Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No Meeting on this Friday, the 23rd

Despite the lack of immediate-pre-Christmas events at the City Folk Club, a "Bah! Humbug!" attitude is not entirely prevalent, despite what you might think.

On behalf of the 'organisers' of the City Folk Club, I wish all City Folk Club attendees, past and present, supporters, friends and other like-minded folk, a very happy Xmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Ken. (No, that's not his picture).

The next meeting (full details in a preceding blog-post) will be on the 30th of December at the usual venue.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Remember, remember ...

The City Folk Club will NOT be meeting on Friday 23rd December.

On Friday 30th December will will be holding our

Grand Turn-of-the-Year Celebration.
  • We intend to have a prompt start with music at 8.00pm.
  • Doors will open at 7.30pm.
  • Please bring buffet-style food/Christmas left-overs to share.
  • Have your left-over seasonal songs and music ready for performance.
  • Dress-code: Lynda would like to dress up. Otherwise it's optional, but the wearing of clothes is recommended.
  • Leave at home all those things that might go 'BANG!'
  • We are granted an extension until midnight on the understanding that we leave in absolute silence.
So, let's say farewell to 2011 with fond memories of some joyous evenings of great company and music as we look forward to another successful year at The City Folk Club.

In the words of Tiny Tim:
God bless us, every one!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Being The 16th of December, 2011 ...

This was our last meeting before Christmas for 2011 and the evening was tinged with a certain amount of holiness.
There was also the customary jollity, even in the absence of two of our regularly frivolous participants.
Angela brought along a friend to assist in her direction of proceedings.
Her accomplice looked a little like this ...

I didn't catch the name, nor even discerned the gender.
He/she does not speak or sing, but, (given a little human intervention,) this flightless individual is capable of rhythmic swaying, waving, and even silent applause.

The gathering therefore totalled 26 bodies and 1 cuddly toy.
At the end of the evening Dogsbody noticed that the contribution pot was just a little short of the sum expected.
Did the penguin pay?

So what?
This is the season of goodwill.
These were our offerings:

The Good Old Way: Angela, Roland & Colin
Mistletoe and Wine: Lucy
The Snows they Melt the Soonest: Lynda
You Gentlemen of England: Roland
Lady of Beauty: Eddie
Blue Cockade: 'Folk in Chaos' (= Dave, Jane G., Phil & Liz.)
Silent Night: Lorna
Black is the Colour: Margaret
Leaning in the Everlasting Arms: Jane R. & Roger
Small Things: Folk in Chaos
Knocking on the Window: Tony
Grandma's Feather Bed: Mike
Motherless Child: Roger
Coventry Carol: Mave
Christmas Day in the Morning (Shetland tune): Mick
Caledonia: Folk in Chaos
Mary's Boy-Child: Les
His Eye is on the Sparrow: Paul
Appalachian Carol: Colin
Le Sommeil du Bébé Jésus: Angela
Delta Dawn: Lucy & Paul
Scarlet Ribbons: Lynda
Sally Gardens: Amanda
Good King Wenceslas: Eddie
Gloucester Wassail/Dvorak's 9th Symphony: Lorna
Winter Wonderland: Margaret
I Send my Love to You: Jane
In no Strange Land: Roger & Mick
Jenny, Won't you Please Take me Home: Mike
Let it Snow: Mave
If I Die Young: Folk in Chaos
Little Drummer Boy: Les
It's a Wonderful Life: Paul
While Shepherds Watched: Colin & full cast

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Now, all be upstanding.
As the festive season approaches I simply had to share this ...

Thanks to George Wilson and Sam Satyanadhan, via Facebook and Youtube.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Being The 9th of December, 2011 ...

Mike was in the chair to welcome a congregation of 17 other participants, including two new faces: Melanie and Steve.
We were very pleased to have Tony back in our company after his recent spell of hospitalisation.

These were the occasionally wintry offerings:

Gypsy: Mike P.
Streams of Lovely Nancy: Lynda
White Christmas: Eddie
Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Lucy
Carol Mudley: Lorna
The Fox Jumps over the Parson's Gate: Roland
Bright Morning Stars: Angela
A Short March: Richard
I'm Just a Country Boy: Tony
Rambling Boy: Les
Christians and Pagans: Melanie
When Winter Comes Howling in: Dave
Cold Winter is Come: Colin
In Spite of Ourselves: Steve & Melanie
Grave Digger: Tony
Flowers Never Bend in the Rainfall: Mike
Maid of Culmore: Lynda
There'll Never be another You: Lucy
All I Want: Les
Holly and the Ivy: Lorna
Good Ale: Roland & Colin
Wandering Boy: Angela
"On the porch with a banjo": Richard *
Bottle of Wine: Les
Let the Mystery Be: Melanie
City of New Orleans: Dave
Shelter from the Storm: Steve
When all Men Sing: Colin & full chorus, (including women!)

(* Richard's Medley included a tune interestingly entitled 'Push the little pig's foot closer to the fire'. Hmmm!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dance me to the end of love ...

Be transported by this:

Jane - lead celestial vocalist.
Roger - mystic guitar.
Mick - burning violin.
David - baritone ukulele, harmonic vocals and sound engineer.
Linda - silhouette dancer.

We are so very fortunate to have such musicians and dancers in our world, aren't we?

Thanks to David for permission to post this delightful recording.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The First Book Review ...

I have just finished reading Georgina Boyes’ award-winning book The Imagined Village. (1993, Manchester University Press.)
It was a hard read, albeit a paperback!

My expectations of a romantic account of rural England in bygone days were utterly misplaced.
This is  a well crafted and meticulously researched academic social/historical tome about the folk revival in England.

Within these pages Georgina questions the very existence of ‘folk’ in her first chapter.
Enigmatically she entitles that chapter: ‘A Name for our Ignorance’.
She describes the early years of The Folk Song Society, (founded 1898,) as a hegemony overseen and orchestrated by Cecil Sharp.
In 1911 Sharp was instrumental in founding The English Folk Dance Society, and it was not until 1932, (after CJS's death in 1924,) that the two organisations amalgamated to become The English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Key-words in the aims of these organisations were ‘preservation’ and ‘education’.

Georgina has little sympathy for Sharp.
He comes across as an arrogant dictator.
She accuses folk song/dance collectors of appropriation of heritage from those rustic people from whom they recorded their material.
Sharp near-raped country folk for his own commercial benefit.
Then CJS sanitises the lyrics and arranges the songs for piano accompaniment, to be performed during school lessons, and only publicly exhibited by trained singers dressed in evening-wear.
Moreover, CJS claims copyright!

It is clear from Georgina’s account that the folk revival was not immune from politics.
CJS is perceived as an autocrat.
Mary Neal, Sharp’s accomplice in promulgating traditional dance, seems to have been largely ignored by history. I think she was a socialist, and she had suffragette sympathies. Both seem to have been colluding in an effort to bring about a socio-cultural transformation. 

