Stanley Gala 5th June 22

Wet location at St Peter’s School, Stanley

Raindrops Keep Falling on (Linda’s) Head – Wakeylele make a Splash at Jubilee Gala!

by Phil Barr

5th June, 2022

Following swiftly on from  ‘King’ Richard’s account of the royal treatment and mouthwatering buffet received at Wednesday’s highly praised Crofton bash it was time to display some good old British stoicism of which Her Maj would surely have  approved. Instead of a warm, dry and cosy venue as experienced at Crofton WMC, with sherry also freely available, the band assembled under a leaky gazebo, open to the inclement and unseasonal weather – i.e persistent rain and 11 degrees Celsius. 

It was though a warm and comforting sight to see the kindly Paddington-like figure of Pop ambling his way along the main street to where we were playing –  I believe I even caught a glimpse of a  marmalade sandwich as he opened his ukulele case. Our numbers eventually swelled to about a dozen after a slightly flustered looking Peter A arrived having thought that the gig was at Sandal –  well, it kind of sounds like Stanley. Fortunately he had scribbled a few lines of apology which David accepted with a warning that if it happened again he would be out on his heels. Peter saluted with a click of his heels and gladly accepted his medicine. 

The Band arrived in “dribs and drabs”


And so the band once more got stuck into a now very well rehearsed first set of several old favourites in the style of a well-oiled machine. John W’s family provided very welcome support as a starter audience and other brave people stopped to listen as the rain seeped through the gazebo onto Linda’s head , Maria’s nose and my Dm’s’ and G7’s.

The backdrop of scaffolding covering the adjacent school building against a glowering sky and the audience having no option other than to crane their necks to view us from the foot of a very large brick wall only added to the resolve of the band to do their duty. In fact David then decided on seeing what we were really made of by opting for that feel good (!!) number ‘Enjoy Yourself’ at which point someone one asked for a spade. ( I have an inkling that this may soon be consigned to the Songs We Sang catalogue as David is soon to unveil a raft of new songs which we all look forward to.)

The first set came to an end to allow time for the band to seek well earned hot refreshments and hot water bottles as the rain showed no sign of relenting and passers by resembled figures from a Lowry painting. (Of the three people who stayed under canvas  Peter Joule kindly offered Richard one of his two biscuits which made me feel even worse about wolfing the ham sandwich I had brought along.)

‘Over the wall’ audience viewpoint

 The bedraggled refreshment seekers returned in dribs and drabs and after David attempted to lift our spirits by cheerfully informing us how skin tends to shrink in the rain and cold it was time to launch into a necessarily shortened second set beginning with a rousing version of ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’. ( John made light of the fact that his music sheets now resembled papier mache having been asked to hutch forward.)

Other musical highlights of the concluding act were a jaunty rendition of ‘Walking after Midnight’ and the generally liked ‘Zing’. By this time the number of spectators had dwindled into single digits owing to the very disappointing weather and not surprisingly the numbers of people walking round the main arena looked sparse too.

 Notwithstanding the elements doing their best to drag us down, the gig was actually good fun, such is the spirit within the camp. After all if we can perform inside a freezing pod as we did at King’s Croft, Pontefract in December and then better that with an outdoor performance in the same month at Cannon Hall then it takes more than a bit of rain to stop this band. In fact on the final day of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations I think it is safe to say that, within the band,  Royalists and Republicans as well as those somewhere in between were Happy Together, as presumably would the Turtles be on a rainy day – boom boom !

3 Comments on “Stanley Gala 5th June 22

  1. Thanks Phil and Richard. Another great blog
    There seemed to be a link to Buddy Green playing the harmonica. I believe The harmonica was the inspiration for Richard learning the Ukulele.

  2. As the old song goes….“What a difference… an ‘a’ makes”. Less of a gale, it seemed more like we breezed through the session – with only a few disconcerting drips of distraction to concern us. Let’s hope that by the time of the next outdoor event (Walton Open Gardens, July 3rd) we’ll all have found ways of rain and wind-proofing our papers! But by then, considering the number of times we’ve played the same ones, we probably won’t need song copy anymore?
    Hats off to the usual suspects for providing yet another amusing and informative item for the technological scrapbook.
    Thanks, John, for the invitation. Thanks to all taking part, for performing and adapting so well in such adverse conditions.

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