Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Where were you when? Sunny Iceland

It's not every day you achieve the landmark of being liaised with one particular lady for 20+ years and to celebrate the fact, a certain Neil B was whisked away by the good lady in question for a very surprise trip to somewhere he had apparently never considered venturing, namely Iceland.

Much to their amazement they had a really nice time together and the weather was actually more than half decent - maybe a metaphor for their long and fruitful union?!  

Anyway, not being one to miss an opportunity, Neil managed to stow away his TMAK47 T-Shirt and was able to whip it out at an appropriate moment.

So, to the scores.

1. The Location - 5.0 (What a pro!  How much visible signage can you squeeze into a photo?  A sign AND a map!  We are compelled to award top marks).

2. The Pose - 3.5 (Quite a lot of pointing, but maybe not as much pointless grandeur overall, more "informative tour guide").

3. The X-Factor -  3.5 (Not bad, but slightly minimized by the building site peeping through in the background).

Making that a total of 12.0 - The highest score yet on the visible signage front, usually the undoing of so many entrants, but perhaps not as much pointless grandeur as that flying start should have merited - still, good effort.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Where were you when? Gringo goes West

Taken on West Coast, Vancouver Island in the dim and distant past (August 2013), prior to our Gringo stepping off the path of civilisation and onto the West Coast Trail. Reputed as one of the world's top ten hikes, the WCT is a wilderness hike through temperate rainforest that takes about a week to complete. It begins (or ends) on the tiny parcel of land deemed a First Nation Reserve. 

Our intrepid Gringo, no less than Big Chief DR Sweeney made Magnificent strides around the trail and has many tales to tell that only bear the telling with a trusty pint in hand and plenty of time.

And here we go, the scores are in

1. The Location - 4.5 (Not only can we view the iconic Pacheedaht artwork but we can also see that smoke signals are 'old-hat' ... excellent visible signage).

2. The Pose - 4.0 (As much pointless grandeur as a European can muster while stood on one of the few pieces of  land his forefathers didn't acquire during the settlement of this continent, so another good score).

3. The X-Factor -  4.0 (That is one heck of a sign combined with quality pointless grandeur and another fine pair of knees - another good score).

Making that a total of 12.5 - The highest score yet from a bloke on the wildest of trials whilst exposing his lower legs to the mozzies.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!

Here we have yet another fine example of our Wiltshire agricultural heritage being preserved by our continuing interest in local songs.

Often these pieces can be lost as the generations pass unless they are actively preserved, such as the many songs written down by the likes of local heroes Alfred Williams and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Hopefully our rendition of "The Turnip Hoer's Song", a.k.a. "The Vly" will preserve one particular piece for a while longer and we very much hope to explore some more in the coming year.

Over at Magnificent HQ, plans are afoot to incorporate pieces from these great collectors of local folk songs and who knows what exactly will emerge (or when!).

Here for you delectation in the meantime, is this photo parade of the collection of hoes that became misplaced from their not so careful owners one recent gig.  Thankfully we have not had to resort to naming and shaming the miscreants but we will insist that they are labelled in future.

Only remains to say that next time we have such a photo opportunity we will try to time it just a little better so as to be all the more seasonal when we say "Hoe, hoe, hoe, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Where were you when? Absent Bob strikes again in Lake Louise

Once again, our collective globe trotting continues a pace with a recent(ish) entry from our very own Archaeologist / Daring Pilot / Aeriel Photographer in residence, one Bob B, or as he is more commonly known "Absent Bob"!

Not only being a fine contributor to passing on knowledge about local historical landmarks to liven up otherwise not so lively coach trips, he is a bit of a star at these T-Shirt photos.  

This particular pieces is apparently entitled "Pointless Glaciation" and as you can see he has worked "pointing" AND what we can only take his word for it, a glacier, this photo being snapped near the world famous Lake Louise in that there Canadia.

Anyway, the scores are in

1. The Location - 3.5 (Impressive use of landscape although anyone who has ever read one of these "Where were you when" postings will know what is coming.... "no visible signage").

2. The Pose - 4.0 (Encapsulating pointlessness with a great use of actually pointing and no little grandeur, despite the trousers and socks, this scores very well).

3. The X-Factor -  4.0 (Blending a magnificent natural feature, with such pointy pointless grandeur and a fine pair of knees, Absent Bob does it again - another good score).

Making that a total of 11.5 - The highest score yet from a bloke pointing to a world famous natural feature whilst exposing his lower legs.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Vly

This time of year many of us rely on winter root vegetables to bulk out meals and yet the humble turnip seems to be somewhat overlooked as a nutritional additions to hearty eating.

Here, pictured left is a fine example of turnip but it being closely guarded by our very own "stage" Vly as fashioned by those fine yeomen of Stroud who grace our number.

