THE NEWslETTER OF TIGERFOLK
October 2017 Edition
Our Welcome Back Sing was a night and a half as all those who attended will readily agree with plenty of people attending, some regulars, some brand new and some visiting while on holiday. Lots of singers, musicians and storytellers present and since I had set the ball rolling with a bit of background trivia regarding my opening song (my Forth Bridge story was relevant even if it was by twenty degrees of separation) I did encourage everyone to say as much as they wished prior to performing their piece. While this was very entertaining it did get to the point where I was keeping an eye on the clock to .ensure that we got round the room twice before our time ran out. This feat was achieved but it did leave me one bit of information short; one of the closing songs entailed pretty much all of the audience raising their glasses and clinking them with those of the people around them. This is something that at one time I considered an old fashioned toast or whatever, but in more recent years I see it in pubs and restaurants more and more being performed by friends and partners as well as those who have just met.
It was a couple of years ago when at the end of a training day we were rewarded with a meal at one of the local curry houses and once that the drinks arrived wine and beer glasses were clinked by all present; it was then I was informed by one of our party that rather than a jovial greeting this action was a sign of mutual trust. Apparently back in the day when drinking vessels were clinked it was to ensure that should a quantity of liquid spill into one another’s glass it wasn’t going to poison your companion and he wasn’t going to poison you!
Quite a fair explanation I thought at the time and I still do, however before committing it to these pages I did check on line via the various mythsbusters and SNOPES decides that it is false. Unfortunately they cannot come up with anything more exciting than the clinking of glasses produces a loud noise designed to scare evil spirits away. If that is the best that they can do then the poison method will stay with me.
In similar fashion a few years ago on our Christmastime pilgrimage to Newcastle we chanced into The Old George in Bigg Market for the first time in many years and we enjoyed an entertaining hour or so listening to a group of retired chaps meeting for their Thursday afternoon session and their subject for discussion was how various sayings came about. Among the phrases discussed were “Piss Poor”, “Raining Cats and Dogs”, “Upper Crust” and “Haven’t Got a Pot to Piss In” and each one was furnished with a plausible explanation. Obviously one of them had been on the internet since their last meeting to be able to introduce such a fascinating subject but when I went on line to get more information once again the word false kept appearing.
I know that we have to be accurate, especially in the folk clubs because there is always someone lurking and ready to put you right even if they are the one who is wrong! However I think that the so called false explanations are far more entertaining and do much more good that some po-faced pedant.
This rant may well have its roots in a recent exchange on a football forum to which I made a contribution recently when someone came back to me with the retort that being from South Shields I couldn’t be a Geordie!!!
Sunday 1st October 2017
Matt Green and Andy Turner
One band has been consistent in upholding the best of the English tradition of Southern English song and dance music over the years; that's Magpie Lane, from the heart of Oxfordshire. Matt and Andy are the core of Magpie Lane and we've booked them before at the club so we know what a splendid night we are in for here. I have to say that their CDs are my go-to playing when I want to get back into the soul of English tradition or just have cheerful background music to keep up my spirits through boring housework or long motorway drives.
An early start is always the order of the day and as we drove over the blooming, purple, heathered moor past Goathland, breakfast loomed large in the mind or through lack of it, loomed even larger in an empty stomach. An hour or so later satiated and with the sun shining we were ready for Whitby Festival and the festival was ready for us.
As usual the programme had been perused and mulled over for a week or more beforehand so after picking up out tickets/wristbands we went our separate ways for the next few hours. I must say it made a pleasant change to be just sitting in the afternoon sun up by the museum on Pannett Park watching a succession of dance sides entertaining a small but appreciative audience. That relatively short period of time was, in a way, a microcosm of the festival as a whole. For I watched different types of dance performed by various groups/teams/sides of different gender make-up, from different areas and different eras from traditional through to some offerings that looked like they were still being made up as they lurched through the moves sometimes but not always in time with their “musicians”,. All very interesting and some more so than others but each group had their following and obviously were appealing to them. The same can be said for all the musicians, singers, dancers, tellers and everyone else booked for the week at Whitby. Everyone has their own, like and dislikes, everyone has their own festival for it would be mighty strange if everyone liked the same things “A chacun son gout”.
