Diary Notes 2019
1st January 2019: Happy New Year: The challenging Euro tune won TotM, Bill still not happy with what he has in the can so further work needed. Snape: Barley Brigg, Danegeld & Pretty Grim dancing in the New Year. Two hours about 1/3 too long even with three sides, by the end all cold and tired. Lots of folk to catch up with. Bill recorded and uploaded TotM, 'The Lounge Bar', and ThemeotMonth, Paddy Careys. Processing video from the Morris Dancing at Snape.
2nd January 2019: Bill fniished reading 'The Owl Always Hunts at Night' by Samuel Bjork. Early start to travel to the freezing north! A pleasant Airbnb in one of the Edinburgh Artisanal Colonies. We walked The Royal Mile. Edinburgh is a eurometropolis full of tourists from all nations to whom the retail trade caters with venom. Dead beat, so fish and chip supper and flop for the evening. Castle tomorrow and Sheila catching up with Morag, (a former colleague).
3rd January 2019: We visited the (new) Scottish Parliament building, fascinating. The electoral system and resultant chamber with forced co-operation has much to recommend it. We looked around St Giles cathedral where we had lunch in the cafe. Sheila had booked a trip around Edinburgh Castle, and our guide, Angus Coutts, kept the group entertained and informed with a battery of quick fire historical facts and anecdotes. Angus also works as a stand up comedian, shortly off to Berlin in that capacity. (That will be bitterly cold, even after Edinburgh!). Sheila enjoyed catching up with Morag, and we closed the day with an excellent pub meal in the Amber Rose.
4th January 2019: Bill finished reading 'Love Like Blood' by Mark Gillingham. We visited the National Museum of Scotland. Excellent building and exhibits, gallery cafe poor. The afternoon comprised a tour of the dungeons under South Bridge led by Sven, a Swedish emigre enjoying a new life in Scotland from age 59, also a storyteller, (of sorts). The tour ended (serendipitously) opposite St Cecilia's Hall, concert room and music museum, the highlight of the day with about 200 instruments on display from a larger collection held by Edinburgh University. An unexpected pleasure. We ate in.
5th January 2019: we visited the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art to see the Warhol/Paolozzi exhibition. Paolozzi the more interesting, some of his sculptures were sourced and cast in Ipswich (at Juby's foundry). We then walked to the Botanic Gardens where Sheila walked around the glasshouses while Bill read the paper. Lingering impressions: street dwellers, dog fouled and littered pavements, excellent public transport, friendly exchanges and aching hips, (we walked a lot).
6th January 2019: The journey home. We had been allocated seats apart on the first leg of the journey but managed a few stops together before being shunted. Bill finished reading 'The Wrong Girl' by David Hewson, an excellent journeyman thriller writer. Ipswich damp and chilly. Bil's accidental purchase of (another) videocam on ebay has arrived, useful given the wear and tear which they receive. Started reading Murakami's 1Q84.
7th January 2019: Bill swimming, no JG. Hard work after a fortnight layoff. Discovered the wonderful music of Michal Hromek via a search for baroque guitar. Sheila referred by GP to A&E where she waited four hours for a blood test, seemingly ok. Bill did some catch up playing, just as with swimming somewhat seized up after four days without playing. AndyM is coming round this week to talk melodeons (playing), so thinking about an approach for that. If it works out perhaps a mentoring role for others in the future? (There is a distinct need in some circles.) Bill gave morris a miss, for some reason ESMM are dancing Plough Monday next week, some argument about when Epiphany ends, but Cambridge MM were on LookEast this evening dancing the plough, (looked like David D playing). Sheila taught Bill how Sudoku wokrs, (hitherto a mystery), so that may become an obsession/frustration!
8th January 2019: Fordham Session: a half a dozen players including Phil W's first visit. Very enjoyable with a good mix of tunes and chat. Liz G's baby born today, but at the time we weren't aware.
9th January 2019: Sheila working, Bill had a tramp around Ipswich, recorded and posted John Glaister's 'Constant Billy' Sherborne in Theme of the Month. John and Jo are unwell, hence the 'no-show' at swimming. (Not cursed yet!) The Larrivee still buzzes and the endpin is a bit wobbly after Bill's exploration. A trip to Colin F in the offing!
10th January 2019: Bill had a swim at Woodbridge. Andy M came round and chatted melodeons for an hour or so.
11th January 2019: Bill had another twiddle with the Larrivee, , no buzz (again), so time will tell. Sheila visited a friend in the afternoon so Bill played (lots of) music.
12th January 2019:Bill finished reading Book 1 of Murakami's 1Q84 trilogy and started Jussi Adler Olsen's 'Guilt'. PhilW has sent some homework and a suggested meet up to play music, although Bill is unsure if his level of musical competence is up to the task! Sheila making marmalade.
13th January 2019: Sheila swimming with family. 9+ jars of marmalade made. Bill exploring old tunes and songs - memory fails at times. Certainly more recent additions are not as well embedded, but the difficulty with the older tunes is remembering that they are there and playable! A conundrum. The (annual) intention to get out and play more remains present, give it a week or so....
14th January 2019: Bill swim and catch up with JG who is playing out with Brenda Read's band next week for a Burns supper, (Des is also recruited). Burns night was a highlight and speciality of the old band (Instep). Sheila exploring whether she will be able to join family on a trip to Jamaica later in the year. (As long as she researches her concerns the inevitable assent can be justified). Bill playing through songs which might fit into a set during the afternoon, can't face walking a plough around Stonham with East Suffolk Morris this evening. Other sides seem to minimise the plough, emphasise the Wassail and enjoy playing music in a warm pub on (not?) Plough Monday. Too entrenched a tradition with ESMM to break we suspect, however uncomfortable.
15th January 2019: Sheila still wobbly but has booked the holiday (see above). Bill ventured to the Douglas Bader U3A session with good intentions but survived about thirty seconds. One bar is devoted to two people and a pool table, the main area which was in use had been divided by tables and stools, (movable but apparently not an option), and was occupied by a throng determined to enjoy their first outing of the year, despite barely a square foot of floorspace each to accommodate bodies, drinks and instruments. Bill finished reading 'Guilt' by Jussi Adler Olsen. Well plotted with a telescoped twist in the tail.
16th January 2019: Back to Vol 2 of 1Q84 for Bill. Sheila working. Some tunes to warm up the new year later on. Bill's current w.i.p is Lake Charles Waltz. Mark Harrison: Midweek Blues in town: Duke of York: highly feted player from London, the videos looked promising. He is very good at what he does, writing and playing his own songs in a blues style out of open D & E tunings, (essentially the same). Bill enjoyed the first set, but about three songs exhausted the range and dynamics on offer and the balance was more of the same re-ordered. One excellent song about toolfitters and the demise of the automotive industry Coventry/Detroit. Mark has an abrasive presentational manner which may be a persona, but which grated at times. Lots of the local blueserati in evidence, Bill passed his seat to AndyM for the second half. Meanwhile Des H has suggested a drummer might add to the mix of our project, not a problem as long as the lineup does not creat a 'cage' barred to variety.
17th January 2019: Bill swim at Woodbridge, Sheila working and also swimming. Bill thought about the Blues Jam at the Duke of York but.....
18th January 2019: Sheila Yoga, and sorting practicalities for her forthcoming Carribean adventure. Bill contacted Glenn to see if he is interested in the new project, nudged the Blaxhall Ship for a Bards gig, looked at the Bury Milkmaid club lineup for the New Year, usual suspects abound while the Apex gigs are beyond the purse of the journeyman folkie.
19th January 2019: Bill finished vol 2 of 1Q84 by Murakami, (vol 3 is on its way).Started 'The Target' by Baldacci. John G has taken an MBS in Woodbridge in April - that gives us 20 minutes without amplification in a large, crowded, noisy hall. Bill hasn't committed, there must be a better option.
20th January 2019: We went for a walk and lunch at Minsmere. Gave the Woolpack session a miss, again. Roger's house session is this week and will meet the need to play. Better than suffering the usual suspects singing from arch lever files, (I pads are equally disdained but less obvious).
21st January 2019: Bill swim and catch up with JohnG, still suffering after effects of recent malady. 1Q84 book 3 has arrived just as Bill finished (re)-reading 'The Target', a ripping yarn. Guitar arrangement of Sidney Smith's is coming along. Non musical aside: Bill despairs of BBC news of late and has greater confidence in alternative providers and in watching source material on BBC Parliament for unedited content. East Suffolk Morris Practice: an enjoyable evening, a couple of the new tunes still pretty spiky and frankly not enjoyable to play, (fresh as composed without edges smoothed by aural transmission). A good turnout. Phil W is keen to meet up and play some music. Unsure whether Bill will be up to snuff...(atchoo!)
22nd January 2019: 1Q84 Book 3 continues a fascinating tale, but speaks with a slightly different voice to the other books, perhaps because of a different translator, or subiminally a different font? These things matter when two moons hang in the sky. Sheila had a meeting in Colchester this afternoon so Bill had a tramp around town and an enjoyable walk across Castle Park. Working on Parnell's March, having found some unsatisfying versions online, thankfully a contributor to Mudcat had posted Anahata's arrangement which is how I have heard it played locally. Roger D house session: we usually miss this as both of Roger's sessions usually clash with our bluegrass/oldtime evenings. A couple of times a year there is a window and we are delighted we took it. A very enjoyable evening playing tunes and chewing fat with friends, will we ever return to the Tattingstone transatlantic evenings, certainly next week, but thereafter?
23rd January 2019: Happy Birthday Laurel.
24th January 2019: Bill tramped Woodbridge and swam, dropped some books into the Oxfam bookshop. Sheila worked and swam. Bill refreshed his slide guitar songs this afternoon. . Had a catch up with Laurel who is re-booked at Broadstairs Folk Festival this year, and enjoying playing 'Gordon', the guitar which she has re-homed from Bill's cupboard. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bil had a 'plugged in' practice. Glen has responded to our approach and may be up for joining Bill & Des on drums in a trio/(quartet if Sheila sings).
25th January 2019: Sheila to Yoga, Bill exploring the algorithmic choices which Spotify makes for him, pretty spot on. Everyman Folk Club: Steve Turner: we had not felt enthused at the prospect and a number of others had stayed away, (for whatever reason). Steve had appeared rather dour and repetitive in his choice of material when we had seen him before, and Bill recalled an ambiguous response to a workshop at Broadstairs. We were glad we went, Steve was in good spirits with lots of new material and relaxed demeanour so that although he had expressed that he was less than happy with his performance, his relationship with the audience and choice of material well played, (with forgivable glitches), delivered an enjoyable evening. Strong support from the floor and chorus, with a 'beginning of term' feel about the contributions. Hopefully back to full house and Everyman spirit next time.
26th January 2019: Sheila RSPB birdwatching, Bill enjoying listening to Duck Baker on spotify , (who recorded all of Bill's 'new' tunes back in the 1970's!) Hey ho. Bill finished the easy crossword and very easy sudoku then spent the afternoon with anglo and guitar. Finished reading '1Q84' by Murakami, fortunately after three volumes there is a degree of resolution at the end, (however much we may deplore a happy ending). Started 'The Killer' by Jonathon Kellerman.
27th January 2019: Sheila walked the Anniversary Walk at Glemham Hall. Bill thinking about a spring clear out. Duke of York session: one of those evenings when Bill returned home contemplating swapping an instrument or two for a cutthroat razor. The introduction of the i-pad in place of the arch lever file, saves physical space but allows gigabytes of unpractised lengthy material to be exposed to an unwitting audience. Supplement with musicians selecting tunes which are early work in progress and playing in consort so that individual stumbles are compounded. Sessioneers tend to forget that there is a 'public' element to these occasions, and while the mysteries of recreational music making may be initially fascinating to the uninitiated, the sheen soon wears thin if the session does not respect the space and its occupants. Host publicans may then look to their bottom line.
28th January 2019: Bill swim (2k) and catch up with John G. Irritated that John has fixed a Bards date at a time when he knew that Bill was not available. He will invite BrendaR to play and, (hopefully), not call it BotH. The Nanny McPhee equation would otherwise apply, (easily replaced means = not needed). Sheila has received a letter to say that her (recently fitted) pacemaker is from a batch which may fail, (a software patch will be available at an unknown future date, but be re-assured nobody has died yet!) New (sadly decesed ) guitarist on the listening board, Pete Huttinger. Discovered through a French guitarist playing his arrangement of Si Beg Si Mor on the Celtic Guitarist FB. Excellent. East Suffolk Morris practice:Bill left after about twenty minutes. The music was covered and his colleagues were more forgiving of considered idiosyncracy than he was prepared to be at the time!
29th January 2019: Bill finished (re)-reading 'Killer'. U3A Folk Music Group Plough & Sail Snape: a very enjoyabe afternoon. Moving chairs and tables to create a playing space helped with sightlines and commuication, some excellent contributions. Bluegrass/Old Time Tattingstone White Horse: seven of us, three guitars, three mandolins,fiddle, two banjos, and a very enjoyable evening. we are still unsure which session to prioritise on the last Thursday, the one we fancy on the night I guess.Bill started reading Macbeth by Jo Nesbo, seems as much an exercise as a novel so far!
30th January 2019: A couple of foxes in our garden in daylight this morning. Bill had a tramp around Ipswich, listened to an American radio program about the Grateful Dead (11am EST =4pm GMT). Sheila working and to a lecture in Colchester.
31st January 2019: Sheila working and to swim/Bill deposited some books at charity shop and swim. Sheila still dizzy with ongoing labyrinthitis so missed Pretty Grim, Bill thought about the Steamboat session which was as far as it got, (maybe just as well as a number of others were unwell and the remaining 'usuals' would probably have driven him home in short order!). Bill created a 'folkbluesnbeyond' FB page in anticipation of feeling motivated to get out and play music of choice this year.
1st February 2019: Rabbits: Melnet TotM is Paddy Carey which Bill recorded as his 'theme' last month so , dual purpose and usable as both. Posted accordingly and also a vintage recording of 'Parting Glass' from 2011 to the Theme of the month. Sheila to Yoga. Bill played guitar. (Ziggy acoustic?). Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club. SOBWG for most of the first half, Des and Ruth as Tanglethread provided refreshing acoustic relief. Simple Folk as support played a varied set, and explained why, in their particular instance, words on an i-pad were necessary. (Not the only user on this evening). We have seen the Jigantics previously in their 'home' environment of festival stages and large pub gigs. Each member has a high profile CV and extensive musical skills and history, (see their website), and their set was (seemingly) enjoyed by most of those present. Sheila started to warm to them as their set unfolded, (but she had left her hearing aid at home). Not to Bill's taste, a workaday retro rock band, loud and uncompromising, one exception was a Katrine Polwart song, (until overwhelmed by 'Edge' guitar from Keith Thompson). Normal service may be resumed next month with Harbottle and Jonas promoting their new album.
2nd February 2019: a cold day. Mid afternoon Bill received a notice from Ipswich Arts Centre FB about a talk by Charles Shaar Murray to be held at The Smokehouse venue in Ipswich an hour hence. CSM is a music journalist and writer who began his career contributing to Schoolkids Oz, (1969?) and was writing for the New Musical Express between 1972 and 1984, glory years, (freelance and off the staff list in 1986). Bill had not previously been to the venue, which was an additional interest in catching a bus with lots of football supporters and heading to Norwich Road . He arrived during the preceding talk by George Perks, a recording engineer who trained in Suffolk and started his career at the studio attached to the Smokehouse, but who now has a national profile. Both talks were interesting, with CSM attracting a larger and older audience, though he still had to explain the media landscap of a pre internet and mobile telephone world to some members of the audience. An enjoyable anecdotal talk, not particularly challenging but lending a perspective of a period which Bill had lived through, enjoying the music even then.
3rd February 2019: Bill had a catch up with Rowan who has now moved to Wenhaston. Visits may be planned to coincide with the session held in the Wenhaston Star monthly. (Said to be small but beautifully formed). Sheila swimming. Bill recorded and posted an up to date 'Theme of the Month' on melnet. Row on with a tune by Tim Laycock. Great fun to develop and play. Used the BbEb box with its rich chocolate tone.. Woolpack Session. Simon N (aka) Zippy came along with his guitar (a beautifully aged Sigma which dates from the 1990s so has opened up richly). SImon has occasionally popped in and enjoyed this session from its days in the Mulberry Tree, and once or twice borrowed Bill's guitar to play some blues. Great to see him here and playing as a part of the session, Bill will have to brush up the 'blues' mandolin! Borrowed Simon's guitar to play 'Black Diamonds'. Hopefully Simon will attend again, as the regular suspects singing their usual songs, poorly, acappella from books/ipads remain a feature of the gathering. (Not to 'tar' all with that brush, other contributions in similar form are enjoyable, and there is no meritocracy in operation).
4th February 2019: Bill started reading 'The Snowden Files' about Edward Snowdon's revelations about the NSA and GCHQ. Synchronous with that Andrew Marr's start the week featured Surveillance Capitalism with contributions from Soshana Zuboff whose latest book looks to be a 'must read' and clear indications about how some familiar figures are surreptitiously fostering their path to power using techniques recognisable from the history of 1930's Germany and more recent political movements in Turkey. Regrettably the people who need to hear, understand and question do not listen to R4. They have more pressing personal priorities than to consider and explore the way their behaviour is being influenced by recreational choices. That's the politics out of the way for this year- the post will already have flashed across GCHQ and the NSA's profiling machine as a consequence of a 'key word' search. The target has been created. I hope the secret state enjoys melodeon videos! Speaking of which, 'Row On' has received some outstanding poitive feedback, thank you to those who took the trouble to listen and respond. Bill swim (2k) and catch up with John G. Bill set out for ESMM practice but after travelling about half a mile in thick fog at a very slow speed decided the journey was not essential!
5th February 2019: Sheila to Colchester, Holly popped round to pick up her guitars and a mixer for next week's slot at Shottisham supporting Martin McNeil. Looking for the spare mixer Bill realised it had not been returned from a loan about two years ago, nudged.
6th February 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Snowden Files'. Clear that senior politicians fom both Labour and Conservative parties engaged in and defended a mass intrusion into individual freedoms which continues. Most are enjoying enhanced careers despite this. Confirmed that the BBC is emasculated by its close relationship with the UK government and allows/ed itself to be susceptible to influence. (This continues, as stories which begin the day with promise and neutrality are significantly diluted by the time of the major network news bulletins). Sheila working so Bill popped to town and bought "Skeleton Key", a dictionary for Deadheads, a real find as a year of first publication US paperback in excellent condition, (Samaritans Bookshop). Great to dip into. Response from the nudge about the mixer (above) not positive! Discovery of the day, Nollaig Casey, a fine Irish fiddler who keeps exceptional musical company.
Note that Eamonn A has joined the trustees of EATMT, also that three of four main events in 2019 take place in Norfolk, (two in Sheringham)! Eamon used to organise Morris sides for FolkEast. That role now apparently falls to Danegeld Alan, and the promised rotation and fallow years for local sides will be implemented this year. PG and DG are holding breath whether they will be invited,. It will be a pity to miss, but full price tickets, (even given Richard Thompson on the mainstage), are not a positive cost/ benefit equation for what is in effect a glorified village fete.
Doubtless the usual suspects will be running the Folk Club and Session spaces again. Probably an easier option than sharing the opportunity with other local clubs who might have a different vision and offering.
Shottisham Sorrel Horse: Wayward Session: about a dozen contributers playing Celtic, English, French, American and period music on four violins, three melodeons, an accordion, a mandolin, concertina, recorders,two mandolas, a banjolin and a bodhran! A full on evening at pace! The next session has been brought forward to 20th February,
due to a clash with the Quiz Night,(which takes priority), and the
following session is then 3rd April 2019. Andy and Bill are pleased as
that enables them to catch the Duke of York Blues night which is a clash on four occasions this year!
ChrisH continues to run the Monday evening Folk Nights at the Sorrel Horse, (which were to be taken 'in house'). Mc2 have requested a slot as main act, presumably to promote the CD they have been recording recently. (Holly supports Martin McNeil next Monday (11th February). Bill confirmed we are open to a support slot, either as Bill'nSheila or with Des in the new project.
Holly has bought herself a mixer from Gumtree, good value and will last a musical lifetime.
7th February 2019: Bill swim (took a bag of clear out clothes to charity shop), Sheila missed PG practice, a generally unremarkable day.
8th February 2019: Sheila had a busy day of appointments. Included a pacemaker check, which indicated no problems but the update will presumably be done when a software patch is issued. Bill sorted and listed a box of vinyl to dispose of, Holly's friend Steve runs a pop up record fayre in support of charity so he has first refusal. Could have sorted more aggressively, but...retained the irreplaceables, (Trailer/Leader and exceptions to the spotify catalogue). New Bards gig, repeat at Martlesham Village Fete, fitting in with our general mission to support community events and devalue the value of music by volunteering free service!
9th February 2019: Bill brushed up tunes which he may play when Phil W pops round tomorrow. A bit apprehensive as Phil is a real musician, (trained and widely experienced).
10th February 2019: No worries, a very enjoyable couple of hours playing tunes with Phil, we both brought iseas to the table. Phil can read at sight tunes over which Bill has sweated blood over time! Great fun. The Honey Dewdrops played a house concert at Bob T's as the final gig of their UK tour, the room hold 24 and was full. An excellent evening of music. In the style of David Rawlings/Gillian Welch. Seasoned musicians on form. Thanks Bob.
11th February 2019:Bill swim, (2k), and catch up with John G who is in good spirits.Holly will be playing at Kirton on May 1st. She rang to say she has a zero hours contract role which is flexible to her aim to focus on the music, but gives support and opportunity in the background, good news. Sheila out and about but we had a think about what to play at the U3A concert next week, and refreshed some of our harmony song repertoire. Excellent as Sheila hasn't felt like a singing workout for a while. EAst Suffolk Morris practice, about 14 dancers and five musicians. A good turnout including David, Richrad and Mike from Hageneth, always welcome. Mike is coming to Bosnia with East Suffolk in the spring so will probably pop in again, (as hopefully will the others). Richard brought a tenor/treble concertina along which is his pride and joy. Bill had a sq1ueeze but finds English concertinas cramped to play so only a limited try out. Sophie W and a couple of former Lagabag dancers have been going along to Hageneth practices. Doubtless helps with the numbers issue, but unsure about the rest. We suspect that the glory days for most of the local established morris sides may be in the past, which does not diminish the worth or quality of dance from a mature mixed age side. Younger dancers seem to initially gravitate to mixed 'street theatre' sides, lots of noise and colour, some may then seek a more complex and disciplined experience of traditional dance as the novelty wears off ! Who knows? The future may be entirely comprised of thuds, whoops and groans masquerading as traditional dance.
12th February 2019: U3A Coach & Horses Melton:an enjoyable afternoon in good company sharing music with friends. Bill finished reading 'The Darkest Day' by Hakan Nesser. Well constructed procedural of psychological interiors. Fordham Three Horseshoes: five players but we obviously did well as the landlord complimented us that he felt it was sounding good and different to usual. A good mixed bag with a leaning towards the Irish which pleased Marilyn (U3A/Blaxhall etc) who had managed to come along for the first time as with her husband was 'the audience' from about 9.30. PLans seem to be progressing well for Katie Howson's 'East meets West' weekend in Stowmarket in April. Apparently there will be some pre-weekend sessions to acclimatise the three main pub venues.
13th February 2019:Steve came round and bought the vinyl which Bill had sorted, for a price which was extremely fair. More sorting to do on teh CD's, (less valuable in general but ubiquitous).
14th February 2019: Happy Valentine's Day: Chas Marshall's CD 'The Compleat Anglo' artrived today. Ordered on recommendation when Danny G played a couple of tunes from it on Tuesday at Fordham, one in particular will turn up in future posts. Proceeds to a couple of charities. Close links with Nick Barber and the Yorkshire musical scene, (now including Anahata and Mary H referred to in despatcheson the sleeve notes.) Bill posted a video from the Honey Dewdrops concert at Bob's. CAme out very well for a point and press approach!.Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. Bill knoodling.
