Tuesday, 5 April 2011

An evening with Chris While and Julie Matthews at Bournemouth Folk Club

On Sunday 03 April Sally and I spent most of the day in Bournemouth. We walked around a while, had a meal and in the evening went to see the Chris While & Julie Matthews Band at Bournemouth Folk Club. It’s a great venue … I wish it was closer.

To summarise … well … it was great.

The CD’s (in this instance I mean Compact Discs rather than Cross Dressers) are great … but there is something special about a live event.

For me it’s the chance to get a feeling for the people as well as the music. To hear a little of where the songs came from as well as what the words are.

Julie Matthews introduced one song. The original inspiration being tales of the Clifton Suspension Bridge near Bristol. Apparently it is amongst the most popular places in Britain for people  to commit suicide. Though in 1885, a 22-year-old woman named Sarah Ann Henley survived a fall from the bridge when her billowing skirts acted as a parachute, and subsequently lived into her eighties.[12]

From thoughts of this event came the song Angels Walk Among Us.

Chris While talked of a room in her home with pictures of family on the walls and of how she came to write the song Four Walls. She said it isn’t a happy song … but she felt better having written it. Julie said that this is one of her favourite songs from the Album Hitting the Ground Running. It’s one of mine as well.

Julie smiled and admitted to writing lots of sad songs. Quoting another member of the band she smiled as she said she’d been told that there’s money in misery.

And another song that spoke of hope even when all seems despair … inspired by the life of a friend that died from cancer just before the first birthday of her child. Julie mentioned that even as her life was ending her friend could still could smile. At the sight of so many friends and family gathered to see her she quipped “It’s so good to see everyone. I should die more often”.  

Chris introduced the song The Darkside Wood. It’s a song that sounds as though it will end in tragedy. It seems that a friend of Chris’s said that she couldn’t listen to it.


“Well it’s sad. They’re going to die.”

“Did you ever list to it to the end?”

“Well … no.”

Chris  sang Ghost of You with Julie playing keyboard. Sad. Intense. Beautiful.

Go now if you really must

I wouldn’t want to hold the key

The keeper of this shattered trust

So go now if you must

Your finger’s on the window pane

Your silence speaks a thousand words

You start to say them then refrain

No accusations and no blame

Something’s better than nothing

Well I don’t believe that’s true

I’d rather lie alone with my sorrow

Than with the ghost of you

What is done is surely done

So while the door is still half open

Follow where you heart’s already gone

For what is done is surely done

Another song that I like a lot is Shadow of  my former self. It seems that the title was originally going to be I keep running into the shadow of my former self, but it didn’t fit onto the CD. Do you ever empathise with these words?

I can’t go to work, I can’t stay home
I don’t like crowds, Can’t be alone

And there was the chance for the guys to get in touch with their femininity and imagine standing in a line in a netball skirt and to sing along to Class Reunion. Julie explained how she’s been rubbish at throwing and catching. “Hey Julie!” came a voice. “Catch.” Of course Julie dropped it. “You’re still rubbish.” Said with warmth.

And there was … as the saying goes … so much more.

So … anyway … I spent the evening entranced by the bitter-sweetness of the songs. A mirror of the bitter-sweetness of life. It all ended too soon.

And … I do wish there were angels among us.

And maybe there are.

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