Looking Back

No, this is not one of those appalling Round Robins you get every Christmas from people who manage to have three Acts of God happen to them simultaneously – one of which always involves graphic descriptions of surgery in the jockstrap department. Nor will it be one of those smug buggers telling you how 12-year old Rosamond has just got a first at Oxford in Quantum Physics, Mandarin and Woodwork but was too busy conducting her own First Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic to attend the degree ceremony.

No, it’s just that I get to play at some delightful places and with some brilliant people and I thought you might like to have a look at a few of them, so here is a NEW SECTION!

NEW ZEALAND

I wrote about NZ last time but it was so good I’m going to repeat what I said because you really should visit it.
“ I went over in their late Spring and did about 12 gigs from the north of North Island to the south of South Island. There’s more spectacular scenery than you can shake an Orc’s cudgel at, the roads are empty, the plates are full and the Kiwis are the friendliest bunch you could ever hope to fall out of a pub with.
It’s a long way but a stopover in Singapore was a fascinating experience – and wonderful value for money.”

MUSIC CLUB

Near Taunton. Folk based but a very eclectic music policy. Excellent local performers and audience.
www.milvertonmusic.co.uk .

THE VILLAGE PUMP FOLK CLUB

Reopened in its original venue behind the Lamb in Trowbridge with the original décor, organisers and ambience. The ultimate retro folk club – though don’t expect the Wadworths 6X to be 4/11 a pint anymore!
Everyone who’s anyone on the folk scene played there – and they’re queueing up to play there again.
www.villagepump.org.uk .

WINTERBOURNE ARTS CENTRE

Still putting on excellent acts at the Ridings School in Winterbourne, South Glos.

SOMERTON FESTIVAL

A wide variety of acts perform in this delightful Somerset town every July. I played this year in a tent behind a pub – in a violent thunderstorm. The steady stream of rain pouring through the canvas and down the microphone stands certainly added a frisson of excitement to the gig!

WADEBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL

Hobgoblin Music did a great job to cater for most folk tastes on August Bank Holiday.
I did a concert with Jez Lowe, Reg Meuross and Karen Tweed – and I still play their CDs in the car!
Next day I did a lunchtime session in a room with the windows open and a wonderful mob of Cornish bagpipers parading outside. I think I’ve found the missing link between Music and Noise.

THE GREYS, BRIGHTON

A marvellous pub in an interesting area of a fascinating city. Real landlord, real ale and real music.
If you enjoyed the old Bristol Troubadour in Clifton this is the one for you.
I was delighted to meet up with my old mate Miles Wootton, the writer of many, many very funny songs – several of which I’ve recorded. He’s living in happy and healthy retirement, and long may he continue to do so.

THE STRAWBS

At Twickenham Stadium in September the Strawbs celebrated their 40th anniversary with a weekend spectacular featuring just about every incarnation of the band. As I’ve known Dave Cousins since they were a Skiffle group he asked me to compere the show and referee the backstage wenching, carousing and fighting.
I’ll just say it was one of the most  exciting and musically fulfilling weekends I’ve ever spent. I won’t bore you with details. Just look at their website, then go and see them.

NORTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE RURAL ARTS

Air in G, who run the scheme, put me on their list this season and booked me in for over a dozen shows. I’ve been playing in delightful halls in charming villages from Cheltenham and Cirencester to the Forest and the Wiltshire frontier and they’ve all been lovely. I don’t like to single one out but I must mention Flaxley in January when the roads were snowbound and half the audience trekked across fields, through woods and over hedgerows to get to the Old School Room. What a wonderful atmosphere!
Have a look at the Gig List – I’ve got several more to do.

MRS GERRISH’S CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

I hinted last time that Kate McNab, Ross Harvey and I might do Mrs G again this year – and we did.
The Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol opened a new, small theatre 50 yards down the road called “The Brewery Theatre”. It’s a 90-seater with a micro-brewery and a bakery attached!
We managed to sell out the entire two weeks run (and some touring venues as well) and, not surprisingly, are looking at the possibility of putting on something next Christmas. 
Meanwhile, Kate and Ross (as Ministry of Entertainment) are doing a new Joe Hobbs play this year, as well as performing their ever-popular old repertoire. www.ministryofentertainment.co.uk will reveal all!

THE BLUE NOTES

The Blue Note Jazz Band perform every Wednesday in the undercroft of St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol. In December I do two shows with them at their Christmas Party Night. I always get the gig because my wife a) runs the Jazz club, b) manages the band and c) persuades me to do it very cheaply indeed! –and just to make the thing look thoroughly incestuous, our daughter Hannah is the singer.
Unfortunately the band suffer from Musos’ Disease – a condition where the skill of the musicians is in direct proportion to their ability to organize things – and they’re very good musicians!  Consequently, they don’t have a website, so I’ll just mention their excellent CDs here.

  1. THE BLUE NOTES – LIVE AT THE UNDERCROFT
  2. SOMETHING BLUE – HANNAH WEDLOCK AND THE BLUE NOTE TRIO

Both are available from Susan Wedlock at the same address as me ( see “Recordings”).
Price £10 each (including P&P)