jacey: (blue eyes)
I've contributed a blog post to Gill Polack's Women's History Month blog. This is a slightly rejigged and expanded version of the one that appeared on Ruth Booth's blog last year. http://www.gillianpolack.com/jacey-bedford-womens-history-month/ and on LJ http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1373839.html
jacey: (blue eyes)
Imagine my surprise to get a phone call from Hilary, my band-mate in Artisan, to say that a friend of hers had alerted her to the fact that Artisan was being trailed regularly on BBC Radio 3 for a programme of 'Traditional carols with a modern twist from the Garrison Church, Copenhagen.' She gave me i-Player details and sure enough, at one minute fifty-nine on this morning's Rob Cowan show on Radio3 up pops a trailer.

Checking up in Radio Times the above mentioned song is part of the programme from the Garrison Church performed by Ars Nova Copenhagen, directed by Paul Hillier and that the song 'We Three Kings' is arranged by Hillier.

Believe me when I say that I know the sound of my own voice, and Brian's voice and Hilary's voice, and also the sound of our own recording. The trailer was definitely Artisan singing We Three Kings, our own arrangement from our 1990 CD 'TheSeason of Holly and Ivy' and believe me when I say I know we have never been to Copenhagen, nor have we ever been part of Ars Nova Copenhagen nor sung any Paul Hillier arrangements. In fact I would say that we are about as English as you can get - the only Danish blood maybe coming from long-time Norse ancestors.

I haven't been able to listen to the programme because it's currently being broadcast live and had already gone beyond the Copenhagen segment by the time Hilary phoned, but I fully expect that when I do get round to it on i-Player that we will not be on the programme.

While it's nice to know that our CD is still in the record library at the BBC, couldn't the BBChave managed to trail the programme by playing the actual performers who were being broadcast? Anyone expecting to hear the same (uncredited) music as they heard in the trailer would be sadly disappointed.
jacey: (Default)
Since there seems to be a rash of people reminding me to buy their books and other excellent products I thought I should jump on the bandwagon and remind you all that there's still time to order your Artisan CDs in time for Christmas - either Christmas songs or Christmas presents. (Or even Christmas songs as Christmas presents.)
:-)

Order here and pay by paypal (no account needed, you can use your credit or debit card)
http://www.artisan-harmony.com/albums.htm

So - just to tempt you - here's a special offer. Buy all four Artisan Christmas CDs for just £45 inclusive of postage and packing to anywhere in the world and get the WINGS CD free. Offer bundle includes: Christmas Is Come In; Paper Angels; Silver and Gold and Bygone Christmas.

Just to remind you that there's a new-ish non-Christmas CD, 'Random Play' in smart gatefold eco-packaging (easy to post for Christmas) with all-new songs and a bonus poem, all recorded for the reunion tour in 2010.









Tempted yet?
I hope so.

Order now for pre-Christmas delivery to anywhere in the world and make me very happy.
An early Merry Christmas to all of you.

High Ground

Aug. 1st, 2012 12:45 am
jacey: (Default)
Our American friends William & Felicia with whom we were briefly in a five piece band in 2006 have recorded one of the songs we used to sing together (written by my lovely husband) on their new CD, Blue Divide. Here it is, have at it. 'High Ground' written by Brian Bedford performed by William Pint & Felicia Dale. It's very weather-appropriate for this English summer.

Ooops edited because the embed code fro their site didn't work. Here's the URL instead: http://pintndale.bandcamp.com/track/high-ground
jacey: (Cromer04)
It's only when someone on my LJ f-list asked me 'What's all this music stuff about then?' that I realised that I've known some of you for only a short time and you weren't in my life when I was gigging professionally.

For twenty years I was part of something very special - an a cappella trio of harmony singers called Artisan. That was me, (Jacey Bedford), together with Hilary Spencer and my best beloved, Brian Bedford, (not to be confused with the Anglo/Canadian actor of the same name).

We started out small in folk clubs in the north of England in 1985 and grew. We travelled the world with our music, doing 31 tours to the USA and Canada between 1994 and our 'retirement' in 2005. We played all over the UK, in Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and Belgium. We played to audiences of 20,000 at some of the major North American Festivals and recorded 14 albums and a DVD, all but the very first still available. We tended to stick to where English is the first language or colloquial English very widely spoken because we were as much about words as about music. Our resident songwriter,  Brian, wrote most of our songs including 'What's the Use of Wings' (his song most covered by other artists) and 'Breathing Space.'

For 15 years we also did a hectic Christmas show called 'Stuff the Turkey' which included seasonal songs, carols and a mini pantomime.

ArtisanLast year we got together again for a reunion tour for three months in the summer, touring the UK and Canada. We recorded a  CD of brand new songs, called 'Random Play' and produced in smart eco-friendly packaging. There's a series of amateur videos on Youtube that Gary Kazin took at Lunenburg Festival in Nova Scotia and there are links here. We take no responsibility for the quality of the filming, (our own commercial concert DVD was done by Reflex Films),  but it gives you a general idea - including 'outtakes'.

Though I don't generally advertise on LJ, I would just like to point out that all our CDs are available to buy from our website and that we do have four Christmas titles as well as our regular CDs. There are paypal buttons and a shopping cart on the website, but if anyone is having any problems (paypal buttons are unaccountably funky for a small number of people) just email me at the contact address on the website and I'll ort it out for you. All quoted prices include postage to anywhere in the world.

If you are still looking for Christmas presents... look no further. We've even got a special offer on. All four Christmas CDs plus an Artisan sampler CD for £45 including postage to anywhere in the world.

No more adverts. If you're interested go to it!
:-)
Thanks for reading.
jacey: (Cromer04)
It's only when someone on my LJ f-list asked me 'What's all this music stuff about then?' that I realised that I've known some of you for only a short time and you weren't in my life when I was gigging professionally.

For twenty years I was part of something very special - an a cappella trio of harmony singers called Artisan. That was me, (Jacey Bedford), together with Hilary Spencer and my best beloved, Brian Bedford, (not to be confused with the Anglo/Canadian actor of the same name).

We started out small in folk clubs in the north of England in 1985 and grew. We travelled the world with our music, doing 31 tours to the USA and Canada between 1994 and our 'retirement' in 2005. We played all over the UK, in Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and Belgium. We played to audiences of 20,000 at some of the major North American Festivals and recorded 14 albums and a DVD, all but the very first still available. We tended to stick to where English is the first language or colloquial English very widely spoken because we were as much about words as about music. Our resident songwriter,  Brian, wrote most of our songs including 'What's the Use of Wings' (his song most covered by other artists) and 'Breathing Space.'

For 15 years we also did a hectic Christmas show called 'Stuff the Turkey' which included seasonal songs, carols and a mini pantomime.

ArtisanLast year we got together again for a reunion tour for three months in the summer, touring the UK and Canada. We recorded a  CD of brand new songs, called 'Random Play' and produced in smart eco-friendly packaging. There's a series of amateur videos on Youtube that Gary Kazin took at Lunenburg Festival in Nova Scotia and there are links here. We take no responsibility for the quality of the filming, (our own commercial concert DVD was done by Reflex Films),  but it gives you a general idea - including 'outtakes'.

Though I don't generally advertise on LJ, I would just like to point out that all our CDs are available to buy from our website and that we do have four Christmas titles as well as our regular CDs. There are paypal buttons and a shopping cart on the website, but if anyone is having any problems (paypal buttons are unaccountably funky for a small number of people) just email me at the contact address on the website and I'll ort it out for you. All quoted prices include postage to anywhere in the world.

If you are still looking for Christmas presents... look no further. We've even got a special offer on. All four Christmas CDs plus an Artisan sampler CD for £45 including postage to anywhere in the world.

No more adverts. If you're interested go to it!
:-)
Thanks for reading.
jacey: (Default)
Artisan is coming out of retirement (for one night only) to take part in a benefit night for Norma Waterson at the Square Chapel, Halifax on Wed 18 May. Acts appearing include Steve Tilston, Martin Simpson, Heretique,
Demon Barbers, Ryburns, Artisan and more.

It was arranged too late in the day to get into the Arts Centre brochure, so we'd love you to pass on the details for us word of mouth.

Norma has been very sick and still has a long way to go on the road to recovery. Martin has been by her side in hospital for the last several months and - as you know, folk singers who don't work, don't earn.

Box office: 01422 349422. Please support the night.

jacey: (Default)
Artisan is coming out of retirement (for one night only) to take part in a benefit night for Norma Waterson at the Square Chapel, Halifax on Wed 18 May. Acts appearing include Steve Tilston, Martin Simpson, Heretique,
Demon Barbers, Ryburns, Artisan and more.

It was arranged too late in the day to get into the Arts Centre brochure, so we'd love you to pass on the details for us word of mouth.

Norma has been very sick and still has a long way to go on the road to recovery. Martin has been by her side in hospital for the last several months and - as you know, folk singers who don't work, don't earn.

Box office: 01422 349422. Please support the night.

jacey: (Default)
Just got back home from ten days of Artisan gigs in the southern half of the country. Annoyingly I didn't find one place where I could plug my computer in and receive and send email. I managed to download a couple of times but - something to do with the way Turnpike sends via pop-3 - I couldn't send any mail at all from my regular address. Bummer! Yes I could have done web mail, but Demon's web mail interface is appalling. Grrrr! After 14 years of Demon I'm beginning to think it's time to grit my teeth, change from Turnpike to Thunderbird and change ISPs.

Anyhow... gigs were good (though our Hampshire fans didn't seem to think much of Gosport on a pissing wet Monday night). We had a couple of good festival appearances - both concerts in Wallingford and Swanage being in really lovely churches - and good gigs at Lee Mill (Devon), St Neots, Dorking, Stoney Stratford and Donyatt (Somerset).

Had one day off and visited Number One Daughter and her husband in Twickenham. G now has a seven month bump. I'm going to be a granny in November.

A couple of times we passed close by [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  and [livejournal.com profile] charlieallery and I wished I'd had the foresight to have their phone numbers with me. Not wishing to pounce unannounced, I waved as I passed by.

Just three more Artisan gigs now and then immediately away to Milford in the wilds of Snowdonia.
jacey: (Default)
Just got back home from ten days of Artisan gigs in the southern half of the country. Annoyingly I didn't find one place where I could plug my computer in and receive and send email. I managed to download a couple of times but - something to do with the way Turnpike sends via pop-3 - I couldn't send any mail at all from my regular address. Bummer! Yes I could have done web mail, but Demon's web mail interface is appalling. Grrrr! After 14 years of Demon I'm beginning to think it's time to grit my teeth, change from Turnpike to Thunderbird and change ISPs.

Anyhow... gigs were good (though our Hampshire fans didn't seem to think much of Gosport on a pissing wet Monday night). We had a couple of good festival appearances - both concerts in Wallingford and Swanage being in really lovely churches - and good gigs at Lee Mill (Devon), St Neots, Dorking, Stoney Stratford and Donyatt (Somerset).

Had one day off and visited Number One Daughter and her husband in Twickenham. G now has a seven month bump. I'm going to be a granny in November.

A couple of times we passed close by [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  and [livejournal.com profile] charlieallery and I wished I'd had the foresight to have their phone numbers with me. Not wishing to pounce unannounced, I waved as I passed by.

Just three more Artisan gigs now and then immediately away to Milford in the wilds of Snowdonia.

Glurk!

Sep. 3rd, 2010 01:41 am
jacey: (Default)
The Artisan tour is still in full swing. We've done Phases 1 and 2 (the UK July tour and the August Canadian tour), but Phase 3 is just about to begin - the UK September tour. It runs from September 3rd to 17th. The first ten days are all in the south and southwest of England, so we probably won't get home between gigs. Mum and Diezel Dog are once more in charge of both home and office - and of each other, of course. They did a great job in August and this trip lasts for less than half the time - plus we're only a few hours away if any emergencies arise.

But I've just looked at the calendar and - eep - the last week of the tour, which I thought was fairly light because we only had three gigs, all done as run-outs from home, has suddenly filled up. For starters, we can't even count the fiirst day because though we've no gig, we do have to drive all the way home from Swanage, Dorset. Then we only have one day (Wednesday) without a gig.

What's the panic?

The last Artisan gig is on Friday 17th September and on Saturday 18th it's the start of the Milford week. A week closeted away in the wilds of Snowdonia with a dozen or so other SF writers. And between now and then I have to deliver 2 pieces of writing of up to 15,000 words (combined).

I have just one thing to say: AAAAAARRRRGGHHHHH!

It looks like I'll be nose-to-laptop at every available opportunity on this tour.

Probably no more LJ posts until after Milford.

Glurk!

Sep. 3rd, 2010 01:41 am
jacey: (Default)
The Artisan tour is still in full swing. We've done Phases 1 and 2 (the UK July tour and the August Canadian tour), but Phase 3 is just about to begin - the UK September tour. It runs from September 3rd to 17th. The first ten days are all in the south and southwest of England, so we probably won't get home between gigs. Mum and Diezel Dog are once more in charge of both home and office - and of each other, of course. They did a great job in August and this trip lasts for less than half the time - plus we're only a few hours away if any emergencies arise.

But I've just looked at the calendar and - eep - the last week of the tour, which I thought was fairly light because we only had three gigs, all done as run-outs from home, has suddenly filled up. For starters, we can't even count the fiirst day because though we've no gig, we do have to drive all the way home from Swanage, Dorset. Then we only have one day (Wednesday) without a gig.

What's the panic?

