(It occurred to me that, unless you have been to one of the gigs on the tour, you will have no clue as to the significance of the tour title: it refers to one of the (self-penned) 'folk' songs we're performing on the trip. For the lyrics see Pity The Poor Songwriter below. It's my plea on behalf the sometimes-derided contemporary songwriter who writes 'in the tradition' as I sometimes do.)
Dunfermline Folk Club
Wednesday 12th: Off to Dunfermline for a 'paid by collection' gig at a folk club which, interestingly, combines paid gigs (presumably for those artists they know and are confident of pulling an audience for) and those who are new to them. No probs with that - it's hard for the clubs to make ends meet and this is a way of offering new artists a gig without too much risk. It's a bit disheartening, though, to be greeted with the news that several of the regular attendees are on holiday and the group of TEFL teachers who come fortnightly came last week.
As predicted, the numbers were modest and, oddly and a little disconcertingly, one chap who'd had a little more to drink than he could manage sat at the rear of the room chatting and doing some kind of paperwork for the duration of the gig. Nowt so queer, eh...
Gifford (who sang some wry self-penned songs) and Jeanie, the organisers, were genial hosts - Gifford acknowledged the shortage of audience members but insisted that this shouldn't impair the quality of the evening - quite right, too. Andee wasn't well this evening, though, and I wasn't 100% either. She was a trouper, the show must, indeed go on, and we both dug in and gave a performance.
They're a good bunch of singers at Dunfermline. Despite the sparse crowd, the joining in was admirable. The club's regulars included an accomplished Jew's Harp player who accepted my invitation to join us on our last song, A Body Needs A Body To Hold. That was jolly.
Re the collection: under the circumstances, the pint glass full of money I was handed at the end was most generous. It was equivalent to the fees we have been paid ay other clubs - and more than at some. That's why I'll play for a collection - people are generous. And we sold a modest amount of CDs. Thanks folks.
Falkirk Folk Club
Thurday 13th: having played at Falkirk previously (in 2010), we knew more about what to expect. Stuart is a lively compere and organiser and the room reflected his persona.
The new venue is a smallish room above a pub (The Tolbooth Tavern) which was well-filled by the time the evening began. Great floor-singers opened and we had a good evening. There's a critical mass of audience that gives an evening energy and tonight it was achieved. We were both feeling better than the previous night - seemingly getting over our viruses - and didn't have to dig in to perform. I wonder to what extent the performance reflected it.
We had a good time at Falkirk - as we had the last time we played there - and drove home feeling buoyed. Good room, good host, good vibe...