15th February 2019: Bill working on a tune from the Chas Palmer CD, and searching for a reasonably priced A style tenor mandola, (similar to Washburn M226Swk). Tempted by the Eastman F style but a bit pricey, (about £250 more expensive than in USA but VAT and import tax would account for most of that?) A preloved instrument located in the UK/EU would fit the bill better. A local offering was made about a year ago in Essex, then withdrawn for spurious reasons! We thought about attending Henley Folk Night, but for the sake of a brief visit to catch up on friends whcih we enjoy, the evening is effectively players singing to players, and has moved to a new generation of participants since we used to engage, (not a younger generation!)
16th February 2019: Rob N rang to ask if we knew anybody to run an Irish night at the Brandeston Queen's Head on 16th March, (for little or no fee). My response mirrored his feeling that playing a few Irish pieces as part of a general repertoire is not the same a providing a rowdy St Patrick's experience. A better fit for the new bands that have sprung up in that general fashion, certainly not one to pass to the Sliabh Luachra sessioneers! Bill pressed the buy button on a 'Pilgrim Celtic Dawn' tenor mandola, which is the model he first thought of when visiting local (non) music shops, (see above), which boast premises but simply transmit orders via warehouses in Yorkshire. A shop in Scotland was asking 2/3 current list price, so recoverable if unsuitable, but a price appropriate to an instrument which will be in the 'and' category, and covered by recent sales of guitars. Holly has been working on her blog and social media, very professional.
17th February 2019: Bill finished reading 'Paris Spring' by James Naughtie. A well plotted and gently spy novel in old school style. Set in 1968 so benefitting from pre digital means of communication! This is day 3 of the Gainsborough Old Time Festival which we usually attend. Low energy and inclination this year. Interesting that Robin G also not there, (due to low finiances), a situation shared by a couple of other people who usually support the event . Bill spent most of the day sorting CD's to go, about 400 but they generally have a lower value than vinyl, will ring Steve during the week. Woolpack session: we were banished to the front bar because a rather intense meeting was taking place in our usual haunt. An enjoyable mixed evening. PLeased that Simon N came along again with his guitar. Bill had the forsight to also pack one so a couple of blues duets, and Sheila was able to bring out some songs with guitar accompaniment. (Left the concertinas at home to balance). Discovered that we are a week premature planning for the U3A concert, (the provisional date of 19th remained in our diary in error). Phil W in touch to set up another playing session in a couple of weeks, which is excellent as Bill enjoyed the last one, (although on constant catch up!)
18th February 2019: A day in. Bill pottered with new tunes including from the Alma tunebook, but Gminor is not a natural guitar key for a self taught folkie! A challenge not to transpose and attach a capo. Sheila took grandchildren to the Wolsey THeatre for a magic show, Bill to East Suffolk Morris practice. Survived until 'business'.
19th February 2019: Sheila swimming, offered Bill a pass but early morning at a private club, two strikes. It was also crowded on later report so no loss. We had a walk around Snape/Iken and light lunch at the Maltings cafe. Bill sent a query to chase up the mandola as nothing heard from the vendor.
20th February 2019: Sheila working, Bill had a tramp around Woodbridge. Received confirmation of order from mandola vendor, (IT issue). Picking up feedback from Gainsborough OT festival, positive all round but from clips uploaded probably effort best saved by not attending. We enjoy the concerts and the workshops but the genre is a 'rabbithole', as Bill often describes niche interests where perspective can be secondary to the intense experience of membership. There is a cycle of boredom/disinterest founded on a lack of understanding, an interest and enthusiasm as understanding develops, (the code is cracked), and boredom/disinterest founded on on understanding! This cycle can be applied to the same genre at different levels of engagement, or to different genres. Steve is coming to look at the cd's tomorrow. Bill finished reading 'The Golem of Hollywood' by Jesse and Jonathon Kellerman, turned out to be a re-read but having encountered 'golem' in Bashevis Singer and films it took a while to realise. There is a sequel so keeping an eye out for that. Sheila to a lecture in Colchester. Shottisham Sorrel Horse: Wayward Session: An excellent evening, Malcolm came along for the first time since the Great Glemham days, (a year or three) with a fine mandolin (if you need to ask you can't afford it). The Lowdens are now seemingly to pasture. We were also joined by Tim on accordion who had been brought along by a couple of friends. They had found out about the session on the pub's FB page, so perhaps we are valued, (despite having to give way to the quizzers). A circle of ten and a tune packed evening, (some crammed in at speed). Interesting to hear that for most of the time Danegeld have only John and Andy playing for them, (the rest of the band now only emerge for high days and holidays like Sheringham and FolkEast it seems).
21st February 2019: Sheila working, Bill tramped around Ipswich, a deserted wasteland even during half term week. Picked up a Michael Connolly and a Baldacci to add to the bedside pile. Steve came around and seemed happy to buy Bill's first trawl of CD's and music DVDs for a fair job lot price. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill popped down to the Duke of York Blues Jam. Loud but obviously popular delivering electric blues to an enthusiastic audience. Another rabbithole. Sheila enjoyed PG practice.
22nd February 2019: Bill's mandola arrived, a new challenge to find the familiar in viola tuning, whcih sometimes involves parts of the neck hitherto unexplored. First job to lower the bridge to make exploration possible. Glad we didn't opt for the expensive option, this 'Pilgrim' branded 'ola has been well made in China and passes a rudimentary 'tap test' for resonance. Certainly good enough for the local sessions and to keep the grey cells busy!. Sheila to 'band' practice for the, (possibly defunct before started), flatfoot group. An interesting mix of musical personalities. There will doubtless be ecstatic feedback from Gainsborough last weekend from those with flop ears and bob tails. Everyman Folk Club: JIB Barrie and Ingrid Temple and Jim Mageean: two excellent sets from this high decibel accapella trio. The club often themes its evenings and this was a hard trad night, one instrument all evening, (baritone anglo), with Charlie Haylock for light relief and Capstan Full Strength as primary floor support. Bill found it hard to maintain interest depite some excellent performances. Brief impressions: Interesting to learn that Mick and Keef plagiarised Bessie Jones' song 'The Last Time' without credit at a time when her estate would have held copyright. An introduction to a multi verse song of length which takes more time than the song rather implies that the song fails to communicate its intended meaning, or is cluttered with personal references and complexity. (Two of these in a single two song floor spot!) Small wonder the usual limit is two in ten minutes. We tend to negotiate three and have time to spare! CFS sang 'Blessed Quietness' very loudly, perhaps, (as stated), thinking of Chris Gorniak who used to sing the song beautifully in the 'original' Butley Oyster days, but delivering a completely different experience. Becoming as much a (closed) community choir than a vocal harmony group. There was a sense of deja vu with JIB. Barry and Ingrid stood in when 'The Wilsons' were indisposed, some of the songs and stories were familiar.
23rd February 2019: Sheila to a conference in Norwich, Bill was intending to wander but... took the bridge of the 'ola down a bit further. Maybe one more tweak to go. Coming to grips with second and third position playing which is inevitable in the 'standard' folk keys. The 'ola opens up singing keys (F,Bb,C,Eb). There was always the option of putting a capo on the octave 'ola, but the long neck and scale length would have been unwieldy in comparison. Pleased so far. Bill finished reading 'A Game of Ghosts' by John Connolly. extends the Charlie Parker series.Sheila came home via a Pretty Grim birthday party in Kessingland, ubiquitous Harbour Lights Band playing for a ceilidh.Sound quality, (PA), apparently left something to be desired. Not always easy.
24th February 2019: Bill changed his search engine to Startpage.com which so far is an improvement on Duck Duck Go, both offer privacy but Duck Duck is USA centric, whereas Startpage is presenting location sensed results. Uses Google through a proxy so no data collected and all seraches are on an anonymous basis. Ordered a bag for the 'ola. Had contacted 'Hobgoblin' without reply, and the new search engine found one in stock elsewhere, (which Duck Duck hadn't). Duke of York session:very enjoyable, a good mix of playing and joining in. Good to exchange a few licks with Tom.
25th February 2019: Sheila looking after Jorja for the day. Bill swimming, (2k), hard work after a week off, and catch up with John G who seems to be in good spirit, enjoying the 'false spring'. East Suffolk Morris practice: an enjoyable and relaxed evening. Fairly tedious tunes but that is sometimes the way, and including the new Constant Billy, which still doesn't play comfortable but as a composed tune with a heritage is better not messed with.
26th February 2019: U3A Spring Concert with Megan Wisdom and Racker Donnelly. A most enjoyable afternoon of folk song,music and verse. excellent sets from Megan and Racker, and enthusiastic spots from the floor. (We played Charlie Poole's Frankie & Johnnie) Cakes by Joan, wonderful. With energy we might have made the Fordham 'house' session but in the end Bill popped to Tattingstone and joined a 'rump' of the usual suspects, (some were ill, others unable to come along for other reasons. Turned into something of a workshop session but no less enjoyable for that, in some ways less pressured than usual.
27th February 2019: The gigbag for the 'ola arrived, cheap cheerful and adequate. We went for a short cycle ride around Rushmere Village, and this afternoon Bill accompanied Sheila to Colchester and had a tramp around the bustling town centre, (complete contrast to Ipswich). Holly has used Bill's rough translation of a German review of her new CD on the website. Bill has added some new songs to the slide guitar repertoire, and is stumbling through the likely TotM for March, (a rewarding exercise in playing in Bm on a D/G box. (A Dave Shepherd tune so challenging in any event, and which will have to be played on the Bb/Eb box to achieve the written key of Gm!) Bill currently reading Night Music: Nocturnes 2 by John Connolly. Short stories including a couple of Novellas, Lovecraft meets Borges, brilliant. Dave W had kindly added us to the mailing list for the Wenhaston session. Upon this appointed evening we arranged to have supper with Rowan, (Bill's son), recently settled in Wenhaston, and filled the car with instruments, (being unaware of the nature of the session and wishing to be prepared for any style or format). The session was stated to begin at 8.30, at which time we were in the process of eating, we settled to a drink in the bar. Two people with cased instruments had arrived and taken a place in the middle bar but no music commenced and at 9.30 ish we left to visit Rowan's new flat and wend home. Sheila did inquire of the musicians whether this was the session evening and they indicated that insufficient people had arrived, but that they would have played if we had asked earlier. Better luck next time, perhaps also a cautionary tale, but for whom?
28th February 2019: we each swam at our preferred pools. Bill working on likely TotM. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. Bill popped in on Ashley and Nat, then on to Steamboat Session, and straight home as only half of the pub open, and that very crowded. Interesting that Tom C advertising on FB that he has a gig, at HFAC tomorrow, third month running if so!
1st March 2019: Rabbits: A black and white photo of Sophie,Andy and Des at the Steamboat last evening posted on FB. Two layers away from reality but a well composed picture. 'Origin of the World' won TotM by a landslide, with significant debate about the melodic quality of the tune, (which is a diddly diddly mazurka, by Dave Shepherd but similar to many of Andy Cutting's twiddly tunes which seem to have no home or destination. Reminiscent of Michael Chapman's ambient period, profitable wallpaper). Bill wasn't going to bother but will make something of it. Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Holly came along and SimonH kindly allowed her a substitute floor spot. She opened the evening, followed by Alan Day who presented a recitation, a tune and a music hall song. Less than Perfect are a 'covers' duo who presented an extended floor spot/open mic set. Peter Hood runs Waveney Folk Club and was the support act for the evening. We had seen Harbottle and Jonas at Broadstairs Folk Week. An enjoyable set of songs, arranged and well played. We were unsure about 'Leaving of Liverpool' as an encore. An evening which covered all bases and levels.
2nd March 2019:Bill finished re-reading 'The Trinity Six' by Charles Cummings, and posted 'The Origin of the World' in AB form as best so far, positive responses, will probably also play it with Phil who is coming to play music tomorrow. Bill/sheila had a tune/song practice early evening, otherwise a quiet day.
3rd March 2019: Bill had a very enjoyable morning playing msuic with Phil W. Good to experiment and Phil is easily equal to the best tunes that Bill can unearth. An expanding recreational repertoire. Holly was playing at the Arbor House this evening, wishing her fair wind we went to the Woolpack session which was very enjoyable and attracted a few folk to watch and listen. Always a curate's egg on this evening there was positive energy in the room. Bill aired a few songs on slide. Hopefully developing a non cliche'd approach, particularly using a minor tuning to explore English and American folk songs rather than confining to 'blues' style, (although boogie is allowed).
4th March 2019: Bill finished reading 'Dark Sacred Night' by Michael Connolly. Police procedural in format and essentially a filler to introduce the possibility of Bosch as a constrained vigilante with Ballard as conscience. Bill swim and catch up with JG, (belated Happy Birthday for Jo). East Suffolk Morris practice: Bill, (and four other musicians), seemed supernumerary on this evening, came home after business.
5th March 2019:a.m.Sheila working, Bill Dentist. p.m. U3A at Thorpeness was a step too far for us today. Bill looking at tunes for Theme of the Month.
6th March 2019:Bill recorded and posted Jack Dodds' tune 'The Flowers of Ashgill' as his contribution to 'Theme of the Month. Also posted to FB a once through o 'Sir Sidney Smith. Midweek Blues:Paul Cowley an excellent evening of blues. Paul has been supporting and playing blues for decades, in the uk and now resident in South Brittany where he is one of a number of English musicians who have followed a dream, (friends with Rag Mama Rag and proximate to The Churchfitters).Paul (and his wife) were happy to chat about guitars, pick ups and their journey which finds them pursuing music and running a B&B and Gite in Morbihan. Paul plays in a number of styles andis pleased that he now has a sound that is personal to him. needless to say Bill stayed for both sets. A couple of friends who might have been there missed a good evening.
7th March 2019: Bill swim, Sheila working then taking Max (grandson) to Colin F's to arrange refurb on his guitar. (Apparently Mick & Sue went over this morning). Sheila didn't make Pretty Grim practice. The schedule for Halesworth Day of Dance has been published. Looks as though Chemsford Men are now up to strength, (posted as dancing).
8th March 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Second Deadly Sin' by Asa Larsen. Thoughtful and well structured although from the notes the story had a difficult gestation. Interesting that the translator also translated Henning Mankell and Hakan Nesser, and probably that contributes to the consistent flow of each author's narrative in a second language. New musical discovery: Adam Steffey, mandolin player. Listening to some early Planxty it came to mind how little music is left to discover in the digital information age, hence all the copyrighted knoodling that goes on! Evening options, Froize, Big Music Night, blues band at Duke of York. We stayed in. Will and Toby arrived to stay for the weekend. Bill set up the mahogany 12fret for slide. Sounds good.
9th March 2019: Bill to CBS, a fruitless but enjoyable wander. A quiet day, opportunity cost, Rag Mama Rag at Bildeston. A reluctance to travel out in the evening seems to be setting in. Bill finished reading The Golem of Paris, John & Jesse Kellerman.
10th March 2010: Sheila Will and Toby swim. Max's birthday lunch at The Unruly Pig, very enjoyable, eighteen at the table, three generations of Sheila's family.
11th March 2019: Bill swim and catch up with John G. East Suffolk Morris practice, (1st half), a good turn out. A run through the programme.Bill left at half time, but the prospect of a morris trip to Cuba in December is tantalising! Holly has written a 'Mardles' article. THe Bill/Des/Glen project has a first practice in a couple of weeks. Will it fly, probably not without a lot of work and marketing, as we seem to be beyond the pale in terms of local 'folk', perhaps better described as not sufficiently clubbable in the right places.
12th March 2019: Bill finished reading 'Long Road to Mercy' by David Baldacci, new protagonist, same page turning world threatening plot lines. The new issue of FRoots is now published. Bill previously decided not to re-subscribe to the new improved, but less regular version of the magazine. He enjoys the Editor's box, Ranting and Reeling, Elizabeth Kinder and the reviews, which thankfully remain 'public access'. He admires Ian Anderson's achievement in reaching the 40th anniversary issue (next time). Having said that, the content is largely 'trade' biased to the folk music 'bizness'. This purports to value a heritage which is becoming increasingly translucent as a consequence of the compression applied by artists and agents for whom the 'tradition' as a regular element in the life of the 'common people' has become a cash cow. This is vociferously denied when raised, in that 'folk' in all of its forms comprises but a small part of the musical industry overall. That part however caters (largely) to a (relatively) affluent demographic, prepared to pay £11 a pop for FRoots and support an increasing raft of commercial agencies and enterprises tailored to its preferences. Enough to provide professional livings for a few while squeezing local folk clubs, and relegating 'music from here' into an irrelevence which now feeds commercial 'open mic' organisations whcih charge venues to provide a platform for artists to play for free upon. Rant over, (it is a good job we're not on twitter!) Off to make some music in the parlour, this shifts molecules at the far side of the universe regardless whether anybody is listening here. Fordham Session: nine players and support, (squeezed into the corridoor room by the kitchen as the pub was fairly busy). This group represent the greatest rabbithole risk for Bill, each of the group is extremely keen on exploring tunes, their derivation and variants., each from a different perspective, so a fascinating evening every time and some rabbits to run as homework. Lots of Irish tunes this time and discussion about 'The Professor', (James Morrison), and his contemporaries.
13th March 2019: Bill to chiropracter, Sheila swimming, then back to chasing the rabbits from last evening's session.
14th March 2019: Sheila working, Bill swimming. Trawling around to find Julia Gates' Waltz, found it in the obvious place on composer Pete Shaw's website in the 2015 Bourne Tunebook, (free download and all the session tunes you may need in a lifetime). WE see Pete regularly at Broadstairs where he runs workshops in all manner of folkie subjects, and Bill played music with him many years ago in a rather strangely comprised version of Trunkles, and asCajun was then all the rage with Pete, that is what was played! Tony Shevlin was promoting a songwriters 'In the round' featuring Scott Stillwell, visiting from Iowa via Nashville. THe other two songwriters were Tony himself and James Morgan. Worth supporting, but Bill only lasted an hour to the first comfort break. Reminded him why he prefers to slect rather than write songs. James guitar style stood out as English skilled, Scott's were the best of the songs, (largely because they eschewed the first person singular, object or subject and were in his national style). There were about forty people loving the evening, whooping each song. Great format,The Stables at The Halberd in Ipswich an excellent venue, just a bit samey/sludgy, as intended but ..... worth supporting and there may be more.
15th March 2019: Sheila yoga, Bill received a couple of CDs from Simon for Mardles review, look interesting. Bill turned up 'Red Prairie Dawn' and recorded and posted it as a Melnet Themeotm Slow Tune. Henley Folk Night: lots of friends and promised to be good in parts. We enjoyed catching up, hearing what people are playing. Outstanding set from 'Jenny', acapella well sung, best of the evening. Interesting to hear Pete G's new brace of Lowdens, (baritone and standard), and a well thought out set with Sarah. Tom and Annie closed with a set of crowd pleasers. Mike and Linda have invited us to play at Big Music Night in October. Bernie H is apparently working up his banjo skills with a view to joining Waxie's Dargle, (also heard the other side of the story of IanT's departure from the band). With the variety and socvial aspects of the evening this format worked better than the 'in the round' (see above), which promised more and delivered less.
16th March 2019: Bill knoodled on dobro tuned guitar in G, and slide in D. Struggling with steel grip for lap playing. Recorded and posted (FB only) a guitar version of Red Prairie Dawn. Listened to the CD's which Simon has sent, eaach excellent in distinctive ways and set apart from the 'bizness' 'industry' approach to traditional music the prevalence of which is often disparaged on this page.Thought about going to see 'The Great Craic' at the Duke of York, but then.... pub rock with a celtic twist, a market pleaser, (it works though).
17th March 2019: Sheila swim. Bill finished (re-)reading 'Buried' by Jussi Adler Olsen, rough drafted one of the Mardles CD reviews, played music. Woolpack session, we arrived early and the chaos built around us. Two fresh guitar rockers, (total now four), so folk repertoire now includes Hotel California, Psychokillers, Ace of Spades, Mercedes Benz. Great crowd pleasers, and Roy happy to have a boistrous night. The session is also promised another six piece shanty group, (one such already and three other singers whose preference is for shanty may make the evenings rather sturdy on that front). Good to see Pete from the old (1990's) Golden Key session when we were much younger, but are apparently still recognisable. Hopefully with St Paddy's over the evening will settle but if the mayhem prevails this one will probably be off the regular list!
18th March 2019:Bill swim and catch up with John G, (who is delighted to have sold a couple of box sets of his CD's this week). Bill has succombed to the dark side and bought a ticket to Daoiri Farrell's Blaxhall VH 'session'. It would be better if he was appearing at a local folk club etc etc.but worth even the premium ticket price, and we suppose that attendance can only inform his personal views about the 'sessions'. Lates edition of the MU magazine arrived, one of Bill's very few memberships. East Suffolk Morris practice, into the last four sessions. Bill left at half time, had enough, perhaps less assertive than circumstances demand.
19th March 2019: Bill composed a brief intro for Holly's appearance at HFC later in the year, (Holly is in Ireland with limited connectivity it seems). U3A at Hasketon Turks Head: an enjoyable afternoon, looked packed but we got around into a second circuit. Some positive feedback to our contributions. Rob confirmed that he is not taken with BotH, so no booking likely on that front, (Richard likes us). Not convinced we get a fair listen in some quarters but hey ho. We watched 'Arcadia', the film, on BBC i player. THere have been local screenings so some people will have already seen it, but if not catch it while you can, lots of BFI archive footage of folk/sword,furry/horn dancers and English traditions and folklore cut into a multi latered narrative with an excellent soundtrack.
20th March 2019: Bill finished reading 'Natural History' by Juan Perucho, a Catalan vampire period novella written in 1960 by and author banned by Franco, (the subtext of this story lends an understanding why! Had thought to get to Blaxhall Ship session, but .....
21st March 2019: Both swam at respective pools. Bill's hayfever has descended with avengance, three months of feeling grot in prospect. Bill submitted the Mardles reviews to Simon. Received another set of fingerpicks, (metal open style) which seem to be as comfortable and the best option discovered so far to rest the attrition of steel strings on fingernails. We had thought to go and see David Benedict's band at Lowestoft Seagul Theatre, but Sheila had already driven to Laxfield with Max to pick up hus guitar from Colin, and bill coughing a spluttering, a pity. Dave is a world class mandolin player. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill brushing up some slide pieces.
22nd March 2019: Bill finished reading 'Cold Case' by Quintin Jardine, excellent procedural. The reviews are published and seem to fit stylistically with other contributions.
23rd March 2019: Bill finished reading 'Past Tense' by Lee Child, a one day gobble. Sheila gardening. Bluegrass at White Horse Tattingstone: a regular anuual event for the 'session' as we are asked to play for the caravanners camping weekend at the site. Great fun, fourteen players, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, bull bass and autoharp with a mix of bluegrass and old time music. Also good to have almost all of the people with whom I joined the session together with newer members. Next stop the final Orwell Bluegrass Festiva, coming up fast on the inside lane.
24th March 2019: We popped up to Friday Street CBS, sunny day and in full swing, bumped into Alvar and Jean. On to Aldeburgh for a coffee and walk around. Bill hay fever very incommoding, and with a sunny week in prospect unlikely to ease.
25th March 2019: Sheila swim, Bil/Sheila had a brief tune session then Bill Swim and catch up with John G. Glen/Des/Bill practice, went really well although Bill croaking feebly throughout. Musically differs from most local offerings and could be a runner. Another practice in April and the knotty issue of nomenclature and we should be good to go, pubs/clubs etc from May onward. Bass/Drums(lite)/Guitar & slide guitar playing folk/blues and any good songs which catch our interest. Also great how having other people interpreting a song together with you can transform it.
26th March 2019:Bill sorted audio from the practice, (topped and tailed), and shared on, then basically callapsed for the day. Sheila swimming then working.
27th March 2019: Sheila to London , Bill still in a tsate of bronchitic callapse from hay fever, certainly no voice and precious little breath. Laurel asked for a couple of copies of the Chipolate 5 CD Skinless so sorted that out and posted it. Some minor knoodling but a quiet day.