The last Artisan gig is on Friday 17th September and on Saturday 18th it's the start of the Milford week. A week closeted away in the wilds of Snowdonia with a dozen or so other SF writers. And between now and then I have to deliver 2 pieces of writing of up to 15,000 words (combined).

I have just one thing to say: AAAAAARRRRGGHHHHH!

It looks like I'll be nose-to-laptop at every available opportunity on this tour.

Probably no more LJ posts until after Milford.
jacey: (Default)
The saga of the US(less)Airlines, she is not yet over...

So on Monday morning we pack our suitcases, leave the hotel in Owen Sound and go and have one last breakfast at Boots and Blades (3 eggs over-easy, bacon, home-fries and toast) call in to see Sharon and Connor on the way 'home' (Steve is already at work but we said our goodbye's yesterday) and head for Nigel and Clarisse's in Toronto to repack everything for the flight out on Tuesday. It's a three hour drive with no major traffic trauma. Tuesday morning there's a modicum of last minute shopping. Hilary can't get those quilted red wellies out of her head, and she's made room in her suitcase. Brian reckons a few more pairs of jeans won't hurt. Then it's packing and weighing and re-packing until the bags don't appear to exceed 50 pounds each and we're off to the airport to return the rental car and get through check-in and American immigration and customs (they do it in Toronto before you leave). Everything's going so well...

However.., US Airways does it to us again. We're connecting to the Manchester flight in Philadelphia as before, but this time we only have an hour and a half. It should be OK. We now know Philadelphia arport pretty well. We should arrive at Terminal F, go to Gate 10, take the shuttle bus to Terminal A and then walk the whole length of the terminal to Gate A25. We clear US customs and immigration in Toronto with plenty of time to spare, go and get a drink and a Tim Horton's doughnut (Honey Cruller - highly recommended) and go to the gate early. The flight is showing 'on time'. Lovely. It's due out at 5.40 p.m. About 4.50 I go to the loo and glance at the board. Oh, bloody hell, the flight's now showing 30 minutes delay. Buggeration! Well there's not much we can do. It still gives us an hour at the other end.

The plane eventually arrives. We all board, strap in, settle down and then the pilot announces that because we've missed our timeslot on the runway we may have to wait for clearance to take off. We sit on the bloody runway for another 30 minutes. It's OK, the attendant says. We can still do the transfer in 30 minutes if we're quick. Our connecting flights (it's not just the Manchester flight, of course) have been alerted and they'll (probably) wait. Yeah. Right!

OK, 30 minutes is still possible.

So we're 40 miles out of Philadelphia when the plane get sent round the block again - in a ruddy great stack, bleeding off time and more time. We eventually land at 8.30 and our Manchester flight leaves at 8.44 from the farthest point in the farthest terminal. Hilary has to wait for her cabin baggage to be returned to her because it was too big for the overhead lockers on the small plane from Toronto. My foot's had enough by this time and it slows me down, so Brian and I start hoofing it as fast as we can, figuring that Hilary will be a lot faster than I will once she's got her bag. We get to the shuttle bus and start to load. Still no Hilary. The bus moves off. She's missed the first shuttle. Brian and I get to Terminal A and start out for Gate 25 which is so far away we can't see it. We're just following signs. They're calling all remaining passengers for our flight, Boarding has officiall closed but they're still holding the gate open. I can't walk any faster, but the gate is now in sight. 'Go, run!' I tell Brian. Tell them we're here. We're coming. Try and keep the gate open.' He shoulders his backpack and trots off. I see he's got to the gate. Good. They can hardly close it on him now. I come puffing up to the gate. We both show our passports and they say they're going to have to close the gate. They can't wait for Hilary. Neither Brian nor I make a move for the skybridge. 'She's coming. She's right behind us, on the next shuttle from Terminal F,' we tell them. 'She's a minute or two away at most.' I make a show of needing to get my breath back, but in truth it's only show. Brian steps out into the concourse to see if he can spot her. Miracle of miracles, there she is, haring down the corridor, wheelie bag in tow. They have to wait now.

And they do.

Of course, once we get on the plane - still shaking from the exertion - we've another half an hour while they load our luggage, but that's OK. I'm honestly resigned to having it follow us on another flight, but they load the bags and away we go. The rest of the flight is mercifully uneventful.
jacey: (Default)
The saga of the US(less)Airlines, she is not yet over...

So on Monday morning we pack our suitcases, leave the hotel in Owen Sound and go and have one last breakfast at Boots and Blades (3 eggs over-easy, bacon, home-fries and toast) call in to see Sharon and Connor on the way 'home' (Steve is already at work but we said our goodbye's yesterday) and head for Nigel and Clarisse's in Toronto to repack everything for the flight out on Tuesday. It's a three hour drive with no major traffic trauma. Tuesday morning there's a modicum of last minute shopping. Hilary can't get those quilted red wellies out of her head, and she's made room in her suitcase. Brian reckons a few more pairs of jeans won't hurt. Then it's packing and weighing and re-packing until the bags don't appear to exceed 50 pounds each and we're off to the airport to return the rental car and get through check-in and American immigration and customs (they do it in Toronto before you leave). Everything's going so well...

However.., US Airways does it to us again. We're connecting to the Manchester flight in Philadelphia as before, but this time we only have an hour and a half. It should be OK. We now know Philadelphia arport pretty well. We should arrive at Terminal F, go to Gate 10, take the shuttle bus to Terminal A and then walk the whole length of the terminal to Gate A25. We clear US customs and immigration in Toronto with plenty of time to spare, go and get a drink and a Tim Horton's doughnut (Honey Cruller - highly recommended) and go to the gate early. The flight is showing 'on time'. Lovely. It's due out at 5.40 p.m. About 4.50 I go to the loo and glance at the board. Oh, bloody hell, the flight's now showing 30 minutes delay. Buggeration! Well there's not much we can do. It still gives us an hour at the other end.

The plane eventually arrives. We all board, strap in, settle down and then the pilot announces that because we've missed our timeslot on the runway we may have to wait for clearance to take off. We sit on the bloody runway for another 30 minutes. It's OK, the attendant says. We can still do the transfer in 30 minutes if we're quick. Our connecting flights (it's not just the Manchester flight, of course) have been alerted and they'll (probably) wait. Yeah. Right!

OK, 30 minutes is still possible.

So we're 40 miles out of Philadelphia when the plane get sent round the block again - in a ruddy great stack, bleeding off time and more time. We eventually land at 8.30 and our Manchester flight leaves at 8.44 from the farthest point in the farthest terminal. Hilary has to wait for her cabin baggage to be returned to her because it was too big for the overhead lockers on the small plane from Toronto. My foot's had enough by this time and it slows me down, so Brian and I start hoofing it as fast as we can, figuring that Hilary will be a lot faster than I will once she's got her bag. We get to the shuttle bus and start to load. Still no Hilary. The bus moves off. She's missed the first shuttle. Brian and I get to Terminal A and start out for Gate 25 which is so far away we can't see it. We're just following signs. They're calling all remaining passengers for our flight, Boarding has officiall closed but they're still holding the gate open. I can't walk any faster, but the gate is now in sight. 'Go, run!' I tell Brian. Tell them we're here. We're coming. Try and keep the gate open.' He shoulders his backpack and trots off. I see he's got to the gate. Good. They can hardly close it on him now. I come puffing up to the gate. We both show our passports and they say they're going to have to close the gate. They can't wait for Hilary. Neither Brian nor I make a move for the skybridge. 'She's coming. She's right behind us, on the next shuttle from Terminal F,' we tell them. 'She's a minute or two away at most.' I make a show of needing to get my breath back, but in truth it's only show. Brian steps out into the concourse to see if he can spot her. Miracle of miracles, there she is, haring down the corridor, wheelie bag in tow. They have to wait now.

And they do.

Of course, once we get on the plane - still shaking from the exertion - we've another half an hour while they load our luggage, but that's OK. I'm honestly resigned to having it follow us on another flight, but they load the bags and away we go. The rest of the flight is mercifully uneventful.
jacey: (Default)
5th - 8th August: Lunenburg pics (see yesterday's post)

Hilary outside our billet at Lunenburg


Our friends Nigel and Clarisse in Toronto

11th August: Houseconcert, Toronto


For those not familiar with houseconcerts - these are a North American phenomenon where houses tend to have more open space than UK homes. Usually held on a midweek night as a filler between concert dates, the householder, invites people (and some concerts in larger houses seat 70 - 100 people depending on the place). It's basically a private party. There are no set ticket prices because that would mean the householder is using their home for commercial purposes which might invalidate insurance and contravene local bylaws, but there's a 'strongly recommended' donation of not less than $x, all of which goes to the performer. Visitors often bring food/cookies etc. to share, so there's a nibbles buffet, too. The householder gets an up-close-and-personal performance by his/her favourite performers and the performer fills an off-night and usually gets accommodation too. In this case we already have somewhere to stay, but the gig is still very welcome.

It's sold out well in advance. Full room. After a few fresh days on the coast at Lunenburg, the Toronto weather is once more excruciatingly hot and sticky, and with 40 people crammed in, the house is hot and sticky, too, even with the aircon on full. They leave the back door open for a bit of breeze, but unfortunately it lets in a mosquito. I'm A-grade mozzie-bait, and come up in huge purple welts if bitten, so every time it comes near me I'm dodging about. We try hard, but energy levels may be a little lower than usual because of the heat. I hope it doesn't show. The audience is clearly having a good time. Lovely to see so many friendly faces. Our host is David Warren who was the artistic director of Mariposa Festival and gave us our first ever gig in Canada back in 1994 when the event was briefly on Olympic Island in Toronto. There's Gord from the Flying Cloud, and Steve and Anne, and also Eileen who we met on our very first trip over. At least two people have come from the USA... just to see us... both travelling long distances. We are once again humbled.

Nigel and Clarisse come. Nigel brings his new digital video camera and films it all. Hopefully we'll be able to upload it somewhere before too much longer.

Plenty of shopping in Toronto from lowest common denominator places like Zellers, Dollarama and Wally-World (Wal-Mart) to the delightful independent shops and boutiques on Queen East at the Beaches. Brian gets jeans, jeans, jeans and more jeans. At that price how could he not? $14 for Wranglers - that's about £10. I get some new shirts and T-shirty, drapy things plus some of those rocker-shaped Scholl's sandals and a pair of purple sneakers. Hilary has a field-day in a fabulous little boutiquey shop on Queen, which has lots of floaty, drapey, baggy things in murky colours with asymmetrical hemlines and unusual tucks and shapes. OK, I confess, I bought one, too.

14th August: Aeolian Hall, London, Ontario

With Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish, lately from Tanglefoot, doing the opening spot for us this is a gig I'd have paid to do. The Aeolian is a privately owned concert hall, a fabulous building that was once London's town hall. We met up with Al and his son Ashton (age 8-ish) for dinner before the show, but Steve couldn't join us because he's recently got a more-than-full-time job doing technical stuff at the radio station in Owen Sound where he does his Thursday night 'Hundred Mile Music Show'. We stay for one night with Bill and Kenna and their granddaughter (and Sheltie dog) and then depart for Steve, Sharon and Connor's house in Chatsworth, just south of Owen Sound. More visiting, more shopping, both in Owen Sound, and a fascinating trip to Keady market - a huge outdoor cattle-market, farmers' market and general market which takes us 2 hours to walk around, there's so much to see (and buy).

18th August: Houseconcert, Grey Highlands Ontario

An amazing house, seemingly in the middle of nowhere (but not really). It always boggles me when some of Canada's highways are gravel rather than tarmac. I feel as though I'm going up a farm track - but no, they're real roads. Glad we've got directions, though. Apparently if you try and use a satnav it dumps you in the middle of the woods. We're fed royally before the gig and then perform in front of a huge, pointy picture window that looks out across woodlands. There are fans who've travelled up from Orangeville and neighbours who don't know us from Adam. A lovely mix. And Gord's here again.

Then there's just one more day to spend with the Ritchies before moving into the Travelodge, the hotel where all the performers stay for Summerfolk Festival at Owen Sound. Unfortunately I bend over to fold a shirt for my suitcase and feel my back go sproing. 'It's then I discover the delights of Robax (robaxicet) a muscle relaxant combined with various painkillers - in my case ibuprohen. It's not available over the counter in either the USA or the UK, but it's brilliant stuff. It stops my back from spasming in next to no time and lets it fix itself over the next few days. It even seems to help my foot. With that and the stretches from Clarisse (and a bit of careful planning) my foot isn't too bad over the course of the festival

20th - 22nd August: Summerfolk Festival, Owen Sound, Ontario




One of our favourite festivals. It's all contained on one site at Kelso Beach Park in Owen Sound, which fronts on to Georgian Bay, that part of Lake Huron that's like an ear-shape, separated form the main lake by the Bruce Peninsula. We played Summerfolk on our very first trip to Canada, some 16 years ago. Back then the lake came right up to the backstage area where the performers all eat and socialise. Then the lake level dropped and invasive rushes grew up and made the lake invisible from the shore. This year, although the water level is still low, they've cut the rushes back so you can see the lake again. It's a lovely setting, with a purpose-built stage facing a purpose-built amphitheatre which seats approximately 4000 on blankets and lawn chairs on the concentric terraces. As well as being a music festival it's an arts and crafts festival with lots of lovely and unusual goodies to buy.

