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This is the, "what's been happening at FAF" column.

Here you'll find regular updates on FAF activity, trivia and gossip......


Our second festive virtual FAF was hosted by Louise & Pete and there was plenty of seasonal fun. Stuart (as Rudolf The Red Nosed Wino) got things going with Tom Lehrer’s A Christmas Carol and I Am Christmas Let Me In by John Connelly. Richard was in suitable party mood with his usual set of props for Don’t Dilly Dally On The Way/I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles and Lord Of The Dance and Gordon sang some suitable verses including Unto Us A Child Is Born and one to the tune of Finlandia. Martin did Drive The Cold Winter Away and The Miner’s Dream Of Home and Louise & Pete (Halflife) sang the rather lovely Tom Rosenthal song Christmas Quiet and the old favourite Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Lola joined us fron Bolton and sang Power In The Union and Gavin had songs of his own Christmas Truce relating the WWI event to what he would like to see for Brexit, and Down With Sprouts his controversial take on the subject (Tony conducted a poll and found 80% were in favour!). Tony (Tinsel Tone) sang his song summing up the year 2020 Vision and was joined by Grace (Glitter Ball Grace) as she read her poem The Shortest Day and they sang Maria Cunningham’s Solstice Song. Sandi & Sean became a duo (Santa’s Little Hinderers) and they did the Yorkshire pub version of the carol While Shepherds Watched and Sandi played The Boar’s Head Carol while Sean bashed all manner of percussion. Bev and Jim sang Bev’s God Rest Ye Merry Girlfriends about women doing all the work at Christmas and took us back to our childhoods with Little Donkey. Sonia & Andy (adorned with tinsel) sang Malpass Wassail and Thea Gilmore’s rather wonderful That’ll Be Christmas and Steve did Clay Pigeons (Blaze Foley) and Closing Time (Tom Waits). Alison and Sarah joined forces for In The Bleak Midwinter, Alison sang Cherry Tree Carol and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Sarah singing Joni Mitchell’s River.


FAF was getting in the Christmas spirit with Tony & Grace MC-ing and there were a few festive decorations and items of silly clothing in evidence. Stuart began with Mike Scott’s ode to the family Christmas Auntie Julia and followed with a brilliant medley of his own versions of various songs, including The Hokey Covid, Lorries Parked Over The White Cliffs Of Dover, Boris Is  A Clown (to Knees Up Mother Brown), We’ll Meet Again (referring to FAF) and Roll Out The Vaccine! Andy was joining us from a studio in London and did an old time banjo version of White Christmas and his song about overworked delivery drivers The Singing Postman. Louise & Pete were saving their festive songs and did John Tam’s Harry Stone (Hearts Of Coal) and the seasonal Winter Song, Sean sang The Poor Boy In America and The Cuckoo and Sandi played a morris tune, The Lodge inspiring Louise & Pete to have a dance. Sonia & Andy did The First Tree In The Greenwood and Reason To Believe and Tony & Grace also had a John Tams song Snow Falls and Tony sang Show Of Hands’ Don’t Be A Stranger. Keith sang his own song about getting old Fading Away and marked Blues Monday with Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down. Geoff (otherwise known as Half Man Half Turkey due to his turkey hat) sang I Believe In Father Christmas and surprised us all by producing a concertina (his lockdown project) for three tunes, for which he designated dances - a waltz (for Louise & pete), a jig (for Tony & Grace) and a morris tune (for Sean, who rose to the occasion by wearing his Rag Morris outfit). Sarah was dreaming of warmer weather with Carl Wilson’s I Think I’m Going South and remembered her Mum with Mama’s Hands (after Grandma’s Hands). Martin sang Solomon Brown (Seth Lakeman) and When The Frost Is All Over (Kate Rusby) and Terry did his moving song about the homeless at Christmas We All Turned Away and a lovely version of Silent Night. Good to see Gavin, who had (almost) shaken off covid and sang Shake Off The Christmas Blues and Rose did Annie’s Song and On The Banks Of Allen Water before Keith led us for a communal Keep Your Lamp.


Pete & Louise were back in the MC seats for this virtual FAF. Terry sang a Graeme Miles dong and The Firemark. Richard had his props to hand, a ‘John Lennon’ wig and glasses for Love Me Do and a Donald Trump mask for My Bonnie (with puppy Teg on backing vocals). Sonia & Andy went back to the 70s for Malvina Reynolds’ On The Rim Of The World and the Grateful Dead song Ripples. Nice to see Lola again and she sang The World Turned Upside Down and Andy sang his own Holly And Tom (about the homeless) and Candyman. Tony & Grace sang an ode to tea and how the Americans get it wrong in Tea USA and Tony did the brilliant Mike Scott song Pasties. Sean gave us a couple of his own songs It’s Risky To Go Far-O (referring to covid to the tune of Whiskey In The Jar) and Hold On, a song of hope. Sandie followed with tunes Kelso Accordion Fiddle Club and Waiting For The Federals. Martin sang the John Tams song When We Go Rolling Home and Steve Knightly’s The Long Way Home and Stuart did a couple of Jez Lowe songs Tethers End and The Wrong Bus. Kath played Planxty Irwin and Winster Gallop and Keith did Delbert McClinton’s Smooth Talk and was joined by Joy for Eleanor Rigby. Rose sang the Gary Moore song Still Got The Blues and Kate Wolf’s Green Eyes and Pete & Louise did Paul Simon’s American Tune and The Parting Glass before Keith led us for a rousing Keep Your Lamp.


