Review – Folk in the Cellar, Camden.

Our little trip to England’s capital was a busy five days of seeing people and places and trying to avoid getting run over on Euston Road. We had, in advance, googled “folk clubs central London” and plumped for The Constitution in Camden on the basis that it’s folk night was on our free Monday and it wasn’t far from our billet. A nice looking pub on a bridge over the Grand Union canal and towpath.

DSC_1503 for em ail

Map in hand, we fetched up at 8pm and were soon into the Deuchar’s I.P.A.- a splendid pint of proper beer. I will refrain from any discussion about the price of beer in London as the memory of it pains me. We were directed to the cellar, and it really was a cellar- a room like the Bee, only smaller, reached by  precipitous stairs, one of which was a bit dodgy. Forewarned, we entered a subterranean, dimly lit room with six surprised people. They were charming and having established that we were not lost or AWOL from a secure facility, they welcomed us fulsomely. We were quick to disabuse them of any belief that we were a “turn”. So a keen audience of two joined the throng of performers. They too have guest nights and quiet nights. This Monday was the latter type of night.

We had interrupted an earnest discussion about nails and the problems that guitarists have with (or without) them. I was assured that the website does , indeed exist. I have checked, just in case they were taking the Michael, and it does indeed give valuable cosmetic advice and much more. It is also a fact that John Renbourn used cut down Ping-Pong balls as a substitute for nails.

There were 4 guitars and a lady with a type of zither and the evening consisted of a turn and turn about between them. One guy did only self-penned stuff which, for me , were a triumph of technique over tune. We had quite a few Dylan covers and some lesser known tunes from people I’d never heard of. It was refreshing to hear a new mixture of songs. One of the gents had set the Poet Laureate’s verse about the “badgers moved the goalposts” to a nice diddly-diddly-dum-dum refrain.

My insistence that I was a musical ignoramus did not prevent them from involving me in a discussion about DADGAD. It was all a bit much for me, but, their version is that it was started in Morocco as an effort to copy or play N.African music. We won the raffle- a CD by Amy Speace (no- me neither).

A splendid, convivial evening with a small band of musicians who were genuinely happy to see us and even happier to entertain us- recommended.

Folk in the Cellar, The Constitution, 42 St Pancras Way, Camden, London, NW1 0QT.


2 Responses to “Review – Folk in the Cellar, Camden.”

  1. You cosmopolitan pair…! Welcome back 🙂

  2. Lord Blythin of Gallt Melyd Says:

    Dear Deputy Folk. DADGAD is reported to have been brought over by Davey Graham in the 1950’s – along with some new smoking material so I am led to believe.

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