Happy Birthday to us…

On August 4th 2001, the Spooky Men performed their first ever gig, at Eastside Parish in Sydney.

We’re very happy and somewhat bemused to have made it to our twentieth birthday! For the next week or three, we’d like to use this space to reflect on this time and share some memories and photos….and we’d love it if you did too. At the top you can expect to see rare spooky photos and memorabillia, along with personal thoughts from some of the gentlemen. Reader comments will appear below. We’d love to hear about your encounters and collisions with spookydom, and see any relevant pictures!

NOTE: Attachments (particularly large ones) can take some time to upload. So, please be patient.
Your comment could take some time to appear because we have to guard against bad scammers.

Read “spooky men or dinosaurs? musings on the occasion of our 20th birthday”, by the spookmeister …

Read “the foolishness came later”, the spookmeister’s history of the spooky men, written in 2010 …

76 Comments

  1. Frank Appleyard

    First time I’ve heard you! How good to hear a true male voices. No floaty, falsetto tenor sounds; just a good, rich voices in these arrangements. I sung TTBB for more than 50 years, and like the sound you make. A breath of fresh air to the choral music genre.

    [You may not want to print this bit, but over here people have been conned into thinking that only in London or Wales are there good male voice choirs. That’s not true. I’m in West Yorkshire and we’ve good choirs here also. On one of your British tours you came close to me in Penistone, near Barnsley, and I look forward to the next time!]

    Reply
    • Jane Freund

      No idea where to start. Long relationship with various incarnations of SMC. Since your second visit in
      …2006? You came to Bexhill at my invitation and conquered the hearts of The Freund Family forever. Turning our house into a dorm for Spooks, singing to Poppy aged 7 days (now 12!), adopting Rosie and me at Sidmouth, so many festivals and gigs arranged by me and others. So proud to introduce you to the Hastings area. You always make us feel happy and excited to see you. Happy 20th birthday, and here’s to many more. More photos to follow. Love Jane and The Gang xxx

      Reply
      • stephen taberner

        thanks jane! your loyal spookspersonship is mightily appreciated. and we fonly believe that poppy, having 15 godfathers, will be truly blessed x

        Reply
  2. Karen Hammond

    I remember you walking into the swimming pool at Costa del Folk in Ibiza, still fully clothed & singing 😁

    Reply
    • Stuart

      Was that the UK subset “A Fistful of Spookies” in 2019?

      Reply
  3. Robin Gardner

    Some strange men I met at a Spooky gig in August 2013

    Reply
  4. Ulrike Paschel

    Spooky Men relaxing post-performance at Wickham Music Festival 2015 … first itime we saw you! Actually, we pretty much missed your show but then were inexorably drawn into a very small tent for our first ever workshop … we have not looked back since!

    Reply
  5. Nick & Fiona

    The Spooky men are still in our house!

    Reply
    • Lynne Griffiths

      Loved the show at Albury left with grwat memories thank you

      Reply
  6. Kate Maclurcan

    Here’s to the next 20, Stephen & the Spooky Men! Thank you for the joy and fun you’ve brought us thus far xo

    Reply
  7. Penny Ward

    I first saw the Spooky Men on my 43rd birthday weekend at Towersey Village Festival (UK). They sang Dancing Queen. I was in lower frequency heaven. Then the workshop happened. I became part of the Visigoth hoard to invade the festival’s closing ceremony. Waking up the next morning on the camp site, I sang ‘Visigoth’ phrases to my friend in the next tent, joyously, several other Visigoths joined in from other tents nearby. In about 5 minutes we had a solid band of random Visigoths singing from their sleeping bags and bugging the hell out of all those attempting to remain asleep. A perfect moment I shall hold forever in my heart. Xxx

    Reply
    • the spookmeister

      oh that’s good!

      Reply
  8. Natalie

    Every Spooky Men ‘s visit to Castle Douglas Town Hall has been a joy. You even made drawing the raffle an art. Thank you for delicious harmonies, thoughtful and hilarious songs and just being Very Fab People. congratulations!

    Reply
  9. Repeat Performance RPM

    Mega congrats to the Spooks! You’re unique, superbly talented, great fun, and fabulous – it’s been a pleasure to have worked with you over the years and make your CDs. All the best, Robin Springall

    Reply
    • stephen

      and thanks for all your help, my dear sir!

      Reply
  10. tim

    Congrats on 20 years of your magnificent health cure. We have taken your antidote to madness and cruelty in Caernarfon, Bangor, Bethesda, Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Bury St Edmunds, Sing for Water London and at frequent moments when just as we’re expecting mere music in the hifi, Spookiness emerges. It always does us the world of good. It does the world the world of good.

    I say unto you, Spookmeister and Brethren: the Strangler Fig will never get you. Spook forth, Spook on. Never were you more needed.

