FaBclub review
23rd November2008
written by
Liz Montgomery


It's a cold wintry afternoon. The snow that coated Grays first thing has melted but the east wind is cutting and raw. Inside FaBclubbers are gathering in the snug function room at The White Hart - definitely the best place to be on a Sunday afternoon like this.

Random trivia corner - Apparently it is St Cecilia's Day about now too - patron saint of music

Bill has stepped up to the plate as MC today. After some terrible puns - "All on a Monday Morning" gets us into an interesting mood.

Norman has brought several of his interesting ukeleles today. He has been inspired by our guests, Legacy, of last week and plays "Take these chains from my heart". This gets us all singing along. This was on a baritone ukulele - looks like a mini guitar. Then onto what looks like a banjo ukulele - to catch the "Wigan Boat Express"

More on the ukulele from Margaret - "Karina, Karina", which I have not heard before. After a run at "Down by the Riverside" - Margaret decides she doesn't like that number and starts again with "There'll never be anyone else but you for me" - but - hey - it's FaBclub so that's fine.

Gosh four different types of ukulele in 20 minutes… and only one Formby song.

Strange and -as usual - very funny stories from Maureen next. "Daddy will eat your fingers" - I don't think anyone present will eat peanuts from a shared bowl again - followed by the salutary tale of "Financial Planning"

And on to some lovely concertina work from Bernard - a 17th century lament (?) and "The Willows" - lovely stuff.

Some poems from Liz - a John Hegley one called The Flannel all about subtle little sexism in the world, and one of her own "Growing Old Disgracefully"

A lovely Spanish poem - and translation - from Bill - he is in a very lyrical mood today. "Oh take me home" takes this lyrical mood forward - fascinating observations as ever with lots of little twists.

A beautiful poem about the smells, colours, light and sounds of November is the introduction to Dennis's first song which is about Autumn - the smells are time capsules full of memories - super. He also tells us about performing a couple of times with John Hegley in London. He has also been performing for Whipps Cross Hospital radio with Bill Farrow (who will be with us as a special CITP guest in February) and Al Neville.

"School Dinners" is the subject of memories for most of us - not all good - and clearly definitely not good ones for Dennis! An excellent and very funny song. I think I was very lucky - my school did amazing steamed puddings and custard - even chocolate custard sometimes - but the mashed potato was a bit stodgy…

A great re-entry from Bill - with a number about a running club and phantom joggers…. Sounds unlikely but true. We learn that Ken is also a keen runner too. So an updated song about the Castle Point Runners… "Following Jack" named for the organiser Jack Virgo.

A Lonnie Donegan number called "Chewing Gum" from Norman - gosh haven't heard that one for a long time. And then "I promised to be home by 9 O'clock" - super stuff.

Some modern folk from Margaret with "Blowing in the Wind" with the FaBclub choir - and some Elvis…"Let me be… Your Teddy Bear" - complete with FaBclub harmonies.

Maureen gives us some more saucy stories - where does she get them from? And over to Bernie for some lovely traditional concertina tunes. He has such a great repertoire (ooh missus)

Margaret and John are back with us . They got lost in the Grays one way system - but they finally made it here. A topical number to start with called "White House Blues" - which John found via a John Renbourne version. Accompanied by Margaret on the extraordinary bowed psalter she plays - sounds fabulous. A more traditional song but a funky arrangement - "Sobey the Female Highwayman"- with Margaret on vocals and more super guitarcraft from John. And to round off a song from Norfolk - "The Unlaid Maid" which gets us all laughing and singing together.

More from Liz with Sir John Betjemens Death in Leamington, then Liz's own Christmastime at Lakeside with audience participation…

Bill and Dennis double up with their very special rendition of "There is a House in Leigh on Sea (The Hoy at Anchor in Leigh)"…to the tune of House of the Rising Sun - and with some special rewrites for the FaBclub.

And Dennis plays us out for the evening with another "Autumn Song" - definitely a major source of inspiration for Dennis conjuring up so much rich imagery. A little jollity with "I'm a London Lad" - rural, rustic and urban as Dennis describes it. Phenomenal. And we force him back to sing "The Barbeque" - which tells the truth about the British barbeque experience…as the finale for the afternoon

See you on the 7th - for another fun afternoon…