In a momentous week when Joe Biden ousted Trump and the first Covid vaccine was announced, FAF was back as usual, hosted by Tony & Grace. Events were a feature of the evening as well as our usual nod to Remembrance Day. We were delighted to see that Richard had overcome the technical challenges of Zoom and he joined for the first time virtually, doing a couple of Adge Cutler songs including Drink Up Thee Cider. Sonia & Andy sang the first of the evening’s anti war songs with a song from Framed (the story of Alice Wheeldon) and Alex Campbell’s Been On The Road So Long before Steve, in seasonal mood, did October Song and The Bullet The Bayonet The Shell about his Grandfather in the first world war. Tony & Grace sang Dancing At Whitsun which tells of how women Morris dancers had to dance together due to the shortage of men after WWI and Tony sang the song about his great uncle Harry who died in action in 1917 in Due To Marry. A new face to FAF, David from Dursley sang splendid versions of Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and the traditional The 18th Of June. Terry sang the poignant John Condon who was only 14 when he died in action in 1915, John gave us two of his regular songs Blind Willie McTell and Down By The Riverside and Kath played Red Is The Rose. Stuart had been requested by Pete to sing his Donald The Elephant which he did in a splendid revised version, also doing the Jez Lowe song If I Could Buy A Blighty. Sean sang two of his own songs Soldier and The Days Before The War and Sandie (from the other end of the couch) played The Battle Of The Somme and La Marianne/Goodbye To The Girls Of My Country. Andy also sang of his grandfather in WWI with Picture In My Pocket (the picture was of Andy’s grandmother) and did his comment on Trump Build A Wall. Keith gave us World War Blues and also commented on Trump with Nowhereman! Martin sang Will You Go To Flanders and On The Road To Passchendaele and Rose did Shake Sugaree and I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound. Due to technical problems Louise & Pete weren’t able to MC or perform and Pete was disappointed that they couldn’t do Biden Time I Get To Phoenix (groans all round)!


Being the end of October, it was a good excuse for us to dress up in our best Halloween outfits for virtual FAF and do a few suitable songs. Tony & Grace hosted tonight and got us underway, performing as Transylvanian Tony & Ghoulish Grace they sang Werewolves Of Fishponds and Nick Cave’s spooky theme to Peaky Blinders Red Right Hand. Low Blood Count and his Bride (otherwise known as Stuart & Carol) appeared next, Stuart singing Jake Thackray’s Grandad (who’s trying to convince us that he’s not dead) and the Pondlife favourite Then He Bit Me (nicely hammed up!). Sonia & Andy (The Crypt Kicker Climies) did the chilling Mr Fox song The Hanged Man and we couldn’t let Sonia get away without doing her classic, The Borgias. Andy (The Walking Zombie) also did a chiller, The Waterson’s Scarecrow and a song that he hoped would be performed for the last time Be Bold Be Courageous Be Free. Spectral Sean & Spooky Sandie were next, Sean singing Once I Had  A Sweetheart and My Way Home and Sandie playing The Moon And Seven Stars and The Unknown about a piper found buried with his pipes. James (Starwars James) gave us his version of Ghost Riders In The Sky and tried an impersonation of Andy  and John (John Beetlejuice) sang Will The Circle Be Unbroken and You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond. Up next were Luscious Louise and Petrifying Pete who did Hallows Eve and a Shirley Collins song Sweet Greens And Blues before Keith and Joy (The Ghoulies, or Mr & Mrs Ghoulie) appeared as ghostly figures and Keith sang The Happiest Man In The World and his version of Ghost Riders In The Sky (he’d practiced it so he was going to do it!). Gruesome Gav sang a gruesome song The Ballad Of Jon And Eliza, the true story of murder in Hanham and what happened to the murderer (you’ll see bits of him in the M-Shed) and the Cranberries’ Zombie. Martin (The Scary Scout) sang The Unquiet Grave and The White Hare and Terry (Come Closer I Won’t Bite) sang of a different kind of death, that of a tree in the way of HS2 in The Cubbington Pear Tree and The Face In The Water. Mention should go to the costumes, props and make up that we don’t see in normal times at FAF. Even Geoff, although not performing, emerged from the darkest depths looking appropriately scary!