28th March 2019:Sheila working, Bill managed a tramp around Woodbridge and a (mini) swim. Holly to tea, the Arbor House gig went very well, and she has enjoyed a week in Ireland with friends. Working hard at making a go of the music and developing new skills. Message from Mary D asking us to play a floor spot tomorrow, (30th), we agreed despite hay fever and impending cold!. We had a quick think, but haven't really maintained our songs of late.
29th March 2019: a quick practice, Sheila to Yoga, another practice. Everyman Folk Club: Flossie Malavialle & Keith Donnelly:split the first set between them as solo artists. Flossie without time to get into stride, basicaly played 'covers' to 'open mic' standard, and Keith D with a workingmen's club comedy act which failed to impress.So far disappointing, but in the second half, (discounting the gags), a transformation with great material, excellent guitar playing by Keith and Flossie freed from accompanying herself able to stretch her singing of original material which was very good. So, glad we didn't leave at half time. Floor support was of a pretty high standard, (we played 'Memories of Eat Texas', and 'Home is Where the Heart is'), good feedback.
30th March 2019: Halesworth Fifth Day of Dance: a very good turnout of dance sides, and glorious weather in stark contrast to last year. THe opening massed dance at the Market Square as chaotic as in previous years as muddled starts and dance lengths confused the musicians, and an inadequate 'PA' contributed to good humoured melange. Bill caught up with lots of dance and music friends, and managed to record a few dances. Snippets: interesting to see Mike B has joined as a musician with Oxblood Molly, great to see Chelmsford Morris again presenting a male dance side, and up to the standard remembered of old. Good to see Leading Lights Morris carrying the banner or Dovercourt and the former 'Harwich Morris'. The programme says formed in 2012 but I suspect not dancing in present mixed format for that period. Some interesting dances rarely seen performed, and danced well. Chelmsford Ladies carried the NW Morris crown, (again), both in terms of dance and music. Misfit and Ouse Washes flew the Molly Dance flag to great effect, and with sensitive accompaniment, (drum free). Border sides provided colour and noise, Bill missed seeing Kenninghall at a dance spot but from what he saw in passing they carried the day in this tradition. We'll see if the videos hold up, but that is a week's work so don't hold your breath, (behind Holly's Arbor House gig and finishing up on some other recordings. A very tiring day either as participant or observer. (We are kn**ck**ed). Bill hoped that Rowan might make it down for a coffee but it didn't happen despite some communication that it might. PS best dance of the day: a flatfooter dancing within the limits of a drain cover to some excellent clawhammer banjo. (Bill gave them contact details in case they want to join with the local group in prospect, (which apparently may now not be!) Most enjoyable conversation of the day with John, who reviewed his eighty six years from meeting his wife when she was 15 and he 23, and reflecting on the changes in Halesworth through the decades.
31st March 2019: PhilW had provisionally arranged to pop across and play some tunes, but unconfirmed and didn't happen which left video processing time. By the end of the day about half way through. Photographs present a static image whether of costume or dance and can be composed in a way that video never can. Video is warts and all in its unprocessed form and with Bill's 'box brownie' level of technology composition is on the fly and a fixed focus low res camera married to a high spec studio microphone in a small unobtrusive form can be quite a powerful tool however blunt, particularly for freestyle street performance. We gave the Duke of York session a miss, Bill coughing and spluttering again having mowed the lawn!
1st April 2019:Rabbits. Bill swim, then watched the newly minted programme on BBC4, notionaly about the Morris Ring's decision to amend its constitution and admit woman dancers. As a 'medium insider', a fascinating glimpse into the argument and its main proponents. Bill had previously been unaware of the story surrounding Paul and Marion Reece's move to the South West, or the small town vitriol which had been engaged. His personal view is live and let live, but his preference as regards Morris dancing is to be a member of a male side, although happy to play as sub if asked by any 'configuration' in difficulty pro tem. The BBC film began to explore a number of themes surrounding morris, its form and history. These are unlikely to be pursued while the part of English culture that bears tradition remains peripheral to the life and interests of the main part of the population, and therefore so minority an interest that this is probably the most coverage allowable this decade.East Suffolk Morris practice:interesting to compare this group of gentlemen 'of age' meeting in a community hall with those presented in the BBC4 programme, (Manchester/Plymouth/Thaxsted/Moulton). A large part of the first part of the local evening was spent 'polishing' a single move in one dance, business was brisk, Bill didn't remain for the second part of the evening. Coughed and spluttered off into the night!
2nd April 2019: Bill finished reading' Death at the Clos du Lac' by Adrian Magson, a Gallic police procedural. Well plotted and written.U3A Folk Music Group: Washbrook: The Brook. We were in two minds whether we felt up to this but an enjoyable afternoon ensued, Sheila sang 'April Morning', Bill couldn't sing, but managed to remember enough of Anji to fill his slot. Melodeon.Net TotM Bill recorded and posted a version of the Dorset Four Hand Reel on a C fourstop single row. Some lovely feedback and questions, so doubled his usual engagement with a thank you and response to those! Holly has bought a travel guitar with a view to spreading her wings internationally sometime soon, and is polishing up a song to submit to the Milkmaid Song Competition.
3rd April 2019: Sheila has booked us into 'Private Lives' at Red Rose Chain on Saturday, and we have decided to forgo the HFAC French Evening on Friday, (which will be packed anyway), and go to see Sofie Reed at the Blue Boar in Maldon that evening. (Sorry Simon & Val). Shottisham Session: a dozen players, (no passengers) and wall to wall tunes all evening. A good'un.
4th April 2019: Bill swim and has started posting videos from Halesworth Day of Dance on the FB pages of sides where accessible, and/or the DoD Fb from where they can share them on, (hopefully). Sheila preparing for her trip away next week. Meanwhile Grateful Dead concerts from the early 1970's stream in the background, excellent soundboard mixes. Effectively confirm Jerry Garcia's response when asked why he stopped playing bluegrass, that he never had. Fantastic sound quality and a massive extension to the live recordings released at the time.
5th April 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Black Monastery' by Stav Sherez, (Enid Blyton on steroids but a 'good enough' ripping yarn!) Bill posted the balance of his Halesworth videos to the Day of Dance FB, maybe one to come, as yet uncertain. Some positive feedback and thanks.We went to Maldon and had a tramp around discovering that we had the time for the Sofie Reed gig wrong, (we are still convinced the advert said 7pm for 8 oclock start, as was our neighbour at the show). Had a pub meal at the Queen's Head and wandered back. Sofie hails originally from Sweden but moved to the USA at age 18 to follow her artistic dream and has lived there since then. (Bio is on her website). A unique blend of skills and a dynamic personality made for an excellent concert. Accompanying herself on resophonic appalachian/mountain dulcimer, lap steel guitar, harmonica and boombox and with a range of material from Joni Mitchell to trad blues and gospel, certainly worth the mileage and a late night.Our neughbour 'in the row' is an international businessman who plays clawhammer guitar and had been attracted by the mountain dulcimer. He had not expected a blues gig but was content nonetheless as he enjoys that music also. Some wide ranging and fascinating conversation in the breaks. Sofie was obviously familiar to the 'Blues at the Barns' crowd (from a tour in 2010), and played a couple of harmonica duets with Tim Aves, the organiser for the evening. (The 'Blues at a Barns' day looks to be good value and a great day out, May 5th). Hadleigh FAC FB page illustrates that the 'French' Evening went well, (we would not have been missed). Pragmatically, we are content that we made the correct call!
6th April 2019:Bill posted a FB video of Sofie Reed, (sepia series), shared with Tim Aves who was pleased to receive a souveneir. Red Rose Chain: Private Lives: ages since we saw a play. This was well presented in the round, enacted at pace, and Bill wondered whether some of the more complex lines were lost in gabble, Sheila was content with the pace. Last evening tonight and there may still be tickets available! Bill discovered 'down by the river to pray' sits very nicely on slide guitar and more fun than standard rendition.
7th April 2019: East Suffolk Morris Men at Jimmy's Farm Spring Fayre: pretty wet for the first two stands, clearing for the third and sunny as we left. Free entry and lambs so a family occasion with lots of posh stallholders touting their wares. A pretty good turnout and show, although Bill has the sense that ESMM's dancing is getting faster as the men age, (easier to dance morris fast and low than slow and aerial!) Phil W reported that the HFAC French Weekend was a great success and well supported. Bill performed running repairs on the bellows of the 'street' 4stopG upon return, a couple of pieces of bellows tape/refixing bellows corners and a new gasket on one end. Usual low quality workmanship but hey ho! So far failing to upload video to ESMM FB page, the process seems to have been changed overnight! Uploaded, very slowly. Woolpack Session:ok, Sailing songs abounded, but socially enjoyable. Billès voice managed a few choruses so maybe on the mend. Lots of HQ photographs uploaded to the Halesworth DofD FB page. A reason to dress colourfully, quality of dance regardless in some instances. Some of the scruffiest/most traditionally dressed sides present the best in dance, (some don't), the contrary is also true. Video is less forgiving, only the souveneir of the opening dances made the YT cut this year, and as a record only.
8th April 2019:Sheila preparing for her Carribean adventure, Bill knoodling on guitar. Posted Paul Cowley video to FB. East Suffolk Morris practice, a good turnout and some good dancing. Interesting tunes and a variety of styles within the Cotswold Morris form. Fordham Session: enjoyable but a bit 'notey' in places. Bill came away about 10pm.
9th April 2019: Sheila has arrived safely in Montego Bay. Bill swim, posted Fishers Hornpipe as Theme of the Month. Sent Holly family history information she had requested and processed a few videos. Watered Sheila's plant in the greenhouse.
10th April 2019:Bill to Car Boot. Processed some video from Holly's Arbor House show, very good.Practice for band: Glen Des Bill went very well, working title 'Three Men in a Shed', or more simply 'Sh3♂ed'. Meeting again in a week and should be good to go with demo disc and setlists within a month. Bill may be a grandfather again by tomorrow.
11th April 2019: Bill set up FB page for Sh3♂ed and processed the practice video/audio. Also continued with Holly's Arbor House recordings. Jasmine was born around tea time. A long labour and the family will need time and space once free to recover.
12th April 2019: Bill popped to town, picked up a 'blues harmonica' book and a pair of jeans. Blaxhall Session: Daoiri Farrell an excellent musician and generic singer of Irish songs in the post 1970's style. Bill had enough after ten minutes but survived the first set before coming home. A hot hall full to capacity probably contributed to a low patience threshold, and this is apparently normal. The second set of dates is now fixed so that Alan Bearman and FolkEast must be happy, Bill will return to his first principle of supporting local folk clubs and acoustic music in social settings leaving 'bizness' to its own devices and particular market. Received invitation to a house session to celebrate a couple of birthdays tomorrow evening: not sure if intended to be listed but sounds like fun...Happy Birthday Kelly & Nigel.
13th April 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Blind Man of Seville' by Robert Wilson, simply excellent. Jasmine should be heading home from hospital sometime today. Bill finished processing Holly's Arbor House gig video. Humbling to see her connect with an audience who are enthusiastic and responsive. Lessons to learn, 'the child is.....'
14th April 2019: Knoodling. Running through some of the Sh3♂ed songs. Updated the list from previous practices. Holly came to tea. Lots of plans in prospect. She had a listen to the practice tapes and kindly agreed that there is a market. An invitation to meet Jasmine has arrived. Opportunity cost: Chorus Cup at Blaxhall Ship. The event has never captured the essence of its origins at Felixstowe Folk Weekend where it provided a light event in which participating groups and one off combinations could enjoy a cheery r&r in competition. As a stand alone event it has a 'precious' feel.(PS 16/4 just seen winners with medal, QED). People still enjoy the event and perhaps it retains a value, but nothing like the original.
15th April 2019: Bill met Jasmine Emily for the first time. A memorable moment. Coincided with a midwife visit. Nat's midwife knows Mary LeMay who was the midwife to each of Bill's children, and also Richard Cove, as her children were roughly contempory with Bill's at Clifford Road Primary and Copleston High schools. East Suffolk Morris Men: Chiltern Meadows Care Home Stowmarket and the Shepherd and Dog. We acquired an enrthusiastic additional dancer at the care home. The Shepherd and Dog is nearby but not really a 'morris' stop. A very successful food pub but little local interest. Congratulations to Mick and Sue on the occasion of their 40th Wedding Anniversary. It seems that a couple of tunes which Bill regards as nemesis are now regular repertoire - more practice needed.
16th April 2019:Bill swim and tramp around Woodbridge. Discovered a YT audio post of a lengthy conversation in which Tony Rice expounds at length about his career, approach to music, other players, and life in general. This also contains some wonderful grumpy moments. Bluegrass afficiaonados will find this essential listening, but it imparts great advice for any musician whatever their genre, particularly on loudness and dynamics. (YT 'As Tony Sees It- A conversation with Tony Rice'). Posted on 9th April, over 14000 views so far, pretty good for a recording of a phone call! Des is suggesting that Sh3♂ed play at a local ' open mic' evening as a part of tomorrow's scheduled practice, nothing to lose although not our intended outlet. John G & Jo have sent set lists across for the BotH first gig of the year at Woodbridge on Sunday. Not Bill's favourite outing as Chris C insists that we are not amplified in a large noisy hall. Audible music apparently interferes with the 'therapist's emanations!' We have a keen regular audience who come and sit close to us, and those who can hear seem to enjoy what we do. In that regard worthwhile. Thought about going to the Bluegrass session at Little Bentley but decided that was a step too far. Had a practice on the dobro standing with a strap in case that may be required tomorrow. Finished reading 'The Stranger Diaries' by Elly Griffiths, an exercise to create a gothic novel.
17th April 2019: syncronicity, bumped into Louise R at the local shops and she came back for a cuppa and catch up. Today's musical discovery, Joe K. Walsh mandolin/guitar US roots. A great player. Sh3♂ed practice. we popped up the road from the shed to Bedfield Crown where a participatory music evening had been advertised, giving ourselves a run out on how some of our set will be received. A smashing pub which turns out to be the local for Paul B, regional rep and MU troubleshooter. He and bill had a bit of a catch up. The evening turned out to be something of a guitarists' circle with some magnificent instruments on display, (Fylde parlour and mandola, Rob Armstrong, Martin...), and some good players too, although it was a bit 'SOBWG' most of the time. A number of fat songfiles and a couple of i-pads were in evidence, (about which Bill's feelings are well documented).We arrived at about 8 and contributed five songs before driving home through dense fog at about 10.45. Bill's views on 'Round the Room' evenings are also well documented, so keeping patience and staying the course was something of a challenge for him. There were a few worthwhile contributions during the evening, though in normal circumstances Bill's instruments would have stayed in the car for a brief period prior to fleeing the locus. One member of the circle runs alternate open mic evenings at Blaxhall Ship and was keen that we give that a try, (although only a single two song set might be on offer, 'you might get a gig'). Des's networking elicited that we may be invited to play at Bedfield as a 'booking' if we return to future similar evenings in the future. A space to watch?
18th April 2019: the video from Bedfield came out fairly well, the Sh3♂ed FB and videos seem to be developing a style already, updated the FB page and posted a song. No response, only a few views. The YT channel now has 401 subscribers, a gnatbite in relative terms but nice to have that mane people sufficiently interested in whet we do to have it delivered to their inbox. Bill went for a short but exhausting cycle ride, (pollen levels very high). Thought about popping to the D of Y Blues Jam but had an evening in, instead.
19th April 2019: Sheila due to land about 9 am, safely home by 3pm. Bill early swim at Woodbridge.Finished readingBroken Ground by Val McDermid. Quick run through for BotH on Sunday. The first CD beginning to sound tired and in need of a re-mix, not easy as recorded in 'live' situation. Andrew C asking about fingering for parts of Banish Misfortune on a CG concertina. Interesting to work out even though Bill diesn't play 'Irish' style but would use a GD
20th April 2019 Sheila 'de-lagging', Bill finished reading 'The Fallen' by David Baldacci.
21st April 2019:Bill to Woodbridge where BotH playing at a Life Arts MBS fayre. A good turn out on a glorious Easter Day. A six piece band including Sarah and Dave on percussion. Went very well, two sets of 20+ minutes. Great to play the Bards material again, stuff wot is properly arranged and presents a challenge to deliver as a band.
Woolpack Session:front bar, a gathering of about a dozen which felt smaller. Random but enjoyable.
22nd April 2019: Popped to Felixstowe for a walk from the beacon to the ferry and back. enjoyable as sea air alleviates Bill's hay fever symptoms. Bill's current w.i.p is Sligo Reel played as a hornpipe, (Mel/Con/Gtr). Listening to lots of Grateful Dead concerts recently uploaded in excellent quality. Some excellent playing.
23rd April 2019: Happy birthday Derek. Bill went swimming at Woodbridge, (no answer from JG), and Bill & Sheila walked Beacon to Ferry and back in the afternoon. RD House session, very enjoyable, seven around a table sharing tunes, always some new discoveries and limits to be tested. Bill finished reading 'Zone of INterest' by Martin Amis. Not usually an author with a readable style but here he makes an exception. well researched and constructed.
24th April 2019: A quiet day. In the evening we had a run through a few songs, we are a bit rusty on the Bill/Sheila sets for lack of an opportunity to play out, a lot of our arrangements have been filched by other players anyway, to which our response is to perhaps feel flattered, (rather than miffed), and expand the repertoire . The opportunities to perform are there for the hustlers and hectorers but that has never been our wont. 'Round the Room' sessions and 'open mic's' can be deathly, although I suspect that may be the route for Sh3♂ed in the first instance. Offers to play in any guise welcomed, (contact through Des for Sh3♂ed, see the FB page).
25th April 2019: Sheila working, Bill had a short swim at Woodbridge. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill went out to the Steamboat session with his usual good intentions, and also as usual there was no parking within walking distance of the pub, so came home. One parking ticket is enough!
26th April 2019: Bill spent the afternoon knoodling on the 'to do' tune list. Everyman Folk Club: Dipper Malkin: Floor singers and then the main act: virtuoso musicianship and a very enjoyable couple of sets. Bill could have lived without the Terry Riley references and early Billy Bragg, and would have preferredthe evening to have been played acoustically. Nice electric guitars well played, but out of context, and a compromise. As a duo the sound must be agreed, just overworked at times. An interesting conversation with Keith who it seems has read my references to the folk 'bizness' in a completely different way to that which was intended. We compared notes on our approach to playing, K enjoys around the room evenings where individual party pieces are showcased, cf Bill's view expressed above. Great to see Priss F and catch up, and that Des/Ruth and Phil / Lucy came along. Des has agreed to be primary contact point for Sh3♂ed. Time to get some cards printed. Hollyt playing on Barge Victor this evening, and has a wild card entry in the final of the Everyman song competition, (she was runner up in her heat).
27th April 2019: Happy Birthday Rowan. Bill finished reading 'The Silent and the Damned' by Robert Wilson. An excellent read. Lots of musical options eschewed this evening, including Holly's wild card entry in the Milkmaid Songwriting final, (not a winner).
28th April 2019: a Bill/Sheila song practice, Bill spent most of the afternoon knoodling, looking at Melnet options for this month. Duke of York Folk evening: well attended and lively. The 'Rum Owd Boys' (Shanty Crew turned up). A bit shouty but reasonably rehearsed. We hope Steve can make a go of the D of Y, at the moment it seems to be a day by day process, and he seems to be trying to run on earnings rather than debt, and is presenting as a music pub as far as he is able to. Seems to quite enjoy the folk evening. A 'no cost' filled bar at least.
29th April 2019:We both swam at respective pools. John G in good form. Holly has 'holed' her babinga guitar-oops, off to the guitar hospital next week. (She is playing Kirton Moot on Wednesday (1st May). Pop along and support from 8pm, intimate and unplugged, (new CD available). East Suffolk Morris Men: Bramford Cock a village pub that is obviously appreciated and used by the local community who turned out in fair force to see the morris. For our part a good show, music very enjoyable to be a part of and dancing well up to snuff. A pleasant singalong later in the bar.
30th April 2019: notice that JG has now christened Brenda's band 'Bardfolk', which puts Bill a step closer to separating from the brand. U3A Shepherd & Dog Hollesley: an excellent afternoon with quality contributions all round. Bluegrass at Tattingstone White Horse an enjoyable evening, four banjos, autogarp, two guitars, mandolin, fiddle. Laid back and friendly. Bill enjoyed finding his flatpicking chops aren't too rusty! Bill finished reading 'The Scarred Woman' by Jussi Adler Olsen, excellent.
1st May 2019: Rabbits: We did not rise early to meet the May at dawn. Bill recorded the Melnet Tune of the Month. Holly came round for a cuppa and chat. So far so good, some very interesting projects in the pipeline, and worthwhile playing engagements. She is playing at Kirton this evening. Wayward Session: Shottisham: we arrived and were advised that the pub was not available for the session, but that we could play in the 'pizza shed', (wood building, tim roof, no heating). The pub, having been rescued by the community, has now sold a lease to a business operator who is rebranding it as an eatery. Apparently some people have preferred to book at a time when there is no music, (ignoring that some have told us that they book for the music). Bill was a passenger on this evening or would have been home within minutes. As things transpired a dozen musicians played in the shed until about 11pm (the pub being deserted from about 9pm), but agreed that this is not an ideal space, and that we are clearly no longer welcome at this venue. Lots of threads to unpick in there. As a relevant aside: the reason that the Butley Oyster session has move to a Thursday is that they all arrived last month to find the pub closed! We might have taken the hint but those musicians are obviously thicker skinned or made of sterner stuff! Watch this space!
2nd May 2019: Sheila working then swim, Bill to Woodbridge , then swim. Bill recorded and uploaded Melnet Theme of the month video, CAve's Capers, a morris jig tune derived from Michael Praetorius' Courante. Started looking at 'Vigilante Man' on slide guitar. No Pretty Grim practice as they are off to Rochester tomorrow, (Sheila giving that a miss).
3rd May 2019: Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Val & Simon opened with a couple of enjoyable tune sets, followed by Steve who had blagged a couple of songs which were 'old school' and fine, (He does that at Everyman also).The balance of the first half and featured guest served to remind Bill why he has hitherto declined to step into the pool of SOBWG's (look it up on Terence Blacker's YT), who are numerously competitive in seeking venues to play trophy guitars in various combinations, and taking themselves altogether too seriously. Nonetheless that is the pool into which Sh♂ed seemingly seeks to step! Fortunately Dick Miles redeemed the evening with an engaging and intimate set of well known songs, beautifully sung and accompanied, and with which people immediately felt able and inclined to participate in chorus, and verse if known. No cajoling necessary. Fantastic stagecraft, (seemed effortless), and saved the evening. (We had almost given up at half time).
4th May 2019: Bill finished reading 'I Know a Secret' by Tess Gerritson, soap opera police procedural structured for TV. Ashley and Nat popped in with Jasmine for a visit and cuppa.Holly editing video on elderly computer and struggling so Bill as helpdesk. Laurel at Sweeps with her family, all getting wet and cold on a blustery day. Perhaps just as well we didn't camp there for the weekend, a bit grim.
5th May 2019: Bill picking on a couple of 'new ' Michael Praetorius tunes. In a lot of ways more intesting than O'Carolan. Holly was playing at the Ipswich May Fair at Alexandra Park this year. The acoustic stage was out of sight, but not earshot, of the heavy metal mainstage, but she managed a very effective set and made new friends of all ages. This event always seems to be teetering on the brink of viability, and a cold blustery day didn't help. Teresa MacKay has kept it going on a wing and a prayer for years and it has personal significance for her. Probably needs a radical re-think, or an acknowledgement that it has had its time. Bill and Sheila played the Acoustic Stage a couple of times back in the day. It is now part of the Amy (Wragg) Soapbox Empire, hopefully now embracing Holly's work. We didn't make the Percy Webb Cup at Blaxhall Ship, simply not clear in time. Woolpack Session a rumbustuous evening well supported by an enthusiastic and participative audience.
6th May 2019: probably just as well we didn't make Blaxhall! Twenty two entries with a predictable outcome. Good that the evening was well supported but...... East Suffolk Morris regular annual outings to Naughton Village Fete and Mendlesham Street Fair. We managed a couple of dances at Barking Hall Care Home in between those spots. Some excellent dancing. In form the premier Morris side in Suffolk, of less than half a dozen sides dancing 'Morris' in the county!
