After the weekend’s politically charged, slightly manic rant, time to relax with one of life’s simple pleasures…
It’s always good to get a visit from an old friend, specially if there’s an element of surprise involved. So I was particularly spoiled over the weekend, as not only did Elaine and I spend a relaxed couple of hours in The Champ in Appledore – a real old Eglish pub, all low ceilings and wooden beams – watching the wonderful Gypfunk (local French café-music band) who were playing for the first time since their triumphant return from performing at Glastonbury, but we also ran into a couple of old friends we made soon after moving to Devon, that we’d lost contact with several years ago.
Gypfunk at a previous Champ gig.
This made for an extremely pleasant Sunday afternoon, catching up with news and chatting to the locals, but there was one person who didn’t make it.
He was windsurfing with a hangover.
A few years ago I got a call from Sussex ex-housemate and talented musician Duncan, (who, as I mentioned in a previous post, has since starred in Jesus Christ Superstar) saying he was coming down to the West Country on a surfing holiday with some mates.
Of course, being Duncan, his mates turned out to be another couple of exceptional musicians, and they were going to subsidise their trip by playing some gigs.
In a commendable exercise in forward planning, the intrepid Freaking Musos had rung some pubs in the area and proposed a music for food/accommodation deal whereby they would put on a show in exchange for being put up for the night and/or fed, in lieu of payment.
The gigs were very well received, especially in Woolacombe, where a holidaying member of the audience requested to get up and sing with them.
If I remember rightly, she did a belting cover of Summertime.
The Musos’ guest vocalist takes centre stage.
Two of Duncan’s fellow musicians on these trips were singer/songwriter/guitarist Jono Harrison and drummer Joe Caple, also known by his musical alias Caveman Genius, and I highly recommend that you to check out their material.
Anyway, I digress. (no surprise there then) Back to the present, and it turns out that Duncan, his family and some friends were coming down for a holiday in Instow over this last week, just down the road from here, and he was looking to play in a local pub.
As luck would have it, The Reform Inn was holding an open mic night on Monday and we met up there for a couple of bank holiday drinks and to watch Duncan play a few tunes.
He had told the organisers – somewhat disingenuously I thought – that he was “usually just a bassist”, so after two funky original numbers, an obscure Price song and a side order of Ziggy Stardust to finish, it’s safe to say that he wowed the crowd.
As an example of his work, may I present his composition “Come to pass” (combined here with my abortive attempt to make a music video) for those of you that missed it in my original post.
Its good to see that Duncan managed to pass on his talented genes, his daughter having inherited his musical abilities, as you can see in this clip.
….and if all goes to plan, in a satisfying fin de siecle the two of them should be playing a father and daughter set at another open mic night, at The Champ tomorrow
If I can drag my work-weary body over to Appledore, (we can’t all be on holiday) I shall report on the evening’s entertainment, and possibly try and video some songs for your viewing pleasure.
Until then, as Gypfunk would say, Au revoir…
We did indeed return on Thursday, and although we had the wrong night for Open Mic, there was the regular Blues Jam, in which Duncan played bass, guitar, drum box (I forget the correct name, sorry) and sung a couple of numbers, including Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times”.
Given that the host, Baz, described his performance as “The closest we’ve had to Robert Plant”, I think he can consider his debut at The Champ a success.
Duncan (right) gives it some “golden god”.