Misogyny was rife, even though membership of all these societies was oestrogen-heavy.
FDS declared that morris and sword dancing were exclusively male activities.
Women could only attend social dances if they were accompanied by a man.
Then came Henry B. Gardiner. He is portrayed a fascist.
He was followed by Douglas Kennedy who had near-Nazi sympathies, and very political agenda.
Women remained problematic.

This all gets a bit scary! 

Was ‘folk’ rescued by Ewan McColl and Bert Lloyd? (Communists, both.)
McColl used to require that singers at his folk club restricted material to their native language.
The guitar was unwelcome.

Were we in Britain reminded of our heritage only when Joan Baez brought back British songs from across the Atlantic?
What about all those protest songs?
Where do contemporary compositions fit in?

I return to my earlier contention that folk music is what you hear in a folk club.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being The 2nd of December, 2011...

Dogsbody wasn't there, so Lynda set up the hall before going to collect Paul:

I understand that some enthusiastic and hardy participants waited in the cold for a key-holder to arrive.
Otherwise, I tremble in anticipation to discover exactly what went on in my absence.

Lynda collated the song list:

Pilot of the Airwaves: Paul
Look What they've done to my Song, Ma: Lynda & Paul
Fakenham Fair: Roland
No Telephones in Heaven: Angela, Roland & Paul
Dancing with You: Eddie
When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney: Yvonne
Flying High: Mike H.
Chocolate Jesus: Jane
Here Comes the Sun: Les
A Heart Needs a Home: Mike P.
Angie: Mick
Willy 'Ole Lad: Nigel
Flying Sorcery: Dave
Anything that's part of you: Paul
Stewball: Lynda
The Flying Cloud: Roland
I'll Fly Away: Angela & Roland
Sing with me now: Eddie
Lavender's Blue: Yvonne
Effervescent Elephant: Mike H.
Please, please, please, let me get what I want: Jane
Morningtown Ride: Les
Beeswing: Mike P.
Blackbird: Paul & Mick
Look Where I've ended up now: Dave

Seems like a lot of flying went on!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winterval ...

Our friend Bill 1.1 has written as follows:

Are we not celebrating Winterval?
There should be a carol.

Winterval comes round and the shops are all abla-a-ze
the-e lights are shining bright in the town.
Our spirits are rai-ai-sed as we hear the piped music
and commerce is blazing all around.

Rejoice! Rejoice! for sales they are upon us,
And gifts and tat is cheaper year by year,
Rejoice! Rejoice! for childhood's long behind us,
and Chirstmas-tide comes sooner every year.

Or something ... but there it is. I heard on the radio, I think, that the Daily Mail have apologised for the slurs on local government about Winterval, which was never intended by any-one to replace Christmas and is largely a right wing straw man.

Love and thanks to all at the club for the kind (and much appreciated) card.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Club’s grand Turn-of-the-Year party …

So, what are we doing for Christmas?
Please be not disappointed when I say, "Nothing!" 

Friday, 23rd December: NO CLUB, because you’ll all be putting up your festive decorations.
Will they appear thus?

However, mark this in your diary ...

Friday, 30th December: CFC’s Turn-of-the-Year party.

Please bring along your Christmas left-overs: i.e. some buffet-type food to share, and we hope that people will come along with all their seasonal songs and tunes.
If you would like to sport your left-over party-hat, that's fine.
Oh, and bring along those dreadful riddles/jokes that you found in your Christmas crackers.
The club will provide some left-over disposable plates and cutlery, but it will be helpful if you supply your own.
By popular consent there will be no dancing, but a decision has yet to be made about dress-code.

Crackers, balloons, party-poppers and all objects that might go 'BANG!' will not be permitted.
You could be searched for such items on arrival.

We intend to kick off with music promptly at 8.00pm, and we have an extension until midnight.

By the way, it will be FREE entry!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Being The 25th November, 2011 ...

I like requests, don't you?
  • They are always encouraging to receive.
  • Given reasonable notice, performers go away and rehearse and then give of their best.
  • Listeners get to luxuriate in what they want to hear.

This was an evening overflowing with requests fulfilled in aid of Children in Need.
22 people turned up, and Berry took charge of the bell tree.

According to an image in the social networking domain, Berry looked like this in a bygone age:

He's aged rather well, hasn't he?

Here's what we heard:

Jesus, Saviour, Pilot me: Jane & Roger
Till the Stars Fall from the Sky: Yvonne & Mike
Braes o' Killicrankie: Duncan
Sons de Carrilhoe: Mark
Buddy, Can you Spare a Dime: Roger
Will You Still Love me Tomorrow: Margaret
Westlin' Winds: Nigel
There are no Lights on our Christmas Tree: Howard
Halcyon Days: Mike & Yvonne
Reynardine: Colin
April Come She Will: Lucy
Bygone Years: Mike P.
Manchester Rambler: Mave
The Prentice Boy: Roland
Doc's Guitar: Mick
Crow on the Cradle: Lynda, Mike P. & Mick
Father and Son: Dave
West Virginia Mining Song: Angela
Sisters of Mercy: Paul
Sweet Little Sixteen: Berry & Ken
Godfather Theme: Mark
The Last Thing on my Mind: Howard & Berry
Deportee: Jane & Roger
Love Will Tear us Apart: Mike P.
Dream River: Lucy & Roger
The Tryst: Nigel
Classical Gas: Mick
I am Weary, Let me Rest: Angela, Roland, Colin & Paul
The Tower: Dave
The Parting: Lynda
Lakes of Pontchartrain: Ken
Mary Skeffington: Paul

Monday, November 21, 2011

Well, fan my spots! Didn't you do well!

People told me that the Children in Need event last Friday was enjoyable. I don't know, I was too busy cocking-up the MC-ing, (I think I got everyone in), bungling the Spot Prizing, etc. although, despite my deliberate (in)action to avoid the embarrassment of drawing my own ticket, my family did rather well in the Grand Prize Cake-sale Draw. I seem to have acquired a spotty pink shower cap at one point (according to photos:- these fetching images, enlarged and framed, would adorn any self-respecting domestic wall - enquire for sizes and prices).
Permit me a rare moment of seriousness, now:- on behalf of the club and Children in Need, my heartfelt thanks to all who came, donated, bought cakes, brought cakes, sponsored requests, played requests, organised, set-up, decorated, sold cakes, cleared-up and all manner of things related thereto.

The news you've all been waiting for: including a generous top-up from club funds I have paid in FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS!!!! Well done, all of you - pat yourselves on the back!
A grand achievement! All this money (and 25% more, if you know what I mean) will go, along with the other £26m+ raised - amazing in these straightened times, to do real good, helping disadvantaged children. You should be proud to be a part of that, and I think Pudsey can never have enough money to meet the (increasing) challenges (more and more) people are having to face. (The cases shown on TV late on Friday night brought a lump to my throat, especially the boy with the head injury from a road traffic accident).

