In recent years, we have been keen to set aside some time each year to take our music to pastures new. In this respect, Glossop Labour Club represented the first gig of a four night, 2019, ‘mini-tour’ to new venues in northern England.
We set off to travel north just after lunchtime with the aim of first calling in at our base for the next couple of nights, a Premier Inn in Altrincham. Everything went to plan and we were able to drop off our personal gear at the hotel before getting back in the car to travel the 40 or so minutes to Glossop.
Glossop Labour Club has a wide range of social as well as political events and is very well linked into the folk circuit, hosting a range of folk events. Martin Carthy, Roy Bailey and Mike Harding feature on their record of famous persons passing through the club.
Set in the High Peak area of Derbyshire, Glossop is a pretty town with a lively atmosphere on a Saturday evening. We arrived in plenty of time and, though early, made sure we knew where the venue was, and parked up close by.
A perennial issue I’ve found about travelling and performing is when and what to eat. You need something sustaining (because you can’t perform well if you're hungry and a bit shaky) but not too filling (because you can’t perform well if you're stuffed). So, having parked up, we went looking for something appropriate to eat. We passed a lot of what looked like good and busy eateries but eventually plumped for a quiet little Italian restaurant and had a small plate of lasagne (cannelloni for Rob).
Once we’d settled the bill, it was only a short walk back to the venue, where we met up with the very welcoming host for the evening, Jeremy Dale. The club venue consisted of a slightly raised dias at one end of a nicely proportioned and intimate performance space, with overspill areas at the back and a bar tucked away to the side. So, we carried the gear in from the nearby car and, managed to have a brief chat with Jeremy, set before setting up on stage.
Our plan for the evening was to perform a first half focused on the story of the Spanish Civil War and the evacuation of the Basque Children from Bilbao in May 1937, and then move on to do a second half more focused on contemporary issues. This was akin to the structure that we'd adopted at the Bolton Socialist Club the previous year and intended for the Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party later in our trip.
The room and overspill area filled steadily until the start time of 8.00pm and it was lovely to see that Simon and Barbara from the Basque Children’s Association of ‘37 had travelled over from Sheffield to provide information and talk about the story of the niños to those attending.
The evening went really well and, as always on such evenings, audience members were fascinated to hear the stories of the Basque children. We were also able to give another run out of the updated version of our new song, The Peril is Near, with me on my tenor guitar, Rob on Mandolin, and it seemed to go down well.
Many thanks to Jeremy for his very kind words at the end of the evening.
Sadly, it was past opening hours by the time we got back to Altrincham. Anyway, both of us were dog tired and, after carrying our armfuls of instruments back up to our rooms as quietly as we could manage, we made our arrangements to meet the next morning for breakfast and went off to bed. Lincoln in the Bardo with a cuppa was my nightcap. After all the driving and performing, I didn’t need much rocking to sleep.