There’s a pub in Glastonbury called The King Arthur. What else. I’m no longer in Asheville or upstate New York, though both locations are rich with their own history, no claims are laid regarding Kings, thrones, and magical elixirs. They have a new Thursday night offering which I just attended in their ‘Grow’ room–a live streaming room for music, maybe comedy I’m not sure, but will no doubt be home for many creative happenings. I walked from my house at the top end of the High Street down to the pub for what I thought was an 8pm show, a Welsh singer songwriter with his guitar, voice and lyrics. I arrive, far from show time as it starts at 9 so I walk up to the bar—something I’ve rarely done in the last 20 years. I order a drink. Adventurer that I am, I order something that mixes whiskey and local ginger wine for a sweet fire foot stomping brew. I’m soon joined by a tall young man of slight build with massive amounts of curly hair all flowing about his face and shoulders. He’s had multiple rounds of local cider and begins to count off to me just how many that would be. Still counting after several minutes I don’t walk away because it seems like he’s a really nice chap underneath the brew. I ask him where it is he’s working the next day as he’s mentioned once, that he needs to get up early. He’s the main cook at a café in town. “Soup. I made SOUP today! “ I ask what kind. “MUSHRRRRrrrrrOOOOm!” “Is it a cream base?” I ask because I’m vegetarian and I want to know these things. “NO! VEGan.” So a delightful conversation almost ensued but his words kept trailing off and I called Vicki who I thought might join me at some point in the evening and now seemed a good time to find out. “Yeah, sure, we’ll come down.” I go into the grow room, have a seat next to the pulpit because what else would be in the live music section of a pub in Glastonbury but a pulpit. With a soundman in it. Apparently pulpits make great soundboards so I was well situated for the evening’s sonic events. A young woman sat down next to me as I was at a large table, and she was alone. She’s been travelling in her van for over a year now, loves Glastonbury and has been here several weeks volunteering at a local low impact living house, but is now looking for work. I see Vicki walk past, then John her partner stops beside me and calls for Vicki to come back; Vicki well on her way through the main section of the room, tosses her enormously thick hair over her shoulder and smiles. There are two people here now with enough hair to donate that I eye with envy as mine appears to be falling out. I digress. Vicki sits next to me. We chat a bit about nothing in particular– how nice the room looks and “…isn’t that a pulpit?” “Paul! Are you preaching the sermon tonight?” “I could, but I got none with me. Did you bring one?” Vicki writes Normal For Glastonbury, a popular, informative and entertaining blog about the town, its quirks, visitors, natives, and Vicki seems to be a bit of a town chronicler for Glastonbury. Closer to performance time now, I’m ready for music and Bob Gallie brings it on with his Welsh-but-I-thought-it-was-Scottish accent, dreads, and red Martin (I think) guitar.
(You can watch the performance on this Facebook Live archived video.)
Several songs in, it’s apparent Bob Gallie knows how to craft his song; simple in structure and melody and very strong on lyric as storytelling. Vicki and I lean over occasionally sharing observations about the music, the room, the wild haired young man still drinking too much, who turns out to be an old housemate of Vicki’s. “He used to love wearing dresses.” she says. “He’s not gay, he just likes dresses. And he’d change outfits 5 times in a night if there were people visiting. He also knows how to use every utensil in the kitchen just to prepare one meal.” Time passes, we’re almost through the second set, I’m looking at the door feeling like my time has come to move on. Vicki leans over and says “So did Elvis stop by your house for tea or what?” I spit the remaining whiskey I’d just taken my last sip of out across the table and into the air. It being a pub, I don’t think anyone noticed. The last song almost over, I tell her I’m about to walk home. Another minute or two passes “You just don’t want to answer my question do you.” I stay seated until the song’s end and stand up to make my way back up the High Street to my Bove Town Road garden-terrace home that faces the south and has a wonderful location for growing vegetables this summer. Elvis never stopped by my house when I was young, but I did name one of my dogs after him, and he recorded one of my father’s songs. My father once told me “There’s only one person in this world I’d never follow on stage and that’s Elvis–I did once in the 50’s, and there’s a reason they call him the king”.
Kudos to a couple of kings from a queen on the Isle of the Dead. May they both be a song in the galaxy tonight.