This year we had some friends who had not been to such an event before so once in a while time was spent introducing them to things that maybe they were not familiar with. It also meant that we looked at the programme with a slightly different mind-set. True, we still went to what we wanted to but maybe, more time was spent at places where previously we would only pop in a short while. As always there were clashes and difficult decisions had to be made but on the whole all must sees and dos were seen and done. It is interesting, from my point of view, to experience the same venue at different times of the day when perhaps different types of events are being presented. The Coliseum, for instance, I feel works very well for illustrated talks and presentations, normally in the mornings as well as concerts in the afternoon, but evening concerts, and there are exceptions, seem to be a tad flat. Similarly the Rifle Club works well all through the day but again in the evening it leaves a bit to be desired. The Brunswick, on the other hand, has it in spades throughout the day and night and if you are of a mind to let, mainly traditional, music and song wash over you in tidal proportions, then you need go no further than the Football Club. When fine weather is in the offing a quick visit to the Captain Cook Museum at mid-day for a few songs on a nautical theme is well worth considering, the yard of the museum is a lovely setting overlooking the river and a very pleasant half an hour is your reward. Perhaps you might even go in the museum for I have a feeling that the majority of festival goers, like me, have never been through its doors. On the subject of museums, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Pannett Park, but it all depends how much time you have…………
Whilst songs maritime are in view, the epic shanty sessions in the Endeavour raised a magnificent £3700 for the RNLI this year. Always a great session in a pub that really makes you feel welcome with a landlord who is crew member of Whitby lifeboat. There is real appreciation in this fine hostelry for the efforts of Jim Mageean, Graeme Knight and all the crew. Well done you all.
So what stood out for me at the festival? Well, as normal, it is the one off events that come readily to mind; the presentations by Sandra Kerr, Vic Gammon, Doc Rowe, Martin and Shan Graebe, the launch of Pete Wood’s book on Johnny Handle amongst others. I was also impressed by the clog stepping of Two Step and the north west Morris dancing of Earlsdon. Goathland are always well worth a watch dancing not only their own dances but also North Skelton, for as it was put to me, “If we don’t dance it, who will?” It was a sheer joy and privilege to listen to Shetland fiddler Bryan Gear so ably accompanied by Martin Henderson, consummate musicianship. As for singers, well, Crows were great, Di Henderson, Roisin White, Rosie Stewart, Peter Shepherd and Arthur Watson, Arthur Knevett, Hector Riddell etc., etc., where do you stop.
An even bigger vote of thanks than normal must be given to the organising committee of this year’s festival especially as any number of unforeseen circumstances meant that some really popular and well-loved performers were not able to appear. So give yourselves a pat on the back and you are very much appreciated, thanks again and see you next year
Anyone coming on Sunday night and arriving from the direction of A50 > Tamworth Road into Long Eaton please note that there are serious roadworks on Tamworth Road with traffic lights in operation. At the time of writing they are opposite The Nag’s Head on the left hand side going into town but they are moving quickly in the direction of the Railway Station. This work is half way through an eight week programme of pipe laying/electrical work which is then mooted to move down Fields Farm Road – more advance warning. Therefore it might be wise if you are travelling that way to set out a little earlier as last Sunday the traffic was quite heavy between six and seven thirty in that area.
Anyone coming from M1 or Nottingham road will not be affected.
Sunday September 3rd
Tigerfolk Annual September Sing
There were no less than 15 good* singers in the room for our annual start-of-the-season Sing at Tigerfolk this year, plus enough non-singing audience to warrant a second row in our ever expanding informal circle for the evening.
This may perhaps have been due to the presence of our friend from “the High Hill of Howth” (Challenge: anyone recognise the song from which this quote comes?**); Francie Devine was over for a flying visit, with Ann Riordan whose visit was even more flying since she was due on a plane back early the next morning.
Francie wasn’t our only visiting singer, however; it was also lovely to see Pete Burnham again, briefly revisiting old haunts from his new situation as the singing angler of the Coquet (a very traditional role, recognised in his second contribution of the evening) as well as to welcome rare visitors to the club such as Martin Tabraham and Marc Bloc.
This all made for a wide variety of songs and styles and some good stories to go with the songs. Dave Sutherland kicked of the evening with Bob Davenport’s version of Tramps and Hawkers, inspired by a view from the air of the newly completed Forth Bridge beside its two predecessors; Paul Mansfield followed this with an Essex variant of Hares on the Mountain which starts with a sexual encounter of an unusually innocent – sounding couple (with the slightly worrying detail of the chap having to cut off his breeches, which raised the uncomfortable question of how he managed common calls of nature the rest of the time …).
Steve Plowright offered straws in the wind (no, I’m not going to explain that; if you were there, you probably remember. It was a Western Wind, which is all the hints I’m going to give if you weren’t there.) Then we welcomed a new contributor: Mark Hinsley made his Tigerfolk debut as a Farmer’s Boy; very pleased we were to have tried the lad: you can come again, Mark!
I realise that, although I did record every song sung that night in my notes, this could make fairly tedious reading if I list them all. Suffice it to say that we as well as the above, we had songs and stories from all the residents and from regulars John Whitelaw and the Grand Union Club gang – i.e. Bill Wilkes, Lyn Cooper, Karen Harris and Ed Butler.
A lovely relaxed evening amongst old friends and new, just exactly what a song session should be; altogether a good way to mark the official end of Summer and a hopeful way to face the start of Autumn. I’ll finish as the evening did, with the words of the parting song in which Bill led us: Here’s hoping we all meet again along the road of Time.
Plus anyone else who would like to join us.
* I would have said excellent, but the number included myself so that would amount to self-promotion.
** Answer will be given at our next meeting, although I can’t promise to sing the whole song. Free raffle ticket for anyone who does …
SEE YOU AT THE STUMBLE INN!