The Blythe Hill Tavern

319 Stanstead Road, Forest Hill, Lewisham, London, England

Four hundred and thirty-seven comments

The Blythe

This session will commence on Thursday, 18th September 2003.
Starts 9.00 - 9.30, in the back bar. Con, the governor, has been known to give out a couple of pints to the players, but I can’t promise that. There have been sessions here, off and on, for a number of years, so it is known as a session pub.

Roll on next Thursday!


I’ll see if I can get a few heads together for the opening night!


Map, directions and transport..

Train: to Catford or Catford Bridge. Get onto South Circular. Walk away from Catford (not a bad idea anyway!), about quarter of a mile, then Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt, you’re there.
Can also get a train to Honor Oak Park/Forest Hill - both on the same line but those stations are a wee bit further. Check the map to work out your route too complex to describe here!

Buses: 185, 171 122. Also 202 and 75.
Getting back to Central North London? Night bus N171 (I think.)

First night a big success …

Could - subject to all the usual caveats, often beyond the players’ control - well become unmissable!

The Blythe Hill … some thoughts

Having been underway now for what … three, four months … this session has taken on a life of its own. The hallmarks of good sessions, in my opinion are a) that they’re not reliant on one or two people and b) they evolve. On both of these counts The Blythe Hill scores. We’re now at the stage where if one or two of the regulars don’t/can’t show, the music carries on. Their presence might be missed, but c’est la vie, there’s enough confident players to keep the show on the road. On the other score, the session attracts the occasional "outsider" - some of whom quickly become insiders, others are content to sit in now and again. What’s remarkable is that almost without exception all of the visiting musicians are of a wavelength with the regular players … the cringe factor that sometimes accompanies the arrival of a stranger, who then proceeds to play music which is out of kilter with the overall timbre of the session hasn’t happened yet! There have been one or two nights where a few visitors have been a little "challenging", but these occasions haven’t been a blight so much as a nuisance. And the session has the ability to surprise such as on New Year’s Night when whatever combination of circumstances (surely unplannable!) conspired to inspire the players and the punters into a late-night orgy of music, song and dancing that was quintessential "session takes off" territory. Long may it last!

I’m there…

Sounds really good. I’m going to have to make it up to Lewisham some Thursday night.

Jeremy …

You’d be very welcome. Drop Danny or myself a line a few days beforehand and we’ll see if we can ensure that it’s a full house!

I will get meself and the boys there one day

When the Chaucers get their act together and stop drinking the night away at Mels we WILL come and join in. Well Mike does sometimes anyway and I’m not brave enough to go on my own……Oh what an admission!



Sarah, I understand what you’re saying, but give it a lash. It’s not a daunting session by any means (says he who’s been to a few that have been daunting!).

Thanks Aidan….maybe I can get those boys to get there after practice this Thurs and if not well maybe I’ll just be brave the week after!


Cheers Sarah

We NEARLY made it but then Chris brought out the beer! However Mike says he’ll go next week and take me along!

Cringe factor?

I’ll give you bloody cringe factor.

Hello Aidan & others, I happened upon this while I was looking for something else. I got yr message the session had moved to another pub but was unaware of the reasons why (and didn’t really need to know of course). Sounds like it’s all going off with a bang at the new place and hopefully I will get to London in a week or two and poke my nose in for some of that cringe factor.

The situation described at the Duke is not unusual in my experience, being barely tolerated and having to ask for the jukebox or telly to be turned off is pretty common to sessions just about everywhere at one time or another. I’ve been at sessions where 90% of the bar is into the music, but one member of staff will put on the telly loudly without warning in the middle of a tune cos "people want to watch the footy" (or in one memorable case, the golf!)

Similarly with lock-ins, pubs up here don’t like giving lock-ins to regulars or locals for fear they’ll be expecting it every week. Bit crappy if you see others inside getting a drink but I can tell by the abuse I get from staff up here at closing time that they have a hell of a time getting musicians to stop playing once they get primed up, then punters are reluctant to leave and so it goes.

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Bren and Sarah …

Bren …

It would be good to see you again (and the oul Donmo). It was a right good laugh last time we met!

Sarah …

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this Thursday (29th Jan). But should be back on track thereafter! All the others will be there, however and they’ll make you feel most welcome.

So long as it doesn’t do any more snowing I’m hoping to make it over tomorrow

I had a great time last thurs… I found some good tunes and altho Mike and Brian were there for support it was nice to meet everyone else too. Danny is just brilliant on the flute … ah well one day one day! We have practice this Thurs but maybe the week after I’ll be there again.

Thanks again for making me feel welcome.


An update - just over 6 months in …!

What are you after in a session? Sometimes you don’t know till it’s happening around you - then you step back and say … this is IT! The Blythe’s one of those ITs. What’s going on here to make it such a good night out? Well, first off there’s a small core of players who turn out come hell or high water. We’ve played together for a while now, but not for so long that familiarity has bred contempt (not that it ever will, in my opinion … we all seem genuinely to enjoy each others’ company). There’s a mix of levels; we have players in our midst who play incredibly well, yet who are happy to sit alongside those whose playing is a few generations back along the evolutionary curve! (And, as it happens, the more advanced players bring out the best in those who are less advanced, less confident, whatever …) The sets are a variety of old warhorses, classy sets of less "standard" tunes and interspersed with this one or that one’s latest obsession. If someone strikes up a tune that we don’t know, the other players give him or her due attention (and gradually some of those left-fielders make it into the communal repertoire). Anyone is free to kick a set off and the "active listening" is obvious … there are no assumptions that the tune sets will always be the same (even though nine times out of ten, as in any session, sets will follow the patterns we’ve established earlier in our life-cycle). Above all, though, the crack’s 90! The asides, the false starts, the leg-pulling, blind alleys, back-slapping, good-natured slagging; all enlivened through the copious (though rarely ludicrous!) consumption of the devil’s buttermilk. The Blythe Session is one where, I’d wager, the session-regulars feel at home as much as they do in their own living rooms. That for me is the hallmark of a decent sesh. Anyway, here’s to us and who’s like us?! And long may we toot, scrape, wheeze and diddle …

I totally agree!

…With all of Aidan’s comments above. I personally can add that its proximity is a big plus factor for me! - I live about 2-300 metres up on the Hill itself!

Also the quality of the Guinness (very often free, for musicians!) and the pub itself - it really is a nice wee pub, with 3 little bars, and the service is usually first class - even from Grumpy Chris. Most of the regulars, although kinda geezer-ish, are at worst tolerant of our efforts but most often appreciative. I always look forward to Thursday nights.

Captain’s Log: Friday 2nd April


What a great session last night. The best I’ve been to for a long time and most likely the best the Blythe has seen for…???….probably ever.
17 musicians there (I think!) all playing in time and in tune. Loadsa great tunes. Nice players, nice people all, including meself, Cath, Billy, BigDave, Dan Beimborn, Paddy Gallagher, Paul Gross, Aidan, Brian and his mate a box player from Suffolk….and many others. Thanks guys, what a great session.

Thanks, folks: 13 May, 2004 at the Blythe

Just wanted to thank Danny Mackay, Brian, Maxy, Dave, Mitch and several others (hope I have the names right) for being so open and friendly to a visiting American fiddle player at this warm and lively session. The music and the craic were both first rate, and I’ve been to many sessions around the States and Ireland. This was my first session in England, and I take it as a good sign. I’ll be back soon, I hope, and I’ve passed the word about the Blythe Hill Tavern to sessionmates here in Washington, DC. Cheers to all.

Bob Engelman

Bob …

You were very welcome. We’ve had quite a few visitors across to the Blythe … a few from America (including James Morrison’s great-granddaughter … visting royalty, eh!). Always a pleasure to hear from new people and to extend our hospitality to visitors, especially when they have loadsa tunes and lift as you yourself had! G’luck and visit again when you’re in London. Aidan (mandolin/octave mandola)

Hands wanted urgently!

A bit of a crisis at the Blythe Hill Tavern tonight - our Lord of the Flies and other session friends/regulars are away due to holiday/illness, anyone at a loose end who fancies a session in south london TONIGHT(listed on this site)- free drinks - will be welcome with open arms.
yours, with fingers crossed,

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Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Open arms AND fingers crossed.


Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Legs crossed!!!!

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Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Unfortunately my Helicopter is in for it’s annual service at the moment so I will not be able to attend, but good luck.

Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Cheers - why couldn’t this be Manchester!!

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Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Cath, I’d love to - and I owe you a favour, but no transport rules it out. With you in spirit.

Re: Hands wanted urgently!

Thanks Paul. I’ll just have to play twice as hard tonight but the pot will be bottomless and I’m not working tomorrow so I’ll get my fill at least.
All the best

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Blythe session emergency

Thank you all of you who came last night, it was quite a biggie in the end and brilliant fun. Best wishes to all

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Blythe Emergency

Just in case it looks like a case of "the sky is falling", three of the seven hardcore members of the Blythe session looked as if they weren’t going to show, two because they were on holiday and one (yours truly) because he wasn’t well. There were question marks over another two! So it looked at one stage as if Cath and Billy would have to carry the day. At the very point where I was trudging upstairs to an early bed I decided that I might as well be ill and miserable in the Blythe than ill and miserable in bed, gathered up my gear and got a taxi! Glad I did!

Blythe Thursday

You weren’t miserable anyway Aidan, in fact you were well enough to crack a couple of dirty jokes (I nearly blushed).
The pot was bottomless that night, I kept going to the bar and taking some money out, only to be told ‘don’t worry’ - I would not expect it every week, with such a great number as we ended up with - and there was me worrying there’d only be me and Billy. John Offord does not normally go out Thursdays so it was really great to see him. And of course, Ken. It was his first time but I hope he feels he can come up anytime. The best session guitarist I can think of: able to play most tunes but modest enough to stop when he’s unsure. He stays away from any B flat augmented minor fancy chord when he know a simpe D will sound just right. And, he’s a gentle player so that you don’t always know he’s playing, except that we all sound that little bit smoother together. Sod ‘pure drop’, a little bit of tune ‘padding’ does not hurt.

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the day i see you blush,Cath,will be the day a certain infernal region freezes!

I might get there this week …. will there be a repeat of the blushable jokes?



The most blushworthy jokes (comments, asides, non-sequiturs, double entendres, ooh-missus-how’s-your-father-well-I-never!) tend to get aired in Billy’s car en route to and fro more so than in the Blythe itself. Given that it’s a tiny wee vehicle, its enforced intimacy provokes the occasional "bluey". But I’ll see if I can be coaxed into being lascivious, foul-mouthed and generally corrupt and putrid if this is, as I suspect one of the glues that binds the session. Heaven knows what Father Dollard would have made of it all though (even it though it would be grist to the mill of MacGowan’s grotesque creation, Father Emmett).

Aidan, Susan who came from Chicago with a friend (who did not play but seemed to be enjoying himself), was disappointed you weren’t there. There was another fiddler who came from America but I did not catch his name. Both were lovely fiddle players, the chap knew most of our tunes too. Reassuringly, Susan has played only a little while longer than I have, so I was not too intimidated, although she’s got a superb tone. Paul, John (Offord) and Brian joined us so it was a night for fiddlers. No Max though. Hope he’s not decided to go through a non-playing phase, he’d be sorely missed.

It’s always great to get visitors from everywhere, and it’s quite flattering that tourists will find their way from Central London to Catford to join us. Hope they weren’t disappointed.

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I’m disappointed not to have been able to meet Susan as well! It’s one of those things … wife’s mate with whom she was very close is visiting from Australia for a few days and Thursday was the one night she had free from family commitments; being summer the babysitters who we normally use are neck-deep in exams and don’t want to have late nights and distratctions from their A Levels …

Susan … if you read this, apologies for not being one of the welcoming party. Hope your new job brings you over to London again and if so, would love to meet up with you!

Cath was the other fiddle player called Dave from Portsmouth New Hampshire? I met him at the Kilkenny on Tues nite and recommended he visit The Blythe. He had a very amusing tale to tell about how he stopped 2 people carrying fiddle cases in the street in Hammersmith and asked them what kind of music they played. They just said "we’ll show you" took out their fiddles and played. people even chucked money at them…. and that’s how he found out about the Kilkenny!

