Hey, BIG GREETINGS either and several; eachly, both, one and all.

As usual I’ve been up to too much to get a new blog written earlier. I’ll try to catch up a little bit even though life’s still hectic. I wanted to post the true history of the The Canalsiders Ceili Band too, but that’ll have to wait till later.

StringFing did an unusual gig, back in early January, at Gorton Monastery for Adoption Matters North West. The event was the grand finals of a poetry competition on the theme of ‘Belonging’. There were a huge number of entries. Some good uns an’ all.

The judges were: Joy Winkler, John Lindley, Jim Bennett, Copland Smith, Gill McEvoy, Carol Fenlon, Elizabeth Burns, Sarah Hymas and yours truly. We had poems from Joy, John, Jim, Copland and Carol. All excellent wordsmiths.

I was the link person for the event – introducing everybody and stuff. StringFing played a few English traditional dance tunes while the folks got seated.

The short-listed poems were read by the guest poets and the winners announced. I presented the top scribblers in each region with their prizes.

I was commissioned to write a song for the event on the theme of ‘Belonging’ Here’s the lyric:


All across the world
In every land is heard
Voices of dissent and division
Whoever it is you serve
However your heart is stirred
Whatever your race or religion:

You and me, we’re family
We belong together
You and me, let’s all agree
We belong together

You may not be free
They may call you enemy
And use their guns to defeat you
Such bigotry fails to see
We are linked inextricably
From pole to pole, through and through

You and me, we’re family
We belong together
You and me, let’s all agree
We belong together

You’re stumbling along your rugged road
With your pockets full of stones
You’re hitting the wall; you’re ready to fall
You’ve never felt more alone . . .

When you’ve been hurt by love
You may think the worst of love
You may think love pure invention
When we’ve been cursed by love
In our thirst for love
Remember our true connection:

You and me, we’re family
We belong together
You and me, let’s all agree
We belong together.

© W. Terry Fox

If you want to hear the tune I came up with too, there’s a rough version of me playing it on me Jack Jones in our back bedroom via this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZG3-KOgaIw

Now you can see why I have Adam and Emily making music with me. On the day, StringFing did the song twice and the whole audience sang along to it. I love it when people join in.

The event was master-minded by deWinter PR and Marketing of Chester. If you ever get a chance to work with them, do so. They are a dream to work with.

I’ve got a photo for you: StringFing playing Pity the Poor Poor Pig at our Xmas do at the New Inn, sent in by our buddy Chris Malkin:

Where’s Emily? you may well ask. Chris couldn’t get her in the shot cuz of the crowd at the front, so here’s Emily playing the tune on a long-previous occasion:

We usually play this instrumental piece after we have handed percussion instruments out to our long-suffering and highly rhythmic audiences. And, of course, as well as putting them to work on tambourines, bells and shakers, we get them yelling out the refrain:


‘What is that all about then?’ I’m commonly asked by the uninitiated – that is to say that I am asked often. I’m not inferring that the people who ask me the question come from a inferior class than wot I does for I doubt there is one. If so, it’s probable they have’t learnt to walk upright yet.

Which reminds me: The great Charlie Mingus (RIP), jazz bassist and composer extraordinaire wrote an autobiography with a classic, unbeatable, down-trodden class reference in its title: Beneath the Underdog. How about that?! Awesome.

Which Mingus reference reminds me: Hey Anna, thanks for posting your comment and for your good wishes. It goes both ways, mate. I really miss teaching at the MMU.

Which in turn reminds me: I heard Jo Bell’s jacked in my old job already. One term, Jo? What the hell can the students be like this year? They seemed harmless enough when I met the new intake briefly on Mow Day. You never can tell though, with students, eh? Come to think of it, hmmm, there does happen to be a fire extinguisher in every room . . .

Which reminds me – the student ‘riots’ (should it be ‘police or state riots’?) which seem so long ago now thanks to my fecklessness over blog writing: I reckon that young geezer – as senselessly reckless as his fire-extinguisher-over-the-balcony action was – is now paying the price for everybody who dared to dissent.

Be warned, next time, my protesting students and friends of equal opportunity and education for all, behave impeccably, max up your numbers and pile on the political pressure. Governments are like spoilt kids. You’ve got to handle them with care before you can get them under control, otherwise they just kick off in tantrums and manage to sidetrack the masses from the real issue being contested. Hand in hand with their close friends of the print media, of course.

An example of how to do it might be Egypt. We’ll have to see how that turns out.

Back to Pity the Poor Poor Pig: I wrote it when I was idling around on a guitar in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. I got so into the licks I had to reboil the kettle a few times before I’d got the tune nailed and could reward myself with a cup of Rosie Lee.

The resulting tune is a kind of boogie, but then again it has a kind of shuffle beat. It mostly feels like a Cajun groove to me, and when ever I think of Cajun music I think of a woodland glade with a row of musos (the word row has an interesting ambiguity in this context) sitting along the trunk of a felled tree going diddy-diddy-diddy-diddy on squeeze boxes with someone beating out ‘dinner’s ready’ on a big triangle. In the right hand corner of this mind picture, a sacrificial pig, slaughtered and gutted, shaved and impaled in the prime of its fat pigging life, is slowly rotating on a spit over an open fire.

The hog roast is a cliché of Louisiana swamp music along with dungarees, baseball caps, moody splay-toothed alligators, mango trees, and a kind of French nobody bothers to speak anymore.

Plusly, Cajun music has an infectious, hypnotic beat. Great to dance to, but, hey, what a shame a piggywig has to die every time the two-steppers put on their tartan shirts for a shindig.

My Lynda is a vegetarian. I am as well, a bit. Hey, I wonder if they have swine bars down there in Cajun country for the upwardly mobile?

StringFing has done its first New Inn gig of the year. Lots of our lovely StringFing mates were there so it was a good audience in spite of a number of people kept away by the freezing fog. We were fortunate to have as a guest muso the one-and-only Chris Bingham on mouth harp. Most people know Chris as an outstanding jazz funk bass player he is. Not so many know that he is a fine blues harp player too.

Sharing a couple of numbers with us also was our inimitable blues bro Pete Latham. If there’s anyone who spends more time thinking about music than Pete, it’s someone who never goes to sleep. Pete is a wonderful musician. He has eclectic tastes and a vast knowledge of blues and folk history.

Me and Pete go back a long way, but we lost contact for a few years (I think of this period of time as Pete’s wilderness years lol). We’ve been sessioning a few Alf-Alfa tunes together recently – him on mandolin, me scraping the fiddle.

Check out Pete via this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_nHYoFIdiE

Good ain’t he?

Right, I’ve got other stuff to get up to now.


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