You are allowed out midweek…

Dear all,

Hope you’re all enjoying this here weather. I have to be honest and say I’m not – I get awfully teed off with hot weather and actually rather prefer it when it’s a bit mild but I’m aware I’m probably in a minority on that one. Sorry it’s been a bit of a while since the last bloggage, I’ve been in a bit of a funny place which for any of you who read my most recent effort won’t come as much of a surprise I guess. Truth be told, I’ve also just been bloody knackered. Five and a half months of near constant touring including on the other side of the world has rather taken its toll but I’ve enjoyed this last week of being at home and getting a bit of rest. So here I am back again!

Thanks to everyone who came out to see the trio on our first tour. Those at the gigs seemed to have a good time and we rather did as well! It all seemed to be well received so we shall be back next year and over the summer a wee bit. We did a lot of gigs and they were all pretty good. After Stafford it was off to Norwich for a vibrant gig at Louis Marchesi before we headed back to the Midlands to play in Kingswinford and Alstonefield to packed houses which gave us great nights. Special thanks to the Alstonefield hosts for the wine, whisky and cheese after the gig too 🙂

Then it was off down south to Dartford, London and Winchester for three more excellent gigs with some serious banjo fans at the middle one! Then it was back to the Midlands for Burton Folk Club who as ever were brilliant then to Guildford for the outstanding Trinity Folk Festival and Sunday we were in Oxford to complete the southern leg at the beautiful Holywell Music Rooms once graced by Handel no less. Oh and I also squeezed in a solo show at Chebsey Parish Hall in Staffordshire which was good fun and it was so great to see the old Norton Bridge crowd who used to attend my many gigs at the sadly now gone Railway Inn. I had some fun in those days, a bit of a wild gig at times that one!

Finally the trio headed up north to Ripon, Newcastle and Sheffield with all three bloody superb fun and the latter featuring the saga of Nipplegate which I won’t go into here…then followed an excellent brace of Shropshire gigs in Bishops Castle and Oswestry which were two of the finest of the whole tour and finally it was to Leicester which featured Bragate. Definitely not going into that here…

After precisely no break at all, it was back up north to Northumberland to do a six date tour with the legend that is Alistair Anderson. What a lot of fun we had! Thanks to all those who came out to the gigs, it really was a blast. Thanks to my folks for hosting us after the Cumbria date and providing whisky and cheese…

Then followed a little trip to Stourbridge, home of the marvellous Elmfield Steiner School which for twelve years has hosted an annual folk fortnight run by the superhuman music teacher and master of all things harmonious Caroline Price who also runs the impossibly superb choir Stream of Sound. We basically go there and teach lessons on instruments the kids choose to learn, run various workshops, go to the pub (for legal reasons I should point out this activity does not involve the school children) a lot and also do a gig and a ceilidh! Sadly prior commitments meant I was unable to do the ceilidh but I did three days of teaching, had a jolly good time and caught up with some of my very favourite people. What a marvellous week!

Finally to bring you up to speed, UFQ have been busy too with gigs in Suffolk, Banbury, Canterbury, Shropshire and Oxford in a wholly inconvenient order. All were much enjoyed anyway with a particular shout out to the Oxford crowd who were particularly lively and whooped, cheered, raved, ceilidhed and goodness knows what but didn’t throw bras on the stage…it was great.

So, a little bit of a plea from me as a musician. I’ve noticed more and more people utterly glued to the idea that they cannot possibly go out on a night that isn’t Friday or Saturday. It’s an intriguing one – I know what many of you are thinking. Easy for Mr Musician who doesn’t have an early start to say, right? Well point taken but hear me out. I was speaking to someone a little while ago about a gig that was going on at his local theatre on a Monday night costing £10 and it was his actual hero. Oh and he lives five minutes from the venue. And he was actually debating whether he should go because it was a Monday night. Really??!! He’d be home by 9.30! The world will surely not stop turning because you come out on a weeknight to a gig and get pretty much the exact same amount of sleep or at worst an hour less? Maybe avoid the after party and perhaps not have ten pints and I think you’ll be fine. Which brings me to another point about this – maybe it’s do with the culture that largely pervades when it comes to booze. The idea of just drinking a bit of booze because it’s nice seems to be a dying art to me. It seems so many only ever drink to get utterly tanked and don’t understand why else you would drink. Town centres on a Friday and Saturday make me thoroughly depressed as I see people out of their tree and almost deliberately setting out to not care what they do. I like a drink, God knows, and I’m not suggesting I haven’t put a fair bit away in my time but this determination to genuinely not even be aware of what’s going on is a bit of a mystery to me. You can just have a few and it’s quite nice, people! And more to the point if you only ever to a gig on a Friday or Saturday…there won’t be too many musicians left in business.