    Reply
  11. Lesley Andrew

    Someone suggested I get tickets for your performance at Sidmouth, eight or nine years ago, I can’t remember now. That was one of the best suggestions ever. I laughed, held my breath at the beauty of the sounds and felt both fulfilled and empty when it was over. I have been to a number of other concerts, shared your YouTube videos and always loved what you do. I have CDs, a fridge magnet and loads of memories. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Lesley Andrew

    Someone suggested I get tickets for your performance at Sidmouth, eight or nine years ago, I can’t remember now. That was one of the best suggestions ever. I laughed, held my breath at the beauty of the sounds and felt both fulfilled and empty when it was over. I have been to a number of other concerts, shared your YouTube videos and always loved what you do. I have CDs, a fridge magnet and loads of memories. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Stephanie

    I remember seeing the Spookies at an outdoor gig in Sydney a few years ago competing with the Bells of St Mary’s Cathedral, hilarious!

    Reply
  14. Sue Miller

    All the previous postings show just how much you are appreciated ! We’ve been to every East Anglian concert you’ve given, right from the start and hope to keep doing so till death do us part. Keep those marvellous harmonies going, whatever the words and the message. Stephen’s hope for people to indulge more in “pointless grandeur and less in epic folly and for “singing to be respected as much as real estate chicanery and sporting heroism” shows a proper understanding of the Meaning of Life. May the Spooky Spirit go on forever !

    Reply
  15. Daphne Toombs

    I loved the year Stephen was director of the festival choir at Cygnet Folk Festival in Tas. What a brilliant director to work with. But even better was when some of us happened to mention that we had not been able to get in to see the Spookies in their performance, because the queue was too long, and the Spookies all came out into the car park across the road and gave us an impromptu performance. It was wonderful, and you are all true heroes.

    Reply
  16. Shelley Oxford

    Spooky Men’s music always has a deep resonance both in sound and emotionally, whether it is humerous or makes your whole being tingle. Long may it continue!

    Reply
  17. Diane Clifford

    Dear Spookyones
    Every note you sing plucks my many heartstrings but the most moving, by a long way, was when you sang in the Gala Theatre in Durham and I asked the Spookmeister if you would sing ‘Crossing the Bar’ for me as it was my birthday. He told the audience and said that you’d discussed it but decided you’d sing it any way. Many tears. Thank you again, And again.

    Reply
  18. Gerry Myerson

    First saw the Spooky Men in March 2002, at the Blue Mountains Music Festival (or was it at the National?). Sorry, don’t have any photos, just good memories.

    Reply
  19. Lyn Guy

    I first heard about the Spookys’ around 10 years ago and went to see them on my own after watching a few videos online. They made me cry with laughter and emotion. My life is richer for havng discovered their humour, harmonies and haunting Georgian renditions. My star memory is seeing them perform “Ba’hari Ghibb” at that first gig in Bury St Edmunds’ Apex – my laughter was uncontrollable. But my favourite and most awe-inspiring experiance with The Spooky Men’s Chorale is a performance they did in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral in July 2017. Here is a link to “Crossing the Bar” from that concert. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFeYhScbZto

    Reply
  20. Phil Spooner

    Spookyfest
    The Fold, Bransford, 2015
    Buffoonery and a fun tug of war.

    Many happy returns chaps! 🍺🍺🍺🍺🤠

    Reply
    • Phil S

      Tug of War

      Reply
  21. Margaret Lange

    Yes I gratefully share all those Tassie memories. Cygnet Folk Festivals and afterwards; around the bonfire in Salamanca getting the whole world to sing in harmony for a moment. Amazing. So rich, so needed. Thank you . Happy Birthday and many happy returns. Xo

    Reply
  22. Sue in Normandy

    Spookiest at Towersey, memorable. I’d never been to a workshop with about 200 participants, didn’t we raise the roof!! Then, more or less two years ago to the day, a mini Spookies sang at the concert in memory of Roy B, so emotive. The Spookies really do provide the goosebump factor.

    Reply
  23. Anne Crestani

    I was lucky to see a very early iteration of the Spooks at a house party in the Blue Mountains NSW way, way back in time. A few slightly pissed blokes (not sure if beards were optional back then) stood around in a circle in the host’s lounge-room with Stephen T and belted out a rounding rendition of ‘Gigantor the space age robot’. I was particularly thrilled as ‘Gigantor’ was one of my fave Japanese animations as a kid. They were hilarious and slightly off-key. I’ve been following their misadventures ever since and its been amazing to see how they have developed and honed their musical and stage chops to become the truly international superstars that they are today. I think the peak for me was to see them perfect the art of Sufi spinning while performing B’hari’ Gibb. My good mate Big Dave makes a formidable and yet strangely graceful and light on his feet Sufi dancer. Loved you guys then – love you guys now. Happy 20th and here’s to the next 100 years.

