Friday, 31 May 2013

The merry month of May

No one could have quite predicted how brilliant this last month has been for our merry troupe of troubadours, but it has turned out to be pretty much everything we had hoped for when all the planning began many months ago on those dark winter night when "pub talk" becomes at its most fanciful, especially a couple of pints into an evening.

Unless you are completely new to this vessel of BlokeDom you will have no doubt been following our ever increasingly ambitious adventures with every increasing incredulity that a bunch of blokes from North, North Wiltshire could dare to attempt such follies.

True though that be, this is no ordinary bunch of blokes, it is now a cracking singing team (or is that "creaking" in some cases?) that can leap off a 52 seater bus coach and melt the hearts of ladies within earshot at a drop of their many hats.

Tis also true that they sing to horses, both the Shire and White varieties, and do a damn fine job of it in the process.  There are quite a few videos and photos that have yet to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public that will emerge over coming weeks showing great displays of bravado, especially when singing "And I Love Her" to a huge Wadworth's Shire horse

Everywhere we have been this past month we have spread our love for BlokeSong and the way we do it down in the depths of our manly tones.  We have sung on many hill tops overlooking White Horses and wonderful views, we have sung in pubs and melted ladies into puddles of bass-soaked emotions, we have dressed up as Pirates and sung Sea Shanties with some of the best on land or sea.

Reading between these lines you might think that we have had quite a time of it this last month, and you'd be right!

So, here's to the next month's worth of adventures, Headline gig in Bristol, our very own festival BlokeFest, gig at the Roundhouse in London, Latvian Ladies gracing us - another great month ahead, but what a very merry month of May we have had this year.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Chippenham Folk Festival - not once, but twice!

Well, this is the "Big One" for this half of the year, one of THE biggest local Festivals and we are very honoured to have been invited back for a second time.  Not only that, but we have been invited to perform twice on the same night.

We begin the evening by taking part in Round The Horn & Back Again 18:30 – 20:30 Arena Stage 1  An Extravaganza of Shanty Singing, which the official program describes as a "veritable host of saucy sailors. Jim Mageean tries to control the Exmouth Shanty Men. Graham Knights, Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman, The Magnificent AK47, Tony & Pearl O’Neill, JigJaw, Barrie & Ingrid Temple and more! Good luck Jim."  The program encourages you to come appropriately dressed as a sailor and join in the fun.

Not long after that we need to high tail it to Concerts at the Consti 20:30 – 23:00 Constitutional Hall to perform with Barrie & Ingrid Temple, The Magnificent AK47s, Craig Morgan Robson and Jez Lowe & m/c is Rosie Upton.  We are due to be on around 21:30.

We are genuinely very excited about the event especially as almost as exciting are two other sessions. . . 

Sing Like a Pirate 10:30 – 11:15 Great Hall
Sea songs for the younger sailors with the Exmouth Shanty Men.

Shanty Workshop 14:30 – 15:30 Yelde Hall
Come along and learn a shanty or two and get a chance of being on the Big Top Stage later! With the Exmouth Shanty Men, Jim Mageean and Graham Knights.

And who knows, we might sneak in some more singing in a pub or two.

Full program listing can be found on their website where you can view the Festival Programme online now (PDF).

Should be a grand day out!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Alfred Williams - Local Hero

It's a long(ish) story, but a few of The Magnificent AK47 have a bit of a thing about a chap called Alfred Williams, who is known as "The Hammerman Poet". Basically he is quite an inspiring example to us all who think we are a little bit "busy" and have a "tough life".  He not only managed to walk several miles to work and back each day, do a physically grueling job working in the GWR workshops, but somehow he taught himself several languages in his spare time and cycled all around the Upper Thames saving old folk songs.

Shamelessly quoting from the website of the Society dedicated to his memory "this summer sees the centenary of Alfred Williams's book about everyday rural life a century ago, called Villages of the White Horse.

The book is the story of a journey that the Wiltshire author took from Basset Down, near Wroughton, just south of Swindon, to Uffington White Horse, and he gives a detailed account of what he encountered on the way.  Alfred looks closely at the character of each town or village on the route, its folklore and peculiarities, reporting in his easy-to-read, natural writing style.

To mark the centenary, the Alfred Williams Heritage Society is putting on an event at the Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall, Uffington, on Sunday, May 19, from 2pm to 5pm.

It will include readings from the book about each of the locations featured in Alfred's books, often by people with special associations with the town or village concerned."

If you fancy a bit of true local culture about a top bloke then get yourself along and some of us might see you there.