Thank you again - yet again, you've made a difference. It's a privilege to know you.
(I'll be back to my usual facætious* self soon).
*I'm sure we used to spell it with a dipthong - but no more, alas, so it's one for the old days

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Being The 18th of November, 2011 ...

Ken took charge as MC because this was the club's annual event in aid of Children in Need.
Ken appeared thus:

It was a successful and enjoyable evening with 26 participants.
I hope that Ken will provide a detailed account of our fund-raising activities when he's counted all that small change, so I will simply restrict this post to the song-list:

Children in Need Tonight: Ken & Mave
Babes in the Wood: Jane T. & Colin
Greensleeves: Mike H.
Amazing Grace: Margaret H.
Look at Us: Les
For Naomi: Lucy
Fulsome Prison Blues: Roland & Angela
Song of Gilgalad: Jane W.
Spanish Train: Dave
Push a Little Button: Yvonne
In the Mood: Mick
See that Rainbow Shine: Eddie
The Air that I Breathe: Lynda & Paul
The Field Behind the Plough: Nigel
I'll be Your Sweetheart: Brenda & Berry
Sweet Thames Flow Softly: Mave
Travelling Light: Berry
Michael in the Garden: Paul
Russian Vodka Fest: Ken
Cheatin' Heart: Ken, Berry, Paul and a few others
Strange Rain: Les
The [River] is Wide: Margaret H.
Wreck of the 97: Roland & Angela
My Bonny Moorhen: Lynda
Unicorns: Colin
Merrimack County: Lucy & Paul
Cockles and Mussels: Brenda (Lynda's mum.)
Butterflies: Yvonne & Mike H.
All of Me: Brenda & Berry
Bushes and Briars: Jane W.
Patricia the Stripper: Dave
Fotheringay: Mike H.
Spellbound: Mick
Johnny my Man: Nigel
I Live in Trafalgar Square: Mave
Farewell Shanty: Paul & full cast

Well done, Ken.
Well done, everyone, and thank you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

THIS FRIDAY "It's time to show your spots" for CHILDREN IN NEED

City Folk Club has one of its occasional charity nights THIS FRIDAY. All proceeds to Children in Need – which really does do good (ask Ken or Mave for first-hand information).

We're starting at 8 o'clock, because there's a lot to fit in:

a) more Sponsored (Spotty) Requests than will fit in two evenings, let alone one! (I've seen the list of requests, and there'll more than a few gems, you mark my spots!);

b) Spotty Cakes available for sale at the Spot Price- and one will be drawn as the winner of a Valuable Mystery Prize (ooooh!);

c) no Club collection this week: there will be Children in Need Collection Pots– please bring lots of Sterling (spotty or not);

d) there will be other ways/ excuses for you to part with your cash – including forcible extraction, if necessary (only joking), and, possibly, some Spot Prizes, too;

e) time to admire the themed decorations in the Guide Hall.

This promises to be, going on form and what we know of the preparations so far, a Vintage night (of the usual rubbish, but for a very worthwhile cause). If you have a spot, we'll try and squeeze it... in.

We'd like to raise lots, of course, and City Folk Club members have been outstandingly generous, but however much we raise, it will all go to help children in need.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 14, 2011

About this BLOG ...

Allow me to explain something in response to parkingspaceman’s recent post about canine droppings …

I acquired that title ‘Dogsbody Scrivener and Wretch’ early in the history of this club, at which time I had responsibility to provide a list of names to our erstwhile venue, The Regnum  Club. That was a requirement of our tenancy.
Soon after taking up the position of resident MC, David set up this blog in May 2008.
Thus was born the idea of the 'song-list'.
I have tried to perpetuate the blog primarily as a diary of performances each week.
Otherwise I hope it will serve as a vehicle for dissemination of important information, future events and inconsequential nonsense.

There have been other contributors to whom I am grateful:
‘Beresford Greene Speaks’ has always been thought-provoking, but he has been strangely silent in recent times.
That ‘Diary of a Folk-Song Collector’ was informative and amusing, albeit of questionable historical authenticity.

So, let me invite our participants to make contributions to this blog.

All things tasteful, relevant to the club, local events, folk music/song in general, constructive criticism, literary gems and entertaining anecdotes are worthy of consideration.
We can handle web-links, images, mp3s and video.

Please remember that these posts are in the public domain.
David once wisely advised: “Never publish anything that you wouldn’t be happy for your granny to see!”
Personal abuse will not be tolerated!
I usually avoid using full surnames; some people are understandably sensitive about identity.
Anglo-Saxon expletives, however cleverly disguised by ‘%**’ etc., could incur censorship or rejection.
Be wary about material that could have copyright implications.

So: get writing, and email your submissions to cityfolkclub[at]
Then watch this space.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Sings ...

Do you remember Jo?
She was the new face with a charming voice and complete mastery of a gaelic language.

I said that I would circulate the information below:

I might even go along myself.

Being the 11th of November: Blonde and Chains

In her welcoming address, Angela referred to my remarks about "blonde and chains" made at the Folk Song Club on Tuesday. In explanation and a wish to ease your vexed minds over this matter, which must continue to trouble you (if you haven't forgotten it), I offer the following, but please bear in mind two things: 1) you probably had to be there to appreciate the full impact, and 2) it did bring the house down.

The guest on Tuesday, a tall, slim, attractive singer/songwriter/guitarist from the USA, Sarah McQuaid, was introducing a song by telling us how she came to write it. She was confined to a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, by illness, watching the best available TV fare: back-to-back episodes of Ice Road Truckers. She explained a bit about the programme and in particular described a diminutive lady truck-driver, who had to fit snow chains to her truck. This tiny blonde said that the chains were heavier than she was, and Sarah said "I believe her", going on to describe the difficulty in icy conditions. "There she was, this bonde with these chains". At this point your humble correspondent chimed in with "Blonde and chains does it for me" - which was greeted with much hilarity by the company.

There you have it, this probably futile attempt to convey the atmosphere of an ephemeral incident.

Ken Hobbs

P.S. Children in Need next week - bring lots of money, lots of spots - we'll have lots of fun with sponsored requests, spotty prize cakes and more.

Being the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, 2011 ...

Angela was in the driving seat, and welcomed nineteen other participants to a memorable evening of songs and music.

