Saturday, 10 December 2016


Tumbleweed. Radio silence. Dead air. Stock still. It’s the quiet after the storm if you like.
A Farewell to Arms was quickly discarded as we set off on an ambitious cross-country tour, covering a thousand miles to the farthest flung corners of Britain.
And then… nothing. No news. No plans. No updates. No nothing. Tumbleweed. It’s like the band has dis’band’ed. Like we’ve retired. The last piece of official information was some loose mutterings about a ‘Merry Folking Christmas’ return, followed by of a birthday card to our bass player some time in mid October. For 6 weeks now there has been no news.

Now, you've all probably been worrying your socks off, I know! Have they split up after all? Has the piano player been arrested? Has the bass player relocated to Silicon Valley. Has the drummer got stuck in one of his windmills? Is Merry Folking Christmas happening? It says so on the website! Well, I suppose we can clear that one up for you. No, it’s not, sadly, and we’ve lost the password for the website and can’t update it. Our tech guy is either on holiday or impossible to get hold off, and none of us have the required nuance to hack it, or the funds to pay someone else to.

So, what has been happening?

I have been busy, which is largely why all modes of communication are down. Following the news that my partner, Mae Voogd, is expecting our child, we have been, rightly, focusing on that. I now find myself doing a play up in the West End, treading the boards and trying to earn money. But London is hard and fast, the burring bite of winter is a painful one, especially when you don’t own a decent coat and have a hole in your shoe. 

performing in Gatsby

The guitar player, who’s little girl, Lowenna Brookes, must be almost 6 months now, has been gardening in Bristol. He has long since tired of using the band as his workforce and has a full time employee on the books. Or had. I believe he has sacked him now. Life is busy as he juggles running a business with fatherhood and smashing down walls in his house on his days off. In regards the band, he took ‘gardening leave’ in the summer, returning briefly for A Farewell to Arms but sidestepped the On The Road tour that followed.
'smashing down walls'

The piano player, who fled Bristol for Cornwall in the summer, became a painter and decorated, even though he is the clumsiest person you’ll ever meet. God knows how he managed to keep his job after more disasters than an Odd Folk tour! One that springs to mind is the time he dropped a 6 litre tub of white paint from the top of his ladder and it splashed out all over the cobbled street. Needless to say, he was removed from painting duties and became a paint stripper until he stripped the wrong room and Mrs Bansall discovered her favourite wallpaper had disappeared! He is now a sander and so far there are no mishaps to report. 
the piano player shortly before his spillage
The bass player
, who fled London for Cornwall in the spring and suddenly became, for the first time in years, available! Jobless, throughout the summer we enjoyed wild swimming, festivals and cross channel adventures. Eventually all his money ran out and he took a freelance audio editing job that will tie him over till March. He also won an Emmy Award for audio. I believe he was nominated for an academy award, or 'oscar', but didn't win as it would seem like nepotism ;-)

and the oscar goes to... oscar!
The drummer, who left the band in the summer, only to rejoin again in autumn, finally left his cabin in the forest of dean and moved down to Bristol, just in time for myself, the piano player and the bass player to relocate to Cornwall. After almost a year of odd jobs he finally returned to windmills, and, despite severing his right hand on one of the sails, it's been a welcome return to what he knows and loves.   
the drummer shortly before his accident

Louis Gulliver King, though not a core member, but after amassing 17 gigs with us over the last year, has definitely become an honorary one. Shortly after completing the On The Road tour, he took a job in children’s theatre and is currently travelling around the country performing in We’re all going on a Bear Hunt. 
we're all going on a bear hunt

Well, there you have it. All updated. We all seem rather busy really. I guess the tumbleweed will continue. With no big centrepiece this Christmas, it seems the year will dribble away from us with no more than a whimper. Like our year has been a steady fire, but now left untouched, unfuelled, it’s embers are dying out. 
Next year is, at present, unknown. I am having a baby in April and have various theatre jobs lined up. The guitar player is increasingly absent, the piano player planning to go and live on a hippy bus in America and the bass player under contract until April. At least the drummer is available for some solo shows! It's comical timing that a respectable music agent and manager is very interested in the band at a time when the future is as grey as smoke and our availability is as poor as dirt. It is perhaps fitting that as we run out of petrol someone else is there waiting to chauffeur us along. But alas, whereas batteries can be re-charged, fire's re-stoked, if old father time doesn't offer his hand, it'll be difficult to set a course forward. Don't worry, talks will resume in the new year. Time will be found. Gigs gathered. A return to Europe is on the cards.

But for now, you better get used to the tumbleweed.