A marvellous evening was had by all at the Panorama Motor Lodge on Friday 31st January. A good crowd turned out - with a slightly wacky sense of humour.
Bernard Bolan and his twelve string were warmly welcomed to the stage where, full of glee, he proceeded to warn the humanity there gathered of the dangers of gnomes and how they prefer not to be treated. If anyone there had not previously been introduced to Mr Bolan, I think that broke the ice! The selection of songs that followed were just as environmentally friendly, although somewhat well disguised. We are informed that those turtles in the banks should be well treated - but only as they actually run the show! And on a more melancholy note Bernie sings that although the 'sun is still shining and the sky is still blue' there are precious few fish left in those favourite harbour haunts of previous years.
Bernard could be called a footballer of song - he gets a good idea and runs like hell with it! From discussing the hazards of the modern age with his neighbour, Bernard draws the tune 'It Was Easy When They Made Them Out Of Wood', each verse a classic; sometimes hearts would be better unbreakable, and even the bit about the ride-on lawn mower that was waved out of this town - and into the next when it wouldn't stop, rings true with those of us struggling with modern buttons and levers!
Very good at showing us our cultures' contradictions, in 'The Football Song' Bernard cleverly entwines the juxtaposition of how tough football players are - and how they love a good cuddle when they score! - and his song for the opening of the Opera House is a fine example, showering the building in praise for all it will bring to Sydney but with the chorus 'Who's going to pay the bloody bill!'. We are all human and should enjoy our language and our experiences, as Bernard demonstrates by example with his story of walking nose first (you know that sound) into the microphone on the Opera House Stage in pitch darkness - but he still managed to start the song when the spotlight came on!
Taking us along with him, and enjoying himself thoroughly, Bernard entrances with a love song (to his best friends dog), a stab or two at solicitors, the dangers of household pets with wind and countless other previously indescribable situations. Bernard also explains the vital role that Folk 2000 is playing in putting our local folk music on the map as we approach the turn of the century. With everyone singing along in the chorus there is a real appreciation of folk music's role in the demystification of what's important.
The evening is long, but too short (even with an encore), but everything looks a little different as we leave; there seems to be three sides to everything - two of which will make you chuckle. Thank you Bernard Bolan from all of us who were there!
- ChloŽ Roweth (for Bathurst Folk Club)