FOCSLE Music, Southampton’s

our live F2F activities are currently suspended until further notice
at The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley,  Southampton  SO14 6SF
PLEASE:  no mail to venue — e-mail one of us for address

During the “lockdown”, we’re ceasing meeting face-to-face [F2F].
Meantime, EVERY Weds., 8pm (BST = 19:00 GMT, = 15:00 [3pm] EST / New York Time),
we continue to make music virtually, via Zoom.
13/05/20:   Note temporary CHANGE this week


Brigitte, who’s kindly let FOCSLE Music use her Zoom subscriber package, is away today,
so can’t turn on Host facility for someone else to showrun.  I’m missing too.  Hostless
Meetings CAN still be run, but relying on each to Mute themselves may be messy.
Debra, who used to run The Focsle and who usually attends, has gamely offered to MC.
She MAY receive the Host Key from Brigitte in time, granting her the controls she needs.
If not, please go the extra [social?] distance and take responsibility for silencing
your own mic. when expected.  Thank you.
So, please try usual link first.  If Debra decides it’s too much of a free-for-all,
you’ll have to operate via Paul's link, with its breaks every 40 mins.
No password required, for either.
For speediest transition
[if need be] and rejoining, if my package has to be used
for a second tranche, pls. copy these links somewhere handy (or keep the
latest circular e-mail to hand, for easy access).

Pub re-openings are unlikely to start before July.  I can’t see, even with ‘best-case’ specs on,
our resuming before the autumn.  Do re-visit this page for updates:  we’ll post here first,
even before e-mailing our list.

All our guests for the period have agreed to postpone their gigs.
Do stay well, all of you.

Bearing in mind the above, obviously, what were the next few weeks’ planned events appear below.  Our online calendar shows the whole year.
27 May 2020

Singaround:   CANCELLED

TONIGHT’S EVENT CANCELLED.  This page is where we’ll post updates first.  Also, in case they don’t inform us(!), you can check whether the The Guide Dog itself is open or closed on its Facebook page.

people having fun at The Focsle singaround

  "Showcase" means that the M.C., usually selected from our pool of frequent or regular attenders, will perform a short 'set' [usually 2 numbers] each time their turn comes round.  [t.b.c.] Periodic visitor SUE ANDERSON (vocal) shows off her range of unfamiliar Trad., quasi-Trad. and contemporary material, some humorous.  One particularly rare element comprises memorable, through-to-the-bone songs by LES SULLIVAN, intensely delivered.  Her repertoire is also populated by the songs of MICK RYAN.  

  Text 073 8040 1951, or call / text 077 7598 2908 [after March 19th], or e-mail about tonight's non-event.

10 Jun 2020

Singaround   CANCELLED

  TONIGHT’S EVENT CANCELLED.  This page is where we’ll post updates first.  Also, in case they don’t inform us(!), you can check whether the The Guide Dog itself is open or closed on its Facebook page.

people having fun at The Focsle singaround

  If not hosted "Showcase"-style, M.C. most likely Jon Ellis.

  Call / text 077 7598 2908 [after March 19th], or e-mail about tonight's non-event.

17 Jun 2020

Guests:   CANCELLED  Brian Hooper & his various duos

  TONIGHT’S EVENT POSTPONED but will be rescheduled if so (to be hoped later this year).
  This page is where we’ll post updates first.  Also, in case they don’t inform us(!), you can check whether the The Guide Dog itself is open or closed on its Facebook page.

  BRIAN HOOPER is easily FOCSLE Music’s longest-standing regular attender, and part of several musical outfits, of which three play for us tonight.  Blues ace PETE HARRIS shows no signs of slowing down after nearly 40 years, gigging all over the South and beyond.  Their duo DOUBLE CROSS plays a broad range of U.S. material.  TONY FRY, performing only rarely these days, dusts off his guitar to recreate the HOOPER & FRY sound from the early '90s:  contemporary folk song, with high-voiced harmony vocals.  Frontman of JEFF HENRY’S GHOST RIDERS, Brian’s most recent partner also appears regularly solo, as singer-guitarist and songwriter, echoing much of HOOPER & HENRY’s output.