We do our big concert on the Friday night at 9.00 p.m. just after it turns fully black. With sound by Steve Darke and his brilliant crew, we know we're in excellent hands. The stage end is handled by volunteers, but experienced ones and all under the competent direction of an experienced (longstanding) stage manager, a technical manager and a monitor engineer on side-stage. Everyone gets their own stage hand to take them on and plug them in and line-check them if necessary. There are no sound-checks for anybody (no exception) and turnaround time is rarely more than 5 minutes (with a 'tweener' on side-stage singing one song to keep the audience warm). If the act needs a drum-kit there's a roll-on platform so the drums can set up backstage behind a curtain. It's all so very smooth and well managed.

Onstage pics at Summwerfolk by John Fearnall (www.goodnoise.ca) Used with permission.







We have 35 minutes. Right from the instant we step out on to the main stage we're flying. It's an amazing experience when you have those moments of complete clarity, knowing that you're on top of your game and the audience is with you and you're not going to put a tonsil wrong.

Friends at Summerfolk L to R: Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie (Tanglefoot) and their wives, Ande Ritchie and Wendy Pearl


The rest of the weekend is a mixture of workshops, which in a Canadian festival means not a teaching workshop, but more of a round-robin concert, with a bunch of performers taking turns. We have a good time in the harmony workshop, which we host, though quite what we're supposed to sing in the 'pub tunes' workshop, I'm not sure. We shoehorn some songs into it and guess well when we do Neil Young's 'After the Gold Rush'. They love it. Neil Young is a Canadian god. On Sunday we do the Folksingers Without Guitars workshop, which is a gift for us because it means we can do anything from our repertoire.

Weather is cooler and damp, with rain showers that don't drive away the audience, thank goodness. They just wrap up in plastic and sit it out.

Wet Sunday Morning at Summersoak

We've been asked to sing 'Mary Ellen Carter' - traditionally Summerfolk's finishing song - on the big finale with Len Wallace, accordionist, left wing activist and singer. We did it in 1994, totally intimidated by having Ariel Rogers there (Stan Rogers' widow) and Al, (Stan's dad), but now Ariel seems like an old friend. It's lovely to see her again. She's been sick but seems to be well on the way to recovery. Fingers crossed.

We get together with Len to rehearse, and Grit Laskin - performer and wizard luthier and inlay artist - joins us, playing the distinctive riff that opens the song in accompanied versions, and which Grit actually had a hand in creating. (Diddle-iddle-um. Diddle-iddle-um-dum. Diddle-um-dum. Dun-dum-dum, Dum-DUM-dum-dum-dum....) That's settled. Grit's in on it, too, so the five of us are doing the last festival song with all the performers and volunteers on stage with us. We wait backstage for Lennie Gallant to finish his set and then we're up and running. Mose Scarlett sings Goodnight Irene and then we're on: Diddle-iddle-um. Diddle-iddle-um-dum. Diddle-um-dum. Dun-dum-dum, Dum-DUM-dum-dum-dum... and Hilary's into the first verse, good and strong. Good job we can hear her acoustically because with this kind of crowd on stage no one gets monitors. She can hear Grit, Brian and I can hear her. Len must be able to hear Grit, too because he's in there, too with the accordion and it's wild. The volunteers and performers behind us start stamping, clapping and singing along. Any chance of holding the speed steady is lost, we've got a monster on the loose behind us. They drive us all on until the song's going like an express train, but nobody hits a bum note or fluffs a word. We finish and the crowd goes nuts, then the folks on stage part, and the audience out front parts, and a Highland piper, the same one who's been playing for 35 years at this festival, starts up at the back. Dark Island. He walks steadily off the front of the stage through the crowd and we all follow, two by two, doing the shaking hands or high five thing with the audience as we go. It's a WOW moment. One of those memories to treasure.
jacey: (Default)
5th - 8th August: Lunenburg pics (see yesterday's post)

Hilary outside our billet at Lunenburg


Our friends Nigel and Clarisse in Toronto

11th August: Houseconcert, Toronto


For those not familiar with houseconcerts - these are a North American phenomenon where houses tend to have more open space than UK homes. Usually held on a midweek night as a filler between concert dates, the householder, invites people (and some concerts in larger houses seat 70 - 100 people depending on the place). It's basically a private party. There are no set ticket prices because that would mean the householder is using their home for commercial purposes which might invalidate insurance and contravene local bylaws, but there's a 'strongly recommended' donation of not less than $x, all of which goes to the performer. Visitors often bring food/cookies etc. to share, so there's a nibbles buffet, too. The householder gets an up-close-and-personal performance by his/her favourite performers and the performer fills an off-night and usually gets accommodation too. In this case we already have somewhere to stay, but the gig is still very welcome.

It's sold out well in advance. Full room. After a few fresh days on the coast at Lunenburg, the Toronto weather is once more excruciatingly hot and sticky, and with 40 people crammed in, the house is hot and sticky, too, even with the aircon on full. They leave the back door open for a bit of breeze, but unfortunately it lets in a mosquito. I'm A-grade mozzie-bait, and come up in huge purple welts if bitten, so every time it comes near me I'm dodging about. We try hard, but energy levels may be a little lower than usual because of the heat. I hope it doesn't show. The audience is clearly having a good time. Lovely to see so many friendly faces. Our host is David Warren who was the artistic director of Mariposa Festival and gave us our first ever gig in Canada back in 1994 when the event was briefly on Olympic Island in Toronto. There's Gord from the Flying Cloud, and Steve and Anne, and also Eileen who we met on our very first trip over. At least two people have come from the USA... just to see us... both travelling long distances. We are once again humbled.

Nigel and Clarisse come. Nigel brings his new digital video camera and films it all. Hopefully we'll be able to upload it somewhere before too much longer.

Plenty of shopping in Toronto from lowest common denominator places like Zellers, Dollarama and Wally-World (Wal-Mart) to the delightful independent shops and boutiques on Queen East at the Beaches. Brian gets jeans, jeans, jeans and more jeans. At that price how could he not? $14 for Wranglers - that's about £10. I get some new shirts and T-shirty, drapy things plus some of those rocker-shaped Scholl's sandals and a pair of purple sneakers. Hilary has a field-day in a fabulous little boutiquey shop on Queen, which has lots of floaty, drapey, baggy things in murky colours with asymmetrical hemlines and unusual tucks and shapes. OK, I confess, I bought one, too.

14th August: Aeolian Hall, London, Ontario

With Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish, lately from Tanglefoot, doing the opening spot for us this is a gig I'd have paid to do. The Aeolian is a privately owned concert hall, a fabulous building that was once London's town hall. We met up with Al and his son Ashton (age 8-ish) for dinner before the show, but Steve couldn't join us because he's recently got a more-than-full-time job doing technical stuff at the radio station in Owen Sound where he does his Thursday night 'Hundred Mile Music Show'. We stay for one night with Bill and Kenna and their granddaughter (and Sheltie dog) and then depart for Steve, Sharon and Connor's house in Chatsworth, just south of Owen Sound. More visiting, more shopping, both in Owen Sound, and a fascinating trip to Keady market - a huge outdoor cattle-market, farmers' market and general market which takes us 2 hours to walk around, there's so much to see (and buy).

18th August: Houseconcert, Grey Highlands Ontario

An amazing house, seemingly in the middle of nowhere (but not really). It always boggles me when some of Canada's highways are gravel rather than tarmac. I feel as though I'm going up a farm track - but no, they're real roads. Glad we've got directions, though. Apparently if you try and use a satnav it dumps you in the middle of the woods. We're fed royally before the gig and then perform in front of a huge, pointy picture window that looks out across woodlands. There are fans who've travelled up from Orangeville and neighbours who don't know us from Adam. A lovely mix. And Gord's here again.

Then there's just one more day to spend with the Ritchies before moving into the Travelodge, the hotel where all the performers stay for Summerfolk Festival at Owen Sound. Unfortunately I bend over to fold a shirt for my suitcase and feel my back go sproing. 'It's then I discover the delights of Robax (robaxicet) a muscle relaxant combined with various painkillers - in my case ibuprohen. It's not available over the counter in either the USA or the UK, but it's brilliant stuff. It stops my back from spasming in next to no time and lets it fix itself over the next few days. It even seems to help my foot. With that and the stretches from Clarisse (and a bit of careful planning) my foot isn't too bad over the course of the festival

20th - 22nd August: Summerfolk Festival, Owen Sound, Ontario




One of our favourite festivals. It's all contained on one site at Kelso Beach Park in Owen Sound, which fronts on to Georgian Bay, that part of Lake Huron that's like an ear-shape, separated form the main lake by the Bruce Peninsula. We played Summerfolk on our very first trip to Canada, some 16 years ago. Back then the lake came right up to the backstage area where the performers all eat and socialise. Then the lake level dropped and invasive rushes grew up and made the lake invisible from the shore. This year, although the water level is still low, they've cut the rushes back so you can see the lake again. It's a lovely setting, with a purpose-built stage facing a purpose-built amphitheatre which seats approximately 4000 on blankets and lawn chairs on the concentric terraces. As well as being a music festival it's an arts and crafts festival with lots of lovely and unusual goodies to buy.

We do our big concert on the Friday night at 9.00 p.m. just after it turns fully black. With sound by Steve Darke and his brilliant crew, we know we're in excellent hands. The stage end is handled by volunteers, but experienced ones and all under the competent direction of an experienced (longstanding) stage manager, a technical manager and a monitor engineer on side-stage. Everyone gets their own stage hand to take them on and plug them in and line-check them if necessary. There are no sound-checks for anybody (no exception) and turnaround time is rarely more than 5 minutes (with a 'tweener' on side-stage singing one song to keep the audience warm). If the act needs a drum-kit there's a roll-on platform so the drums can set up backstage behind a curtain. It's all so very smooth and well managed.

Onstage pics at Summwerfolk by John Fearnall (www.goodnoise.ca) Used with permission.







We have 35 minutes. Right from the instant we step out on to the main stage we're flying. It's an amazing experience when you have those moments of complete clarity, knowing that you're on top of your game and the audience is with you and you're not going to put a tonsil wrong.

Friends at Summerfolk L to R: Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie (Tanglefoot) and their wives, Ande Ritchie and Wendy Pearl


The rest of the weekend is a mixture of workshops, which in a Canadian festival means not a teaching workshop, but more of a round-robin concert, with a bunch of performers taking turns. We have a good time in the harmony workshop, which we host, though quite what we're supposed to sing in the 'pub tunes' workshop, I'm not sure. We shoehorn some songs into it and guess well when we do Neil Young's 'After the Gold Rush'. They love it. Neil Young is a Canadian god. On Sunday we do the Folksingers Without Guitars workshop, which is a gift for us because it means we can do anything from our repertoire.

Weather is cooler and damp, with rain showers that don't drive away the audience, thank goodness. They just wrap up in plastic and sit it out.

Wet Sunday Morning at Summersoak

We've been asked to sing 'Mary Ellen Carter' - traditionally Summerfolk's finishing song - on the big finale with Len Wallace, accordionist, left wing activist and singer. We did it in 1994, totally intimidated by having Ariel Rogers there (Stan Rogers' widow) and Al, (Stan's dad), but now Ariel seems like an old friend. It's lovely to see her again. She's been sick but seems to be well on the way to recovery. Fingers crossed.

We get together with Len to rehearse, and Grit Laskin - performer and wizard luthier and inlay artist - joins us, playing the distinctive riff that opens the song in accompanied versions, and which Grit actually had a hand in creating. (Diddle-iddle-um. Diddle-iddle-um-dum. Diddle-um-dum. Dun-dum-dum, Dum-DUM-dum-dum-dum....) That's settled. Grit's in on it, too, so the five of us are doing the last festival song with all the performers and volunteers on stage with us. We wait backstage for Lennie Gallant to finish his set and then we're up and running. Mose Scarlett sings Goodnight Irene and then we're on: Diddle-iddle-um. Diddle-iddle-um-dum. Diddle-um-dum. Dun-dum-dum, Dum-DUM-dum-dum-dum... and Hilary's into the first verse, good and strong. Good job we can hear her acoustically because with this kind of crowd on stage no one gets monitors. She can hear Grit, Brian and I can hear her. Len must be able to hear Grit, too because he's in there, too with the accordion and it's wild. The volunteers and performers behind us start stamping, clapping and singing along. Any chance of holding the speed steady is lost, we've got a monster on the loose behind us. They drive us all on until the song's going like an express train, but nobody hits a bum note or fluffs a word. We finish and the crowd goes nuts, then the folks on stage part, and the audience out front parts, and a Highland piper, the same one who's been playing for 35 years at this festival, starts up at the back. Dark Island. He walks steadily off the front of the stage through the crowd and we all follow, two by two, doing the shaking hands or high five thing with the audience as we go. It's a WOW moment. One of those memories to treasure.
jacey: (Default)
Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Nova Scotia

This has to be one of our favourite festivals.

After the Fisheries gig we go and get some food at a little pub just on the edge of town. Fabulous food. I have Lunenburg Scallops, of course, because how can you be in Lunenburg and not have scallops, lightly cooked in garlic butter. Gods, but they're good. Debs laughs and says she feels like she's driving royalty because as we creep through the little town people spot us in the car and wave and mouth Hello Artisan at us and blow kisses. It's amazing. We've always been popular at Lunenburg, (the second time we played here we got a standing ovation as we walked ON to the main stage, before we'd sung a note, but it has been five years. We figured people would have short memories, but they haven't. There are some people who've driven up from Philadelphia to see us, because we're not playing in the States on this trip. Hey, we should have got a lift with them! There are others from close to Bethlehem, PA, who usually see us a Musikfest and have taken the opportunity to try a new festival just because we're here. It's flattering, and also humbling. These people have no idea what a boost they give us. We can't let it go to our collective head, but it's such a great experience.

