Tonight I had three choices. I could go to the Farnham Humanists at the Hop Blossom or I could go and listen to Rory Ellis at the Queen’s Head or I could stay at home and watch TV. It’s rare that a Sunday night throws up so many choices.
When I looked at the schedule, the Humanists had a member speaking. The first time we went to the Humanists it was two members speaking, which was dire. I wasn’t enthused by this option at all. Perhaps I was a bit blinkered by our last experience, perhaps I was just not interested. Whatever the reason, I discounted this option pretty quick.
The TV tonight was…actually I have no idea. We no longer buy the Radio Times, watching either DVDs or BT Vision programmes that they kindly provide for us. I must admit that the prospect of watching the Women’s World Cup final was tempting. I knew this was on because they talked about it on Breakfast this morning. It was live, on BBC3. It was tempting indeed.
At any rate, I decided I should go and support Rory Ellis at the Queen’s Head pub.
Rory is an Australian. He is originally from Melbourne but now lives in a country town in Victoria. He plays guitar and banjo and writes his own songs. I guess you could call him country but he has a distinctive Australian flavour which is a bit folky at the same time.
I always think American when I think country music. I blame the influence of my uncles when they introduced me to Hank Snow and Jim Reeves and John Prine. Perhaps that’s not fair. John Prine is more 60’s revolutionary rather than country. Even so, when I think Australian country music I think of…actually I can’t think of anyone.
Still, I guess you’d class Rory Ellis as a country singer. Simply because he sings with a guitar (or banjo) and writes about everything that was wonderful about the world and what can also be so bad. And love. He sings a great song about his first love which was a Pontiac.
He was fantastic. In a pub full of (mostly) kids out for a night of drinking in the latest staying open pub in Farnham he managed to get them foot stomping and clapping. Well, most of them. There was a birthday group who couldn’t be tempted and talked in the backroom all night.
After his first couple of songs he said something about being Australian and a guy sitting near him said he was from the Sunshine Coast. Then the guy sitting near me chirped in with the fact that he was from Perth. Naturally I had to say I was from Sydney. At the time, we were all the audience he had (apart from the first guy’s girlfriend who was English) and it was very strange. All very Australian in a little town in very middle England.
Rory’s songs are about his life in Melbourne but they resonated with me (I guess he’s about my age) growing up in the Western suburbs with numerous flights to the big city. He even reminded me of Blackberry Nip which I’d completely forgotten about. I’m pretty sure it was Blackberry Nip that started me on the road to alcohol I have wholeheartedly travelled. Actually, thinking about it, I reckon Blackberry Nip is to blame for the gout!
Rory sang from 8:30 to 10:30 with a 15 minute break in the middle and was fantastic for the whole time. If he’s ever performing in a venue near you, I can totally recommend him. He comes to the UK every year and I’ll definitely be watching for him next year.
Clearly, I made the right choice.