7th May 2019: Sheila working and to Colchester, Bill swim and knoodling on new tunes. A quick joint tune/song session in the front room.
8th May 2019: Bob's house concerts are becoming popular with agents, (the players love them), another in prospect in November. Sheila working, Bill knoodling again.Bill & Sheila song practice. Bill finished reading 'The Hidden Assassins' by Robert Wilson, a heavy duty core to the 'Seville' quartet. Sh3♂ed practice, good fun. The cards are out for distribution so hopefully we'll get a bite sometime. At the moment workshopping and looking to build an audience so open to offers. Not quite sure how to describe the music. 'AnglAm'?
9th May 2019: Bill spent time processing video/audio from the Sh3♂ed prctice and posting a couple of demo vids. Struggling to share FB from page to timeline. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. Brian has offered, (reluctantly) to drive to Stanstead next week. Bill bit his hand off but not yet confirmed. Pre day for Orwell Bluegrass Festival: we usually receive an invitation to steward, but not forthcoming this year and as we only dip in and out, (stewarding aside), we'll probably give a miss. A pity as the last one and we have been there from year one but... time to move on. Sorry to miss John Reichsman.
10th May 2019: Bill visited the barber having 'lawnmowered' his own hair for a while. Good to catch up, (same barber over thirty years). Left a Sh3♂ed card as he is ents manager for the local conservative club, although he didn't vote last time and probably won't this time. Interesting listening to conversations while waiting in line. Sheila to Yoga. Weather looking mixed for Orwell BF. Not missing sitting in cold and rain to the usual suspects making a fairly generic noise, (with exceptions as a given). we imagine the loss of the FOATMAD tent and the weather together with a competitive festival taking place last week will have affected numbers. Started to link Sh3♂ed FB but struggling with settings, links not going through.
11th/12th May 2019: music lite, a few options missed, Martin McNeil at D of Y, Cromer Folk on the Pier etc. Nonetheless fingers ache from knoodling. New song possible 'Tall Buildings', a bit of a chestnut save for the old time community where ubiquitous! Bill finished reading "City of Shadows" by Michael Russell set in Ireland and Danzig in the Weimar years, feels pretty relevant to the current pan European situation and the seeming lack of concern about British personality based single issue political 'parties'!
13th May 2019: Both swam respectively. Bill starting to put bag together for East Suffolk Spring trip later in the week. Weather looks reasonable for the period that we are there. Interesting to read SimonH's interview with Alan Bearman on the Mardles website. East Suffolk Morris: Moon & Mushroom Swilland Mike G was giving 'morris' talk to a group at the pub so we danced a stand at the beginning before moving on to the Barley Mow. An appreciative audience and good fun. Barley Mow Witnesham less staisfactory, more men but a restricted dance space, and having been promised local support, that was playing bingo in the back bar disinterested in such traditional pursuits as may momentarily interrupt their gambling fever, and given a half hour wait before being able to play music (bingo again) we left, others stayed and may have had a good night.
14th May 2019:Bill posted videos from last evening's morris, (first spot). Holly took a couple of Bill's guitars to Colin F to fit HQ clear finger plates. The metal picks are a significant risk to bare wood. U3A The Railway Westerfield which has become a much nicer venue than the alternative up the road. Lovely space and very welcoming. Thank you. An enjoyable afternoon. Rob N may ask Sh3♂ed to play a Folkus interval spot next year. Short set and clash with Hadleigh FC are a -, large mixed audience is a +, MAybe simon H will also bear us in mind if a medium length set may be up for grabs? Fordham session: very enjoyable, chat about dahlias and tunes interspersed with a variety of shared musical explorations.
15th May 2019: Bill sorting kit for ESMM trip. Holly on the Leslie Dolphin show on Radio Suffolk promoting the forthcoming East Anglian Storytellers weekend. A useful slot included a song and a story, also plugs for Toadwoman gigs forthcoming. Opportunity cost: Blaxhall session: no mojo for it!
16th May 2019: each swam etc. Bill finalising packing for Morris trip to Bosnia/Croatia/Montenegro. Off early hours tomorrow, back Tuesday, so all will be quiet here for a bit. (We know that the technology is available but hopefully will be having too much fun to use it!)
17th - 21st May 2019 East Suffolk Morris Men: Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro: a very early start to catch a 6am flight from Stansted. Coach to Trebinje crossing EU border from Croatia, (border posts soon to become a familar experience closer to home perhaps). Settled into Hotel, a few dances and exploratory rambling, dinner in the Hotel. Day 2: We danced in Trebinje in the morning chipping and chopping with a local group of dancers then travelled to the Sisic family farm in Do, the coach could only get us so far. A garden seat and plastic chairs were put into the rear of an estate car and a couple of fairly hair raising trips tookus the rest of the way. A winery with a tourist experience including food, wine and spirits, dance music and song. On Sunday we crossed the baorder back into Croatia and visited Dubrovnik, perhaps the least enjoyable location because it is now a Game of Thrones 'theme park' with cruise ships daily feeding passengers and their money into a very small area which is gleefully making hay by doubling prices fro all goods and services. We were soaked by rain waiting for the coach which took about half an hour to cover 200 yards in a convoy of coaches at departure time. The best time to visit is probably when the cruisers have returened to their ships for tea! An excellent meal at the hotel. Monday we walked along the river with dance spots and local cafes then travelled to Nudo in Montenegro to visit another 'winery' fermenting fine wine which sells in restaurants for £75 a bottle and is not openly marketed. Another traditional meal with music, song and dance. This was a professional 'tourist' operation, and the cordiality occasionally felt strained. Early night and start in the morning forthe 10.15 flight from Dubrovnik, (border posts again). Simon Tarrant had arranged the trip brilliantly utilising the skills of Maja Skocajic and Tamara Sisic.,we also met Dino Zelenika, an orchid enthusiast and firend of Simon's currently resident in Bristol. Books read on tour, Lars Kepler 'The Sandman' (re-read), and Jonathon Holt, 'The Abomination'.
21st May 2019:upon arrival home , (thanks for the lift Brian), Bill confiremed he would be available to play for dance on the 25th at Framlingham, and within minutes had succombed to a virulant gastric bug presumably picked up during the holiday. Little sympathy from an overstretched bagman dealing with an aging morris side increasingly disinclined to commit and to turn out. Bill suggested to Mike G that we become a gentleman's club that occasionally dances, and gives up trying to be financially self sufficient. The bank holiday tour on 27th has a very limited number of committed men, most being elsewhere on holiday or family duty.
23rd/24th May 2019: that bug just won't go away. Bill read 'THe Hidden Man' by Charles Cumming.
25th May 2019: Bill dosed up and carrying spare clothes went to play for East Suffolk Morris at Framlingham Farmers Market. A select group, (see above) but a reasonable show of three stands. Bill enjoyed catching up with some former work colleagues and survived the experience despite being no less aflicted than on previous days.
26th May 2019 : about two thirds of the way through processing video from Bosnia, some very enjoyable as reminders, the edits will take twice as long! Bill finished reading 'The Ignorance
of Blood' the finale in the Javiere Falcon quartet by Robert Wilson,
excellent, with no narrative difficulty with a sail into the sunset
ending. (Quite a lot of blood spilt along the way). Graham and Nicky sent a round robin asking how we felt about the Shottisham session now taht we are seemingly less welcome and banished to the pizza shed. We each replied, and Graham seems to have misunderstood aspects of Bill's response but ce la vie. Not the first time. Noticed on FB Marketplace that a very nice D28 is for sale locally (again).
27th May 2019: Bill posted a video compiled from day 1 of the BiH trip. Simon H is sending a Na Mara CD to review for Mardles. It looks as though the Shottisham session this week will be sparsely attended.
28th May 2019: THe bug persists: Bill posted a Day 2 video, played some guitar/concertina and started work on the Melnet TotM. Opportunity cost: U3A session, (Sheila at meeting/Bill unwell), and Tattingstone White Horse Bluegrass, againa step too far although recent sessions have not been motivating.
29th May 2019:Bill edited and posted the last two videos from the ESMM Spring Trip, imperfect but adequate, (as in all things!) Worked on potential Melnet TotM, (fingers crossed). Two versions, inner and outer row which was an interesting exercise. The same but different, (as in most things). Some recordings but not up to snuff yet. Re-acquainted with guitar. Energy must be rising! The road to Shottisham is closed and there seemed to be a consensus even among the more forgiving to forgo the Wayward Session this month, (see 1st May entry). Defers a decision about whether we are among the forgiving. We have both enjoyed the company and the playing, but can understand that with some folk treating the space as a sandbox, (having not opened their instrument case from one week to the next or learnt the tunes), why the outcome occasionally tries the patience of the public! Bill's view is clear, but compromise may be a frustrating necessity.
30th May 2019: Sheila working. Bill made some reasonable recordings of the putative Melnet TotM, need sorting and editing but the raw material is there. Glad to be feeling better. Reg Meuross tomorrow and Anglo Day on Saturday, a proper and permissable sandpit! That is the point of the day beyond eating drinking and enjoying excellent company. As a light relief from all the morris Bill also recorded and posted a guitar video of a tune more usually played on the melodeon, (Flatworld). Bill finished reading 'The Abduction' by Jonathon Holt, the second instalment of the Carnivia trilogy. (Interesting and unsurprising that the worst conspiratorial excesses of the US government during WWII described therein are factual! Including that a pope was a CIA source/asset ).
31st May 2019: Sheila swam. We had a song run through in advance of Wednesday's Kirton outing, which will probably be an informal 'parlour' exercise given recent conflicting demands on our energy. Not a problem. There is a close runner for Melnet TotM so Bill's efforts while not in vain, a fantastic exercise, may be redundant. The other contender would be an easy win for beginners so has that advantage! The Na Mara CD has arrived. (Thank you Simon.) We have enjoyed seeing them live and they ran an excellent workshop at Broadstairs FW a few years ago. On a first listen this a a bit self regarding and worthy, (one for the luvvies) The review will be descriptive and neutral. Everyman Folk Club: Reg Meuross: an inspirational booking to have a well regarded English songwriter with an international reputation entertain acoustically at a local folk club.A terrific evening, Megan wisdom received the Percy Webb cup (won some days ago), Holly also sang from the floor. Reg was a delight, perhaps uncertain how he would be receieved in a fairly traditional club, he was thanking the audience for singing along and making the song sound as it should at one point. Great fun. Thank you Mary and Steve. We have already booked up for next year, which has a very strong programme. Holly is working at the East anglian storytelling Festival at elmswell this year. Taffy THoma has a new show and has asked Holly, and through her, Bill to contribute musically to the presentation. (Will be moments only probably but nice to be askedand should be fun).
1st June 2019: Sheila to Pretty Grim day practice, which went well. Bill to an anglo concertina day at Roger Digby's where ten players swapped tunes and ideas and enjoyed a shared lunch. Bill almost cried off, but had the most enjoyable day in a number of similar events. Particularly enjoyed Deborah's session on playing Irish tunes in D on a CG concertina. Conversation included that the Thaxted Day of Dance is down to two tour buses, (from about six in the heyday). Used to be a great day out, no idea why East Suffolk no longer go. The side is reputationally damaged, although it continues as a strong dance side.
2nd June 2019: Bill/Sheila song run through. BBQ in the afternoon for Joe, Sheila's son's birthday, meant we missed John and Lynn Ward at Blaxhall, (they will be there again). Woolpack session seemed a stretch too far, and is social rather than musical in general so no loss. Bill working on tune for Theme of the Month only to discover that DTN has presented an almost definitive version about six years ago, (almost?).
3rd June 2019: Sheila swim/Bill swim and catch up with JG. He says he will have Brenda and friends for the final Kirton Moot in July. Would have been an outing for Sh3♂ed but hey ho. Holly popped round in the afternoon with the guitars which Colin F has repaired. A wonderful invisible repair where Holly had crunched her main (Babinga) guitar, and a couple of scratchplates on Bill's guitars. (The metal fingerpicks pose a risk!). Holly is remaining in touch with Reg Meuross and more may come of that connection. We did some work on the Taffy Thomas music.Sh3♂ed practice. Great fun and sounding good. Glen was concerned that his limited availability may lead him to drop out, but then enjoyed the playing so much that he didn't follow through on that. He is absolutely the most enjoyable percussionist to play music with, coping with all sorts of rhythmic idiosynchrasies with ease. An excellent evening.
4th June 2019: Bill sorted video/audio from last evening's practice. We had a Bill/Sheila songthru ready for Kirton tomorrow. Bill decided to return the Na-Mara CD to Simon to re-allcate for review after a few attempts to compose something appropriate yet positive. Rarely lost for words but in this case uninspired. Bill finished reading 'Black Water Lilies' by Michel Bussi, hyped and contrived. Resolution by way of long explanatory ending, shouldn't be needed.
5th June 2019: Bill posted a couple of songs from Monday's Sh3♂ed practice and shared in the hope of perhaps a gig or two. We think we are ready, only time and opportunity will tell. Kirton Moot: Bill'nSheila informal and good fun to play a couple of extended hour long sets and chat with the audience, (about a dozen plus the bar).Always a friendly gig.
6th June 2019: Thank you to Simon for inviting us to sub as a floor spot at tomorrow's HFAC. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. She is not going to St Neots this weekend so will be available for Hadleigh and also the bluegrass session at Levington on Saturday.
7th June 2019: a run through of some songs from which to select for tonight's floor spot. Sheila to Yoga. R.I.P. Dr John, so soon after Leon Redbone.... Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: a very enjoyable evening, not for the quality of the music so much as this is probably the first time we can remember such a relaxed, good humoured evening throughout. We opened the evening, (Bergen, How Will I Ever be Simple Again, There's a Sunny Side), followed by Grasshopper, Ernie, Val and Simon, Tom & Annie and the main act, Sedbuskers. Having the main lights on was a good idea. An enjoyable musical evening.Richard Brazier took a Sh3♂ed card so maybe we will be asked to play at SlackFolk sometime. Ian from Sedbuskers gave positive feedback on the sound of the Stanford PSD guitar which is gratifying, the quality of sound from the front is always a mystery to the player.
8th June 2019: Bill finished reading 'You Were Gone' by Tim Weaver, a fairly recent episode in the David Laker series of novels, a rather non-credible yarn based on the protagonist's back story. Convoluted and unsatisfying, but it passed some 'pre-sleep' time! Bluegrass Pick: Levington Marina for a disabled sail charity: a good turnout and an enjoyable, (if tiring), evening. Three hours of hard flatpicking is a real upper body workout!. Catching up on missed 'news' as we haven't been plugged into this group of late.
9th June 2019: Bards of the Heath Maldon Museum of Power/Barleycorne Fayre late to stage as the previous band overplayed by 20 minutes, bound by our end time as the last act of the day with soundmen booked to time. Frustrating as it could have been a good outing. Mark Barnard joined us on djembe and blew some of the fairy dust he was smoking in John's direction, which made for some interesting variations from then on! The event was effectively a concert in a car park for about twenty people so whether it will run again....one of the stallholders had also come form Ipswich and was mightily disappointed in the event. Any competing gig local to Suffolk will trump it next year.
10th June 2019: Bill/Sheila swimming respectively. Bill knoodling on tunes from Simon and Val's first tunebook, accidentally played Stripper's Waltz with the same notes but in one #. It works brilliantly. W.i.P. Apparently there is a book 2... THe video from the Bards on Sunday is flawed as accidentally left in normal rather than low audio settings so radically overdriven. Bill gave morris a miss on a wet Monday evening. Bacton was one that he came home early from last year anyway. Holly came round asking that Bill tidy up the audio on some footage of her Toad Woman outing in Norwich last week. Mobile phone footage and poor audio to start with but improved with work. We also ran through the material Taffy Thomas has asked us to contribute to his East Anglian Story Telling Festival appearance. Noticed that Soap Box stage has also snafu'd he set up. Power in ubiquity, Amy SB has become an object of supplication with a significant amount of soft power in local entertainment circles.
11th June 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Traitor' by Jonathon Holt, the third novel in the Carnivia series. Excellent, and continues to expose the (true) US treatment of Italy as an outpost of a malificent empire, and the proven levels of organised corruption within the political powerbase. Yes, it is a conspiracy thriller but the truth is stranger and more outlandish than the fiction! Good to see that MidWeek Blues has found a new home at the Stables Bar at the Halberd from July 2019, (with the impending closure of the Duke of York). Bill recorded and posted both versions of Stripper's Waltz, (see yesterday). Fordham session: the morris month in memory of Bob and Barry who each danced with Colchester Morris and also supported the session. A couple of Colchester men came along in support. An enjoyable evening.
12th June 2019: this site has a problem in that the web addresses either fail to open as insecure, or divert to another address. Not local to my machine so presumably at host end. Has been reported. worst case scenario close the site down. Bill had a wander around Ipswich this morning. Not exciting.
13th June 2019:hopefully problem is fixed, it was at the other end it seems. Bill and Sheila each swam, Bill had a brief knoodle on guitars, the slide repertoire expands every time the instrument comes out of the cupboard. The five yearly NHS health check came around for Bill today, such as it is. More exercise and less bad fats indicated, and interesting to note a decrease in height! The nurse said she'll still be here when the next one comes around, Bill said he hopes to be also! Sheila gave Pretty Grim practice a miss.
14th June 2019:We had a tune up, and Bill tried some new songs on the slide guitar, (again), becoming the go to for creative expansion.Sheila gave Pretty Grim practice a miss. Bill finished reading Nocturnes by John Connolly, a collection of 'gothic' short stories. excellent.
15th June 2019: Clickety Click! Sheila at lunch with a friend. Bill and Holly providing Taffy Thomas with musical support at the East Anglian Storytellers Festival, Holly engaged throughout the weekend, telling, playing and interviewing storytellers. Taffy in excellent form, promoting a new book and looking forward to his 70th birthday later in the year. Sent best wishes to John G and spoke highly of Everyman Folk Club. W ehad a tune up with slide guitar and violin. Sheila looking for a new violin teacher, has an interesting prospect in mind.
16th June 2019:Father's day, Ashley's first. He Nat & 'Jaz' as she now appears to be called popped in for a cuppa. Knoodling pm. Woolpack Session:a curate's egg, mainly the usual usual but Roy's 'Vicar of Bray' was a delight, as was Gerry's rendition of 'Johnson Girls'. Generally eminds Bill why he visits Essex for musical stimulation, or simply a different repertoire and approach to social music making! Holly has posted some excellent photos from the East Anglian Storytelling Weekend.
17th June 2019: Sheila has mad an appointment with a new teacher, (one of whose interests is playing in a heavy metal group - Pretty Grim beware!) East Suffolk Morris: Sweffling White Horse: an enjoyable couple of stands and catch up. Great hospitality and a wonderful pub. Bill left before the sing song bingo session.
18th June 2019: Sh3♂ed practice tomorrow is cancelled/deferred for a couple of weeks. Leaves options, Blaxhall session/Midweek Blues. Back Porch at MWB tomorrow and at Tattingstone on Friday so we'll see. Working on (another) Beatles Song unpicked on a YT video.
19th June 2019: Some interesting musical knoodling in the afternoon. We popped into MidWeek Blues in town at its final appearance at the Duke of York before that venue closes. Interested in hearing the Back Porch Band, but disappointed that it has become a four square 'Chicago style' electric band, (excellent musicianship and arrangements), less interesting to see than Bill's recollection of a circle of players with a broad and eclectic repertoire. Keeps the customers satisfied and attracts festival gigs, so not all bad we suppose!
20th June 2019: Each swam. East Suffolk Morris Men: Bures: Suffolk Day An enjoyable evening celebrating Suffolk Day on the Essex side of the river at Bures. Almost rained off in the second set. Thank you to John C for coming down to say hello. Chris Dove is coming over from Spain and hopes to be at ESMM at The Cock Hadleigh in July. This was hi-jacked by Boudicca last year and the word is that they intend to repeat this. Bill didn't attend last year, would like to see Chris so probably a short visit in civvies!
21st June 2019:quiet day: we thought about Henley Folk Night then thought again. (Already given up on Back Porch at Tattingstone Beetroot & Blues. See above) (Subsequently learned it was good in parts, but that repeated lengthy unaccompamied ballads sharing the same tune were a strain at one point!)
22nd June 2019: Sheila to Saffron Walden, Bill to Oulton with Bards of the Heath. Not the best day to hold an indoor MBS at a remote location with blazing sunshine and a competing local beach festival! Nonetheless we felt welcomed. Pete had brought his PA and we played two extended (50 minute) sets which on listening back are pretty good given that 'rehearsal' dampens spontaneity, and that set lists arrive at a time proximate to the gig! It was a good show, and the day was gone. Bill came back through Wenhaston but Rowan was out, probably at a beach festival. (He is playing there tomorrow I think). Short tune up with Sheila in the evening.
23rd June 2019: Bill processing Bards video/audio from Oulton. On listening back pretty ropey in parts although retaining the BotH magic. Sheila to Woodbridge Regatta with Pretty Grim. Laurel, Faith and Seth popped in for a flying visit.
24th June 2019: Bill swim, catch up with JG. East Suffolk Morris: The Swan: Holbrook Good to see Alan Barker in the crowd of villagers watching in support, (he seemed pleased to be remembered). A good stand, even in the rain which started duriong the second stand. Sheila was with Pretty Grim at a dance out with Green Dragon Morris at which members of Boudicca were present and talking about dancing with ESMM in a couple of weeks. Last year the side was banjaxxed with the collusion of a pressurised Squire ! Watch this space, once might be an accident...
25th June 2019: the fan has blown on Bill's veteran computer so this is the vintage model in action pro tem. Bill popped into town and noticed a 12" vinyl of floor singers from Southampton Folk Club featuring Phil and Philippa Lyons, ( £3 at the RSPCA shop). Holly has received a tremendous review for her new CD, it is linked from her fb page. (The Mardles review copy seems to be m.i.a.) U3A: Newbourne Fox: a very hot muggy day with a very high pollen count. Bill suffering. Lots of folk turned out and we played in the garden, (Bill suffering badly). Holly is appearing on the Grapevine Stage at Ipswich Music Day on 7th July. The booking had been embargo'd but as it is now published in the July 'Grapevine', (with her name mis-spelt), is presumably public knowledge. Bluegrass at Tattingstone White Horse. An enjoyable evening in a small group playing tunes and songs together with a mutual respect for speed and complexity.
ESMM and Boudicca at Hadleigh: it transpires from private correspondence that the bagman was instructed in November 2018 to invite Boudicca to join them at this club night. This invitation has been unpublished within the side hitherto . Bill has enjoyed ESMM as a refuge from the antics of the 'happy clappy' wing of street dance. That may now be an illusory respite as more such seek 'validity by association' with the more established/traditional side. The lead has been taken, the response must be individual.
26th June 2019: a peculiar irony with 'The Rogue Shanty Boys' celebrating Suffolk Day, and in particular the collection of archives, with a display in Ipswich by musicians from the Waveney area. (See FB). Excellent and looks to have been a good show. Ironic that the centralisation of the Archives in Ipswich and closure of the Waveney resource have recently been a matter for lively debate. Also unclear why ESMM are invited to celebrate Suffolk Day on the Essex side of Bures, and Waveney extends to the County Town. Puzzled. Now back on the 'veteran' computer having managed to change the fan with the aid of Sheila and a young person. THe new fan is 'used' I just realise so watch this space but it certainly works! Woolpack: The Nigel Virley Trio: Bill was at primary school with Nigel and proximate to his teenage band years. It was good to renew aquaintance after 50+years. A world of musical difference, (graduate and post grad music cf self taught hobbyist), but music remains a link, as it does with most of Bill's longstanding friends. We also bumped into a couple who are maintaining Des's JazzJam, now located at the Inkerman, where where even professional musicians are said to be wary to join in, because it is jazz.
