27-Oct-2013 Back And Forth

Three gigs this week and two folk-club-singers-nights – music, music and more music and a trip to the theatre. It’s been a week of getting out and about and back again.

Wednesday saw us paying a long overdue visit to Mark Challinor, luthier, builder, repairer, and genuine good guy too. Over the years Mark has become a good friend as well as the only person we go to for guitar and ukulele adjustments, pickup installs, machine heads swap out etc. He knows his stuff, is passionate about wood and meticulous in the quality of his work. And so it was we drove to Silsden (Yorkshire) to have him install super Gotoh 510 mini Cosmo Black tuners on Jimmy’s 12-string guitar and set up some work on a different 12-string too! The result of part 1 is positively stunning and we’re awaiting the arrival of parts from the USA for part 2.

On Thursday we travelled down in the same direction for an evening of performance theatre beyond compare – our satnav took us to within 200 yards of where we needed to be in Bradford, then proceeded to direct us up blind alleys cut off by barriers! Undeterred we found our way to the planned car park and got to La Romantica restaurant at 10 past 5, only 10 minutes late. We confused them somewhat by saying we had booked a table for 5 when what we really meant was we had booked a table for 2 AT 5! Having fortified ourselves on some lovely Italian dishes and some red wine we walked to the Alhambra Theatre, pausing outside to take a snapshot of the impressive clock tower of Bradford City Hall wonderfully lit up in purple (they must have known we were coming to town). Once inside we thoroughly enjoyed the magic that is ‘Slava’s Snow Show’ – comedy, pathos, mime, water, paper snow, dry ice, balloons… impossible to describe, but you must MUST MUST see it at least once in your lifetime.


On Friday we played for the Lantern Club in the Hexham Community Centre – it was great to have our wonderful Bose L1 Model 2 system out again, 2 x 45-minute sets gave us the opportunity to use most (but not all) of our performance instruments in one night… Jimmy 6-string, 12-string, tenor ukulele and harmonica – Val 12-string, U-Bass Ukulele, tenor ukulele and glockenspiel (no cowbell this time). It was a smashing evening and we were invited join them for a bite to eat and a good old natter at half time. At the end of the show the chairman announced “I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we’ve enjoyed your music so much and you’ve brought us such happiness, we’d like to return some of that happiness for you to take home with you too”… beautifully put. We’ve promised to return as soon as their schedule and ours coincide.

And so to Saturday – back to Hexham and to Core Music (literally on the other side of the same street). We went along for the folk club – a grand night it was too – and to chat with Mike about the possibility of continuing our songwriting group activities at their premises. We also mused about music past, present and future and hopefully this could develop into a win-win situation for all concerned.

Today? Well, we’re getting ready to head off to a singaround at the Dolphin in Tynemouth – this is another potential venue for the songwriting group. But before then, as the sunshine is briefly poking through the clouds we might see if we can fit in our daily constitutional walk.

Step this way…

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