Hope to get to the Blythe next week


Yes Sarah, he is the same one, I found out he was called Dave this morning, and he told us he was from Boston but mentioned he was staying in Hammersmith.
He and Paul hit it off well last night.
I was in fiddle heaven - 6 of us!
See you next Thursday hopefully

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Sarah - yes that’s the same guy - he told me about meeting someone at the Kilkenny - Sorry, it was me who spread the rumour he was from the Boston Area. Due to the general session hubbub I only could follow half of what he was saying. Nice guy, very nice player. He’ll be at the Catskills week where meself and some other The Session members will be meeting up.
Aidan - Susan is from The Other Place. Very nice lass, and as Cath says her fiddle tone was very clean.
Shame it finished so (inordinately) early.

Will the Blythe be affected by the Football this week or is it safe???? Mentioned it to a few people at the Kilkenny last night including some more overseas visitors.

Hope to make it tomorrow


Sarah, last week we were ok where we usually play - the footie was in the main bar, so we were unaffected. I’d say it’s safe to come out.

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Football interference


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Oh poo! I was looking forward to that… mind you the thought of driving thru croydon if ENGERLAND lost doesn’t bear thinking about!

Hope the man with his 5 string fiddle from Canada doesn’t turn up! Whoops!

Glad you got the message Sarah - what a shame - I do hope you man stays put.

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Perhaps he and his girlfriend like football!!!! Hmmmm??????

The beautiful game - my @ss!

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Cath- i think you had better calm down!

surely there’s a positive surfeit of southern sessions (try saying that after a skiknful) in these here parts of the metropolis these days.
so you can hardly complain of withdrawal symptoms.musically,i mean…

Well I must apologise to Cath, Aidan and A.N.Other for England’s dreadful performance tonight. If the game had been over at full time we could have played. Should we blame it on the ref?

Paul, the ref always gets the blame, so yes.

You should hear a song by Matt McGinn, called ‘football referee’ - it’s pretty funny.

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Nice alliteration Dave

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Calling all contributors to this beloved session - it might be a bit of a lean one tomorrow so if you’re in two minds about attending, hope you decide to come.
I’m afraid there will be no Danny or Aidan and I doubt that Billy’ll make it as his partner is just about ready to bring a bundle of joy into their lives!

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Another Blythe Emergency


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It’s a shame … but my missus has been been saying for years that she would have loved to have seen Simon and Garfunkel live. Well, tomorrow they’re playing live in Hyde Park. I couldn’t stand in her way, could I? Any you London crew can bail Cath out, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it!

So it’s the sound of silence from you then, Aidan

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Cath - so sorry but me and the Chaucers gang are recording again tonight … even tho I am back from deepest devon. Hope some people turn up for you.


Well, we had a quorum last night after all, two whistles, two fiddles and future dad Billy on the banjo & mandolin. A young guy came up, borrwed the mandolin and did a couple of songs. A great evening, albeit quite sweaty. Roll on winter…

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Whooohay - i’m keeping an eye on you guys! I miss the whole thing, really badly, from Philadelphy. Just keep it happening, guys, you have no idea how much our efforts are noted worldwide. Big serious point.

Till next thursday

Kindest Regards,


Blythe hill tonight - who’s coming?

Just heard that Danny cannot make it tonight (5th), I’ll be a bit late and it may also be a similar problem with Billy as we both agreed to a fund raiser earlier this evening. Alastair is in Scotland and Max in Spain. Any regular(or super)can make it, it would be very lovely to see you at around 9.00.

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Sorry Cath but I’m recording in Croydon with the boys tonight then off on hols for 2 and a bit weeks. Twas a good sesh last week tho’!

actually am around tonight - in scotland next week - misunderstanding must be the result of my unsober ramblings last week - looking forward to a few tunes even if it’s a small crowd

actually will be around tonight - in scotland next week - misconception must be result of unsober ramblings last week - looking forward to a few tunes even if it’s a small crowd

Sorry Alasdair - and it was quite a good session too, hope you weren’t too overwhelmed by the strings, since you were the only whistle player there. It was very nice to meet and hear Kathleen O’Sullivan sing in her very strong and distinctive voice. Weirdly enough I bought "Track across the deep" by London Lasses, featuring Kathleen, only last Sunday.

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Blythe Hill Tonight

Danny, who do you think is going to be there?
All the regulars and semis are out this week apart from me and you. Are you still going ahead? And if anyone else is thinking of coming, please let me know

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Damn … she’d hinted a good while back that she might make it over to the Blythe. And her journey "across the deep" *would* happen to coincide with my holidays! Grrrrr!


And what a voice! Oh no, we’ve dropped another name! Oh well, while I’m at it, Brendan Power was playing at a session in a pub in Broadstairs last week, and I was chuffed to be attending the same, along with Ken and Sheila.

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Just what I needed after a few weeks of total scheidt! Good on you!

So, now that Con’s decided we’ll have a permanent seating arrangement, things are starting to look up again. Good crack last night and we’re starting to get some serious punter attention. I spotted two guys at the bar who were very attentive all night.

Right Guys, praying that tonight will be an improvement on last week with those w@nkers hopefully absent.As I said on the recent thread we’ll have to formulate a very pro-active strategy for discouraging these "passengers"…and I’m being very polite!

Farewell To The Blythe … ???

Given what you’ve said about the crack last night, Danny, and given that the Blythe has a fair amount of disdain for the session, I’m inclined to throw in the towel on this one.

Con had promised to sort out a permanent table for the players, but that promise never materialised.

Given the fact that we have to scramble for space; that the place attracts its fair share of the pig-ignorant and pig-arrogant; the episode with yer man who wouldn’t give up his FOOTSTOOL (fer Chrissakes!) to let Chris sit in with us; the episode when my sister, Kathleen O’Sullivan and Mick Mulvey were in the house and a number of people walked away from the bar making a big gesture out of sticking fingers in their ears (and the bar staff encouraged them); the "folkies" from last week who don’t know scheidt from custard; Chris’s (ie barman Chris, not Chris nagopaleen) miserable big face and then, the reported further arrogance of last night.

Sod it, Danny! It’s hard enough to get a few tunes together without having to deal with all that crack at the same time. The Blythe is just too big, too busy and too "mainstream" a pub to do justice to a session. I’m sorry for pulling out for Con’s sake, cos he always gave great support and the guy put his hand in his pocket for us. But some of the practicialities are beyond his control (unless he fancies building a little annexe where musicians can retire and play unhindered by punters).

Yer comments about wanting to give somebody a wee dunt just hammer home the point. You go out to play a few tunes, not to get so wound up that you’re comtemplating violence. It’s not good for the music and anyway two-thirds of that shower who carp from the bar are mates of each other. If you were to get the better of one of them, half a dozen of them would lie in wait for you one night and fit or not, you’d end up in Rushey Green for six months with tubes sticking out at every angle!

I didn’t make it last night despite earlier intentions (last minute desperate Christmas shopping baa humbug etc - I am expecting 3 ghosts to visit me tonight) I don’t know what happened last night but if the Blythe folds it will be a shame from a personal point of view. This was the first session I ever really got involved with and I just found the core group very friendly accepting people with a very relaxed easy going feel to the session most of the time. I never picked up some of the other subtle carry on present on the periphery being an inexperienced sessioner as I am - but last week was bleedin’ obvious - you guys know the form of these things better than me and I’ll watch this page for developments - oh yeh just one more thing - Happy Holidays to you all - I must say that throughout 2004 I have always looked forward to Thursdays

Tho an infrequent visitor it wold be a real shame if the Blythe folds. Now we’ve finished recording we are hoping to get back to regular Thurs Practices and the Blythe is just the perfect end to the evening.

Are you guys meeting next Thurs? I may need the Blythe after a surfeit of being nice to elderly relatives!!!! It can’t be as bad as that can it????

Happy Christmas everyone


(Now I’m going to do the religious bit and watch Carols from Kings as a reward for all the shopping, tidying up, present wrapping, not shouting at anybody YET etc etc…)

Not my call …

Sarah … I don’t think that there’s any suggestion that the Blythe should fold. It’s just that I’m a particularly intolerant individual and I get no enjoyment out of playing when the vibes just aren’t right. I envy others’ ability to play on regardless. But I’ve reached the end of my tether with only half-enjoying the sessions at the Blythe. Half isn’t good enough; the crack used to be well-ninety. And the diminished enjoyment factor isn’t down to the musicians, it’s caused by those outside the session.

Testosterone and alcohol..

..A deadly combination.

It would be no great shakes to me if the Blythe folded, the way the geezer contingent are remorselessly and relentlessly regaining their (no doubt in their view) hold on the pub.

Look, why not try West Greenwich House, very close to where Cath stays? We used to have sessions in there on a Friday night, when John Driver was alive.


Where’s West Greenwich House?
That would certainly be handy!

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Is anyone going to be at the Blythe tonight???? Or has it ceased to be??? I am on hols and thought I might venture over tonight if its on - bit late in the day but if anyone is out there can you let me know



Harmony At The Blythe

The whistle playing session spoiler did not come, it was a bit of an anticlimax in a way, but we had a pretty perfect one. We had the small room, a few customers lcame over from the other bars to listen, thanks for coming Sarah & Alistair has increased his range of tunes tenfold. And two flutes, two whistles and two fiddles kicked @ass playing Farewell to Ireland (or Erin) but we’re not going to disagree on that 🙂

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So is Aidan coming back?
This is better than Eastenders.
Southeastenders maybe?

Anyway glad you had a good one.

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Nice one, Bren … Southeastenders.

Anyway … if Aidan does come back, in true soap fashion he’ll be played by a different actor!


Kevin, a regular fiddler from Tir na nog joined us last night, and Bob the Brickie came for a visit, minus his fiddle. We hope to see him again, with his fiddle. He borrowed mine for a couple of tunes - made me feel a bit small I must say, what a sweet tone!
And words were exchanged with the unmentionable whistle player. Funnily enough, he was the one who started complaining - Danny reckons the man won’t be back, but I’m not so sure…
Still, I told hime what I had to.

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Cath thank you for the welcome you and Danny gave me last night at the Blythe.I hope I can make it next week.

So yet again the Blythe has a few trixupitsseeve … good and bad! Jayz!

Ed the Fiddle

Bob - thanks for notifying Ed the fiddle and Maureen the whistle about the Blythe. Their presence was most welcome (as is yours of course). Ed is a superb player, up among the top people. I know a shed load of tunes (I don’t *have* to boast this - most folks will attest to it), but we ended up playing a very good-natured game of musical tennis, and every time I served him up a set of tunes he was right back with another set when it was his serve - and thus we reciprocated for a good hour after the session proper had ended. *And* they are very nice people on top of that! I also would welcome the return of Michael the box player any time, whose style on the piano box is quite remarkable, how he makes that staccato pulsing noise of a Kerry button box player. As another player of the "wrong" instrument (Boehm flute), it’s all the more proof that it’s not *what* you play, but *how* you play.

Danny they found the Blythe without my help,I think they got it of this board.See ya soon Bob

I think I might venture in a Blythy kind of direction tonight. Will anyone be there …or is it still whistle wars?????


Sarah … the lion has lain down with the lamb and swords have been beaten into ploughshares … well, on that particular front anyway!

Might be best if you emailed one or 2 of us regulars rather than post here at such short notice, CB.

Yes it was on last night, and a really nice relaxed session it was too. Shame you missed it. No abusive or mental people, just a core of good players/friends, and a shedload of tunes. Michael’s box playing in particular, is superb.


Did plan to come myself but was invited to a gig at the Borderline instead. Can you make Saturday anyone?

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Hi Cath - I’ll try & get down. I had a couple of pints last night, and today is the first day I’ve not felt like daith het up the day after a few drinks.

No more spam or popups!

Please will all the regulars read my "well tempered tunes" thread before coming gonight as there will be a theory test. Thank you.


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"Tonight", I think.

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Well tempered tunes - bad tempered musicians!
Sorry I missed the Blythe (flu) and will miss it again next Thursday - I’ve got a gig (bluegrass) - definitely back the week after.

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Great session last night - some very classy musicians turned up…. just to say sorry to Ed, Mick, Chris and David (Ed and David both having come a long way), as I had to leave early at 11.45pm since I had promised to get back to watch the election. Wish I’d left it for a bit longer now as the first hour of results wasn’t very exciting, whereas the tunes were. Make sure you come again guys.

Lovely night last night - very relaxed but on form, and a half crazed audience!

