Regular readers will know that six months ago I left my city boy life behind, dropped down a couple of gears and pitched up in the country to a spot 100 miles north (and five degrees colder). After what I can only describe as a kangaroo start, I think I'm beginning to embrace rural life: I ramble (as in walking, I've always done the other sort), bake bread, prop up the bar of our local, I'm thinking of joining the local bellringers and I tut like a native when the flatlanders start arriving with their bloody caravans.
We still have culture, you just have to look for it in different places; concert halls and clubs have given way to village halls and backrooms in pubs. Much more civilized. Saturday night being a case in point.
It's only a hop, skip and a jump to the Memorial Hall where, playing to a near sell out crowd (it must have been nudging three figures), an all star bill gave of their time freely to play a charity gig in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. David Quinn, Pick-a-String, David Swann, Four Quarters (well, One Quarter, to be precise, owing to illness), Sarah Dean and Anna Shannon performed with great aplomb and ensured they'll all be back by popular demand next time.
But the star turn, for me, was a veteran of the Hull music scene - Joe Solo. Once head honcho of Lithium Joe (John Peel used to play them in the mid '90s), he now plays, well, solo. These days he can be heard on Radio 2's folk programme where Mike Harding plays selections from his new album, If Peel Street Could Talk. His demeanor is a cross between Woody Guthrie and Joe Strummer, while his left wing credentials and anti-war material are pure Billy Bragg. But then Bragg never wrote anything as poignant as The Twelfth Of November: a song directed at war mongering politicians about burying the dead on the battlefield after peace has been declared - when he sang it, the room was deathly quiet. It's taken from his Potter's Field album which follows characters caught up in The First World War - he's also written an accompanying book, Stories From Potter's Field. He only played a brief twenty minute set but I could have listened to him all night.
This is from Peel Street.
A big thank you to Martin and Penny Robertson, without whom etc. etc.