Monday 28 July 2014

Gig alert! Bombed Out Church, with Laura&Claire...

We said we wouldn’t do any gigs in August, what with preparing for our September wedding. But Liverpool’s Bombed Out Church is pretty special.

We’ll be there on Sunday 31st August at 2pm playing our usual mixture of melodious originals (including that one about the Kirkby ice cream vans selling - whatever it was, Ruth never did find out - in winter), traditional folk (we might get a bit mediaeval on you actually. Or at least, Tudor) and imaginative covers (yes, that includes Ebeneezer Goode).

We’re also really excited about our special guests. Laura&Claire are the kind of duo we absolutely love. Two young women with beautiful voices playing guitars and singing the kind of vocal harmonies that simply sweep right through you. We heard them at an open mic at the Brink, Liverpool, and were absolutely blown away; we reckon you will be, too.

Entry is just £1 on the door and all money goes to the day-to-day maintenance of the Bombed Out Church. Now, we know we go on about this but it’s really important. If you’d like to help secure a long-term future for the Bombed Out Church, rather than see paradise paved and a Starbucks put up, they really do need your help. There have been a lot of rumours lately about how apparently someone is going to give them a tonne of money, which has made people believe they don’t need to donate after all. Unfortunately, this is little more than political posturing; the Bombed Out Church really does need your help. Please give what you can; even for just £2 you’ll get a big thank you, plus the knowledge you’re doing something amazing.

Families are very welcome; we love to play whilst watching the kids - including our own - run about. Please bring friends, nans, grans, granddads, mums, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins, avuncular relatives, bezzies, mates, a posse, people you met on the ‘bus… and anyone else you can think of. We’re looking forward to it!

Photographs from our Big Busk gig

St. Helens photographer Robbob took some pictures of us at the Big Busk in St. Helens’ Victoria Park two weekends ago; we’ve finally been able to contact him for permission to use them; he said yes! Hurray, because we love these pictures. In the first it looks like Ruth’s son is either terribly proud of his Mum and step-Dad, or is saying “lord, what fools these mortals be”.

Saturday 19 July 2014

And that's a wrap: Ruth writes about the Big Busk in St. Helens' Victoria Park

We’ve done lots of gigs in Liverpool in our time, in some gorgeous venues, but not much in the town in which we reside, St. Helens (for no reason except that they just haven’t come up in the same way). This summer we’ve managed to do two, in quick succession; the first in Rainhill and this, the second, and the last of our summer gigs (we’re taking August off gigging to organise our September wedding) even closer to home, in the newly refurbished bandstand in St. Helens’ Victoria Park.

We arrived just as the afternoon was starting. There were two stages; the other was more of a rock/indie orientated stage, and as the action on both stages took place simultaneously, we took the decision to stick around the bandstand for the more folky/acoustic side of things.

The lady compèring the bandstand’s events was called Diane and she introduced each act with a mix of humour, professionalism and good cheer.

We caught a little bit of dance troupe Paparazzi; my son’s more knowledgeable about that sort of thing than I and he seemed to enjoy it, but then we went off to the Lodge to drop off our instruments. When we got back a chap in an Iron Maiden T-shirt (I did ask him his name but to my shame I have forgotten, and he isn’t one of the people on the bill, so if anyone knows who he is please do let me know, as he was great and I’d like to hear more) was playing some folky, melodic stuff which we enjoyed. We also caught some of Cesar Bodey, who carried on like a trouper despite some technical issues (which sound man Steve did his best to remedy) and a sore arm!

Then we heard Shaun Brussels’ set. This young man is already practically a guitar virtuoso… and he’s just fourteen! If there’s any fairness in the music industry you’ll be hearing this young man’s name quite a bit in future.

Then it was us! This was the first gig this summer for which we’d decided to go piano-less. We do open mics sans piano, of course, as lugging around a keyboard on the ‘bus is a pretty hefty task if you’re only going to be playing two or three songs, but this was a full set. As such, we took the decision not to play our piano ballad Sally, to change Millbrook to ukulele and glockenspiel, and not to add in any of our “oldie” type piano covers.