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Great night tonight lads!
Many thanks to Padhraig, Micheal, Sadie, and especially the lovely Estelle for your weepy and charming songs. Just goes to show, "a night away from the Blythe is a night wasted"

Meanwhile in East London

It wasn’t wasted for some of us. We had a great night at the Chevy Chase.

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There should be some very interesting players turning up this coming Thursday…say no more….

Well, it was a bit different tonight and quite a varied lot it was. Greatly enjoyed all of it…

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So much for Ms. VS, but never mind. Hopefully we’ll be graced by her presence some other time. But the idea of her presence got you lot out! Thanks a million, guys. What a great session. Great singing from Helen, extraordinary playing from Chris, Geoff, Mick…everyone in fact. There seemed to be boundless energy going round.


Rubbish, we were coming anyway!!!! 🙂
Quite a few people were on holiday last week that was the real reason of the quiet previous week. We don’t need a media presence to turn up!!!!!!!!!!

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Personally I only turned up cos of the media presence or lack of…….Oh ok no I didn’t….. it was cos I wanted to hear Bluebell Polka followed by Tam Lin!!!!!! Great evening …who needs VIPs????

PS I thought a Weegie Boor was what you used in a dark candlelit room to summon up the dead…..has the Scots person got plans for the Blythe attendance next week????

Good one Sarah!
No, the Weegie’s staying put next week, but the paddies and frog and others will be there. See you in a fortnight’s time

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Weegies Rile, OK?

Youse probably haven’t been following the Dow & Danny Show, the latest soap here at the sesh. I said he came across online like a typical feckless Geordie boor, then with persuasion regretted it, so as penance I thought I’d metaphorically walk around here for a while wearing the hairshirt of the term, tailored , of course for a Glaswegian, or Weegie.

Yeah, I know it didn’t need a celeb to winkle youse out of yer shells, but no harm done. The irony of course is that when I mentioned all this to Paul, he said the good lady herself is already a semi-regular at the English session in Greenwich!
Hope Tish enjoyed last night. It was top class in all departments. Well done, team!

BTW, where is that English session based now?

What’s in a name

And there was me thinking you were trying for the longest name of any session member

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Yay! And there was me asking Danny if his name was still Pingu after all this time I’ve been Internet-less.

Did enjoy it greatly, Danny - will be a little more effusive later as I have to get off my host’s telephone line just now.

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It was nice meeting you Tish, you chose a nice busy night to come and join us. It can be a bit quiet at this time of year, but we had a good turnout as people have started to come back from holiday.

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Blythe Hill Tavern

Thanks for coming all the way down to Forest Hill Q , hope you got home alright and that you’ll come and see us again soon.

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Wahey!! Yaboy ye!
Yafikkinboy ye!
Great to meet ye ya bollox! Very nice guy, nice attitude, nice tunes. Now that you’re a Londoner, don’t be a stranger …to us remote SE Londoners.

See ye soon —-Danny!!


Hey hey 🙂 had a great time last night at the Blythe - thanks again you guys for making me feel so welcome!

The trip out and back is actually pretty straightforward if you get the timing right, which thank god I managed somehow!

I’ll definitely be back - wild horses etc.

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Great to meet you, Q. Lovely playing, man! See you soon


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Teada gig

In case you’ve come here for info about this session tonight (10th Nov), but haven’t looked in on the Discussions, I don’t think there’ll be many people, if any, turning up, due to the Teada gig in the nearby Lewisham Irish Centre. However, it IS possible that there will be a session on at the Blythe after the gig, say 10.30ish onwards…maybe even with the lads…..we’ll see…


Is it on this Thursday 29th?

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Well if it doesn’t snow anymore I can get there. I need a recovery after christmas!!!!


Ok, Sarah, I’ll be there.

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Wot a bliddy sesh! Talk about whiskey galore!
One thing’s for sure. You’ll never beat a Blythe session when it’s on form. I’ve travelled far far from my own native home, far away o’er the mountains, etc, etc, but there’s none to compare with the Tavern of Blythe Hill.


Was a pleasure to meet all at the Blythe Hill session thanks for being so welcoming and for the lightning fast tune book location when needed!

It’s now nearly three years since the session at the Blythe commenced. I think it might be a good idea to have some kind celebration, a kind of mega-session, on either the 14th or the 21st September, my feeling would be for 21st, as a kind of "thank you" to Con.
Maybe try and get everyone who ever ateended to attend.
Any thoughts folks?

good idea Danny lets pick a date and keep to it - 21st is good for me

21st September it is then..

I spoke to Con (the Govnr) last night. He was keen on that date (21st).

See youse all there!

Great session last night lads and lassies. Myself, Billy, BigDave, Mick M, Paul Gross, Brian, Max, 3 East Dulwich contingent fiddlers, Frankie & Gordon played a load of fine tunes despite…..erm….a certain class of piano box player. Say no more.

Last weeks session

Key Maniac Lad, I am the ‘certain class of piano box player’. I am only a beginner and have never claimed to be anything else having only played for 3 years. I have a burning passion for irish music and session playing so how about a bit of encouragment or advice (preferably to my face) instead of whinging about me on here? I’ll probably be back there tonight so if you’ve got a problem you know where to come. The rest of the crowd certainly didn’t seem to have any problems with me so why should you?

No worries, Daniel - I will reply by email and if there is a chance, I’ll have a chat with you tonight. What I said above hardly constitues a whinge, though.

Box players

Personally speaking I love ‘em all…Hows the session been recently?- I haven’t been for a few weeks. Anyway, just you wait ‘til I get my highland pipes for xmas!!! The Blythe will never be the same again.

it’s not bad, i only get down about once a month. The landlord has moved it into the other side room to try to fill up the bars. Personally i think he should put it in the room at the back by the fireplace? Nice crowd and players, if not slightly slower and laid back in style than myself but it’s always nice for a change and the practise. BRING YOUR PIPES! 🙂

Truth be told, it has gone way, way downhill of late.
There was a time when some great players and characters would turn up regularly. They just don’t want to come any more, I know for a fact. Just a bunch of old hacks (except Paul) and learners go regularly now. I’m seriously contemplating giving up on it as of now.

Old hacks

Well, I quite enjoyed it last week so I must be either an ‘old hack’ or a beginner having only been playing for 20+ years!

don’t worry - I’m one of the hacks. But it has lost the plot big time. Keep enjoying it - I don’t any more.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder or possibly not…

well i was n’t there myself but i can probably guess!
good luck and hope the vibe continues,dave

because I wasn’t there? well no worries, I should be down on thursday night. Glad to hear it’s running well again.

Yes and no. Someone else’s absence mostly. Yesterday was quite good. Should be better by March or April.


hi,Daniel - re blythe session,i can assure you that the person i was thinking of is not yrself!
i meant a rather negative fiddle player who lives nearby.
best wishes,dave

An eventful evening

An eventful evening was had last night.

The storms outside were equally matched in ferocity by those within the premises. The said fiddler made a wannabe humorous comment to me about turning my flute round the other way so that Mr. J.O. (fiddle) could squeeze in. It must be the way he tells them because I saw red and told him he could f\/ck off for a start. He made some other condescending remark then turned his back on me to play tunes while I sat there fuming. At the end of another set, which I didn’t applaud, he turned to me saying I was too miserable to clap. I said “I meant what I just said there, Br!@*”

There followed a lengthy, obsequious, nauseating appeal from him for me to lighten up, that I should start drinking again and relax, this delivered with sickening beery breath in my face and not keeping his distance, pawing me as if we were brothers just after having had a wee tiff. I finally relented and apologized, as much to get him off my case as to allay my guilt feelings for not only having fallen from grace, but for using him, Jade Goody style, as a scapegoat for the relative demise of the session. So at my suggestion, we started up playing a few tunes.

If not necessarily good news, it came at least as a vindication to me when I later heard from the bodhrán player that said fiddle player player had subsequently first pushed him out of the way, then “ordered” him to make room for JO. So maybe I was not scapegoating him – he seems to have done a good job all by himself.

At about ten-ish a young fella, obviously oblivious to all that had previously transpired, walked into the session, came up to me and made me guess his identity – this turned out to be Dow! As I mentioned elsewhere, this turned out to be a thoroughly disappointing experience as Dow proved to be a really nice guy and a very fine player, with a shed load of tunes at his disposal. So we launched into several before time was finally called.

Disappointing, because I now have nothing to slag him about. And by his presence he had inadvertently saved the session from an ungracious end. Dow, of all people. He whose mission in life at The is to start arguments! Joking, of course, Dow, was great to meet and play tunes with you.

Good job I wasn’t there any earlier otherwise I might have joined in the fight and sided against you for the craic 😉

You’re right - I was totally oblivious to the tensions you mention. To the untrained eye it looked like you were all getting on perfectly well.

Thanks for the tunes. Off to learn the Cat’s Meow as I’ve been meaning to learn it for ages and I still kind of have it in my head from when you were playing it on Thurs night.

PS, bit of drama trying to get "home": managed to get a Stratford bus but in my state of tiddliness only thought to ask the driver for directions halfway through the trip. I was told I was on the wrong bus and to get off at the next stop. I was dumped in the absolute middle of nowhere (Blackheath??) and it was incredibly cold and bleak and raining, and I realised that the driver had been suggesting that I should go back to Lewisham and try again. Waited about 20mins and a bus arrived. Tried to flag it down but it sailed on past at about 100mph. Wondered who would contact my parents if I died out there of hypothermia. Then I gave up and decided to carry on to Stratford as I had planned, and then cab it. Finally made it home and was glad b/c it meant I could say goodbye properly to my friend in the morning and get some decent sleep for my long drive. So I’m still alive and will come to your session again some time to terrorise you! 😉

Yes of course, by that time we were all buddies again — at least to the untrained eye. Although I think I’ll probably leave it for a bit and go instead to other sessions. Shame cause it’s such a lovely pub, especially for having a session in, and it’d be doing Irish music a disservice NOT to have a session there, if that’s what eventually transpired.
Sorry it took you so long to get back, Mark, you could have crashed out here, but you seemed quite intent on getting back over to E. London. I thought that bus service you checked out was meant to be 24 hours?
There’s a few of the tunes you started up that I’ve since been giving a blast to also - goodness knows what they’d be called though. And now you can do more name-dropping on top of Finbar Dwyer - Paul Gross and John Offord - so it had to be worth it for that alone!


The real reason was not that I had to give the house key back to my friend, but that I thought you had hatched a plan to wait till I was asleep and then creep in and cut my throat with a kitchen knife in the middle of the night.

Can we get back to being horrible to each other now? You’re freaking me out with your smiley faces! I can’t stand the thought of having to be nice to you from now on. At least if you really insult me I now know where you live so I can go and chuck a brick through your front window. LOL.

Huh! I might have known - a leopard never changes his spots - something like that would be the only reason you came down to the Blythe. Anyway, what are you talking about MY smiley faces - you put one up there as well.
One thing I agree with you though - all this niceness is so contrived. I can’t wait till you say something silly again so I can give you the good slagging you so rightly deserve. As for me - by definition, it’s impossible for me to say anything daft cos I know everything - you said so yourself.

That’s more like it. I shoulda chucked a brick through your window while I had the chance, or even better burn your house down. that’ll have to wait till next year now.

Well, couldn’t you wait till we get the kitchen extension done so we get more out of the insurance? Or is that asking too much of a wandering psycho?

Sigh of relief!

Old Potato Head Saddam Hussein wasn’t there last night. Presumably in a huff from last week. That said, I turned up late myself as I thought he’d be there. And there were only a handful of players there. But it turned out great craic, nice and relaxed, no big egos trying to prove something, going on until 1.30am. Let’s hope it stays like this.


Dow a ‘young fella’? How old are you Key Maniac, my preconceptions are dissolving, I already find out your can’t play your flute ambidexterously ~ wasn’t that enough of a shock… Now I’m picturing you with a Zimmer frame… Maybe that’s why your grumpy? You’re a grumpy old man… Oh no, and worrying about a kitchen extension and insurance ~ you’re a short fat bald grumpy old man in a polyester suit, or worse, in a shell or track suit, with a stripe… Damn, now I am depressing myself. I had a completely other impression of you, alway feeling up when I saw the KML, now if feels like KFC…

Dow, what’s a ‘state of tiddliness’?

