.....It’s off to Hove we go....Hove Folk Club, 3rd May 2013

Albeit tired from the journey back from Spain, the brilliant sunshine perked us both up no end as we set off for the south coast for our first ever visit to the Hove Folk Club, organised by none other than the irrepressible Robb Johnson himself.

Unfortunately, the prospect of a sunny and dry bank holiday had encouraged many to leave work a little early and set off o journeys for distant parts. We could tell, even on the suburban roads of leafy St Albans, this was going to be an epic journey – and so it came to pass. Slow moving traffic was signalled for junctions 17 to 13 and junctions 10-7 of the M25 and I have to confess that I didn’t see that much of an improvement in the gap in between. The four hours to Hove was just a little shy of the time it took us to reach Bilbao a few days earlier.

However, we were there in time to meet up with Robb ahead of the club opening; so all was well. The club meets in a nice sized room above an excellent real-ale pub (The Poet’s Corner on Montgomery Street). It is a well supported club and the room filled up quickly. As with so many clubs, the welcome was warm and we were pleased, as always, to see the familiar faces of friends and family who lived in the local area.

Robb kicked the evening off in characteristically pugnacious style which really got the room in the mood. There was then a healthy round of floor singers, singing a wide range of traditional and self-penned material.

We felt we did a good first set and certainly enjoyed some lively conversations with club members during the break. The second half of the evening followed much the same pattern with Robb kicking off with a new song and club members providing some excellent floorspots.

In the first half, we had rolled out our new medley of two Breton tunes and a well known French tune without any mishaps - which was nice after all the hard work we had put into them. Similarly, in the second half, we played for the very first time in public our translation of the French song L’Amant de Nantes, as learned from the wonderful playing of both La Bergère and La Chavannée. I am pleased to say we played it well and it was well received by the audience.

With encouragement from club members, Robb kindly allowed the second half to push a little beyond the declared closing time for the club but, sensitive to the neighbours, we kept our encore nice and quiet and finished off with the Spanish lullaby Añada Pa Julia.

Many thanks to all at the Hove Folk Club, and to Robb Johnson in particular, for a very generous and warm welcome.

Thankfully the M25 was pretty clear on the way back apart from the endless bouts of lane closures, and we were home for 1.30am.