Then we're delivered to our lodging, a bit further from the town centre than we'd like, but a lovely 1920s/1930s 'arts and crafts' house with some fabulous original oak panelling and overflowing hanging baskets all around the outside. There's a fabulous view across an inlet from the back deck. Our host, Les, is in the middle of an academic thesis so he smiles and welcomes us and goes back to work. We don't see much of him, but our hostess, Velvet, is welcoming and chatty. They have two small wire-haired dachsund bitches who are very sweet and who bark at us and then roll over to be tickled. It's lovely. I know Brian's missing Diezel dog - one of his big worries about spending three weeks out of the country was leaving my 85 year old mother with a ten-month old alpha German Shepherd to look after. (We offered to put him in kennels, but she wouldn't hear of it. They make 'em tough in Yorkshire!)

We have rooms upstairs. It's what we'd call a dormer bungalow in England, though it's huge and the upstairs has three big guest rooms. We have en-suite bathrooms tucked under the eaves of the house, and the beds are super comfy... only... there's no aircon and the heat in the house rises. Even with the windows open wide (insect screens in place) and the fans blowing a gale, there's not much relief from the brutal heatwave. Hilary's room isn't too bad by the time we fall into bed, but our bedroom gets the full glare of the evening sun and on the Thursday and Friday nights it's practically an oven, even long after dark, though Saturday and Sunday are a little cooler and fresher, thank goodness. Lunenburg is usually fairly fresh because of the sea breeze, so this humidity is unusual, but it's a killer!.

They pay us on Friday morning (yay) which bankrolls us for the tour. Yay!

I have Scallop-Only cakes at the Fishcake Cafe for lunch (over looking the harbour). Delicious, melt-in mouth sallopy goodness! The Friday afternoon gig is right down on the Wharf Stage. One misstep backwards and you're fifteen feet down into the water, so we take care to stay well forward. We've planned the sets so we don't have to repeat too much material over the weekend. Great crowd and we have lots of people coming up and telling us how glad they are we've come out of retirement. The CD stall does good business on our behalf. Though all our other CDs have been to Lunenburg before, Random Play, is brand new and is snapped up again and again. We discover that the eco-friendly cardboard slipcase is not Sharpie-friendly. It's a nightmare to sign. You can just about get a ball-point to stick to the glossy print as long as no one has touched the surface with a humanly-greasy finger first. Need a new miracle pen.

We play all the fesival stages over the course of the weekend. We've a workshop (a round-robin concert, really) called 'Lighten Up' with Connie Caldor and others in one of the churches. We choose to do songs that are a lighter way of looking at serious topics. We play the Bandstand - which is nice because it's a free, outdoor concert for the people of the town, as well as for the festival ticket holders. It's lovely that as we start off with Dancing With Words there's a little ripple of spontaneous applause as they recognise the song. I'm used to that (in North America at any rate) for songs like 'Breathing Space' and 'What's the Use of Wings', but not usually for 'Dancing With Words.' They like it. Good!

One slight disappointment. The Opera House which was scruffy, but genuinely Victorian and full of character (and wood-rot and myco-spores, probably), has been renovated. The renovation is kinda sympathetic, but it's still got a way to go. Right now it's got a lot more bare walls than it used to, and it's been opened up more. The sound bounces around without the benefit of plush wallpaper and drapes and worn carpet to tame the echo. It's not so nice to sing in and I bet it's nowhere near as easy for the sound man. But the audience is lovely, as usual and the set goes well.

Our mainstage set is Sunday night, not such a good spot for selling CDs (Saturday is a better mainstage showcase), but it's a fabulous audience. The mainstage is in a 1200-seater marquee and it's packed to the gills. We go on last before the interval. A spot we like because it means we can go out front in the break to talk to people. Thankfully the weather has stayed relatively benevolent, with much cooler evenings than Thursday and Friday. Even with the stage lights it's bearable. The PA feels great and it's one of those concerts that just seems to fly all by itself. We have 35 minutes, no encores allowed, and we get the standing ovation again. Good, we're not losing our touch.

Moving On

And the following morning we pack our bags and get a lift back to the airport for our flight to Toronto. We've booked with Westjet because they're a nice company with staff chosen for their sense of humour - and no more expensive than the other choice which is Air Canada which has sometimes seemed to specialise in grumpy stewardesses. Westjet lives up to its reputation, we end up singing 'Breathing Space' for staff at the check-in desk. The flight is blessedly on time. It's in in-country hop to Toronto, so no customs - which is good because we've now got the leftover CDs (which were shipped in) packed in our bags to take on to the next gigs.

We pick up our rental car and arrive at Nigel and Clarisse's house (longtime friends) by sometime shortly before 8.00 to find dinner waiting for us, the beds all made up, and more shipped CDs. It's delightful to see Nigel and Clarisse again. They're both looking well and there's kitchen remodelling to admire. Nigel has great woodworking skills, though he doesn't do so much since nearly taking his finger off in an accident and lately he's become totally absorbed by his outdoor fishpond and indoor aquarium in which he has a small ecosystem snaffled direct from Lake Huron. there are snails, rocks, plants and beetles that dive and rise by adjusting a tiny bubble of air on their bum. And there are tiny-weeny fish that will grow up to be lake-trout. It's better than TV.

Clarisse is - .like me - a Science Fiction and Fantasy reader and there's Bakka - Toronto's specialist SF bookstore - downtown. We make a pilgrimage. I only buy $130's worth of books, but Clarisse almost triples my total. It's been a while since she went, she says. I buy some authors discovered at random by browsing, such as Ilona Andrews and Nancy Kress. I buy regularly from Amazon at home, but I can't browse spines on a shelf to see what jumps out at me at Amazon. Hilary goes off window-shopping while Clarisse and I browse books, then we all indulge in a brief trip to The Eaton Centre at the bottom of Yonge Street. I'd been intending to go to the World's Biggest Bookstore, just nearby, but I've spent so much already that I really can't justify it. Besides, it's horribly humid again and my foot is really giving me grief. I buy a new carry-on size hard-shell suitcase (well I have to have something to carry my books in, don't I?) We get back to Clarisse's and - bless her - she finds me some stretches on the net to work on the plantar fasciitis. We go out for dinner, but my foot is still killing me and I've had so much sun that I feel a bit off-colour. While the others are tucking into steak and all the trimmings or big plates of fish, or BBQ pork, I nibble at a small Caesar Salad. It does me no harm whatsoever to eat lightly. I'm still munching my salad when they all get on to dessert, but never mind. I feel much better for it.
jacey: (Default)
Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Nova Scotia

This has to be one of our favourite festivals.

After the Fisheries gig we go and get some food at a little pub just on the edge of town. Fabulous food. I have Lunenburg Scallops, of course, because how can you be in Lunenburg and not have scallops, lightly cooked in garlic butter. Gods, but they're good. Debs laughs and says she feels like she's driving royalty because as we creep through the little town people spot us in the car and wave and mouth Hello Artisan at us and blow kisses. It's amazing. We've always been popular at Lunenburg, (the second time we played here we got a standing ovation as we walked ON to the main stage, before we'd sung a note, but it has been five years. We figured people would have short memories, but they haven't. There are some people who've driven up from Philadelphia to see us, because we're not playing in the States on this trip. Hey, we should have got a lift with them! There are others from close to Bethlehem, PA, who usually see us a Musikfest and have taken the opportunity to try a new festival just because we're here. It's flattering, and also humbling. These people have no idea what a boost they give us. We can't let it go to our collective head, but it's such a great experience.

Then we're delivered to our lodging, a bit further from the town centre than we'd like, but a lovely 1920s/1930s 'arts and crafts' house with some fabulous original oak panelling and overflowing hanging baskets all around the outside. There's a fabulous view across an inlet from the back deck. Our host, Les, is in the middle of an academic thesis so he smiles and welcomes us and goes back to work. We don't see much of him, but our hostess, Velvet, is welcoming and chatty. They have two small wire-haired dachsund bitches who are very sweet and who bark at us and then roll over to be tickled. It's lovely. I know Brian's missing Diezel dog - one of his big worries about spending three weeks out of the country was leaving my 85 year old mother with a ten-month old alpha German Shepherd to look after. (We offered to put him in kennels, but she wouldn't hear of it. They make 'em tough in Yorkshire!)

We have rooms upstairs. It's what we'd call a dormer bungalow in England, though it's huge and the upstairs has three big guest rooms. We have en-suite bathrooms tucked under the eaves of the house, and the beds are super comfy... only... there's no aircon and the heat in the house rises. Even with the windows open wide (insect screens in place) and the fans blowing a gale, there's not much relief from the brutal heatwave. Hilary's room isn't too bad by the time we fall into bed, but our bedroom gets the full glare of the evening sun and on the Thursday and Friday nights it's practically an oven, even long after dark, though Saturday and Sunday are a little cooler and fresher, thank goodness. Lunenburg is usually fairly fresh because of the sea breeze, so this humidity is unusual, but it's a killer!.

They pay us on Friday morning (yay) which bankrolls us for the tour. Yay!

I have Scallop-Only cakes at the Fishcake Cafe for lunch (over looking the harbour). Delicious, melt-in mouth sallopy goodness! The Friday afternoon gig is right down on the Wharf Stage. One misstep backwards and you're fifteen feet down into the water, so we take care to stay well forward. We've planned the sets so we don't have to repeat too much material over the weekend. Great crowd and we have lots of people coming up and telling us how glad they are we've come out of retirement. The CD stall does good business on our behalf. Though all our other CDs have been to Lunenburg before, Random Play, is brand new and is snapped up again and again. We discover that the eco-friendly cardboard slipcase is not Sharpie-friendly. It's a nightmare to sign. You can just about get a ball-point to stick to the glossy print as long as no one has touched the surface with a humanly-greasy finger first. Need a new miracle pen.

We play all the fesival stages over the course of the weekend. We've a workshop (a round-robin concert, really) called 'Lighten Up' with Connie Caldor and others in one of the churches. We choose to do songs that are a lighter way of looking at serious topics. We play the Bandstand - which is nice because it's a free, outdoor concert for the people of the town, as well as for the festival ticket holders. It's lovely that as we start off with Dancing With Words there's a little ripple of spontaneous applause as they recognise the song. I'm used to that (in North America at any rate) for songs like 'Breathing Space' and 'What's the Use of Wings', but not usually for 'Dancing With Words.' They like it. Good!

One slight disappointment. The Opera House which was scruffy, but genuinely Victorian and full of character (and wood-rot and myco-spores, probably), has been renovated. The renovation is kinda sympathetic, but it's still got a way to go. Right now it's got a lot more bare walls than it used to, and it's been opened up more. The sound bounces around without the benefit of plush wallpaper and drapes and worn carpet to tame the echo. It's not so nice to sing in and I bet it's nowhere near as easy for the sound man. But the audience is lovely, as usual and the set goes well.

Our mainstage set is Sunday night, not such a good spot for selling CDs (Saturday is a better mainstage showcase), but it's a fabulous audience. The mainstage is in a 1200-seater marquee and it's packed to the gills. We go on last before the interval. A spot we like because it means we can go out front in the break to talk to people. Thankfully the weather has stayed relatively benevolent, with much cooler evenings than Thursday and Friday. Even with the stage lights it's bearable. The PA feels great and it's one of those concerts that just seems to fly all by itself. We have 35 minutes, no encores allowed, and we get the standing ovation again. Good, we're not losing our touch.

Moving On

And the following morning we pack our bags and get a lift back to the airport for our flight to Toronto. We've booked with Westjet because they're a nice company with staff chosen for their sense of humour - and no more expensive than the other choice which is Air Canada which has sometimes seemed to specialise in grumpy stewardesses. Westjet lives up to its reputation, we end up singing 'Breathing Space' for staff at the check-in desk. The flight is blessedly on time. It's in in-country hop to Toronto, so no customs - which is good because we've now got the leftover CDs (which were shipped in) packed in our bags to take on to the next gigs.

We pick up our rental car and arrive at Nigel and Clarisse's house (longtime friends) by sometime shortly before 8.00 to find dinner waiting for us, the beds all made up, and more shipped CDs. It's delightful to see Nigel and Clarisse again. They're both looking well and there's kitchen remodelling to admire. Nigel has great woodworking skills, though he doesn't do so much since nearly taking his finger off in an accident and lately he's become totally absorbed by his outdoor fishpond and indoor aquarium in which he has a small ecosystem snaffled direct from Lake Huron. there are snails, rocks, plants and beetles that dive and rise by adjusting a tiny bubble of air on their bum. And there are tiny-weeny fish that will grow up to be lake-trout. It's better than TV.

Clarisse is - .like me - a Science Fiction and Fantasy reader and there's Bakka - Toronto's specialist SF bookstore - downtown. We make a pilgrimage. I only buy $130's worth of books, but Clarisse almost triples my total. It's been a while since she went, she says. I buy some authors discovered at random by browsing, such as Ilona Andrews and Nancy Kress. I buy regularly from Amazon at home, but I can't browse spines on a shelf to see what jumps out at me at Amazon. Hilary goes off window-shopping while Clarisse and I browse books, then we all indulge in a brief trip to The Eaton Centre at the bottom of Yonge Street. I'd been intending to go to the World's Biggest Bookstore, just nearby, but I've spent so much already that I really can't justify it. Besides, it's horribly humid again and my foot is really giving me grief. I buy a new carry-on size hard-shell suitcase (well I have to have something to carry my books in, don't I?) We get back to Clarisse's and - bless her - she finds me some stretches on the net to work on the plantar fasciitis. We go out for dinner, but my foot is still killing me and I've had so much sun that I feel a bit off-colour. While the others are tucking into steak and all the trimmings or big plates of fish, or BBQ pork, I nibble at a small Caesar Salad. It does me no harm whatsoever to eat lightly. I'm still munching my salad when they all get on to dessert, but never mind. I feel much better for it.
jacey: (Default)
US Airways = Useless Airways, They buggered up the outgoing flight completely, or at least the conncection at Philadelphia. We flew from Manchester, had possibly the worst food I have ever tried and failed to eat on an airplane and then had a planned 6 hour wait at Philly for a Halifax, Nova Scotia, flight.