  BRIAN has been involved in the folk world since the '60s, and with this club since 1975, as MC [and author on the subject], frequent guest, even more frequent floor-singer, latterly its Organizer, plus an irrepressible humorist and all-round good egg [the wry pedant in him would insist that ALL eggs are round…   it hurts the chicken, elsewise];  in fact, he’s the nearest thing there is to a “Mr Fo’c’sle”!  Though he stood down from running it in June 2017, his experience is still invaluable to those taking FOCSLE Music on its next steps.

  He’s a singer and guitarist (with mandolin, ukulele, mandola, harmonica and bouzouki up his sleeve) with eclectic tastes;  broadly, anything with melody, especially from the '60s, but lots earlier and later, and / or with subtle messages;  plus an impressively varied explosion of his own compositions over a purple patch of about 10 years.  With the rare mix of humour and seriousness, this outpouring covers topics as diverse as unfaithful lovers, Southampton, campanology, gambling, God, and the after-effects of too much curry [you just have to be there… ].  Collaboration weaves throughout his musical arc:  as well as tonight’s duos, he was a member of CATS WHISKERS (the Fo’c’sle F. C.’s “house” band during the '80s), with TONY and JEFF and ANNETTE COSTELLO.

  DOUBLE CROSS, the earliest, has recently revived, covering BRIAN and PETE’s joint interest in Americana, delivered between one-liners of historic value [THEY haven’t changed in 40 years, either].  Later, HOOPER & FRY, a spin-off from his and TONY’s time in CATS WHISKERS, became another of “Brian’s serial infidelities”, to quote one A. J. Fry*  :-)   In the 2000s, the still-current HOOPER & HENRY took over, spawning several CDs [most available tonight] and becoming part of the team that wrote and staged the highly-regarded Look Out!, Southampton’s Titanic Story in Song.

  Usual Doghouse Guest night arrangements:  preliminary singaround;  raffle in the break;  no formal entry charge — please buy raffle tickets, or put some consideration in the tin.  M.C.: t.b.c. [the best M.C. in the room is one of tonight’s guests;  so, regrettably, we can hardly ask HIM to do it!]

* also “He’s very much the Boris Johnson of folk music”.  The mind boggles.

  Text 073 8040 1951, or e-mail about tonight's event.

24 Jun 2020

Guest:   CANCELLED  Luke Futcher

  TONIGHT’S EVENT POSTPONED but will be rescheduled if so (to be hoped later this year).
  This page is where we’ll post updates first.  Also, in case they don’t inform us(!), you can check whether the The Guide Dog itself is open or closed on its Facebook page.

Luke Futcher, with guitar

  Last here with vocalist SARAH BOAK in 2018, singer/guitarist LUKE FUTCHER makes a welcome return visit.  Hailing from Salisbury, LUKE sings a mix of Swing, Blues and Roots, backed by his 1930s-influenced guitar style.  Expect to hear a selection of foot-tapping standards played alongside more obscure material and the odd novelty tune from the archives.  He may bring a sidekick to accompany him on some numbers.

  This is the first to be fixed of Jon Ellis's choice of guests this year (his bookings will occupy most of the summer and autumn).  He'll probably M.C. tonight.

  Ring 077 7598 2908 [after March 18th], text 073 8040 1951, or e-mail about tonight's event.

1 Jul 2020

Southampton ‘Steady’ Session — not run by FOCSLE Music

  Do check Sam Horlock's Facebook page, for confirmation that this meet is running, and (if you want to join in) you need this tunebook.

8 Jul 2020

[tbc] Guest:

15 Jul 2020

[tbc] Singaround

22 Jul 2020

[tbc] Guest:

Other things of interest

Most Wednesdays*,

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.

* first Weds. of most months are occupied by Southampton ‘Steady’ Sessions (similar genre to ours, but played from sheet-music at a pace suitable for those learning their craft), whose details are listed in our diary, left

** 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).  Specific SIngaround evenings are, for a trial period, run "Showcase"-style:  the M.C. [different each event] delivers 2 or 3 numbers every circuit of the room.  References to ‘song’ also include tunes played;  ‘music’ includes stories, poems, etc. being delivered.  Typically, Guest nights are preceded by a singaround, mostly in lieu of floor-spots
  Paul Clarke 023 8046 2723 (ans.) or [TEXT only, pls. don’t call] 073 8040 1951 / [not for immediate info about upcoming events:  Jon Ellis lives in India for the duration of G.M.T.]

  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 football 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”, “Can we take you home with us?  We could use you on our next recording”:  some comments about us, our chorus-singing, 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 (e.g. an hour beforehand) try texting Paul’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