Friday May 10th 2019

Dies Veneris, ante diem V Kalendae Maius, MMDCCLXXII anno urbis conditae.

Those of you who’ve been paying attention to Mr West’s recent expatiations will, of course, recognise today’s date in the Roman calendar. Imagine something like that across the top of every page in your diary!

Emcee was on his own tonight and it showed. There was much discussion of his follow-through problem. This has nothing whatsoever in common with Jeff’s follow-through problem. Emcee’s is to do with bowling.

Jeff Blythin got to go first and included a virtual harmonica solo that truly defies description. You had to be there. Buffalo Girls made a welcome return after far too long an absence.

Mr West managed a faultless rendition of Lemony, redeeming himself after last week’s two-try-train-wreck. He went on to explain the morris moves particular to Laudanum Bunches ( before playing it). Here’s a picture of him performing the don’t-try-this-at-home overhead move.
He finished his stint with an exhortation to drink old England dry: a suggestion wholeheartedly endorsed by a very vocal audience.

Phil Williams graced our stage again tonight, giving us Wagonwheel (they were definitely bigger when I was in Ysgol Mair) and Brown-eyed Girl.

Geoff Skellon (missing, presumed having a good time), has found his way back from Iberia and found his way into print with his own book of poems, a copy of which would shortly be the star prize in tonight’s raffle. He offered us Idris Davis’ Maggie Fach then his own poem, August Bank Holiday, written as a response to MF. Both excellent.

Mel Barratt has just found out that our Roly is a railway enthusiast (as is Geoff Skellon). This datum inspired Mel to do two songs about trains: Original Honky Tonk Train is another of those feats of memory that Mel is famous for. Taken The Last Train & Gone was more sedate and far less whimsical.

Mike Hawkins took us to Australia with The Streets Of Forbes then back home with My Love Is In America. T Gwyn followed him to the Antipodes and back with Banjo Paterson’s Clancy Of The Overflow and Betjeman’s Youth & Age On Beaulieu River, Hants.

After the beer break, our third poetry offering of the night came from Dafydd with John Ceiriog Hughes and John Betjeman.

And so we go round once more.

Jeff sang verses 3 to 9 of Mrs McGrath but can be forgiven for that and all his other sins for his excellent performance of Borderline.

Adrian sang about two very different kinds of girl: Lovely Joan and The Maids Of Australia.

Phil Williams had remembered what he was going to sing in the first half: Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks. Everyone seemed to know every word but, alas and alack-a-day, not the timing. We all did better with the chorus of Rare Old Times.

Geoff Skellon dipped randomly into his new book and pulled out a poem for his son, way back when he was 14. Geoff’s always been fond of a bit of drama in his recitations and tonight he went to town on the acting while telling us all about being reincarnated as an amorous spider (it made more sense at the time).

The system had failed us. We had too much time left. Any failure that results in four from Mel is OK in my book. Jake Thackray’s Isobel was smutty fun but then Mel really got serious on us with Supermarket Wine, Somewhere In My Broken Heart & One Friend, which is far and away the most popular song on our sound cloud.

Mike got the closing spot and, after Early Morning Rain and Loving Anna, he was joined by Jeff and Adrian for a trio of shanties: Lowlands, Blood Red Roses & South Australia. Belting stuff.

Don’t forget our Urdd fundraiser next week. We’ll be raffling a very classy pewter tankard and a bottle of Penderyn Welsh Whiskey.

Goodnight & joy be with you all.

Andrew the younger


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