J'attendrai: Angela
Brothers in Arms: Lynda
Dalmation Cradle Song: Jo
Penny in my Pocket: Roland
Sing with me now: Eddie
Vesta Pole: Mick
Story of Isaac: Roger
When I was on Horseback: Jane & Roger
Keep the Home Fires Burning: Mave
Paddy's Lamentation: Ken
1916: Dave
Star of County Down: Lorna
The Gift of Years: Nigel
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Paul
Scarecrow: Colin
Will the Circle be Unbroken: Angela, Roland & full cast
Bound for the Mountains and the Sea: Lynda
Fear a Bhàta (The Boatman): Jo
The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate: Roland
The Roses of No-Man's Land: Eddie
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick
Abide With Me: Roger
Dance me to the end of Love: Jane, Roger & Mick
Little Grey Home in the West: Mave
Going for a Soldier, Jenny: Ken
Soldier: Dave
Rufty Tufty: Lorna
Willie McBride (Green Fields of France): Nigel
Doctor Jazz: Paul
Only Remembered: Colin
Mingulay Boat Song: Eddie

There was significant activity on the sponsored spotty requests front.
Don't forget that next week is Children in Need night, and we are hoping for a prompt start at 8.00pm.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Canine Plan

If this blog is "A chronicle of 'doings'", and it's written (mainly) by Dogsbody, does that make it "dog's doings"? (Let's hope he cleans it up afterwards).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Labouring Man Sessions

Alan, who is an occasional and very welcome participant of this club, in company with Anne, has sent a reminder about a music session he operates at The Labouring Man in Coldwaltham ...
Sunday, 13th November, 6.30pm.
I am sure that Alan would like people to go along.

For satnav users the postcode is RH20 1LF, or a google maps search will take you straight there.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Reminder about Children in Need

That's on Friday, 18th November.

We will repeat the format of sponsored requests. (See earlier post here)

Lynda has asked for donations of spotty cakes to sell. I think she means of the spotty cup-cakes variety, generously sliced spotty cakes and the like.
Here’s something I made earlier:

Each cake will be accompanied by a raffle ticket, and the winner of a highly desirable prize will be identified during the evening.
Lynda writes: "If people would like to pledge cakes in advance that would be really useful."
You can contact Lynda on 01243 783211 or  email

In previous years this has been a most enjoyable and successful evening, so come along, aiming for a prompt start at 8.00pm.
Bring money and enjoy the spotty fun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Being The 4th Day of November, 2011 ...

Dogsbody, having retrieved his Diary of Doings, was in charge of crowd-control.
He demonstrated such authority by crying 'Taser - taser - taser!' whilst wielding a stun-gun cunningly disguised as a bell-tree.

The company was largely cooperative and performed as follows:

Lyke Wake Dirge: Colin
Della the Dealer: Paul
You Were Always on my Mind: Lynda & Paul
The Tower: Dave
November 5th: Ken
Drover's Dream: Laura & Lorna
Sea Coal: Angela & Roland
Lord Franklin: Nigel
Settle to Carlisle: Laura & Lorna
Three Babes: Angela
Spencer the Rover: Colin
Moonshadow: Paul
I Remember Morley: Nigel
Early Morning Rain: Lynda & Paul
Lord Franklin (parody!!!): Ken
The Mule Song: Dave
Coast of Peru: Roland
Among the Leaves so Green-oh: Sue & Patrick
A French Tune: Lorna
Red is the Rose: Laura
Bury me under the Weeping Willow: Angela
Johnny be Fine: Colin
If I were a Carpenter: Paul
The Rose: Lynda
Summer in December: Dave
Who's the Fool Now: Sue & Patrick
Blaydon Races: Lorna
All Things are Quite Silent: Laura
Little Yellow Roses: Angela
Young Roger Esquire: Roland
The Indian Lass: Ken
Greenland Whale Fisheries: Nigel

We lost track of the death count, which was considerable, bearing in mind that Lord Franklin and his crew died twice!
Roland caught a whale off the Peruvian coast.
Nigel failed to catch one near Greenland, but lost several jolly tars in the process.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Being The 28th day of October, 2011 ...

Disaster struck!

Please understand that the evening was enjoyable, (as usual,) and orchestrated by Berry in an unpredictable fashion.
Twenty people turned up, including four new faces whom we welcomed warmly, (as usual.)
We performed lots of songs and music, (as usual.)
Ken said lots of words, (as usual.)

"So what was the catastrophe?" you rightly ask.
Allow me to explain ...

I seem to have left my Diary of Doings at the Guide Hall.
I recall that Paul kicked off splendidly with She Moved Through the Fair, accompanied by ethereal Roger.
We finished with Your Cheatin' Heart - full cast led by Berry.

What happened in between is a bit of a blur.
Never fear:

We'll understand it all by-and-by ...

Addendum#1, 02/11/11:

In advance of my retrieval of  my Diary of Doings, Berry offered a comment about the evening's happenings that is worthy of being 'up-front' on this post:

"I would remind DS&W that we were very fortunate to have some superb turns and some unexpected visitors from Brighton. They spoke well of our club atmosphere and deserve our thanks."
Indeed, these visitors deserve our gratitude, but Sid, (he of the commanding voice,) came from Newton Abbot, via Brighton.

It was a great evening, and Berry done good!

Addendum#2, 04/11/11:
All is not lost ...

She Moved Through the Fair: Paul & Roger
Tom Paine's Bones: Mike P.
Shallow Brown: Sid
Roll on John: Roger
Working in the Mill: Mave
I'm in a New Place Now: Mick & Marion
Ashokan Farewell: John
Let's Do It: Ken
Amongst the Ghosts and Skeletons: Mike & Yvonne
Push a Little Button: Yvonne
Lost Child: Dave
Fall in Love with You: Marion & Mick
Try for the Sun: Laura & Colin
Last Letter Home: Berry
Sir Richard's Song: Colin
Banks of the Royal Canal: Sid
Drifting Without You: Mike P.
My Mother Said: Mave
Shall I Tell you about my Life: Roger
Whiskery Bob: Mike & Yvonne
A North Country Dance: John
Protest Song: Ken
The Lad on the Waltzer: Marion & Mick
Waterbound: Marion & Mick
Bind us Together: Yvonne
Tennessee Waltz: Paul
Intergalactic Laxative: Dave
Silver Darlings: Laura
Lovely Joan: Colin
Father Along: Roger
Shenandoah: Sid
Banks of the Ohio: Mick & Marion
Cheatin' Heart: Berry & full cast

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Being The 21st Day of October, 2011 ...

On this anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar eighteen people convened for another jolly evening of music and song during which three people mentioned the celebrated Admiral Lord Nelson.

With Paul in command of the quarterdeck we sang and played ...

