The steyning festival 29/05/2016!! xxx:->


Frankly my friends it has been a blast! Apologies for m’tardiness once again in getting this  out to you keen and avid readers. I have been amid a frantic bid to  present a tidy front to the neighbours ! Appearances are just that my pretties ay.. if only they new the chaos in my mind they would see that  some terracotta pots , petunias and a bit of raised bedding is  all smoke and mirrors. The garden does look  quite pretty though I have to say and the gentleman has worked everso hard………….I digress.

It is now a full two weeks!! since  that glorious day. ! the sun beamed like a beamy thing already at 10,:00 am when Betty set out  to meet with twinkles…

Pete ‘ twinkles" Varkala  was the back line, soul and  sound man of  the Razz Up Beer & Wine event  as part of the two week long Steyning festival. We were told he may need some help with setting up the stage and sound checking. Betty as you know  is  better at sitting and looking pretty then any technicall gubbins bt she was joined in her adventure that day by  Matthewjshawphotographers  and they are really quite good at that sort of thing. It really did feeel quite absurdly early! 

Pete Blog 1

There was the bar, obviously, there was the beer and the wine,… there was a burger place and an outside area with comfy seats and amenities...there were were a couple of  trestle tables set up with  home made things for sale, edibles I think. One  swathe of the tent was set up with paper and   The Razz artists in residence  began a mural around 10 foot long .. There were swirls and images of earth diggers and  land , I’m not sure what the message was but  people  were encouraged to add there own piece to the whole and one  young child drew the most magnificent aeroplane , bilging smoke as it appeared to fall , nay, plummet from the sky……… art… ay…

Rob Blog

Betty was originally told she was to be on stage around 3:30 … then that the Razz would start at 3:30 ,  then she would be on at around 3:30  then on at 5.00 !  ………… time scales were not  going to be of high priority that day , so while  the techies did their shit, one sat , as decoraously as one can in a  marquee and waited.  Oh the rock n roll world is so grand.  Myr ider,  of unlimited  tea, milk and two sugars and nice biscuits was provided by the gentleman who was, on hand as an entourage all to himself.

 Nick arrived  at around 11.00 and had brought  his bass and sundry other things by the look , bearing  a heavy load like a tortoise , he was  all fantastic smiles as usual.  Nick has the widest of grins ,  he seems to always greet people as if it is quite the wildest ride of excitement! Like its going to be fun and so far it  properly has been. 

Pete & Nic Blog

He had however forgotten both his guitar and my microphone, so he went home again….

Pete was ably assisted by Geoff of  The King Heat Ensemble and so both  myself and mjshawphotographers fell in to  wondering if there was a bit of cake on sale; anywhere; and we waited. 

It was turning into the most  beautiful day, the sun was beaming and there was an ice cream van !! hurrah!! 99 Bet? , don’t mind if I do Bet!!

 Pete had done his work, the man is quietly competant and quite brilliant. To mine eye , he  appears a completative chap. He  plays many and several instruments, like Nick but he  does not bubble and fizz like Nick , he swirls and cascades,  a far more methodical man he strikes me. 

Just before 12:00 The first band arrived ! The Bamboo Band, ..  they loved a bit of calypso so they did and promoted it ! A bit of Trinidad & Tobago brought to us by  the white chaps /chapette in "man from del monte” suits,  a panama hat rather than a soca type affair. They danced gently and the singer was all for a bit of audience participation.He asked us to join in a rousing chorus of  Day-oh.. he said we would know it , he mentioned Harry Belafonte … but  it was not  like Harry oh no!   The Bamboo Band brought a bit of their own  chorus in!  and swayed to an original styleee . They brought a few faces into the marquee . some of the Grande Dames of Steyningin teinsets and ironed pleatage…they wanted to be impressed…and  the band did a great set for us all.  Nice work.

The Bamboo Band

Simon the  performance poet , ranter and raver stepped in at the last minute as  the advertised compere Mr. Paul Thacker could not make it.. I am afraid we dont don’t know who Paul is ! but we know Mr. Zec and he  didn’t do a bad job , as always,  providing a bit of a link between the acts and  doing the housekeeping, sharing the festival news etc. 

 Funnily enough we saw Simon’s face all over the festival, hosting this and presenting that! much like  The Slowdown Sisters actually. They did three events in total over he two weeks I believe,  background strings in the garden and  gentle melodies through the  village. Although it must be said that when the Slowdown Sisters are not the Slowdown sisters they are joined by two or even three other musicians/sigers and go by the name of The Cheer Up Mollies!

