Sunday, 31 July 2011

castaway the programme

The caption contest on the previous post will run until tuesday night so get your entries in soon.

Below is a link to a PDF of the programme for my show Castaway at the Duchess in York on Thursday the 18th of August.  


+ The Programme will be available at the venue, on the night +


Monday, 25 July 2011

in Lincoln's green and pleasant land

I woke up at home this morning and I had absolutely no idea where I was. Images of several different rooms passed through my mind as I slowly regained my senses. Although slightly disorientating the experience is pleasant once I get my bearings. As you might guess it is not the first time this has happened. I will gladly undergo such minor altered states to have more of the same good experiences I’ve had playing the FDPFAFDW gigs.The most recent version was no exception. I stayed with Tony and Monika Smith for four days and I enjoyed every minute. The weather was strange as it has been. I don’t remember a summer where the wind changed direction so many times in a day.
On the day of the gig a mad man went on the rampage in Oslo, Norway. The wind blew cold and cooled the sun but life goes on.

 sound check with nick
Nick showed up as promised with one of the tiniest pa systems ever. We discussed how micro technology has released us from the burden of carrying largely inefficient and heavy equipment around, especially for a show like the one to take place in the garden that evening. I cannot tell you how marvellous it is when a sound check only takes fifteen minutes. Thanks Nick for top service.
I‘ve known Tony and Nick for some time now. We last met up at the benefit concert I played in Wales last September for Mickey Jones who was the lead guitar and founder member of MAN. Tony and Nick are both involved with the post production of the video of the benefit shows and I got to see some rushes. It brought back happy memories of a great night in South Wales. I had a good feeling watching this video and reflecting on what I had heard about the cottage industry around merchandising and promotion, that these guys have put together as fans. So much can be achieved by honest and committed folk who do what they do out of a genuine respect for musicians and their music. The music industry is changing. The old style record companies and other middle men are destined for total redundancy.

james with son jake - the future

I’d watched the preparations for the show throughout the day. Watching the guys fix a waterproof sheet over my little “paved stage” was fascinating. Though the wind tried to rob them of their plastic sheet these guys were not to be trifled with and the wind lost out. I think as time wore on any trepidations people might have had in the early planning days had receded. It was now fun. Monika who told me she had expected to be nervous and stressed but was very relaxed. Soon the barbecue was underway and Monika’s fabulous German potato salad and other sundry goodies were laid out. I’d been a house guest for a couple of days by now and was totally chilled. I didn’t feel a trace of nervousness that usually signposts an imminent performance and for the next couple of hours I enjoyed meeting and chatting with new people and with some I have known for years.

my hosts tony and monika
The gig went well and as usual it was interesting for me to chat with people who have not seen me before and don’t know my music. The conversations went on long into the night and a small gathering stayed up chatting until very late. This is one of my favourite parts of the evening. It was especially interesting for me to get some perspectives on a variety of topics, including some feed back re my set, from James, son of Tony and Monika and his young friends. When I finally emerged from my bed on Sunday morning every one had left after camping in the garden and utilising all available space. Tony made me a pack up lunch along the lines of the German style breakfasts I had enjoyed in the mornings.
Tony had made T-Shirts for the occasion and I have one. I have collected some cool souvenirs on my recent travels. The shirt is a very nice souvenir of a very happy stay in Lincolnshire. Time was running and so I said my goodbyes, which is always a little sad and Tony drove me to the station. We thought we were short of time but the train was late and so all was well. Thanks to all for happy memories and special thanks to Tony, Monika and James for looking after me and making my visit so enjoyable. I had a ball.

Tony has a couple of shirts left over and has very kindly donated one for a caption contest. So the person who comes up with the best caption for the photo of Nick below gets the shirt. Usual rules – as many entries as you like as comments on this post and when Tony chooses the best caption I’ll send you this unique collectors item.
                                 your caption to win the shirt


Friday, 22 July 2011

a zen moment......or two

koi pool

Today was a very relaxing day. Tony, my host for tomorrow's FDPFAFDW show, took me to visit Pureland a nearby Japanese garden in North Clifton near Newark. It did not have an example of the beautiful gravel and stone zen garden I found in Cornwall last year. That was a special place and time though this garden in Lincolnshire had the quality that indicated the presence of the master in parts. It was clear that aspects of this garden were built by a clever and knowing hand. In addition to the garden the place has a meditation centre and tea room. The garden has a calming and rejuvenating ambience and was just what I needed. Tony and I walked around the garden and he took photos. I shot the butterfly and the koi video on my phone. We sat for some time in the sun and chatted for ages until the ever near, chilling, summer wind got up again and it was time to make a move.

