What’s On at Focsle Music, Southampton

Wednesday evenings at The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley.
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: Lemonday
23 Aug 2017

Double Bill: Syd Meats / Bob Long & Lorna Franklin

A set from Syd Meats, Romsey-based poemeister and writer/singer of surreal songs, plus one from Bob Long (guitar, vocals, harmonica) & Lorna Franklin (vocals, kazoo) from New Forest way.  John Knowler will MC.  Modest door charge.  8pm start

Syd was a regular at the Focsle in its time at the OTSC (1994 – 96), and still turns up periodically.  A composer and performer of darkly humorous songs (with several albums to his credit) and poems, he keeps branching out, currently running the monthly "Teapot Poetry Collective" at Rum's Eg, and being half of "Hampshire's leading panda harmonium duo" [???] Panda-monium.  His compellingly off-the-wall songs have been sung on Radio 4 (by Boothby Graffo;  et al.?) and visit everything from love (in the metaphor of the bathroom) to Nature in the raw, to travel (When You're In Prague).  While well-grounded, he… um, May fly.

A classy acoustic duo, just-married Bob Long & Lorna Franklin specialize in blues, ragtime and jug band music from the 1920s and 1930s...."the old stuff".  Repertoire includes Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, Noah Lewis, Gus Cannon, The Memphis Jug Band, Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson & Charley Patton.  They MAY bring their separate harmonica player, and perform as the Bob Long Trio.  Long locally known individually for folk and blues, as a duo they have sung at Focsle singarounds at least once;  and Lorna has turned up solo, accompanying her sweet vocals on guitar, a few times before that.  http://www.bobalong.co.uk

Focsle Music's first outing at Café Reflections, 25 Shirley High St, SO15 3NL.  Find us on the NE side of the street, nr. the Emsworth Rd/Cannon St cross-roads (no longer a traffic junction), glamorously sited between Cash Generator and Ladbrokes!  Licenced, plus tea, coffee and [tbc] snacks on sale.  Popular, good value café during the day, with an growing programme of evening musical events.  The owner is a musician (his band is Johnny the Cat) so the space is lined with music-based images and acoustics-friendly materials, so expect good sound.  We expect to finish at 10:30, or 10:45pm.

Masses of on- & off-street parking around Howards Grove, Vincent St, Cannon St and the service roads behind Shirley High St.  Access from there is all on the flat.  Buses from Romsey, Millbrook, the rest of Shirley, and the City (and beyond:  even Thornhill and elsewhere across the Itchen) run until after 11pm.

13 Sep 2017

More home-made acoustic music at The Guide Dog

Back at 'base' this week.  Hope you’ve got the date-cycle by now.  Start 8pm

Songs, tunes, poems (any genre;  no amplification), one performer at a time.

Free entry, with voluntary raffle.

18 Sep 2017

Added night (Mon.): Debra Chesman MAY be visiting [date/event tbc]

Debra (vocals and [tbc] tea-chest bass), from New York State, used to occupy Jon and Paul's rôle in The Focsle 1993 – 97.  On an occasional visit to the UK, she's hoping to get down to Southampton (to see we're doing it right!), but can't manage a Wednesday, hence this extra MONDAY meet.  Our usual Guide Dog format of working round the room, one potential performer at a time.

27 Sep 2017

Singing and tunes get-together at The Guide Dog

Music of any genre, if unamplified.  Relaxed atmosphere.  8pm start

Working round the circle, everyone present is invited to do a ‘turn’ (but no pressure to).  What's on the musical menu?  Dunno:  it's down to you!

Try some great ales, music and good humour a-plenty between numbers.

Drop in (and out, if you like) of the room, as your availability allows.  Free entry, with voluntary raffle.

11 Oct 2017

More songs, other music 'n' stuff at The Guide Dog

Likely to be the last evening, until March, with one of Focsle Music's organizers, Jon Ellis, present.  If you like your song accompanied by classical guitar, or appreciate fine penny-whistle/recorder playing, get your fix tonight!  Starts 8pm.

Other things of interest

Successful first night…

  "Cosy", Lovely pub", "Good subdued lighting", "Nice feel", "Friendly and helpful staff — the landlord himself saw me to my seat", "Best beer in Southampton":

some comments about The Guide Dog, our new venue.  A newcomer at our first get-together on 9th Aug. echoed my own thoughts:  "Bigger than I recall" [I'd reported space for 24 at a squash:  it must be 30, nestling but comfortable, thus OK for some guest nights].

  About half those there were unknown at the previous Focsle: special thanks to Canary Islander Imar [sp?] who delivered us two wrenching canzones in his native tongue.  A huge voice, full of dramatic contrasts, with authentic flamenco guitar accompaniment:  this is the kind of magic you get by attending regularly.  WE didn't know he was going to be there.

  The Guide Dog, Earls Rd SO14 6SF is a civilized Real Ale haven (with books, board games, no jukebox) near the previous venue.  Usually we'll run a singaround/song-circle format in its back room (The Doghouse [geddit?]), most 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, with occasional visits to Café Reflections in Shirley, for guest nights — our next meet, for example).  Any deviations from this pattern will be posted on our calendar here.

  To join our mailing-list, e-mail paul@focsle.org / jon@focsle.org.  We plan to maintain 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 last few hours before an event (say 5pm Weds.), we may not have e-mail access:  for last-minute contact, TEXT 073 8040 1951.

  The first guest night will be August 23rd, but they won't become regular until Spring 2018.


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



Sunjay Brayne is a young singer and guitarist with a blues edge, and gave us a great evening here a year or two ago.  We booked him again for this May, but he's been chosen to play the title part in "Buddy Holly and the Cricketers" all round the country, so he'll be with us on 30 June instead.  Oh boy!

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