Wild in the Country: Paul
Are You Missing Me: Angela, Roland & Paul
Streams of Lovely Nancy: Lynda
Fakenham Fair: Roland
Sweet Thames Flow Softly: Laura & Lorna
150 Days from Vancouver: Eddie
Let Her go Down: Mave
Humpback Whale: Ken
Old Man River: David
Why Worry Now: Nigel
Buffalo Gal, Won't you Come out Tonight: Les
Captain Colston: Colin
Jimmy Brown: Paul
I'm Going Down this Road: Angela
My Bonny Moorhen: Lynda
You Gentlemen of England: Roland
Song of the Chanter: Lorna
Adonis of the Island: Laura
Drift from the Land: Eddie
I Live in Trafalgar Square: Mave
Ruins by the Shore: Ken
How Deep the Father's Love: David
Peggy Gordon: Nigel
Cripple Creek: Les
The Blackbird: Colin
Let the Sun Shine on: Paul
Texas Rangers: Angela
Withered and Died: Lynda
Bury me Beneath the Willow: Les
These are my Mountains: Laura & Lorna
Rolling Home to Old England: Nigel

It then being eleven of the clock, (six bells,) we all rolled home.
Messengers were dispatched to tell of our glorious victory, and no corpses needed to be repatriated in a barrel of brandy.
Nobody kissed me ... hardly!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

CHILDREN IN NEED - 18th November: "It's time to show your spots"

City Folk Club will be supporting that most worthwhile cause Children in Need, again. This year it's on the 18th of November. We know that money raised for Children in Need really does do good. This year's motto is "It's time to show your spots".

What will we be doing? Well, Sponsored spotty Requests has always been popular, so this year we'll be having that again. Jane Renshaw (or if she's absent, Lynda) will give out request forms and take your £1 donation per request in the weeks before the event. This year, Pudsey is urging people to bake cakes, so there will be spotty fairy cakes available for a donation - plus there's a prize element: one cake will net the lucky 'purchaser' a substantial spotty prize. On the night, all money in the spotty pot will go to Children in Need - please bring as much money as you can to put in it. Folding spotty currency will be especially acceptable, but, of course, 'every little helps'. There'll be a few surprises, too! (Will Pudsey make another daring, and sudden descent? Will the decorations be spottier than last year? Will the MC stay awake for the whole evening?).

Come and join in the spotty fun - some say it's the best evening of the year! - doing what we always do, but with a spotty charitable purpose. Better still, come along in the weeks beforehand, to get your Sponsored Requests in - or be told what spots you've been asked to perform.

"It's time to show your spots"

Echo ...

For your delectation and continuing enjoyment the club now has use of a web-based audio-hosting facility.
At present only one person, (whose identity has been slightly obscured,) has given permission to publish.

Click > on the above gadget.
Work out who this is, listen and enjoy.

Being The 14th October, 2011 ...

We were delighted to welcome Ray back in our midst, and Angela directed another fine evening of music and song ...

Pleasant and Delightful: Angela
Blue Moon: Paul
I Will: Lucy
Seven Days: Lynda & Mike P.
This Land is Your Land: Ray
Love Farewell: Colin
Turkish Lady: Roland
Going to the Zoo: Yvonne
Sat in a Circle in the Sun: Mike H.
Widow Maker: Eddie
Convict Maid: Annie
Cliff's Birthday Tribute: Berry
Dimming of the Day: Jane & Roger
Bermuda Triangle Exit: Mick
Times Like This (?): Roger
Teacher Teacher: Mike P.
Song for Ireland: David
The Tryste: Nigel
Ten Thousand Miles: Ken
Stone Walling Song: Mave
Georgie Girl: Les
Bright Morning Star: Angela
Three Wooden Crosses: Les
If I Die an Old Maid: Mave
Over the Waves: Ken & Berry
The Town I Love So Well: Nigel
Leaving the Land: David
Motherless Child: Roger
Cruel Mother: Jane
Past Caring: Annie
Thousands or More: Eddie
Cockles and Mussels: Yvonne & Mike H.
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy: Roland & Colin
Blackbird: Paul & Mick
Rolling Home: Ray

Here's Ray ...

During the proceedings Jane announced some plans for our special night for Children in Need 2011.
We will mark this and raise money with the rest of the nation on Friday 18th November.
Watch the blog for further details.
Better still ... come along to the club!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Being The 7th October, 2011 ...

How can I describe this wonderful evening of good company, camaraderie and music?

Mike took the chair with an air of gentle authority.
Here is Mike, looking sartorially elegant, at a picnic that he attended earlier this year ...

Here's what we did:

The Goodbye Hat: Mike
Blood Red Roses: Colin & Roland
Boulder to Birmingham: Paul
The Air that I Breathe: Lynda & Paul
Fisherman's Blues: Matt
The Rose: Margaret
Begone Dull Care: Sylvia
Hessle Road: John
Belle of Barnstaple: Jane & Colin M.
Blackwaterside: Mick
Billy the Kid: Roger
Warbash Cannonball: Les
The Fox Jumps over the Parson's Gate: Roland
Come all you Virginia Girls: Angela
Aloysius: Jane & Colin M.
Wonderful World: David
All the Good Times: Eddie
I Don't Like Mondays: Lucy
Wind and Tides Permitting: Mike
Meeting of the Waters: Colin
Nowhere Man: Paul
Maid of Culmore: Lynda
Dreaming of You: Matt
The Balcony: Margaret
When Father Papered the Parlour: Sylvia
Blow the Man Down: John
Bushes and Briars: Jane M.
Ride On: Molly
Pat Canny's Reel: Mick
Fulsome Prison: Les & Pam
Bold Princess Royal: Roland
I'll Fly Away: Angela
Steal Away: David
Hobo's Lullaby: Roger
Last Thing on my Mind: Eddie
Waterfall: Lucy
Durham Gaol: Jane & Colin M.

So how shall I describe it after all?
A wonderful evening of good company, camaraderie and music!
I was proud to be among you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Message from our Friend, Phine ...

Hi Everyone!

It has been a privilege to belong to The City Folk Club. I joined it when I first came down to West Sussex, and the Friday evening sessions have filled my life with rainbows.
Everyone is friendly and the talent there is simply admirable!

When I have been in Singapore and missed it all, I had gone onto YouTube to see and listen to the recording that [someone] made years ago. It made me feel that I was back in the group and that my friends were all around me.

I know I have made the right decision to go back to Singapore to be with my family and increasing number of grandchildren, but I shall regret not having you all and the folk club to attend each Friday. I will miss you and shall think of you on Fridays and wish every one of you happiness. Thank you all for your friendship and kindness ...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bert Jansch, (1943 - 2011) ...

From one of the first vinyl albums I ever owned ...

Quoted in The Guardian:
"I'm not one for showing off. But I guess my guitar-playing sticks out."
Full article and obit. at

RIP, Bert.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Being The 30th September, 2011 ...

Oh, it's Friday evening again at The City Folk Club ...

Nineteen people turned up and put money in the pot.
One person popped in early and said, "Hello - goodbye."
She didn't pay.
Later, two people poked their heads around the door, wondering what was going on.
They declined an invitation to join us, but contributed to some enthusiastic applause as Mike H. finished his second spot.
Then they departed without paying either.

