In the absence of my gorgeous Jane, I ramble to no-one, a typewriter.
I am quite weary, joyously so. Folk festivals are so wonderful. Each is different. The St Albans Folk Festival is in an utterly mysteriously isolated valley a million miles from Sydney, yet only a helicopter's blade away (as we found out on the Saturday night when alcohol and a misplaced esky took out one punter). Generally they are a civilised and grown up affair - life as should be lived.
The hastily named 'Flying Penguins' got an unpaid gig, two gigs, for our first ones EVER. We got the last of the Friday night band slots in the large tent (the Marquee) and we slayed it. Our brand of old-timey blurgrassey music captured people's entertainment radars and I felt a return to the days when I enjoyed life behind the microphone of voicepopfoible. However I am now ever slightly more grown up, I go by my own name, and I hope I will not be as rude or offensive as I was back then. I was back in the saddle as it were. It was Mick & Nikki's first exposure to my performance style, and by the end of the weekend they had got the swing of it, particularly Mick (mandolin & guitar) who nicely matched my onstage relationship with the audience. Jane also was gorgeous, cheeky and singing wonderfully (and belting the banjo bravely and with verve). Nikki (double bass and singer) will warm to it with her own style and it was all a lovely thing to experience. People felt welcomed, and humoured, and jigged along by our performance and our music. It was so great to see people singing my Beach Pockets song plus the covers that we did (like Prince's 'Kiss').
A pearler moment was when I asked the audience what their highlight was. And couple in their 60s (at a guess) yelled out 'getting married at the festival!!'. We then started the 'get up get up get up' audience participation to commence 'Sexual Healing' (by Marvin Gaye). It was wonderful. Jane sang the song at the couple and it all felt very 'gathered' (to use a Quaker term).
But back to Friday night. We did SO well that the festival director offered us two more gigs in the Marquee (and PAID us) to replace the Irish legend Andy Irvine who was stuck in the UK by the volcano. God bless those Icelanders! So instead of two gigs, we had four. We are now a seasoned band and ready for more. We very nearly have 3 sets of material, and will now start to incorporate more originals. But the covers are really fabulous to help consolidate a unique fun sound.
Thanks to the Ukastle Ukestrans and LakeMacUkestrans who came to the festival and actively supported us. It was a joy to have them there, as it so much contributed to broadening the community experience.
This morning I started to fret in my sleep at about 4am, thinking 'I should get up and try to write a song for the Chorus Cup which is an annual competition "held on the final morning of the Festival. Teams must have a minimum of 3 people who write a song, about the Festival, and include a Chorus! They then present to a panel of Judges, and are allowed (expected) to provide bribes!". I awoke at 7:15, grabbed the puter, wrote some lyrics describing our good fortune, the inevitable toilet mishaps etc, and had people organised into a singing rabble by 8:30 where we rehearsed some pitiful chords, harmonies and melodies.
We were up against some stiff children's competition, and with a little bit of rudeness we really thought we would get negative marks. And we didn't bribe the judges (except with toilet paper). Turns out we won. What a surprise!!!
And the winning lyrics?
We were young we didn't know much in two thousand and ten
But we felt we had to try it out, to launch a band again
So we threw our hat, way in too early in a land of great tradition
And launched ourselves upon the folk of a festival in St Albans
But we didn't stand a chance of doing much until the ice cap blew its lid
That iceskofellgofuku or whatever goddam it is
For dear old Andy got stuck there and it opened up the way
When Andy Irvine failed to make St Albans in oh ten Anzac Day
So iceskofellgofuku we see the great connection
Between St Albans halls, old dogs balls, and volcanic intervention
For we made good, despite lack of wood and toilets overflowing
We just clenched our cheeks, ate weetbix, and valiantly kept going
The Flying Penguins, we had our break, when that old volcano blew
For Andy didn't make the trip, that plane t'weren't able to flew (fly!)
And Friday night was wonderful, and Lainey gave us more
We kissed that wonderful lady in red, you could have said we scored.
But there were times that we wondered if that Irvine man was coming
When a helicopter from the sky came midst the Wheezers strumming
But we were relieved that Irvine didn't arrive in that contraption
But we were soon to find subdued relief in overdue constipation
Oh yes the shit man he was tardy
The shit man he was tardy
We clenched our cheeks, held our nose and were very gently farty
The shit man he was tardy
The shit cart he was tardy
But the toilets overflowed in their little blue
On my shoes and on my cardy
ahhhh yes.... what a supremo lyricist I am ! (not).
what a lovely weekend. now I must sleep.