We started with Bad Sitcom, then played our cover of 80s kids’ TV cartoon Mysterious Cities of Gold (and segued it into Gaudete). We followed with three folk songs in our own arrangements back to back; Scarborough Fair, The Stonecutter’s Boy and Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. After that, we played the first of two 90s dance songs in a folky style; Set You Free. There followed two originals; Millbrook and Shepherd’s Delight (It’s Not Time To Go To Bed).

Finally, for the first time live, we played the second folky-cover-of-a-90s-dance-tune of the day, our take on Ebeneezer Goode, on mandolin and ukulele with me singing the rap rubato, and Marc joining me on vocal harmonies for the chorus. We can honestly say without boasting that it seemed to go down an absolute treat. And then that was that, it was a wrap from us. Diane had some nice words for us about our forthcoming wedding and we left the stage.

It was interesting that about half way through our set, the crowd suddenly doubled in size. Much as I’d like to tell you it was all our fans coming to see us, it seemed what had happened was that over on the rock stage there was a big break while a band with a huge set up got ready, and so people drifted over towards the bandstand. However, the majority of them seemed to stay, so we must have been tuneful enough to keep at least part of a more rock-oriented crowd, which is quite pleasing.

After us was our friend Will Barnes who played a fantastic set. I’ve seen many of Will’s gigs over the past couple of years; Will’s always been a talented musician but more recently his intra-set banter has become an integral part of his set too. Also he opened one of his songs with the first lines of one of our songs, and another of his songs with a bit of REM. Basically, Will was great, and he’s always gigging around St. Helens and Liverpool, and you should make an effort to go and see him.

Then came Billy & John, acoustic folk duo, with a set consisting mainly of originals … and the second mandolin of the day! Fantastic stuff. Following them was Paul Atherton, who’d brought an exuberant crowd with him. Who knew Amy McDonald’s Mr Rock and Roll could still work in such an anthemic style?

The day wound down with a very syncronised dance troupe, Connect (my son, who likes that sort of thing, was mesmerised), and then a set from Diane’s partner (who’s name I’ve forgotten - sorry ) who included a cover of Leadbelly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night in his set. There was a little boy dancing on the bandstand throughout his set - I don’t think it was staged - pure spontaneity like that can’t be!

As we were packing up, performance poets The MadLads (formerly The Amigos) got up for an impromptu set which seemed to go down well with what was left of the crowd. They used to attend a poetry night I and a friend of mine put on in St. Helens a couple of years ago. I’d like to see them take a leaf out of the book of some other comedy poets now, and really perform their rhymes. Stuart Kenyon in particular has some wistful, intelligent verse and it’s great to see his delivery catching up with that.

All in all it was a fantastic day. Once again we got to meet up with some people who we’d only known previously on twitter, including Mike Ashworth and Lynn Gerrard. We also saw Andy Bowden, one time mayor of St. Helens, watching our set; later he said on twitter that it was (Ebeneezer) Good(e). A chap from the paper came to take our picture, so you never know, we could be in there this Thursday, although I imagine he took pretty much everyone’s picture so who knows.

Whatever happens though, it was a great gig; we loved all the music and performances going on at the bandstand. In some ways it’s a shame we couldn’t get to the other stage to have a listen but you can’t be in two places at once, and where we were had such a lot to offer.

Huge thanks to all the organisers, especially Vikki who had put a herculean amount of effort into ensuring this was such a fantastic event despite adverse weather (there was a storm the night before the Big Busk, and the morning saw heavy, pelting rain) and being poorly herself. I really hope she manages to get some rest now; there’s no one deserves it more right now!

Anyway, officially at any rate, that was our last gig of the summer; we hope you enjoyed it! We’ll probably do an open mic or two between now and September but aside from that we’re concentrating on organising our biggest gig ever; our wedding! Watch out for us in autumn though…

[Our “what have we learned from this gig?” feature will have a post all of its own! Keep an eye out on the blog…]

Saturday 12 July 2014

Liverpool Acoustic afternoon in the View Two Gallery, Saturday 12th July

We’ve just got back from a fantastic afternoon playing a set and listening to some talented musicians at Liverpool’s gorgeous View Two Gallery on Mathew Street.