27th June 2019: Both swam. New books for Bill's bedside: 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' Hubert Selby Jnr, 'The Deadly Emcee Scrolls' by Saul Williams with some brilliant music related poetry, 'Teachings of the Sikh Gurus', which is also heavily poetry based. Recently Bill received an observation that this diary should be inverted so that the final entry is the first seen. Perhaps next year, but there is probably an easy keystroke available. A young person may be asked! Steamboat Session: no Pretty Grim practice so Sheila came along and we sang a couple of songs and joined in with some tunes. Mim was in the chair and about ten people turned up with a mix of instruments, three guitarists, (Bill comfortable at the bottom of the pecking order!) The refurbished pub offered playing space set aside from the main area but in a corridor between loos, kitchen and eating. Some through traffic, and other customers didn't realise we were there so loud conversations intruded. The speakers were muted for our area but the remainder were audible. Some enjoyable contributions but this is not a cohesive group so a number of silences, and proboably not the best of evenings out, (still better than at home with the TV, by a small margin).
28th June 2019: ESMM:Sidegate Lane Primary School invited us back to teach morris at the school's arts festival so Bill , Mike G Steve, Pete and Ian, (the regular team) turned out. It was an excellent morning, with enthusiastic groups of children, some of whom had been to these sessions before. They remembered the learning from previous years and could now try more complicated steps/moves. Mike G excellent as a teacher (for all ages). One of Bill's favourite morris outings of the year, (again). Bill finished reading 'The Living and the Dead in Winsford' by Hakan Nesser. A short story stretched beyond desirable limits, more a structural exercise than narrative.
29th June 2019: Needham CBS, Ash,NAt and Jasmine came round for a cuppa. Sheila's camper-van passed it's MoT so good for another season. Bill working on a number of pieces but in particular the likely TotM for July, a Gilles Chabenat tune. Difficult to make Hohners sound French, and most of Bill's attempts at French tunes are distinctly 'Franglais', but he tries! Sheila is off to Leigh with Pretty Grim tomorrow. Bill probably along for the ride. We have only been once and it seems to have grown like topsy since that time!
30th June 2019: Leigh Folk Festival: a glorious sunny day for this event. Seemingly an excuse for a significant proportion of the South Essex population to 'indulge' with a few stages hosting a range of music. A very tasty electric blues band held an audence while Vicky Swann and Johnny Dyer seemed to be struggling to play for an audience which was intrigued but seemingly disinterested, as their conversations were louder than the P.A.! A couple of other 'star' acts apart, the day is a showcase for local musicians who seem to appear on a regular annual basis. It is hard to assess dance teams performing in extreme heat. Bill wondered on today's showing whether Sheringham Potty Festival might be a disappointment next week. Having watched local sides over decades, their glory days are rarely revisited, and some of the modern street theatricals take very little from any tradition, however are colourful. The most enjoyable dancing of the day was provided by community groups displaying Flamenco, Baltic, Indian and a wide range of styles of dance. This was also about the only stage held on a public space without an expectation to purchase food and drink! The remainder were cordoned in licensed and food retail premises. Probably one to miss next year. Melodeon.net Tune of the Month: 'Mazurka Des Ecoliers De Saint Genest' by Gilles Chabenat. French composers of tunes are often directive about how their output is performed, (which button which bellows direction). Hopefully the rough and tumble of English players 'having a go' may not cause offence, (and so what if it does!). The TotM was announced a day early, but Anahata was ready with the first post even so, which always sets the bar high for successors. Fortunately Bill had almost completed his recordings so they are now also in the ether. More 'Cod'n Chips' than 'Garlic and onions', but hey ho.
1st July 2019: Rabbits: We each swam. Sheila went to vist a friend for the afternoon. Bill watched Mavis Staples' Glastonbury set, mightily impressed by Rick Holstrom's guitar playing. Found an interesting article online about how his trio came to play for Mavis. Spent the remainder of the afternoon playing blues in the parlour. East Suffolk Morris: Queen's Head Eye:an interesting evening. We were joined by Janus in Hageneth kit and Charles C who is one of the refugees from Lagabag, and who has joined Hageneth. It seems that moves may be afoot for the side to admit female dancers, (Charles being concerned that ladies can play but not dance with the side). Watch this space. One way to rescue or wreck a side, (or as in the case of Royal Liberty.....both at the same time!) Bill confirmed his position concerning the joint dance evening with Boudicca, next week and that he will not be present. Hopefully will be able to catch up with Chris Dove separately.
2nd July 2019: Sheila working a.m., Bill tagged along to Colchester for the afternoon, haul a couple of books and a small audio mixer/interface adequate to his reduced musical ambition! the initial programme for Sheringham Potty Festival via FB did not show Pretty Grim participating at all, but we understand that has been rectified. Camping is now moved to Holt, a distance of 5.5 miles so no walking into town or back! Hadleigh Folk Club looks extremely attractive this month with perhaps the best line up of the season, which we are destined to miss. Opportunity cost on this evening, Richard Cove's Friston session, now established as a North Suffolk event, closer to most of the participants. Perhaps we ought to revive our first Tuesday house sessions, but not limited to 'old time'?
3rd July 2019: Bill to CBS, Sheila working then to Jorja's sports day. Bill discovered John Smith, folksinger and guitarist who has an established career but whose work has passed him by previously. Excellent, lates release is 'Hummingbird' in case a refining of search terms is required! Harks back to the glory years of British folk guitarists but, as with most of those influences, unlikely to 'date'. Mike Green has confirmed his kind offer for a Bill & Sheila set at the next Big Music Night, thanks Mike. (We have accepted).Bill finished reading 'A Damned Serious Business' by Gerald Seymour, a ripping yarn but somewhat procedural.
4th July 2019: knoodling and preparing to go to Sheringham tomorrow. Noticed JG et al had a good evening at the last of the Carlford Moots to be run by John and Jo. New management next time. Des had a word with the Landlady at Kirton and that may be a debut venue for Sh3♂ed, we'll see. Watch this space.
5th July 2019: Sheila introduction session with a new violin teacher, (who sounds very interesting). A success. Off to Sheringham, staying at Holt RFC so stopped off in the village on the way, more pompous and money grubbing even than Southwold. We tenaciously hung onto space for the side who did not arrive until early evening. A glorious day. There was a melodeon dominated session in the bar with lots of players competing for the prize of loudest box! Bill had left his melodeon at home in anticipation of such an eventuality and plunked ineffectually on a mandolin in the background. Even the tunes said to be newly composed were effectively re-treads of the commonplace.
6th July 2019: Rain started to fall during the procession and persisted throughout the day intermittently. Hardy souls danced on. A full roster of sides, some notable absences and wonderful new inclusions. Bill particularly enjoyed Stony Steppers, Rattlejag, and Bourne Borderers. THere was a group meal with Pretty Grim Morris and some guests which was very enjoyable although parlopur games on a cold wet evening until 11 was more than Bill could bear. He popped into the bar (for warmth), a low key session was in progress, then went to bed.
7th July 2019: Packed up and home from Sheringham, (sunny day!) Bill made it to see Holly on her Ipswich Music Day debut at the Grapevine stage where she made a lot of new friends, the tent almost empty to start and full by the end! Excellent. Lyndsey, (who has photographed Holly for covers and posters) may be prepared to take Sh3 ed on. Woolpack session moved to Nelson, which we won't make.
8th July 2019:Bill swam at Woodbridge pool today as JG is having his hull scraped and de-fouled. Short session but roomy and more convenient than Felixstowe. Posted a 'Procession' video from Sheringham and shared to Mardles FB. Practiced a few Sh3♂ed songs in the afternoon and gave the Boudicca/ESMM evening a deliberate miss.
9th July 2019:Bill processed a few more of the videos of dancers at Sheringham, some of which are abandoned, but some of which have come out well. Clearly shows the differences in style between mixed and traditional sides, and the homogeneity of a lot of the more theatrical sides, distinguished only by fancy dress! U3A Folk Music Group: The Nelson, Ipswich an enjoyable afternoon around the room. It seems that the move from the Woolpack to the Nelson last Sunday went well, but a few people remained unaware and turned up at the Woolpack as usual. Apparently the Costa del Folk have an instrument transfer service which we have to explore. Fordham Session: four players which was liberating in allowing an evening of exploration, (and Roger running through a couple of tunes for a F & F reunion this weekend, private event).
10th July 2019: Bill: Started working on new tune for Melnet theme of the month, an Alan Munde fiddle tune. Holly came to tea, she has bought a baby Tanglewood from Cash converters for rough and tumble use, and is asked to learn some shanties/sea songs for the Sailing Barge Victor at Harwich in October. (Also re-booked for 'Folk on the Boat') Bill lowered the saddle to make it playable! A new big gig is for Holly to be support tutor for Reg Meuross' songwriting week at Halsway Manor in February 2020. (He has a different co-tutor each year). A great opportunity. Sh3♂ed practice: very enjoyable. Structured around developing a couple of set lists. We have a provisional debut date at Kirton White Horse, ( 28th September 2019 tbc) and hope some people will come and see us there. We think we have an original sound and repertoire, but then we would.... Working on the principle of 100 invitations yielding about 5 attenders! Should have made more friends I guess.
11th July 2019: Bill processed video and audio from last evening's Sh3♂ed practice, went swimming,changed the strings on the 'campfire' mandolin. (Not sure whether that should refer to content or context!) Posted a demo vid from last evening. Now preparing to depart for Ely Folk Festival tomorrow. Sheila working and busy. Pretty Grim are dancing at Ely on Sunday.
12th - 14th July 2019: Ely Folk Festival: A successful local festival which is an enjoyable weekend away setting aside expectations that the 'folk' element will be more than nominal. Bill's notes: Tell Tale Tusk: Bill had spoken with one of the members on the bus from the station. She was working on an early music manuscript for her other role as a member of 'Medieval Babes'. Fantasic harmonies, standard material. An undeveloped overall presentation in any event marred, (as were most of the Stage 1 shows this weekend) by over amplification so that speaker were throbbing and people were leaving the tent as a consequence. A friend of ours mentioned this to the soundmen who simply shrugged in response. (This from hearing challenge older people!) Jackie Oates with Jack Rutter were smooth and accomplised but nowhere near as enjoyable as accoustically at Edgar's Farmhouse at a recent EATMT. The Gerry Colvin Band did their usual set with a couple of topical additions. The novelty is wearing off, needs a refresh. Les Barker can always pull chuckles from a volunteer audience but essentially chooses the same poems each time and cruises. Rory McCleod good to hear that the old songs are still vibrant after twenty years. There is a new album, but this was primarily about delivering the archive to older fans. Julie Felix falied to disappoint save perhaps for dwelling on her personal history a wee bit more than Bill's patience allowed. At 81 years young an example of longevity in skill. Sheila enjoyed Melrose Quartet both in workshop and concert. Bill was driven from the concert by the volume level, and in any event, (as previously noted with this 'circle'), the big bands are rolling out the folk/rock repertoire for the Summer Festival stages. Bill missed most of Martin Harley's set but will be exploring his output as he thoroughly enjoyed what he did catch, particularly the Weissenborn guitar work. False Lights brought a 'prog rock' sensibilty to their output, Bill unimpressed having seen Genesis first time around, intrigued that a similar effect can be achieved with a lightweight rig nowadays. The Sunday morning dance spot included Pretty Grim, Great Yorkshire Morris, Rockingham Rapper and Haughley Hoofers. GYM danced the North Skelton Sword Dance , very enjoyable. Rockingham Rapper were excellent as they generally are. A quality side. Recollection has it that HH originally learnt their clog from Trefor Owen in the 70's. The original vigour which he extolled seems now to be generally faded in the local sides which his workshops spawned. Sheila enjoyed Robin Gillan's Banjo workshop. His session was less inspiring but through no fault on his part, largely that participatory music is sidelined as an adjunct at this festival. Rogue Shanty Boys were (self?) described as energetic and vibrant, but displayed neither quality while Bill was watching. Andy Wall presemted a delightful set, well performed and engaging, (nothing to prove/nothing to lose). 'Opaque', another loud rock band drove us to the road home. We had enough by mid afternoon on Sunday. Doubtless we may have missed the best of the rest but hey ho!. Leon's food was excellent, (we bought the book).Lots of catching up with friends both locally and beyond. A weekend away, some of the music was worth hearing, (most a bit dodgy) but we may not be the target audience. Our neighbours on the campsite seemed never to leave their camper van but heard most of the 'Stage 1' shows quite clearly from there! Upon return Bill discovered that the 'Bards' set at Martlesham next week is two hours long including the time when he had hoped to be with ESMM at Crowfield fete! The things we take on for friendship and for free. A conversation at swimming is called for.
15th July 2019:We each swam. Bill caught up with JG who acknowledged something of the foly of a two hour set. Done now! Bill processed and posted some of the video, particularly the Rockingham Rapper sets which are probably the only ones which justify a YT post, the others will be shared on FB. East Suffolk Morris Men: Redgrave Cross Keys:as enjoyable and proficient a couple of stands as we've seen over the last two weeks, and more relaxed. Still, with a journey of almost an hour each way, not an evening to hang in for the music after. Bill is not sure how Redgrave and Eye fit into East Suffolk but..... Enjoyable to play for dance after a couple of weekends as an observer.
16th July 2019: Bill spent most of the day processing and sharing videos, also working on his melnet 'Theme of the month' entry. Some positive feedback from the posts.
17th July 2019: Bill finished reading 'Cold Courage ' by Pekka Hiltunen. Written in 2014 the main villain seems to be a Johnson/Farage combination. At five years notice the present far right insurgence on the back of a manipulation of the disaffected seems to hve been clearly foreseen. A page turning first in a series, flawed but good fun. Mid Week Blues: The Halberd:Julie Usher Twisted Blues Band first time at the new venue which is great, save that being edge of centre in Ipswich the organisers were asked to stump up £120 to employ two SIA doormen, by an overly strict reading of the premises license 'requirements'. One barman was on duty on this weekday evening when about thirty middle aged and beyond blues enthusiasts enjoyed a pint listening to a local band, (from Colchester). The raffle pays for the band, the organiser's partner paid for the doormen on this occasion, (they seemed to enjoy the music). The licensing authority, (Ipswich Borough Council), has a policy which encourages large venues and businesses to thrive in the 'night time economy' for the revenue it generates, accepting the cost of associated crime and disorder. The same policy applies conditions to premises licenses which preclude small venues and clubs from promoting interesting music to limited audiences. This seems to fly in the face of a stated intention to regenerate the town centre, and to encourage its use in the early part of the evening. These licensing conditions, (two SIA qualified doormen from 10pm), strictly applied, would affect to folk clubs, morris music evenings, drop in performers etc, are poorly drafted, and negotiated/imposed on the holder of the premises license because of an imbalance of power between the licensing authority and the licensee.We suspect that Mid Week Blues will now be looking for a new home outside the town centre. The music was enjoyable, cleanly played urban blues without meandering solos. The volume meant that Bill's ears had enough after the first set. Then home to rant about the doormen! Pete H in the bar, he has added a Weissenborn guitar to his repertoire of instruments, inspired by Martin Harley, (see above Ely FF), who Pete had seen a year ago and has booked to see on tour in London.
18th July 2019 we each swam, Bill posting dance videos left over from Sheringham. Listening to Spotify, the algorithms always amaze, linked Emmylou with MAry Gauthier and Blaze Foley on today's list, prescient. We saw Mary Gauthier at Manningtree Red Lion back in the day, also Chris Smither who turned up in yesterday's shuffle.
19th July 2019: Bill spent a couple of hours making dobro capo's out of a nail and a steel rod. Not ideal but work on his unusual set up. Sheila to Yoga. Henley Folk Night:we dropped in on this evening and caught about four sets. Good to catch up with friends, the regulars have changed over the past year or so, but still lots of people wanting to get up and play.
20th July 2019: Bards of the Heath Martlesham Fete:we played indoors, although teh rain gave a break for the period we were playing. WE did as a consequence have an listening audience rather than siply people passing by. Having been threatened with, (and prepared for), a two hour set we played two half hour sets between 11and 12.45 with simply John's voice reinforced, worked well in an acoustically designed space.
21st July 2019: we spent the main part of the day at Strumpshaw Tree Fair which seems to be better managed and less claustrophobic than its Suffolk equivelant, Wierd & Wonderful Wood. Bill bought a book about flamenco guitar and a book of Songs from Suffolk, (an old John Howson) publication. We enjoyed the Doyle Family playing Irish music, although they effectively flummoxed a hitherto brilliant sound engineer. Bumped into a number of musical friends, and enjoyed a Carribean mixed vegan box between us for lunch followed by tea and cake. Worth the trip. Woolpack Session: Bill only. Joined in mostly during the evening, some fun contributions, La Bamba and Bambino were fun, good that 'Zippy' came along, he seems to enjoy the evening, (was not offered the loan of an appropriate guitar despite hints or would have contributed, hopefully will bring his own next time). Usual frustrations over general content of the evening and 'practicing in public'. Still a popular evening for the pub who seem to have largely accepted the event after initial misgivings, (quite profitable on a quiet evening).
22nd July 2019: we each swam, sheila went to concert/soiree at Copleston High School which she thoroughly enjoyed. East Suffolk Morris Men: Aldeburgh: always a good stand and with glorious weather and a good turnout a reminder why Bill prefers membership of a traditional morris side which dances for the pleasure of its members and audience and excellent companionship. Having a small experience of how other sides function, (by association), Bill is happy where he is. Vive la différence.
23rd July 2019:Bill prepared and posted a video from last evening's East Suffolk Morris. Demonstrates the fun to be had, sometimes even despite the quality of the dancing measured in 'competitive terms', (as some delight to do!) A melodeon protective wristband ordered at Strumpshaw arrived for Bill today, snug but enough space to breathe and will ease. Players adopt lots of ways to protect the left wrist from pressure and friction, from bar towels to tennis bands, Bill has long adopted a leather wrist strap. (Mark, 01359 250974, will happily make you one, but will need a template, larger wrists may be more expensive to protect! Local to Stanton Suffolk). Wayward Sessions: cancelled for July and August, Chris HArvey speaking to the manager about whether and where they may resume in September, (prearranged dates are 19 September, 17 October,
14 November, 12 December. East Suffolk Morris are scheduled to dance at the pub on 29th July, next Monday. (An indicator of goodwill may be whether the usual post dance tune and song session is permitted to take place. If the session does resume hopefully it will be a space to play, rather than to practice in public.Noticed EastTrust advertising interesting events, the workshops are expensive and the geographical range of other events is such that only a few are practicable. There is an inevitable Norfolk edge, as that was the present director's previous base and where his contacts are. It has become an organisation where we support the idea but....
24th July 2019: a very hot day in which very little activity took place. Bill finished reading 'The Foreign Correspondent' by Alan Furst and we knoodled and had a run through of the carols which Sheila is working up for our playwright neighbour's latest project. Cohen B-C contacted Sheila and Granny's Attic are staying over with us in their spare day between Broadstairs and FolkEast. We had decided to give Broadstairs a miss this year but in the absence of altenative plans may meke the first weekend and catch Laurel's band playing their first of two gigs at the festival. We will be at FolkEast with Pretty Grim, at least enables Bill's views of the festival to be informed on an up to date basis although from the welter of advance publicity on social media the format will be the same. Will be an opportunity to see John Smith for the first time.
25th July 2019: Bill finished reading Ian Rankin's 'In a House of Lies', the latest Rebus in which he is suffering from COPD and maintaining a creative interference on both sides of the track. A good book, well plotted and accessibly written. Steamboat Session:coincided with thunderstorms and spectacular lightning . Bill left after a half an hour, during most of which the assembled group were pointing mobile phones at the sky, (Des had already departed).
26th July 2019: Des has confirmed that Sh3♂ed are booked to play at the Kirton White Horse on 28th September. Diary readers within commuting distance take note if interested. Bill observed in recent correspondence with Simon H that it seems that most of his musical projects have a 'marmite' quality. Having said which, Bards of the Heath, and Sh3♂ed are challenging and satisfying when things come together well. The next BotH gig is at Charter Hall Colchester on 3rd August with two sets at an MBS Fair. Bill unlikely to make that one. Bill was inspired by a recent Billy Strings video to brush up his flatpicking and learn a version of 'John Henry', (bluegrass rather than skiffle).
27th July 2019: Sheila wisely held off from running a car boot stall, (torrential rain). Sarah Lilley at Radio Suffolk had asked Mike Garland to run her weekly challenge , on this occasion to learn to morris dance.Bill & Sam went along as musician and support. Bill's first visit to the R Suffolk studio but good fun to interleave some stepping between The Monkees, Blondie, the weather report, and the news. Bill spent most of the afternoon preparing a FB edit for the ESMM page. As a keen observer of process a fascinating hour, although confirming Bill's incredulity that a market exists for this form of local radio, (the music was fine, just the bits inbetween, our own contribution not excepted!) Bill's current bedside book is Tim Rice's autobiography up to 1978.
28th July 2019:Dave P asked Shottisham Sorrel Horse about playing music after dancing on Monday, reported response: ' I have received concerns that musicians are no longer so welcome here.
Having spoken to staff and management I surmise that
their focus is now more on food and they couldn't guarantee that they'd
be space inside to play before 9. They also now close at 10 on a
Monday.' Which probably means that the 'Monday Folk' has also bitten the dust. Food rules and the pub is seemingly no longer a 'community' venue. A pity, as we dance at a number of successful community pubs which balance being excellent food venues with a warm welcome to music, dance and other regular community activities. Ash and Nat came round with Jasmine, enjoying her first weeks, (15 so far). Holly popped in, she has a new badge and business card. Lindsey, who takes photographs for Holly's publicity, has offered to do the same for Sh3♂ed. Sheila to Burwell Bash: her annual week of fiddle and song. Lord Nelson session: a new home for the regular 'last Sunday of the month' meet up. Very welcoming, seems like a 'local' even though within yards of chaos of Ipswich waterfront . Light turnout, a circle of five, three guitars, (including Bill, who supported on mandolin, also enjoyed reviving some old guitar songs while the anglos stayed in the bag). Probably the first time some of those present had heard Bill let rip on the guitar! (That's what they said, kind and complimentary).
29th July 2019:Bill to Woodbridge for an early swim. Working out the best time to avoid the crush! Sorted a couple of boxes of records/CD's to go and arranged for Steve to have a look tomorrow.Also cleared out clothes for Sheila's forthcoming car boot stall. East Suffolk Morris Men: Shottisham Sorrel Horse:, Chris H made contact with the management who promoted the evening on FB, under a picture of Danegeld morris! The evening went well, lower turnout than of late as holiday period and harvest in progress. Only Bill Dick and Mike with instruments. The management purport to be keen for Wayward Session to start up in September, but mixed messages this evening over interfering with place settings, and not playing while customers in the bar so probably not resolved. Bill and Mike G played for a while outside, (permitted).
30th July 2019: Sheila enjoying Burwell Bash. Steve L came round and took another tranche of CDs/Vinyl and DVD's off Bill's hands, and for a cuppa and a chat. Sad to say from Sh3♂ed's point of view Lindsey will be away for the first outing at Kirton, but hopefully will retain the interest in photographong the band. Bill recorded the (marginal) front runner for TotM on Melnet in advance and in hope! The second in line was TotM in March 2018, second repeat that has appeared in the list in recent months, (we think Clive is busy at the moment. Page admin)
31st July 2019: Bill changed the fan in his computer, (again) to one which is less noise then popped to Holly's for a cuppa, and a wander around Ipswich. Melnet TotM is the repeat so not as predicted, and questionably worth repeating. We'll see. Sheila's 'Band of the Night' at Burwell is captured on the FB, (photo only so far). Ipswich BC is looking to force purchase the old 'Rose and Crown' pub in Norwich Road and the press article mentioned its 'folk music' connections. The second home during my period at Ipswich Folk Club, when run by Alan and Patricia, each still actively engaged in music locally. South Essex Bluegrass Festival has a new organiser and will run in 2020, (9-12 July, at the same time as Ely).
1st August 2019: Bill started work on the TotM, repeat of Tripping Upstairs, so to find something fresh in the playing. Went swimming with the 'oldies' then popped up to see Rowan in Holton where he is moving into a cottage which is ideal in all respects, save that to afford outgoings will mean living (very) frugally . Could be an excellent longer term prospect with a studio/workshop in the garden and close to the workplace. Sheila enjoying Burwell, Tutors Concert this evening. Back tomorrow. Bill posted videos for Melnet Theme and Tune of the month.
