Blue Trouser Records Takes over Farnham for Oxjam, 18th October 2014

Some time ago in a small forest dell surrounded by green trees and with shafts of sunlight glimmering through the foliage, the Blue Trouser Records Committee gathered, dressed in woodland garb and playing pan pipes. After some whispered greetings, the committee assumed silence and to the sound of a slow beating drum fashioned from a tree trunk, Mark Nelson entered the dell wearing a white robe, sporting antlers and followed by a small host of mice, voles and badgers. The committee gathered round and suddenly shouted……… “all hail the blue trouser King!”

Shortly after that strange and, to be honest, somewhat disturbing dream I wasn’t entirely surprised to be invited to a real BTR committee meeting down at The Horns pub. The topic for discussion was Oxjam.

Oxjam, as you probably know, is an annual event in support of Oxfam charity, this year with monies going to the displaced children of Syria. Something we all wanted to put our collective efforts towards.

Em and Guy Heape had done much of the research and come up with a plan to take over Farnham. I initially imagined some kind of military operation with perhaps the Mayor (more on that later) being held hostage whilst we demanded money and croissants with menaces from the good people of the town.

Well, I couldn’t have been further from the truth! No. The actual plan was to find a number of accommodating venues that would host live music throughout the day and late into the evening. Didn’t I feel stupid!

So, we were each set our tasks to mug up the venues, get the materials from Oxfam, sort out publicity, get some BTR performers along and schedule the time slots. I was asked to get the Mayor along to introduce the event (more on that later).

Over the next few weeks the BTR committee members got themselves busy doing all the stuff detailed above. I looked up the website for the Mayor. (More on that later).

After a lot of grafting and a couple more meetings, one in Cafe Rouge, (which does a nice demi poulet, very garlicky), we were set to go. Just before this meeting ended Phil took me to one side and asked how the Mayor thing was going. I confess I looked a bit sheepish. “Well” said Phil, “you had better get busy making your Mayor costume” (a bit more on this later).

With everything prepared, we all waited in eager anticipation for the day to arrive. As a prelim event, BTR and WychWood hosted a Feature Act night at The Horns where some up and coming bands, Loose Moorings Acoustic and Jo Bartlett and Band (with record deals nonetheless!) show-cased their talents and the evening was finished off splendidly with a set from Mark Nelson himself! This was BTR stretching its paws in readiness for the big event.

And so Saturday arrived. The BTR hosts made their ways to Cafe Rouge (Vic and Mark), The Hop Blossom (Brian and Cath), The Queen’s Head (Paul), The Plough (Guy and Em) and The Jolly Sailor (Kev and Cathy).

The artists came and did their marvellous stuff. Shall I list them? Yes I shall.

At Cafe Rouge there was Vic Cracknell, Harry Baker, Lisa Von H, Mark Nelson Duo (with Paul Stone), Francis Greene and Leo Dymond.

At The Hop Blossom there was WychWood, Kieran Stowell, Dave Salsbury, Richard Handyside, Vic Cracknell and Celia Barrett.

At The Queens Head there was The Mark Nelson Duo, Vic Cracknell, John Bentall, Reed Maxfield, Leo Dymond and Ollie West.

At The Plough in the afternoon was Vernon’s Friends, Lisa Von H, Mojo, Celia Barrett, Francis Greene, WychWood and Kieran Stowell.

At the Jolly Sailor there was Mojo, Vernon’s Friends, Mike Krabbers, Kieran Stowell, Dave Salsbury and Harry Baker.

At the Plough in the evening there was Claudia Arnold, Leo Dymond, Vernon’s Friends, Reed Maxfield, Mark Nelson Duo with special guests John Bentall and Vic Cracknell, and finally a storming final set from Vic Cracknell.

I would love to tell you now about all the really amusing mess-ups that happened along the way, the technical glitches, the drunken performers, the police raids, power failures, artists not turning up and/or turning up at the wrong time and place, but, and here’s the thing…. it all went incredibly smoothly!

It was indeed a fabulous day, with much fun, laughter, curry and marvellous marvellous music! And on top of that we raised more than £300 for Oxfam, so that isn’t a bad thing.

We all eventually said our sad goodbyes (because to be honest we all enjoyed it so much we didn’t want it to end), and went home weary but happy to our beds. Except Kev and Cathy, who for some weird reason stayed at the Jolly Sailor!

And, I hear you ask, did the Mayor turn up? No, he chuffing didn’t as I never got round to asking him! There, I’ve said it, judge me if you will.