Despite thinking we were going to arrive late (due to a prior commitment, and also due to the trains being off) we actually got there quite a bit earlier than planned, which was fab, as we got to have a little tinkle on the ivories (yes, View Two has a grand piano) while Graham and Stuart set up, and also have a look at some of the art work.

Then came the musicians; first up was Caitlin Gilligan in a fabulous hat with some fabulous finger plucked melodies, two originals and a cover of Bob Dylan’s Girl from the North Country. She was followed by the Southbound Attic Band whose beautifully sung tale of childhood sweethearts made Ruth cry (and she probably wasn’t the only one). Lucy Mayhew followed on with some delightful playing including a Fleetwood Mac cover (we’re always partial to a bit of Fleetwood Mac), then came Derek King with a couple of songs including an intelligent lyrical take on an argument.

Then it was our turn!

We started our set with our piano ballad celebrating female friendship, Sally, then our ukulele duet about marital discord and poorly written female comedy characters, Bad Sitcom, next came our song about what ice cream vans really sell in winter in Kirkby, Millbrook, which we followed with our a-cappella arrangement of folk classic Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, and then our current single, Shepherd’s Delight (It’s Not Time To Go To Bed). Finally, we had a bit of time left so we decided to perform a cover; our take on the theme from 1980s kids’ cartoon, Mysterious Cities of Gold (the eagle-eared amongst the audience will have noticed we finished the song by seguing into the opening bars of Gaudete. Come and see us at a Christmas gig and we’ll play you the whole thing).

We enjoyed playing our set, but it was a relief to sit back down too (and finally grab a coffee; we’d been on the water up until that point).

There then followed a set by Rob Jones and Rob White, who had a real Simon and Garfunkel vibe going on, with perhaps a touch of Half Man Half Biscuit about some of the lyrics. They were also kind enough to give us a CD which we’ll be putting on at some point tomorrow for a spot of Sunday listening.

Finally, sound man Stuart, also known as Three Minute Hero, played a short set including a song with a sad, lilting tune but a message of hope, The Tomorrow People.

We really enjoyed the entire afternoon. The standard was very high, and we felt honoured to be in such talented company. We’d love to go back again; the gallery is gorgeous, the sound is great and the staff are really friendly. Special thanks to Graham for organising and compering the event (and for inviting us), and to Stuart for helping create such fab sound.


Yesterday, when we wrote this, Ruth was in the early stages of a migraine and we were both knackered and so it was we forgot to do our usual spiel about What We Have Learned From This Gig.

We’ve chatted loads about this today and a few things have come out of our discussion. The standard at this event was really high and yet we didn’t feel as though we were out of our depth, which isn’t meant to sound arrogant, but rather as testament to how far we’ve come since we started out (as carollers, in December 2012). That said, we also talked about how we must not become complacent. The music scene in Merseyside at the moment is really buzzing and there is so much talent around that if we don’t keep ourselves fresh, practiced and focused, we’ll stagnate and get left behind.

We also talked - again - about covers. Yesterday we threw one cover into our set, as mentioned above. However, fun though Mysterious Cities of Gold is, it’s perhaps a bit obscure; in a larger crowd, you can guarantee there will be a group of people who will recognise even a cult cover, but if performing a cover at an intimate gig it might be wise to stick with something a bit more well-known. That said, it’s a gorgeous tune in its own right so… we’re still undecided.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Last night (Thursday 10th July) at the Brink open mic, by Ruth

I don’t half love the Brink. Partly this is because the Brink is a dry bar, and I drink about once in a blue moon, so it’s great to go somewhere where everyone else is as sober as me, but that’s far from being the main reason. The Brink really is one of the friendliest places in town. It’s really family-friendly too; whenever I take my son there he loves it. There’s always some interesting artwork up on the walls too, plus a great selection of books to read if you’re at a loose end after you’ve done the shopping. There is always something on that looks interesting (one day I’ll get to one of those Beatroot events they have on, although I confess I’d be going more for the music than the health food lecture) including a rave night (whoever came up with the idea of a rave where you can have a sit down and a nice cup of tea, then leave to go home at eleven, is a GENIUS. Over thirties and/or people with children have been crying out for this for ages). There’s the food, which is gorgeous (and the Sunday roast is in a league of its own). And of course there’s the weekly open mic.