Further disappointment, I’d always thought the ‘Key’ must be in the free reed sense. Now it turns out to be more sedate, flute keys…they probably don’t even get used, there just for decoration… ~ I think I’m going to cry in my bourbon… You probably also drink Shirley Temples and spring water from blue glass bottles… Now I’m really hurting…

Hey ‘c’ I haven’t even started about Danny yet. I’ll have to ring you this weekend and we can have a good old gossip. You’re on the right lines with the stripey shell suit. All the more flammable for when I douse him in pertol and set alight to him next time I’m in Catford 😀

Pertol, by the way, is a very flammable substance only sold in Australia.

How gratifying to be this unwarranted centre of attention. As you will see from the pictures in my bio - old, short, fat, grumpy, bald & be-shell-suited can all be applied variously to describe me, though not entirely accurately. But you may retain such impressions if you will, especially if they depress you, cos that’ll give me a laugh!


Oh and Dow - be careful with the spelling - and also be very careful with the petrol…don’t get up tight —- if you feel nervous whilst handling it, make sure you light up a ciggie to calm you down……….

Going great guns

The last few weeks has seen a revival of fortunes of this session. Last week we had four flutes for example (along with other players). Last night we had three fiddles, mando, box, two flutes, three whistles, bodhran & spoons (but a smaller head count than instrument count 🙂 work it out! )

"The last few weeks has seen a revival of fortunes of this session"

Why, have you stopped going?

It hit a real low point when this Aussie Northumbrian character turned up a few weeks ago. Since then it has recovered from the shock and it’s got better and better. But thanks for asking, Dow, knowing how genuinely concerned you really are, being such a caring person.

I won’t be there this coming Thursday 15/02/07, you’ll be relieved to hear. So have a good one!

I could hear their collective sigh of relief from here in Australia.

Assessment and evaluation report

Last night’s personnel - Frankie, Gordon, Brian, Chris, a guitarist (Rich?), Aidan, myself. Plus a beginner spoons player (!), who used his lady friend to practise on quite a lot - she didn’t look too pleased; I must admit I burst out laughing at his antics in the middle of one tune - oh dear! Definitely a "two tables" feel for most of the evening but after 1 or 2 had left it got more relaxed and homogenous. Also discussed the Patrick’s night plan (see Aidan for more details - not the BHT.)
Sorry to have missed the Blackfen gig the other night, btw, heard there was a handy fiddle player.
Odhu ntinggo,

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Yes, Max, it was Danny Meehan. Dow, are you listening? I played a load of tunes with Danny Meehan.
And he invited me to play a gig with him on March 10th, but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it due to a prior engagement. How’s that for a name drop?

come on guys what’s happening at the BHT - I am missing it and haven’t been able to get back yet but am wandering what the action is - has Brian returned? have there been any particularly ace nights? who has had a row with who? which new random musicians have turned up and how has it changed things? are the regulars still there? maybe I should just get my arce down there to find all this out!!!!!

No news must be good news, Al. No big arguments now that Br!@^ isn’t there to wind people up. The usual suspects have been regulars of late: me, Max, Aidan, Paul Gross, Kate and her mate, Frankie and Gordon…and sometimes John the Bodhran as well. If this is how it is panning out these days I’d rather do without the aggro. But it would be great to see *you* down again if you can make it. Hope the wee wean is doing well.


I had the pleasure of visiting this famous session last Thursday and had a great time.
Of course I’ve been to the pub before but not on a Thursday.
It was very nice to meet Mr. KML in the flesh and his mates.
I hope to get down there more often now…

I trust there were no blows swapped after last Thursday, gentlemen?

🙂 🙂

A pretty dumb thing to say, saying one of Chris’s own compositions sounded like an English tune.

Maybe someone should have wryly smiled at my grave error and pleasantly explained to the “new boy” precisely why this tune was, in fact, “Irish”.
As I say I’m new to this and I am very willing to learn!
My remark was not designed to offend; I was merely saying what I thought based on my personal experience of music generally, perhaps naive in certain areas as that may be.
I thank you all and I look forward to learning more from the Gentlemen of the Blythe soon!!

Please God, no! Don’t. Stay away. The Blythe session has suffered from enough session-wreckers without some lippy controversialist"deciding to grace the pub with his presence and merely upsetting some very nice, genuine people who devote more time and energy to keeeping Irish Traditional Music alive and kicking than you’d ever appreciate. (Yes … even to the extent that they can’t be bothered to express an opinion on other types of music … big deal!) Come back and join in when you know some tunes. Don’t come to strum your ludicrous instrument badly over the music, spoiling the fragile vibe that the guys have spent years trying to preserve in the face of all sorts of hassle from all sorts of blow-ins. You really add nothing. Sorry for being blunt. But the Blythe session will get along very nicely without you.

The tune is Irish because:

It is a mazurka, which is a tune type commonly regarded as being within the canon of Irish traditional music tune types.
It was written by an Irishman.
It is played by same Irishman.
It is played in Irish music sessions, in a purely Irish traditional music context.
It was played, on that occasion, and any other time I’ve heard it, on the wooden flute, commonly regarded as one of the principal instruments in Irish music.
It is also played, by its composer, using Irish flute music technique, such as rolls and cuts. Since it was thus played by its composer, I suspect that as an Irish tune, that’s how he intended it to be played, ie in an Irish fashion.
It has a very Irish "feel" to it, not English.

Since on the occasion you heard it, he played it 3 or 4 times, it beggars belief how you were unable to divine at least some of that, all by yourself, as did the rest of the pub. rather than making inappropriate, and consequently, in those circumstances, foolish comments. To the extent that I can see why SE-Ender would prefer if you graced the pub with your absence. Either that or you could learn a few tunes and wow us all, since you claim Irish music is easy. I would suggest you learn for starters:
Splendid Isolation.
The J.B.
The Curlew
Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie.

Last week

Good one last Thursday (23rd). Free-flowing, rhythmic, Kate & Jo turned up, Paul G was there and John (the famous author) fiddle also came. Billy, Frankie, Gordon and myself in attendance.

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Glad to hear you lot have been behaving yourselves in my absence!

Great session last night - as well as the regulars: me, Max, Billy, Paul, Gordon, Frankie, we were joined by semi-regulars Cath, BigDave and Steve, then by Rob Millner, then Alex and Tess who had come all the way up from Brighton to join us. Blinding playing. Thanks for making the trip guys. Hope to see you all again soon.

Frank, Frankie, Billy and moi - well small is beautiful right - given I have been out of the session habit since the arrival of my wee’un it certainly was a good exercise in remembering all those forgotten and half-recalled tunes - and then Con joined us about 10.30 - if there is a more hospitable landlord in welcoming traditional musicians and wannabes into his hostelry I think I will have to go a very long way to find them - but regular BHT folk will know more or less how the rest of the evening went - I left with everyone still there about 11.45 - late for me …….priceless

Come one, come all. Special session tonight, Sunday 27th January, in honour of the pub’s 20th anniversary. Hosted by Catford’s own fiddlemeister Brian Keane. A bit of a different vibe to the usual Thursday night fare. Fair play to you, Con, for sticking it out for so long. Best pub in SE London (and handiest!).

Blythe Hill Tavern, Sunday 27th January

Apologies to all for the short notice. Only just got to grips with this website today. All welcome … unlike the Thursday night session, we appreciate all players and all levels from the absolute beginner through to seasoned "heads" like myself. See you there. catfordfiddler


Well… as luck wold have it, I coldn’t make it tonight. Significant other down with norovirus and so I couldnt leave the kids at home on theirown. Such a pity. I’d even baked a cake for the occasion. Nextt time? I’m sure i"ll find out how it went.

Let’s get this clear…

This has nothing to do with the proper session on Thursdays. Fiddlemeister? Yeah right.
See the entry above entitled "An eventful evening"

Let’s get this clear indeed

Regular Thursday session - unlike last Sunday’s session’s premise, it has some consistently good players as well as a good range of visitors. I only wish Kate and Jo would return because they were always greatly appreciated there by the regular players and customers alike. That would make it 5 regular fiddlers there. Never too many. They would be competing with two box players, several flutes, a pair of spoons, a bodhran or two, and the old banjo.
I’ve been returning as a regular, after a long unintended absence, and always come away feeling uplifted because of the great vibes, great sound, and some pretty witty banter in between the tunes.

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Well said, Cath….

Only, I don’t know about "competing with"…I’d rather "play with"….


But the session is going great right now, for sure.

Why, thank you Key …

You don’t mind if I call you by your first name do you?
You’re right, we’re not competing but playing, but I meant the volume produced by all instruments, ie a decibel competition. And of course, I forgot to mention the whistle. 🙂

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Many thanks, Cath …


Thank you for mentioning Jo and Kate. Both friends of mine (we learned at one stage and anorher from same teachres) and both, as you say, excellent fiddlers who would lend a lot to the Thursday night session in the Blythe Hill Taverna. I will mention to them and see if they can be perusaded to give the Blythe another go. I underastand that there was a bit of an episode several months ago involving one of the less tolerant regukars in your session which caused some uneasiness. I’m sure if the person concerned culd be persuaded to be slightly more accepting, then a return to the fold culd no doubt be arranged.

And apologies to all that my invitation to the Sunday session a few weeks ago was a bit ill-judged. I sense by the tone of some of the replies that I may have trampled a few toes, for which I’m sorry. In any event, I learn that the session didnt materialise ad I’m sorry if people turned up only to be disappointed. One of those mix-ups which arises when not everyone’s on everyone else’s mobile phone text lists (tsk, tsk girls … you know who you are!).

Anyway. Sorry again. I’m hoping to hook up with Kate and Jo shortly and I’ll mention Cath’s kind invite. You’re right, of course, Cath. You never can have too many fiddles and I’m glad that you’re back in the driving seat; I love it when the fiddlers are in charge! I was playing at a session recently where we had 12 fiddles at one point (not anorher instrument to be seen or heard) and it was pure heaven. CAn you imagine 12 fiddlers in the small rooom in the Blythe Hill Tabernacle? We would need so much elbow room other musicians woud have to play in theother bar! Gawd… it would be "powerful, altogether" - as my mate from Belfast would say. (Hey… maybe we shoud swap contacts … I’m sure we could muster a right old fiddle frenzy some night. )


As one of the "regukars" at the "Tabernacle" for the past 4 years, do any of the others share my misgivings at the bizarre tone taken by this person? Perhaps they could say who they are for a start and stop sounding as if they know what they’re talking about (or "aboput", aboopt", etc.).

Max (my real, actual, name)

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Max… sorry for the spelling mistakes. I’m not too hot on spelling. Get a bit carried away on the keyboard (whoa there, Liberace! ha ha). AS you can gather, catfordfiddler is definitely not my real name. Unless of course I was called Catherine Fforde, and a fiddler. But although I’m play the fiddle, I’m not called Catherine (no Katherine, nor Katherine, nor Kathyrn) Fforde (nor Ford), so my chosen name on this website perhaps isnt quite so apt as yours. Mind you, if yuou ythink what I’ve written here is a bizarre tone, you should have heard what my fiddling sounded like when I was started out!

Come on, own up, who are, you catfordfiddler?

If you are Brian Keane you are not welcome. He has upset and ripped off so many people, including several of the incumbent sessioneers, including telling everyone that he started up the present incarnation of the Blythe session.
If you are near enough anyone else you are welcome.

Last nights fun

police reports suggest a known phsyciatric patient with links to the catford area has escaped from broadmoor.he has been known to bite so staff have attached a long metallic object with airholes in front of his mouth to protect both staff and the public.unfortunatly when he breathes through this object strange noises can be heard which may cause anyone within listening distance some pain of the ear drum,if heard retreat immediately to a safe distance (2-300 metres minimum depending on weather)and call the police.DO NOT APPROACH !! he is also known to carry a weapon shaped much like a guitar,however do not be fooled.unlike a guitar this weapon cares not for silly things like timing,rhythm or tuning ,instead shrill noises with the intent on disabling anyone within earshot .the user of this weapon then shouts aggressively at his victim in a further attempt to disable.police have nicknamed this monster as E.xtremlely A.gressive M.onster M.usicless O.nly N.oise…..police have issued guidlines to deal with this nuisance 1.DO NOT INVITE TO A MUSIC ENVIROMENT AS THIS DRIVES THE MONSTER WILD 2.DO NOT APPROACH 3.DO NOT REMOVE METALLIC OBJECT HOWEVER IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO BLOCK THE HOLES WITH A WELDER WITHOUT ENDANGERING YOURSELF THEN THIS WOULD BE A GREAT PUBLIC SERVICE 4.IF THE GUITAR LIKE WEAPON IS LEFT WITHIN KICKING DISTANCE TRY TO DETACH THE NECK OF THE INSTRUMENT/WEAPON AS THIS DISABLES IT’S NAUSEATING EFFECT……REMEMBER STAY AWAY FROM THIS MONSTER AND HOOOOOPEFULLLLLY THIS MONSTER WILL FECKING STAY AWAY FROM THE BLYTHE!!!

