What’s On at FOCSLE Music, Southampton

most 2nd & 4th Weds. each month
at The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley,  Southampton  SO14 6SF
PLEASE:  no mail to venue — e-mail one of us for address

Below are the next few weeks’ events.  Our online calendar shows the whole year,
or click here for our current leaflet.  See within info-panels below for the flyer for that event.
We’d appreciate your printing off and distributing them anywhere that will show them.
Where relevant, please duplex [print both sides], cut up and distribute at will:  thanks.
13 Nov 2019

Guests:  SOPHIE WRIGHT, with Richard Wirdnam

Sophie Wright, with accordionist Richard Wirdnam  SOPHIE WRIGHT is known mainly as a member of the music theatre troupes Endangered Species [now disbanded] and Mick Ryan’s Fieldwork, and more recently the folk-/Early Music fusion group Wyvern and her own theatre company Time & Tide, mounting folk-dramas that retell historical stories in words and folksong.  Her appearances as a solo musician are undeservedly occasional, to say the least.  Since seeing her, back in the mid '90s, as support for Graham Moore (FOCSLE Music’s September guest), I used to nag the previous FOCSLE management to include this fine singer-guitarist in their booking-plans, always to no avail.  She even seemed to keep her head below the parapet online and was almost untraceable, despite writing the Dorset Diary column in Folk on Tap magazine for yonks, but we HAVE (a mere 25 years later) nailed a date.
  We’re promised songs we’ll know and some which will be unfamiliar, and she’s bringing fellow Time & Tide-er Richard Wirdnam to add accordion and vocal accompaniment to some songs in the second half.  She sources beautiful, unusual pieces, many from the traditional Hammond Collection, though she writes her own material too, often to Trad. tunes.
  As well as with Richard, Sophie has duo’d (and still does) with Graham Moore, Bob Axford and Ken Stephens.  Currently she is appearing in the Time & Tide show To Win The Day – her own compilation about the women’s perspective on the events of the Tolpuddle Martyrs – and Words Take Wing, covering Thomas Hardy’s use of local news items to help furnish his novels with characters and situations, produced by Wyvern.
  Do get along to such a rare gig, and help dispel Sophie’s oft-expressed modesty re. her talents!

  Please print off copies of Sophie's flyers, and distribute wherever you can.
  If nothing seems to happen when you click / tap, check your Downloads folder (for GM_SWflyrs.pdf), or wherever your set-up may default to save it:  repeated clicks just put more copies of the file there!  Event-flyers are paired with the previous or next guest’s:  duplex-printing makes TWO 2×-sided sheets also covering the guest beyond this one.  This should extend the life of our promo and help spread the word.  Thanks.

  Usual Doghouse Guest night arrangements:  preliminary singaround;  raffle in the break;  no formal entry charge:  we’ll Pass the Hat for Sophie and Richard.
  M.C.  Paul Clarke

27 Nov 2019


"Home-made" music, by you, me, or anyone else musical who attends.

11 Dec 2019


  Popular vocal harmony group, partly made up of FOCSLE Music regulars, SHIRLEY KNOT [yup:  geddit?] return for what may become an annual pre-Xmas booking.  Since last year's experiment with 5-part harmony, they've reverted to 4 voices:  ROSIE MARSHALL, JOHN CONNELL, JOHN MILLER & ROBERT WILSON.  Wide-ranging repertoire, with gorgeous rich harmonies (resounding in our bijou space), and an emphasis on joining in.  Come and polish up your voices in time for our Xmas Party the following week [early, as Xmas Day is the fourth Weds. in December].

  Usual other arrangements:  brief pre-guest singaround, raffle, with alcohol prize, Pass-the-Hat for the musicians.

  M.C.:  Paul Clarke

18 Dec 2019

XMAS PARTY [date t.b.c.]

  This date is provisional.  KING JOHN'S MUMMERS, until 2017 our Xmas Party entertainment for the past Lord-knows-HOW-many years, hold their annual Carol Singing tonight, so we have a dilemma, for whose solution which we invite your input.
  We COULD book somewhere else on the Monday [16th] or Tuesday (both nights, there are other musical activities in The Doghouse) according to:
a) where's available (cheap), and/or
b) whether that venue's within reach of KJM's other veunes that night;  2018's manifestation was The Waterloo Arms, Waterloo Rd, Freemantle, which was a more-than-adequate space, good enough acoustically, but poss. not available on a Tuesday [I'll check];
  or we could miss out again on having the Mummers at our Party this year, and stick to Weds. in The Doghouse.  They usually include The Guide Dog in their Xmas itinerary, and you could easily catch up with them elsewhere over the Festive Season (though their schedule is not yet on their website).  Like or not, FOCSLE Music still has to draw forward the DATE in the calendar, because Xmas Day and our formula'd December meet-date co-incide.

  If you have strong feelings (in fact, any opinion at all) about which of these paths to follow, please relay them to Paul.  Jon will be away then, so can't really influence things.  Please say whether you're available on your preferred date, too.  For the record, I'm for moving dates to accommodate the Mummers, but I'm ready to be swayed by a majority, even a 52% one.

Other things of interest

Most 2nd & 4th Weds.,

FOCSLE Music runs live music events

usually at The Guide Dog pub, on corner of Earls & Ancasta Rds.  (Also usually) alternate meetings feature local or national guests (otherwise home-made music*), almost all unplugged acoustic.
Performers and audience equally welcome.

* currently along “singaround” / song-circle lines (i.e. working round the room, anyone who wishes to is invited to do a ‘turn’, with others joining in where suitable).  References to ‘song’ also include tunes played;  ‘music’ includes stories, poems, etc. being delivered.  Typically, Guest nights are preceded by a singaround, sometimes in lieu of floor-spots
  Jon EllisPaul Clarke
jon@focsle.org 077 7598 2908 / paul@focsle.org 023 8046 2723 (ans.) or [TEXT only, pls. don’t call] 073 8040 1951

  Venue is The Guide Dog, unless stated otherwise.  Re-visit periodically or, if you sign up (see below), you’ll be sent reminders of upcoming events.  This page highlights any breaks to this pattern (date-shifts due to Saints matches, the odd venue-switch for higher-profile guests).  Singarounds may morph into other formats, hence suggesting you check back here every so often.

“Cosy”, “Lovely pub”, “Good subdued lighting”, “Best beer in Southampton”, “So enjoyed myself at the gig:  lovely group of people, so welcoming and friendly”:  some comments about us and The Guide Dog, FOCSLE Music’s civilized Real Ale venue.  Mainly a conversation space, with newspapers, books, board games, and no jukebox.

  For our info-list, e-mail us with your choice of:  performer nights;  ‘home-made’ music;  or both [edit the pre-written message to suit].  We’ll add you to the relevant one.  On an event day, for any late contact try Jon’s mobile, as above.  The main post is usually updated by about noon on the day to confirm that the event is happening (if its first line has no such message, please check in again later;  or ring, if planning to travel a distance).

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