SO, there it was and now it’s gone: All the brouhaha over the big ho ho ho is just a memory, like a pulled cracker, a crumpled piece of wrapping paper or a crushed Pringle: Consigned to the dustbin of Christmas passed.

All that celebrating the birth of our baby Lord Jesus, which when said backwards, as I recently learned, sounds just like ‘Susejd rol’. Coincidence? I think not…

All that consumed beer, wine and spirits has made it a bonanza of broken glass at the bottle bank, livers, as well as relationships, may have been badly damaged and as for those pigs in blankets: Well, the uninvited relatives staying in the spare room have outstayed their welcome and have gone back to wherever it is they come from every year.

As for New Year, auld acquaintances have been told to sod off and never be brought to mind for at least another twelve months and those ridiculously unrealistic resolutions have lasted just a few hours.

Why can’t they last forever, like the flippin’ DFS sale which has been on since the dawn of time itself.

So here we are, looking out at the endless, desolate, torpid tundra of tedium that is Januaryland, a theme park for miseryguts the world over.

Cold, dull, hostile, with the desperate stench of debt oozing from every pore: Or maybe that’s just me…

But there are some brighter prospects on the horizon to look forward to, including the release of the Surfin’ Birds’ new album All My Dreams.

As Birds’ head honcho Paul Sharod tells me: “We’ve been recording it doing bits and bobs over the past year at the studios in Taunton run by our label Fuelled By Cider.

“It’s our most experimental music, quite psychedelic, and we’re dropping barriers when it comes to songwriting,” he adds.

It was done in ‘bits and bobs’ as the band have been so busy gigging throughout 2017 and there’s more of the same lined up for this year, Paul tells me.

“We’re booked for a number of festivals for 2018, including Chaos in the Channel Islands, Outcider and Wimborne Folk Festival in Dorset and Cursus in Salisbury and more are in negotiations at the moment,” he says.

Add to that their recent support slots for The Damned, The Blockheads and Slade and it’s all systems go for Paul, his younger brother Liam on drums, the fabulously-named Squidhead on bass and the even more fabulously-named Slick Grief on guitar.

The band are now a five-piece with the addition of the rather less fabulously-named Matt Taylor (ex-Side Door Project) on keys and flute which adds another dimension to their unique genre-stretching sound of psychedelic surfin’ psychogaragebilly.

You can catch the new look and new sound of the Surfin’ Birds with their album launch gig at Dorchester’s Corn Exchange on Friday, January 19.

Tickets are £11 from the box office on 01305 266926 and support come from Bristol rockabilly/soul outfit The Hawkmen, singer Amy Brown and poet James Askew.

Moving on, and if your New Year resolution was to listen to more music from the Balkans, you’re very much in luck with the whirling dervish sound of Paprika, the UK’s leading exponent of music from that turbulent region of south eastern Europe.

Featuring She’Koyok’s Zivorad Nikolic on accordion, Vladimir Strkalj on guitar, Marko Tesic on violin and Rastko Rasic on percussion, Paprika intersperse fiery melodies and foot-tapping rhythms with lilting laments in high-energy sets. Not only are they all top players, they are also match-winning goes in Scrabble.

They’ve also been hailed by Radio 6 presenter Cerys Matthews as: “A must see. Oooh, there’s lovely…”

They’ve played all over the world from Japan to New Zealand, at Womad and Glastonbury, and at the Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House so it will be a bit of a step up for them when they play at Powerstock Hut on Friday, January 19 as part of their short Artsreach tour which includes Langton Matravers village hall on Saturday, January 20 and Tarrant Gunville village hall on Sunday, January 21. Ticket details from Till next time…



TBA (Finns, Weymouth)

Ronnie Del Rio (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Mama Feelgood (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Acoustic Session (Victoria Inn, Knights in the Bottom, Chickerell, Weymouth)

TBA (Black Dog, Weymouth)

Operatic Sean (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

John De Barra (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)


Cuba Libre (Finns, Weymouth)

The Mighty Fine (Sailors Return, Weymouth)

Steve Whale (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Replay (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Vanilla Radio (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Jon Storey (Black Dog, Weymouth)

Elvis Pete (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Behind Closed Doors (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Total Madness (Wyke Regis Social Club, Weymouth)

Neil Wale (Conservative Club, Weymouth)

Chris Woodchuck (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)


Ricky Solo (Sailor’s Return, St Nicholas St, Weymouth) From 3pm.

Leanne Jackson and Mark Davis (Black Dog, Weymouth) 4-7pm.

Scots Dan’s Open Mic (Duke of Albany, Weymouth) 6pm.

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth) 3pm, followed by…

Darren H (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Lo Numbers (Park, Weymouth) 5pm.


Cheese, Wine and Jam Open Mic (Boot, Weymouth)

Acoustic session (Belvedere, Weymouth)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)


Jon Storey (Boot, Weymouth)

Folk Session (Pilgrim House, Hope Sq, Weymouth)

Dougie Cooper’s Jazz Night (Star, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Acoustic Session (Rock, Weymouth)

Open Mic Night (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)


Wessex Folk Night (Sailors Return, Nicholas Street, Weymouth) Acoustic folk, here every Wednesday.

Open Mic Night (Royal Exchange, Portland)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)


Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Traditional Tune Session (Cove House Inn, ChiswelI, Portland)

Ukulele Sessions (Sailors Return, St Nicholas St, Weymouth) Strum on down from 8pm.


CTL.ALT.DEL (Finns, Weymouth)

Emma C (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

The Katz (Lugger, Chickerell, Weymouth)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Darren H (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

The Shakespearos (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)