Sorry it’s a bit late putting this up but it’s taken a few days to recover from our night in Stithians. Free beer, whose idea was that?
Anyway we set off from Port Isaac, picking up Jason at Winnards Perch. Good job too, he was the only one who new how to get there. He used to know a girl down there apparently.
Having made good time, with Lefty driving, we arrived at the venue only to find that the road had been barricaded off with men in high viz jackets standing guard. We assumed that the more sensible element had taken a vote decided that we weren’t wanted. Lefty drove up to the barrier and muttered “ I think we’re the main attraction” to one of the guards, who by a rare fluke turned out to understand Trequite gibberish and even more astonishingly opened the barrier to let us through.
Our first job was to sign one our books for a young lad who claimed to have read it. He didn’t seem too traumatised. Then there were some girls who wanted their T shirts signed, luckily we’ve had special training.
Next was a discussion about where we were going to sing. Technical words like “reverb” were unashamedly bandied about by our sound man Sam. The debate quickly finished when the Landlady of the Seven Stars Inn pointed out that she had built a stage and that was where she would like us to perform. We’re not if she used any technical vocabulary to back up her argument but reverb was not mentioned again.
We must just mention that the event took place because of a competition run by the St Austell Brewery. The idea being that their pubs should upload video of their locals singing one of the songs from our repertoire. Crazy idea, considering that the prize was for us to sing at the pub with the winning entry but there were a lot of entrants and the standard was worryingly high.
Loads of pictures were taken by a photographer sent by the brewery, one of which has been posted on our facebook page. The pub provided a delicious stew and a free beer pass each for the night. Then it was onto the stage to start singing.
The set went well and, the audience was fantastic and the time flew by. Jason sang his new song (Lancaster Quay) for only the second time in front of an audience. Well done Jase!
We were rattling down the line towards the finish. It was all going so well. Suddenly frantic signal started to come from the end. Jon was in trouble, he had to rush off and “answer a very urgent call”. He came back waving his mobile so that must have been the reason. Jeremy covered well and we sang We do run run, rather aptly, followed by our finishing number,South Australia.
After having reminded Peter that one of his songs was a long one and asking if he had “been” so many times, this seemed almost like some sort of higher justice. At least there was no steam. Perhaps we won’t be hearing that one again, but then again.
The very talented singers from Stithians came and joined us on stage and we ended by singing some good old Cornish favourites with most of the audience joining in - a great finish!
Then it was back into the pub to hammer those beer passes and have a yarn with anyone who’d talk to us.
It’s uncertain what time we left but while we were dropping Jason off in Padstow we took a little detour to admire the maypole in the square before heading home with Sam at the wheel. It’s a good thing for us that he doesn’t drink.
A big thank you to the Seven Stars for such a great evening. We know where you are now!
'Sailing At Eight Bells' the autobiography by Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends is now available to buy direct from the main website here. As is the earlier CD ‘Home from the Sea’.
Happy Easter fish-heads, if that’s not too much of a contradiction of terms. Sorry not to have troubled you about the price of fish for a week or two, but I took boy George [not Boy George] and boy Jakes skiing for the former’s 21st. When I say skiing, that’s what they did. I came down the mountain more like a cross between a three toed arctic tree sloth and a glacier, and all the more dangerous for it. Still, no broken bones, and back in Port Isaac ready for Easter.
We’ve probably all but forgotten it’s true meaning, or so we’re told. Just like dear old Christmas when, lest we forget, we celebrate the day when the baby Jesus came down somebody’s chimney, at Easter we simply stuff ourselves with chocolate and tell jokes like the ones that end with the punchline ‘I can see your house from here’, or ‘What a bloody way to spend Easter’. Don’t ask, but they raise an annual titter for those of us with nothing newer to tell.