So customs and immigration take about an hour - yes even though you are only transiting to Canada you have to collect your bags from the transatlantic flight, complete an American ESTA (electronic immigration form) before flying from the UK and do the whole 'Why are you visiting the United States?' thing, even though you're not actually visiting.

Then after exploring Philadelphia Airport from Terminal A to Terminal F - even with food stops (orange chicken and noodles, yum!) it's barely more than a distraction of more than two hand a half hours - we end up sitting at our gate for departure to Halifax for a couple of hours waiting for our 9.15 p.m. flight. (I had a book.) So at about 8.45 p.m. they start to check our passports, ready (we assume) for boarding. Then when they're halfway through the line the word filters out that the flight has been cancelled due to a storm at Halifax. There's no announcement as such, but word flies round fast. Go to the customer services desk in the main concourse, the gate staff tell us. We know there's going to be a huge lineup so we grab our carry-on bags (the checked luggage having gone on to the transit belt after the stop at customs) and we sprint. Even with my gammy foot (plantar fasciitis - ouch) we make it ahead of the crowd.

Yes there's apparently a storm at Halifax, they say, even though Philly itself is hot and dry, though very humid (like breathing soup). There's also another flight queuing up with ours - apparently there's also a storm between Philly and San Francisco.

No, they won't pay for overnight accommodation because they don't do that for bad weather, only for delays due to something they are responsible for, but they'll give us a number of a last-minute hotel service with 'the best rates' so we can get our head down for a few hours and they'll rebook us on the ten a.m. flight... err no they won't... it's already full between the clerk checking once, talking to us, and trying to grab us three seats. The best she can do is a 6.15 a.m. flight out to Boston and a connection from Boston to Halifax with barely 45 minutes to change planes (and terminals) at Logan Airport. We are not optimistic about the connection, we've been to Logan before and it was a building site, but the next available flight after that isn't until 6.00 p.m. and we have a 2.00 p.m. gig at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.

So we take the 6.15 a.m. flight and the number for the hotel booking service and then discover that we need 50 cents now for a local call (it was 25 cents last time we were there). So we scrabble for coinage. Luckily Hilary had a couple of American quarters.

The best we can do is $69 plus tax for each of two rooms and we catch the steamy hotel shuttle without benefit of luggage. Thankfully I have my (diabetic) medication with me and a clean pair of knickers and socks in my hand luggage, but no change of outer clothes and in the choking, sweaty heat they are rapidly getting not nice to be near.

One bright spot. The hotel has free internet and my skype phone credit is topped up, so I try to call Debs, the transport person from Lunenburg Festival, so that her chap who's supposed to collect us at 11.30 p.m. in Halifax doen't set off. I'm thwarted. Because of the hour's time difference, my 10.00 p.m. is Nova Scotia's 11.00 p.m. and her cellphone is already switched off. So pickup guy has a wasted journey, two hours drive each way. He actually set out before the flight was cancelled. I leave a message on Deb's phone and on the festival office phone to tell them what's happened and what time we're getting in and hope that there will be someone else to pick us up in the morning.

We check the TV weather channel in the hotel room and we can see the thunderstorm between Philly and San Francisco, but Halifax looks calm. What storm?

The hotel alarm call comes at 4.00 a.m., barely five hours after we've fallen into bed, drugged with exhaustion. We get downstairs in yesterday's clothing to find that some other bloody arsehole of a passenger has kidnapped our booked 4.30 a.m. airport shuttle and gone off at 4.20 telling the manager he was the one who'd booked it. Bloody charming. May all his future flights be delayed. But we grab the shuttle bus on its return with a family heading for San Francisco and similarly doing an overnight without benefit of checked luggage and get to the airport for 5.00 a.m, which is what we were aiming for anyway.

Joy and Bliss. The 6.15 a.m. flight departs on time. Now the staff are telling us it wasn't a storm at Halifax last night, it was fog. Make up your minds, guys. Get your story straight.

And amazingly we make the connection at Logan even though we have to go through yet another set of security gates and I get singled out for one of the new naked photo booth checks (the ones where they basically x-ray your clothes off you). Nice. I can have the pat down if I prefer. No, go ahead, give the staff a good laugh. I don't have to look them in the face afterwards. i don't even let myself wonder whether they have lady peeping toms on the other end of the machine, or not.

So we get to Halifax, a nice little airport, and it's still only 9.30 a.m. even though our watches have gone forward an hour again. We don't need work permits for Canada because we're 'cultural performers' i.e. not playing bar gigs and taking jobs away from Canadian musicians, but we still have to stop off at the immigration office and present our festival contracts to prove the whole not-playing-bar-gigs thing, and to get a temporary work permit stamp to make us all nice and legal. I have all the paperwork. It isn't a problem.

So at the immigration office there are two men (not together) in front of us and one is taking forever. There's only one girl on duty. The passengers who came in on the same flight - who were all last night's cancellees and with whom we have bonded by now - all try and follow us into the lineup. No guys, go ahead, this is only for people who are working in Canada. Bye. Have a nice trip. Half an hour passes and eventually guy number one leaves and guy number two steps froward. Time passes. We can see the arrivals hall. It's completely empty.

The officer who checked our passports and sent us to this lineup, telling us it wouldn't take long, saunters up the corridor and looks surprised. 'You still here?' We shrug. 'Yep.' 'You sure you're not playing bar gigs?' 'Nope.' We know the rules. We're playing Canadian festivals and unlike English festivals, they're dry. He takes our passports, stamps them and says, 'OK, off you go!' We skip off to the baggage hall grateful for small mercies, knowing that would never happen in the USA, to find all the other passengers have gone and our three bags - together with one that must belong to the guy still at the immigration desk - piled neatly in a corner.

Now all we have to hope for is that there's someone beyond the barrier with a card saying Artisan on it.

Well, she hasn't got a card but she pounces on us as we exit the baggage hall with that perculiarly North American pronunciation of Artisan which sounds like ARdizn. It's Deb herself. No she didn't get the message, but she figured we'd be arriving around tennish so she came anyway - and the office had called her while she was in transit with our message from last night. She'd almost been about to leave since the last passenger off the plane had said there was no one still in there. We explained about the immigration log jam. She might need to know that another year.

She's starving and so are we. We stop off at Tim Hortons just outside the airport. Luckily Hilary has had the foresight to change enough Canadian dollars. I haven't because the festival has arranged to pay us in cash at the beginning of the weekend and I reckon nothing to losing money on changing English to Canadian and then Canadian to English at the end of the tour.

It's about an hour and a half to Lunenburg. We eventually arrive 20 minutes before our 2.00 p.m. gig and have to do it in the clothes we've been travelling in for 48 hours. It's blazing hot, unusually humid for Lunenburg (on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia) and the gig is ooutside at the Fisheries Museum without a PA. I tell you, it doesn't matter how tired we are, we are in no danger of falling over because our clothes can now stand up by themselves.

Luckily the Artisan fans have turned up to welcome us and we're shredded, but not too shredded to deliver the goods.

As a PS to all this, the chap who did turn up to the airport at 11.30 p.m. to meet the original flight that was supposedly cancelled for a storm said: 'What storm?' So we're left wondering if the airline cancelled the plane and just told us it was a storm to save themselves paying for all our accommodations.

And the kicker is that our travel insurance company will not pay out for the accommodation (even though there was an overnight stay involved) because the delay insurance doesn't kick in unless there's a 12 hour delay. The flight we were due to fly out on was 9.15 p.m. and the flight we did fly out on was 6.15 a.m. Bummer.

This post was titled 'Bad Flights, Good Gigs'. The good gigs bit will have to wait until the next post. I'm exhausted just re-living all that vicariously through the keyboard.

Canada was amazing... more soon
jacey: (Default)
US Airways = Useless Airways, They buggered up the outgoing flight completely, or at least the conncection at Philadelphia. We flew from Manchester, had possibly the worst food I have ever tried and failed to eat on an airplane and then had a planned 6 hour wait at Philly for a Halifax, Nova Scotia, flight.

So customs and immigration take about an hour - yes even though you are only transiting to Canada you have to collect your bags from the transatlantic flight, complete an American ESTA (electronic immigration form) before flying from the UK and do the whole 'Why are you visiting the United States?' thing, even though you're not actually visiting.

Then after exploring Philadelphia Airport from Terminal A to Terminal F - even with food stops (orange chicken and noodles, yum!) it's barely more than a distraction of more than two hand a half hours - we end up sitting at our gate for departure to Halifax for a couple of hours waiting for our 9.15 p.m. flight. (I had a book.) So at about 8.45 p.m. they start to check our passports, ready (we assume) for boarding. Then when they're halfway through the line the word filters out that the flight has been cancelled due to a storm at Halifax. There's no announcement as such, but word flies round fast. Go to the customer services desk in the main concourse, the gate staff tell us. We know there's going to be a huge lineup so we grab our carry-on bags (the checked luggage having gone on to the transit belt after the stop at customs) and we sprint. Even with my gammy foot (plantar fasciitis - ouch) we make it ahead of the crowd.

Yes there's apparently a storm at Halifax, they say, even though Philly itself is hot and dry, though very humid (like breathing soup). There's also another flight queuing up with ours - apparently there's also a storm between Philly and San Francisco.

No, they won't pay for overnight accommodation because they don't do that for bad weather, only for delays due to something they are responsible for, but they'll give us a number of a last-minute hotel service with 'the best rates' so we can get our head down for a few hours and they'll rebook us on the ten a.m. flight... err no they won't... it's already full between the clerk checking once, talking to us, and trying to grab us three seats. The best she can do is a 6.15 a.m. flight out to Boston and a connection from Boston to Halifax with barely 45 minutes to change planes (and terminals) at Logan Airport. We are not optimistic about the connection, we've been to Logan before and it was a building site, but the next available flight after that isn't until 6.00 p.m. and we have a 2.00 p.m. gig at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.

So we take the 6.15 a.m. flight and the number for the hotel booking service and then discover that we need 50 cents now for a local call (it was 25 cents last time we were there). So we scrabble for coinage. Luckily Hilary had a couple of American quarters.

The best we can do is $69 plus tax for each of two rooms and we catch the steamy hotel shuttle without benefit of luggage. Thankfully I have my (diabetic) medication with me and a clean pair of knickers and socks in my hand luggage, but no change of outer clothes and in the choking, sweaty heat they are rapidly getting not nice to be near.

One bright spot. The hotel has free internet and my skype phone credit is topped up, so I try to call Debs, the transport person from Lunenburg Festival, so that her chap who's supposed to collect us at 11.30 p.m. in Halifax doen't set off. I'm thwarted. Because of the hour's time difference, my 10.00 p.m. is Nova Scotia's 11.00 p.m. and her cellphone is already switched off. So pickup guy has a wasted journey, two hours drive each way. He actually set out before the flight was cancelled. I leave a message on Deb's phone and on the festival office phone to tell them what's happened and what time we're getting in and hope that there will be someone else to pick us up in the morning.

We check the TV weather channel in the hotel room and we can see the thunderstorm between Philly and San Francisco, but Halifax looks calm. What storm?

The hotel alarm call comes at 4.00 a.m., barely five hours after we've fallen into bed, drugged with exhaustion. We get downstairs in yesterday's clothing to find that some other bloody arsehole of a passenger has kidnapped our booked 4.30 a.m. airport shuttle and gone off at 4.20 telling the manager he was the one who'd booked it. Bloody charming. May all his future flights be delayed. But we grab the shuttle bus on its return with a family heading for San Francisco and similarly doing an overnight without benefit of checked luggage and get to the airport for 5.00 a.m, which is what we were aiming for anyway.

Joy and Bliss. The 6.15 a.m. flight departs on time. Now the staff are telling us it wasn't a storm at Halifax last night, it was fog. Make up your minds, guys. Get your story straight.

And amazingly we make the connection at Logan even though we have to go through yet another set of security gates and I get singled out for one of the new naked photo booth checks (the ones where they basically x-ray your clothes off you). Nice. I can have the pat down if I prefer. No, go ahead, give the staff a good laugh. I don't have to look them in the face afterwards. i don't even let myself wonder whether they have lady peeping toms on the other end of the machine, or not.

So we get to Halifax, a nice little airport, and it's still only 9.30 a.m. even though our watches have gone forward an hour again. We don't need work permits for Canada because we're 'cultural performers' i.e. not playing bar gigs and taking jobs away from Canadian musicians, but we still have to stop off at the immigration office and present our festival contracts to prove the whole not-playing-bar-gigs thing, and to get a temporary work permit stamp to make us all nice and legal. I have all the paperwork. It isn't a problem.

So at the immigration office there are two men (not together) in front of us and one is taking forever. There's only one girl on duty. The passengers who came in on the same flight - who were all last night's cancellees and with whom we have bonded by now - all try and follow us into the lineup. No guys, go ahead, this is only for people who are working in Canada. Bye. Have a nice trip. Half an hour passes and eventually guy number one leaves and guy number two steps froward. Time passes. We can see the arrivals hall. It's completely empty.

