Who the hell is John Glover?
John was born in the Humble Spud in Little Downham in January 1963 during an episode of Steptoe and Son.
He was schooled in Little Downham and Littleport before embarking on a glittering career with British Rail. When he’d burnt himself out working for the railroad he transferred his talents to a grateful BT, where, like his trousers, he still turns up.
When not helping to keep the nations railway signalling systems and phones in a high state of readiness over the past 25 years, John has played football to a low standard, ‘vocalised’ for local cult band The Approachable Pigeons, been a school governor,broken 100 at golf, written an episodic novel ‘Cauliflower Drove’ and was a columnist for The Green Un football paper for two seasons. His keen interest in beer, reading and whacking a white ball with a stick has been kept in check by his wife and two daughters who all live in a badly maintained house in Littleport.
From humble beginnings in 1985 when Ely first hosted its ‘Folk Day’ (ticket price £4.50), through years of the ‘Folk Weekend’ which was held in various venues throughout the City, to the Pocket Park Years the festival always retained a unique essence. The move to the Outdoor Centre in 2000 and the inclusion of more concerts, dances and workshops has not diminished that certain something that Ely has. As my Uncle Google says, ‘Licentia Puteus Unus’*
And so, to 2010, the Silver Anniversary of the Festival. With my Sun Dance instructions safely tucked away, the temperature at 35 degrees on the car gauge and 42 under my armpits, I set off for the festival.
The Ely Online team ventured once again to The Ely Folk Festival to, hopefully, capture the spirit of the event. With myself (John Glover – pictured right) on pencil and paper and Karl Bedingfield (the camera) we hope to give you a slice of the festival from a non-folkie perspective. Holly and Mike were our ears and eyes on site and completed the Ely Online team. This, the 24th Festival, had a great line-up and the prospect of some decent weather. For my take of the Festival, read on:
Armed with stubby pencils, scraps of paper and a camera Ely Online once again ventured down to The Ely Folk Festival to capture the spirit of the event. With me (John Glover) on words and Karl Bedingfield (on the piccies) we hope to give you a slice of the weekend from a non-folkie angle. Holly and Mike were camping and completed the Ely Online team.The forecast was dodgy but the list of bands was great. For my diary of the weekend, read on:
Read more on Ely Folk Festival Review 2008…
A Plea To The Citizens of Ely
In the 70’s when I was still a keen reader of ‘Shoot’, the only kids football magazine available at the time, I remember reading a statistic about Burnley Football Club. At the time the population of the town was about 80,000 and they were regularly getting gates of 20,000. That’s 25% of the population! In fact, having just googled ‘Burnley FC’, there’s an article that states that before the First World War they had attendances of 50,000 which was the equivalent of the town’s population at the time.
So, because I’m a bit bored at the moment, I decided to bring those stats up to date. On the opening day of last season, the Clarets attracted 12,190 supporters to witness their 2-0 win over QPR. According to Wikipedia, the current population of the town is 74,000 – making their gate 16.47% of the total.
Where is all this waffle leading us? I hear you ask. Well, bearing in mind that Ely’s population (at the last census) was given as 15,000 we would need to attract 2,470 to the Unwin Ground to equal the Lancastrian’s 16.47%. I know they’re in the 2nd Division (I refuse to call it The Championship – it ain’t) and The Robins are in the Eastern Counties League First Division but, come on, our average gate last season of 113 translates as 0.75% of Ely.
The point of this orgy of statistics is that I urge anyone reading this who hasn’t actually tried non-league football to give it a go. I don’t like to pick out individuals but an entry on our guestbook last season made me smile. Richard Hanson-James said: “I’m a regular visitor to Ely, and checked the site out to see what’s what in local football. Why no information on ticket prices and availability?”
Read more on Ely, Your Football Club Needs You!…
There’s an old Neil Young album recorded at some Mudfest or other in the 70′s where he tries a spot of weather manipulation with the crowd. ‘Maybe if we all shout loud enough we can stop this rain!’ he implores the throng. Needless to say, it didn’t work and they all got trench foot and dysentery. However, after three weeks of continuous rain I thought it worth a try and in the week leading up to the 22nd Ely Folk Festival I did some furtive chanting, whilst pretending to work: ‘No rain. No rain. No rain’. At one point I started to rock back and forth in my chair and drooled a bit, prompting a concerned colleague to ask if I was ok. Going that extra kilometre on behalf of the weather pixies worked. By 6pm on Friday the rain had stopped. That wasn’t much consolation for the people who had to push caravans through the mud to get onto the site but it didn’t rain any more. Not a drop.