There’s such a great vibe at these open mics that we chose to announce our engagement at the one back in March. Really welcoming, and very little in the way of ego, too; established musicians play alongside first timers; poets and rappers mingle and it all takes place on a really well-equipped stage with excellent sound.

Last night was particularly busy, as first up, there were a bunch of people from Crisis having come down en masse to perform a mix of poetry and music. Hard to pick a favourite, and they were all on in quick succession so I didn’t get chance to get everyone’s name but the chap who particularly stood out to me was a rapper who, just when everyone thought he’d finished his piece, got back up for a second with absolutely pelting word-perfect delivery. Brilliant! It was great to hear some of Lee de Pablo’s poetry too (his Mum taught me in my first senior school) and maybe next time he’ll read it himself? There was a woman who had written an absolutely amazing song, despite, as she said, not being a singer. Its blend of really dark humour (“you’re all gonna die”) and post-apocalyptic proclamations about the digital age were absolutely fantastic. It seems as though almost everyone from the group had to leave before the end, which is a shame as I would have liked to have chatted and found out a bit more about their various pieces; maybe they’ll come again?

It’s great when there’s a mix of poetry and music at events like these, and another poet who stood out was a fella who read two really moving pieces which flowed between poetry and rap; David Barnicle (the host) said he’d been trying to get him to read for ages and I’m glad he did; amazing stuff.

Musicians included David himself, who played three songs including one of my favourites Some People Are (which for some reasons seems to have disappeared off Soundcloud, but other songs are available). Gary Maginnis and the Like performed some songs with David on the Brink’s sparkly new drum kit, including the poignant Blood. Some of their songs had a kind of Americana vibe which worked well with Gary’s Irish lilt. I have a feeling I’ve seen Gary perform solo at an open mic event in the Walker Art Gallery actually, with more of a folky feel, but I could be completely wrong and misrepresenting the poor lad in which case I apologise!

Dave Miller delighted everyone with his … what to call them; accompanied soundscapes? I can’t find an example online so you’ll just have to make do with that description.

We played a handful of songs, including our single, Shepherd’s Delight (It’s Not Time To Go To Bed). David took a photograph which hopefully I’m okay to use here (if not, I’m sure he’ll let me know) of us playing Millbrookimage

Before I tell you about my highlight of the evening, I’d like to say I’m sorry to anyone I’ve missed out. Thing is, I didn’t come with the intention of writing about the gig (if I had, I would have brought a pencil and paper) but to listen, and with so many excellent performances, I was listening very much ‘in the moment’ rather than making mental notes. That’s the problem witn any open mic event of course; it goes so quickly with so many different performances that sometimes you forget names and then when you want to look someone up… you can’t! But it’s also its beauty of course; it’s like tapas, or a smorgasbord, each different taste experienced and gone before you can blink.

Anyway. Everyone was great, but the absolute highlight of an already-wonderful evening for me was hearing Laura and Claire, two young women who play guitars and harmonise together beautifully. Now, full disclosure, Laura runs the new music show on Halton Community Radio, which is how I knew of her; she’d played our single a couple of weeks back. But I promise this isn’t the reason I liked her duo; they really were amazing. They reminded me a little of another local duo, Just By Chance (who I also first saw at the Brink), with their close harmony vibe, and that similar feel that you get when you see two people perform together and you know they get on like a house on fire off stage too. Anyway, fantastic arrangements and really, really ‘listenable’, too. Okay, it’s not a word, but you know when you see a new-to-you band live and you think, “I would totally buy a CD and put it on while I was cooking and then probably burn the tea because of being caught up in the music “? Well, that. I’d like to see/hear this pair play again.

But that said, everyone was great (I’d like to think we were pretty good too) and it was a fabulous evening. But as you know now we never do a gig where we don’t learn something and in fact, I had something of an epiphany.

I constantly compare us - especially me, and my voice - to other musicians, and it usually brings me down. In fact, I’ve sat in gigs before and thought, “god, they’re so much better than us, so much better than me, who is going to want to listen to my voice after hearing them?” Last night I realised that not only is this a fast track route to misery, but I realised something else too. Our sound is all ours. There are lots of things we (me especially) are still learning but if we didn’t play live ever until we were absolute virtuosos on all our instruments, we’d never play at all. There is always room for improvement, and I practise every day, but together, as Moss & Jones, we have a unique sound which quite a few people seem to really like.