And you might like to explore local musician John Cullimore's album about the life of Alfred and The Bailey Sisters.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Hope CiderFest 2013

Considering we had a pretty quiet March and only got in a couple of rehearsals in April, it has suddenly gone a bit bonkers in May and into June before calming down in July and August.

It might not be any coincidence that the days are getting longer and the blossom is finally starting to burst out but suddenly there are gigs everywhere.

Dare we say it, that even after the ravages of the Wold Tour (several of our delicate flowers picked up colds whilst yomping up windy hillsides) have not dimmed our enthusiasm?  Quite the contrary in fact!

Everyone is raring to go for the Stroud Brewery gig, a place where we have performed under the guise of BlokeFest, but have yet to grace the Friday evening "Pick your beer up and stay for a pizza and some more beer" session.  However, we need to save our energies because we are due to be pressed into action again at the Hope CiderFest 2013.

Rarely ones to pass up an opportunity to sing for a worthy cause, especially when they have kindly offered us a pint of Cider and burger by way of recompense, we will be attempting to find Woodchester Mansion, somewhere not too far from Stonehouse, but actually nearer Nympsfield.

Hopefully we won't get too lost getting there in time to perform at about 16:00 or so and there will be a decent crowd to help raise lots of funds for two very good causes.

Only remains to say, we hope to see some of our readers at one of these events, or the others that are coming up very soon.  More soon(ish).

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Where were you when? On The Magnificent Wold Tour

Well, what can we say that hasn't already been muttered during the course of the day and a half that was our very first "Wold Tour"?  An exceptional time was had by all.

Hardly a moment passed during those hours when we weren't either singing, eating, supping ale, singing, walking, posing for daft photos, admiring stupendous view and generally having a brilliant time.

All the fun was organized by a very dedicated team who selflessly checked out every pub and tested every pie that was later consumed by a very grateful gang who boarded the Ellison's bus coach early on Saturday morning.

The first port of call on the trip was the White Horse at Westbury and breath taking view from a breath taking gusty hillside where we knocked out a lusty, wind-swept version of "Concrete" as we gazed over the, er, concrete works below.  After that we were in need of refreshments and took a quick pie and beer stop courtesy of Paul's Pies and The White Horse Brewery's "Village Idiot" (not sure why they thought we might like that particular brew . . . ).

Following that we ventured a few more miles to the town of Devizes and Wadworth's Brewery for a tour around the premises then some beer sampling which was accompanied by entertaining the ladies serving in the bar and the startled visitors to a song or two.  We then continued the tour to visit the impressive sign workshop and we even serenaded one of their Shire Horses with a heartfelt version of "And I love her" - shame it turned out that the horse was actually a bloke!

Undaunted by this we nipped next door to the Brewery for a very hearty meal in The Crown which we would heartily recommend for the quality of the lunch and the speed with which it was brought out for us.

Next we visited the White Horse at Devizes, then on to the White Horse at Cherhill then a quick stop at, er, The White Horse at Compton Bassett to re-create the ancient art of Tug-o-War, thence to, you've guessed it, the Hack Pen White Horse and finally to the final White Horse pub at Winterbourne Bassett for a serenading of unsuspecting ladies and a spot of supper in the midst of a torrential hail storm before heading home to The White Hart (!) and an early bed. 

Anyway, the scores are in

1. The Locations - 4.5 (Great locations, we learnt so much about our county and all the strange go-ings on that prompted people to build daft things on hillsides - unfortunately no visible signs in the photo so we have to be docked the 0.5 points on that technicality).

2. The Pose - 4.5 (Looking exceedingly wind swept as it was a bit nippy up there, the pointless grandeur is personified by the fact that we were all trying to spot the plane supposedly coming to take some aerial photos of us but it could not be seen at that point).

3. The X-Factor -  5.0 (If only for the sheer weight of numbers acting as a multiplier effect).

Making that a total of 14.0 - The highest score ever for 18 blokes having a lovely time in spite of the wind factor.

More please, even if only one bloke at a time.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

"I am just going outside and may be some time."

Well, after so long in the muttering and planning stages, the time has nearly come to cash in those "Brownie Points", smash open your piggy bank or search down the back of the sofa for those few extra pennies of pocket money, work out which Black T-Shirt to wear, leave some food out for the cat and a note to your significant others to let them know "I am just going outside and may be some time".  

The (end of the) Wold Tour is nigh!