The officer who checked our passports and sent us to this lineup, telling us it wouldn't take long, saunters up the corridor and looks surprised. 'You still here?' We shrug. 'Yep.' 'You sure you're not playing bar gigs?' 'Nope.' We know the rules. We're playing Canadian festivals and unlike English festivals, they're dry. He takes our passports, stamps them and says, 'OK, off you go!' We skip off to the baggage hall grateful for small mercies, knowing that would never happen in the USA, to find all the other passengers have gone and our three bags - together with one that must belong to the guy still at the immigration desk - piled neatly in a corner.

Now all we have to hope for is that there's someone beyond the barrier with a card saying Artisan on it.

Well, she hasn't got a card but she pounces on us as we exit the baggage hall with that perculiarly North American pronunciation of Artisan which sounds like ARdizn. It's Deb herself. No she didn't get the message, but she figured we'd be arriving around tennish so she came anyway - and the office had called her while she was in transit with our message from last night. She'd almost been about to leave since the last passenger off the plane had said there was no one still in there. We explained about the immigration log jam. She might need to know that another year.

She's starving and so are we. We stop off at Tim Hortons just outside the airport. Luckily Hilary has had the foresight to change enough Canadian dollars. I haven't because the festival has arranged to pay us in cash at the beginning of the weekend and I reckon nothing to losing money on changing English to Canadian and then Canadian to English at the end of the tour.

It's about an hour and a half to Lunenburg. We eventually arrive 20 minutes before our 2.00 p.m. gig and have to do it in the clothes we've been travelling in for 48 hours. It's blazing hot, unusually humid for Lunenburg (on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia) and the gig is ooutside at the Fisheries Museum without a PA. I tell you, it doesn't matter how tired we are, we are in no danger of falling over because our clothes can now stand up by themselves.

Luckily the Artisan fans have turned up to welcome us and we're shredded, but not too shredded to deliver the goods.

As a PS to all this, the chap who did turn up to the airport at 11.30 p.m. to meet the original flight that was supposedly cancelled for a storm said: 'What storm?' So we're left wondering if the airline cancelled the plane and just told us it was a storm to save themselves paying for all our accommodations.

And the kicker is that our travel insurance company will not pay out for the accommodation (even though there was an overnight stay involved) because the delay insurance doesn't kick in unless there's a 12 hour delay. The flight we were due to fly out on was 9.15 p.m. and the flight we did fly out on was 6.15 a.m. Bummer.

This post was titled 'Bad Flights, Good Gigs'. The good gigs bit will have to wait until the next post. I'm exhausted just re-living all that vicariously through the keyboard.

Canada was amazing... more soon
jacey: (Default)
The taxi is booked for 5.30 a.m. to take us to Manchester Airport. I've cleared as much of my desk as is possible to do in the time I had. Mum is briefed on keeping the office ticking over and looking after the dog. I'm in the middle of transferring files over to the new little eeePC so hopefully I can stay connected and also get some writing done.

So if I'm quiet for the next three weeks you'll know that I didn't manage to get connected, or I forgot all my passwords. If that's the case, see you all after 25th August.

Here's where we'll be: http://www.artisan-harmony.com/reunion.htm
jacey: (Default)
The taxi is booked for 5.30 a.m. to take us to Manchester Airport. I've cleared as much of my desk as is possible to do in the time I had. Mum is briefed on keeping the office ticking over and looking after the dog. I'm in the middle of transferring files over to the new little eeePC so hopefully I can stay connected and also get some writing done.

So if I'm quiet for the next three weeks you'll know that I didn't manage to get connected, or I forgot all my passwords. If that's the case, see you all after 25th August.

Here's where we'll be: http://www.artisan-harmony.com/reunion.htm
jacey: (Default)
Random Play CDNew CD has arrived! Whee.
Called 'Random Play'.
Eleven tracks (written by Brian Bedford) and only a tenner from gigs or £11.50 by post worldwide.
Available from here

We're dead pleased with the eco-friendly packaging. It's in a light-but-shiny, cardboard, gatefold sleeve - with a spine so you can still store it with your plastic cased CDs - and it weighs in at less than 50g.

Artisan reunion tour is going well, but busy busy with gigs from Stonehaven (just south of Aberdeen) to South Moulton (North Devon).

Barely time to keep up with email and little time for LJ and even less for facebook. Have now finished all UK gigs in July. Met up with lots of old friends. (Hey, less of the OLD, they cry!) Getting ready to head off for Canada on Wednesday, leaving Mum and Diezel Dog looking after each other (and manning the office together). I think Mum might make a better job of opening the post, though Diezel always volunteers to do it.

First gig is Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia. Our fourth of fifth time there and this is the one that asked us to reunite for their 25th anniversary - so it's all their fault, really! it's also the festival where we met Tanglefoot in 1995 or 96.

After the weekend in Lunenburg we fly to Toronto to stay with friends Nigel and Clarisse for five days, playing already sold-out Houseconcert for DW who was the director of the very first festival we ever played in Canada in 1994.

Then we have a gig on the next Sauturay at the Aeolian Hall in London Ontario and our support act is... wait for it... Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish ex of Tanglefoot. These are the guys who look like (respectively) Charles II and Jesus. Fee? Hey this is a gig we'd have paid to do! (But don't tell the organiser!)

And the following day we drive up to Chatsworth Ontario - about 3 hours north of Toronto and a few minutes siuth of Owen Sound, to stay with the aforementioned Steve for five days. There's another houseconcert gig in Grey Highlands, close to Chatsworth. But the big gig is at the end of the week: the Owen Sound Summerfolk Festival. A fabulous music and crafts festival.

The two festivals we're playing are two of my favourite festivals in the whole world.

We fly home on 23rd August and start the UK gigs all over again - well, different venues, you know - on 2nd September (until 17th). We're exactly halfway through the British gigs, now, with 12 in July and 12 in September.

jacey: (Default)
Random Play CDNew CD has arrived! Whee.
Called 'Random Play'.
Eleven tracks (written by Brian Bedford) and only a tenner from gigs or £11.50 by post worldwide.
Available from here

We're dead pleased with the eco-friendly packaging. It's in a light-but-shiny, cardboard, gatefold sleeve - with a spine so you can still store it with your plastic cased CDs - and it weighs in at less than 50g.

Artisan reunion tour is going well, but busy busy with gigs from Stonehaven (just south of Aberdeen) to South Moulton (North Devon).

Barely time to keep up with email and little time for LJ and even less for facebook. Have now finished all UK gigs in July. Met up with lots of old friends. (Hey, less of the OLD, they cry!) Getting ready to head off for Canada on Wednesday, leaving Mum and Diezel Dog looking after each other (and manning the office together). I think Mum might make a better job of opening the post, though Diezel always volunteers to do it.

First gig is Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia. Our fourth of fifth time there and this is the one that asked us to reunite for their 25th anniversary - so it's all their fault, really! it's also the festival where we met Tanglefoot in 1995 or 96.

After the weekend in Lunenburg we fly to Toronto to stay with friends Nigel and Clarisse for five days, playing already sold-out Houseconcert for DW who was the director of the very first festival we ever played in Canada in 1994.

Then we have a gig on the next Sauturay at the Aeolian Hall in London Ontario and our support act is... wait for it... Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish ex of Tanglefoot. These are the guys who look like (respectively) Charles II and Jesus. Fee? Hey this is a gig we'd have paid to do! (But don't tell the organiser!)

And the following day we drive up to Chatsworth Ontario - about 3 hours north of Toronto and a few minutes siuth of Owen Sound, to stay with the aforementioned Steve for five days. There's another houseconcert gig in Grey Highlands, close to Chatsworth. But the big gig is at the end of the week: the Owen Sound Summerfolk Festival. A fabulous music and crafts festival.

The two festivals we're playing are two of my favourite festivals in the whole world.

We fly home on 23rd August and start the UK gigs all over again - well, different venues, you know - on 2nd September (until 17th). We're exactly halfway through the British gigs, now, with 12 in July and 12 in September.

jacey: (Default)
Artisan tour going well so far. Lots of friends and fans (and friends who are fans and fans who are friends) turning up to gigs. Much hugging (when not singing).

Thursday: Cockermouth flood fund gig at the Kirkgate - a freebie. A nice starter gig for the tour with Bob (who has booked us loads of times for that venue) and Peter who sets everything up. Hilary is still reeling from being charged £4.20 for a pint of diet coke at The Bitter End (brew pub near the venue) when we went for dinner. nice food, but they know how to charge.

Friday: Cleckheaton Folk Festival - a 'meet Artisan' session in a pub across the road followed by a gig in the Town Hall finishing off the main concert. Nice to see sound-crew Graham Bradshaw and Lawrence again. Graham was engineer at our first ever festival mainstage gig (Wath Festival 1986).

Saturday: Concert in the 13th century church in Ross on Wye put on by our friend Sarah Jones who is not only the vicar, but is a great songwriter, guitarist and singer herself (from before her vicaring days - and she still takes a 'hoiday' to do one tour per year), Lovely to find an audience from the town who didn't know us at all, but came on Sarah's say-so. Srah and Ginny did excellent PA for us. Sold our CDs from an old bier rather than a table. It's not the first time we've been 'on the beer' but certainly the first time we've been 'on the bier'. Sarah kind of works on a Sunday, so we stayed with her at the (gorgeous) Rectory and then on Sunday moring went to have breakfast with our mutual friend, Ginny.

Sunday: The George Hotel, South Molton, North Devon. A gig for Tom and Barbara Brown - one of their occasional Shammick Abroad nights. Lovely to see some old friends - some expected and some a surprise appearance. Lot's of audience participation. Lovely gig.

Monday: Nettlebed - a gig in The Village Club for Mike Sanderson. It's a folk club, but a big one and one time recipient of the BBC Folk Awards 'Folk Club of the Year' gong. Lovely to see [livejournal.com profile] green_knight  there. Everyone joined in choruses and  we had superb feedback, including from Mike who says he rarely sits in the club for every single song because he often has to pop out to do folk club organiser stuff part way through. Tonight he not only stayed for every single song but cut one chap dead who tried to talk to him about organiser stuff during our set. Thanks, Mike. Lovely to see out long time fans (now become friends), known for the longest tome to us as 'The Pattersons of Basingstoke' (Tony & Gill). So many familiar faces. I can't put names to all of them but I remember conversations and we seem to take up where we left off - despite the five year gap!
jacey: (Default)
Artisan tour going well so far. Lots of friends and fans (and friends who are fans and fans who are friends) turning up to gigs. Much hugging (when not singing).

Thursday: Cockermouth flood fund gig at the Kirkgate - a freebie. A nice starter gig for the tour with Bob (who has booked us loads of times for that venue) and Peter who sets everything up. Hilary is still reeling from being charged £4.20 for a pint of diet coke at The Bitter End (brew pub near the venue) when we went for dinner. nice food, but they know how to charge.

Friday: Cleckheaton Folk Festival - a 'meet Artisan' session in a pub across the road followed by a gig in the Town Hall finishing off the main concert. Nice to see sound-crew Graham Bradshaw and Lawrence again. Graham was engineer at our first ever festival mainstage gig (Wath Festival 1986).

Saturday: Concert in the 13th century church in Ross on Wye put on by our friend Sarah Jones who is not only the vicar, but is a great songwriter, guitarist and singer herself (from before her vicaring days - and she still takes a 'hoiday' to do one tour per year), Lovely to find an audience from the town who didn't know us at all, but came on Sarah's say-so. Srah and Ginny did excellent PA for us. Sold our CDs from an old bier rather than a table. It's not the first time we've been 'on the beer' but certainly the first time we've been 'on the bier'. Sarah kind of works on a Sunday, so we stayed with her at the (gorgeous) Rectory and then on Sunday moring went to have breakfast with our mutual friend, Ginny.

Sunday: The George Hotel, South Molton, North Devon. A gig for Tom and Barbara Brown - one of their occasional Shammick Abroad nights. Lovely to see some old friends - some expected and some a surprise appearance. Lot's of audience participation. Lovely gig.

Monday: Nettlebed - a gig in The Village Club for Mike Sanderson. It's a folk club, but a big one and one time recipient of the BBC Folk Awards 'Folk Club of the Year' gong. Lovely to see [livejournal.com profile] green_knight  there. Everyone joined in choruses and  we had superb feedback, including from Mike who says he rarely sits in the club for every single song because he often has to pop out to do folk club organiser stuff part way through. Tonight he not only stayed for every single song but cut one chap dead who tried to talk to him about organiser stuff during our set. Thanks, Mike. Lovely to see out long time fans (now become friends), known for the longest tome to us as 'The Pattersons of Basingstoke' (Tony & Gill). So many familiar faces. I can't put names to all of them but I remember conversations and we seem to take up where we left off - despite the five year gap!

On Tour

Jul. 3rd, 2010 06:40 pm
jacey: (Default)
Expect sporadic messages from me for the next few weeks. The Artisan tour is underway. Cockermouth on Thursday (a flood-fund gig). Cleckheaton on Friday (folk festioval with a lot of old friends) and Ross on Wye tonight - a gig in a church with more old friends.

Devon tomorrow and Nettlbed (near Henley) on the way back up hom on Monday.

On Tour

Jul. 3rd, 2010 06:40 pm
jacey: (Default)
Expect sporadic messages from me for the next few weeks. The Artisan tour is underway. Cockermouth on Thursday (a flood-fund gig). Cleckheaton on Friday (folk festioval with a lot of old friends) and Ross on Wye tonight - a gig in a church with more old friends.