Ever since the "Turnip Hoer Song" crept into our set amongst much excitement of discovering a real Wiltshire song, this pesky fella has been popping up on stages to terrify astounded ChoirMeisters and audiences alike.

Very much an integral part of the set now, we have wandered around with this remarkably life-like replica dangling from various pieces of wire, mainly via fishing rods, as it makes an appearance during the chorus of the piece.

Let's not give too much info away about this and other stage trickery of ours but suffice to say, it is part of a growing armory of items that help make one of our shows so "very unique".
You never know what is going to appear as part of the props for one of our pieces, which is part of the excitement of the shows, for us as much as the amazed audiences.  Here's to more in 2014!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Where were you when? Somewhere in Spooky Australia

Now, we have had quite a few photos of  our Blokes in their Magnificent AK47 T-Shirts in quite a few exotic places around the globe, but claiming that you are sat with "The Spookmeister" himself in a bar somewhere in Australia is quite unusual, especially as is comes from one of the Magnificent "Stroud Crowd", that being our very own Mike P.

But nonetheless, here is the proof, a photo of Mike P, The Spookmeister, and er, a camel with a trilby?  It can only mean that Mike pounced on the High Priest of BlokeSong whist recently performing with Ye Spooky Men's Chorale on their never ending promotion of the quite superb "Spooky Men in History" album.

Anyway, the scores are in

1. The Location - 3.0 (Who's to say where in the world this is, apart from the evidence of the Camel hinting where this might be - regular followers will know that we are about to say "no visible signage").

2. The Pose - 4.0 (Dark night club, who knows where, but with The Spookmeister himself - good score).

3. The X-Factor -  4.0 (Mike P AND a camel wearing a hat?  A highlight of this competition).

Making that a total of 11.0 - The highest score yet from a bloke somewhere in the new world with the mythical leader of BlokeSong.

More please, and hopefully a few more to come before the end of the year.

Wishing you a Merry Yuletide

Wishing you a very Merry Yuletide 
From all the members of The Magnificent AK47
Spot them on the back of the Uffington White Horse or more up close in the photo below.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Where were you when? Final Sing of the year at The Prince Albert Carol Concert

Fabulous singing by all at the world famous Prince Albert Carol Concert in Rodborough near the P.R. of Stroud with many familiar faces.

And in action were a handful of Magnificents, snapped here with ring leaders Bill H 2nd left, Mike P, 4th left and John W 6th left (nearly on the right!).

Beer in hand is Neil B, then finger pointing Ade + lapsed bloke now Man Choir member, Nigel H and Mark T & the seemingly enormously tall Alan H.  Great to see the old folks out and enjoying themselves in the harmless pursuit of singing - Roll on 2014 and many more adventures.

Anyway, the scores are in

1. The Location - 3.5 (Some may claim that the general decor, the chandeliers allegedly taken from a house of ill repute somewhere on the continent and one or two other tell tale signs make it obvious where this is, but no visible signage once again...).

2. The Pose - 4.0 (It is not reported what the finger pointing is about, but we can only conjecture that is indicating who is due to get the next round, but arguably not a lot of pointless grandeur involved).

3. The X-Factor -  4.0 (A lovely group photo to commemorate a wonderful few weeks of hearty community singing in a great atmosphere so an extra 0.5 points for Yuletide cheer).

Making that a total of 11.5 - The highest score yet from a bunch of blokes who just happened to be in the same pub, with the same T-Shirt at the same time - what an odd co-incidence.

More please, and hopefully a few more to come before the end of the year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Final performance of the year at Beer & Carols

Somewhere beyond the throng of merry Ashton Keynes carolers, in the background of picture, you might just about be able to make our a few black T-Shirts worn by the wassailers of The Magnificent AK47.

A goodly number turned out to combine with the many dozens of villagers in a packed White Hart all joining in the seasonal spirit with some hearty renditions of classic carols by the whole pub and also by elements of the AK Village Choir.

The blokes also performed a few pieces on their own to entertain the crowd with some stirring renditions of "Shosholoza" in honour of the memory of Nelson Mandela, as well as "Malpas Wassail" and a couple of impromptu Flying Solo pieces, most notably a rather fine rendition of "Myfanywy" and that other great Welsh number, "Delilah".

A great way to end the year in the very heart of our village in our spiritual home - thanks to all who came along and helped embed this evening as part of a solid Ashton Keynes tradition.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Beer & Carols

The message is a simple one - one of the grand new traditions of Ashton Keynes is the annual "Beer & Carols" evening in The White Hart Pub in the literal heart of our village is on this week.

Not only is the back room our regular rehearsal and workshop space, the bar is very much our spiritual (and ale!) home, where we have had many, many great times with great people.

And we are doing it all again this Thursday 12th December, starting from 19:30 onwards with singing starting some time after that.  Come and join The Magnificent AK47, members from the Ashton Keynes Village Choir and Siren Sisters, all combining to sing a few hearty Yuletide songs.