What’s happening?

Lately we have been invaded by crass, useless individuals, who have barged into the session with their f**king guitars, citterns (FFS), without so much as a hallo, is it all right if I play? (no it isn’t actually, it isn’t - GET IT?) and proceeded to ruin the night (at least for me).
Am I TOTALLY out of order to suggest that, as someone who’s played there almost every week for over 4 years, I can expect some kind of courtesy from complete strangers?? I’m not asking for the f**king moon, am I?



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Catford Fiddler? at the Blythe

Hi Mrs!
I think I may have identified you. Are you partial to a glass of red wine? If so then I know and hope any of you 3 ladies will check up on us again. But then, I saw the latest post :-o
I must admit, Max’s last post is totally uncharacteristic of him, certainly the shouty bit but I do know he is allergic to guitars and other strummed instruments. All the same, I must have upset him by asking honey-voiced Keith to give us a song last Thursday - sorry!
Neat acrostic Danny!!

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Eamonn is a knob end. How old Keaney (if "blyther" IS in fact him) got to find out about him turning up would be a mystery if I was remotely bothered enough to find out.
Just put it this way.
The session is in a very robust healthy state despite any putative attempts at sabotage, if that was what was going on. The best it has been for a long time, in fact.

Silly old tits at Blythe, storm in a D-cup

I’ll second that Danny, the session is really great and I’m happy to be back there as a regular.
It was unusual to see young Keith without Sean the accordion player - is Sean alright?

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Looks like all those people I paid to ruin Danny’s session are doing as I requested. All is going according to plaaan [sniggers creepily and rubs hands together with glee].

Now all I have to do is organise that leettle… "accident", mwahahaha [purses lips and strokes white cat on knee].

Gawd, I might have known YOU’D be behind all this, Markiavelli.
You won’t succeed in your wicked plan you know. Good never triumphs over evil…erm sorry, evil never goods over Triumph heralds…ermm…ehh…where was I??…..

BTW, it’s not MY session. It’s BRIAN’s …snigger, snigger, snort, splorff….

well I’ve really been missing out - that’ll teach me to become a dad - will try and get back to regularity soonest - the Blythe on a Thurs is great - I went there 4 yrs ago knowing one and a half tunes on a dodgy low D whistle - I have always felt at home there - great people - great session - i have learned a few mored tunes too

Great again tonight Al. One flute, one concertina, two whistles (but mostly one), two fiddles, one banjo, spoons; all played well - and not a single Gypsy/Eastern European tune around to worry about. Great.


Hi Danny,
I don’t recall ever hearing Gypsy-Eastern European tune at the Blythe!!!!!
Admittedly I’m quite a fan of these myself as they can be more challenging on the fiddle involving 3rd position playing, but the Blythe has never had that. Very strange.

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They’re not my cup of tea, whatever position you play them in. I prefer just sitting down, like a normal session player. And like a normal session player, I feel there is easily enough variety of tunes within the Irish/Scottish, even English, tradition to keep me interested for a while without all those unnecessary showy diversions.


Sure, but what’s a normal session player? 🙂

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OK, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. I wasn’t aware people were so thin-skinned around here these days.
This is a whole new "The experience" for me. Let’s all just be nice and polite and I lorve everybody and everything and have a nice da-ay ya’ll.

Point missed

The point Danny is your comment was not so much harsh (it is not), it’s the fact that it was unwarranted. I don’t have a problem with your being upset at some of the visitors and your comments about those, I agree with most of them, but you were making a comment about someone who was not there that night and about something which has never happened at the Blythe, namely Gyspsy tunes, so what drove you to write that?

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Oh no, even Danny’s friends are turning on him now. What to do? Maybe he’ll get all depressed and jump into the Thames and drown or something. Oh god Danny, don’t do that, pleeeease… You’re a good enemy - I’d miss you dearly 😀

Howdy Dow?

Surely it’s the middle of the night where you are! And yes, I’m a little irritated here.

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It is. I just got back from work at 1am.

Just how irritated are you, Cath? Are you irritated enough to… I dunno… maybe, like, do something, well, a little bit evil to Danny? There’s good money in it for you. Flick me an e-mail and we’ll talk, yeah?

You little devil

Shift work, you poor thing! Sorry to disappoint on this occasion, but I’m not irritated enough, however I will keep your details on file for future reference and wish you good luck in your mischief making endeavours 🙂

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Great session last night. Three boxes, two fiddles, two whistles, two banjos - good to see Jack back; flute, low whistle, bodhran and other percussion, and no dead wood.

Except you…

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Oh god I love this thread. I’m thriving off this bitchiness like mould takes to rotten fruit. Keep it going lads. Rip big chunks out of each other for my entertainment! (I’m the only person reading 🙂 )

"….like mould takes to rotten fruit…"

I was wondering what the smell was.

Anyway I learned all the best bitching from you Dow. Except the thread I linked to was from way back, when I was trying to be polite about it. 🙂

I can’t wait to get back to this session. Next time I go, I’ll have to do something controversial so I can join in the bitching action 🙂

Lochaber Badger

In a rare moment of industry i have learnt a new tune to bring out next time I am down the BL:T (I’m on a good run at the moment having been to 2 in a row) - the Lochaber Badger - it is on the tumes section here and I below is the you tube link to a version of it

Yeah, I saw that before, Bill. Trouble enough getting you lot to play a gig though!

That site ist derzeit nicht verfügbar.

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No pix

I say, Bren. This is a family site, you know.

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Sorry guys - don’t know what happened there. It doesn’t help that I can’t read German

Another Day At The Office

This session nowadays seems to be of consistently high quality…well, if not high as in virtuosos, certainly very solid musically. Last night I counted 13 players, and although that was a "good" night, this is becoming, if not the norm, certainly not unusual. Among the 13 the following instruments were played (or sung):
2 flutes
2 whistles
1 spoons
1 bodhrán
1 box
1 mandolin
2 banjos
2 singers
4 fiddles
I may have missed one or two. Some turned up a wee bit late and one or two left earlier.

Missing the Blythe

Oh, shoots, did I miss again last night?
I guess not when instead I got to play with
the wonderful Mick O’Connor on banjo as well as a clutch
of seasoned and professional musicians down in Sidcup.
Session organised by gifted young Dan on the accordion.
Thank you very much, Mick for joining us!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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How Wonderful!

Of gosh, we mere mortals at the Blythe are just so awe-struck by the calibre of musicians you’re mixing with these days Cath. The huge collossal gifted genius of yourself and of course the inimitable young Daniel, and then if that wasn’t enough…a clutch of seasoned AND PROFESSIONAL *musicians*!
And there we are at the Blythe, ploughing the same old furrow, while you’re up there glitzing it with the stars!
You’ve really spread your wings now. There’s no stopping you. Watch out Frankie Gavin!

Ploughing on

My point is Danny, and sorry to name drop but I’ve met musicians I would call illustrious, you’ve met some of them yourself: Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan, Reg Hall, Mick O’Connor, and Charlie Lennon. The one thing they had in common, apart from being experienced musicians is that they were all very kind, gentlemanly, encouraging and welcoming to session starters. Not one of these qualities, including musicianship, can be applied to you.

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Yet another lovely session - 2 fiddles, 3 boxes, 2 flutes, 3 whistles, 2 bodhrans, spoons, 2 banjos and acoustic bass! And a few regulars were missing! Thanks to go to, apart from our regulars, to Eimear, Helen, Kathy, young Steve (?), and John.

Good to hear things still going well in the BHT rather than irrelevant other sessions. I consider myself a regular even though a regular non-attender nowadays. I am busy doing a load of things including a (yawn) management course which I have had to give up time for and Thursday evenings is out - until August when hope to be back in the session saddle so to speak. Best wishes to all.

We consider you a regular as well, Al. Good luck with the course. See you August.

Nice to hear from you, Alasdair.

All the best


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Session in NW London……….

Now it’s my turn to name drop.Great session in NW London. When I was there this evening there were five of the very finest living players of Irish traditional music in the form of Brian Rooney, John Carty, James Carty and Paul Gallagher - and Mary on fiddle, to make five, who is their equal - she is probably reknowned as well, but I didn’t catch her surname - herself and her husband were great company before the session started - and when it did start, what a lovely player she is. Granama, Slainte and young Eoighan Togher (sic) and some other fine players…oh, and then there was me as well…

>"My point is, Danny, that apart from being experienced musicians is that they were all very kind, gentlemanly, encouraging and welcoming to session starters. Not one of these qualities, including musicianship, can be"
….Errm, no they weren’t. They didn’t suffer fools gladly and would they? If you could lead good tunes you were ok. If you couldn’t, tough, go back to learner sessions.

They didn’t suffer fools gladly and would they?
should be
They didn’t suffer fools gladly and why would they?

but both remarks have validity.

Tam Lin

No interest in impressing you believe me. I just wanted to post a film featuring some of the musicans you hate (only a few of many) playing the tune that you loathe (tamlin) featuring some instruments you dislike (bodhran, guitar). I only wish we could have had a spoon player too.

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No, I don’t hate any one of those people, not in the slightest. Feed your own paranoia if you wish though.
Nor do I loathe Tamlin. It’s just excruciatingly boring, that’s all.
And in case you are unaware, I play bodhran anyway. What I and most normal members here don’t like is bodhran thumpers who don’t know what they’re doing, but think it’s an easy way into a session. But then so is mediochre playing of anything. If this exchange was slightly more interesting it might even be amusing.


Well, I reckon I call up about 80% of your postings on this site to feed my paranoia.

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Cath, I have even THOUGHT about any of those people for months. They mean nothing to me.

You only thought of me then?

Back on 19th May when you quoted me? Well, I’m so touched.
But you’re right about the others, I’m being a bit unfair, your little post of February is indeed months ago. I guess my memory’s a bit too long.

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Yeah, in response to your previous comment. The rest are nobodies as far as I’m concerned. As for you - Very sad to see someone making snidey comments about a session they no longer attend, and not only that, by way of name dropping. And about a session whose level of musicianship you will never even begin to comprehend. What a fall from grace.

Booh hoo hoo!

The snide remarks are meant specifically for you, not the session, and if you’re not completely blind, you’ll not very well why that is.

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The bait has been dangling for a few days now, no fish biting, with the usual preface, "My point is, Danny….."
Oh well time to draw in the line…..

Back to the important business………

Yet again, a fine solid session, lots of tunes, lots of variety. The first bit we played out in the garden. Most pleasant, if not a bit cool.

good to hear. Even though I can’t make it at the moment I still think of the Blythe every Thursday and look on here for a bit of news about it when I can

Come on, Danny, we’re very cool…

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Well, I thought we were a warm, friendly, ensemble, actually……
Believe me I know a fair bit about parenting, so take your time. Whenever you’re ready, Al, your seat is always reserved.

Thanks for a very pleasant evening

always a great pleasure to have a tune with Key Maniac Lad & friends & sorry to have to leave so early for a long journey home. well worth the trip - and the pub has really has changed very little since I last visited it more than 40 years ago. I hope to repeat the experience some time in the none too distant future. kind regards, andy

What a sesh!!

great one last night……the decision whether to (1) park the car somewhere it wouldn’t get a ticket,stay and have a few beers and then not turn up for work today or (2) come home ,go to bed then get up and go to work was a very hard decision to make….eventually i chose (2) by a margin of 50.002% to 49.998%.a very close call indeed.thanks to all for a great night.

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i heard about this music night from friends at broadstairs last month (who used to play there from time to time, a guitarist like me, who alsoe recommended this websight). As a budding guitarist, i wanted to check out a local venue where i might be able to play along. i have to agree with mr billy above that thursday was a great night of music and songs. the pubs pretty durn good to boot. things were going great until two blokes turned up (small banjo - perhaps a mandolin? and wood flute). the flutist was great but i wasn’t so sure about the need for the banjoman. there was already a perfectly competent banjo player and two banjos seemed a bit much to me. perhaps it culod be choriographed so that one player played one set of songs and another player played another and so on? just a little tip i picked up in broadstairs, where we had two banjo players who didnt know each other songs and so when one started off the other backed off. anyhoo, as they say, a splendeed evening and i’ll dfinitely be back. hopefully nexdt time with my guitar so that i can join in proeperly and learn some of your great music.