As for my voice… well, voices are such personal things aren’t they? And instead of spending my time wishing I sounded like Sandy Denny / Kate Bush / Jacqui McShee / Isobel Campbell, I am starting to accept and even like the fact I sound like me. The important thing is to keep practising (for example, taking breaths in the right places so I can really belt out those long, high notes when they come along, multi-tasking so I can sing perfectly in tune even when I’m concentrating on the glockenspiel, and learning the difference between challenging myself, and setting myself an impossible task).

So: a great open mic night at the Brink then. Our next gig is this Saturday at Liverpool’s View Two Gallery on Mathew Street, for Liverpool Acoustic, and after that, we’re performing at St. Helens’ Big Busk event in Victoria Park on City Road. Come along to one or both! They’re free to attend.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

ManorFest Party on the Farm, Sunday 6th July

Being on twitter is great, especially when you live in St. Helens. There’s a real sense of local community on twitter, especially with the #sthelens and #sthelenshour hashtags. Add one of those tags and the wonderful folk at @sthelenshour and @sthelensculture will retweet your event, organisation, shop or whatever it is, to thousands of local residents.

One of the biggest supporters of St. Helens, both the town and the hashtag, is a chap called Mike. He writes a blog about the town which is largely positive but not afraid to be critical when called for. And it’s thanks to him that we found out about a two day event to be held at Manor Farm (a gorgeous pub on the stoops side of Rainhill) in aid of Willowbrook Hospice. And it was Mike who retweeted that a lady called Helen was still looking for musicians, and suggested we might want to look into it.

Which, of course, we did.

The day arrived, well, the second day (as it was a two-day event, but due to prior commitments we couldn’t make the Saturday), and after realising there was no way we could get there on the 10a ‘bus with all our instruments, we called a taxi, plonked our gear in the boot, put the child in the back seat with his football, and were on our way.

It hadn’t quite hit home that we were actually opening the day’s events with our set until we got there, set the little one kicking his ball about in the field in front of the massive stage-on-a-truck, where he was soon joined by other children for an impromptu kickabout. But, there we were, all set up thanks to the fantastic sound team led by Bayley and Liam, and ready to go.

We played for 40 minutes, mainly originals with a few covers thrown in. It was great fun, and we gave what we certainly thought was a good performance.


We also had chance to speak to a few people we knew from twitter, but not “in real life”; DJ Dex Nelson, who played some fantastic music in between all the sets (proper vinyl too), Fruitbatwalton (we learned his real name but we don’t know if it’s common knowledge, anyway, you probably think of him as Ralph even though that’s the name of his dog) and Vikki and her other half, Steve. Vikki is organising the Big Busk in Victoria Park, St. Helens, at which we’ll be performing on Saturday 19th July.

Then, the child, having been running around with a football in the heat for about an hour, came down with what seemed like a mild form of heat exhaustion, so we had to get him inside and administer fluids, and so it was we missed some of the music, but obviously, the kid comes first. Thankfully though, after about half an hour he was okay again, although we had to tell him no more football for a bit, about which he wasn’t best pleased. Still, we all sat under a tree and listened to the musicians, eating burgers from the fab barbecue.

There had been a running order posted on Facebook, but as often happens, it seemed like a few positions had changed, and as it was we weren’t entirely sure what band/musician names were (though Polker Dice very cleverly brought along a banner to tape to the stage; great idea). We especially liked Bayley’s band, Three Piece Suit, for their fun covers of well-known songs (especially Another Brick in the Wall) and their on-stage camaraderie. It’s always great to watch a band who are clearly enjoying themselves. Evil Picolo was good (one of those musicians you see around the townie all the time but realise you’ve never actually heard play) and there were some great singers too; a young woman called Amber who had a belter of a voice and another girl whose name we didn’t catch (might have been called Eleanor?) but she was young, and sang some originals with her guitar with great verve and confidence.