So what?
We had a quorum, and we could still pay the rent.
That's fine!

Paul took the chair and directed the following performances:

It May Take a Thousand Years: Paul
High Germany: Lynda
Beulah Land: Angela, Roland & Colin
You Gentlemen of England: Roland
The Widow Maker: Eddie
Last Day of September: Yvonne
The Harvester: Mike
Here Comes the Sun: Mick
Pretty Saro: Roger
I Didn't Care: Les
Long Black Veil: Margaret
We Plough the Fields and Scatter: David
Let's Keep it that Way: Phine
Field Behind the Plough: Nigel
When You were Sweet Sixteen: Tony
Handsome Molly: Colin
Another Girl: Paul
Outward Bound: Lynda & Paul
Old Virginee: Angela & Roland
By the Green Grove: Roland
Grey Funnel Line: Eddie
Who do you Think You're Fooling: Yvonne
Legacy: Mike
Harvest Home/Kil ... Barn Dance(?): Mick
Rear View Mirror: Roger
Wreck of the Old 97: Les & Pam
Till the White Rose Blooms Again: Margaret
Children and Flowers: David
Donna Donna: Phine & Colin
Wonderful Tonight: Nigel
Row On: Colin & full cast

In one particular way it was a special evening, tinged with slight sadness: it was Phine's last appearance with us before she departs for her new home in Singapore.
Here's Phine in a photograph I took five years ago ...

She doesn't look any older now, does she?
We said our farewells and responded to her musical requests, (after some time-consuming guitar tuning in a couple of quarters!)
Phine has been a delightful contributor in our company since those dark, cold, damp days at an earlier venue.
We will miss her, but the wonderful interweb thingy will ensure that we keep in touch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another Club ...

Some of us went along to the Amberley Acoustic Music Club at The Black Horse in Amberley on Tuesday evening.
You might recognise these accomplished musicians ...

Behold - Beheld!

(Sorry - Roger is a bit blurred.)

They were particularly good ...

We heard several of David's self-penned songs, brilliantly accompanied by Mick and Roger on various instruments.
David's composition, 'When the Spring has Come', is a remarkable piece of musical poetry that could have come from the pre-industrial era.
'In No Strange Land', based on a poem by Francis Thompson (1859 – 1907), arranged for music by Roger and informatively introduced by David, was captivating.
Mick's fiddling for 'In the Smoke' took us all through the wardrobe into another dimension.

I had just one disappointment:
'Beheld' only got one set.

Then ... there was a lovely lady who looked a lot like the Jane that we all know.
She sang twice.
Here she is, accompanied by Roger, singing 'Leaning on the arms ...'

(Roger looks better now, don't you think?)

Now, Amberley is a good 20-30 minute drive from Chichester, and parking near the pub is limited.
You can get there by train, but it's a long and dangerous walk to the pub along dark, narrow roads from Amberley station.
You can return home by train, but, if you stay till closing time, that would involve a sleep-over at Ford ... not good!

Let not the above discourage you ...

It is a delightfully homely venue in an ancient building.
The English-speaking staff are welcoming, you don't need to show your passport and the establishment accepts British pounds.
The food coming out of the kitchen looked extremely appetising, and one of our number had to be restrained when she espied the potato wedges!
The outside toilet facilities have a certain rustic charm.
The club convenors are very friendly and they invite floor-singers.

Altogether, it was a most enjoyable evening.
So, let's keep an eye on this -

Perhaps we can arrange a minibus next time, because the overnight facilities at Ford railway station are non-existent.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Calling all guitar-teachers ...

Here's an opportunity for you to share your expertise ...

One of our participants who lives in the city is looking for some tuition.
This person writes to me: "I have bought [a guitar] and my ambition is to be able to strum a few tunes."

Anyone willing to take up this challenge may contact me via and, given your mutual permission, I will arrange for you to make contact.

By the way, we have not talked about money!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Being The 23rd September, 2011 ...

So there we all were at the Guide Hall again, excitedly waiting to find out who would be MC.

It was Berry who announced that he has been rather unwell recently.

If you look really carefully you can just see Berry here who is admiring Ken’s guitar that seems to be held together with string and elastic bands …

Ken wishes it to be known that he wasn't actually there.
Did anyone notice?

It was an evening marked by such remarkable performances that it becomes almost trivial to publish the song list. 

Anyway, for those who weren't there, here it is …

Annan Water: Colin
Tears in Heaven: Mark
'Twang': Heather
The Snows They Melt the Soonest: Lynda
Washed in the Blood of the Lamb: Jane & Roger
Who Knows Where the Time Goes: Margaret
No Regrets: Roger
Out of the Blue: Mick
Galway Shawl: Molly
How Deep the Father's Love: David
Lonesome Polecat: Tony
Five-Foot Flirt: Andy
Million Nightingales: Suzanne
Afraid of Losing You Again: Phine
Grey Funnel Line: Nigel
Constant Billy: Bill
Girl: Paul
Cityest People: Lucy
Marie Elena: Berry & his music machine
Another You: Margaret
The Blackbird: Colin
Crying in the Rain: Mark
Till There was You: Chris
Love Will Keep us Alive: Lynda
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: Jane & Roger
On the Wrong Side of Midnight: Roger
The Rambling Pitchfork: Mick
Where is Love: Molly
Fiddler's Green: David
What Shall I Write: Phine
Westlin' Winds: Nigel
As Tears Go By: Lucy
Mary Skeffington: Paul
Cheatin' Heart: Berry & full cast

Here was an evening overflowing with supreme talent.
Many thanks to Berry, (who didn't look all that poorly!) for maintaining a semblance of order.
My personal and special thanks to Nigel for 'Westlin' Winds': a performance that reassures me that at least one person reads this blog.

Actually - thank you to everyone, of course.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Classical Gas

Here's Mick ...
classical gas
Click that link above now, and hit 'play'.
('play' is the -> thingy to the left of the wave-form.)
It will not damage your hard-drive, and you won't regret it.


More to come - maybe.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Being The 16th of September, 2011 ...

Angela demonstrated authority and took control with the bell tree ...

Despite that there was much frivolity, lively banter
... and music!

The Beard Song: Angela
The 'Prentice Song: Roland
The Bergen: Colin
150 Days Out From Vancouver: Eddie
Dance Me to the End of Love: Jane & Roger
I Need your Love so bad: Roger
Adieu to Old England: Mave
Such Usage in Heaven: Ken
(I stand corrected. Ken's song was entitled 'Little Vagabond'.)
Life Gets Tee-jus: Tony
Farewell to Tarwaithie: David
Spellbound: Mick
Make Believe you Love me one more time: Phine
Country Roads: Gerry
The House that Jack Built: Paul
Look What They've Done to my Song: Lynda
I am Weary, Let me Rest: Angela, Roland & Colin
Dancing with You: Eddie
Young Roger Esquire: Roland
I Live not where I Love: Colin
Jolene: Jane & Roger
Lay me Down a Pallet on your Floor: Roger
Frying in the Rain: Mave
Lord Franklin (according to Les Barker): Ken
Good Night my Angel: David
Three Polkas: Mick
Bye Bye Love: Gerry
Dream Seller: Lynda & Paul
Moonshadow: Paul

Then we all went home for some peace and quiet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Annie's Gig ...

