What’s On at FOCSLE Music, Southampton

most 1st & 5th Tues., and most 2nd & 4th Weds., each month
at The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley,  Southampton  SO14 6SF
Occasionally, elsewhere in the city

Below are the next few weeks’ events.  Our online calendar shows the whole year,
or click here for our current leaflet.  Please duplex [print both sides, creating 4 copies] and distribute at will:  thanks.

To read what FOCSLE Music co-Organizer Jon Ellis has been up to in the sub-Continent, check this out.
Song of the Week: The Sweet Nightingale
26 Mar 2019

SINGAROUND [instead of Weds. 27th]

  No theme, unless we implement an ad hoc ban on song-/tune-titles containing words beginning with B [I daren’t mention why, but imminent March 29th is a clue]  Shucks!  That puts paid to my rendering of “Boom Bang-a-Bang Bang” (and be thankful for small mercies… )

  Usual optional raffle (with wine and – subject to enough attendance – confectionery, prize(s)), voluntary entry contribution, and other arrangements, etc.

27 Mar 2019

NO MEET: we’re going to Dorchester – JOIN US?

  We’re cancelling tonight’s singaround (on Tues 26th instead), to allow some our regularrs and admin. team to attend To WIn The Day at the Court House (now branded Shire Hall), Dorchester (http://www.shirehalldorset.org).  This is a "folk drama" [with trad. and original music] by Sophie Wright (a long-overdue future guest) and the performing group she's a member of, Time & Tide, with songs giving the women's slant on the events surrounding The Tolpuddle Martyrs.  March 27th is the 185th anniversary of their trial, which happened in the very room To Win The Day is being performed, lending the performance a palpably charged atmosphere (I saw Tolpuddle Man, Graham Moore's folk opera, in the same venue, and can vouch for that extra frisson).  e-mail Paul (see sidebar) to join us on this trip.

  Tx are £12/£10.  We'll organize cars:  we hope one will run from Lymington, or Brockenhurst, too;  you'll need to re-imburse your driver c.£4 for fuel if there are five in the car.  Recommend eating in the car on the way down, so we don’t have to leave over-early.  Reckon on leaving So’ton about 5:30pm (if you’d prefer a sit-down meal [e.g. in Dorchester], there may be enough people to make a carful who would leave earlier than this), Lymo/Brock about 6pm.  Performance ends c.9:30, so return to So’ton by 11:30, New Forest c.11pm.

2 Apr 2019


  Our first one of these in the Tuesday strand.  It may well be co-Organizer Jon Ellis’ (vocal, guitar, banjo, mandolin, penny whistle) first meet since returning from his annual winter break in India ["may" because, now he lives in Lymington, his attendance can depend on whether he’s working in Southampton on a particular day].

  M.C.:  [most likely] Paul Clarke.  Usual Doghouse format, with voluntary entry contribution, optional raffle, bit of off-the-wall humour, retc. 

10 Apr 2019


The Elderlies playing and singing

  Dave Betteridge and Tom Callaghan (vocals, guitars), both seasoned performers on the local scene, joined forces over a decade ago to create THE ELDERLYS, interpreting Everly Brothers’ songs and other music of that era, within a wider musical mix.  Both have been part of previous musical groupings for as long as I’ve been attending folk clubs (Dave was in a trio called The Southern Gents about 25 years ago).  For variety, we’ve invited them to present separate solo sets first, in addition to their polished duo renderings of rock’n’roll nostalgia, etc.  Go off into the nght with a spring in your step!

  We’ll Pass the Hat for Dave and Tom.  Other usual Doghouse Guest pattern applies:  c.40 mins. of singaround, followed by one or two support acts (t.b.a.).  The exact flow of the remainder, including when any second floor-singer does their bit, will be up to the main guests.  They may choose to each perform their solo slot uninterrupted, or take turns delivering shorter sets (over about one hour).  They’ll round off the evening with c.30 mins. of their typical ELDERLYS material.
  Raffle in the break, with alcohol and (usually) confectionery to win;  possibly, our last ever chance to present French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Maltese, etc. wine as a prize  :-)  At FOCSLE Music, we haven’t been stock-piling [honest:  that’s the last B-related reference on these pages.  Ever.  Unless, of couse, there’s an extension…  ]

24 Apr 2019


  Smoky-toned vocalist HEATHER BRADFORD has been in several line-ups, esp. noted for being one third of the late lamented all-female a capella group Hen Party (with Sarah Morgan & Alison Muir).  A long-time Focsle supporter, she brings with her the talents of fiddler LEWIS WOOD.  He was Vice-President of the University Folk Society, whose instrumentalists meet most Mondays in "The Doghouse" to play what they've practised in a room on campus earlier that evening.  Formerly half of clarinet/fiddle duo Gentile & Wood, he can also be found at some Doghouse Sessions, every fourth Monday, playing along with (or occasionally leading) many other semi-pro musicians in an informal session.  Intense energy, and a relaxed bowing technique (reminiscent of Ben Paley), are among his hallmarks.

  M.C.:  Jon Ellis.  Support to include Robbie Williams [the less household-name one], a regular at Woolston & Burseldon F. C.

8 May 2019


  M.C.:  most likely our new third co-Organizer, ALAN SLIPPER.

14 May 2019


Beggars Belief: Ali Campion, Mary Lee, Ann Stonehouse and Barry Wake

  We’re trying the rare tight squeeze of a four-piece in The Doghouse tonight, with BEGGAR’S BELIEF, drawing personnel from points around the city’s hinterland.  Ali Campion (vocal, ukulele), Mary Lee (vocal) [both formerly of Three’s Company], Ann Stonehouse (vocal, fiddle, accordion) & Barry Wake (vocal, guitar, banjo) have previously combined multiple talents [along with others] in White Star Line-up, convened to perform Look Out!, Southampton's Titanic musical story.

Other things of interest

Most 2nd & 4th Weds., and
– NEW for 2019 – 
most 1st5th Tuesdays

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.
  Paul Clarke (& Jon Ellis in absentia)
 paul@focsle.org [TEXT only] 073 8040 1951 or 023 8046 2723 (ans.) / jon@focsle.org 077 7598 2908 / [mainly for singarounds] alan@focsle.org 023 8089 4987 (ans.)

  The Calendar shows dates of all our planned evenings, beyond those visible here.  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.  The diary, on 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.  We hope to have a third contact very soon, just for home-made evenings.  On an event day, for any late contact try 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