what a beauty

This was a good time. If we can we should take time to relax in a quiet space. If we don't have time we should do all we can to make time so that we can be re-energised.

bridge in the green

its the butterfly

stone pagoda

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

Lao Tzu


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

fdpfafdw norway

The flight to Norway was smooth and uneventful and so much less hassle than recent ventures over there due to not having to take tons of musical equipment, necessary for band shows. Torgeir, one of my hosts, arranged for his son to lend me his very nice Martin guitar and Roland Street cube amplifier for the gig.
After a good night’s sleep Jarle and Kirsten took us to a nearby beach. I had the use of spinning rod and lures and for a few hours the sun shone and the sky was blue. I caught a little fish at the end of a stone pier but catching wasn’t important it was just nice to chuck a few lures after weeks of not having the chance.
I have so many photos from this event that it has been very difficult to pick the best and the ones that best tell the story. I have left names off most of the photos but you know who you are. To those not pictured here I apologise. I have decided to put up a new gallery on my website with photos from all of the FDPFAFDW shows. I hope to complete this in a week or so.

hope Kirsten has got lots of space in her
 freezer for all the fish i'm gonna catch

Later that evening Torgeir and family arrived and we all had dinner together with Jarle and Kirsten. Talvard, Torgeirs son, played some nice finger picking guitar and sang a song for us after dinner. He is seen above playing his Martin.

So nice to be by the Norwegian coast. As you might expect the fishing is actually very much better than in the UK and I received many offers from folk willing to take me fishing on my next trip. Next year guys. Lets do it.

shoes by Tesco

The venue for the gig was a beautiful weather boarded old barn in picturesque surroundings. It was cool and dark and had great acoustics. The audience of thirty seven was amazing and I am always impressed by the level of understanding of English language in Norway. Even when, perhaps especially when, I was telling my stories to explain some of the songs it was clear they were with me all the way. There were a few tears in the audience when I sang the Christmas song, My Salvation and others. After the show I was able to chat for a while with almost every one and it was quite a moving experience to hear how my songs had made such an impression. Some of the feedback was overwhelming and I felt the job was a good 'un. Some of these good people have taken songs such as Evening Over Rooftops as a kind of anthem and have sung them at social events down the years. Some folk showed great interest in my Yoiking and complimented me on my ethnic style. It gives me such a warm feeling to know I have connected with these people and have been part of their lives and culture. If I had needed a confidence boost this event would have ticked all of the boxes. As it is I have never felt more confident and relaxed about my work in my life.
Before the show Torgeir made an announcement to the effect that if people had come to see me perform my usual thing then they were mistaken and that tonight was a Norwegian Line dancing event with some proper country music. Every one laughed at that and I got to my place in front of the microphone before any country singers present got a chance.
yours truly with my hosts Torgeir and Jarle

As is often the case, post gig, the discussions that follow are fascinating for me. People stood around in the barn and on the ramp leading to it discussing all kinds of topics including the show. People stepped in and out of small groups and the conversations were very revealing. It was very easy to get an idea of where people were at in a very short time. I love that about being on the road. It always seeemed easier to get to know people and I guess it is firstly because we do have things in common but also because time is short and the next gig is often calling me to the next port of call.
my new band?
This lovely lass was little when her dad Jarle began brain washing her with the sounds of The Edgar Broughton Band. See how it worked ha ha!
sing brothers sing
The apres gig party was an hilarious riot. Jarle is one of the sanest men I know but... he is a party animal and quite mad about the music. He knows every lyric to every EBB song and he played every song and ...yes.. he sang every song in what might be described as in the style of Louis Armstrong fronting Rammstein, the German Metal band and the favourite of my mate Ramblin. It was a great night and we didn't hit bed until around 6.30 am. My kind of night out.
Jarle and Kirsten
i'll be back