Another virtual FAF with Pete & Louise doing MC duties. Tom sang Polly Perkins of Paddington Green and Way Back When and Gordon gave a rare performance, playing mandolin on Psalm Of David and guitar on the Faces song Sweet Lady Mary. Tony & Grace snag All For Me Grog (in honour of Richard Bond and complete with a key change!) and the Peggy Seeger song Love Call Me Home and Kath played two of her tunes, Margaret’s Waltz and Salmon Tails. There were some fine songs sung tonight, including Andy doing The Dutchman by Michael Peter Smith then Sonia & Andy did Merthyr Rising and Pay Me My Money Down. It was good to hear Sandie playing, firstly on the accordion Traveller’s Joy/The Rose Tree and then the melodeon on Mrs Saggs. James did a couple of Moody Blues songs Are You Sitting Comfortably? and Have You Heard? and John played Tower Of Song and I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow. Louise & Pete sang a couple of 70s favourites I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight and Lay Down and Pete threw in a quick tribute to Eddie van Halen with the opening synth riff from Jump. Sean had adapted Horse With No name to Virus With A Curious Name as well as Si Khan’s What You Do With What You’ve Got and Stuart sang the seasonal Autumn Almanac and Flanders & Swann’s The Gnu Song with an extra ending that questioned the spelling (to the tune of New York, New York!). Lola gave us a  lovely version of the Skye Boat Song and Martin sang James Taylor’s Rainy Day Man and Heart Of Gold. Sarah did and early Halloween song Put A Spell On You and Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic and Rose sang So Sad To Watch Good Love Go Bad.


Tony was our MC again for virtual FAF and there was a distinct theme of songs in bad taste this evening! Stuart sang the Richard Stilgoe/Peter Skellern song Joyce The Librarian (risqué), Fred Wedlock’s Sunkissed (strictly non PC) but redeemed himself with The Recycling Song. Tony & Grace rocked us with some cajun and Tony did a couple of his own, 2020 Vision (about the strife of this year) and the philosophical 42 (the meaning of everything to the tune of Blowing In The Wind). Pete & Louise brought out the sadness not often presented in Jolene and also sang Come To The Hills and Dirty Old Town. Kath played the tunes Planxty Irwin, April Morning and Dingle Regatta and Martin (who appeared to be broadcasting from planet Clangers) was in a Dylan mood, singing My Back Pages, Girl From The North Country and Make You Feel My Love. Tom gave us Don McLean’s Empty Chairs, Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye and his own classic Lasso The Moon and Sean mixed things up with the traditional Blackwaterside, the Hendrix song Little Wing (to mark 50 years since Hendrix left us) and his own You Be Nice To Me And I’ll Be Nice To You. Andy sang about the police shooting in America in Trouble In Kenosha, another about the general political situation and Pete Seeger’s The Farmer Is The Man. Sonia & Andy did Big Ted (ISB), The Dark Eyed Sailor and Sonia sang Tom Lehrer’s When You’re Old And Grey (certainly not PC). Terry did Canadee-I-O (from Nic Jones) and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue and Geoff made a cameo with an unaccompanied version of the Kipper Family’s Not Sixteen Til Sunday (filthy, quite frankly!).


Pete was our MC for the latest virtual FAF. The evening was notable for some great songs, some well known, others less so. Terry started with a very smooth version of You Belong To Me, then Tony (from his attic) sang Blues Run The Game and Neil Hannon’s National Express. Pete & Louise did the John Tams song Harry Stone (Hearts Of Coal) before Pete switched from guitar to ukulele to play the traditional tune The Hen’s March To The Midden complete with his ‘virtual’ electric band (actually all done by himself). There were even suitable chicken sounds from the audience! Steve sang Dog Song and Springsteen’s Dry Lightning, Stuart did Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild Wild Women and I’m The Urban Spaceman and Geoff returned to traditional songs with The Ship In Distress and Bold Sir Rylus. Sonia & Andy were on good form with Bowling Green and Sing John Ball and James sang the Dirk Powell song I Ain’t Playing Pretty Polly and Lydia (Karen Posten). Martin sang the Karine Polwart song Heartwood and the Bellowhead version of London Town and it was great to see Jo joining us (with her splendid grandfather clock), singing Clay Pigeons and Southern Man. Sarah did a couple of soul classics, Survivor and A Change Is Gonna Come and Lola joined us from Bolton and did unaccompanied versions of Citizens Of The World and Kingston Town. Rose sang A Smuggler’s Song (words by Kipling) and Iron & Wine’s Each Coming Night and Kath just sneaked in before the end, playing Winster Gallop.