The child got another chance to meet the excellent Reef’s Reptiles, a husband and wife team who bring their menagerie of unusual pets to events (and can be booked for parties). He especially loved the snake!


In the end, we had to leave a little earlier than we had planned, because the child was getting sleepy, but we thoroughly enjoyed the event.

We always say that you never do a gig where you don’t learn something or come away having to decided to change something. Well, this time it was our realisation that the sets of the other bands were very cover-heavy, and that it wouldn’t hurt us to have a few more covers in hand too for similar events. When an audience has come specifically to see you, playing lots of originals makes perfect sense. But when they’ve come to an event at which you just happen to be playing, it is probably polite to play the audience a few more songs they might know, whether that’s covers, or possibly some traditional folk songs. Obviously there’s a balance to strike; we want to be known for our own stuff, not just as “that duo that does the folky rave covers,” but at the same time, expecting a new audience to engage with your original material right from the off is perhaps a tad (unintentionally) arrogant?

(We’ve also learned that you shouldn’t let your child play football non-stop in the afternoon sun for the best part an hour without a cooling break.)

Anyway, thanks to all involved in the organisation and promotion of ManorFest Party on the Farm; we hope it raised lots of money for Willowbrook, and we’d love to come back if you do anything similar again!

For those who want to hear us live again, we will be playing two or three songs tonight (10th July) at the Brink’s open mic night in Liverpool; get there about sevenish. Next up, this Saturday (12th July) we are playing the View Two Gallery as part of the Liverpool Acoustic Afternoon; get there for one o’clock in the afternoon. Finally we’re playing the Big Busk in Victoria Park, City Road, St. Helens on Saturday 19th July. We’re playing at three but there’s an entire afternoon of music so why not take friends/family and make a day of it?

Beyond that… well, we have a wedding to organise (our own) so are trying not to book too many gigs in August, but you never know… so watch this space! X

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Ruth asks you to help save Liverpool's amazing Bombed Out Church

I was born in Liverpool, but I grew up a twenty minute train ride away in Kirkby. As such, the Bombed Out Church didn’t really figure on my radar as a child; trips into town were largely confined to the very centre of the city and my overriding childhood memories are of Blacklers’ basement, Lees buttery and the chandeliers in BHS.

As a teenager though, when I started going into town by myself or with mates, I was either hanging around in or outside the School Lane Quiggins, or wandering up and down Bold Street, and so it was that I first wondered what that weird locked up church with no roof was at the top of Bold Street. Fast forward a few years to university (I stayed at home and went to Liverpool uni. Yet I still got a grant. The olden days, ay?) and me and a couple of friends managed to sneak into the gardens, though we couldn’t get into the mysterious building itself.

A few years later, after a stint in London followed by a return to Merseyside, the church was still locked up and looked pretty inaccessible. The steps, on the other hand, were a fantastic landmark to meet friends in the days where still not all of us had mobile phones, and those of us who did were forever running out of credit.

In fact, I didn’t go into the church itself until my son was a new baby, seven years ago. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it had been transformed by Ambrose Reynolds and Urban Strawberry Lunch, in an incredibly hands-on (like, cleaning human faeces out of the pond, getting rid of rats, clearing away needles, that kind of hands-on) way.

The first actual gig I attended there was a CND gig, back in 2009. I’d not long left my then-husband and I wanted to get out more. I think Tony Kehoe (who runs the Egg Café open mic) might have done a set, but I’m not sure because I was so busy running about after my little one to stop him exploring in the pond that I can’t remember much else!

That was the first of many events I’d attend in this wonderful setting.

One of my favourite ever events there was going to see a really old black and white film of Carols from Kings, on the winter solstice of 2011, with my then-pretty-new boyfriend. We sat on bails of hay and watched the film with its candles, songs, and yawning choirboys, and were astounded at how warm it was for that time of year.