This was a marvellous time for Loz and me. The hospitality we received and the kindness of strangers was almost overwhelming. I feel I have new friends and that my old friends are even closer. There were tears shed as it was time to leave. Jarle and Kirsten took us to the airport and there were more tears. I am so happy that I decided to play the FDPFAFDW shows. It has to be one of the best ideas I ever had. I am not bragging just trying to express how good it is to play for such lovely people in their home environment, where ever that is. So thank you all for a wonderful trip. You all made it a totally unforgettable joy and I hope you might find an excuse ( ha ha! ) to do it again.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

up date

Summer, or the weather that passes for a UK summer at this time is racing by but I am seeing and enjoying some lovely parts of the country on the FDPFAFDW gigs. Glastonbury seems a long time ago and the miles have flown by. I am really enjoying train travel at the moment though the detour by car to Glasto and Mollington with Dave and Luke was a treat. Dave is great driver and has a proper attitude in all things important on the road. He is also a little bit nuts, in the nicest possible way, which makes for the perfect travel companion in my book of the road.
I feel I should explain some thing about the fair Days Pay For A Fair Days Work shows. I want folk to understand that it is really what it says it is. I will play for any one for ONE day of THEIR WAGES plus a bed for the night, travel expenses (I have a senior citizens railcard to cut travel costs lol!) and some supper. It does not matter how much you earn. People shouldn’t consider what they think an acceptable sum should be. That is the whole point. At the same time I realise that not every one can afford to give up a day of their wages for me to play for them or would want to. I can see how it wouldn’t be a priority for many, especially in these times. That said, I am prepared to play a benefit show for any worthy cause excluding animals lol. As long as its aim is to raise money for people I’m in. For this I would require only accommodation, if necessary, travel expenses and my supper. There would be no fee involved. But it has to raise money.
photo by bev edwards
Some years ago some guys from the Wolverhampton area asked the EBB if we would play a benefit for Amnesty International, a cause close to my heart. In the distant past we had played many benefits where a bunch of folk did no advertising nor made any real effort to raise cash because they didn’t have to guarantee a sum of money at the end of the night. So I emailed the benefit boys and told them the gig had to raise a minimum amount and this must be guaranteed as a payment to be received by the band on behalf of Amnesty International. The amount was sensible but I never heard from them again.
So I’m up for playing for free but it has to be useful. It has to raise cash for people who need it. People have raised cash for charitable organisations at the FDPFAFDW shows and at a recent gig the audience raised £600-00 for SHELTER. Magnificent. Of course I feel great about it because this was an outcome from the original idea I hadn’t considered. Win, win, win.

The FDPFAFDW gigs will continue to be available and in September I will be offering more summer time FDPFAFDW dates for 2012. Mean while there are still a few winter dates available if any one would like to book one.

I’m getting on quite well with my new Tanglewood folk guitar. Its a gem though I think I need the action lowered so it is just a little easier to play but it sounds very good. So far I have chickened out of using the nylon strung classical guitar for my solo performances but that will be addressed at the CASTAWAY gig at the Duchess in York on the 18th of August. I want to include some one off performances of bits and pieces that I have been playing around with for a long time. I will be including a few performance items that will be very different with the theme survival and victory with a stripped down tool box. There will be some new material and of course, some old songs including some golden oldies. 
I will publish the programme for the evening here on The First Supper a few weeks before the event and it will be available at the gig. This will be a one time only concert performance so some of the material will never be performed again. I have arranged for this to be a seated concert so book early to be sure of a seat.

I have been diligently recording all of my recent shows and I feel sure there is a nice little album scattered across the eight hours of music including Glasto. I have also been recording some low down dirty music demos as a contrast to the solo stuff and towards the new project for 2012.

A week or so ago, on my way back from a gig, I finally met up with Steve Krakow from Chicago at St Pancras International Station. We’ve been trying to do an interview for a few weeks now and this was the last chance. Strange to be sitting in a café talking about the old days and the new days, Wavy Gravy, Pearls Before Swine, Radio Head and the EBB. With some luck we’ll be hooking up in Chicago for a project and a gig or two. Back home now he wrote “the streets seem so much wider--and no beans with breakfast??? what???”
Next Stop Stavanger in Norway for a few days with Jarle, Torgeir and family. The International Division of The First Supper and AFDPFAFDW? This should be special. I’ll tell you all about it when I return.

Well the fishing has definitely taken a back seat for this summer. No time for it though I have been near some very fishy waters on my travels. I have explained to some of my hosts that it would be a little churlish to go off fishing while I am their guest lol. Ah well! I have some time in September when I will be hunting bass and fishing from a boat on The Norfolk Broads for a big pike.

