Friday, 25 January 2013

Can you believe this? Now with added 40 and AK

Thanks Cricky, but you have too much time & talent on your hands!!
Quite co-incidentally one of our loyal correspondents also recently passed by a very similar sign to the one spotted and posted yesterday.  

And here it is with added AK and that special extra 40!

Who would have imagined that?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Forty short of the AKs

You see the strangest things around the English countryside and imagine our interest in spying this sign in a little village just inside Oxfordshire.

Whilst it was tempting to "Photoshop" in the relevant missing text to give the blokes a bit of a shock announcing another Double Bill with ladies involved, this temptation has been resisted, mainly on the grounds of not having that particular piece of software or knowing what to do with it.  Anyway, we thought this might be of some passing interest to our loyal viewers so here it is.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sea Shanties ahoy!

Pirates ahoy in the most land-locked of English counties!
Tapping into the myths of The Magnificent AK47, the venerable Auntie BBC is broadcasting a series of programs about Sea Shanties starting this coming Tuesday evening at 22:00 on Radio 2.

The program is presented by Richard Hawley and according to the the BBC website "explores the rich and fascinating tradition of the shanty, a very specific type of folk song that's connected with - but not necessarily about - the sea.

A work song, the shanty has a purpose and a rhythmic structure designed to help mariners carry out their work more easily and divert them from the sheer slog of hauling on ropes to raise sails, pushing capstans round to lift anchors, and manning pumps to empty the bilges.

The heyday of the shanty was around 1840 to 1880, when the Seven Seas were filled with the great full-rigged ships, the barques, the clippers, the windjammers, plying their trade to all points of the compass. It was a century of expanding imperialism, when the Royal Navy did rule the waves and its power and prestige enforced a peace often referred to as Pax Britannica."  Should be fascinating stuff, even for us land-locked scurvy lake-lovers!

A few more links that might be of interest to you include an interesting video of every Mum's favourite TV Choir Master, Gareth Malone, on a program about the book "Songs of the Sea" and the marvellous Port Isaac's Fishermens Friends performing in Cheltenham very soon.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Workshop ON despite the weather

The White Hart in the January snow
The current plan is that today's Workshop is STILL ON.  We will send a final update at 15:00 today if there is any change to this plan.

The roads coming to AK are more than passable, but inside the village they are not great if on foot but cars are making their way round ok and the weather forecast is only for light snow for the rest of the day (see

Obviously be sensible about trekking over here and let us know if you can't make it but what's the worst that could happen?  You get snowed in . . .  in a pub?!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Press ganging new recruits

Unlock your Inner Minstrel
We are having possibly the last call (for a while) for gentlemen to come forward and become a new recruit for our merry singing troupe.

We can help you carry out those New Year’s Resolutions to change your ways for the better!  We are here to help you fill those pledges to yourself and your better halves to: 

1. Get out more and do interesting things (whilst hardly spending any money)
2. Meet new people and make new friends (you will certainly do this with us)
3. Exercise more and keep the brain active (singing is GREAT for this)
4. Lose weight (we can’t guarantee this but you’ll enjoy yourself all the same)

If you are a Bloke who might like to join in the mixture of heartfelt lyrics, (intentionally) “tricky” harmonies, occasional beer and magnificent silliness, tremendous bonhomie, then we have THE opportunity for you.

In the first half of 2013 we plan to consolidate and hone rather than extend our repertoire so anyone considering joining, this would be the ideal time to join in as we will be practically re-learning the songs anew.

We ask but 3 things of our troupe

1. the member can hold a tune to a level appropriate for the rest of the group (eg not a “growler” or  not so good they get frustrated with our eccentricities!)

2. is a decent bloke and fits in with the rest of the Group and does not do anything untoward (like not buying his round!)

3. pays any subscriptions as may be required, all subscriptions being payable on demand and within a reasonable time frame (even allowing for poor memories and general financial incompetence).  

Consider joining us for singing and performing as well as many other experiences including a “Wold Tour” in May and recording in a proper studio, most likely in June, as well as BlokeFest and much more.  The first tasters session is free then Workshops are pro rata per term, first half of the year term fee is £50, second half after the summer recess is £40, which works out at about a maximum cost of £1.75 per hour of fun* according to our tame statistician*!  What a bargain!

* based on some statistically dubious algorithm that prove being in The Magnificent AK47 is more cost effective fun than having Sky TV or other brain numbing activities.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Alone in my Shed Heaven on the Radio?
Imagine this correspondent's excitement when the drudgery of the journey home through thick, mirky fog was punctuated by news of a radio program about coping with life and doing it with Sheds!

A program about Sheds? On the radio? That'll be Shed Town.