There is something of a festival vibe to any event in St. Luke’s, but beyond the fact of listening to music - or whatever it is you’re doing - in an outdoor setting. It’s about the way that you can connect with people there in a way that just a few meters away, outside, you can’t. Of course, we chat to strangers in ‘bus stops and in shops and exchange pleasantries about the weather, but in St. Luke’s it feels almost like you’ve been transported into another realm. There you are, watching a performance of some kind, or getting involved in an activity, inside what’s essentially a cross between a church and a park, and yet you’re at the top of one of Liverpool’s busiest shopping streets… and yet again, you wouldn’t know it. You could be anywhere; you could be in San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam or faeryland … or nowhere, a place removed from the universe itself, where time seems to slow down and prejudices seem to melt away. It’s magical.

I realise this sounds like hyperbole. No such thing as magic, is there? Get this though; not long after my divorce had finally come through I said to my bezzie mate, “nah, I’ll never get married again. Unless I can do it in the Bombed Out Church,” as a kind of a joke. Well, remember the chap I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? This September, we’re marrying each other, in the Bombed Out Church.

That same boyfriend is also my musical partner. We gig around town and in St. Helens (where we live) as Moss & Jones, performing folky originals and imaginative, fun covers. We started out in 2012 as a pair of carollers, and took it from there. It had long been our dream to gig in the Bombed Out Church, and early this year we contacted them, tentatively, to ask if it would be possible. Imagine our delight when we got a yes! The gig was arranged for the end of May, but between arranging it and the gig happening, we, like everyone else, heard the bad news that St. Luke’s was - well, no one seemed entirely sure what was happening, except that various people wanted to take this amazing place and either turn it into an hotel, a food hub or pave it over and install a Starbucks.

None of these things seemed to allow the possibility of gigs, events, concerts, films, yoga/tai chi/meditation and so on continuing. None of these things seemed to take into account the fact St. Luke’s is also a war memorial, and a lasting monument to those in Liverpool who lived through, or died in, the Blitz.

In the end, our gig went ahead, and we even got asked back for a second. We were incredibly privileged to be able to perform in this amazing setting not just once, but twice.

We’re hoping we’ll get asked back again at some point; maybe we could come back in the winter and do a full carol concert?

At the moment, Ambrose and his coterie of wonderful helpers keep the church open regularly, relying solely on donations from the public since the council’s funding has been cut. Given that people can access the church for as little as just a pound (not that there’s anything wrong with this; it’s lovely it’s so accessible and that’s part of its charm. In fact, I understand that on occasion the fee has been waived for people who genuinely cannot afford it, with payment made instead in the form of odd jobs, such as watering the plants), you can “do the math” and see that this state of affairs isn’t sustainable.

This is why they’ve set up a crowdfunding project. If they raise the money it will go towards the many repairs needed to keep the church going, and also towards helping keep the church open in bad weather, drawing in more people. In fact, considering the sheer amount of work that needs to be done, it’s impressive that they’ll manage to bring it in for £18,000, the amount they’re hoping to raise.

When the Bombed Out Church was first under threat, there was a petition to save it; it got over 30,000 signatures. If everyone who signed the petition put in just a quid they’d have smashed their target. But signing something is a lot easier than putting your hand in your pocket, it seems, and with just a few weeks to go, the Bombie is still quite some way off its target. I’m not entirely sure why this would be, but maybe people don’t realise that if they don’t meet their target, crowdfunder will give everyone their money back. What does this mean for the Bombed Out Church? Well, no more gigs. No more immersive theatre. No more Qi Gong. No more Blitz Exhibitions. No more handfastings or quirky wedding celebration. No more 96 Footballs. No more stepping off the street and entering what feels like another world.

Just another building. If you don’t want this for the Bombed Out Church than go and donate right away! The lovely thing about Crowdfunder is that you actually get a gift if you donate anything £2 or over, from a shout out on their Facebook page to a guided tour, and more (we’ve bought a brick). It’s a fairly simple process; if you’ve ever bought anything from the internet you’ll be comfortable donating online; you can use your card (no additional charge) or paypal (a small additional charge, but it saves them from incurring the charge, so that’s good).

And if you really honestly truly do not have £2 to spare, and there have been times in my life when that’s been the case, then get the word out. Blog about this, tweet about it {copy and paste this link:}, put it on Facebook, reblog this tumblr post, get yourself on WhatsApp and send the link to all your mates, post something on snapchat… over and over again until people get the message; this place is unique, and YOU can be one of the people that saves it. Imagine being that person?