LATEST FROM 38 Degrees
Yes! Together we've done it - Rupert Murdoch just abandoned his bid to takeover BSkyB. [1]
This is a huge turnaround. Only a few days ago David Cameron claimed it was impossible to stop the BSkyB deal. [2]
Then, nearly 100,000 of us emailed our MPs demanding the government act. Suddenly, late yesterday, MPs of all parties united to tell Murdoch to call the deal off. [3] And this afternoon, Rupert Murdoch finally caved in. People power worked!
This is a huge breakthrough, and a huge moment for people power in the UK. We're powerful because we work together - so let's decide together what we do next. Should we do more work to clean up politics and the media? Should we work together to protect the NHS or the environment? Or something else?
Have your say - take two minutes to set the future direction of 38 Degrees here:

People power has finally pushed politicians to stop bowing and scraping to media barons. But Murdoch is a crafty and determined operator. He'll probably be planning his next move – we need to plan ours as well!Is there more we could do to make sure the collapse of the BSkyB bid is a real turning point? What else could we do to secure higher media standards? How can we make sure that politicians never again put media barons before us, their voters? Or is it time to move our focus back to other issues?
Now there can be no doubt that democratic protest is viable via the Internet. No excuse not to express our dissatisfaction with government and the bankers who continue to thrive while the poor and vulnerable pay for their mistakes. They have spent your pensions and they have squandered your taxes for years and years.
A couple of years ago people receiving disability/incapacity benefit were able to enjoy a scant few of the good things in life. Not as much as the typical “Walkie Talkie” (Ian Drury's label for the non disabled), though before the cuts people legitimately receiving benefits could exercise some limited choice in their lives.

Cuts to their benefits and a general decline in resources and services since then has significantly reduced the quality of their lives. Many of the elements that made life bearable, and in some cases even possible, have been removed. What kind of logic dictates that, in real terms, they should be the ones who pay the highest price in the battle to reduce the national deficit? I believe the eventual backlash will prove to be more costly than any savings made by penalising the very poor and vulnerable.


love is the thing - heartfelt - angels singing I'd put a ring on any ones finger
take me dancing let's take a chance on you being my hope - my salvation
I can't walk or do anything much - I know - theres no illusions
take me dancing let's take a chance on you being my hope - my salvation
I don't want to be exluded - I need to be included
I know you can't be me - but I hope you can see me
take me dancing let's take a chance on you being my hope - my salvation


Sunday, 10 July 2011

a minstrel at the minster

It’s been a while since I have been to Nottingham which was my first stop on the way to Southwell, a delightful small town in Nottinghamshire. The Town has a long history and was a favourite of King John who liked to hunt in nearby Sherwood Forest. Charles the First spent his last night as a free man at The Saracens Head and this was the hostelry arranged for my overnight stay by my host. It was in the cobbled courtyard of the Saracens Head that I met up with Simon, Elaine his wife and some of their friends on a glorious summers day.
rock n roll - elaine yours truly and birthday boy ian

The main street of the town reminded me of shops when I was kid. I remember Alf Hoffman who had his cobbler business in Smith St Warwick and host of other family businesses who’s names were signed over their shops. It was nice to be in a town where the family business is still a main feature of local commerce. In Southwell the shoe emporium is called Broughton’s.
After I had dumped my gear and had a cup of tea we all went over the road for an Italian dinner. After meeting up with most of the people who would be attending the show later on and having dined judiciously, so as to avoid being too full to sing, Simon and I made our way down the street to the venue for the rest of the evening.

greg sarah helen bob and joanne
There was a pa available but I opted for the simple set up of my Tanglewood guitar and my precious little Roland Mobile Cube amplifier. I don’t need a vocal microphone when in this mode and it makes recording the shows very easy.
This event was a birthday present from Simon to his long time friend and fellow adventurer Ian who is a Mental health Nurse. I have never been a birthday present before so that was a nice first. As with all of these gigs, everyone was so welcoming and friendly. It was obvious their own connections with each other were mostly long term and very strong. As usual my audience was a mixture of people who knew my music and folk who were to hear it for the first time.
The show went well and my audience were very enthusiastic along the journey through the songs. I think it was the only time so far that I have kept to the set list of songs I wrote. I am very pleased by people’s responses to the new songs and encouraged to continue to write in this vein. I sang Poppy for Ian towards the end and he joined in with what Simon later described as a slightly dubious harmony. It was great fun and I enjoyed every minute.