We will all recognise Anne Winter, a regular and welcome participant at the City Folk Club.

Annie has a booking at The Chichester Folk Song Club on Tuesday 20th September, 2011.
She will be performing with multi-instrumentalist Dean Hobbs.
You'll find more details by clicking here.

Shall we all go along?
8.30pm at The Four Chesnuts, Oving Road, Chichester.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Here's a forthcoming event that Angela would like to publicise ..


Come and ‘let yourself go’ for the day, whether you sing in a choir, at church, at a folk club, or just in the privacy of your bathroom!  We are going to sing some gospels, spirituals and world music and will also focus on improving our singing with good breathing techniques and learn about how to interpret a piece well.

You do not need to read music as we will be taught songs ‘by ear’.
Led by Michael Harper

For Get Vocal Chichester – Community Choir
Sunday 9th October 2011
 From    10am  -  4pm                     
At North Mundham Village Hall,
School Lane, N.Mundham, Chichester, PO20 1LA 

Only £20.00  - To book please contact:
Angela O’Brien  01243 601183 

·         Michael Harper is an international singer, teacher and workshop facilitator.  He has sung opera and in concerts throughout Europe, in China and in the U.S.  Here, he is well known amongst community choirs as a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network and particularly as being a dynamic co-director of Sing for Water London.
·        He studied at Virginia Commonwealth University, received a Master of Music Degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he also did further doctoral studies.  Though trained in classical music, Michael grew up in Virginia with a rich tradition of spirituals and gospel music. Reflecting his roots he sings and leads workshops in traditional spirituals and gospel with great gusto and a warm sense of fun.
·        Based on his experience as a professional singer and an experienced teacher he offers advice through interpretation on how to sing well and get the best out of a piece of music. “My aim is to discover and expose each person’s own abilities to find the song in themselves whether it be opera, Lieder, folk song, soul, blues, jazz or any other style. There is a natural flow that is present in everyone.”
Use the internet to see and hear Michael in action leading a massed group of community choirs from across the UK at the Thames Festival. Google: Sing for Water London 2009 Part 2. Then you’ll know what a great day this will be!
Tea/coffee and a bottle of water for each participant will be provided.
Please bring something for a shared pot luck lunch. 

Directions: Village Hall is just behind North Mundham School on B2166 between
 Runcton and Hunston,  South of  the A27 Chichester Bypass and has its own car park.

(Money raised over our costs will be donated to Water Aid and St Wilfrid’s Hospice)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So ... when does autumn begin?

Those television weather reporters seem to be in some disagreement.
Is it when the weather suddenly turns bad?
Is it when leaves fall from the trees?
As early as 1st September I heard one of them talking about autumnal weather.

Teachers and students hold that summer ends when they return to school.

Astronomically-minded people contend that autumn begins at the equinox - 21st September.
(Well, that would be 21st March in the southern hemisphere.)

Now ... does it matter?

Here's a seasonal song from the pen of Robert Burns (1783):

Now Westlin' Winds

Now westlin winds and slaughtering guns
Bring autumn's pleasant weather
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Among the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wild o'er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
And the moon shines bright as I rove at night
To muse upon my charmer

The partridge loves the fruitful fells
The plover loves the mountain
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring hern the fountain
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path of man to shun it
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt! Away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man's dominion
The sportsman's joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering, gory pinion

But Peggy dear the evening's clear
Swift flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the charms of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And every happy creature

We'll gently walk and sweetly talk
Till the silent moon shines clearly
I'll grasp thy waist and, fondly pressed
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal showers to budding flowers
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair, my lovely charmer

Here's Dick Gaughan's rendition from 1983 ...

Click here for his chords and notation.

Will somebody sing this at the club soon?
... just for me?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Being the 2nd of September, 2011 ...

In the chair: Dogsbody.
Present: 17 other friendly people including a new face: Laura's friend, Ian.
Ian came armed with a heavy-metal instrument that looked a bit like this:

It was so heavy that Lynda had difficulty lifting it!

Absentees: Several.
Apologies: None!

Any other business:
Oh, yes: these were the 'doings' ...

The Seeds of Love: Colin
Alexandra Leaving: Lynda
Motherless Children: Ian & Laura
The Circle Game: Angela
The Wild Goose: Roland
The Leaves of Life, (Seven Virgins): Roger
I will always love you: Jane & Roger
Ca' the Yowes to the Knowes: Duncan
Candy Man: Mick
Carolina on my mind: Mike
Bright Fine Gold: Mave
John Barleycorn is a Hero Bold: Nigel
The Last Thing on my Mind: Margaret
I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song: Lucy
Don't Care Where They Bury my Body: Paul
Babes in the Wood: Ken
All among the Barley: Colin
The Little Pot Stove: Ken
Last Train from Bacup: Mave
The Galway Shawl: Lynda
Heart and Soul: Ian & Laura
Five Years' Time: Angela
Little Black Horse: Roland
Lost Lover Blues: Roger
My Bonny Lad: Jane
Bringing in the Sheaves: Duncan
Khosidl: Mick & Mike
Dead Skunk: Mike
The Wind that Shakes the Barley: Nigel
Both Sides Now: Margaret & Paul
I Don't Know how to Love Him: Lucy
Hey Jude: Paul
Blue Moon: Ian & Laura

Perhaps the most memorable chorus came from Mike and is worthy of documentation here:

Dead skunk in the middle of the road (x3)
... Stinking to high heaven.
(Loudon Wainwright III)

However, it is inappropriate to single out any individuals ...
You were all good!

Now, don't forget ...
Don't come next week (9th) because we won't be there!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Important information

The City Folk Club will NOT be meeting on Friday 9th September because the Guide Hall will be otherwise occupied.

Otherwise, it will be business as usual for all other Fridays in September, and throughout October.

Being The 26th of August, 2011 ...

Berry appeared thus:

As host for the evening, he welcomed twenty participants and made a prompt and enthusiastic start at 20.22 hours precisely.