Tony was our MC again for this virtual FAF. Stuart sang his ‘favourite cat song’, The Cat Came Back, the (possibly) trad Katherine Shaw and Ton Lehrer’s rather gruesome I Hold Your Hand In Mine. Andy sang his own song Gap In The Curtain, Diana Jones’ Better Times Will Come and Memories (from the FAF CD of a few years ago). Kath gave us some more tunes, Salmon Tails, Margaret’s Waltz and Jimmy Allen and James tried out some jazz (to good effect) with Autumn Leaves and a reggae tinged Jackson Browne song Everywhere I Go. Geoff continued his 80s theme with You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) and Soft Cell’s Say Hello Wave Goodbye, Sean sang some J.J. Cale Magnolia and the traditional Courting Is A Pleasure and John B gave us The Rose and Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Martin sang another trad song American Stranger (the Faustus version) and Tom Waits’ Come On Up To The House and Jon F sang Richard Thompson’s Withered And Died and Dylan’s John Wesley Harding. Tony & Grace (Grace on concertina) played Steve Forbert’s It Isn’t Gonna Be That Way and the Louden Wainwright song Primrose Hill and Rose sang Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue and Shake Sugaree.


Virtual FAF took place in the sweltering summer heat and we had new virtual MCs as Pete & Louise took over the duties, ‘broadcasting’ from Pete’s studio. Steve (also in his studio) sang his own Imogen Imagine When Coal Was King and Dylan’s North Country Blues and Martin did Adieu To Bon Country and The Lake Poets’ Shipyards. Tony gave us the classic Wand'rin' Star (although about three octaves too high!) and, in view of his recent significant birthday, Dylan’s My Back Pages, Andy sang the Jonathan Byrd song Sundays Loving You and the traditional House Carpenter and Sonia sang Bruton Town and Bread And Roses. Tom did his own song, Home Lads Home and Sean was back in ‘angry young man’ mode with his song A Long Way From Freedom and the old blues standard by Jimmy Cox from 1923 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out. James also went back to a classic Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat and did the lovely Lesley Duncan number Love Song before Geoff gave away who his favourite band are as he sang Fantastic Day and Blue Hat For A Blue Day. Stuart gave us a Jez Lowe song Tether’s End and Ray Davies’ Alcohol and Jim played a beautiful instrumental version of What If A Day, Or A Month, Or A Year? from 1606. Sarah sang the song about her Mum, Paintings (and showed us some too) and Kath played a couple of tunes, Winster Gallop and Jimmy Allen. Pete lamented the cancellation of this year’s Cropredy Festival (it would have been his 40th time there!) as he and Louise played Who Knows Where The Time Goes? and they ended the evening appropriately with The Parting Glass.


Another virtual FAF with Tony at the helm (having just celebrated a significant birthday). Steve sang Dylan’s My Back Pages and a Jeffrey Foucault song and Stuart followed with Sister Josephine and the Nick Lowe song I Knew The Bride. It was great to see Andy back from lockdown family duties and he sang Guy Clark’s Soldier’s Joy, 1864 and his own The Domestic, the latest in his series about workers. Kath played some more concertina tunes, including Jimmy Allen and Tom did some Tom Waits, Shiver Me Timbers and his own Lasso The Moon. We had a special treat as Gordon did a rare performance, singing No More My Lord before Louise & Pete did Dirty Old Town and a revised version of their lockdown version of Zoom. Martin sang Don Henly (Boys Of Summer) and Springsteen (My City Of Ruins) and Sonia & Andy did the Sydney Carter song Sing John Ball and a new Janis Ian song Better Times Will Come. Sean sang of the plight of the environment and the apt Quaranteen and James did Manhatton (made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and with Tony & Grace having a dance) and Sarah Smile, the Hall & Oats classic. Tony & Grace did the lovely children’s ditty The Garden Song and, with grace on concertina,  Chips On The Mountain, apparently ‘a fine old Welsh tradition’! Sarah sang Dance Me To The End Of Love, John gave us The Rose and Will The Circle Be Unbroken? and Rose sang The Coming Of The Roads and the David Gates classic If.


Virtual FAF again and Tony is now well into his stride as our virtual MC. Steve gave us a splendid rendition of Al Stewart’s Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres and James sang Addicted To Love as well as the King Crimson song I Talk To The Wind as a tribute to Judy Dyble. Stuart was again is comic mode with Ra Ra It’s Putin and the Skimmity Hitchers’ West Country Holiday and Martin demonstrated his multi instrumental virtuosity by playing piano and harmonica on The River and keyboard on the Ninebarrow song The Weeds. Kath played a couple of concertina tunes including Planxty Irwin and Sean took on classic numbers Once I Had A Sweetheart (Pentangle) and Blues Run The Game (Jackson C Frank). There were songs to mark the cancelled Tolpuddle festival from Sonia & Andy Tolpuddle Man and Union Maid and Jon took us back to songs from The Jam Carnation and Lemonheads Being Around. Keith sang Ian Siegal’s Take A Walk In The Wilderness and the Beatles’ classic Lady Madonna, Gavin told the tale of the Beard Tax (introduced by Peter The Great in 1698) and the joys of parenthood in Summer Holiday Blues and Rose sang Greenwood Laddie and Go Away From My Window. Tony & Grace did some Steve Earl Telephone Road and also marked Tolpuddle with A Miner’s Life Is Like A Sailor’s before Keith saw us out with Keep Your Lamp.