Despite the possibility of rain I was looking forward to the Festival with bated ears, quivering with anticipation at the opportunity to watch some decent live folk music. I’d watched brief parts of the Princess Diana Birthday bash on telly and was heartily sick of the diet of corporate rock bands that always play at those kind of events. I’m also getting weary of the kind of pap that record companies try to fling at blokes like me on Father’s Day – “40 Motorway Tearjerkers” and suchlike.
Read more on Ely Folk Festival Review 2007…
This hasn’t anything to do with Ely but after last night’s game I was determined to give Steve McClaren the thoughts of an Ely City supporter:
Although not personally bothered whether the England manager is from Yorkshire, Sweden or Neverland I do think that the amount of cash thrown at the position is disproportionate to the rewards. Apparently, it cost about £15,000,000 over five years for Sven GE to transform a Top 8 national side into a…er…Top 8 side. Up and down the country millions of would be managers ground their teeth as Sven made unpopular decisions. To a man they all thought they could do a better job. Well, I humbly suggest, their time has come.
Read more on How To Win Euro 2008 On The Cheap…
With memories of the 2006 Ely Folk Festival still fresh in the mind, it’s time to announce the details the 22nd Festival to be held on 6th-8th July 2007.
As always the committee have lined up a diverse range of artists that should appeal to anyone with an interest in folk. Acts such as The Battlefield Band, Shooglenifty, Jez Lowe and local favourites, Ezio, are sure to attract another sell-out crowd to Downham Road.
There’s a chance for newcomers to have a go: the committee have introduced a Band Competition, which is open to all. Send in a CD and you may get the chance to open the Festival on the Friday night from the main stage.
Tickets for the Festival are now available. Details of all the above and much more can be found on our events pages.
Read last years review – Ely Folk Festival 2006 – to get a flavour of what the Festival is all about. I’m already getting in the mood by listening to Bob Dylan’s first album (which I’ve never heard before). See you there. Mine’s a pint of Dragon Slayer.
Once again the Ely Online Folk Boy Three got our annual dose of Folk at the 21st Ely Folk Festival. I was there to provide the words, Karl the pictures and Holly the spangly jumpers.
Held over three days and three nights Ely Folk Festival has steadily grown (in size and stature) since its demure beginnings at Ely’s Pocket Park. This year sees the event undergo a slight change in name from ‘Ely Folk Weekend’ to ‘Ely Folk Festival’ and the publicity has a more polished appearance and what better time to do this with the sudden resurgence of Folk music.
Friday – Evening
It was fitting that the first act up on stage at the 21st Ely Folk Festival should be ex-committee member and Ely Folk Club stalwart, Andy Wall, who paid tribute to the committees ‘re-badging’ of the festival. As Andy explained, things have changed but have also stayed, comfortingly, the same. The festival logo has been updated and, cunningly, the ‘Weekend’ has transmogrified into a ‘Festival’. As for myself, I stepped into the weekend like I would a trusty pair of old Y-fronts.
As in previous years, it was Ely Online’s job to provide a non-folkie view of the festival. We knew we would be well catered for as committee chairman, John Adams, said prior to the weekend, there would be, ‘…a rich and varied line-up of blues, folk-rock, acoustic sets and African music’. We weren’t to be disappointed.
Read more on Ely Folk Festival Review 2006…
This feature was originally scheduled for inclusion in the 1st edition of a local magazine called Rhythm Town that John Glover and myself were to publish in 1991. Sadly the magazine progressed no further than a few interviews and some layouts. Recently I came across John’s interview with Ely band, Higher Breed. So published for the first time is that interview from August 1991. Karl Bedingfield
If you like gutsy vocals, graveyard guitar licks and hard, railroad drumming in your music, then you’d better listen to HIGHER BREED’S new demo, the unusually titled ‘Chunk, Moth And The Fat Controller’. It’s spilling over with all three. Rhythm Town meets the band and digs the new breed!
Of Ely’s new breed of guitar grinding rock bands, Higher Breed appear to be among the leading contenders. Raw and gutsy, they have been winning new fans from all over the Cathedral City. Formed in February 1990 by brothers Christian and Lindsey Blicken and bass player “Squadge”. At this stage none of the band could play their instruments, an attitude harking back to the “I can do that” stance of punk. The spirit of ’76, indeed!
