Still gaining momentum,the Off With Her Head Tour continued apace last night as Nunc rolled South and into the heartlands of The Shire and Hobbiton. Both John and I live in adjacent Tory-held strongholds,so it was nice to mingle with the clog-wearing,pipe smoking, basket weaving artisans from The Republic of South Warwickshire. As yet no Visas or Checkpoints are required to travel the A423 beyond Long Itchington in such a brazen manner. (At a guess it's only a matter of time).
A triumphant return for us to The Nelson Club, to present an hour of NuncFoolery. Courtesy of an invite from Colin,and The Gang, who constitute the resident band Away with The Fairies. As is our tradition,we arrived there pitifully early,and found an almost empty room. Happily it filled up rapidly, and to our great surprise and pleasure, virtually everyone stayed, right through to the last Encore and House lights up.
Quite a trip for the Tour bus driver, one Mr. Kearney, from Nuneaton to Wolvey and thence Coventry and finally Long Itchington. Along a route which was a nostalgic trip through the past. holding many memories for me. Passing under the long disused railway viaduct crossing the A423. Threading through Marton which long ago had a scrapyard with tantalising glimpses of old buses awaiting the Cutter's torch. Over the hump back canal bridge alongside The Blue Lias. With its De Havilland Vampire in the car park. In the days when I used to go fishing there with my dad.
Things got off to a good start when,upon entering the large Lounge downstairs I espied a couple of young men wearing even more outlandish shirts than John and I. (Takes some doing,that.) I also noticed from the t.v. in there that England's U-21 footballers had just been denied the semi-finals of a European Final by flunking a penalty shoot-out with the Germans. Talk about Groundhog Day. Plus ca change.
Upstairs, in a grand room, with fine acoustics, we were given a warm welcome before settling down to enjoy the preliminaries. Alas, no Rik Middleton with his enigmatic songs and interesting stories. But The Fairies themselves were on fine form,battling through the rigours of Hay Fever to deliver a whole clutch of songs which got feet tapping and voices raised. I enjoyed particularly their versions of "Ride On" and "Step It Out Mary"-two of my own favourites.
Bob Brooker would empathise with the fact that Peter McDonald took a lot of stick over wearing shorts.But as the night darkened and the rain thundered down outside,he remained impressively defiant. Versatile too, as he played a guitar, a Ukulele and an accordion, (although not simultaneously). He regaled us with some clever arrangements and a Sid Kipper song about the uses of fag packets.
Peter Wimpenny played a see-through banjo rather well (as he often does-I've seen him at Warwick Folk Club before). Then we had an excellent mini-set from the unlikely-named duo Unlikely. Who were actually rather good, with some finely pitched vocals and some very accomplished guitar playing.
By now there was some kind of Death/Thrash/Funk Metal disco going on in the room directly below. I could feel the vibrations through my feet as I took to the stage with Flossy and JK. There was a bit of background noise initially from that, but it was drowned out immediately by the strident chorus singing and we never heard from Red Hot Chili Peppers again.
Our planned set worked perfectly,and we finished right on time, including a glorious encore of "Don't Worry/Wild Rover." I spent a long time introducing one song with a long rambling anecdote only to realise that we were actually doing something entirely different,and accidentally ran our two Richard Thompson songs back to back. I had a minor voice malfunction during "When I Get To The Border," but no Halls Mentholyptus mints were damaged and my windpipe remained mercifully unblocked.
A cracking club , with hospitable hosts and a friendly audience. Look forward to being invited back.