Once more we headed for Zoom with Tony as our virtual MC. Terry began with Tom Waits’ I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You and Burl Ives’ A Little Bitty Tear. It was great to have Lola joining us all the way from Bolton and she sang We Will Be Free and the Italian folk song Marianina. Martin took to the piano for Springsteen’s Thunder Road and was back on the guitar for Bright Side Of The Road, Kath gave us some tunes on the concertina, one from Northumberland and April Morning In June and Louise & Pete sang The Ashgrove and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (Pete on his cigar box guitar for the latter). Sonia & Andy were on good form again with a couple of Pentangle songs Sally Free And Easy and Cruel Sister, James did Dock Of The Bay and Seven Bridges Road and Stuart continued his comedy theme with Jake Thackray’s  Leopold Alcox and Viva Lyme Regis. Jon F performed the Grateful Dead song Ripple and Sean had been composing again (there will surely be a triple concept album at the end of this) - The Zoom Song and No One Believes In Experts Anymore. Keith roused us with Cousin Jack and Let The Good Times Roll (anticipating the pubs opening again on July 4th) and John B sang Oh! Sweet Nothin’ (Velvet Underground) and You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond. Geoff’s theme was the 80s (his favourite decade of course) with (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (in light of many of the recent demos) and Tainted Love and Sarah aslo touched on the Black Lives Matter theme with Sugar In The Hold. Tony and Grace paid tribute to Vera Lynn with Lily Marlene and also did Let It Be and Rose sang After You’ve Gone and the Randy Sparks song Today. Keith lead us once more for Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning.


FAF went virtual once again with Tony doing the MC honours and much material on all the things going on in the world. He and Grace started with a lockdown version of Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 and the hook line “Everybody must stay home” and a new version of the Pink Panther theme with some witty observations on Dominic Cummings trip to Durham. Gavin sang a new song about Fishponds’ own Hannah More and a lovely song in tribute to our recently departed friend Wildlife Jane. Jon sang Golden Apples Of The Sun (from the Yeats poem) and Only Our Rivers Run Free, one of several songs in relation to the current George Floyd protests around the world. Louise & Pete went back to the 1970s for the Strawbs’ Lay Down and Louise produced some props for the traditional William Taylor. James sang Elton John’s Border Song and the John Hanly song Past The Point Of Rescue, Martin did It Was On An April Morning and Steve Knightley’s Mesopotamia and Keith gave us Shingle By Shingle (Eric Bibb) and Walk Down That Lonesome Valley. Sean had been busy writing again, this time with The Day We Tore Old Colston’s Statue Down (after Robbie Robertson) and the brand new Coat Of Blue. Stuart had also re-written an old favourite as (We’re Not Going On A) Summer Holiday (he even got in bits of La Mer, Y Viva España, and Day Trip To Bangor - “Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we stayed in Fishponds?”) and also sang My Grandfather’s Ferret. Sonia & Andy were on good form with Beside The Sea (in Welsh and English) and the ISB song Big Ted and Geoff continued his recent seasonal themes with Jack In The Green and the Anne Briggs song Summer Is In. Sarah had written a new song about the current state of the world and followed with the equally apt Abraham, Martin And John and Rose added Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia and a lovely version of Let It Be Me. Keith rounded things off with Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning for everyone to join in on.


Another virtual FAF with Tony MC-ing again (he always does a splendid job!). There were a few odd noises and multiple echoes to contend with but we battled through regardless. James got things going with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Steve Goodman’s Chicken Cordon Blues and Sean followed with a brand new song Love In Isolation and the instrumental Fairy Dance. Louise & Pete gave us Paul Simon’s American Tune and Crazy Man Michael, Jon F sang Happy Hour (Ted Hawkins) and Gravel Road and Martin did Blow The Windy Morning (Faustus) and Limbo (about a debtor’s prison). Stuart was next with his ever popular version of Marie’s Wedding and the Tony Crozier song Dead Dog Scrumpy and Terry played accordion for The Blue Cockade and guitar on Unforgettable. Bev & Jim had just one song, the rather lovely Scarborough Fair (with Jim on guitar) and just one also from John B, Hank Williams’ I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow. Steve marked the recent birthday of Bob Dylan with Sign On The Window the John Smith song There Is A Stone. Tony did one of his favourite Steve Forbert songs Thinkin’ and a new Ralph McTell song Masks And Gowns in honour of NHS workers. Geoff had written his own lockdown version of Don’t Stand So Close To Me and followed with Oak And Ash And Thorn and Sarah sang a new one of hers I Hear The Wind Against My Strings and the standard Summertime. Sonia & Andy were in rousing form with Matty Groves and Pay Me My Money Down and Rose rounded off with The Coming Of The Roads and the Bessie Smith number After You’ve Gone.