Devon tomorrow and Nettlbed (near Henley) on the way back up hom on Monday.
jacey: (Default)
We went into BBC Radio Leeds last night to do a live radio spot on the Durbervilles' Roots Show. Chatted a bit and sang three songs (including 2 of the new ones) in two ten-minute segments over the course of the hour-long show.

Wherever you are in the world you can listen again via the miracle of the BBC's i-player
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p008728f/The_Durbervilles_13_06_2010/

It's a small world. It turns out that one of the Durbervilles is the son of Laurie Walsh, a potter that both H and I knew on the craft circuit many years ago. We always had a soft spot for him - a big genial bloke who gave good hugs. He's retired now and enjoying a life of bowls - the sporting kind not the pottery kind. Nice to have news of him after twenty-some years.
jacey: (Default)
We went into BBC Radio Leeds last night to do a live radio spot on the Durbervilles' Roots Show. Chatted a bit and sang three songs (including 2 of the new ones) in two ten-minute segments over the course of the hour-long show.

Wherever you are in the world you can listen again via the miracle of the BBC's i-player
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p008728f/The_Durbervilles_13_06_2010/

It's a small world. It turns out that one of the Durbervilles is the son of Laurie Walsh, a potter that both H and I knew on the craft circuit many years ago. We always had a soft spot for him - a big genial bloke who gave good hugs. He's retired now and enjoying a life of bowls - the sporting kind not the pottery kind. Nice to have news of him after twenty-some years.
jacey: (Default)
We started with the Folk for MS concert on Saturday - which was the first official Artisan gig, a pre-tour warm up for a charity we've supported for the last 20 years. If I say so myself... we did OK. Sang well, sounded good... (nice sound system, too) good enough to get lots of lovely audience comments and 2 encores. They'd asked us to top off the concert, but it would have meant not finishing until midnight, and as BB and I wanted to drive back from Oxfordshire to Huddersfield  we begged to go on last in the first half. It's a much better spot. Though the last spot has the kudos, the spot leading into the interval has the best CD sales. And the audience is fresher (and so are we!)
:-)
So we had a set list ready - deliberately longer than we expected to need as I'd not pre-prepared any links. I thought it might be good to see what hit me in the moment as I didn't particularly want to resurrect the old links. Without links we can get quite a few more songs into a set, but it really needs the links to give everyone (audience as well) the chance to breathe/relax between songs. We didn't get to sing all the songs we wanted to, but we did manage to sing our two new ones along with some old favourites. Started with Mary Ellen Carter and saved What's the Use of Wings until the encore. (Good job we got one.) The two new songs by BB, The Weathernan and Spirit of the Trees, went down well and has someone who's known us for a long time raving about 'Fear' because he'd never heard us sing it live before. The audience joined in the choruses of White Horses and Snakes and Ladders and had a creditable stab at the dah-de-dahs on Mabel. We'd been going to sing Breathing Space and After the Goldrush, but there simply wasn't time and overrunning is a heinous crime on a concert like that as it cuts someone else's set length down.

Got to meet up with my longtime friend [livejournal.com profile] whittering who had volunteered to do kitchen duty for the night. She makes a great chilli and dumbs it down a bit for me as spicy food and I don't always agree.

One chap we know - a festival director who has known us and our music for years - came up and said he thought we'd stepped up our performance a notch - a  huge notch, in fact. 'Taken it to another level' is the phrase he used. I'm not saying he was wrong, (I'd like to think he isn't), but bearing in mind it was our dress rehearsal (pre-tour) performance and the first time we'd been on a stage together for five years I hardly think it was in a vastly improved league of its own.

Thinking about it, there's this weird psychological thing going on... It's always been the case that a sprinkling of folks will come up after a performance and tell us that's 'the best we've ever been'... when we know damn well that we're pretty consistent in what we do. After twenty years of doing it for a living we know we're not rubbish (even if we're not always to someone's taste). The performance they just saw was likely to be equally as good as any we've ever given. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't ever room for improvement because if you get complacent about what you do then it all slips back into mediocrity, but what I think it's all about is this...

We are doomed to be consistently good, but between gigs our fans actually forget how much they like us. Subjective memory of excellence - like memory of pain and memory of pleasure - fades with time and distance. When they hear us a again they are re-surprised by the physical and mental impact three voices at full throttle can have. It's not terribly British to blow your own trumpet, but when people come up and say, 'That was the best you've ever been,' I have the urge to respond with, 'Actually, it wasn't. You've just forgotten how good we were the last time you saw us.'
:-)
(Sigh.) But I can't actually say that, can I? It's not very British.

Our new and updated tour list is here:
www.artisan-harmony.com/reunion.html
jacey: (Default)
We started with the Folk for MS concert on Saturday - which was the first official Artisan gig, a pre-tour warm up for a charity we've supported for the last 20 years. If I say so myself... we did OK. Sang well, sounded good... (nice sound system, too) good enough to get lots of lovely audience comments and 2 encores. They'd asked us to top off the concert, but it would have meant not finishing until midnight, and as BB and I wanted to drive back from Oxfordshire to Huddersfield  we begged to go on last in the first half. It's a much better spot. Though the last spot has the kudos, the spot leading into the interval has the best CD sales. And the audience is fresher (and so are we!)
:-)
So we had a set list ready - deliberately longer than we expected to need as I'd not pre-prepared any links. I thought it might be good to see what hit me in the moment as I didn't particularly want to resurrect the old links. Without links we can get quite a few more songs into a set, but it really needs the links to give everyone (audience as well) the chance to breathe/relax between songs. We didn't get to sing all the songs we wanted to, but we did manage to sing our two new ones along with some old favourites. Started with Mary Ellen Carter and saved What's the Use of Wings until the encore. (Good job we got one.) The two new songs by BB, The Weathernan and Spirit of the Trees, went down well and has someone who's known us for a long time raving about 'Fear' because he'd never heard us sing it live before. The audience joined in the choruses of White Horses and Snakes and Ladders and had a creditable stab at the dah-de-dahs on Mabel. We'd been going to sing Breathing Space and After the Goldrush, but there simply wasn't time and overrunning is a heinous crime on a concert like that as it cuts someone else's set length down.

Got to meet up with my longtime friend [livejournal.com profile] whittering who had volunteered to do kitchen duty for the night. She makes a great chilli and dumbs it down a bit for me as spicy food and I don't always agree.

One chap we know - a festival director who has known us and our music for years - came up and said he thought we'd stepped up our performance a notch - a  huge notch, in fact. 'Taken it to another level' is the phrase he used. I'm not saying he was wrong, (I'd like to think he isn't), but bearing in mind it was our dress rehearsal (pre-tour) performance and the first time we'd been on a stage together for five years I hardly think it was in a vastly improved league of its own.

Thinking about it, there's this weird psychological thing going on... It's always been the case that a sprinkling of folks will come up after a performance and tell us that's 'the best we've ever been'... when we know damn well that we're pretty consistent in what we do. After twenty years of doing it for a living we know we're not rubbish (even if we're not always to someone's taste). The performance they just saw was likely to be equally as good as any we've ever given. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't ever room for improvement because if you get complacent about what you do then it all slips back into mediocrity, but what I think it's all about is this...

We are doomed to be consistently good, but between gigs our fans actually forget how much they like us. Subjective memory of excellence - like memory of pain and memory of pleasure - fades with time and distance. When they hear us a again they are re-surprised by the physical and mental impact three voices at full throttle can have. It's not terribly British to blow your own trumpet, but when people come up and say, 'That was the best you've ever been,' I have the urge to respond with, 'Actually, it wasn't. You've just forgotten how good we were the last time you saw us.'
:-)
(Sigh.) But I can't actually say that, can I? It's not very British.

Our new and updated tour list is here:
www.artisan-harmony.com/reunion.html
jacey: (Default)
Sometimes I have to write these Artisan recollections down when I think of them. I should have kept a tour diary, but I didn't. Anyhow, I've been emailing Karen Traviss while she's been stuck in the States courtesy of volcanically rescheduled flights and something she daid brough this to mind.

Artisan and the dreaded God-Spots

We used to get shoehorned into the god-spot at folk festivals on the principle that if you can sing harmonies you must be able to sing hymns. It was horribly embarrassing (you know, all those two-handed, enclose-your-hand-in-both-of-theirs, Happy God type handshakes) because all the people in the audien... er... congregation assumed that we were singing in church because we wanted to - as in: we had a free choice and chose to get up at 9.00 on a Sunday morning after a heavy Saturday night at a folk festival to attend a church service at ten and sing one or two songs in the middle of the proceedings. Yeah, right.

We were there because the festival was paying us to be there for the weekend and on our worksheet it said: Sunday 10.00 a.m. Folk-service in church.

So one year we were booked to sing at Bromyard Folk Festival (Herefordshire) and - oh joy - got the god-spot again. We had a couple of safe songs planned and had sing one of them already... then the sermon was given by this amazing peripatetic monk who had the kind of buzz-cut, badly-mended-broken-nose image that was more reminiscent of Lee Marvin on a bad day. Apparently he used to be a male nurse in a mental hospital before he took up monking for a living.

Together with a younger monk he did a kind of intense, theatrical, Morecambe and Wise (though not funny) double-act and delivered a sermon that actually kept us awake - about how Christianity could be force for evil and Paganism could be a force for good - depending on the actions (good or bad) of the followers. (Okay, this is back in the early 90s, right, when almost everyone in the congregation mixed up Satanism and Paganism and their knowledge of both came from watching The Exorcist.)

So having listened to what amounted to an incredibly broad-minded church sermon for the day, we checked the church ceiling for cracks (none, so we figured we were safe) abandoned the easy-on-the-brain song we'd been planning and delivered 'The Burning Times' instead. (With an intro to set it into context.) 'Burning Times' by Charlie Murphy, You know, the one with the chant chorus:
'Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana.'

The song more or less echoed the sermon and is mostly about how when politics and religion mix, someone's going to get hurt. (In this case it was the 'witches' during the Inquisition.)

OK, the song might not be historically all that accurate, but - hey - that never stopped Mel Gibson making Braveheart, did it?

So after the sho... er... service we were all standing outside being wished Happy God (squicky handshakes delivered with painful sincerity) when the monk (and I'm desperately sorry to say that I've forgotten his name) came hurtling up the path and said, (imagine a Welsh accent), 'That song! That song! That's the trouble when everyone's worshipping a dead man on a cross instead of a living religion!'

Anyway, he asked for a copy of the song and we gave him a cassette of 'Driving Home' (at that point is was only available on LP and tape) . In return he sent us a theological breakdown of it with all the bits he thought praiseworthy, dubious or just plain wrong - which was fabulous to have.

But to crown it all... Although we got away without the church ceiling falling in on our heads - two weeks later our living room ceiling collapsed!

Ah, well, you win some, you lose some.

Artisan: Driving Home

jacey: (Default)
Sometimes I have to write these Artisan recollections down when I think of them. I should have kept a tour diary, but I didn't. Anyhow, I've been emailing Karen Traviss while she's been stuck in the States courtesy of volcanically rescheduled flights and something she daid brough this to mind.

Artisan and the dreaded God-Spots

We used to get shoehorned into the god-spot at folk festivals on the principle that if you can sing harmonies you must be able to sing hymns. It was horribly embarrassing (you know, all those two-handed, enclose-your-hand-in-both-of-theirs, Happy God type handshakes) because all the people in the audien... er... congregation assumed that we were singing in church because we wanted to - as in: we had a free choice and chose to get up at 9.00 on a Sunday morning after a heavy Saturday night at a folk festival to attend a church service at ten and sing one or two songs in the middle of the proceedings. Yeah, right.

We were there because the festival was paying us to be there for the weekend and on our worksheet it said: Sunday 10.00 a.m. Folk-service in church.

So one year we were booked to sing at Bromyard Folk Festival (Herefordshire) and - oh joy - got the god-spot again. We had a couple of safe songs planned and had sing one of them already... then the sermon was given by this amazing peripatetic monk who had the kind of buzz-cut, badly-mended-broken-nose image that was more reminiscent of Lee Marvin on a bad day. Apparently he used to be a male nurse in a mental hospital before he took up monking for a living.

Together with a younger monk he did a kind of intense, theatrical, Morecambe and Wise (though not funny) double-act and delivered a sermon that actually kept us awake - about how Christianity could be force for evil and Paganism could be a force for good - depending on the actions (good or bad) of the followers. (Okay, this is back in the early 90s, right, when almost everyone in the congregation mixed up Satanism and Paganism and their knowledge of both came from watching The Exorcist.)

So having listened to what amounted to an incredibly broad-minded church sermon for the day, we checked the church ceiling for cracks (none, so we figured we were safe) abandoned the easy-on-the-brain song we'd been planning and delivered 'The Burning Times' instead. (With an intro to set it into context.) 'Burning Times' by Charlie Murphy, You know, the one with the chant chorus:
'Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana.'

The song more or less echoed the sermon and is mostly about how when politics and religion mix, someone's going to get hurt. (In this case it was the 'witches' during the Inquisition.)

OK, the song might not be historically all that accurate, but - hey - that never stopped Mel Gibson making Braveheart, did it?

So after the sho... er... service we were all standing outside being wished Happy God (squicky handshakes delivered with painful sincerity) when the monk (and I'm desperately sorry to say that I've forgotten his name) came hurtling up the path and said, (imagine a Welsh accent), 'That song! That song! That's the trouble when everyone's worshipping a dead man on a cross instead of a living religion!'