Sorry couldn’t make it last night, ye good burghers of the Blythe Hill. I was oputting new strings on my "fascist-killing machine" - yes, jus’ like Woody, I have "that sticker" on my guit-box - when "kerdoing", one of them snapped. I didnt have another one and so nearly wept with frustration. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. Next week, homnestly. If I don’t biurst another string, he he he.

scary-looking flute player

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I’ve liked you ever since you handed me a pint the first time we met.
Even after I found out it was free anyway

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maybe I’m widely disliked among those whom I *don’t* arrange to get free drinks for…….

So, here we are coming up to the end of 2008 and the Blythe Hill Tavern session is well into its fifth year in its present form of every Thursday night.
Previous to these last five years, yes, the Blythe had been known as some kind of an "Irish music session pub", but the sessions had not been organised on a regular basis, or when they had been it had been as a financial arrangement. Nowadays, we may be graced by the odd free pint or two, but no-one is a "paid" player, as is lamentably so often the case in other Irish session pubs in London. Anyone (of a reasonable musical standard) who joins in the tunes with us will be given a friendly welcome and maybe even, the governor will vire a pint in their direction.
Need I remind you that this IS the premier session of suitable quality and longevity in SE London. Forget about all these flybenight tinpot flash-in-the-pan jobs.
The Blythe is the bizz.


3 sessions this week! Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Great, but I wish I could speak some Irish. That seems to be the main language spoken in the wee small hours.
Great pub, great landlord, mostly good "audince", or gang of regulars.

Hip hip hhoooray! Couldn’t let last Thursday night pass by witrhout comment. A less "traditional Irish" feel to the night than usual, thanks to some of the rgeular crew not being around. (Presumably back home in the old country.) But what a bunhc of stand-ins! Great fiddling and accordion-ing. Loaned the night an altogether more "English country dance" falavour, particularly the accordioning playing of the young chap - Barney, I seem to recall? Maybe, Denny? Can’t recall off-hand. Too much real ale, I fear! (Burp!) But by jiminy that young feloow-me-lad knows how to make big, honking chords on his hinstrooment. How come Irish players shy away from such displays of sheer chordality (new word, eat your heartt out Webster!)? If you have it, flaunt it. (NB, me muckers down Eltham way! Loads of chords and not a capo in sight, tee hee.) Good to see the session develop a truyly "folk" flavour for a change. Some might find it not quite to their taste, but when in Rome, play like the Romans. That’s what I say!

Daniel you hippy!!

We’ll be back soon
And thank you Occasional Visitor, slurred writing or not.
We also hope to run into the three tenors again. Their 3 part harmony of will you go lassie go was the highlight of the night to everyone who was there.

From the two fiddlers who were there on 1st January and are good friends of Daniel Gott (a great accordion player)

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Modes of transport

Well, I shall be cycling tonight.

I don’t care about the fog, and the rain, and the cold, and the monsters, and the terrorists, and superior epistemological arguments, because I’M SO MACHO!!

Arf arf


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Who is deleting posts left right and centre as they see fit?

I didn’t spend a good portion of my time typing up polite, well rounded reply to a few other comments made on this post for them to be deleted without telling anyone why (especially me). So here it is again, for the record. Probably wont make much sense as the posts it was in reference to have been deleted but i’m sure you’ll all get the drift. so much for democracy and free speech eh?


oh dear, please don’t start having arguments over me or my accordion playing! The session on new years day which was discussed I have to say, was one of the most enjoyable for a long time (though i don’t remember hearing any english tunes!?!?!) especially because of the 3 professional singers who did some fantastic Scottish songs in harmonies. really great stuff (a standard of classical singing you’d happily pay to see). Chords honking away? yes, i probably was but i don’t try to make a habbit of it. I usually play with a guitarist and the chords and bass compliment guitar quite well. Maybe i shouldn’t in a session without stringed backing so i’m sorry if I’ve ruined a night of otherwise good music for someone but at the end of the day, all you need do is say something! i can’t pick up on whats bothering you if you just throw looks at your mates and get in a sulk.

I have to say Cosmic ray’s observations about both myself & OV are pretty much spot on. Howerver, knowing what some of the people there can be like it would not surprise me if OV was ‘scared’ (though i’m sure he’s not) and as for pathetic well, i’ll get to that in a second. OV, there are plenty of other sessions south of the river - none of which have the same, how would i say, ‘deep community feel’ (that was a nice way to put it wasn’t it?). I imagine it can be a lot of fun to wind people up on here but at the end of the day it’s really not worth it. Just accept that this is the way this session normally runs and apart from the odd occasion (new years day for example) you won’t find the kind of music you like at the blythe on a Thursday. Sorry if that sounds a bit cold but i really do get tired of going round in circles on this sort of subject.

Now then, as for PATHETIC. Surely the most PATHETIC thing about all this is the fact that a member of the PUBLIC, who PAYS to DRINK in the PUB, who likes traditional music in one from or another and writes posts on the without VENOM or SPITE (not that you have cosmic ray) - is then subjected to an e-mail from someone telling them they don’t know what they’re on about because they don’t "know about irish music". I can imagine what the rest of the e-mail said, who it was from and i’m sure anyone else reading this post can too.
That really is pathetic. OV said they had a good time with a different line up and he liked a different style of accordion playing. SO WHAT!?!!? I mean for gods sake, people ARE entitled to there own opinions aren’t they? It IS a session isn’t it? OV isn’t personally attacking one of the regulars is he? NO!

So please, everyone. JUST STOP BEING SO CHILDISH AND PATHETIC. It may feel like for you sometimes but the Blythe is NOT the centre of the universe. Live a little and share the love. I don’t know, maybe even hug a hoodie, or even better, each other! As the Bugsy malone song says - ‘You give a little love and it all comes back to you…… You know your gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do!’

By crickey, that went on a bit didn’t it?


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Glad to hear it’s going well. In the words of Arnie, "I’ll be back!" but not quite yet.

They’re kind of giant turnip-shaped purply-brown creatures of indeterminate age, very fat, with small pointed heads and several arms and legs, most often waving around as they tend to lie on the tables; they are ataxic and they speak very slowly in a moronic unintelligible drawl. They are most often very drunk. And they stink to the heavens of BO and smelly farts. Their dress sense is appalling, often apparelled in black, wearing 60’s or 70’s hippy or goth type clothes. They can’t play instruments properly, and have no session manners. They might take the form of physicists or karate experts, or both.
Can be quite dangerous. Best avoided.

I don’t think I have heard a better definition in 30 years of breathing!



I’ve just checked the "Urban Dictionary" and further enlightened myself…..very funny …… I feel a right numpty ….( though not exactly as you defined it).

Humpty-Numpty sat on a wall

he can sit there as long as he wants so long as he doesn’t come to this session

Who needs imaginary friends when you have the internet?

I think the Karate expert who describes himself as ‘physicist ’ actually means fantasist. It would appear that C Ray wandered into the Session erroneously when he really belongs with

Good session on 12th, and glad 3 of you invited us over - I might have stayed in otherwise and missed a great night. Thanks.

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Thank you all for a lovely evening. Hope to see you again on Tuesday

Very sweet. The bodhran player’s pretty amazing considering she’s listening to her ipod at the same time

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That’s not an ipod, Cath. It’s a direct line to the mothership warning her that she needs to buy some L’Oreal anti-sagging cream immediately as she may be 30 soon. And she’s worth it.

I know I have.

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Ouch Max! My need is greater than hers… See you Thursday, if my weary old body will carry me (sound of violin…) Hilary Hahn’s a genius by the way.

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You just can’t help but be nasty can you? It’s in the genes obviously

First four years at the Blythe I was a complete regular particularly holding the fort every summer when some of you went on holiday. You just can’t stomach the fact that Steve and I are now together. Your vicious personal comments about Steve have no place on this session. The guitarist you’re talking about is a psycho who once thrashed his girlfriend’s car in anger; remember the lovely American woman who played concertina and flute? (rather better than you by the way) Obviously a man after your own heart.
Steve and I have more friends in the Blythe than you’ll ever have. One of the reason we keep our friends is that we don’t go on the internet slagging people off every 5 minutes.
You’re rude and stupid with it, grow up Danny

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Do not ever mention people’s name

I trust Jeremy will remove Thistle Day’s reference to a discussion above as TD mentions an individual’s full name which is an invasion of privacy and quotes unverified gossip. The notiong of S shouting the odds at any landlord is baffling as everyone who know S knows he never raises his voice to anyone - a bit of projection here perhaps?
The Blythe has lasted as long as it has in spite of Thislte Day not thanks to him.

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Sparse but good

Happily, previous remarks removed.
Very enjoyable session last night, and as usual, utterly different from the previous weeks. Variety being the spice…

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OK public apology time - so sorry. After an exchange of emails, it looks like I was told a pack of lies by someone else. Also as you may know I have had my own issues to contend with. No excuse I know, but there you go, I know I am no angel. Maybe this message will go some way to make amends.

Thistle Day

Is it not time that someone told this man that he is not welcome at the thursday session any more as he seems
to cause more trouble than good

Thistle Day

Sennapod, we only discuss the Blythe session with people whom we know there personally - not virtual strangers/stalkers. If you don’t go to the Blythe Hill Tavern and don’t know any of us, then please refrain from contributing. Whatever your opinion is, it is not sollicited. Thank you.

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Thistle Day

A stranger/stalker i am not a friend i may be ? and it needs to be said cath if the blythe session is to thrive””

Thistle Day

Who are you sennapod?

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Eastenders/ Coronation Street/ Emmerdale Farm/ Crossroads

I love the sound of your session!
It sounds like a much better soap than any on tele.
Is it true Bianca got the huff because Rickey is taking up bodhran? The landlady of the Blythe (Barbara Winsor) is banning guitar players ("Get aht ov mah pub!"). Amos Brealey was caught doing what he shouldn’t with a fiddle and copy of Rustler and Benny has been told that his flute and box playing ain’t welcome anymore ("But I’s luv you Miss Diane").
I can hardly wait for the latest episode every Thursday.

It seems to have more issues than Private Eye!

You may jest Krick

Honestly, you may! Your post really made me laugh. However, our landlord looks nothing like Barbara Windsor. On the other hand, he genuinely enjoys having a session in his pub and that’s a great part of what made it successful. Perhaps there is a discussion on the influence of a sumpathetic landlord for the success of any session.

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Nothing like a wedding or funeral to get the soap ratings up…

"Actually there"
Perhaps I am already Mr Tatlock, perhaps I am…

…I meant to ask…

Any chance of any wedddings or funerals down there on the South Circular on a Thursday night?

More virtual than real visitors at the Blythe

We seem to be visited by more virtual contributors than real ones. I’m getting concerned that some people on this thread particularly put it their tuppence worth but nobody knows who they are. Often, they hide behind a ‘humorous’ description which does not indicate that they actually play any instrument (regarless of the style of music). Their contributions elsewhere do not even suggest a knowledge of the music (traditional Irish, Scottish etc.) Why do they get involved? Have they no mates?

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A warm welcome and good music

as an occasional visitor, I have been somewhat concerned by the amount/tone of comments posted here regarding this session. I went last night and was much relieved to get the usual warm & friendly welcome and a rake of good tunes into the bargain. I can only "speak as I find" but I would not hesitate to recommend this session to visiting musicians. Well worth the effort to get there ………… thanks!

Well, I think I’ve done a better job of apologising that Gordon Brown. I’ve done so on here and by email. It seems I was told a pack of unfounded lies about S&C, by someone with a serious grudge.
Teetotaller, welcome at the Blythe any time.
sennapod, get a life. Same for the rest of those who have negatively commented on this thread but have never or rarely been to the Blythe.
Also, I intend to call down soon.

