Singing on the Telephone

It should have been a ‘Stink Normales’ ‘Singers Night’ at Bonn Folk Club, but, as regulars will know only too well, nothing is ever ‘Normal’, and the only predictable thing about Folk Club evenings is their unpredictablility.   Part of the blame for which, on this particular Friday evening, rests with Barry Roshto.  It was he who suggested at a recent meet that everyone should bring along a song relating to telephones.

John Harrison grabbed the theme and ran with it from the off with his opening lines from the Chuck Berry classic  “Long distance information, get me Memphis Tennessee…”  Ably assisited by a young lady on piano who was too shy to give her name when requested to do so by John – but actually had the same surname as he did, and turned out – to everyones amazement – to be his daughter Jenny.  (Okay, we all knew that, but don’t tell John).

In amongst the many gems of the evening there were indeed a good many telephone songs:  Alvaro, all the way from Colombia, made his FC debut with a Tom Waits number ‘Telephone Call from Istanbul’Annette on only her second appearance, came up with a sprightly acoustic  rendition of Sting’s ‘Can’t stand losing You’ which qualifies as a telephone song through it’s opening line “I’ve called you so many  times today”.

We had other fine fare too.  Lothar as always came up with something unexpected, this time ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’ and even with someone unexpected – in the fine voice of Gabi.  There was a fine opening to the second half by John, with tributes to his friend the late Jonathan Ole Wales Rogers. There was also a distinctly mixed but enjoyable bag presented by Daniel Maenicke and Michael Isack that included ‘Thirty Three’ by The Smashing Pumpkins and, even more adventurously, ‘Add It Up’ by The Violent Femmes (which I suspect included the ‘F’ word in it’s lyrics.  Maybe we should do a lyric search on the door John?)  Only kidding, a bit of Punk all adds to the eclectic mix on the night – where else do you get to hear covers of Tom Jones, Violent Femmes, Tom Waits and Otto  all in the same evening?

Which brings me nicely back to the telephone (sort of) and what established itself as the evenings theme song: ‘Das Handy Lied’ or, better known as, ‘Handy!, Handy!’ the hook of which sunk in after the first refrain from Gerhard Lemm and was relentlessly chanted throughout the hall for the next five minutes – ousting even the memorable comedy cover of Peter Maffays ‘Über Sieben Brücken’ from our brains.  Indeed so ‘addled’ were we by the onslaught of Gerhard’s performance that the obligatory ‘Jock Stewart’ even took on Rap-Reggae shape courtesy of a moments inspiration from Barry.  Sorry for any people or songs that didn’t get a mention here – it really was an evening of holding on to the edge of your seat and wondering what would fly into your ears next – “A strange evening” I suggested to John Harrison half way through.  “Mmm!”  he murmured in reply.  I’m wondering what his reply would have been by the very end, but by then he was jostling his notes for the evening like so much unused confetti and had happily given in to the force of it’s own nature that has become ‘Bonn Folk Club’.

Indeed The Club still manages to flourish, even in the face of adversity.   With the sunny weather bringing Haus Müllestumpe a busy Beergarden, it was to be expected that people would need patience waiting for service,  It was certainly a virtue on Friday evening.   Hopefully the weather will stay the same next Meet but the Restaurant will be better prepared.  After last months Club at Rheindorfer Hof with it’s seperate Bar it was also back to a very noisy bar area that for the less ‘eingefleischte’ live musicians must have proved daunting.

Those that gave up on the idea of ordering food could of course always make a call to their local pizza delivery service when you they got home – “Handy”, Handy!”…


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