Pete had it sorted and with a few tweaks on the ipad had  got the sound just about perfect for the next  act on.. who were by an uncanny happenstance !… The Cheer up Mollies,  four voices that  compliment each other very nicely , that harmonize in a mellow blend.  It was the sneaky ABBA number that pleased me most..SOS .. on a ukulele ? … oh yes. I had heard it before on one of their recording on Facebook   Carol Levi , Deb Shurvell , Ann Borg , Seffy Sefton-Smith.  have a little listen my pretties, it’ll settle your nerves, soothe you.

Cheerr Up Mollies Blog

Before they had finished however! Fancy a quick drink Bet?  We’re going over the Norfolk Arms to see Pam, ( the landlady and hostess of Razz No.’s 1-5 )  . It would be rude not too as she has been so gracious as to hold the evenings in her  pub . So a quick orange juice on the patio  with Nick, ( he came back again) his lady friend and  the magician.. why do I still not know his name ( bloody nice chap, so rude of me) .. In the back garden we spied the remnants of what loked like an otdoor arena… somewhwre to hold Razz no.7? with a cheeky pig in a bun? .. it’s an idea! ...we talked earnestly and expansively  for about 20 minutes about a load of old bollocks!!  excellent value.... before heading back to the tent for a portion of...

Porch Light Smoker Blog

Porchlight Smoker...  these were a bit different to the rest of the line up! they were paid money for their time  I believe and by all accounts have  a following.. are professional  …  coo.  They are also mates of Pete’s I hear and put on a  great show  of bluesy, rockey,  , country , cool stuff. They wore shades.. inside the marquee... They had dressed for the occasion it was clear and  had the air of a seasoned  outfit. They had seen a few back stages my dears oh I think so

 Natasha, Tasha ,,Fox by name, Foxy by nature...the pin up girl who for all intent and purpose is The Razz’s own X factor contender.  She sings in that professional way that  get’s young girls a popular following .. with the grace notes and clipped  stylings made  widespread by  Adele and Amy mixed with the folkette style  power chords of Katie and Alanis  … our Tasha has elements of  them all and  wears a stylish fedora  to boot!  She did a bit of Katie as it goes and had a both a bass player and  drmmer at her disposal …  she did a polished set  with a few of her own numbers thrown in.

Natasha Fox Blog

The King Heat Ensemble…( or King Herod , if you are Simon Zec) ……hazy, lazy,,  lounge  music  , perfect for the come down, it is.. chilled …Geoff and the boys,  ostensibly made up of Nick, Pete  and a drop of percussion.. would  sit very well in a ‘ Now thats what I call relaxed 2016 ‘  summer anthems. … xx

Geoff Blog

Geoff is I believe is a mainstay of the sTEYNing cOLLECTIVE and alongside Nick & Pete ,  played in some guise or another throughout the proceedings. Adapting to the idiosynchracies of all the performers … his own sound however very smooth.

As the afternoon went on the crowds grew along with the sunny heat and  while in the tent there was only maybe 200 hundred people , outside on the lawns  were around another 300 more , out on their picernic blankets in a proper  festival fashion….to a man , they quientend down , laid back and  chilled to  King Heat

Then it was  Mel !  love her ! she got her Ukelele out and  got the best cheer from the crowd so far!!!  There was by this time a  throng of children in the front row and  locals by the score. Friends,  families,  visitors, all with their eyes on her; and she took it all to task . She got Pete to give her a tweak- a little more on the  instrument please.. to shake off the feedback or  some such likening thing before settled in for a bright rendition of her usual favourites.  It was lovely to see  A “ cheer up molly”  providing backing vocals on stage and many voices joining in everso quietly with  a few high and low harmonies coming in from the audience on “ Mad World “ …. She was  affably accompanied by Nick who was subtle as he should be around a delicate voice. 

Mel Blog

Followed by Al! , not billed as Awkward this time ! No I would even say he was on stage with an air of confidence and a good line in patter. Chatting to the audience and making the kids feel included .. nice touch!  we were all impressed and he too got a  rousing  celebration of cheers and whistles! .. he brought with him by the by ,  a special beer crate guitar fashioned  by the  DarkStar brewery no less! It has been created for The Razz and bears The darkstar logo! The Razz Up! The sTEYNING cOLLECTIVE are supported / nay sponsered ! by people of influence and makers of good beer my pretties !  qualiteeee !  as my old friend McHugh would say! … Wouldn’t it be speshal if The Razz got an invite to play up at their site ay?.. they have some great bands on up there and  get brilliant crowds! ..ay?

