Birthday celebrations in Bowes Park Folk Club, 6th May 2016

It was both a great pleasure and an honour to be the guests of Bowes Park Folk Club on the occasion of its third birthday and it is abundantly clear that this particular toddler is in very rude health.

The club meets in a pleasant Greek restaurant called Mum’s Bistro near Bowes Park tube station. The shape of the restaurant itself opens out from the performance area to create a natural auditorium. Club members begin arriving from around 7.00pm onwards and can order good drink and excellent food throughout the evening. Seated around tables rather than rows, the club possesses a pleasant, cafe-style, atmosphere.

Expertly led by Mary Blake, ably supported by sound technicians Nick and Ian, the club is very well organised and welcoming. It is also a talented and a listening club. The floor spots were, without exception, very good and we had everything from tunes played on the harp to some music hall classics, with some superb traditional sets from Mary, Nick and Annie.

It was extremely gratifying to see the restaurant packed for the performance. In addition to excellent support on the evening from club regulars, it was wonderful to see friends from the Basque Children of ’37 Association there in strength and to know that some in the audience had heard us recently on the radio and decided to come and see us play live.

Feedback we received from audience members at the break and the end of the evening was universally encouraging, with different songs played and stories told touching and affecting audience members in different ways.

There is a theory that the word ‘bistro’ comes from the Russian word for ‘quickly’ (heard from impatient Russian officers in Parisian restaurants during their occupation of the city in 1814). I don’t know whether this is true but certainly our enjoyment when playing at Mum’s Bistro led our evening to pass in the wink of an eye. That feels the measure of a good night out.

We would like to thank Mary and her team, first, for having the vision and energy to establish a new folk club in such a vibrant setting and, second, for inviting us along to perform there (and blow out the birthday cake candles). We wish her and all at the Bowes Park Folk Club every success and hope one day to return and play there again.