Change of names

I wish contributors would keep the same name as this gives rise to confusion. I’m actually a fan of Yhaalhouse who knows a lot more about music than he lets on at sessions. Anyway, last Thursday was a hoot, 3 banjos, 5 fiddles, 1 bodhran and 1 1/2 spoon players (F and his missus Y joining in). It must have been good since we played for over 4 hours. Thirsty job mind you. I’ll be there this week.
Let’s keep the contributions informative on the music and the pub. it is a cracking session with a great landlord who supports us and our collective capacity to ingest large amounts of drink, and a lot of interested punters who actually come to listen to us and don’t see the music merely as something to be tolerated. (It’s not always the case)

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Enjoyable sesh last night. Good music, good people. Whatever was I thinking?

πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε·

Session last night

Indeed Danny. That’s exactly what I thought you said 🙂

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Yeah that’s probably what it sounded like. Translation:
For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.

Thursdays session

wish that was true!!!!


Unless you can prove to us that you actually go to the Blythe, we don’t want to know you - virtual stalkers can go and ‘contribute’ elsewhere

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Thursday 14th May

Walked into the Blythe on Thursday and every room was packed with football fans. Millwall was playing LU, a very important local event, apparently. So the musicians grouped outside with the smokers and debated what to do. In the end we played in the empty upstairs room in front of the biggest TV screen of the lot (still showing the match but with the sound off).

After the football madness had passed we moved to our usual place downstairs. Nine of us played - fiddles (4), banjo, box, whistles, flute, bodhrans, spoons. And a couple of great songs to round off the evening.

Last week was good too.


I was too ill to make it last week but glad I missed the Millwall fans that’s for sure. I hope things will be back to normal tonight as I’m looking forward to coming up for a few tunes.

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As pleasant an evening out as you could wish to find …

a warm welcome, good company and lively music - what more could you ask of a session?
my only regrets are that I live too far away to go as often as I’d like - and that means I can’t stay as long as I would wish to even when I can get there …….
keep up the good work!
kind regards to all and hope to see you again before too long


Good to see you, tt. Thanks for the tunes!

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A quiet night in?

Turned up last night unsure how many musicians might show up, it being mid-August and the holiday season. Couldn’t have been more wrong. There were seventeen of us packed into the bar for a loud and lively session. Fiddles, banjos, whistles, flutes, concertinas, pipes and bodhran.

Just goes to show you can’t risk missing a week at the Blythe because you never know who might show up and what might happen. Thankyou to all our visitors who gave us some new tunes and reminded us of some we don’t play so often.


I had a brief 2 night sojourn in London (at my sister’s home in New Cross Gate) this week and found myself a couple of sessions - The Nightingale in Wanstead on Wednesday night was superb! - and then the Blythe Hill on Thursday - very enjoyable crack, pleasant atmosphere, welcomed by the regulars on a very busy/cramped night! A healthy session, obviously, making space for and encouraging the learners’ fiddle group as well as the more advanced crew.

Thanks for the welcome and the tunes, people. I’ll certainly visit again when I next happen to come down to The Great Wen.


For some reason we ended up playing on the punters bench this week. Maybe it gave us a new perspective.

We have been playing every Thursday and will continue to play on Thursdays except for Christmas week. The session will take place on Wednesday 23rd December (no sesh Christmas Eve).

Next one also Wednesday, on the 30th.

But then back to Thursday (of the following week, not the week of the 30th (of December, that is) (i.e., 2009), because that would be two sessions in one week, and we are a weekly session)). And when I say "back toThursday", I’m not implying any kind of fusion-driven time travel wormholing (fusion as in helium nuclei, not Herbie Hancock at a certain stage of his musical development, or Working Week, etc.). No, I mean the week after the one I mentioned earlier.



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Thanks for clarifying that Max……. and a Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Football crazy

Wednesday 30th (the session, not the day, because clearly that would involve a papal decree, or a bottle of Domestos, whichever is the sooner) is now cancelled owing to football.

Probably relocating to Friday 1st but phone for details (and/or book early to avoid disappointment) (disappointment is always well worth avoiding. - Ed.) (I know. - Me). I know I have.


(No, thank you. - Ed.)


(v. section 13.9.2a, Sanity Clause)
(I don’t believe in Sanity Clause. - Ed.)

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one for me

i’ll have one of whatever max is drinking please,barperson

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Make mine a double

Whatever it is, he’s been drinking it since Christmas Day.

Missed it

so go on then…..rub it in….great session… i know george and andy were there………i know i wasn’t…………..come on sashiko….details

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Beat me to it …..

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…. you can’t risk missing a week at the Blythe because you never know who will show up and what might happen 🙂

Last night was classic, a real treat. Great tunes, great playing and great company. Let’s hope we all get together again soon, at the Blythe or Gipsy Hill.

Beat me to it

So there is a God after all praise be??

Can’t beat it…..

Another great week…. George, Andy, most of the regulars and …… Billy … you made it !!

Now what was it?…

Good old session last night, but there was something missing…now what was it?… something about string theory…hmmm…

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String theory?

was it……how long would the string need to be and what would be the preffered thickness to hang that banjo player who plays banish misfortune,also known as maxs favourite no.2 (maxs favourite no.1 is also known as the kesh)

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St Patrick’s Day Session

This year the weekly sesh will start at 7pm on Wednesday 17th March. (No sesh on Thursday 18th)

I like This Entry Too

Excuse me posting here but…
I saw the above session etiquette instructions and particularly liked the instructions to the punters on how to clap and the information to pool players about when to stop playing!

I liked the bit about how a visitor to a session should ask the regulars if playing a particular tune or set of tunes is okay, just in case the regulars don’t know it (how are you ever going to survive not knowing a tune played at your session) or worse, don’t want to play it.

"How about the Kesh?"

now, now - you’re being a bit hard on the Californians. have you been to sessions in the wild west? I know Colorado is technically the west too, but we’re talking California, where I’ve heard stories about people putting a teabag in a cold cup of water, then putting it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It just makes my head hurt - now where’s my hotwiter bottle?

They do that in CO as well, airport. If you want to bring tears to the eyes and basically cause the nervous breakdown of someone from the UK or Ireland, follow aforesaid tea making procedure.

Sorry for hijacking your thread, Blythe session.

Making tea

I first saw that method of tea-making in that Aussie classic "Muriel’s Wedding". I think it was meant to symbolise the height of laziness 🙂
Anyway to anyone who is interested, this session happens every week with regulars and visitors and goes from strength to strength with ongoing support from Con the landlord.

Enjoyed your posts here SilverSpear, Airport and Yhaalhouse. Feel free to pop in in person if you ever get to our part of South London (or Sarf London as it is known round here)

Still doing what we do, every Thursday, with a good mix of regulars and guests

Thanks for a very pleasant evening

Always a pleasure to visit the Blythe - a friendly welcome and good music. Hope to see you all again before too long

First timer!

a big thanks to the blythe tavern musicians - went there last night for my first session (as a fairly average fiddle player of about 2 years vintage it’s a daunting thing!). the folk couldn’t have been nicer, and the enthusiasm for the music was really inspiring. i was even asked to start a few tunes, but declined (the nerves i think!). maybe next time.
don’t suppose there’s a set list floating around of favourite tunes ye play?
cheers again!

You’re very welcome 🙂
Have sent you a mail listing some of our sets
See you again soon

Going to be in London on Sept 2nd ,unfortunately not available for tunes until around midnight .Would you still be going strong at that stage ?

Still playing at midnight most Thursdays !!

Polite Reminder

Session night tonight. Remember girls, form an orderly queue for the bodhran, and no fighting !!!!

Mighty session

what a mighty session tonight.myself and mr m are both in agreement that tonights session was awfully fantastic .thanks to ;me , me , me , gordon ,paul m , paul g , julie , matt , cath, big ed and friend (sorry , i’m usless with names ) , kerry from oregen (congratulations on your marriage) , Nick, and two people at end of seat ( sorry didn’t catch your names). Big thanks to Con, one in a million.

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A Taste of Aggro by The Barron Knights (old pop song featuring Catford)

There must be something new to do
The dentist’s kengo, and have a little Aggro
‘Cause he can take it out on you..
(Open wider please)
(And a little wider)
(This won’t hurt)
(To the tune of ‘Rivers of Babylon’🙂
There’s a dentist in Birmingham, he fixed my crown
And as I slept, he filled my mouth with iron
He said ‘Rinse out your mouth, with the medication spit it out
In the receptacle by your side, on the right’
(Gurgle, spit)
(Original song🙂
No-one would listen to the smurfs in prison
So they jumped over the wall
But policemen saw them, he chased them
Caught them, this is what he asked them all:
(To the tune of ‘The Smurf Song’🙂
‘Where are you all coming from?’
We’re from Dartmoor, on the run
‘How did you work out your route?’
We followed the arrows on our suit
‘What were you in Dartmoor for?’
We borrowed a safe from the bank next door
‘and why do you all talk this way?’
Cause we’re from Ketford,aren’t we? Uh!
Laaalaaaa (etc…)
(To the tune of ‘Matchstalk men’🙂
With big rosettes and coloured scarves
They go to cheer their favourite stars
They all look forward to their Saturday’s
There’s one young lad walks down our street
With Bovver Boots upon his feet
And an aerosol can of paint he freely sprays
And he painted Grandad’s Bike and next door’s cats and dogs
He sprayed a couple on the corner of the street, they were having a snog
He fell down on his can, and his aerosol wen’t ‘bang’
And all they found was a flat cap and his gloves
(To the tune of ‘The Smurf Song’🙂
Lala lalalalaaaa Lala lalalalaaaaa etc….


er , danny , ketford is in gloustershire which is ,according to multimap, 131.8 miles from the blythe

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Brian Keane

Sad news …. Brian passed away from cancer on Saturday. He had only been ill for a short while. Thought all at the Blythe would like to know.


Sad News

Sad news indeed. Brian was ever a controversial character. I had know Brian for nearly 20 years. We had the odd wee tiff over that time but all that had been long ago reconciled. He was a man with a "keen" sense of humour. More importantly, he loved the music and he could at least play a fair few tunes on the fiddle. Rest in peace.

Ohhh…OK then…

…OK then, no comment from the present incumbents. Not that I venture down there too often nowadays. Too much cutlery for my liking.
Please someone make sure both Paul Gross the fiddle player, and Con & his bar staff know about this. As I said Brian was a controversial figure, but what you saw was what you got. He was instrumental in setting up the Blythe as a session venue in the first place, although a bit erratically, so don’t forget that as ye’s thump and clatter away.

Brian’s funeral

Dave Clinch contacted me to say:
Brian’s funeral will be on 4 January at 2.30pm at Seven Hills Crematorium Nacton, East Suffolk then back to the pub in Woodbridge for a session to see him off properly. Spoke to Jackie yesterday

Is this session still active?

Is the Blythe Hill Tavern session still active?

Bloody brilliant!

Went to the Blythe two weeks ago.
FABULOUS but bijou session!
Tight tunes!
And Con went and got his goatskin!
And I got a cab all the way back to SW19 and have been skint ever since!

I stayed in tonight.

I stayed in tonight and didn’t go to the session at the Blythe or any other session. This is just as well since the session at the Blyth traditionally is on the Thursday and tonite was Friday.

It was great to play some tunes with Danny at this fabulous (im)famous South London session (despite shouty man and the stentorian woman).

Changing my trousers in SE23…

Went to the Catford Dogtrack Ukulele (Balaika) Collective.
Had a fab time!
We had dueling banjoes. Not the Deliverance tune; a
banjo-tastic interlude…
This session is a bloody sweetheart.

Great Session - thanks!

Thanks to everyone who made me feel so welcome at yesterday’s session. It was a great craig and you guys have some amazing players amongst you, and your are a friendly bunch of people. Hope to see you again!

new years day

session on new years day 6pm start all competent players welcome , (no drunken scotsman tho’)
we have two bodhrans already and one guitar no more required thanks
Fiddle flute box pipes whistle spoons concertina all welcome.

Surprised at the comment "we have two bodhrans already and one guitar no more required thanks".

Does not sound like a friendly session to me, even though I play fiddle, I would think twice about attending, unless Bill Black was hosting, then I know it would be a friendly session.

New Years day

Timkane No offense intended but we play in a small snug bar so any more than two bodhrans & a guitar would be a bit to much we are a very friendly bunch why not come down and join us for the craic you would be most welcome

Who is Bill Black ?

The Only other Bill that I can think of that played there was about 10 years ago and he had a ponytail, Played Guitar and sang. Is that the same Bill? Anyway, You missed a great session…

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St Patrick’s day

Hi all we have a session on at the blythe hill tavern 7pm start competent players welcome come along for the Craic free beer for players

Bill Black?