Hope to see you there to raise your voice and a glass or two.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review of St George's performance

We recently(ish) received a tip off about a rather lovely review of our performance at the Festival of Song at St George's in Bristol back in October.

It starts off with the intriguing opening "With as many costume changes as key changes, it is clear that the Magnificent AK 47 are not your traditional male voice choir", and goes on to state that we may be "more than a little silly but it would be a mistake to dismiss them as mere merry pranksters."

The rest of the piece is well worth a read so pop over to the website in question  at http://thespoonsterspouts.com/music/magnificent-ak-47-bristol-festival-song-2013/ and judge for yourself.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Wadworth's Mini Beer Festival a Big Success

Getting 30+ blokes to turn up at three pick-up points on a single journey was tempting fate, but much to everyone's surprise the trip down to Wadworth's Brewery went without a hitch!

Running to a pretty tight schedule we managed to collect everyone in AK, arrive in Cricklade ahead of schedule and were bang on time in Swidon, where we picked up a certain Spooky Man and his good lady.  

And the trip down was packed with top Wiltshire Landmark spotting with two White Horses and Avebury along the way.

No sooner had we arrived in Devizes than we were disembarking for a "cheeky pint" in a pub belonging to Malcolm Ship of BlokeFest 2013 fame.  Well worth a visit if you are down that way.

Dragging the blokes out, again bang on schedule, we jaunted across the market area back to the Brewery then to The Crown where Wadworths had very kindly laid on a buffet lunch to get everyone fueled up for the afternoon ahead.

Down to work back in the packed Visitor Centre we cranked out a couple of sets to much acclaim from the assemble throng, and judging by the many people videoing us on their phones we made quite an impression.

All too soon our time singing was over but there was still a few minutes in the schedule for one group to go and visit the famous Shire Horses whilst another group were taken for a guided tour into the depths of the old part of the Brewery itself, visiting the original well and the "Training Bar" in the vaults under the main building.

Yet more adventures to come before very long with the forthcoming "Beer and Carols" this Thursday, then a short break before we crank back into action in the New Year with two very big gigs.  It's all go . . .

Friday, 6 December 2013

One more sleep till Wadworths!

We are are off on our Grand Day Out to return to Wadworth's Brewery as part of their Mini Winter Beer Festival in just a few hours, and judging by various emails floating around over the last few days, with much Magnificent excitement!

Only time will tell, but it is building up to be yet another very special event in our growing list of "odd moments", in amongst singing on Wiltshire White Horses, Tugs o' War, Tunneling and many others.

Occasionally the team behind the well oiled administrative mechanism that makes  The Magnificent AK47 such a well drilled multi-hatted Singing Machine likes to prove that they can still organize a P' up in a Brewery, but the blokes being such disciplined singers (ahem!) will of course resist any such temptation until all their songs have been dispatched with aplomb - won't you lads??

Here below are the details of the itinerary, for anyone who hasn't fully read their emails or been paying attention.  There are still a few places spare on the bus coach.

Of course, we would welcome any last minute additions to our coach party, £5 per seat

Off we go then!  Match report and pictures to follow soon(ish).

Timetable of events for Wadworth's Gig
When  What  Where
10:15 Start congregating AK AK Ellisons on the High Road
10:30 Depart AK
10:45 Cricklade pickup Cricklade Town Hall Car Park
11:15 Swindon pickup Swindon Train Station
12:00 Arrive Devizes Devizes
12:15 Nip into The Vaults?
12:45 Arrive at Wadworths
13:00 Pies & Pint = Lunch
13:30 Sing #1
14:00 Break
14:30 Sing #2
15:00 Finish singing
15:15 Tour / Beer Education
16:00 Tour  / Beer Education finish
16:15 Back on Coach to depart Devizes
17:00 Swindon Drop off Swindon Train Station
17:30 Cricklade Drop off Cricklade Town Hall Car Park
17:45 Back in AK AK Ellisons on the High Road

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tis the season to be . . . . Singing!

So, it is now "that time of year" again, and thoughts turn to chestnuts roasting on an open fire and all that.  But you can do much more to keep yourself warm in this Yuletide Season, you can get yourself SINGING!

In case you hadn't noticed, Choirs and singing together are all the rage (again) and what better way to do it than with a great bunch of people, song sheet in one hand and possibly a pint in the other?  But where?

No need to worry, there are at least two places where you can partake of great atmosphere and singing.  Firstly there are the series of Sunday Singing Sessions at the Prince Albert in Stroud that will be packed for the next few weeks from 12:30 to 14:30 with many Magnificent blokes and then there is our very own "Beer and Carols" on Thursday 12th December in The White Hart, Ashton Keynes.

Go on, give it a try, make this a "Very Singing Christmas" and a "Song Filled New Year".