To keep it simple there is but one final instruction for all blokes who have signed up for this, be at The White Hart, Ashton Keynes for 9am on Saturday 11th May ready to depart at 9:15am.  No mercy will be shown to anyone dallying as we have a tight schedule and much culture and singing to pack into the one day.

Bring some pocket money and stout outdoor clothes as we will be going outdoors, possibly drinking stout, and definitely wearing clothes - this is a family show and not some youthful Rugby club nonsense, although be prepared for some silliness at some point during the weekend.

We should be back in the village 22:00 ish.

Looking forward to our big day out  - GRAND!

P.S. DO make a special effort to thank significant others in advance for allowing you time off for good behaviour as we will be trying the patience of many family and friends with our absence at various escapades that are planned in the forthcoming couple of months before our Summer recess and the start of the Spooky Man season.

P.P.S. We are not wanting to make light of the context of the original quote used in the title of this posting but it was too good to not use.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

What is the collective noun for Blokes? #2

In celebration of the impending Bloke frenzy that is the "Wold Tour" and the up coming BlokeFest, we thought we would prompt discussion of that most important of questions troubling modern society to ask . . . What is the collective noun for "Blokes"?  

Is it a "Whoop" of Blokes?  Or a "Thicket"?  A "Barrel"?  A "Scrum"?  A "Cluelessness"?

We had plenty of suggestions previously on an earlier outing of this question but can you add any more?  

Either leave a comment here or post something on the BlokeFest facebook page.

One stipulation, keep it clean, this is a family website.


Friday, 3 May 2013

World premier of new song at Stroud Brewery

And the excitement just keeps coming...  We can't contain it anymore!

News has started to leak out about our next planned outing after our "Wold Tour".

And not being ones to keep things quite we thought we had better let people know that The Magnificent AK47, those loveable singing rogues from Ashton Keynes in North, North Wiltshire will be making a raid across the border down to their favourite beverage purveyor, namely Stroud Brewery on Friday 17th May to perform the World Premier of their new piece, "Unsung Hero", a manly homage to Edward Beard Budding, local hero and inventor of the lawnmower.

Reports have also been received that they plan to entertain the Friday night throng who will be innocently picking up their beer order only to find themselves ensnared in a fully blown concert and video shoot.

Caution is being urged by the group's leadership that the lads don't go too crazy sampling all the wares of the Brewery before they start singing as there are a lot of new brews coming through to test.

Hopefully they can contain their enthusiasm and concentrate on hitting the right notes before hitting the bottle - you will just have to come along and see and hear for yourself.

Yet more news to come in the next few days so keep tuning in.  And thanks again to the masterful Bill H for yet another tremendous poster, part of the expanding Magnificent Art Collection.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wold Tour Alert!

We are VERY excited to tell you all about be going on our very own "Wold Tour" in a few days time.  A major landmark for the group and all concerned (ie significant others who will wonder were we have been all day).

This stupendous undertaking has been a work in progress by a crack unit of blokes known as a C.A.M.E.L. (Committee Acting Mostly at Executive Level) for over a year now since we first floated the idea and ran it up the flagpole to see if it had any legs on it.  Much selfless research into the various pubs and locations has been undertaken by all involved and our gratitude is deep, heck, we might even buy them a pint by way of thanks.

The basic plan is to get on an Ellison's Coach (not a bus, in case you are aware of that particular in-joke), go to Wadworth's Brewery in Devizes then create a unique series of sonic experiences as we serenade several of Wiltshire's iconic White Horse chalk hill figures and visit hostelries of the same name.  Timings and other details are (barely) visible on the screen grab of the very magnificent poster that has been created by Brother Bill H (much gratitude and beer tokens owed).

So, what else is involved?
  • some singing
  • a complementary pie (steak and ale pie or homity pie) 
  • a complementary pint (from either the White Horse Brewery or Stroud Brewery)
  • a tour and 'taste of beer' at Wadworths' Brewery
  • a lunchtime meal (see here to view menu)
  • some more singing
  • an evening meal (meat or veg chilli)
  • a souvenir poster
  • Tug-o-War in an attempt to re-enact an historic Wiltshire event (more later)
  • late night singing in The White Hart
In other words, a pretty full on day.  Hopefully a very memorable one, provided the lads don't over do things.

The pubs have been warned but are apparently still very excited that we are coming and we are sure to get a warm reception.

We will tell you more about what is planned for Sunday in the next exciting episode - so until then.

P.S.  If you are a lapsed member of the group, or thinking about joining and you would like to come along, we have a few places still available on the bus, sorry, coach, so please email us at to let us know and we can come to some arrangement.