The show was fun but the après gig get together back at Ian’s was just as enjoyable. There I met with some very interesting folk and we stayed talking until the early hours. I do enjoy these discussions and sharing of experiences and ideas. I had an interesting chat with Andy who was one of the experts called in by the Panorama team to comment on film in their programme about abuse in the Winterbourne care home.

bob yours truly and kate
What a motley crew we were. It was one of those times when it would have been interesting to make a skills list of all attending. There were definitely a few folk here who I would have liked to have in the life boat I wrote about in an earlier post.

elaine yours truly and ian

It was quite a night and some folk were just a little worse for wear as they began to make their way home. I walked back with Simon to the Saracen’s Head where we said goodnight and crashed. After a long night what better than a carton of V8 followed by excellent bangers and mash at a local hostelry? That was breakfast and soon after Simon, Elaine and Jade took me to Nottingham on their way back to Leamington Spa. We had big hugs at the station and said our farewells. I feel sure some of us will meet up again in the not too distant future. So that is another FDPFAFDW under the belt. I loved it. Thanks to all especially Simon and Elaine who looked after me so well.

Next stop Norway.

all photos simon wallace


Friday, 1 July 2011

village life

men at work

After Glasto Saturday was a day off and it was much needed. It was the first Saturday off for about six weeks so I really enjoyed it. I was still smarting about the the lack of consideration shown to the Spirit of 71 performers. The more I think about it the angrier I become. Anyway I won’t bore you with the entire catalogue of management errors.
Sunday was a huge contrast. The weather was beautiful as we set off in The Ramblin mobile for Mollington. This is an idyllic village just north of Banbury and where my old friend Peter Jones and his wife Pam live.

yours truly getting vocal advice from an octagenarian
- peter in white shorts

Peter is an old friend from early days when the EBB still lived in Warwick. He says the place is quite lively now which is great and was much needed. It used to be such a dead place that virtually shut down at around 9.30pm. Peter and the EBB and friends were involved in all sorts of escapades and it was so nice to sit in the sun and reminisce about the old days. Peter took all of the early EBB black and white photos. He is still a keen snapper and as a photographer he is developing a growing clientele locally. He has a good memory and we could have sat chatting about the old days for hours and hours. It brought back very happy memories.

The village had hosted its Summer Fete during the day and it had all gone very well. We eventually set off for the village hall where we found a keyboard amp that had been lent to us and the village hall pa system which was more than adequate. I plugged it all up using the keyboard amp as a monitor. We did a little sound check and we were ready. Then it was back to Peter’s gaff where we sat in their garden in glorious sunshine. Pam had made a lovely meal for us and she makes a proper cup of tea English style. Expeditions abroad have always been slightly marred for me by the lack of proper tea in a cup and saucer and on hot sunny day it is a delight.

After dinner we went back to the hall and Luke and I ensconced ourselves in the kitchen where we tuned up and went through our pre gig rituals. Unlike Glasto my little rider was duly delivered and soon Peter made an announcement and we were onstage.

luke has an inbuilt camera detector that works up
to 100 yards

The show was much longer than the Glasto show and we played almost every thing we had. Luke sang his songs and the whole thing went very well. After we chatted with our audience. I had a lovely chat with a lady in her eighties who was a choral singer. She gave me some good tips about light and shade in a vocal performance which was very sweet.

We signed a few autographs and that was it. We all went back for coffee at the home of a neighbour of Peter and Pam. John is a drummer with Roger Chapman and we had a lot to talk about. His wife Tess is a designer and she had Luke dressed in some cool pieces in no time at all including a very cool kilt. He says he wants more so we’ll see what develops there. What a poser! I wasn’t like that at his age ha ha! That is a lie.

new and old friends

I preferred the Mollington gig to the Glasto episode by a country mile. It was a kind of FDPFAFDW hybrid. Great people, we were properly looked after and a good time was had by all, including us. It was very late by the time we hit the road and another dawn was creeping away as we arrived back in London.

Thank you Peter, Pam and all we met in Mollington. It was lovely.

all photos by dave randell