To get us in the mood for his Faber Social at the House of St Barnabus on the 29th March, Andrew Weatherall has put together a glorious mixtape entitled STONE BOAT SATURDAY (PSYCHE NO. 6). For your listening pleasure….
The House of St. Barnabas and Faber Social, in association with Festival No.6, are proud to present ANDREW WEATHERALL’S SOCIAL on Saturday 29 March 2014. Part of The House of St Barnabas’ ongoing Culture Series, this is the first of their “Collaborations” series for spring 2014.
Since April 2013 Andrew Weatherall has held the year-long role of Faber Social’s inaugural Artist in Residence, undertaking projects as broad as annotating and providing the soundtrack to Michael Smith’s recent novel Unreal City, or creating one-off pieces of art, to composing the music to the forthcoming Faber Social podcast series.
As Faber Social prepares to announce the next Faber Social Artist in Residence exclusively at this event, they present, in creative collaboration with The House of St Barnabas and Festival No.6, a unique day of cultural happenings curated by Andrew Weatherall. Featuring interviews, music and art from Andrew, Irmin Schmidt of CAN, Green Gartside, Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) writer Emma Warren, musicians Cian Nugent and Mike Garry & Joe Duddell, writer and filmmaker Michael Smith, writer and actress Sophie Parkin, plus more to be announced.
Where: The House of St. Barnabas, 1 Greek St, London, W1D 4NQ
When: March 29 2014. Doors open at 15:00
Tickets: £30 in advance
Some nights stick in my memory. A Saturday evening in the summer of 1966, walking into the Three Cranes pub in Sheffield. I turned and saw a taxi draw up and, as the back door opened, a huge guitar case swung out, followed by a man I instantly recognised as Alex Campbell. He paid the driver and followed me into the tap room, nodded a greeting to everyone and anyone, put the guitar case down and, coming to stand next to me at the bar, ordered a half of bitter and a large Scotch.
He was about forty, tall with dark wavy hair and a goatee beard. He wore a blue Levi denim jacket and blue jeans, an outfit like I’d never seen before. I was sixteen in my tweed jacket and here was this heroic figure, this famous, rip-roaring folk singer who I had read about in the Melody Maker and he was standing next to me at the bar. “Good to see you again Alex,” someone greeted him. “Hell, yeah!” he bellowed and disappeared up the stairs to the folk club. I was mesmerised and the night hadn’t even begun.
In 1966 Alex Campbell was probably the most popular singer on the British folk club circuit. He came from Glasgow and he epitomised the hard-drinking, hard-travelling troubadour. He was loud and raucous and he worked an audience with a deftness honed while busking on the streets of Paris. At the same time he could sing a song with a tenderness that brought tears to your eyes. That night he did Tom Paxton’s Last Thing on My Mind, slowly, almost laboured, the guitar accompaniment at its most basic. If anyone else had performed the song in that way they would have died the death; Alex had the whole club hanging on every word of each verse and joining in on the chorus.
What else do I recall of that evening? His guitar – a big sunburst Gibson J200 that he announced had cost four hundred pounds. The detail of the songs he sang has faded as the years have passed but I remember the Mingulay Boat Song and Woody Guthrie’s Deportees and him speaking of Guthrie and how he was dying in an American hospital. He connected with the audience as though he knew everybody in the room, chatting between songs, funny tales that made you laugh and at the same time enhanced his troubadour image: “Last year I worked three hundred and fifty seven nights and the other day a guy comes up me and says, ‘Mr Campbell, what’s your job, what do you do for a living?’” Then he sang a song that, whenever I’ve heard it since, I always think back to that magical summer evening in 1966, I’ve Been On The Road, So Long.
When I got home my dad asked me where I’d been. I said the Barley Mow folk club at the Three Cranes and I’d seen Alex Campbell. “Who’s he?” he said. I said, “He’s a legend.” I believed it all those years ago. I still believe it today.
— JP Bean, author of Singing From The Floor
For your listening pleasure, JP Bean has curated a folk-themed spotify playlist. Take a listen in the link below.
We welcome you to join us in a celebration of all things folk with our good friends from The Local, London’s foremost hub of quiet music and the team behind the wonderful Shhh and The End Festivals.
JP Bean joins us from Sheffield to discuss his new book ‘Singing from the Floor: A History of British Folk Clubs’, which was the first acquisition for Faber by editor-at-large Jarvis Cocker. Singing from the Floor tells the story of smokey rooms above pubs, bare rooms with battered stools and beer-stained tables, where the stage was little more than a scrap of carpet and sound systems were unheard of. This is where an acoustic revolution took place in Britain in the 1950s and 60s.
He is joined by William Atkins reading from The Moor, which is published by Faber & Faber in May. In this deeply personal journey across our nation’s most forbidding and most mysterious terrain, William Atkins takes the reader from south to north, in search of the heart of this elusive landscape. His account is both travelogue and natural history, and an exploration of moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our literature, history and psyche.
We have live music from BBC 6Music favourite London based singer-songwriter Sophie Jamieson and Jack Cheshire, described by the Sunday Times as “…exquisite melancholy song writing in the finest traditions of mildly psychedelic, quintessentially English, stoner folk.” DJ Howard Monk completes the evening spinning folk selections away from his monthly residence at Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel.
Where: The Social, 5 Little Portland St, London W1W 7JD
When: Tuesday 25th February 2014. Doors open at 7pm, event starts at 8pm
Tickets cost £7 in advance / £9 on the door and are available to buy here.