They were, of course, far more religious a thousand or so years ago, and naughty jokes like those would have had you horribly tortured with spiky bits of metal and molten lead and the like, and your entire village burnt to the ground and your family massacred. And just to make it worst, this would be done in front of others for public entertainment. Well, I don’t know about you fish-heads, but think of the humiliation, eh? That would probably have done for me, way before the debilitating effects of being hung, drawn and quartered took full effect, ‘The molten lead up the jacksie was pretty bad, but the embarrassment….can you imagine how I felt?’
With all these lurid images of medieval justice flitting in and out of my mind that we descended a couple of weeks ago on Hastings. It has apparently not rained in Hastings since William the Bastard [a much better epithet than ‘the Conqueror’ don’t you think?] stuffed it up poor old Harold the second, who was tired out anyway after a fortnight’s walking up in the northern hills.
Now, you may be asking yourselves that as William was from Normandy in what is now France, why history does not remember him as William the French Bastard? Well, of course apart from the fact that it might upset that oversensitive malignant dwarf Sarcozy, William and the Normans were of Norse origin.
Somehow, it’s all rather soothing to reflect that the French have never conquered us. Isn’t it re-assuring that our ancestors were butchered by psychopaths of Viking origin, not French ones? It helps me sleep at night, I can tell you
Anyway, Hastings is drier than the Atacama desert, and al fresco local events are de rigeur, my dears.
So how come it p****d down on the night, eh?
We had a cracking night there though, and a lovely crowd of music lovers came along and joined in the fun. We’d brought a nice bucket of the finest Cornish water [not the Camelford stuff, obviously] to auction off, just to try and make a bit extra from the trip, but it got watered down with the rain and we had to give up on the idea. Another time maybe.
So, happy Easter to all you fish-heads. Stuff your faces with choccy, have a nice roast lamb dinner with your folks, and try not to run over too many bunnies in your four by twos or whatever they’re called.
The Warbling Walrus of lurve.
I’m sorry to say that we appear to have been swamped by our own success. With a heavy heart, we’ve had to reluctantly take the decision to cut the number of free gigs we do down on the Platt this year, simply because the lack of beach means there’s not enough room when the tides are high to accommodate two or more thousand people.
Short of auditioning King Canute for the group, to hold back the Atlantic while we sing, we’re a bit between a rock and a hard place…
It manifests itself in two ways –
When the tide is right up at around six, we can’t set ourselves up because so many people are already on the Platt and it’s impossible to position our equipment. We can’t set up any earlier because we’re all working in our ‘proper’ jobs! By the time we’re due to start singing at eight bells, we can hardly get through the crowds to our ‘stage’, and the crush is ridiculous.
When the tide is still coming in and reaches it’s highest point during a performance, say at eight thirty or nine o’clock, the audience who have been watching from the beach behind us have to squeeze sardine like up onto the Platt and slipway. It’s become quite impossible, and save a generous benefactor building us a coliseum with similar harbour views and ambience, we have had to become the world’s first tidal buoy band!
I can’t remember the last summer when we didn’t spend each and every Friday evening in Port Isaac singing down by the harbour. It must be fifteen or more years, and has become part of the Fisherman’s Friends DNA. We know that it’s an important part of many visitor’s holidays, and a weekly social for lots of locals. In many ways the music has become almost incidental to the gathering as a whole.
Those of you who have been to one of our open air gigs will be familiar with our dilemma and I know you’ll understand our decision, which has been taken with great reluctance and sadness.
By announcing the dates of this year’s free Platt gigs as early as this, we hope to minimise any inconvenience to you all and hopefully save you any wasted journeys.
So here are the dates when, weather permitting, we’ll be up to giving you all a good, hard shantying!
Hope to see you all there!
01/06/12 – Port Isaac Platt
15/06/12 – Port Isaac Platt
29/06/12 – Port Isaac Platt
13/07/12 – Port Isaac Platt
27/07/12 – Port Isaac Platt
10/08/12 – Port Isaac Platt
17/08/12 – Port Isaac Platt
31/08/12 – Port Isaac Platt
07/09/12 – Port Isaac Platt