2nd August 2019: Bill tidying up. Sh3♂ed badges have arrived, small lapel sized button badges. Knoodling on the Mandola. Will do the job.Sheila back from Burwell which she thoroughly enjoyed. Preparing for CBS with Leah tomorrow.
3rd August 2019: Sheila to Car Boot with Leah and Jorja. Cleared some stuff but never doing another, (as last year and other previous). Bill was in two minds about Bards of the Heath at Colchester but it proved an enjoyable day. We had been told there would not be a PA system, which in a conference/concert sized hall would have been very difficult, but the house sound system and two engineers delivered brilliant sound, upon which we were complimented by a number of people. (Our Cd's were played 'back to back' all day, which was a bit weird).The event was barely attended, this being a hot sunny day, hope for rain tomorrow. Bill had a tramp across Castle Park and into town between sets. Last BotH booking, john has turned one offer down as he prefers to attend a Viking fair! David Howgego delivered a box of chocolates as a thank you for recording carols for his play. (One additional tune to do).
4th August 2019: Clearing up some of the residue from the car boot sale and lots of hoatded cardboard. (The house is still almost impassable with what remains).Bill web browsing and working on bluegrass guitar. Woolpack Session: rther stilted and when it plodded along was fairly samey to Bill's ear but there was applause so.... still can't decide whether it is an open mic or a collaborative musical experience!
5th August 2019: Bill early swim, ordered some bellows tape for running repairs. Sheila off to West Mersea for a couple of days with Leah and Jorja.We have decided upon Shrewsbury for our UK Folk Festival of choice this year, sold in large by its reputation as a 'proper' folk festival, and sight of the workshop programme which is amazing. Tutors are local to the area so will be a change from the usual suspects, (and there are melodeon and mandolin masterclasses). Three hours each way so a 'real' adventure. Bill normally restricts himself to a 30 mile radius from home, a small extension to the range of traditional Suffolk musicians, who had a melodeon and bicycle, each with their respective limitations. Bill recorded and FB posted a guitar version of Riggs of Doom, easier to play on the guitar than the melodeon. East Suffolk Morris Men: 5 Bells Rattlesden: a joint dance out with Hageneth. Bill had thought twice before setting out, but discovered he was the only musician present from the two sides so....got through with a couple of refusals and a couple of misremembered tunes. An absolute delight to see and catch up with Steve and Maureen (W) on a break through Germany and the UK from Cyprus where they now live. Bill had aksed after them with (banjo) Jim at yesterday's Woolpack session. They are not playing music at the moment but hoping to be able to return to it. Also referenced Graham, a melnetter who also lives in Cyprus. (Maybe a Morris trip prospect, but we will be a third country by then!)
6th August 2019: Sheila at West Mersea.Bill finished reading 'Believing the Lie' by Elizabeth George, a well plotted/written 'Lynley' mystery. Bellows tape arrived and most of the afternoon was spent re-taping about half a dozen folds on the 'BotH' pokerwork. (There is a 'morris', a 'session', and the 'BotH pokerwork - each slightly differently tuned). All will need some bellows attention as the standard fitted tape is paper and easily damaged. A fiddly messy job, imperfectly accomplished but good enough. Good news from 'Mid-Week Blues in Town': 'Those of you who came to the first gig at The Halberd will be
aware that due to licensing issues we had to pay door staff for the
night. This would have made the gigs unviable in future, BUT the issues
have been resolved so it's all systems go!' Not clear whether the correspondence which Bill generated had any bearing on this, worth retaining the venue.
7th August 2019:Bill swim: Des confirms that Sh3♂ed have taken a couple of sets at Tattingstone Fete on 31st August which the 'Bluegrass Sessioneers' couldn't cover. We'll chat about that at practice tonight. (Any readers want to offer a set or two or a support slot, contact Des on 01728 685622). This marketing is fun, business cards, badges, whatever next! Sheila returned weary an ? refreshed from a couple of days at West Mersea. Sh3♂ed practice went fairly well, recapped the sets that we agreed on last time. The last practice before Tattingstone, timings tbc. The chaps enjoyed the Sh3♂ed badges. Repertoire still a carpet of shards in some respects but we are getting there. Holly has been accessing the 'Shetland' archives and now has Bill's paternal line on the island traced back to 1642! No current family members in residence.
8th August 2019: Bill processing recordings of last nights' Sh3♂ed practice. Always good to listen back if occasionally painful. Des and Glenn are great to play music with, but that is old news to readers here. Jacqui to lunch , Bill left them chatting and finished reading 'Walking Shadows' by Faye Kellerman. An experience writer of police procedurals, which latterly are written simply with a creative narrative arc.Loose ends remain at the conclusion which may or may not be picked up in the future. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill knoodled in front of the tv.
9th August 2019: Each swam to start the day.Bill finished processing the Sh3♂ed videos and set up the mahogany dreadnought as a 'high set slide' guitar in 'E' which works for both lap and bottleneck. Lovely to hear from Sue B, but sorry in the context that Patricia Maltby with whom Bill worked for over twenty years has died, and the funeral is while we are away after Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
10th August 2019: Bill's Linx 'tablet' has died, apparently a common problem whereby they junk irretrievably without notice. The Nexus is first generation so very limited and memory has to be cleared regularly. Considering an I-pad despite an aversion to Apple products because of their business model. The newly set up slide-hog has opened up new songs and techniques despite being in a familiar tuning.
11th August 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Cutting Edge' by Jeffrey Deaver. The latest Lincoln Rhyme novel, slow to start and predictably convoluted, perhaps overworked but at least the whiteboards are not recited throughout the book, (usually skipped on reading). We popped to Blaxhall Ship to see Kemp's Men and Knots of May on the penultimate stand of a two day tour of the area. A very good set of dances. We particularrly enjoyed Knots of May who started the side in 1974, so earlier than most of the local 'clog morris' sides who learnt from Trefor Owen who had come to Felixstowe Folk Weekend a couple of years running around 1980, and left a continuing imprint on the style of the sides which then formed. KoM seem lighter of foot and their dances more interesting to watch. Bill recorded the stand and it is posted almost in entirety ommitting a rather rough and ragged Black Joke. Good to see a couple of friends in Kemp's Men, and bill had a try on a Crabb concertina recently restored by Dave Robertson. Excellent workmanship, but he prefers his cheap'ncheerfuls for sound and playability. The extra buttons are a distraction.
12th August 2019: Each swam. Bil knoodled and ogled instruments online. A rainy day. East Suffolk Morris Men: Framlingham. Bill caught a lift with Lucy and Phil W. the sun came out after torrential rain. Although unheralded by advance publicity we attracted an audience on the Market square and were welcomed at the Railway.
13th August 2019: Bill had a look at i-pads and tablets in John Lewis but is not convinced that he needs an upgrade! knoodling on the high strung E guitar to good effect.. Fordham Session: an enjoyable evening, trvellers from all points of the compass and including Scottish Smallpipes. A mix of Irish/English/Scottish/French music and interesting conversation.
14th August 2019: Bill swim. Sheila preparing for Granny's Attiic to stay tomorrow night. Mid Week Blues: Dave THomas: very enjoyable. We stayed for the first set, 9as is usual), second promised something of a retread. Second guitarist, Mark? was excellent. Bill has found some new tunes to knoodle. Finished reading 'A Death in Calabria' by Michele Giuttari .
15th August 2019: Lovely to have Cohen, George and Lewis (Granny's Attic), to stay before their FolkEast appearance. Talking folk and swapping instruments. George has a new Fylde Orsino and we compared with Bill's 40 year old model.
16th August 2019: FolkEast: Granny's Attic played a storming set to a full tent with a well deserved encore. Skedaddle were on god form in the Ceilidh tent, the power failed, they sounded better acoustic! Tin River were enjoyable but distracted by the kindergarten which had been established at the front of the Broad Roots tent, and a rather over dry sound through speakers. Sheila and Pretty Grim had their 'busy' day of the weekend. Bill enjoyed trying out a Crane Duet concertina which is in good condition but overpriced at PJ's, and concertinas and melodeons at 'Squeezeboxmarketplace'. Bill gave up at about six, wet and freezing cold and pleased not to be camping. Apprehensive of becoming stir crazy at Shrewsbury.
17th August 2019:Sheila at FolkEast, Bill lazy morning and caught up with the programme at the Blaxhall Ship where Pretty Grim, Mortimers and OakenHoof were dancing. The Aldeburgh Young Musicians mad a good fist of Peter Bellamy's Maritime Suite. Also demonstrated that social mobility has no place in the process. Bill stayed to hear Sharon Shannon but left after about five minutes. Parlour music on a mainstage. Probably getting old, it makes money but is mechanically recovered sound.
18th August 2019: Bill popped to Friday St CBS on the way to FolkEast where we watched some morris etc . Feet First were enjoyable and Treacle Miners put up a reasonable stand. Sheila committed with Pretty Grim so Bill popped to Blaxhall in hope of catching some dance, but gave up and came home as the pub filled in a passing shower. The remainder of the day on site offered little enticement to return, and it was certainly not worth waiting eight hours for Richard Thompson. The peak of the FolkEast arc is probably Sunday afternoon, a better slot for the headliner. Sheila returned at tea time. Bill to Woolpack Session which was very enjoyable and relaxed, (partly due to the absence of some of the more competitive regulars). We were thanked by a number of the cistomers who were appreciative and supportive. Probably the most enjoyable musical experience of the weekend! Bill finished reading 'The Dying Detective' by Lief G.W. Persson, excellent.
19th August 2019: Each swam.Bill knoodling on Bach. Generally unwinding after FolkEast and planning for Shrewsbury.Workshops and tunebooks downloaded together with plans and maps. Some reservations about the scale of the Shrewsbury festival, but permits anonymity! Probably stopping off at Stratford on Avon on the way, Measure for Measure which is the play Bill saw when visiting ona a school trip in 197X.
20th August 2019:A quiet day. Bill sorted through some books of classical tunes, added a Bach Minuet to the workbook for both guitar and concertina. THought about going to the Little Bentley session but ....
21st August 2019: prepping for our weekend adventure. Ticking off the possible workshops. Blaxhall Ship Session: as we arrived the FolkEast cleardown party was in full swing. This session was ably facilitated by Tracey W. Bill had been attracted by the hint that Julie and Gavin Atkin might attend, (they did), and was delighted to see Simon and Val H also. This was an unusual session with a strong attendance of experienced players and singers supplementing the regulars. The feel was relaxed nonetheless, and all of the contributions of a high standard. Sheila regretted her decision to stay home. If 'Bottom of the Punchbowl' turns up on Gavin's workshop site, this is where he heard it!
22nd August 2019: To Stratford on Avon camping at Green Gates farm, quiet and convenient. (We later discovered that an overnight from 4pm at the Leisure Centre Car Park is £2!) We went to see Measure for Measure, slow to start but paced up as it went along. Bill's sandal fastening broke so it is trainers for the weekend, however hot.
23rd August 2019: We arrived at Shrewsbury Folk Festival site early, (we thought). The scale of the event has to be seen... We found a spot in the quiete area next to John Richards who is one of Andrew Collins concertina students. He lives in Preston but is a member of West Country Concertinas and seemingly a serial festival volunteer. We. enjoyed a walk about town. The journey looks to have been worth the effort, the organisation level very high.The 'tuneworks' workshop and session programme looks interesting, a great idea. and a(nother) free tunebook. We spent the evening in Sabrina, the smallest and most traditional tent with a sensible sound level throughout. (Janine and David on the door). Geoff Lakeman, enjoyable but 'busking'on a mainstage. Chris Eliot and Caitlin Jones good fun. Rapsquillion a longstading local singing group, they keep good company but were a bit ragged on the night. Granny's Attic reprised their FolkEast set, fully justified their mainstage top slot in Sabrina, great visuals and good to meet Lucy.
24th August 2019. Shower queus lived up to the warnings. Workshops: Sheila to Irish Fiddle, Bill to Mel Biggs Melodeon Masterclass. Mel is a popular teacher with a ferocious marketing regime. She opted to teach one of her own tunes, interesting but not a masterclass and pretty prescriptive in the European style.Bill followed on with the mandolin workshop (2), where the Sloe was being taught not by note. Chris Algar was on site and Bill tried a Crane duet, (better fettled and £1k less than the one on Pete C's stall at FolkEast), and a Connor Anglo Sheila to Appalachian Dulcimer workshop, Bill watching the Morris stage. The usual, high, North Country standard maintained.by both local and visiting teams., Shropshire Beldlams and Martha Rhodens were a particular delight. We were looking ofrward to Mick Ryan's 'The Hiring Fair'. Granny's Attic were excellent inthe cast, but the show was too long and we gave up half way, we'll catch part 2 somewhere else. Bill went to see Edgelarks, longstanding favourites and now seasoned international musicians.
25th August 2019:Sheila to Yoga while Bill enjoyed the company of campsite neighbours Rob and John on Handpan and guitar, worthy of a stage but that is not their inclination.We are invited to their gathering in Wales. The Morris stage was excellent(again). Good to see Dave Evans stopping off on his way from a holiday in Wales. THe mainstages are huge and attract audiences which support the 'folkier' side of the festival. Sessions and singarounds are ubiquitous with a very high standard of informal music. Sabrina tent for the evening: Da(mien) O'Kane won the open mic competition and so opened proceedings with is own songs. Old influences and a young talented player. Paul Downes a real troubadour of the old school. Cajun Revival , great fun and good to see the style played by indiginous practitioners.
26th August 2019:The mandolin masterclass was a development from the beginners lessons, but not by much and certainly misdescribed. Bill hit the instrument stands, played, (and found fault with) some of Colin Kendall's instruments. (Colin agreed). Invested in a Fylde Octavius Mandolin from a neighbouring stand at a fair price. Looked in on Andy Fairweather Lowe, (folk?), and Michael Messer who was outshone by two accompanying Indian musicians. The festival ended save for huge tune and song sessions into the small hours for those remaining. An excellent festival.
27th August 2019: we decided to forgo a half intended extension to our North Western adventure and came home by a circuitous route to avoid the congestion around Cambridge. Tattingstone Bluegrass Session: (Bill) four up, fiddle, mandolin, banjo,guitar and a laid back enjoyable evening. James's car broke down and they were awaiting AA suport from 8 til late otherwise two more would have been in attendance.
28th August 2019: Each swam. Bill changed the strings on the slide dobro and shared Pretty Grim videos from FolkEast on their members site. Ipswich Mid week Blues: Martin McNeill. Genial, a veteran blues musician who started in his early teens and at 16 played support to Fred McDowell, a masterclass in both standard and open tunings, and a superb slide player. Martin also plays from a knowledge and love for the genre. The first set was almost an hour and a half and enough to fill Bill's head with ideas.
29th August 2019:Bill to funeral of Patricia Maltby, a former colleague who died at the beginning of the month. An excellent turnout from the 'office' with 11 others also in attendance. Good to have a catch up, and reframe as we all seem to look different as we grow older. Processing some video from Shrewsbury. Sheila on grandparental duty with Jorja. Bill has succombed and ordered a new tablet computer.A refurbished model which if it lasts as long as the first generation nexus will have paid its way.Time will tell. Sheila to Pretty Grim Pizza Night to bid farewell to Megan Wisdom who will start college next month on the 'Newcastle' Folk Degree Course. Already perfromiong locally and beyond and developing her following. Bill had an excellent musical workout with Phil W, playing for pleasure and quiate challenging, Phil plays at a level of expertise beyond Bill's self taught patchwork level, but it seems to work. Opportunity cost: Steamboat session:but judging by the photos queuing to sing is easily trumped by an evening of solid and worthwhile music.
30th August 2019:Bill early swim, Sheila's car m.o.t. test. Long story but having agreed to fit a cam belt, they fitted it too the wrong car whose owner benefitted from that work free and Sheila has had to rebook, now worried whether they did the rest of eth service on the correct car. Bill knoodling on prospective TotM.
31st August 2019: Sh3♂ed at Tattingstone Village Fete : we volunteered ourselves for this a a preview outing before our Kirton debut. A fairly fluid afternoon playing in between other events, but great fun to do and we received some lovely feedback. Good to see Paul L who is sending me some photographs of a trip to Italy in our schooldays together. (He was at the fete playing BbTuba with a silver band). As a demonstration of optimism Bill has ordered some more Sh3♂ed business cards!
1st September 2019: Rabbits: Sheila/Bill for a brisk walk as the start of a potential regime! Bill recorded and posted Melodeon.net Tune of the Month, Webley Twizzle. Not previously known but a good platform for variation and harmonising. Now to find a jig for the Theme of the Month! Sheila has her sewing maching in action. Bill popped into the Ipswich Multi Cultural Day at Alexandra Park: small and politically correct. Spent the remainder of the afternoon setting up the i-pad and creating a self destructive relationship with the gorgon that is Apple. Bought a copy of Private Eye for the first time in a half century, might subscribe! Woolpack Session: rather shanty heavy in all ways. Worthy but excluding, practising for Harwich in a few weeks. One high spot, Ollie Gorniak sang Blessed Quietness which was his father’s signature song. Perhaps now that he has reclaimed it to the family, others may leave it with him. We left before the end in face of the the heavy duty competition!
2nd September 2019: Each swam. Bill still setting up the iPad. There is a Wayward Session planned for 13th September at the Riverside, Stratford St Andrew. We are both in Norwich with morris sides the next day and at Cressing Folk Day on the Sunday, so may conserve energy! Bill bumped into Graham M (harmonica) and had a catch up. Bill has chosen the first jig for Theme of the Month, a three part tune which is currently at the pencil/paper stage for chords and fingering. East Suffolk Morris: Kettleburgh Chequers: a dozen + men and five musicians. A reasonable stand, started early, finished by 8.15 . Bill came home.
3rd September 2019 : Happy Birthday Sheila, who spent the day out with Jorja visiting Sutton Hoo. Apparently still not child friendly despite upgrade. Bill working on the jig and Shrewsbury FF videos. BBC Parliament on in the background, the panto season will be an anticlimax!
4th September 2019:Bill swim, (1mile!), Sheila back to work. A biography of Rev Gary Davis which Bill had ordered has arrived, looks excellent. Bill sorting paperwork for most of the day. Attending the funeral of contemporaries tends to prompt such activity in the neurotically inclined! Sheila to physio for a shoulder which has been sore for months. Affects the playing of a violin. We popped to Freston Boot for a late birthday meal for Sheila. Very enjoyable. Interesting to read Dave and Gill's reflections on FolkEast from a Shrewsbury FF perspective in Mardles. My impressions are already recorded above.Were we to compare conclusions with Dave and Jill, we agree on a lot of things, but having had a different experience of each festival, differ significantly on others, particularly on the respective folk and participative elements within each festival. Both hire non folk headliners to attract custom, each have their own approach to the desires of the hardy folk enthusiast.
5th September 2019: Sheila working, Bill popped to town via a visit to Nat & Jasmine. Picked up some music books in a charity shop, (A Virginal Book, Dowland and Handel) so a bit of homework to come. John G has notified a Bards of the Heath gig at the Kirton White Horse on 4th December, hopefully a 'gig' and not simply the 'Moot', but probably a forlorn hope. Clarification has been sought. Bill recorded and posted his 'Theme of the Month' on Melnet. 'Hexham Quadrille' which plays as a dance tune (48 bars) or a morris jig. Some 'fat finger' moments, but hey ho! Almost finished processing the Shrewsbury Dance Sides videos, then may publish a few. In the FolkEast v Shrewsbury debate, (see above), Shrewsbury FF value their dance programme and the safety of the sides they invite by presenting shows which are properly staged, with reinforced sound and a presenter, while FolkEast barely assemble an unsafe set of boards and ask the dancers to perform acoustically in proximity to an active mainstage without presentation or appreciation, perhaps that is a part of its informal charm.
6th September 2019:Bill posted a couple of YT dance videos and shared a couple of others with the respective sides. Knoodled:Hadleigh Folk and Acoustic Music Club:is apparently in need of floorsingers for the coming months. People are not putting themselves forward, (perhaps not the best way to choose), and perhaps are not being approached. We have always expressed a wllingness to play at long or short notice on request but rarely self promote.Aspirations to a musical carreer, even humble were abandoned a long while ago! Simon may book Sh3♂ed for a slot sometime. Anyway: a couple of warm up floor spots then Park and Ride, out of context but great fun, and pretty fearsome musicians, but so are Mary Humphries and Anahata who were excellent with a mix of old and new material in a well structured set. MH & A have a lot of friends in Suffolk, it was good to have a brief catch up.
7th September 2019:Bill played some guitar polishing some of the Sh3♂ed songs and generally exploring tunes.Uploaded a few videos from Shrewsbury, the dance shows were excellent. Holly popped round in the evening. She had an excellent adventure in Shetland and Orkney over the last month and made lots of new friends. Her travel guitar broke on the journey home.Now back to working hard at her various jobs which finance the musical career and upcoming projects and shows.
8th September 2019:Bill finished reading 'The Killing Habit' by Mark Billingham. One of those days when it is omperative to play five or six hours of music an as many instruments that the cupboard may offer. Good fun.Sheila off for a family walk to see her grandson off to university in Exeter. He seems disinterested in dancing with Great Western Morris but time may tell! Continuing to post the Shrewsbury Videos.
9th September 2019:Bill seems to be about half way through the Rev Gary Davis biography, excellent. East Suffolk Morris Men: King's Head Mendlesham: together with four Hageneth Men, a good show if dark and damp at times. Hageneth Morris will consider a winding up motion at their meeting next Wednesday, which is likely to be passed and some of its members may then come along to East Suffolk practices from October with a view to becoming members, (One practice and you are in chaps. Will be good to have you on board.) Bill didn't stay for the music but it looked promising. EverymanFC tickets arrived, in a damaged post envelope and with September and October missing, so be on the lokout for a folkie postie at the first two EFC meetings this year. MaryD has a record of who has bought tickets so this is not a problem.
10th September 2019: Sheila swimming, Bill to Dentist. Bill's dentist, Alex Kirkwood, is a die hard folkie and excellent singer/guitarist. He has acquired a number of the LP's which Bill disposed of recently and is enjoying them,he may be engaged by Bayfield/Booth in their next project. Alex also recently acquired three of the 'unavailable' Nic Jones LP's from a local record shop. Bill is definitely hanging on to his copies of those. Bill's car has it's MoT for another year but Rob (mechanic) confirmed that it has odd minor problems to resolve and had not been properly prepped and serviced for 'a long time'. Thank you again Kesgrave Cars, 'caveat emptor'. fRoots has finally acknowledged the inevitability of its demise and the present summer issue will be the last. Brilliant that Ian Anderson and his trusty band have kept the organ afloat for 40 years. Bill ceased subscribing after the reformatting to a quarterly mega format ,and in the face of the fact that it became a magazine for the 'bizness' rather than for the enthusiast although it does leave a void which EDS and other contenders fail to fill and for which online offerings are not an appropriate solution. Fordham session:. nine of us around the table including fiddles concertinas, highland smallpipes,melodeons and instruments from the mandolin family. The' tunes to try' list is expanding apace. Good to see Simon Ritchie along, primarily playing fiddle but with a couple of trademark melodeon sets.
11th September 2019: Sheila working, and then we replaced the ball valve on the roof tank! Hopefully effectively but time will tell. Bill now has a screwfix card, whatever that may portend as years advance. We had a brief review of some songs for Big Music Night in October, where we will probably stick to 'golden oldies', (safer than losing new songs to acquisitive open mic'ers who may be there).
12th September 2019:Sheila working. Each swam.Bill found an old Buttermountain Boys tape from 1991 in the cupboard and used his 'cash converters' usb converter to digitise it, came out ok. Posted in the hope it won't upset anybody given that it seems to be unavailable in digital format. Also digitised an early Chris Sherburn tape, anglo concertinas and tenor banjos certainly ramp up the levels! Had a knoodle on the guitar. Followed up a couple of Ian A Anderson's recent videos. He is now touring as a solo player and is very good, not just blues. Some excellent trad folk. He might find that folk clubs have not met the demise he broadcast on the 90's if he is fortunate enough to be forgiven for that! sheila to Pretty Grim practice, more of a meeting to plan the side's 'chill out' weekend. Bill knoodled tunes on the mandolin in front of the television.
