Tuesday, 20 December 2016


The Fellowship Christmas Bash
Where to start?

OK, we had an epic day out in London for the annual Fellowship of the Stick Christmas bash, indeed, the Elves were out to play, complete this year with Santa’s own security guard and official photographer, Alex.

The Elves are coming!
In a nutshell, we visited Euston to the Bree Louise and the new beer lounge at the Euston Tap (Opposite the Euston Tap), we caught a bus from Euston to Tottenham Court Road, we listened to an excellent busker, we had a special Christmas meal in the Montague Pike, we went to The Pillars of Hercules and then the Crobar before slipping in to the Borderline for a most wonderful evening with many friends to see the Heather Findlay band supporting the newly revamped Touchstone, we had a fun journey home on the train, along the way there were many free hugs, “Happy Christmases” games of pat-a-cake and community carol singing on the tube, phew! All of this is ‘captured’ as usual in the epic tale below.

So, to the music, firstly the Heather Findlay Band, stripped down and acoustic, playing songs from her (now) extensive back catalogue, the new album and some old Mostly Autumn numbers plus some traditional Yuletide songs, a pure delight especially with Sarah Dean (The Incredible String Blonde) on harp, simply exquisite.

The Heather Findlay Band
Touchstone are back, and how! 
Comparisons to the ‘old’ Touchstone will inevitably be made, I heard someone say “They are the same but different”, I would tend to disagree, they are not the same, they are however still very much unmistakably Touchstone but they are different and I must say refreshingly and excitingly so.
Aggie’s vocals are very different from Kim’s, Liam’s keyboards are integral to the Touchstone sound but at times are beautifully understated rather than leading.
I felt the band were now much more guitar led by Adam (& by gosh can he play!) with Moo and Hen’s extremely tight rhythms and Moo admirably taking on the male vocal leads.
Personally I loved the new, rockier, raunchier, heavier direction that is still unmistakably Touchstone and judging by the audience reaction so did most of the crowd there that night, the new EP, Lights From The Sky is absolutely stunning.
If evolution is all about adapting to change, surviving, getting stronger, moving forward, all I can say is that in my humble opinion, Touchstone have evolved and how!


The Return of the National Elf Service
(The Fellowship Christmas / Touchstone Bash)

I see no Elves!
It must be that time of year again
4 elves and Santa’s security on the train
London bound for the Fellowship Christmas bash
OK, so it’s just five good friends out on the lash
But it’s such good fun it’s almost insane!

The Bree Louise Beer Board
Finsbury Park sucked us into the tube
Deep underground all the way to Euston
Such fun, deep down below, Pat-a-cake anyone?
And where did we head off to first if you please?
Why of course to the wonderful Bree Louise
Before a visit to the newly refurbished Euston Tap
Just opposite the Euston Tap, well how about that?

AWS Spiralling out of control!
Spiral stairs presented photo opportunities
And a chance for a chat with some poor chap
Before the five of us were off again by bus
Without a trouble or care, we were off to Leicester Square 
Or more precisely Tottenham Court Road
For indeed now was the time for food
Festive fare for our delight
It had to be in the Montague Pike

We saw a fair busker along the way
So stopped so we could hear her play
She was in fact extremely good
So of course she deserved a Christmas hug!

Busking the way it should be done.
Weatherspoon’s finest Turkey pies
Materialised before our eyes
With lashings of gravy and chips and peas 
After which it was off once more
To that fine old pub the Pillars of Hercules
Before a stroll which is in fact not very far
Past the Borderline to the Crowbar
Imitation JD at half the price
Mmmmmmm nice!

Elves on a bus?
Meeting up with lots of friends from CRF and beyond
This day was well and truly completely ‘On song’
The Borderline was a sea of Christmas hats
All nodding towards the front and the stage 
Where at first in support of this fine evening
The Heather Findlay band played

An acoustic set with Sarah Dean, on Harp 
Once again The Incredible String Blonde stole my heart
While the others sat or drank or danced
I stood transfixed completely entranced
But the best was surely yet to come
In the form of the newly revamped Touchstone

Sarah Dean
There may be no more Cotters or Kim 
But there’s Aggie on vocals and on keyboards Liam
A strong fine voice and melodic keys 
Oh yes yes yes give me more of this please
Touchstone are back and back with a bang
Moo, Adam, Henry & all of the gang
Slightly heavier, more guitar led
Quite simply fantastic, enough said

All too soon it was over and time to say goodbye
“Merry Christmas Everyone” with a tear in our eye
But then there were carols on the tube
“Merry Christmases” on the escalators
Huge yellow dogs on the train home
As has been said before
With The Fellowship you are never alone

Doggie fashion on the train
The National Elf Service will be back soon
But only if Santa says that it’s OK
But until that day finally comes
Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone.

December 2016

Credits: Photographs:- G Meaby, K Blackett, A Wooldridge Smith, C Foskett. Words -: G Meaby December 2016

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