Awkward Al Blog

Then it was Ciaron….. purple rain :-) . After his  first  night at The Razz No. 5   There he was on stage with a crowd of  attentive people  gently coming forward and urging him on. He had Tasha  doing a spot of backing vocals, .. ( she gets about that girl  ) on the Ukulele …. it appears that the good people of Steyning and environs ( Beeding?) have a soft spot for the Ukulele,… I suppose it is very much 'of the moment' is it not..  who’d of thought the  instrument that made George Formby would now be  propped up against the wall in the corner of  a nice lounge, next to the apple mac and the vintage  cushions ; in this  post punk  , post rave , bergamot infused organic dawn.   He did  a properly good turn did our Ciaron ! Well done that man! :-)

Ciaran Blog

And while that was going on Betty was in the wings…..  While there a marvellous thing occurred. Pam from the pub was there with friends  and they were all full of beans  about Betty’s imminant stage presence!!  They were all urging her to sing ”knickers!” as if she wouldn’t have ..:-) ..  as talk got round to the  story of how  it came to be writ and who the inspiration for the song was.. it came round that Betty got  possibly the most wonderful accolade she could have ever received..really betty?  really…. “ you could be like Victoria Wood ! ‘  they said… when I said “ could I” , they said “ Yes! “ lol …  well it  is assuredly bloody well  rude not to then my pretties…..

Suddenly ! there was a worry amongst the Razzettes... as it came to pass that the day had over run and at 5:00 the bar was now closing! , the burger van was shutting down!! but we weren’t  finished yet!! 

The wine tasting had gone down well and the beer had flowed a plenty.. I wouldnt be at all surprised if there weren’t a few people drunk !!

…………..Whilst waiting for my mic to be plugged in there was another flurry of consternation from Nick! worried about the set list.. only three songs were ready.. His requests for chords  were a little late in the day as we were already on stage!!   did we want to do Tom O’ bedlam? … nooooo,  we discussed at length at rehearsal that  Pete didn’t fancy it… Nooooo Nick  we will have to do the other one….. AND THE MIC IS ON!!!…………….Welcome my pretties to the world of Sacherelle….  

……..“Madman" was divine! So much fun!  Pete and Nick  vamped it up to the hilt with the spanish influence and  we strutted our stuff with a flamenco, fandango and a click of the heels  , the passion and the drive my dears! it fairly poured out , emotion  everywhere all over the floor…..  

Betty Blog 4Betty Blog 1

I’m Not sure why but during our second song there was an issue with the microphone! since my sound check some 6 hours before, some  person had probably plugged some intruments in ( or something) !  clearly!… whilst Simon and the Gentleman rescued me  ..  which involved  actually unzipping my dress ... it all looked like an opportunity for some lewd banter and Betty  began a strip tease! ……….. 

no she didn’t  Betty , that's an embellishment….

 We do hope there was some footage of it all! lol   Whilst Matthew an was taking photos ; Lynn was all over the moving image on behalf of the Razz.  I have seen some of her work linked to their page… she can make  Betty look as good ay! lol xxx   . We  did as promised finished with ‘ knickers’  and  it was a rousing chorus my friends,  we are that chuffed!  I could see to my left a line of revellers arm in arm swaying to the dulcet tones of  twinkles on the ivories as we  knocked out a good old tune… With the children in the audience  it was a time for censorship but i  was  well pleased to see a little girl toying with the edge of her skirt.. there is always one and it is a damn good thind for future woman hood hat there is is…:-)

Nick Tells me the crowd LOVED me………xxxxxxx and I love them back. every one of them lol ... really Betty  you have got ideas….lol

When we came off  I was  approached by a friendly face from the audience and I spent a little while chatting with my admiring public…… ahem really Betty? … No it was lovely, a couple of geezers who frequent the Norfolk Arms having a proper giggle, said they come to the next Razz Up!  .. on July 15th my pretties, July 15th xx…. 

Betty Blog 2Betty Blog 3

A chap came up and  said how good he thought Betty was. He said “ I’m sure you are too young’ … he had me hooked there of course…he said " do you remember that programme they used to have on the telly ‘the good old days'… it was just like that! what brilliant praise! ..Really so very chuffed, happy days…. 

I basked a little in the warmth of it, I confess.. It is what I do it for… the attention my lovelies, the attention, there is no artistry in what I do , no creative drive .. its all about the attention ...Ha ha! …. It may be time to do a rendition of “Seen the way you look a me” for the audience at the Razz Up! ay….:->

Simon told us earlier in the day that he had always wanted to front a band and had a name for it and everything; and so it was that The Razz Orchestra /Concreté, for one night only  went  on stage as “Exploded Isometric” ..with the one , the only McZec!! 

Exploded Isometric Blog

.. they brought the show to end……..played us out , played us on our merry way home…the spoken word set to music IN an ad hoc fashion…. People began to wend their way and the good citizens of Steyning took their rubbish with them to be recycled...

 What a  smashing event,  so happy to be part of it… Perhaps Betty will be  part of it again next year.. she might even do a full set!!  Albums for sale on the merch table and all that!! lol xxx


Peace and  much contentment to your all my pretties, enjoy the long hot days of summer xxxx

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