In actual fact it was Steven Mangan speaking on the Simon Mayo Show at around 1 hour and 7 minutes and 56 seconds in, to be precise.  Steven describes it as being about "a group of people who leave their ordinary lives behind and go and live in sheds on a beach to escape", "they are all there for different reasons, but it's a sort of benign cult", "it's funny, and it's, er, slightly odd, and it's quite emotional, and it's really interesting". 

Sound familiar??  

They go on to discuss (at around 1:12:00) that "a shed is a very powerful image, people love their shed, it's a haven, it's a storage place and they'd be lost without it, particularly men", "it's the man cave idea", "it's something about our psyche, we need it", "all men lead lives of quiet desperation and it's about trying to escape that." - how very true.

A little more from the scraps of websites that exist about the program say "Shedtown is a dream born out of quiet desperation.  Sitcom about two middle-aged men who, after being made redundant, decide to live on a beach.  Series One has two friends finding themselves slipping inexorably into middle age and throughout Series Two our wooden icon of escape and isolation 'the shed' becomes a symbol of possibility and change; a new community by the sea where our heroes can circumnavigate the mundane, once and for all."

Sounds grand, don't miss it.  Point your iPods or BBC Radio digi iPlayers and the like, or, heavens above! your very own Wireless Radio device towards the venerable BBC2 on Thursday 10th January at 23:00 or the iPlayer thingy.  

If you would like to hear The Magnificent AK47 singing about these vital pieces of modern life, then click here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

More and less dates for your Calendar

It is already looking like a busy year on the Singing Blokes front, with a couple of gigs already announced, numerous workshops, our first "Wold Tour", BlokeFest and a mooted proper recording session. 

In order to help you keep on top off all these goings on we have painstakingly created our very own Google Calendar, which one is led to believe is the very height of modernity and new-fangledness in this techno-age of the Interweb, or so we are told . . . 

Anyway there are some links to this below and if you are clever enough to know what all this means then apparently you will be clever enough to attach it to your iPodular or CleverPhone, so don't ask us how, and good luck!  

In passing, we need to point out that contrary a very good rumour we heard at Yuletide drinkies, the 4 dates for Workshops in April have now been commuted to just 2, on 14th and 28th April, scotching the insinuation that we would be running off with the BlokeFolk round these parts for the entire month - perish the very thought!

But don't trust to luck, email us at to order your very own  copy of our 2013 Magnificent Calendar so you can write it all down on trusty paper - you know it makes sense.

Go on, give it a try, click on some links!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Root out those winter blues

Christmas is over, the New Year Hangover is a receding bad memory and the resolutions to "get fit" hasn't quite lapsed yet but the resolution to "do more fun things" hasn't quite lived up to billing just yet, but here is an opportunity to remedy this latter situation.

Those lovely people, Mr & Mrs Samuel, are playing an integral part of organizing Bradford on Avon's very own Roots and Acoustic Music Festival.

The programme includes a full weekend of music on January 12th & 13th 2013 taking place at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon. The line up includes Johnny Coppin, The Daturas, Nick Sorenson & John Law, Chris's own group The Croutons, Andrew Bazeley, Light Garden and Jess Vincent, to name but a few of our 40+ acts. There'll also be a singing workshop, percussion workshops, a talk on the history of the blues, kids activities, morris dancing, specially brewed beer and fab food from the Fat Fowl restaurant in Bradford on Avon.  

More information is available from - where you can buy day tickets for £10 or weekend tickets at the very reasonable price of £15. Children under 11 are free and there are concessions for 11 - 18 year olds.  Tickets available from the Wiltshire Music Centre (01225 860100).

Who knows, you might bump into one or two people you know.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Getting back to your froots

The Magnificent AK47 owe an oblique, but not inconsiderable, debt to a certain magazine called fROOTS.  Back in the mists of time, or maybe it was even further back in the myths of time, an advert was noticed by a certain someone for an event known as the Sidmouth Folk Festival and ultimately led to a visit to the south coast of merrie England for said festival.  

As part of this line up that year there was a 13 piece Antipodean male voice singing group advertised for the Friday night.  The photo of this lot did not look very enticing but somehow this did not deter our valiant festival goers who ventured along to the warm up session featuring the "best of the Festival" to see what the main acts were coming up and there they witnessed an almost subliminal moment when the men in black (mostly) from Down Under performed.  Low, harmonious and hilarious, we were smitten and duly sought them out after the performance to sign a rapidly purchased CD.  In amongst these giants we got talking to one of them who sounded decidedly Non-Australian who turned out to be our very own ChoirMeister, Mr Chris Samuel, and one thing led to another, but that is a story for another time. . . 

So, how can we repay this enormous debt?  Simple, subscribe to get your own copy now and help ensure the continuing existence of this venerable publication as it seeks to ride the waves of fashion and continue to sail the seas of magical, musical discovery.  Go on, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us!  Do it now! Click here.