Here's what we heard:

Walk Right Back: Berry & Ken
Clare Morris: Howard
Take me back one more time: Marion & Mick
Lavender's Blue: Yvonne
The Harvester: Mike
John Barleycorn: Roland
Will the Circle be Unbroken: Angela
Unchained Melody: Tony
The Bergen, v.1/The Road will be calling us on: Eddie
Rolling with the Flow: Les
When this bloody war is over: Nigel
12-string shuffle: Mick
She's like the Swallow: Lynda
Rout of the Blues: Colin
Burglin' on the side: Ken
Forty Shades of Green: Howard & Berry
Carolina Pines: Marion & Mick
Everybody's Talking: Marion & Mick
Mortningtown Ride: Yvonne
Fotheringay: Mike
Butter and Cheese and All: Roland
West Virginia Miner: Angela
Home Lads Home: Eddie
You can't Read my Mind: Les
Maggie: Howard
Dark-Eyed Molly: Nigel
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick
Molly Bawn: Lynda
John Ball: Colin
Lara's Theme: Berry
A Layabout's Lament: Ken
Scarlet Town is Burning down: Marion & Mick
Halcyon Days: Mike & Yvonne
Miss me when I'm Gone: Angela
Thousands or More: Eddie
Jambalaya: Berry, Ken and full cast

Thirty-six items of music, a preview of Tony's bathroom suite, engaging banter, a creole menu: what more could you desire on a Friday evening?
No tears were shed and there was no poetry ...
... and it cost you nothing!

Be warned: next week it will cost you £2.00.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Being The 19th August, 2011 ...

Dogsbody has been away for a few weeks.
Last week he was here:

Nevertheless, on his return from remote regions, he was grateful to receive reports of the club's activities.
He is delighted and encouraged that his absence passed unnoticed.

Lynda diligently chronicled the song list.
Here it is:

Steal Away: Paul
College Boy: Lynda
Lazy Bones: Allis & John Gradwell
When somebody thinks you're wonderful: John G. & Allis.
Bouffard's Waltz, Hebridean Waters, South Wind & The Red Lark: Lorna
A Merry Little Minuet: Roger
Seashore: Mick
A Sound Proposition: Tony
Ballad of Accounting: Ken
Bright Fine Gold: Mave
Crantock Games: Nigel
It's a Wonderful Life: Paul
Andrew Lammie: Lynda
Ain't Misbehavin': Allis & John
Up the Lazy River: John
Blaze Away: Lorna
Roll on John: Roger
Ride a Mile (slip jig): Mick
Bidin' my Time: Ken
I live in Trafalgar Square: Mave
You were always on my mind: Nigel
Girl from the North Country: Paul
Most of us are Sad: Lynda
Momma's little baby loves shortnin' bread: Brenda
My Heart belongs to Daddy: Allis & John (plus Paul)
Who's sorry now?: John
Nelly Bligh: Lorna
Waltzing's for Dreamers: Roger
Blues in E: Mick
The Mary-Ellen Carter: Ken & Mave
Thousands or More: Nigel

No mortal injuries seem to have been inflicted, no complaints have been received
... and no money changed hands, did it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Early one morning between Snaresbrook and South Woodford …

I started the best gainful employment I ever had at the age of thirteen.

My day began at 6.00am, and the morning paper-round occupied an hour or so that most people wouldn’t normally use. Mr. Unwin, the newsagent on Hermon Hill, was a very kind employer who paid me 7 shillings and 6 pence a week.

About the same time I learned to whistle, and I would gaily walk the streets whistling my favourite melodies in the cool hush of each morning as I pushed ever-increasing thicknesses of newsprint through inadequate letter-boxes.
Dvorak was my favourite: I could handle all four movements of his 9th Symphony, and my rendition of the adagio was the forerunner of a well-known advertisement for bread.

At the end of Falcon Way, (part of my round,) there was a footbridge traversing the overground section of LT’s Central Line.
One day I stopped whistling to quietly observe an early commuter making his way to the tube station at Snaresbrook.
He wore a pin-striped-suit, a bowler-hat, and bore an immaculately rolled umbrella. With great agility he ascended the steps at the top of which he launched forth with a clarity and purity of voice that was astounding:

“Early one morning …,” he sang … and the Sun rose!

“Wow!” I thought.
A young soul was captivated.

Thereafter my whistling graduated to Rach 2 and those Paganini variations. I even attempted Beethoven’s glorious 5th piano concerto. I was rather good at Sibelius’ Karelia Suite, and for moments of adolescent gloom I took on RVW’s Tallis variations. Schoenberg, of course, was beyond me.

But … every weekday morning I would cease my cacophony at 3 Falcon Way.
If I was early, I would wait.
If it rained, I sheltered under a nearby laburnum tree.
Regularly this man appeared and, to my delight, he would repeat the same ritual.
I wondered about him ...

What was his day-job?
Whence cometh his confidence to greet and celebrate the day in such a public fashion?
I wanted to say, “Hello,” but I was very shy in those days.

Thus was born an interest in folk song.
That city-based financier, or whatever, will never know the gift he gave me, but I thank him.

Here are some lyrics:

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maid sing in the valley below:
"Oh, don't deceive me, oh, never leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?"

"Oh gay is the garland, fresh are the roses,
I've culled from the garden to bind on thy brow.
Oh, don't deceive me, Oh, never leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?"

"Remember the vows that you made to your Mary,
Remember the bower where you vowed to be true.
Oh, don't deceive me, oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?"

Thus sung the poor maiden, her sorrow bewailing,
Thus sung the poor maid in the valley below:
"Oh don't deceive me! Oh, never leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?

Of course, people my age will remember this from schooldays, and realise that its inclusion in music lessons totally missed the point.

Watch out for the second chapter in this serialised autobiography in due course.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Being The 12th of August, 2011 ...

I know that Angela set up the room.
Here she is, admirably demonstrating how to sing to the club's music stand:

That's great, Angela, and thank you.

It is rumoured that Paul was MC.
(I have yet to obtain a suitable image of Paul, but you all know what he looks like.)

Dogsbody was unavoidably absent giving this excuse: 'ear wax', so what actually went on remains a mystery.
This post will therefore be edited when such intelligence is shared.

Addendum, 24/09/2011:
Paul has finally shared intelligence about the 'doings', as follows:

All The Good Times: Paul & Roger
On my Way to Canaan's Land: Angela
The Turkish Lady: Roland
Love is Life: Mave
Rufford Park: Ken
Geordie: Sheena
Out of the Blue: Mick
Little Bitty Tear: Berry & Howard
The Chivalrous Man-Eating Shark
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow: Phine
L'Assassin: Tony
Banks of the Nile: Roger
A Very Good Year: Paul
The Shepherd's Daughter: Angela
The Ship in Distress: Roland
Rue (? Herb in my Father's Garden): Mave
The Indian Lass: Ken
Volunteer Fire Department: Sheena
The Rambling Pitchfork: Mick
We'll Meet Again: Berry
A Fire in Mauritania: Howard
It's Too Late, Baby: Phine & Sheena
Things are 'bout Coming my Way: Roger