Our third virtual FAF, again hosted by Tony (Zoom master in chief). Grace began, honouring International Nursing Day by reading the lyrics to the short Jethro Tull song Nursie and she also read her own Ode To Pigeons. She was joined by Tony for two new songs, Captain Tom (after Space Oddity) in honour of the 100 year old who has raised millions for the NHS and Ramping It Up using government statements about being “strong together”. Martin was joined by Jacki for a version of Mad World (in the style of Gary Jules) and on his own sang The King Of Birds. Louise & Pete did a couple of Pondlife favourites Dirty Old Town and The Parting Glass and Gavin (here known by his Zoom handle Mr. Ball - well done teach) sang School’s Out and a new song by his friend Carl, Jesus Had A Man Cave. Stuart gave us Alcohol (Ray Davies) and was joined by Carol for the Arthur Askey classic I Want A Banana. Sarah paid tribute to both Bill Withers and her Mum by singing her adaptation of Grandmas’ Hands as Mama’s Hands and also did Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. Sean & Sandi sang a new song The Lockdown Lambada and Sean did his tribute to the NHS Cradle To Grave. James did a very tasteful By The Time I Get To Phoenix and FDR In Trinidad and Jon sang Lebanon, Tennessee (Ron Sexsmith) and Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. Nice to see Steve who sang Empty Pocket Coronus Blues and the John Smith song Salty And Sweet and Keith was in fine form with Eric Bibb’s With My Maker and Lady Madonna. Sonia & Andy did Maggie Holland’s A Place Called England and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Geoff was full of the joys of spring with Hal-An-Tow and May Song (complete with foot tambourine) and Rose returned with Elizabeth Cotten’s Shake Sugaree and the Kate Wolf song Green Eyes.


A second lockdown FAF hosted by Tony saw a few different faces on our screens. Tony & Grace started with a song dedicated to Jane, A Stranger’s Just A Friend You Haven’t Yet Met and Tony recited a new poem by Max Boyce about the current situation, When Just The Tide Went Out. Martin took us back to the 17th century with a song from the Playford collection Love Will Find Out The Way and the traditional The Lark In The Clear Air and Sean played two new pieces Quarantine and the instrumental Embracing Solitude (we wonder what inspired those!). Kath was back with a couple of concertina tunes, including the popular Margaret’s Waltz and Stuart was in a jolly frame of mind, singing The Outdoor Type (Lomonheads) and Tom Lehrer’s Poisoning Pigeons In The Park. It was nice to see John Fieldhouse who sang a Gillian Welch song and was joined by Lucy for the Teenage Fanclub song Planets. Louise & Pete reprised their version of Zoom by popular request and then an occasional FAF visitor James sang Springsteen’s I Wish I Were Blind and Waterloo Sunset. Terry was next with his song about 17th century firemen who chased insurance claims, The Fire Mark and Sonia & Andy sang a couple of Incredible String Band songs The Painting Box and Everything’s Fine Right Now. Geoff marked St George’s Day with the Kate Bush song Lionheart and gave his tribute to Jane by doing what she always did so well, set a Thomas Hardy poem to music. In this case Geoff had chosen The Dance Continued. Keith gave us some of his best blues, Walking The Dog and Eric Bibb’s Less Of This More Of That, Bev sang a rather splendid unaccompanied version of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love and Jim returned with some classical guitar in the form of Romanza. There was more Leonard Cohen from John B who did Tower Of Song as well as Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell and making here FAF debut was Rose singing The Water Is Wide and The Oak And The Ash. Keith lead us through Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning to round things off.


Since our last FAF at the Cross Hands, we have been plunged into the strangest of times due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Self isolation has meant that social gatherings have been suspended and we haven’t been able to meet at our usual venue. But undeterred we have managed to resurrect FAF from the comfort of our own sittings rooms! Thanks to the initiative of Tony, we got together via the wonders of Zoom (I guess most of us hadn’t heard of it a few weeks ago) and had the first digital FAF. Tony was our MC, skilfully manoeuvring around flaky internet connections and multiple echoes but holding everything together. He and Grace started us off with the first of three tributes to the recently departed Bill Withers and their version of Lean On Me and a lovely rendition of Wayfairing Stranger. Sean appeared from his loft with typically tasteful versions of Once I Had A Sweetheart and The Cuckoo, then Martin (on early for once!) sang James Taylor’s Fire And Rain and Shenandoah. It was nice to see Kath with some great squeeze box playing, doing Margaret’s Waltz and Salmon Tails. With Pondlife separated, Louise & Pete became a duo and dug out the 80s cheesy classic by Fat Larry’s Band, Zoom, with new words by Pete reflecting our frustrating use of the software in the current lockdown. They also paid tribute to Bill Withers with the very apt Just The Two Of Us. Reflecting the little luxuries that are getting us through, Stuart sang Marcus Turner’s The Chocolate Song (with a bar in front of him on a harmonica holder) and had a virtual grand singalong of Flanders & Swann’s The Hippopotamus. Great that Sonia & Andy could join us and they sang Bright Phoebus and Tom Paxton’s Did You Hear John Hurt? Gavin was next and remembered our good friend Jane, who has not been well lately, by singing her Song Of Hope and later doing the third Bill Withers song Ain’t No Sunshine. Jim made a rare solo appearance, playing some virtuoso classical guitar on an untitled Flamenco tune and Bill Evan’s Peace. Keith had reworked his Credit Crunch Blues into Isolation Blues and also reflected the glorious weather of late with Sunny Afternoon and Sarah sang Three Little Birds (she described it as a song of hope) and We’ll Meet Again. Geoff, appearing live from the wilds of somewhere north of Berkeley, did two classic folk ballads, Magpie (from the Unthanks) and Reynardine. Alan took us back in time with Here Comes Summer and his own song She’ll Find Her Own Way Through. Proceedings were rounded off with the club song Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, which we certainly will. What a great night - we’ll be doing it again!