I think that the player that Billy is referring to is Bill Lakin - medium height, long blonde (maybe a bit grey by now) ponytail. Played guitar, sang and did tenor banjo sometimes - but at the Woodman, as far as I recall. Possibly he did transfer to the Blythe for a while but he moved to Lincolnshire quite some time ago. I’ve never had any problem with a welcome at the Blythe - my only regret is that it’s no longer possible for me to get there. Keep up the good work! andybanjo

Yeah, it would be Bill Laken. Actually he did attend the Blythe quite regularly when it started up again as a *regular* Thursday night session in 2003. Bill came along for a year or more. But yes, he would have been more associated with the Woodman.
His mate the guitar player Rich came down to the Blythe a few weeks ago, and informed me Bill is indeed still in Lincolnshire but isn’t exactly in the rudeness of youthful health these days.
Hope you are still well Andy, shame you can’t make it, as I’ve started to get back into playing there again, and that’s so far so good, so it would be good to have a tune with you again.

Fiddler returning for a couple of weeks is this allowed

planning to come down this Thursday for a few tunes. Rusty with the tunes but expect to catch up.

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What happened to your username????

Bonjour Catherine, Ca va? Moving to Bulgaria ……. WOW…….. What’s Imbo stand for, Irish Music in Bulgarian Outskirt? See you Tommorow…Billy

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Blythe hill tavern tomorrow

Nah, Imbo is based on part of my maiden name. Could not log on under old user name and could not be bothered asking for password.
Pretty good anagram though 🙂

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Hoping to get there also. In York right now for a meeting, travelling back tomorrow, hopefully arriving in London in time for a few tunes.

Blythe & others

sorry to hear that Bill’s not so well these days - I guess it’s the passage of the years

as I’m considerably better than I was a couple of years ago, I’m hoping to start to get out to a session or two this summer

if I’m planning to do a particular night at the Blythe, I’ll post it up here as it would be good to have a few tunes

from what I hear, the standard continues to be pretty high so you’ll hopefully have the patience to bear with my rusty strings (and rustier fingers)

with kind regards to all, andy

Glad to hear you’re better form Andy.

A good standard of session prevails at The Blythe. And that’s after almost 10 years - see the first post on this thread where it says Thurs 18th Sept 2003.

I guess we ought to start thinking of some kind of tenth anniversary celebration come this September…..

Blythe Hill Tavern 319Stanstead road london SE23 IJB

Hi all just to let you know that the Blythe session is still going stong every thurday night 9pm start
all competent players welcome & a few free pints for players come along for the craic great pub friendly staff great beer and fantastic music .

Re: Blythe Hill Tavern 319Stanstead road london SE23 IJB

I don’t think anyone ever doubted it, "sen". It truly is a unique venue in that it is a genuine old Irish pub, but not an Irish theme pub, and people come to it especially from miles around, particularly on a Thursday night, the session night, I kid you not, despite it being located in the Victorian suburbia of Forest Hill/Catford area of South East London.
Why would you think it needed re-advertising?
That said, I’m gratified that you feel impassioned enough to post a thread about it, although I did post it in the "sessions" section 10 years ago. Maybe you want to preempt it’s upcoming 10th anniversary around 17th September? 🙂

Re: Blythe Hill Tavern 319Stanstead road london SE23 IJB

Are you required to play in an "accepted Irish style" here?

Does anything happen on other nights apart from a Thursday or do the sessions tend to move around the area? Just curious in case I’m ever down that way.

Johnny, it’s pretty much an Irish session. Occasionally English and Scottish, and maybe even French, tunes make an appearance. And it’s near enough Thursdays only, although some advanced musicians (plus me bumping along at the back) used to do "secret" sessions on Sundays, but that hasn’t happened for a while. There are a few spin-off sessions here and there. For example the Old Dispensary in Camberwell on Sunday - last Sunday there was particularly good. If you happen to be in South London any time, email me or senna or any of the regulars and we’ll sort you out with something.

The Website

The website isn’t finished yet, Waiting for some info from Con the landlord and a bit more tweaking to do to make the text and the background go together a bit better. When Con eventually gives me the bits I need I’ll finish it off. If anyone has any Pics of the Blythe then send me an Email via here and I will get back to you in a week or so….


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The Website

Oh OK, I hope you don’t mind me posting it prematurely then, Bill. Anyway it’s good as it is - assume it will be even better once finished. I’ll look out some old pics…but is it possible to send pics as attachments on emails via this site? I don’t think you can…? Send me your usual email anyway and I’ll have a look.

Great session last night - 3 flutes, 3 banjos, 5 fiddles….oh, and some box; oh yeah, and cutlery. Loadsa tunes.


Hi, y’all,

I have not played for *coughs* a long time, but would love to join a local session. I would be very well behaved and sit as far back as possible… (I "play(ed)" the accordion) would that be OK?

No problem

I’m sure you’ll be fine Ann Marie. Our numbers of late have been approx from 8 to 12 players, and mostly a friendly enough bunch. Just sit back and join in the ones you know, also you may be asked to lead a set or two but you may decline if you don’t fancy doing so. There’s also Tuesday nights in the Ivy House, Stuart Road, Nunhead, SE15 if that’s not too far out your way.

Session this St Stephen’s Day

Will there be a session this St Stephen’s Day? Thanks.

lovely welcoming session

Thanks to everyone at the Blythe for making me so welcome at last Thursday’s session. What a lovely bunch of musicians and a very nice pub indeed. Look forward to more tunes with you all in the future.
All the best, Chan

Great session

I don’t post many session "reports" for the Blythe these days but this one was worthy. Lovely little relaxed and friendly session last night. Just 4 fiddles, one banjo, one flute/whistle/box, 2 bodhráns. No clattering cutlery or bad attitude people. Many lesser known tunes were played. As well as great Irish tunes, towards the end (12.20pm) we were treated to tunes from Scotland (being close to Burn’s Night), various parts of England, also France, Sweden, Finland, Languedoc in France….a great mix.

May I assume this one is still up? 🙂

This might be my last opportunity to join a session in London!

still going

i know it might be a bit late to tell you but yes, the session is still going . Hope to see you there

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couldn’t make it!

Same old story…swamped with work, I got in my bedroom and just died…

The Catford Dogtrack Ukulele Collective.

Ventured over to the wilds of SE London last night.
Fab sesh with the Blythe lot!

I heard this session was finishing up?
Landlord had enough with it all.

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Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Can anyone confirm whether this session is still running? I recently moved to Sydenham, so Lewisham would be an easy bike/bus trip… hoping to come along…

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Just phoned the pub. They said the session is still on every Thursday. I might head down this evening.

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Great session last night, right through to the small hours. Mostly Irish, but I managed to sneak one or two tunes from elsewhere in as well. Friendly bunch.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

I went down to The Blythe last night, first time for a while. So it was just me, Billy, Gordon and Paul M.
A serious rake of tunes got pulled out of our communal group psyche, and a pleasant evening was had altogether. All previous ups and downs were forgotten, in pursuit of the muse of Orpheus.
Thanks lads, I’ll be back……as long as it remains bereft of kitchen utensils.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Periodactylised, that link doesn’t seem to work. Does one have to be your (FB) friend? Regards, Finbar

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

One likes the sound of a Blythe renaissance!
One shall head SE on a Thursday soon and will disappointed if one doesn’t get play Bluebell Polka with Danny…

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Great session last night.
As it was a regular’s birthday party, the BHT was jam-packed.
As was the session with musicians, many of whom were top-class.
Instrument census from (faulty) memory:
2 flutes
3 whistles
2 banjos
3 button accordions
5 fiddles
2 bodhráns
1 guitar (sorry Mr. MF)
1 mini-banjo/uke thing
1 mini-square-Yhaalhouse-guitar thingy
2 singers.

Tunes were flying. Innumerable pint glasses were drained of black liquid.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

It was the busiest I’ve ever seen the Blythe on a Thursday! Great session though a little cramped re elbow space!
To clarify: I played a Mahalo baritone ukulele, a JN cigar box four string guitar and a Goldtone baritone banjolele.
See you all again soon over there on the South Circular!!

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Thanks for the clarification Mr YH. I did say the memory was faulty. And yes, it was cramped, but what the hell, the craic was ninety in the Blythe Hill Tav.

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Tonight (20th Sept 2018) will be the 15th anniversary of the *regular* Thursday night session at the Blythe Hill Tavern.
We first started it as a regular Thursday night event on Thursday, 18th September 2003. It has been on almost every Thursday night since then. You could count on one hand the number of Thursday nights that have not had a session there.

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St Patrick’s Day session in the Blythe 5pm This sunday 17/03/19, organised by supremo bodhranisto Gordon. All competent players who are nice personnae are welcome.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Hi! Checking that this actually runs from 9PM? And tomorrow (15/08)?

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

This is very much still running as of 15/08/2019. I was warmly welcomed - a great, long-standing session in a wonderful south London Irish pub which I hope never changes! Pizzas looked amazing too.

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And, my I add, the Blythe is unusual amongst Irish Session pubs in as much as it serves a very large variety of ales, beers, ciders, kegs and other drinks.
Unlike most Irish sesh pubs that serve Guinness, Fosters and Magners and little else.
The Blythe Hill Tavern has won many awards from CAMRA.

Great session though. Even if and when Danny McKay treats us to Bluebell Polka on his box!

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I attended this session last night. All the usual suspects were present except the old Scottish chap who plays a bit of the flute and box.
TRAVEL INFO- Anyone wanting to get there by public transport from where I live (Wimbledon) please DON’T use the TFL recommended route as I did last night: Northern line from Sth Wim to Balham, train from Balham to Selhurst, 75 ‘bus from Selhurst to Catford Bridge, 10 min walk to Blythe. Took nearly two hours!!!

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Kudos to one of the Blythe Hill session regulars (you know who you are!), who had a rather pithy letter published in today’s (24th May 2020) Observer.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Hi Aidan,
Try and search as I might, I couldn’t find said pithy letter. Any chance you could provide some pointers? or even the text? - without revealing the authors identity (assuming she/he might wish to remain anonymous…) I can guess the author’s identity though but not the content….

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Ha! I assumed it was going to be you ‘Winston Smith’!

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Does anyone know if there are plans to restart this session? I heard that some of the regulars were doing an outdoor one at Blythe Hill Fields - anyone know if this is happening again soon? Thanks

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The guy who organises the session these days says Con the guvnor is keen to restart it. But he wants to wait a few more weeks to see how social distancing goes because of restricted punter numbers in the bar. Also Con wants it to max out at 8 players, no more. Because of this, I’m not sure how "open" the session will be, moving forward.
Also they’re trying to sort it out so we can play upstairs, no punters.
There have been a couple of "al fresco" sessions in Blythe Hill Fields, also Peckham Rye Park and some other parks I believe, which were fun, but not quite the real thing. I don’t know if they are still happening.
That’s as much as I know.

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Thanks very much Winston. If there does happen to be space for an extra player I’d like to join - had started to come along semi-regularly just before lockdown. Though understand there probably won’t be!

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No problem Liam. How the "8 player rule" will pan out and what I suggested is merely conjecture. Let’s see what happens, when it does.

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Tonight (Thursday 16th Sept 2021) was the eighteenth anniversary of the regular Thursday night session at the BHT.
Apart from the months of Covid Lockdown, the session has run almost every Thursday since Thursday, 18th September 2003. Minus literally a handful of Thursday nights, 3 or 4 at most over that period. We think it must be one of the longest running sessions in London.
And tonight’s was a very nice session too. As it very often is.

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

These are two great tunes, thanks for posting them here Aidan. They are very "learnable" so we must get them learnt and played in the BHT.
It certainly was a tight squeeze earlier on last night, and then a fairly long haul. But nevertheless a great session. Would be great to see you down there whenever you can make it.

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Got to the Blythe last Thursday. Great to see ‘Someone at The Session’ for the first time since the Covid episode. And the Bluebell Polka was played!! Cheers guys!!

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Are you, Someone at The Session, part of the Blythe’s ‘historic interiors’?

Re: The Blythe Hill Tavern

Clears throat…

"There once was a fellow called Riordan
Who served up a fine range of beer-don
But just as superior
Is his tavern’s interior -
And the fact that his pints aren’t too dear-don"