Anyway, he asked for a copy of the song and we gave him a cassette of 'Driving Home' (at that point is was only available on LP and tape) . In return he sent us a theological breakdown of it with all the bits he thought praiseworthy, dubious or just plain wrong - which was fabulous to have.

But to crown it all... Although we got away without the church ceiling falling in on our heads - two weeks later our living room ceiling collapsed!

Ah, well, you win some, you lose some.

Artisan: Driving Home

jacey: (Default)
Had two Artisan rehearsals this week. Feeling pretty pleased because we nailed a new song: The Weatherman. We've done plenty of global warming songs in the past - this is a bit of a climate-skeptic one. Written by BB, of course, so more words to the inch than your average Gilbert and Sullivan patter song with lines like: 'Better buy a parasol for the garden gnome' sung lickety-split or in this case lickety-spit.
:-)

Need some help with picking the best pics for posters and flyers for the summer tour. There are 8 new 2010 photos posted on my facebook group for 'Artisan Harmony Singing Trio'. if you felt like dropping by and telling me which ones you think are most user-friendly for promo purposes, I'd welcome opinions:
http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=132588464796&view=all
Still trying to decide which to use. When I'm actually on them I cease to be objective because I usually hate them all.

This is one:
jacey: (Default)
Had two Artisan rehearsals this week. Feeling pretty pleased because we nailed a new song: The Weatherman. We've done plenty of global warming songs in the past - this is a bit of a climate-skeptic one. Written by BB, of course, so more words to the inch than your average Gilbert and Sullivan patter song with lines like: 'Better buy a parasol for the garden gnome' sung lickety-split or in this case lickety-spit.
:-)

Need some help with picking the best pics for posters and flyers for the summer tour. There are 8 new 2010 photos posted on my facebook group for 'Artisan Harmony Singing Trio'. if you felt like dropping by and telling me which ones you think are most user-friendly for promo purposes, I'd welcome opinions:
http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=132588464796&view=all
Still trying to decide which to use. When I'm actually on them I cease to be objective because I usually hate them all.

This is one:
jacey: (Default)
I blame the agent.
Oh, wait a minute, I am the agent...

This is what our Artisan tour looks like for next summer so far:

JULY 2010
2nd Cleckheaton Folk Festival - 01274 879761
3rd Broughton Astley, Leics - 01455 286708
4th Coombe Martin, Devon - 01 271 882366
8th Maudslay Thursday, Coventry - 02476 850140 / 07804 837862
9th Bromsgrove Festival - 0121 476 5938
10th Birdsedge Village Festival - 01484 606230
11th Stonehaven Folk Festival -
12th Nettlebed - 01628 636620
16th Guisborough Folk at the Cricket Club - 01642 598977
17th Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, N. Yorks - 01748 825252
21st Otley Folk Club - 01943 464858
23rd Saltburn Festival Fundraiser at the Spa - 01287 622623
28th Llantrisant Folk Club, S Wales - 01443 226892

AUGUST
5th - 8th Lunenburg Festival, Nova Scotia.

SEPTEMBER
3rd Cottingham Village Hall, Northants - 01536 770059
4th TBC Wallingford Bunkfest
5th Folk on the Moor, Devon - 01752 708770
7th St Neots Folk Club - 01234 376278
10th Song Loft, Stony Stratford - 01908 611074 / 07826846937
11th Donyatt Village Hall - 01460 52912
12th Swanage Festival - 01202 690856
14th South Yorkshire Folk, Sheffield - 01709 306688
16th Huntingdon Hall, Worcester - 01905 611427
17th Bromley Cross, Lancs - 01204 853235

And don't worry about Aberdeen because we'll be flying up and back from Manchester airport
jacey: (Default)
I blame the agent.
Oh, wait a minute, I am the agent...

This is what our Artisan tour looks like for next summer so far:

JULY 2010
2nd Cleckheaton Folk Festival - 01274 879761
3rd Broughton Astley, Leics - 01455 286708
4th Coombe Martin, Devon - 01 271 882366
8th Maudslay Thursday, Coventry - 02476 850140 / 07804 837862
9th Bromsgrove Festival - 0121 476 5938
10th Birdsedge Village Festival - 01484 606230
11th Stonehaven Folk Festival -
12th Nettlebed - 01628 636620
16th Guisborough Folk at the Cricket Club - 01642 598977
17th Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, N. Yorks - 01748 825252
21st Otley Folk Club - 01943 464858
23rd Saltburn Festival Fundraiser at the Spa - 01287 622623
28th Llantrisant Folk Club, S Wales - 01443 226892

AUGUST
5th - 8th Lunenburg Festival, Nova Scotia.

SEPTEMBER
3rd Cottingham Village Hall, Northants - 01536 770059
4th TBC Wallingford Bunkfest
5th Folk on the Moor, Devon - 01752 708770
7th St Neots Folk Club - 01234 376278
10th Song Loft, Stony Stratford - 01908 611074 / 07826846937
11th Donyatt Village Hall - 01460 52912
12th Swanage Festival - 01202 690856
14th South Yorkshire Folk, Sheffield - 01709 306688
16th Huntingdon Hall, Worcester - 01905 611427
17th Bromley Cross, Lancs - 01204 853235

And don't worry about Aberdeen because we'll be flying up and back from Manchester airport
jacey: (Default)
Like [livejournal.com profile] heleninwales , I was without connectivity all day (thank you, Demon Internet) so it was a good job I'd arranged to go to the cinema with H this afternoon. We went to see Surrogates - about which I knew nothing in advance. Bruce Willis solving crime in a world where everyone stays indoors and interacts with the world and each other via their robot selves and a virtual-reality type link. A pleasant diversion but not an earth-shattering movie.

Nice to see H back from her trip to Canada and the USA. We're starting Artisan rehearsals for the reunion tour Monday after next.

jacey: (Default)
Like [livejournal.com profile] heleninwales , I was without connectivity all day (thank you, Demon Internet) so it was a good job I'd arranged to go to the cinema with H this afternoon. We went to see Surrogates - about which I knew nothing in advance. Bruce Willis solving crime in a world where everyone stays indoors and interacts with the world and each other via their robot selves and a virtual-reality type link. A pleasant diversion but not an earth-shattering movie.

Nice to see H back from her trip to Canada and the USA. We're starting Artisan rehearsals for the reunion tour Monday after next.

Zulus

May. 30th, 2009 01:28 am
jacey: (Default)
I've started working with a theatre, dance and song company called The Mighty Zulu Nation and this afternoon I went along to one of their rehearsals. If I needed reminding (which I didn't) they are beautiful, stirring singers ( a cappella, of course), eloquent storytellers and high-spirited, athletic dancers. I sat there wilth a big silly grin on my face watching and listening.

I'm booking venues for two of their upcoming shows - 'A Zulu Celebration of Christmas' and 'Napoleon Noir' (a play with music).

If you are ever within a hundred miles of these guys make a point of going to see tham.







Zulus

May. 30th, 2009 01:28 am
jacey: (Default)
I've started working with a theatre, dance and song company called The Mighty Zulu Nation and this afternoon I went along to one of their rehearsals. If I needed reminding (which I didn't) they are beautiful, stirring singers ( a cappella, of course), eloquent storytellers and high-spirited, athletic dancers. I sat there wilth a big silly grin on my face watching and listening.

I'm booking venues for two of their upcoming shows - 'A Zulu Celebration of Christmas' and 'Napoleon Noir' (a play with music).

If you are ever within a hundred miles of these guys make a point of going to see tham.







jacey: (Default)
We've just returned for a weekend away - down in East Horsley at a family party with Number One Daughter and her outlaws (soon-to-be-inlaws). The exorbitant price of a cup of tea from the Costa Coffee shop on the motorway reminded me of an incident some ten years ago.

This was in our Artisan days so Hilary, Brian and I were on our way home from the Monday folk club gig in Boston and we did our usual half-way pit-stop at one in the morning at the services on the A1 at Grantham. On a Monday night there are not a lot of folks in those places, so there was one assistant and a woman on the till. In those days Hilary and I used to drink Earl Grey tea and the usual format when arriving at the tea counter was that the assistant would take one of the stainless steel teapots, tip the pre-insterted normal teabag out, put in an Earl Grey teabag from the box, fill it up with hot water and slide it over. No fuss. Same price as ordinary Tetleys.

So on this occasion we got to the tea counter and the assistant reached for a stainless steel coffeepot which is similar but a slightly different shape to the teapot and - more importantly - has a slightly smaller capacity. Not liking my tea strong, I immediately pointed to a normal teapot and asked if could please have it in one of those. You could not make up what followed

ME: Can I have it in one of those, please?
HER: No, sorry I can't do that.
ME: Why not?
HER: Well, Earl Grey is more expensive, but since we charge the same price as regular tea we give you less.
ME: Yes, but it's still only one teabag and one pot to wash up. The difference is only a splash or two of hot water so what difference does it make?
HER: (Duh? expression)
ME: It's not costing you any more to make the Earl Grey in the normal size pot. I'm not asking for an extra teabag or anything.
HER: But its more expensive tea so you get less for the price we charge. If we gave it to you in a bigger pot we'd have to charge you more.
ME: But... but...
HER: That's what my manager says.
ME: But I like my tea weak, so when you put a teabag into a tiddly little coffeepot like that it's too strong by the time I can get it to the table and fish the bag out.
HER: Why not have a pot of hot water with it, then?
ME: Yeah, OK, anything. How much is a pot of hot water?
HER: Nothing,

Riiight...
jacey: (Default)
We've just returned for a weekend away - down in East Horsley at a family party with Number One Daughter and her outlaws (soon-to-be-inlaws). The exorbitant price of a cup of tea from the Costa Coffee shop on the motorway reminded me of an incident some ten years ago.

This was in our Artisan days so Hilary, Brian and I were on our way home from the Monday folk club gig in Boston and we did our usual half-way pit-stop at one in the morning at the services on the A1 at Grantham. On a Monday night there are not a lot of folks in those places, so there was one assistant and a woman on the till. In those days Hilary and I used to drink Earl Grey tea and the usual format when arriving at the tea counter was that the assistant would take one of the stainless steel teapots, tip the pre-insterted normal teabag out, put in an Earl Grey teabag from the box, fill it up with hot water and slide it over. No fuss. Same price as ordinary Tetleys.

So on this occasion we got to the tea counter and the assistant reached for a stainless steel coffeepot which is similar but a slightly different shape to the teapot and - more importantly - has a slightly smaller capacity. Not liking my tea strong, I immediately pointed to a normal teapot and asked if could please have it in one of those. You could not make up what followed

ME: Can I have it in one of those, please?
HER: No, sorry I can't do that.
ME: Why not?
HER: Well, Earl Grey is more expensive, but since we charge the same price as regular tea we give you less.
ME: Yes, but it's still only one teabag and one pot to wash up. The difference is only a splash or two of hot water so what difference does it make?
HER: (Duh? expression)
ME: It's not costing you any more to make the Earl Grey in the normal size pot. I'm not asking for an extra teabag or anything.
HER: But its more expensive tea so you get less for the price we charge. If we gave it to you in a bigger pot we'd have to charge you more.
ME: But... but...
HER: That's what my manager says.
ME: But I like my tea weak, so when you put a teabag into a tiddly little coffeepot like that it's too strong by the time I can get it to the table and fish the bag out.
HER: Why not have a pot of hot water with it, then?
ME: Yeah, OK, anything. How much is a pot of hot water?
HER: Nothing,

Riiight...
jacey: (mad)
People are posting their favourite Christmas songs and this has to be  - if not my least favourite - at least the most embarrassing song sung in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't misunderstand, it's a good song (in the right place) and we used to sing it with lovely 3 part harmonies.

So... )


Bur it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my performing career.





jacey: (mad)
People are posting their favourite Christmas songs and this has to be  - if not my least favourite - at least the most embarrassing song sung in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't misunderstand, it's a good song (in the right place) and we used to sing it with lovely 3 part harmonies.

So... )


Bur it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my performing career.





jacey: (Default)
I'm actually enjoyaing sitting at home...

In previous years, touring with Artisan, today would have been the first day of an intensive Christmas show run. We always started on the first full weekend after Number One Daughter's birthday, ensuring we were always at home for her, and that we never let the shows get too early. (Though in truth November is a bit early and we always breathed easier once we hit December.)

I just put a Christmas Show page up on the Artisan web site, but here's a pic from the last show.


The Christmas show run was bloody hard work. We once did 28 shows in 27 days - including 2 matinees and one night off. At the beginning of the run I always wondered how I'd get through it and at the end of the run I was always sorry it was over.
More pix )



jacey: (Default)
I'm actually enjoyaing sitting at home...

In previous years, touring with Artisan, today would have been the first day of an intensive Christmas show run. We always started on the first full weekend after Number One Daughter's birthday, ensuring we were always at home for her, and that we never let the shows get too early. (Though in truth November is a bit early and we always breathed easier once we hit December.)

I just put a Christmas Show page up on the Artisan web site, but here's a pic from the last show.


The Christmas show run was bloody hard work. We once did 28 shows in 27 days - including 2 matinees and one night off. At the beginning of the run I always wondered how I'd get through it and at the end of the run I was always sorry it was over.
More pix )



jacey: (Default)
This combines my favourite music ( a cappella) with one of my favourite movies (original Star Ward Ep IV). via the Swivet



jacey: (Default)
This combines my favourite music ( a cappella) with one of my favourite movies (original Star Ward Ep IV). via the Swivet



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