What’s On at Focsle Music, Southampton

Wednesday evenings at The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley, SO14 6SF.
Occasional guests at another Southampton venue

Here’s what’s on for the next few weeks.
To look further ahead, view our online calendar, or our current leaflet.
Song of the Week: The Bloody Gardener
25 Oct 2017

More DIY music at The Guide Dog

Our home-made offering continues in the cosiness of The Guide Dog's back room, The Doghouse.  On the bill:  me [almost certainly, most likely with another by now de rigeur piece with a Dog theme];  an invited MC [do.];  anyone else passing by;  and (we hope) you?  You can be audience only, if you prefer.

Free entry, with voluntary raffle.

8 Nov 2017

Music at The Guide Dog [venue tbc], with SHIRLEY KNOT

  The (by now) usual shenanigans at this brill. little pub, with an extra element tonight (the first of many, we hope).

  Bring your songs, tunes, etc. to perform for the rest of us.  No pressure to do a turn:  join in choruses, add impromptu accompaniment to tunes, or just listen, if you like.

  Probably the whole second half will be devoted to a set by Rosie Marshall, Rob Wilson (both already seen at our Dog events), John Connell and John Miller, collectively Shirley Knot [geddit??  ye-e-e-s, ye-e-e-s!].  They are (self-)described as the "ropey" [geddit??] leftovers of the Priory Hard shanty crew.  They've reformed, not simply to disguise their identity from former creditors ;-)    Under their new brand, their repertoire has expanded beyond just shanties, with comic material and more.  They've sung at Wickham and New Forest Festivals.  Expect laughter, social comment and lots to join in with, so come and add your voices in harmony with some lusty singing.

  A tiny possibility of a venue-change venue for this (space reasons, not a football match clash).  Please e-mail paul@focsle.org if you expect to attend, since, if we get too many audience, there won't be room for you all!  We won't hold anyone to their commitment, but an idea of numbers and availability (or not) now would help.  Thanks!

  Free entry at the Dog, with Pass-the-Hat collection and voluntary "Woof-woof"le.

10 Nov 2017

Jody Kruskal (house concert)

Concertina hero Jody Kruskal was booked by the former Fo'c'sle Folk Club and that gig has turned into a "house concert" (on a FRIDAY).

Contact brian@focsle.org or paul@focsle.org for more info about it.

22 Nov 2017

most likely: DIY musical get-together at The Guide Dog;  if not, (prob., & tbc) guest night at Café Reflections

  Still to be determined (though now more than likely to be at the Dog):  unamplified music, of any genre, provided by whoever's in “The Doghouse”;  or a guest night at Café Reflections, Shirley.  Should be great music and good humour, whichever venue transpires.

  Free entry, with voluntary raffle.

6 Dec 2017

Home-made Music at The Guide Dog (N.B. 1st Weds.)

(A Saints match on Weds. 13th., and the fall of Xmas, enforce changes to our December schedule:  because of the five Weds. in November, we've brought this one forward a week)

  The musical menu is served up by whoever turns up so, ahead of the night, we don't know what it will be.  Subject to attendance, you can expect 3 or 4 numbers from each performer, of any genre, and (depending on the extent of the musician's repertoire) often inspired by a piece done earlier in the 'round'.

  Free entry, raffle tickets for sale to help Focsle Music's funds.

18 Dec 2017

MONDAY:  Xmas Party (with Mummers:  tbc), jointly with The Doghouse Music Session [tbc]

(A Saints match on Weds. 13th., and the fall of Xmas, enforce changes to our December schedule).

  What we're not changing, though, is the happy format of The Focsle's Xmas do:

seasonal food, the usual hilarious nonsense from King John's Mummers, and party-pieces from Focsle Music regulars.  If you've been to The Doghouse, you'll know that, though the Mummers surely pride themselves on operating in the tightest of spaces, the room is really TOO small for a battle between Turk and Englishman (however stagey).  Subject to OK from the landlord and regulars, this will take place in the main bar (as their usual visits do), and it's possible our whole event will be decanted to there for the evening.  KJM's visit is planned for about 21:45, after their final pre-Xmas rehearsal (so perhaps they'll remember their lines?  A good or bad thing:  that's for you to judge  :-)  "They practice beforehand, which ruins the fun" [Flanders & Swann]).
  In another twist, we may be joined by musicians from The Doghouse Music Sessions, run by Nic Bradford and Cath Watkins on the 4th Monday of the month (which, in December, is Xmas Day:  they thought there might not be much demand then ;-)  so are splitting their event;  see also Dec. 28th).

  No raffle this week:  King John's Mummers perform and collect for charity.

  All this may be stymied if many of The Guide Dog regulars object to having their quiet routine disturbed, in which case we'll have fixed to operate somehwere else.  Keep watching this space.


