When I say it is at the end, it might be better to say on the end. From the club room upstairs, performers and audience could cheerfully wave at punters on the buses below or the chuff chuffs above as they pass – oddly it isn’t particularly intrusive. The view from the other window must be the envy of every other club in the land as, filling the window there is a rather impressive vista containing a large Norman keep, built in 1067 by one Mr Bob Curthose, mate of the new King Billy the Oneth (also called William the B*stard, and that was by his mother). This is of course the new castle that gave the city its name; just as well as if it had been named after the builder we’d all be living in Shortpants.

The club is fairly traditional but very welcoming. Completely acoustic, which is nice, and a wide variety of talent wanders up the stairs on a Monday evening. You will be welcomed by one Mr Dave Minikin who will be very nice to you (until he gets to know you). Dave runs the club very well, keeping all and sundry to time and on task. The absence of PA in the room is welcomed by us as it allows plenty of freedom, and less to worry about. This Monday saw a variety of regulars (see pics, courtesy again of The Wrinkly Wroadies, photographers to the stars, or at least of the stars if Doug falls over after a couple of Peronis[2]) and several visitors. The highlight of the evening was seeing Richard Ridley and his band Devil’s Water launching their new CD, ‘The Channels’ and filming a bit of a video too (with another Acoustic Chum, the talented Ian Brown).

Richard and the lads put in a sterling set, and showcased their brand of traditionally contemporary maritime music. The CD is available from Richard and the band and is very well worth a listen, especially if you are occasionally moved to the odd “Yo Ho’, then this would be right up your, er, channel.

Expertly recorded, (the sound is very good indeed – which really helps), the four, sometime five, piece band run through a mixture of traditional and original maritime songs. The original stuff is mostly Richard’s and is much more than proficient and sits well into the theme of the band. Expect to sing along, expect to enjoy, expect to be entertained.

Oh, we played too.

The rest of the week was a round of jobs. Mostly musical. A good few more bookings too, thankfully, and lots of work on the Beat the Drum show, the first gig for which is very soon. No pressure.

Friday and we for SWAP, the songwriting group that we grace with occasional presence. Run by longtime Acoustic Chums jiva, the honorary patron of the group was in attendance, this ‘een.

Anthony John Clarke is well know on the circuit and his address to the group was very ‘tresting – hearing his take on subjects like performance, songwriting, audiences and a number of others was very helpful – thanks to AJC. He also played a couple of songs and demonstrated rather capably, that it is one thing to talk about it, but it is also useful to be able to do it – which Gentle Reader, yes he can.

The last outing this week was to Saltburn to hear the Colin Holt band (feat. Snake Davis). This was a house concert in the abode of Ray Freeman who thinks I won’t write about him in the blog.

Right; where to start?

Ray is a new Acoustic Chum and a very good AC too. He doesn’t know it yet but he (and son Ben) will apparently be appearing soon on the stage of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club (in the back room as long as the leek show isn’t on). He will be doing his standard set of Judas Priest, Kiss and Iron Maiden covers, all played on a battered old guitar he has (just the one, poor lad). He really needs some space to rehearse in too, so if anyone could point him in the direction of, say, a fully appointed performance area (preferably with bar) I’m sure he’d be grateful.

The Band played a solid set, very professional and very musical, with Snake Davis showing exactly why he is a world class sax player, and it was nice to see Ben joining the band on piano for a couple of numbers.


Now it’s time for bed, then we can get up and do it all again.


And so as the ship’s bell of destiny is answered close by in the mist by the Ferry Foghorn of fate, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] It’s usually a C7

[2] The Peroni is on draught, and mortgage application forms are available at the end of the bar.

Highs, Lows and Newtons

Well, well, well.

Another week rolls by and it’s blogtime again.

Oh, well, I suppose it shows that life is, as ever, busy.

So just what is it that fills up an FG week?
Be welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…


We haven’t been out and about as much this week – at least not to folk clubs. We only managed to get out to play once, which was on Monday to the Ship at Low Newton.

Low Newton is not a place you can get to by accident, you have to have confidence that at the end of the road, there is a something. Low Newton sits on the coast between Seahouses and Dunstanborough and is, to put it mildly, out of the way. It is also idyllic; a small square of cottages squashed round a seafront village green with an old fashioned (and that is putting it mildly) pub jammed into the top right hand corner. It is lovely there and very welcoming, even to the extent of warmly welcoming wandering singer-songwriters.

That is because, as with many of the more rural Northumbrian gigs, this place is largely a tunes session. There is a rule of thumb for Singer Songwriters, which is to use the number of squeezable instruments in the room as an indicator as to how you are likely to be received – in this case, you could have squeezed one wall of the pub and the whole place would have responded with a flatulent low C. We need not have worried – the night alternated between sets of tunes and songs and the organisers were very welcoming. FG got two and we even managed to get the place bellowing along to ‘The Guiding Light’ so all is well. We left a bit early as the journey back to Durham involved sleds, huskies and a couple of trusty Sherpas.

The only other playing gig was a trip up to Alnwick on Saturday evening to join Fiona Elcoat for her radio show; Big Boots and Celtic Roots. This show is very popular and the Facebook based Social Club was in full throat throughout the evening. Fiona has a great approach and made the evening very easy for us – we managed eight or nine songs in the three hours, plus plenty of chat, banter and general daftness. This show is available live on t’internet and we think the girl done brilliant.


The pics this week are from us the Wrinkly Wroadies and also courtesy of MySpace, which decided to re-release loads of pics we’d put up years ago. Many Acoustic Chums to be spotted in these photos from 5 or 6 years ago – some no longer with us.