The FAF faithful continued to turn out despite recent floods, storms and coronavirus. Plagues of locusts have yet to spotted over Fishponds! Tony was our MC and got things under way. With this FAF landing between St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day, he sang Sosban Fach in Welsh and followed with Black Velvet Band and The Wild Rover. Tom had his 12 string guitar which was well suited Hotel California and a rather jazzy Still Crazy After All These Years and Paul sang two of his own, Summertown and Holly Bush. John had a splendid red guitar and sang A Good Year For The Roses before returning to his punk roots on the Members’ Solitary Confinement. It was great to see Gayle after a long break from FAF and she sang Feelin’ Groovy, Pentangle’s Light Flight and Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. There was a rare appearance from Chris who did The Kids Are Alright (inspired by Greta Thunberg) and a couple of his own songs with some very tasty guitar work. Andy had a new song about the current political state and also sang the Steve Earl song Come Back Woodie Guthrie and Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor to remember Jon Davy. Pondlife did an old favourite, Those Were The Days and an ode to Scotland Come By The Hills and Geoff was in light hearted mood with Jerry Keller’s Here Comes Summer and the Flanders & Swann classic The Gas Man Cometh. Tony (number 2) returned to the club with two classics, Nick Drake’s Northern Sky and Richard Thompson’s Beeswing and Terry did the traditional Wearing Of The Blue and Anne Lister’s Icarus.


Once again good numbers braved the winter weather for a busy FAF, hosted by Stuart. Richard was our traditional starter, marking St David’s Day with his little red dragon as he sang his version of Jamaica Farewell, Patagonia Farewell (it was  a Welsh colony apparently) and followed with Sloop John B. Tom was next with Ain’t Misbehavin’  and Allan Taylor’s Standing At The Door and it was good to see Mike make a welcome return as he sang Tom Paxton’s I Give You The Morning and played a nice bit of ragtime guitar. Andy’s voice had returned and 12 Volt Joe were back as a duo with the Steve Earl song I Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye and Andy’s own Be Bold Be Courageous Be Free, Dave playing lap slide on both. Pat sang Woody Guthrie, Oregon Trail and Harry Chapin’s All My Life’s A Circle, Ron (returning for a second visit) did All The Roadrunning (Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris) and Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown before our very own Gordon made a rare appearance singing The Water Is Wide and Jonathan Kelly’s I Used To Know You. Sean sang the long traditional ballad Sir Patrick Spens and was persuaded to do a short instrumental and Tony & Grace were also marking St David’s Day, singing in Welsh and English on Calon Lân (A Pure Heart). They also reminded us that it was Shrove Tuesday and Mardis Gras with Tony doing his ode to the pancake complete with pancake tossing from Grace! Stuart & Pete were in jolly mood with Loudon Wainwrights’ Ukulele Song and I Wanna Be Like You and John (number 1) played splendidly, a mussette called Indifferently and a tune by John McCusker Khazi (for his friend Ian Carr). Sarah was next with the Beach Boy’s Goin’ South and the gospel flavoured I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Back with us after a long break was John (number 2), complete with bodhrán he sang Down By The Riverside and You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond (Blind Willie Johnson), then Paul sang two of his own songs Still Life and Barbara Says and Geoff did McAlpine’s Fusileers and The Oldest Swinger In Town. Terry gave us It Was You and an ode to his courting days Bist Going To Or What? Before Martin rounded the evening off in traditional mood with Two Magicians and The Jolly Waggoner.