Other things of interest

Weds. 11th. Oct.:  Everything from ABBA to…

well, not ZZ Top, but quite a lot else besides;  and, yes, we really DID get some ABBA:  a quite obscure and introspective piece which worked surprisingly well in our unplugged context.  Plenty of familiar (but, these days, less often aired) music also filled the evening;  the UNfamiliar featured, too, with at least one song written only this year.  Variety and unpredictability is what gives Focsle Music its character.  We said "so long" to co-Organizer Jon [Parrot's Ett 'Em All*] Ellis, away in India until March 2018.

* you had to have been there (a Pirate joke, in case you're halfway to the reference).  On the subject of your being there, I would encourage you to do so…

On a sadder note,

it's a goodbye forever to The Focsle’s chief Music-Hall exponent and wry funny man (and club Treasurer) Stroph Rayner, who finally succumbed to cancer on Friday 6th.  All our most comforting thoughts and prayers are with Lin, Stroph's widow, and their family.  Both long-time and staunch supporters of the club, despite Lin's not being a vocal performer herself;  Lin is deeply involved with the admin. of the folk world, an important and unsung rôle.  For funeral details, email brian@focsle.org

Weds. 27th Sep.:  many thanks to Kevin Barlow for MC-ing another nightful of interesting material, delivered by all and sundry.  We had more newcomers sitting in, potentially new singers when they come again.  (If MC is a rôle you could play [occasionally], please contact us:  see below).

Mon 18th Sep.:  a delight to hear the Focsle début of Madeline Hempstead, irrepressible singer, and daughter of Debra Chesman (the club's Organizer from 1993 – 97, and accomplished singer in her own right).  Mads wasn't born when Debra returned to her native US, but it's great to hear the genes have passed on so well (Madeline has more volume than Debra does:  their duo act is spectacular).  Several of our regulars still sing songs learned from Debra, but hearing the source again is a rare treat (AND due to be less rare for the foreseeable future, now Madeline has elected to come and live in Birmingham).  Also a pleasure that two students, whose peaceful Monday evening chat we invaded, chose to stay, listen (with more than civil politeness) and, eventually join in, one of them going public for the first time, with a fine song by Frank Turner, a talented and rising songwriter with local-ish roots, who was new to many of us.

Weds. 13th. Sep.:  Half of the band Nomad visited, with good chorus numbers and some sensitive solos.  Others who attend rarely also turned up, plus (a sign of approval) some of the first-timers from Café Reflections (23/8).

  “Cosy”, “Lovely pub”, “Good subdued lighting”, “Friendly and helpful staff”, “Best beer in Southampton”:  some comments about our intimate venue.  The Guide Dog in Earls Rd is a civilized Real Ale haven, with books, newspapers, board games and no jukebox.  Most 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, we run a ‘singaround’ / song-circle format in its back room (The Doghouse [geddit?]).  Any deviations from that will be posted on our calendar here.  Possibly before Xmas, some listed dates may morph into guest-nights or "feature" slots (where one performer is given an extended time to deliver a sequence of material).  Such events will regularize into a pattern as the new team find their feet and garner new contacts on the circuit.

  To join our mailing-list, e-mail paul@focsle.org / jon@focsle.org.  We’ll be maintaining three:  one for guest nights;  one for non-guests;  and one for those who like both.  Please say which you’d prefer to be on:  thanks.  In the few hours prior to an event (say 5pm Weds. onwards), I may not have e-mail access:  for last-minute contact, TEXT 073 8040 1951.


See links at bottom for other pages, all viewable with no login or profile (needed only for administrators).

On "Photos" page, buttons below event-details point to next / previous dates.  To reach a date directly, use the online calendar on the Homepage.


Reg Meuross - 18 November 2016

"Thanks for a lovely night!" (Reg Meuross)

"We had a wonderful evening, and made very welcome by @FocsleFC" (Adrian Harris)

Jon Witcher

Good to see Jon Witcher drop in at the club (9 Dec '16).  A former stalwart of the club, and the lead singer with Hampshire Union, Jon moved to Wales in 1989.  Somewhere down the intervening 27 years he shaved off a magnificent beard!

Paul Clarke

7 October

Mesmerizing evening with Lee Collinson: my favourite of the year.  Since his last Focsle visit (when Debra Chesman was in charge!), he hasn't lost a drop, not in vigour, fluidity, wit or authority (he claimed afterwards to be less sharp, but you wouldn't have known). The (enviable*) banjo-playing could provide him with a living on its own, yet that's a sort of sideline for him.  Keep a lookout for his occasional (3 or 4 times yearly) intimate gigs like this. Top dollar.

* inevitable jokes notwithstanding

John Licqorish ("Meon Rose")

(25 November)

Had a great night at the Collaborations singaround on Friday - great club - great people - community singing - kazoos - what more could you ask for - look forward to goin again soon