13th September 2019: Bill finished reading 'Say No to the Devil' by Ian Zack, a masterful biography of Rev Gary Davis. Interesting to learn that 'Stars in Your Crown' was an unrecorded Gary Davis song eventually recorded by Ernie Hawkins, one of the Rev's pupils and a fantastic player to explore for blues guitar stylists. Sheila to Violin lesson and yoga. Wayward Session: Stratford St Mary Community Centre: Nice to have a tune up with local pals. Acoustically the room is not ideal but limited options available so....
14th September 2019: Golden Star 40th Anniversary: Day of Dance: East Suffolk Morris rarely engage in these mass ventures, but enough hands went up when asked so we went, the main party travelling by train. Bill, and sometimes Phil on music, which worked well..Conversations of the day: a woman at our second spot used to dance with Pat Tracey 's Clog Team in London. She has connections with Hoxne Dance Group and Mike and Diana B are godparents to one of her children. (A different) "Diana from Norwich" sends best wishes to regular reader Paddy B, (Hageneth coneection?). Harry Cox's melodeon is apparently in the Castle Museum. In the DEAFASS period an academic paper explored that he only played one of the basses on his instrument, extrapolating at great length about the artistic merit in this. In later years the instrument was examined and it was discovered that the other bass simply didn't sound when played! (May be a tall tale but reliably narrated). Earsdon and Rose and Castle NW Morris Sides declined to dance a massed "Carr Lodge", apparently because they would be dancing with local side Barley Brigg which has a mixed membership. Hey Ho, the new face of the Morris Ring has a 'Janus' side. Those sides danced a separate 'all male' set, (with some woman musicians)! Bill was flattered to receive a compliment about his playing from one of Little Egypt's dancers, Thank you. Also an interesting chat with a Kemp's man who started dancing in London in an international dance side at the age of fourteen in 1952, and continues to turn a fine heel with Kemp's. (We suspect it is a tale he enjoys telling, but why not, brilliant). All in all a good day out, if tiring. Time to recover and then off to Cressing Folk Day tomorrow, John K and the Wilsons, somebody at Essex CC knows their folk artists. Separately:Thank you to John B who has sorted Bill's dead Lynx tablet.
15th September 2019: new guitarist find: Steve Mann guitarist, (via Rolly Brown). Steve died in 2009 after a long period of mental illness but trackable on Spotify etc and a few YT posts, another great 60's fingerstyle guitarist. First Cressing Folk Festival: a great day out surprisingly lightly attended despite an excellent and varied lineup, singaround and gorgeous location at Temple Barns Cressing. Bill only received notice through the Essex Folk News e-mail, and we suspect that as the organisers run the Hoy at Anchor Folk Club at Leigh on Sea their publicity may have had a limited circulation , (Essex based). Good to see Jill Mariner, Colin and Karen, MArtyn and other folkie friends from north Essex/South Suffolk. Certainly none of those fro whom we had thought this would be an essential day out. Terry Hiscock opened proceedings with a workmanlike set with a gem at its centre. More comfortable than when we saw him at Hadleigh FAC where we were less engaged by his presentation, but short sets are always a difficult ask. Fran and Belinda were a delight, a mother and daughter singing family songs from their great uncle's repertoire. Probably the most enjoyable set of the day despite the 'giants' to follow. Trials of Cato: young and talented, dependant on technology, (broought their own foldback earpieces and PA add ons). Not to our taste. Sheila had to retire a safe distance from the amplified boom box to avoid her pacemaker activating, (see above FolkEast where a loud drummer had that effect). Loud and Rock'nRoll, pleasant enouigh as individuals but ....John Kirkpatrick played an excellent, seemingly short, set. Always challenges himself and delivers great value. The Wilsons closed the day. again very loud. The PA sound was excellent but in general terms too loud. A number of people moved to the back of the hall or outside to achieve a comfortable listening level. We managed about a half hour of the Wilsons before departing for home. THe last two, (the main) acts were playing to a half empty barn, and might have been better scheduled at the 'cusp' of the day before people stared to leave.Chelmsford Morris were on site to dance between sets. Bill was pleased to pick the event up early, it proved as good as he had anticipated, will there be a second. The event may be sponsored (ECC?) against an early loss which it will almost certainly have made. For a larger take up the site could be better deployed, (possibly a singaround in the 'Court Hall' with tunes in the barn. The cafe closed at 4pm, and even though there were resources on site, that was a popular choice when open.
16th September 2019:Each swam, we had a song practice adding to the possibilities for BMN. East Suffolk Morris: Battisford Punchbowl:an enjoyable stand and in the absence of David, Mick and Mike it behoved Bill to stay and play/sing with the lads. A bit rough and rocky but ok.
17th September 2019: Bill went in search of a tune heard at Cressing, with
responses ranging from an out of print book for betwwen £15 and £120 to
free availability from The Shropshire Tunebook, and a reference via
images to the index for a book which has been on his shelf for more than
30 years! The internet can be a confusing research avenue for the hasty
or unwary, not the first time it has given direction to an old volume
on the bookshelf. One of Bill's small video cameras has given up the
ghost. The screen has frozen on powering up. Still, a model discontinued
years ago which has done sterling service. (The YT channel currently
stands at 1210 videos, 426 subscribers and a couple of thousand views a
month. For a hobby channel based around folk and local music that seems
pretty good. Not surprising the camera has worn out given that only
about one in ten captures is published!) We had an 'at home' tune session.
18th September 2019:Bill had a tramp around Needham CBS then returned to watch the livestream of the Supreme Court proceedings, best TV of the year and highly recommended. We had thought to go to the Blaxhall Session, (Bill had enjoyed last month's evening run by Tracey W), but dark evenings and RC's return to the chair prevailed so we stayed in and sang some songs as BMN prep.
19th September 2019:Sheila had a busy working day. Bill posted a couple of YT videos from Cressing before going swimming, (1ml), and popping to Rob's to fit the new wheelnuts which it needed.Sent some Sh3♂ed flyers out in block emails. Discovered a FB page for anothr band with the full name, but no posts since 2012 so we may be ok. Bill found a Chris King CD in a Felixstowe charity shop, a good local singer, and whose son is now following on. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice.
20th September 2019:Bill thinking about tweaking set lits for Kirton and knoodling on a new O'Carolan tune. Holly to tea. Thought about Henley Folk Night, then thought again. Looking at soundhole pick ups for the slide guitar, (if anyone has a spare lying about let Bill know before he presses a button unecessarily.) Bit the bulet and replaced the Zoom Q3 with same model. The music is the main element to Bill's videos so that SD resolution is generally more than adequate, (and economical on memory),and HD cameras are sitting unused.
21st September 2019: Ash Nat & Jasmine came round for a cuppa. Ash showed Bill how to upgrade his old W7 computer to W10 at no cost, (a bit late as he had downloaded a key and instructions but it seems that the 'free upgrade' service is still switched on provided you can find the hidden link. Ashley had it from a technical article. Decided to go for broke and perform a clean install, but now the network won't work as the network credentials seem to be altered or removed. Better wait for a child to visit! Thank you to Simon H for putting teh Sh3♂ed gig at Kirton in the Mardles what's on list. Not too many apologies so far so we may have an audience! Bill finished (re)reading 'Deadly Web' by Barbara Nadel, an early instalment, (2005).
22nd September 2019: last of the indian summer. Bill had a run through for Kirton and tweaked the set list. Watched Bruce Chatwin documentary by Werner Herzog on I-player, well worth an hour and a half of your life. the rain has arrived. Bill carried on playing for most of the afternoon and evening, and we ran through some songs. Bill reading 'Corpus' by Rory Clements, the first in a WW2 thriller series.
23rd September 2019:Each swam. Bill catch up with John G, apparently BotH were supposed to be playing at Maldon Steam Fayre on Saturday, but John had forgotten to let the band know, so that too short notice and a clash with Sh3♂ed mean it will not happen. Hey ho, just as we were hoping for more gigs we missed one, (perhaps Ipswich Town FC playing at home is a factor?) The new Zoom Q3 has arrived, some pretty mouldy batteries but thankfully never installed, the machine is as new with up to date firmware so will keep us going for a while! Perhaps the old one may be repairable but very fiddle when Bill looked inside. Sg3♂ed practice: fairly tight. Bill lost a few words, but with 21 songs... forgot to pick his camera up, returned, fell in the pond, twisted knee. Hopefully better by Saturday!
24th September 2019: popped to see John at Electrical Repairs Ipswich with the old Zoom Q3, apparently no problem to repair with the part which can probably only be obtained from a scavenged similar model with a different problem, so hang onto it until another one goes wrong with a different problem!. Supreme Court Judgment: the outcome foreseen from interactions during the proceedings, but not as a unanimous decision. A time to assert the duty of the judiciary to adjudicate on the otherwise unbridled activities of the executive. As an old lawyer, bravo, but this is not a political blog. Nonetheless, music to the ear. Bill finished reading 'Corpus', a faux John Buchan thriller set in the same period as the Hannay novels. Tidily written. Also sorting the video from Mondays practice. U3AFolk Music Group Black Tiles Martlesham: not an easy venue, competing with speakers and radio in a warm room with poor acoustics, but hey ho. Usual suspects with roughly the same repertopoire but socially enjoyable. Richard C has a new (to him) Castagnari Tommy which sounds very nice. Bluegrass: Tattingstone White Horse: perhaps a stretch, but the only time in the month to revise this style and more importantly catch up with the players. Very enjoyable, a circle of eight, (2 guitars, bass,fiddle,3 banjos,autoharp,mandolin). During the 'fresh air' break the remainder had a fairly intense tune session for half an hour. A couple of people may come to Sh3♂ed on Saturday.
25th September 2019:Happy Birthday Ashley. Bill continues to process videos. If we play as well on Saturday should be good. Knee still sore. Bill finished processing Sh3ed video and posted “Black Diamonds”. Mid Week Blues: John Emil. John is a lap steel and slide player from North Carolina with an awesome technique. He opened with “Payday” by John Hurt and. Clean open sound but later songs lost that level of clarity in favour of an amplified mush. Clearly intended but less enjoyable
to listen to, and alongside this the singing shared a similar demise. Some fantastic playing, we just weren’t sure about the artistic vision.
26th September 2019: Bill Chiropracter, then swim, Sheila work then swim. Bill posted the 'Bishop of Chester's Jig' to Melnet THeme of the Month, a one row special.Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. Gave the Steamboat session a miss, this is a busy week.
27th September 2019:Sheila at a conference. Bill watched a fascinating documentary from the 1950's focussed on a trip around old time musicians in North Carolina. Had a run through for tomorrow's Sh3♂ed gig, exhausting and imperfect but probably the last run through.Rosie Hood & Lucy Huzzard: Everyman Folk Club: an enjoyable evening, strong support from the floor and a traditional evening. Good to catch up and start the new season. Lucy's G/D/accidentals box had Bill confused to start with. Rosie and Lucy stayed over for B&B with us. Lovely people.
28th September 2019: Rosie & Lucy on their way back to Sheffield fairly early, (Lucy has a barn dance tonight). Bill/Sheila flu jab, (hopefully Bill's arm will be ok for tonight! Programme for Big Music Night 37 arrived, we are the opening act. Not a problem but an interesting and regular occurrence in this, and other, contexts. There may be a number of explanations, but it does mean having an 'opening' set. Bill processed and uploaded a couple of John K pieces from Cressing Folk Festival, not the obvious ones. Prepping kit for tonight, (the arm is seizing up!) Sh3♂ed: Kirton White Horse the day has arrived, a debut 'gig' with about thirty people who have come to hear what we are about. Half(ish) friends and family and the balance regular locals together with a few who had been reached by random publicity.We played two sets, each of ten songs.(Lesson: future gigs are likely to have slightly shorter sets), Des provided a PA which worked brilliantly and the audience stayed the course, and responded posotively to the mix of music which we played. It will be for others to judge but from Bill's point of view this is a magic band, with listening and responsive musical partners capable of assimilating varied material into a signiature style. (Pseud), which will have to suffice as a review.
29th September 2019: Bill started to process the video from last evening, (which still sounds good after a night's sleep). Posted 'Rolling Down to Old Maui' to YT. Changed the name of the FB page to 'Three Men in a Shed - Suffolk' to avoid confusion with a similarly named page. We are hoping to play an informal (tipjar) set at Sweffling White Horse later in the year, and a formal set during next year. The Nelson: session Ipswich. reasonably attended, eight to ten players , and a friendly reception, with applause. The usual issue for Bill with some songs being recited from A4 arch lever files, or from smartphone files, without thought, understanding or expression. This trend lends a perspective on the old time singers, who carried a limited repertoire for years, knowing and understanding the stories within the songs in different ways as their relationship with the material developed over time, and expressing that understanding with each telling. (Pseud).
30th September 2019: Each swam, JG complimentary of the Sh3♂ed video, (21 views in a day). Says will find some BotH gigs, the FB interest continues so there is an audience out there. Bill processed some more of Saturdays content, Bill/Sheila had a pre BMN sing and a tune up. At least as first spot we dodn't have to worry about shared repertoire, (those who are coming will have probably originally borrowed from us anyway, back in the day when we played out a lot more).
1st October 2019: Sheila working and at a meeting. An obscure European tune won Melnet TotM (again) this month. Bill was working on it when the bass end of the accordeon began to protest, there was a large reed valve which had been sucked into the outer atrium and two more sitting detached inside their chambers so tweezers and glue for a 'Billbotch' which may last forever, or at least until Martyn White can look at it, (it used to be his sister's box). The repair survived practice and posting of 'Leyas Vaggvisa', which also works rather nicely on guitar, so another FB sketch in prospect maybe. Bill also working on guitar arrangement of one of the new songs for BMN, beginning to make sense of a long time project, (then we decided on plan B). Quite a productive day.
2nd October 2019:Video processing continues, and Bill made a promo video for Sh3♂ed which Des and Glen would have to approve. Holly needed some help and suplementary kit to prepare for her booking tomorrow where she and Sarah are hoping to fill a large room with good music and very lightweight ammplification. Will work provided people are listening. Bill knoodling on the 'Ice House Schottisches' by Nigel Eaton which seem to have been adopted by the Danegeld musicians, although the music fo #2 was provided to Bill by one musician, while another club member was clearly attempting #1 in session the other day, so one, the other or both? Also continuing with LV (supra), on guitar
3rd October 2019: Matt Bayfield has died.Sheila working. We each swam. Bill had a tramp around Woodbridge. Picked up a fiddle book of American tunes. Sheila dropped one of her fiddles this week. We popped to Con Rendell's workshop and he reckons he can repair it fairly economically. Bill thoroughly enjoyed looking round the workshop. An orderly chaos. Gary Silbert is advertising in Suffolk Folk Musicians FB for a musician to join his band, presumably Sons of Syd. No interest from this quarter being preoccupied with Sh3♂ed and Bill'nSheila at the moment, (and we have seen some of the videos of SoS, rather more manic than musical at times!) Sheila has had a painful frozen shoulder for a couple of months and it is fairly pervading, gave Pretty Grim practice a miss this evening.
4th October 2019: official notification of Hageneth Morris Men having ceased to be arrived this morning together with an invitation to their farewell event on 10th November. It may be that the invitation has gone to each of the 50 sides in Suffolk, hopefully there will be a suffficient representation of Cotswold Morris sides to balance the colourful throng of street theatricals who may attend. (A personal view). East Suffolk Morris look forward to welcoming former Hageneth Men to the new season of dance 2019/20. Bill posted the final video from Cressing, (The Wilsons). Noticed a two page picture special celebrating Matt Bayfield's life in the local paper, (Star) while awaiting chip shop service. Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Sheila laid up with her shoulder so gave a miss, Bill tempted to follow suit, but loyalty prevailed! Low expectations easily met, he spent most of the evening reflecting: Martin guitars seem to have forsaken their original prime products in favour of small cutaway electro acoustic guitars. Nice but overpriced, and work better without the feedback buster in a small room, (Terry Hiscock cf Sascha Osborne). Two camps of songwriters, artists expressing personal emotions and catharses, craftspeople hewing relevant narrative observations from life experience. Regrettably the former seemed to be in the ascendant on this evening. Sascha Osborne demonstrated ideal posture and physical approach to guitar playing, Alexander technique? (Bill struggling with aches from poor posture etc, envious). Simon seemed smitten by her music. Headliners 'Rosewood', mainly familiar material, a couple of nice Danish tunes seemed new. Simon will invest in a mute pedal for his Velcro driven melodeon microphones? Finished 10.30, home just after 11, ideal.
5th October 2019: walk across the heath, lazy day. Bill digitised a couple of old cassette tapes. Sheila has Jorja to stay overnight. Had a pick on the Larrivee, rescued from the cupboard. Tried some mandolin exercises.
6th October 2019: Bucklesham Plough Day cancelled due to rain. The tractors and horses would probably have coped but certainly not viable as an event, so no (East Suffolk) Morris Dancing. We had a sing-in with BMN in mind and possible themes. Bill posted a guitar sketch of 'Leyas Vaggvisa' to FB and as Melnet Theme otM, chose 'Battle of the Somme'. Woolpack session: song heavy, initially six arch lever folders out of nine singers, only three tune players, (plus a couple of drums). OK, but new singers, (one on this evening), are inducted into the 'Arch Lever/ Ipad' habit from their first visit to a session and have little/no experience of singers who may live with a song for months or years as its' story and significance are lived, and then related in the developing performance. Thank you John for sorting the 'Lynx'.
7th October 2019:We each swam. Bill catch up with John G: he liked the guitar sketch on Bill's FB. (Nice and slow, shows you're getting old'.) East Suffolk Morris Men AGM & Feast. Moved from Stonham to Crowfield Village Hall at the last minute, but in time for the barrel to settle. Bill tried one dance and retired puffed out! An interesting evening. The side will benefit by any Hageneth men who come along since the demise of that side, is financially secure, and will take on the educational and awareness role of the 'Constant Billy Trust' when that is wound up. (Table discussion over whether there may be some money left from the demise of Felixstowe Folk Weekend in the (19)80's. That should be applied to similar aims, but seems to be closely held and unpublicised by trustees of late). After a tortuous journey to and from Crowfield in the rain negotiating diversions and road closures where no 'work' is taking place Bill confirms that he does not enjoy night driving, (or driving generally).
8th October 2019: Des has secured Sh3♂ed a 'hat collection' gig at Sweffling White Horse on Saturday 9th November. Put the date in your diaries and we hope to see some of you there. (It is an intimate venue). Bill had been wondering where the first of his subscribed copies of Private Eye had got to, found it stuck beneath the unopened U3A magazine, perhaps a moral there. U3A Folk Music & Song Group: Westerfield Swan: now a very large group and when most turn up very few venues can provide sufficient space. An enjoyable social afternoon, Sheila sang 'Bushes and Briars', Bill sang Guy Clark's 'Stuff That Works'. Fordham Session: fewer people and less enjoyable than on most occasions. Some jockeying for position took precedence over playing music for pleasure. All good humoured, Bill left at 10.
9th October 2019: the viability of 'Plough Monday' was raised at the ESMM AGM. (A plough is pulled around a publess village by an aging side on a cold January evening, and a barrel is laid on in the Village Hall in the absence of alternative provision.) Bill sent a limited circulation response that other sides mark Plough Monday in different ways, possibly involving dance and Mummers by a warm pub and sharing the tradition with an audience. Received short shrift. Bill had a tramp around IPswich while Sheila working. Trawled a guitar book with some interesting ideas and tunes in it, and a pair of trousers. Spent most of the afternoon playing concertina, (neglected of late), and we had a BMN run through in the evening.
10th October 2019:Bill swam. We had a run through for BMN, feeling less confident the closer it gets. Richard Brazier has invited Sh3♂ed to play at Slackfolk in March 2020.Passed to Des, 30 minutes so may be viable. Any shorter and it wouldn't. Also Sweffling White Horse as a proper booking in November 2020. Bill working on 'Nao me Toques' on mandolin and guitar, a good time Latin tune in Am, 'Mando Mike''s difficult tune for this month, with a fantastic tutorial video. Wayward Session: Angel Woodbridge: a quartet including 2 Mandolins, 2 melodeons,2 fiddles and anglo concertinas. Low turnout, people elsewhere, not the best day for some. The pub was not expecting us but we were made welcome and found a corner in which to play, attracting an audience keen to engage, recognising tunes and expressing enthusiasm. (It is a pub, not a high class eatery may make the difference). Not sure how a larger group would fare but MikeS plans to stick to Thursday and book another. It may be that other places may be arranged on differemt days by other members of the group? Bill had to pull his weight on this evening! There is a list of sets which are 'known' to the group and the intention is to play the music together and reasonably well, thereby hopefully sustaining interest.
11th October 2019: Bill practicing playing guitar standing with a strap, ready for BMN. SHeila at violin lesson. Big Music Night 37: a very enjoyable eveing with a good mix of music. Hard to believe Bill has been playing music in company with a couple of the participants for approaching forty years, and others for not far short of that. Bill/Sheila were first up, we did ok but ... never good enough. Peter Kerr is unwell and Ray and Amanda stepped into that spot. As with all 'concert party' format evenings a mixed bag pleased all of the people some of the time. Justified headliners were Pluck and Squeeze, promoting their new CD. (The number is PS2 so there must have been a previous one). Nutwood Scratch Band closed the evening. We love Mick and Sarah Graves music. It is always interesting when English 'folkies' are seduced by the American tradition. We have been attached to the local Bluegrass/Old Time community in Suffolk for years and understand that Mick and Sarah run a regular Americana session in Maldon. Bill has caught most of what went on for posterity though how much he will publish... not clear. Will share and let the musicians decide in the main.We have decided we were among the rough edged part of the evening, but that is perhaps our style!
12th October 2019: we visited Ashley/Nat and Jasmine. Played through some songs without pressure. The list of joint songs is up to about two hundred so occasionally some polish is helpful! Bill spent some time processing video from BMN 37 and sharing with the musicians. Came out quite well.
13th October 2019: Bill finished reading 'Knife' by Jo Nesbo, the latest Harry Hole episode, a real delight after a few mediocre books which didn't even make a mention here. Finishes on an opening which might continue anywhere in the world and with unresolved issues to revisit. Some lovely feedback on the BMN videos. Stan Bloor is happy that the Maggie and Stan set can be posted, so that is done. Tom also offered that Bill post his video, but had
already boosted the audio, (beyond appropriate levels perhaps), and posted on
his own channel, which is fine. No point in duplicating that. Bill had a slide guitar session this afternoon and FB posted 'Dead Flowers', Sheila at the Gym, (frozen shoulder notwithstanding).
14th October 2019: Two Sh3♂ed practices set up. Bill swimming, John G said he played his guitar for most of the day yesterday, the first time since the last BotH gig, which was in August!
15th November 2019: Early start to fly to Portugal for our first Costa
del Folk. A few friends from U3A and Everyman are regulars. They and
lots of newly met friends are confident we will become so. Excellent
accommodation, pleasant weather while the final
touches are made to the sound stages. Starts tomorrow. Meanwhile
getting our bearings
Huge buffet dinner and a rough and ready session. Trophy instruments
waiting for a useful life, led in part by U3A Alan on recorder. We called
it a night.
Wednesday 17th October: Breakfast and a trip into town on the shuttle bus. PM: Show of Hands, Luke Jackson, Anthony John Clarke. Evening: Jonas &
Harbottle. Willie Porter, (amazing), and Grannys Attic. Session felt forced/artificial, started with Flossie singing 'Knocking on Heaven's Door, (badly).
Thursday 17th October 2019:We joined the English sesion in the
morning. Bill listened to the pm concert from the room. Sheila went to
see Les Barker and Roving Crows. The latter a very loud retro folk rock
band. Modelled on Fairport who will also be here! Unecessary duplication
and very loud. Meet Churchfitters: interesting and enjoyable. The
Magpies: ok, but only that. Reliant on sound system and a messy melange.