Other than that, it has been all hands to the creative pumps as bookings start to roll in for Beat The Drum, which is our new show, based round some of our existing WW1 material, plus new songs, as well as all the inbetweeny bits, videos, letters, narrative etc. These new bookings mean that the new songs have to be polished and the presentation side all completed and made nice and shiny too. The new finishing song is called “The Wall” and reflects on the number of men that are remembered simply by their names written on the walls of war memorials. I haven’t been able to get the chorus out of my head, so hopefully that’s a good sign.

We are very please to announce a number of gigs for Newcastle City Libraries. Pleased to get them of course, and also very pleased as two (at least) will be in the Newcastle Central Library Bewick Suite. Did you know the library had a fantastic staged venue within its book lined walls?

Me neither.

6 August Stories with Strings Newcastle Central Library Bewick Suite 6.30pm

17 December Beat the Drum Central Library Bewick Suite 6.30pm

More dates tbc


Chairman Dave[1] has been very busy lately. The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs has been carrying on as usual, and carrying on is a good way to describe the way it does things. Chairman Dave has managed to have his own way (as usual) and the last couple of guests included an ensemble of melodeon players who played tunes from Holland. All the tunes were in Flemish. Then there was an unaccompanied singer[2] who sang songs of rural Wiltshire – they were in Flemish too. However Dave has relented enough to pressure from the younger contingent[3] within the club and has booked an act that features a guitar. It is unclear if anyone will be allowed to play it.


And so, as the Venerable and Aged Folkie of Fate is finally called to The Great Folk Club in the Sky, he arrives to the news it’s a guest night and there will be an extra raffle, and I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] New readers start here: Chairman Dave is the cheerful dictator in charge of The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club which meets every Thursday in the back room unless the Leek Show is on. It is open to all and is a traditional folk club. That means it is run almost entirely on a diet of nepotism and cheery corruption and that singer songwriters are tolerated, then eaten.

[2] Because he was very smelly.

[3] Fred and Ether Barnaby from the house along the street. They recently celebrated their fifteenth anniversary. Of retiring.


Life is sometimes a bit of a duck’s bottom.


Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

stories weardale

It’s a funny word, and has several and various applications.

It is of course, the fluffy stuff you can (if that way inclined) peel from a duck’s bottom. It grows in the little ducky places usually of interest only to other ducks and, presumably, down collection operatives.

Once collected it can be stuffed into a large cotton bag for the purposes of cosy sleep. This is why it must first be parted company from the duck, as sleeping under a sackful of disgruntled mallards[1] does not for a restful evening make.


“Down Down, deeper and down.”

Thus spake Messrs Rossi and Parfitt on the 1975 Staus Quo Hit, entitled… Down Down.

I’m not sure what the meaning was in this case, other than it was probably rude.

‘Down’ is also a directional indicator, and an emotional state and in these last two definitions we get closer, Gentle Reader, to the point.

It is in face, most useful when it follows the ancient English word p*ssing[2], with the optional addition of ‘it’.


Which is what, if you remember, it did last night[3].

And Guess Who was down to play an outdoors gig?

S’right. Us.


We have played Gibside (National Trust) several times before, and on each occasion enjoyed terrible weather, and this was no exception. The problem was that the storm was well heralded and much trumpeted by weather forecasters across the media.

So much so in fact that everyone knew about it, and drew their own conclusions as to the efficacy of an outdoor gig in a thunderstorm. They stayed away in droves, not that we can blame ‘em. We played indoors anyway, the sound was good and we played a longish set.

To the walls.

Ah well, such is the life of the Acoustic Duo, when it is chucking it Duck’s Bums from the heavens.


This week has been busy again, Cherryburn National Trust (no rain) outdoors and great, a library (slightly odd) and a care home – lovely. A bit of work and still attempting to get used to phased retirement. Some small progress made on the songwriting and learning new songs front. More Care Homes booking mean that we need more material. I do not much care for covers, but these gigs are somewhat different, both in purpose and style, so new songs it is – and some of them are great fun – big surprise to me. We still try to inject a bit of FG twist into them, hence half the fun. A club visit to – to Croxdale. Acoustic Chums and Gentle Readers alike might be interested to know there is a website for the club and a facebook page too. The website is here and the facebook page is best found on facebook – it is called, predictably enough, Croxdale Folk Club


The photos this week are of what we did and where we went, but also have a few more from Botton, which I failed to post midweek.


Which just leaves me with the latest news from Chairman Dave.

The now famous leader of The King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club has been successful in rebuilding the club from an art house forward thinking venue into a traditional folk club, to the point where some evenings Dave is there by himself. Only, Dave is never alone. When by himself, he still has his friends. The talk to him, whisper and advise what to do next. It was his friends that suggested the club have a theme night based on the poetry of Fidel Castro, and the same voices prompted the ill fated attempt to re-record the entire catalogue of Martin Carthy, re-arranged for Kazoo and Shruti box. Well it seems that they have suggested a new project to stop him feeling down.

If I were a duck – I’d look out.

Oh, and don’t forget…

And so as the Folk Show of fate plays the final bars and somewhere, somehow Terry Ferdinand is trying to fade up, fade down and chat on Firmament Book all at the same time, we wish him well wherever he is now broadcasting.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’



[1] With or without freshly peeled bums.

[2] Look; you didn’t tut when Shakespeare used it: ‘Monster, I do smell all horse piss, at which my nose is in great indignation’. The Tempest

[3] If you are reading the repeat, that would be last Saturday.

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 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’