Black Swan Folk Club
- DICK GAUGHAN & ALLAN TAYLOR (11 February). There are still plenty of tickets left for our first Early Music Centre concert of the new season next Tuesday. This has the makings of a really enjoyable −
and interesting − evening, with these old friends sharing the stage and blending their contrasting styles of music making.
The concert begins at 7.30 prompt with a half-hour set by the new line-up of young York-based group OLA: Michael Jary, Helen Bell and new recruit Bella Hardy. Tickets (£10/£8) from the Centre Box Office (01904 658338 −staffed weekday mornings) or at Cassadys Records or ON THE DOOR.
- FUTURE CONCERTS. Don't forget that the divine MAIRE NI CHATHASAIGH & CHRIS NEWMAN are at the Early Music Centre on 25th February, with ample tickets still available. They are followed in April by "big guns" SHOW OF HANDS and WATERSON:CARTHY. Tickets for these two are already half sold or more. Support for Maire & Chris comes from young fiddle player and singer NICKY WARD, with EMILY WEYGANG & BEN HARKER opening for W:C. SoH have requested no support.
- WEBSITE APOLOGY. Our web master Stan Graham offers his apologies for the out-of-date state of the club website recently. Unfortunately, Stan had major problems with his PC set-up following a so-called "upgrade". He has been unable to update the site so far this year, or even access his own e-mails for that matter. Happily, the gremlins have at last been banished and Stan hopes to have things back up-to-date by the end of this week.
- FLOOR ACT POLICY. My musings in the last E-Newsletter generated some verbal feedback but only two formal responses, one from a valued "punter" and one from an MC/Floor Act. I'll reply individually to you two in due course, but meanwhile more comment would be welcomed. Incidentally, we had some grand floor turns in January, with good regulars plus "visitors" who included Soundsphere and Kevin Loughran (Coope Boyes & Simpson), Cath Oss − ex-Cordelia's Dad − and Sue Burgess (Magpiety) and an impromptu set by Whitby Folk Week boss Malcolm Storey on the Pete Morton night. Thanks to all of you floor performers.
- FINANCIAL REPORT . For obscure historical reasons, the Black Swan's financial year runs from February to January. Thus it was that I have just spent an exciting (!) Saturday evening doing the annual accounts.
- The overall picture is quite good, thanks mainly to last year's successful Kate Rusby and Martin Simpson events. Between them they put a "profit" of £635 into club coffers. Some of this (£249) was invested in additional PA kit and some (£167) met the shortfall between Thursday night receipts and payments (guest fees, publicity and administrative costs), leaving a trading surplus on the year of £219.
- I will have copies of a more detailed financial statement available at club meetings for the next few weeks, if you want to know more about where your money goes.
- At financial year end I also look at audience figures. These have been remarkably constant over recent years. The average paying audience last year (i.e. excluding floor acts, latecomers and complimentaries) was 32, compared with 31 in 2001/02 and 2000/01, 32 in 1999/2000 and 33 in 1998/99. Excluding Singers Nights, the average goes up to 38 or about 2/3 of our effective capacity − not at all bad.
- DEREK BRIMSTONE AT HEMINGBROUGH. Some of you will already know of the splendid Singers Club held on the first Sunday of each month at the Crown Inn, Hemingbrough, which is just off the A63 between Barlby and Howden. They are a really nice bunch of people and have a clubroom with great acoustics for playing in (it's a pity we can't move it to York!). Well, they are now branching out into occasional "specials" with a guest artist. The first of these takes place on Saturday 22 nd February at The Crown, with that fine Cockney singer and entertainer DEREK BRIMSTONE , plus the aforementioned KEVIN LOUGHRAN. Tickets are £5, from Mick McNamara on 01757 638731.
- MEANWHILE AT THE BLACK SWAN… After a snow-disrupted Singers Night last Thursday, we have our fingers crossed for better conditions this month. We have the delightful MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ this week, followed by leading young traditionalist (and Black Swan Rapper dancer) DAMIEN BARBER on the 13 th and Scots celebrity ISLA ST CLAIR on the 20 th . Whoever said February was a dull month?