Polly Bolton excellent on mandolin. Trials of Cato: now folk award
winners. slick. We had mentioned our previous experience of ToC stomp box setting off Sheila's pacemaker at Cressing, and that it is a general issue with overamplified percusion/bass. The conversation turned out to be with a 'sound man' who had not considered the issue and apparently passed the message on throughout the week.crtainly the problem didn't recur here. Early night (again).
Friday 18th October 2019: Morning trip to Loele. A local market town. Pm. The Thumping Tommies.
Magpies (almost repeat set with repeat rehearsed introductions).
Churchfitters. On great form. Support for Fairport tomorrow. We know who
we think to be the better band! Special mention for Margaux on
percussion. Brilliant. Chris Cleverly, Excellent singer guitarist. Very self assured. Les
Barker. Unique. (Yet) another early night. Meeting lots of new friends with
common interests, and lovely to see Richard and Sue Davies who had driven down from Normandy.
Saturday 20th October 2019: Rain in the morning. Hyde Family Jam, pub band, great
players. MirandaSykes: very enjoyable. Chris Cleverly. See previous.
Rachel Croft, Nice voice. Young and aspirational. Bland content.
Churchfitters. Another excellent set opening for Fairport Convention.
Great that a band is flying this flag (still) but 70s folk rock adds
nothing to the canon, although it greatly pleased most of the audience
who were there first time round, and who cheered the approximate remainder of
a once inspirational sound.
Sunday 20th October 2019: Last day .
Session. Churchfitters informal. Bill asked Boris about his hybrid bass.
Tuned in fifths from low D to f#. Phil Beer talking blues and guitar
styles. Tea and ice cream with Richard and Sue with whom we have
enjoyed sharing time and catching up during the week. Dark Horses. (Chris
Donnelly & Flossie Malliavale). Not to our taste but popular, (same set and patter as at Everyman last year).
Fairport Convention. More reworking of classic material from their back
catalogue. Packing to leave soon after an early breakfast tomorrow. Final concert with Show of Hands presenting as a four piece in an extended set. Excellent. We gave Skippinish a miss, too loud and mushy, (amplified highland pipes!).
Monday 21st October 2019: The journey home, arriving back around five o'clock. Obviously too wet for the roofer who had intended to fix our chimney. Weary, so Bill giving ESMM practice a miss. We will have to work up a song each for the U3A concert tomorrow! Overal impression, we have aged into the Costa del Folk demographic, and had a very enjoyable time in Autumn warmth listening to good music in friendly company. We will probably return this time next year. Good to be home though. Bills 'straplock' has arrived from Colorado! simple and effective, ordered another.
Tuesday 22 October 2019: Bill early swim, (half term). Practiced a couple of songs for this afternoon's U3A Concert. Bards of the Heath have a re-booking at Oulton on 16th November. U3A Concert: A cracker. All of the floor spots on top form ( we sang Crazy Man Michael and John Barleycorn), and the Kettle Girls were outstanding. Regrettably Bill's box brownie stalled about half way through, (no idea why),just before our set, seems to have reset on rebooting. That is the nature of the beast. Saved some and posted to an East Suffolk U3A Folk Muisc Group FB page ( https://www.facebook.com/East-Suffolk-U3A-Folk-Music-Group-112540380167242/ copy and paste into browser) This is one of the months when we could have made Roger D's 'at home', but a bit tired for the fifty mile round trip. Bill prepped worksheet and setlist for tomorrow's Sh3♂ed practice.
Wednesday 23rd October 2019: Bill popped to Needham CBS, the end of the season, some temptation but not much. Bill had a run through of a few songs for tonight's practice and also a 'try out' for minimal kit for Sweffling, (which is a kit averse pub). Sheila to a lecture in Colchester. Sh3♂ed practice: very enjoyable, we added a couple of songs and a tune to the repertoire, (thinking ahead to Hadleigh FC here).The Sweffling set is almost completely different to Kirton, still needs a few tweaks but with around sixty songs we have to keep them fresh. Also a good chinwag in between.
Thursday 24th October 2019:Bill processed the video/audio from last night's Sh3♂ed practice. Also had an anglo workout, and a melodeon refresher. Sheila preparing her fancy dress for the Pretty Grimm chillout weekend, (horns?). EastTrust seems to be promoting particular Morris sides and events on their FB page, possibly in breach of any even handedness implied by their charitable status and objectives. Bill was tempted to respond publicly, but why bother? Rob N replied to one of their recent Cider Day posts which was equally biased in its presentation, to little/no effect. The trust's business model has changed over the last couple of years, not for the better, (personal view). The FB page is operating as a 'personal', rather than an 'organisational' venture. Milkmaid Folk Club has booked Riley Baugus on 11th November, excellent. We are also hoping to catch the Churchfitters who bring their Christmas Show to Diss and Colchester on the 7th and 16th of December respectively. The diary is rather clumped with commitments during November and December, as is usually the case.
Friday 25th October 2019: Bill swim and wander around Woodbridge. Anglo practice foor tonight's Everyman. Sheila to Arnie's for an 'Old Time' house session. Back in time to pack and set out for Pretty Grim's 20th anniversary weekend at Darsham Station. Holly to tea then off to Everyman with Bill. A very strong contingent of floor spots. Dave Tricker, Steve Shipley (Skip) & Marya Parker, Bill,Steve Dickinson, Dave Bartlett & Linda Baddeley, John Robinson,and Holly. Damien Barber and Mike Wilson varied their setlist a little so it was good to hear a couple of newish songs in amongst the standard set and introductions, and were on excellent form this evening. A full house and an enjoyable evening.
Saturday 26th October 2019:Lovely pictures from Mary and Steve from last evening.Diary dates: EATMT are holding a 'Traditional Music Day' at the John Peel Centre and adjacent Church Hall on 19th September 2020, and proposing a melodeon event at the end of March 2021. (per Steve Dumpleton). A reversion to events which had previously been held, but in different locations. The Cider Festival and associated workshops were apparently a success last weekend, (despite the price). I suspect this may clash with Costa Del Folk again next year, where the cost is higher but the benefits, (possibly), greater. This cf previous notes about EastTrust social media presence. One part of the organisation seems to be functioning to spec. Pretty Grim and guests are dancing in Halesworth today, (apparently well received). Bill posted 'Grenville's Morris' by Sam Sweeney as a FB knoodle and worked on 'The Evening Star' (Martha's Comet) by Sue Harris on melodeon, (one of the TotM contenders, not a winner on present progress, but a great tune). We saw Martha Rhoden's Tuppeny Dish dance this dance at Shrewsbury and the music swings beautifully. The potential winner is another French finger buster, but we have a few days to go! John Thistlethwaite and Suizhen's celebration of John's 70th and SuiZhen's retirement was great fun, Bill didn't know many people, but it was great to catch up with Amy (John's daughter), and her family. Hopefully Bill will be able to make contact and catch up with (mum) Sue at some time soon, although the promised prospect of a FB connection hasn't worked. Snail mail likely to be more effective. Metric Foot played for dance, with their ubiquitous guitarist, who also plays bass in 'Medicine' and is/was musician for Westrefelda Morris, (who he apparently invoiced for his services), and 'Dark Horse Morris'.
Sunday 27th October 2019: Sheila still at the Pretty Grim weekend. Bill prepped and posted Panzie Potter: Simple As the Need:to YT. This is a cassette recording from 1992 with Ali Byrne and Gill McCutcheon and in almost constant play on the technology of the time. The conversion was made a while ago and the cassette has gone, but good enough to go, (rather reverby, but that was on the original tape. A fashion of the time). A particular favourite of Holly's and maybe in part inspired her present choices. Ali still sings locally. And now to work on the French finger buster! That went well. Sheila home for lunch having had a very enjoyable time, dressed up outrageously and sang 'Joan the Leather Queen' at the party. Bill spent some time sorting through extraneous videos etc on his computer and releasing about 50 gb space with duplicates and files saved both on and off the machine. (The off machine sort out will be a marathon, probably post demise should anybody be interested in the other 90% of unpublished archive local folk video!) Lord Nelson: Ipswich: session, half a dozen to start with then joined later by Noel. Sorry to hear Des (SinS)has had a heart incident, but glad that he promises to mend after an intervention. Bill sang 'Murdered Servantman' which was then followed by a rendition of 'Bruton Town', (same story and 80% same words), rude in the extreme outside of a workshop context. Bill also challenged an A4 folder bearer for singing a song from the first time, (without practice), in a public space. It went ok but might not have! Printout and sing seems to be the watchword. Andy had tweaked the action on his Hohner, very effectively so we swapped boxes to compare. He apparently also has a brand new 3 voice Dino Bafetti at home about which he is uncertain.
Monday 28th October 2019: Bill posted a compilation of 3 of his FB guitar sketches to YT to see how they fly with a wider audience. Had a tramp around Felixstowe and swam. John G on good form. Gradually building up enthusiasm to play music. (His description). Picked up the November 'Grapevine'. Sheila catching up after a sleepless night. East Suffolk Morris practice: An enjoyable evening. Bill proved his lack of fitness by dancing, once! Great to see Greg A on a flying visit from Canada. Confirmation that next years Spring trip will be a rail journey.
Tuesday 29th October 2019: we had a walk across the heath in the morning, Bill visited Jasmine (first tooth through), and Nat in the afternoon. Bluegrass at Tattingstone White Horse: the usual suspects , about half a dozen for this low key session. The session will have to change day or venue as the pub now closes on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Watch this space, but this session is at a low point at the moment anyway. Social and friendly, but for completists, or like Bill, those who can't get to the other ones.Bill linked his 'FB Guitar Sketches' video to the Celtic Guitar FB group and has had a positive response (so far).
Wednesday 30th October 2019: Sheila working, Bill popped into town and picked up the Pinewoods International Dance Tune Collection from the Oxfam Bookshop. (Leaving behind the Vancouver Dance Club Eastern European Dance Tune collection for another enthusiast to pick up, there is overlap). A large collection of dance tunes in esoteric key signiatures from Scandinavia, the Balkans, Macedonia, Turkey, Israel etc. Bill's head is hurting just imagining thinking in 11/16, lots of 7/8 and 9/16 as well. There is still a large collection of dance tune vinyl from the 70's on display, EFDSS Playford collections, Falconers, Shetland tunes for about £5 each. A folk-dance collectors goldmine, but Bill is shedding rather than collecting nowadays! He has also signed up to on online fingerpicking course (free at the moment), and we'll see how that flies! Sheila to physio for her frozen shoulder, a long job! Bill working on his Melnet TotM Video with a fair idea now of what will win. Bill finished reading the 'Belle Sauvage' by Philip Pullman. He wasn't sure about 'prequels' but a ripping yarn tailored as much for adults as young readers. Now pleased to be back in contact with Sue E, Sue played drums and called for Last Resort in the early days and Bill also knew her through his day job. Hi Sue. We decided to go to see Kath & Phil Tynan at The Smokehouse. Arriving at advertised time of 7.30 we discovered they were not playing until 9.30 after a couple of local punk acts! We popped across to The Haberd and enjoyed Jack Blackman’s phenomenal fingerpicking at Mid Week Blues. Returned to Smokehouse where Kath & Phil delivered hardcore old time Appalachian style balladry to the punk audience who were loving it. Next stop for this youngish audience, Folk Clubs?
Thursday 31st October 2019.Bill swim/Sheila working. p.m Bill tidied up likely Melnet TotM video, although two tunes are neck and neck! Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill thought about the Steamboat Hallow'een session, and sensibly thought better of it and played guitar at home . (Social Media posts subsequently confirmed that to be a wise decision, would have been a walkout! On a ?bio-rhythmic low at the moment as regards music, hopefully temporary. Hard to maintain enthusiasm.
Friday 1st November: Rabbits. Happy Birthday Dick T. Bill uploaded melnet video 'Derriere les Carreaux'. to TotM, also 'Martha's Comet' for Theme of the Month which was in this month's poll but not selected, and is a cracking tune, (the recording was there and good'nuff to go). )Some positive response to each, which is nice. Richard B has booked Sh3♂ed a slot at Slackfolk on 14th March 2020, thanks Richard. Bill spent the afternoon working on the Sh3♂ed set for Sweffling White Horse next week. Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Hunter Muskett were enjoyable, (think Dire Straits tribute band), and despite an array of PA and amplified instruments, the sound was excellent and at a listenable level, even in the front row. It is always difficult to arrange three guitars including two fingerpickers, very 'middly' sounding, but good humoured and well played. Other players: Elly Tree (aka Helen Woodbridge) who was playing floor spots at Ipswich Folk Club in the 1970's and has reinvented herself for the C21 'open mic' market. Tanglethread: aka Des & Ruth played tunes on Quattro and Recorder which were very enjoyable. Gemma Khawaja was the featured guest. Good choice of songs and straightforward modal accompaniment on tenor and acoustic guitars and shruti box. Has a distinctive voice and a serious commitment to the music. A triumph of form over substance, just because you 'can' doesn't mean you 'must', (all the time). Popular in Norfolk. Sheila had almost allowed ailments to hold sway on this evening, but was pleased she came along. Simon has kindly scheduled a Bill'Sheila floor spot for February. Thank you.
Saturday 2nd November 2019:Anglo Day: A nightmare journey out, rain, high winds and diversions. A social day among anglophile friends with a lengthy workshop by John W, which Bill found hard going, (any way is fine, this is my way). Home by 5pm. Sheila still unwell.
Sunday 3rd November 2019: Phil W came over this morning and he and Bill worked on a couple of the morris tunes he is introducing to ESMM and played a few tunes. Sheila for a family walk pm. Woolpack session:enjoyable, largely through contribution and participation by a visiting celtic fiddler who joined in and contributed. That aside, same old ,same old. Hopefully he may return but judging by his session etiquette, if he does return it may be just the once before he seeks more fertile ground!
Monday 4th November 2019: Sheila and Bill respective swim. Bill had a tramp around Felixstowe first and delighted to bump into Carol W and have a catch up chat. Bill has picked out a further 'contender' hornpipe for Melnet 'Theme of the month'.Meanwhile the forum members have expended three pages of posts discussing, 'what is a hornpipe', rather than just get on with posting tunes. Procrastination rules. Sheila to U3A Ladies Panto rehearsals pm. Sh3♂ed practice: a run through of the set list for Sweffling on Saturday, (together with tea and chat), which went well, some tweaking of the list.
Tuesday 5th November 2019:Sheila working and then to a meeting pm so Bill went to U3A Folk Music Group alone. An enjoyable afternoon, good to see Colin Mallet. Some excellent contributions. Bill had secluded himself behind a pillar and knoodled along quietly on mandolin for most of the afternoon. In between times the video/audio from last night's Sh3♂ed run through was processed and passed to Des and Glen. Evening in. Rather noisy with fireworks all around!
Wednesday 6th November 2019: Sheila working, Bill to town (IPswich). Picked up the Vancouver Folk Dance Society tunebook, (left behind last week, see above), a book of North Italien Fiddle Music, and a Saxophone 'favourites' book full of anglo friendly popular songs etc. Bill posted Sh3♂ed 'San Francisco Bay Blues' to FB from Monday's practice, and recorded and posted 'Sunshine Hornpipe' to Melnet Theme of the Month.Mid Week Blues in Town: Kent Duchaine Bill popped down to The Halberd for the first set. Kent has been playing Blues professionally since he was 17, (he is now 69), and is still on the road. He has played with and known many who have now died and is two handshakes away from Robert Johnson. He has a phenomenal right hand technique, (reminiscent of Son House) and great performance style. Lots to learn, but also lots that wouldn't work for anyone else.
Thursday 7th November 2019:Sheila had a CD sort while Bill was out last night and found his old copy of 'Jump' by Gas Mk5 1991. Great fun to listen again, it seems to be genrally unavailable at the moment. Sheila working, Bill swimming. Developing Sheila's cough which does not bode well for singing on Saturday! Bill's book on Irish Anglo has arrived which will hopefully de-mystify scales etc in all keys on a CG......Hmmm. We have decided to go and see Riley Baugus in Bury on Monday (11th), having discounted Hot Club of Cowtown at the Apex as expensive even as we love the music. Given that the MilkmaidFC advises the Apex it seems unfortunate to split the local Americana /Old Time audience on this evening.Sheila to Pretty Grim practice, Bill checked over his small amp and had a run through of Saturday's first set, before settling down in front of the TV with the new concertina book and his 30 button CG which now has to be treated as a 'different' instrument.
Friday 8th November 2019: Bill finished reading 'The Fifth Season' by Mons Kallentoft. Sheila to her monthly violin lesson. Bill ran through the second 'Sweffling' set. Changed the top string on the dobro for a heavier option. Ordered a cheap soundhole pick up for the second 'slide' guitar. Recapped some concertina tunes. Evening in.
Saturday 9th November 2019: Sheila to Gym, otherwise a quiet day in conserving energy for this evening's Sweffling Sh3♂ed outing. Sh3♂ed: Sweffling White Horse:the trio enjoy the benefit of being able to play from a compact space. We were made to feel very welcome and enjoyed the close attention of a friendly (and folk savvy) audience. Bill made a couple of unforced errors, but that is muisc 'live and dangerous'. When we said we would be back next November, the audience wanted us sooner, so good news in terms of 'likeable' music.
Sunday 10th November 2019: Hageneth Morris Men: Last Rites:The Chestnut Horse Gt Finborough: a smashing afternoon in good company as sides who are associated with Hageneth, and friends and past members of the side from its inception in 1997 celebrated Hageneth Morris Men and generally partied together.The beer ran out, the food ran out, the spirit prevailed. Bill caught the first dances of all the sides, but then food was announced...... anyway: enough to make a reasonable fist of a celebratatory video which Bill managed to edit and post come evening. One occasion on which the capture has a local significance beyond the simple content. It is unlikely that such a gathering will occur on a 'social basis' in the forseeable future. Credit to Dave Evans for putting the event together and inspiring so many friends to attend. The Tattingstone White Horse Bluegrass session has been offered the last Wednesday each month as it is now closed on a Tuesday evening during winter months. This will probably be accepted and implemented, (out for consultation with a decision on 24th Nov pendinga 27th session).
Monday 11th November 2019: Remember.............. Bill/Sheila each swam. Bill catch up with JG. Sheila to U3A Panto practice pm. Bill irritated that his dentist is leaving the NHS , sums done, signed up to basic capitation fee and hoping for the best! Cheap soundhole pickup for the second slide/lap guitar has arrived. Will have to wait until tomorrow for fitting. Holly thinking of taking up the accordion! Riley Baugus: Milkmaid FC Bury: Unmissable: Paul Brewer opened the evening having blagged an extended floor spot. It was great to see Paul playing well chosen songs, crosspicking, as a solo performer. In a small room with about twenty people present he wisely eschewed the rather overbearing PA system which had been set up and delivered an excellent set. Kelly Woolley were the 'authorised support, and used the PA system. As a consequence they were uncomfortably loud enough to fill a large hall (cf a small room). Great players and we are sure the material was excellent but buried behind the overdriven sound of the pick ups in instruments which might otherwise have sounded wonderful. We spoke with them about this and they had indicated that the room didn't need PA, and that they would play without it, but were over-ruled. Riley Baugus: doesn't offer a 'plug in' for his instruments, and the 'sound man' set him up with a couple of micropones strategically placed which worked well. We have seen Riley a few times and he would certainly have held this room without PA, but ce la vie. A bit loud, too much fiddling to tweak, but we could enjoy the music, (which we did). Riley is reinventing his 'offering' since Ira Bernstein has become unable to perform through illness. This evening was one in which the stories and songs were melded to comprise a presentation rather than a concert, almost an extended TED talk (and none the worse for that). A fascinating insight into Riley's world, the music, his opinions unashamedly to the fore concerning topics from 'new' old time music to the British Donald Trump. A theme developed around generosity of spirit, caring, and that those with least tend to share the most, often disproportionately. Riley learned from Tommy Jarrold, Doc Watson and many of the lights of the Old Time revival were his tutors and mentors. He played music with Doc for Rosalie Watson in her care home. An evening well spent. And it is AppalAcha, not AppallAAAAcha with many other placenames re-christened besides. Bill left a Sh3♂ed card with Terry....
Tuesday 12th November 2019: Sheila working. Bill to town to meet Holly and look at an accordion she fancies in Cash Converters. Very basic but cheap and good to go, she doesn't fancy my more complicated boxes so... we'll see, she is also thinking of upgrading her autoharp! Bill had a quick run through of the Bards of the Heath set list for Saturday. Lots from the first CD which we haven't played in a while but which are great fun, and a few tunes and folk songs from John G's initial musical career. Bill fitted the soundhole pickup to his second slide guitar, magic for the price. Not sure that brand name and additional investment would add value. Fordham Session: Phill W came along. There was an excellent turnout . Largely English material and a challenge to keep up, but great fun.
Wednesday 13th November: Sheila working. Bill posted an old Cajun programme, (copyright claim but dates from 1990 and is excellent and seemingly otherwise unavailable). Knoodled on guitar and concertinas, discovered previously inaccessible tunes are now (just) playable. Next Anglo day is pencilled in. A serious clash so some thinking to do!
Thursday 14th November 2019: Sheila working/Bill swim. Bill sorted the audio from Riley Baugus and filed it on a future use basis. worked on Gipsey Waltz on Guitar and Anglo, challenging as a G minor tune, so not a natural fit for an amatuer on either instrument, but good fun and a cracking tune. Wayward Session: The Angel Woodbridge: about ten players in the circle including some first time for WS, and a cracking tune session. 5 melodeons, two mandolins Anglo concertina, Guitar, Piano accordion,3 fiddles, mandola, in various combinations and a mix of English, Celtic, European and American tunes. Spootiskerry and Willafjord the tunes of the evening.
Friday 15th November 2019:Sheila to swim, Bill bumped into 'Bluegrass' Tony who is expecting to come to more sessions in the near future. We gave Henley Folk Night a miss. (Hear it was well attended but a curate's egg).
Saturday 16th November 2019: Bill dropped Sheila at the railway station to attend a conference in London and go on to visit family in Bournemouth. To Lowestoft for Bards of the Heath playing at Oulton. A couple of good songs but generally very ropey, which didn't matter greatly as the small number of people present seemed largely disinterested anyway, but without rehearsal small wonder, we do ask! Bill came back via Holton, (Rowan was not in), and a wander around Halesworth. Decided that Lowestoft and Halesworth have their attractions but their location is not among them! Mc2 are on the same bill as Sh3♂ed in March at Slackfolk, and advertising Folk on the Boat in January, (concerns whether the double bass is capable of boarding), and are playing at Sweffling in October. Linda Mc is a ruthless organiser.Bill processing this afternoon's recordings, to see what is salvagable!.
Sunday 17th November 2019: Bill edited and posted a couple of recordings from yesterday's Bards gig, (FB only but may move to YT as great response).Tinkered around on fiddle wondering whether to attend this afternoon's pre concert workshops, decided not to. Alison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves house concert at Bob T's. Phenomenal: two outstanding musicians who play with an empathy and understanding for each other and of the genre. Best yet. Bill didn't stay for the session which would have overlaid the sublime with mediocrity. Bill spoke with Maria Wallace from True North Music who is agent (and driver), for this tour,and who has been trying to find an East Anglian venue or club to book into for the excellent acts which she brings from the US. Possibly a contact for Terry W's Americana series at the Milkmaid. Bill thought about dropping in at the Woolpack, but didn't, for the same reason. A wise decision as it sounds to have been largely shanty based about sixteen attenders (FB post). Possibly a session in maritime decline! Update: Midweek Blues is moving back to 'The Duke of York' on a permanent basis, (as long as the pub stays open (again). Sheila in Bournemouth.
Monday 18th November 2019:The current newsletter from East Anglian Traditional Music Trust outlines a rosy review of their year to date and plans for the future, slipping back into a re-invention of events which had previously run but......Instrument workshops, low take up probably price related, but will continue. A song day in 2020 at the John Peel Centre, hopefuly not too 'worthy', Traditional Music Day returns in 2021, but with music curated by Alan Bearman, a national music agent who has already 'curated' the 'Blaxhall' sessions, (view and impact on local music expressed elsewhere). We'll see. The event of interest to Bill is the melodeon and concertina maintenance workshop. Bill processing video from last evening (Alison and Tatiana). Still magical.