Trevor and I arrived early to find the room already buzzing with activity.
Clive and Jean's table is full of cards and presents, and the team is busy
assembling the buffet and putting up banners.It is also the other Clive's
birthday, and he and Linda are here too. Barbara is today's MC. The last
time she did it was at the Orsett Cock.
She welcomes everyone and gives birthday greetings to both Clives. We
start with a joke worthy of Clive himself before Ron takes the floor. He sings
a Bobby Baer Song, "If you love Somebody Enough", a country style song.
Not heard it before, Ron has such a wealth of material. He follows up with
another country number about a prison execution.. How can such subject
matter be so cheerful?
Margaret is next with her yellow yuke today. First song is "A Billy of Tea".
"This Train" is the next song. Margaret is not put off by Trevor's "train
Dennis is next. He has a song we haven't heard here yet, "The Other Side of
Morning." Lovely words, great tune, performed with true emotion. His
second song is Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" in Dennis's style,
of course! This has the Fab Choir singing loud.
Ken is next and calls Bill Pardon up they give us a comedy sketch, scripted
by Ken about patrolling the streets, looking for hoodies, barking like dogs,
and knitting. Ken follows with a song, "Fools Rush In", beautifully sung
without accompaniment. Claudine makes him an offer and immediately
Maureen and Bernie next with some tunes. The first is Walter Bulwer. "The
Big Ship" is next, invoking memories of playground games. They finish with
"Speed The Plough."
Liz, our resident poet has a new piece which she calls "February Garden". It
is well written and looks forward to the coming of Spring. Trevor requests
Len is up next, wishing both Clives a happy birthday, "You wait all day for a
Clive, then two come along at once" quips Trevor. Len's first offering is a
Beatle song, "I'll follow the Sun", which has the choir singing loudly. Len
wouldn't be Len without a Neil Young song, today's is "Heart of Gold"
complete with harmonica solo!
T D L end the first half with "Salt of The Earth." We set out to write a folk
opera but have only managed the cast list so far. An energetic song,
"Halfway Down the Stairs" follows, the words are by A A Milne and the tune
by Jagger/Richard, and it has Len almost busting a blood vessel!
Fortunately, the break is next, and the buffet is beginning to be devoured.
Barbara gets her nuts out again to call us to order. Jo Migdal gives us his
version of John Martin's "May You Never", performed ith great sensitivity.
He picks up a second twelve string for his second number, a slide piece
about Southend seagulls, entitled "The Stuffed Seagull Blues". I thought
that only Leopards did surrealism! This had words specially written for
today. The song ended to cheers and great applause. Jo was then joined by
Bill. With Jo dressed as a Dalek, and Bill a Cyberman, they sang "Happy
Birthday" to Clive, followed by loud bangs from the party poppers! Bill
stayed on the stage to sing "Jack Forbes, Rolling Down The River" with
hearty chorus singing. As it is Clive's bus pass birthday, he just had to sing
John and Margaret are up next, their first song is a love song from near
Scunthorpe , "Brigg Fair". Margaret plays a very small hammered dulcimer
in this song, complimenting John's guitar beautifully. They have been
researching Margaret's family history and found a brothel keeper amongst
them. A hilarious song is the result. "Two Shillings Inside, and One shilling
Barbara introduces "The Man In A Hat". His first song is "The Sun Shines
Over Romford", The second number is one of Clive's favourites, and
everyone's it seems. "Breathe".
Claudine is back from America and has some covers rather than her own
songs today. First she sings "Santiago", the French version of the
well-known shanty. The Fab choir sing the choruses. I think her confidence
has improved greatly for her USA experience. Her second song is Pete
Morton's "Another Train."
Mark Read hasn't been to the club for ages. It seems he had an email
requesting his presence. Good guitar riffs embellish his first song. His
second is "Sunset Vision". New to me, but it seems it is one of Claud's
Barbara announces break two for cutting the birthday cake. Anyone got a
fire extinguisher? The raffle is drawn before the singing starts. Linda is first
up, giving us "Pleasant and Delightful" in memory of Valentine's Day. Its
rousing chorus getting us off to a great start..She then sang a song that we
heard on Friday, a West Country version of "Bitter Withy". Margaret calls for
another "happy birthday" to the other half of Ploughman's Lunch before
Clive sings his first song, a Bob Copper poem, set to a tune, "The Old
Songs." His second song is a Keith Marsden one, about going on a pub
crawl, and forgetting a pub or two at each verse, the protagonists have to
restart the crawl. Must have been four pubs in each street at least.
Last act of the day is Alan Neville. His first song is by Anne Carpenter, "The
Day That The Pier burned Down"… not about Southend, but Weston-
Super-Mare. Nice guitar work, Alan! He noticed that we'd given Clive a
Beano Annual for his present which inspires him to sing his comic book
song, "The Beano, The Beezer and The Dandy.", bringing the afternoon to a
close. Clive thanks everyone and then the clearing up starts.
Let's do it all again next week shall we?