Monday, November 26, 2007

The Witches of Elswick hang up their broomsticks

On Saturday night I was a disgustingly drunken Divinyl...hence the hangover and the delay in posting this!

It was the final ever gig of The Witches of Elswick at The Cumberland Arms in Byker - and what a send-off! There was free bubbly, balloons and sweeties (I am a lass that can definitely be won over with a chocolate eyeball or two!) and general good cheer.

Who are The Witches of Elswick? They are (or, I suppose, as of Saturday night, were) a four part folk vocal harmony group. They sing a capella. They are splendid! Working mainly with traditional folk songs, their arrangements are often complex, but work brilliantly. And with good humour galore.

Becky Graham (top left in the photograph above), Gillian Tolfrey (top right), Fay Hield (bottom right) and Bryony Griffith (bottom left) formed their coven in 2001 when they were all sharing a flat in Elswick, Newcastle (hence the name...a play on The Witches of Eastwick). They have since appeared all over the country and at various folk festivals. Hell, Fay even sung on Eliza Carthy's album Rough Music (her partner, Jon Boden, is one of Carthy's band The Ratcatchers). That's pedigree for you...and also links us neatly to a previous blog of mine >>> The Imagined Village.

Although the group is now no more, they have left a legacy of two albums, Hell's Belles and Out Of Bed. You can listen to snippets of a decent length from the latter here, download three of its tracks from, and hear a 2004 interview with them at the BBC website (which includes the great song Honey For The Bee in full). Enough to convince you to make a purchase I'm sure.

But back to Saturday...

It was 'one of those nights'...and I place the blame firmly on the shoulders of that ludicrously strong honey ginger ale (or at least I would, if ale had shoulders!). It was delicious, but just too easy to drink...and get drunk on! I very rarely get drunk, but on this occasion I was well and truly plastered (which turns me into a dick who talks complete crap!). Example: I lost my wallet, which I was reunited with by the bar maid who, at that time, I couldn't have loved more! I was also abandoned, without so much as a goodbye, by the friends I had gone with. This didn't seem to bother me too much, however...nope, I was outside smoking and chatting chatting chatting to all and sundry!

One of whom was a lovely man called Simon...part of the sword dancing troupe we had seen on stage earlier and the husband of Becky Witch. Somehow he ended up inviting me to the party that they were having back at he and Becky's flat...and what could be a better idea when you are alone, know nobody and are hammered?? (Yes, yes, getting in a taxi and going home to sleep it all off, I know...spoil sports). I would talk random shite to Simon and a woman who was even more drunk than I, Ingrid, well into the morning.

Five hours later (6.00am!) I was in a taxi headed for my bed. A thoroughly cracking evening...but I do hang my head and apologise for being 'that' twat of a party crasher...who repeated herself over and over I'm sure (chosen topic on this particular night = Fay Hield. I was bewitched! I just wish I hadn't insisted on telling her how hot I thought she was (ridiculously!)...unnecessary!). Still, I had a lot of fun, it was refreshing to meet some new people...and they were a lovely crowd indeed...who, sadly, I will probably never see again (far too drunk to swap mobile numbers or e-mails!).

The Witches of Elswick: Women who seriously know how to have fun! Best of luck for the future ladies.

What a night!

Witches of Elswick MySpace page

Skinnimalinks Music


the guy who knows a pigeon called frank said...

niiiice! Thats sounds like quite a night. I actually prefer it when you don't come out with contacts and it just remains an awesome and blurry memory..

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Good times, lady, good times! It sounds like you had quite the bender with a good live show and some good booze to boot! And after all, after-parties are the best once you're half in the bag--they make for the best stories...

Divinyl said...

It was indeed quite a for stories and memory, what are you both talking about?'s all a wash of talking bollocks! It really did me good to chat to some new peeps though and I thoroughly enjoyed myself :oD

Pablothehat said...

Yes my partner suffers from the same complaint. one drink..sober two drinks still sober, three drinks still sober.. 6 drinks, waffling, manic, gibbering..8 drinks nasty sociopath...LOL

Divinyl said...

Nope, I never become nasty...or, indeed sociopathic! I just repeat myself and talk rubbish. I am a friendly drunk :o)