Even though we’re only one match into the Test Cricket series, football is starting again. If you’re new to Ely and are a supporter of a Big Red Team (Arsenal, Man Utd or Liverpool), c’mon and try out a Little Red Team – Ely City: The Robins
Once again the Ely Online Folk Boy Three (plus new recruit, Holly), got our yearly dose of Folk Music at the 20th Ely Folk Weekend. I was there to provide the words, Karl the pictures, Holly the spangly hats and Lee the musician’s eye view of the proceedings.
Ely Onliners of the past few years may have seen my dodgy reviews [2000/02/03/04] of previous Folk Weekends. This year will be no different. From today (Friday 8th) to Sunday 10th of July, myself and the Ed will be found down at the site on Downham Road taking in the music, atmosphere and, hopefully, the sun. And, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, they’re gradually drawing me in to their world of beards, hats and colourful trousers. I’ve even been down to the Folk Club at the Maltings twice now. It’s good stuff.
Day Two of my football specials. I promise to talk about a wider variety of subjects in future:
With the collapse of the ITV2 deal a couple of years ago and the resultant problems for Nationwide league clubs, football’s corporate money men have been left crying into their laptops. Some pundits have suggested that the bubble has burst – it was a deal too far. Over the past few years, with the advent of extra-terrestrial television, armchair fans have gradually gained access to seven nights of football a week from this country and around the world. Countless programmes are devoted to discussion of the game and even Andrew Lloyd Webber got in on the act with a musical in the West End. It’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t like this…
I support Ely City. When people ask me why, I say; because I’m a glory-hunter.
No, it’s because they are only ten minutes down the road and I’ve lived in the Isle of Ely since I was an egg. As much as I love the game I can’t say I’d ever be the type to do those mammoth trips that you hear about on phone-in shows; you know the ones. They set off from Torquay on their bike on a Friday morning for a Blackburn home game and then get back on Monday night.
With Whitsun fast approaching I’d like to share something with you all that I read in a dusty old parish magazine recently. It would appear that in Little Downham they had a singular way of celebrating the day. This quote is from an old gentleman in the village who remembers the tradition with startling clarity:
With the last votes being counted at great speed by inky-fingered civil servants, you’d reasonably expect today’s topic of conversation to be Tony Blair and his prospects for the next four years. But no, the subject that’s gnawing at me today is…old birds. For the past couple of years I’ve had a question that no-one has been able to answer for me: ‘Where do old birds go?’
People of Ely – use your vote wisely. Whether your colours are Red, Blue, Orange or Green, make your mark today and let’s have a 100% turn out. It’s no good complaining afterwards that the ‘wrong’ person was elected. I won’t reveal my own political allegiance but I can exclusively predict what will happen in the next 15 years:
Morning – welcome to a damp squib of a Wednesday morning (or Tuesday if you’re one of those people who can’t adjust after a ‘Bankie’). All of us commuters who use the iron horse twixt Ely, Cambridge and London will have breathed a largish sigh of relief this morning as the trains, once more, began to roll. Due to engineering works between Friday morning and the early hours of today, WAGN have been running a replacement bus service. I’m not quite sure what the aim of the engineering work was but I hope they’ve straightened out the rails at the section near Little Thetford. You’ll know that part of the line – it’s where you’re thrown from one side of the carriage to the other if you’re standing.
Ely City FC lifted the Ridgeons League First Division Knock-Out Cup yesterday afternoon. The Robins beat teams such as March Town, Ipswich Wanderers and Stanway Rovers to earn their place in yesterday’s game, played at Recreation Way, Mildenhall. A large (for the division) crowd assembled in the sunshine to watch the match which was clinched for Ely when Andy Chatters slipped the ball under the Needham Market keeper to win the match.
This, the 19th Ely Folk Weekend, was the fourth to be held at the Outdoor Centre and was, quite literally, the biggest yet. The main tent was wider than in previous years after the problems of overcrowding on the Saturday night last year. Also, another performance Marquee was added for ‘meet the band’ sessions to free up the beer tent for drinkers and impromptu jams.
As ever, the Ely On-Line brief was to capture the spirit of the weekend through our non-folkie eyes, pens and Karl’s high-tech camera.