Last night's Storyclub was a rare treat - it's not often that we get Tyburn Jig AND the Storyfella and Raventales and David Heathfield plus ourselves, Widsith and Deor, all at the same event. We're regulars, and Tyburn Jig run the evening, but the others live a long way off and/or are often busy, so it's quite an occasion to have such a gathering of professional tellers all in the same informal setting. Dave and Jon (of Tyburn Jig) did epic Celtic tales one leading on from the other (you could tell they'd just returned from Outlore!) with their customary aplomb and Michael (of Raventales and fresh from the Lying Competition at the Crick Crack Club in London), did a lovely 'feelgood' Robin Hood tale set in May...I could almost hear the rustle of the trees, (and smell the ordure of the dungeon!) and I loved his interpretation. He set it in the time of Edward II which was also interesting, rather than Richard the Lionheart/King John. A classic rescue adventure full of cunning and cameraderie! And told with Michael's usual effortlessness and unerringly deft touch.
Clive (the Storyfella) told a spooky tale of his own devising, called 'Hawthorn Cottage' and it was splendidly sinister, which contrasted nicely with the seemingly easy-going and gossipy character he chose to play in order to narrate it. It had a dark ending, yet a fitting one too, and we were all on the edge of our seats (as is often the case with Clive's tales!). Also cleverly, it had a traditional feel while being set in the modern day.
Deor told a fairly dark story about a man who chooses Death as his son's foster-father! But there were some good laughs before the grim ending, and it went down well; and I told a rather nice tale I'd meant to tell at some point, but never had (choosing one at the last minute! as is too often the case lately, as things are so busy). But the story was so strong - of hospitality and grace outdoing fear and violence in its power - that I didn't disgrace the company. To round off the evening, David (Heathfield) told a fine - 'who was stupid? the man or the donkey?!' - story, with djembe drum and a sung chorus which we all joined in! I am always in two minds about choruses - some work to enhance and some patronise the audience. This one however I'm happy to say was firmly in the former uplifting category, and made us all just feel more a part of the story! (which is of course the true function of a good chorus done properly). It had a comic ending of the satirical-wisdom variety, which I liked a lot. Finally Jon told a very short cryptic Zen-style word-of-widsom/joke, and then it was time for the storyteller's hobnob! As we all talked of gigs both good and bad, books read and books written, events organized and plans for shows - and what good fun that was.
Having got completely soaked in the rain earlier today, jeans wringing wet, and all layers needing the radiator, (despite a recently-bought waterproof jacket - the second in a useless line of such items!), the storytelling van being away in Somerset waiting to be mended, the Spoken/Written saga, and other stuff to worry about, i.e. despite being in a filthy temper - as I recalled last night to write this blog, by the end of writing the above, the clouds had lifted both from my mood, and the sky...
Just a roundabout way of saying - what a night. How great it was to see them all. And what a brilliant thing is the Storyclub. Thanks threefold to Jon, Dave, Clive, Michael, and David, and our delightful non-teller regulars, for making it what it is.