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it was a night sprinkled with romance. Our MC Pete introduced Richard, who impressed us all with his new resonator ukulele and sang Freight Train and Goodnight Irene. Tom was next with Jim Croce’s These Dreams and his own Memory Store before Stuart & Pete gave us a couple of tongue in cheek love songs, Oh Sue and Roseville Fair. John was in romantic mood, playing Love Is The Sweetest Thing and an eastern European tune A Night In The Garden Of Eden and Roger sang For All The Girls I’ve Loved Before and Rhinestone Cowboy. It was nice to see a couple of new faces at the club and first up was Stefan who played some superb guitar whilst singing a sadder love song (it ended in murder in true folk song style) and of the Battle Of Lansdown. Geoff (number 1) was next with Died For Love and the old Joy Division 'folk' song Love Will Tear Us Apart (well, June Tabor did a version). Our other newcomer was next, Ron sang Billy Bragg’s A New England and continued the Kirsty McColl connection by singing her song Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me. Sean gave us the Si Kahn song It’s Not Just What You’re Born With and his own untitled instrumental and Andy (who had lost his voice) played some banjo tunes including Buffalo Girls. Tony sang a love song to mark his Mum’s 90th birthday, one of her favourite songs, Roger Whittaker’s The Last Farewell and was joined by Grace to celebrate Mardis Gras with Paul Simon’s Take Me To The Mardis Gras. Jake gave us some blues with When Things Go Wrong (It Hurts Me Too) and our second 80s synth pop song of the night, Yazoo’s Only You. It was nice to see Neil again and especially nice to hear him play some very tasty Bossa Nova before Colin sang two Tom Lewis songs Down By The Dockyard Wall and The Bos'n, The Gunner And Me. Geoff (number 2) was in good form with his versions of Lucile and The Wild Rover (with a couple of nice variations) and a busy evening was rounded off by Martin with She Moved Through The Fair and Pretty Peggy O.


Another busy evening, this time with Geoff as our MC. Stuart & Pete kicked off with the ever popular Show Of Hands song The Napoli and Ukulele Man with Pete doin’ the pickin’. There were more flying fingers as Sean & Sandi (Folie à  Deux) sang an ode to January dieting We Eat A Lot Less Now before Sean played Pentangle’s version of Once I Had A Sweetheart with some very fancy guitar work. Tom was next with Dave Paskett’s I Could Not Take My Eyes Off Her and You’ve Got A Friend then Andy played some banjo tunes including Paddy On The Railway and sang his own song Tom Lee about a 17th century murder. Jane had another poem set to her own tune Gypsies and an old song of hers to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, Holocaust. John took us to France with his accordion with Sous Le Ciel De Paris and played a couple of klezmer tunes Peace Be With You/Dance Young Man and it was nice to see an occasional visitor, Paul with his songs Summertown (remembering childhood holidays in Cornwall) and Ulysses. Jake brought his resonator guitar for a couple of his own songs Only Lying To Ourselves and Vanishing Man and Pat sang Nobody’s Child and Jug Of Punch. Tony did South Australia in tribute to his friend Aussie Pete and What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us? In tribute to Terry Jones. Terry sang about Bristol merchants and the slave trade and an ode to pianos, before the two Geoffs. Geoff (number 1) sang Galway Shawl and Benny Hill’s Jose's Cantina before Geoff (number 2) did Tending My Sheep and The King Of Rome. There was just enough time for Stuart & Pete to do The Snake (“more key chnages than Eurovision” said Geoff), Sean to sing Model Of  A Modern Prime Minister and Andy doing Refugee Blues from the W.H. Auden poem.


The first FAF of the New Year and a fine turnout considering the wet and windy weather. Andy was our MC and got us underway with a couple of banjo tunes, Chilly Winds/Boatman plus Mike Waterson’s The Scarecrow. Pat followed with Lost Highway and Warren Zevon’s Carmelita. Gavin & Simon sang Si’s song Unseen Heroes and The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love and Jane had two new poems set to her own tunes taken from a book she found in a charity shop, The Echoing Green and A Ship Sails Up To Bideford. Roger was in mischievous form again (his electronic keyboard gave us snippets of Mozart at various points in the evening) singing his show tunes, including Oh What A Beautiful Morning. John gave us some Scottish tunes on the accordion Stronsay/Sailing Through The Narrows as well as Walter Bulmer’s Polkas/The Quaker, then Geoff sang the first wassails of the night Stroud Wassail and the Kipper Family’s twist on the genre Trunch Wassail. Jake did a couple of his own songs Reminders Of You and Leave On Your Light, later singing What A Day For A Daydream. Stuart & Pete began with their tribute to Neil Innes I’m The Urban Spaceman (another kazoo holder malfunction included!) and were joined by Louise for the Gloucestershire Wassail. Tony & Grace followed the theme with Here We Come A Wassailing and Tony sang Christie Moore’s City Of Chicago. Nice to see Jo & Steve again as they sang The Storms Are On The Ocean, John Prine’s Never Gonna Let Her Go and Dylan's Farewell Angelina. Dave was also back after his Christmas triumph, this time in more serious mode with a monologue from Jaws about sailors lost to sharks after Hiroshima, leading into Spanish Ladies. He followed with the Fisherman’s Friends song No Hopers Jokers And Rogues. Colin was also in a nautical vein with a song about the 1899 sea disaster off Lynmouth where the lifeboat was carried over land from Porlock before singing Jez Lowe’s Morpeth Olympics. Martin was in a more reflective mood with Sally Gardens and The Parting Glass.

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