FOLK SESSION – Howard Arms - Brampton

The atmosphere at the folk session on 17th October was wonderfully cheerful and warm (in both senses - the heating was working this month).  The theme was ‘tools and utensils’, and it was a pleasure to welcome Paul, visiting from Hamburg, and Stew, who was persuaded to pause in his glass-collecting and give us a song or two.

The theme was ‘tools and utensils’, ranging in size from Windmills (a morris tune played by Adrian on melodeon) and Big Red Combine Harvester (Sally) down to spark plugs and tin tacks in Christine’s Shed in the Garden.  Mining tools such as picks and shovels were well represented, implicitly or explicitly, in The Big Hewer (Stew); Jowl, jowl and listen lad/Rap it t’bank (Phil); Biker Hill (Angus).  So were domestic implements: brooms in Anne’s Lish Young Buy-a-Broom; keys in the poem Locking the Church Door (Ruth); cans, pans, saucepans, pots, kettles and even a cauldron in, respectively, Man is for the Woman made (Ruth); Sospan Fach (Katy) and Cutty Wren (Eliza); while Christine’s heroine was Dashing away with the smoothing Iron.  

Agriculture and the sea did pretty well too. I will go with my Father a-ploughing (Eliza) features the ‘cleaving [plough-]share’ and scythe.  Old Fid (Dave) had a rousing chorus involving marlinspikes and fids; If Wishes were Fishes (Angus) mentioned fishing nets; Hamburger Veer Master (Paul) is about four-masted ships.

Other ingenious references to tools and implements included the cromach (walking stick) in The Road to the Isles (Alan Jefferson); the watering can in The Man that Waters the Workers’ Beer (Adrian).  Phil’s parody The Road to Penrith, laden with double meanings, included a fan belt, a gearstick, a handbrake, a spanner…and as for Maids when you’re young (never wed an Old Man) as sung by Anne…yes, well, let’s not go there.  For sheer cheeky, tortuous cleverness, though, Alan Clark carried the day, with long and learned introductions full of technical jargon about the construction of chisels which ended by devious means and some puns in A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square or Wide-eyed and legless.

The Brampton folk session next meets on 21st November at 8.30pm in The Howard Arms.  The theme will be ‘Fire’.

And for those who like to be well-prepared, the December theme will be ‘earth’.


October Review