    Reply
  24. Michael Bradley

    I was lucky to see Ba’hai Gibb live – Heebee Geebees eat your heart out!
    One day a workman left his toolbox in front of the with my stuff.
    He apologised (you can see where this is going)….
    I said, as the Spooky Men’s Chorale sing, Don’t stand between a man and his tool!
    Keep Spooking strong!

    Reply
  25. Anne Louise Crestani

    I thought long time Spooky fans might enjoy this portrait that I painted of Big Dave – one of the more iconic spooks particularly renowned for his whirling dervish skills and persona. This is a portrait of Dave with one of his sons – who also sports a very spookish beard. I was trying to capture the mix of “boof and beauty” that is the spooks themselves and the songs that they perform.

    Reply
    • stephen

      that’s ridiculously adorable

      Reply
      • JEAN HATLEY

        I have had the pleasure of seeing you twice and believe me it was a pleasure. I’m hoping I see you again when you visit the U.K (North East England). Happy birthday Stephen and Spooky Men, you are amazing, talented and funny

        Reply
  26. Cherie Saxby

    Oh wow, congratulations to Stephen and to the Spookies on 20 years of Spookiness!!! You indescribably, bafflingly, touchingly, daftly, deeply wonderful people!! I love it that I still find you impossible to describe. I love everything you do, and especially Crossing the Bar. Your musings on the occasion of your 20th birthday are glorious, Spookmeister. Much love to you all.

    Reply
  27. Barbara Fairhurst

    We have been fortunate enough to attend several Spooky concerts, and to participate in Spooky workshops, notably at Choirtly Loud in Wollongong in 2013. This picture is from a workshop led by the Spookmeister, teaching a huge group of singers a work that started, “So close to heaven, 7 steps to go”. Everyone was laughing, singing, stepping and having a harmoniously great time.

    Reply
  28. Barbara Fairhurst

    The Spooky men are always gracious with their time and will happily pose with grandeur for photos. This is from Choirtly Loud 2013.

    Reply
    • Waz

      I think that’s buffoonery rather than grandeur, but always a pleasure to share time with you who relish singing together

      Reply
  29. Barbara Fairhurst

    Another fabulous Spooky Man from Choirtly Loud in 2013.

    Reply
  30. Barbara Fairhurst

    The Spooky Men on stage at the big concert at Choirtly Loud, Wollongong, 2013. I have great memories of learning, and then singing along with, Ah Diddy do, Close to heaven, and especially “The Sweetest Kick in the heart”. I think the videos I took are a bit long to upload, but the joy of that experience is still with me.

    Reply
  31. Barbara Fairhurst

    The Spooky Men at the Melbourne Recital Centre in June 2019. First time I heard them sing “Crossing the Bar”… musical perfection, emotional storm, typical Spookymen experience…

    Reply
  32. Terence Rath

    In my 83rd year I take the greatest joy in the love of what you have done to keep me going in music and boofishness . From my room in this nursing home the sound you make echoes down the corridors. The residents think I am a boof but you have outboofed me. Carry on with the Joy you spread. Ausi Ausi Ausi Oi

    Reply
  33. Ruth Crossman

    Ah, the wonder, the grandeur, the heights of musical gloriousness that Spooky Men attain when all rise as one in beautiful voice! I became an instant fan, having seen your performance on Spicks and Specks some time ago. You visited Taree in the not too distant past, and I recall expounding, urging , crawling, prostrating myself in front of our humble singing group, expounding your magnificence. So many came and were spellbound. Congratulations, Spooky Men, on 20 years of joyfulness. Your vision, your manliness and your sheer interpretation of all things musical remains fresh, intelligent and just plain happy!

    Reply
  34. Matthew Healey

    My first exposure to the Spooky Men was on a drizzly, cold Sunday afternoon at the Blue Mountains Music Festival, in 2007. My son and I had driven down from Orange for the day to capture a number of performers which had caught our attention. The Spooky Men were on our list. The ethereal tones of the opening bars of a traditional Georgian song swept away the discomfort of the water moving across the Katoomba RSL car park beneath our chairs and immediately I was hooked. The combination of quirky, self-deprecating humour and glorious harmonies was a winner. I have continued to watch your growth and have been lucky to see you live in Orange, Katoomba and Canberra over the remaining years. Not once did you disappoint. Keep up your excellent work. Hopefully the Spooky Men will continue to be a National Treasure in years to come.

    Reply
  35. Meredith Hellicar

    Happy Birthday Spookies from two avid long-time fans. We love your singing and your performances, in person and online and your recordings. You are simply magical. thank you for many years of delight. And thank you Stephen for your wonderfully whimsical missives which lighten our inboxes from time to time. Here’s to another 20 years!

    Reply
  36. Chris Samuel

    Loving all these pictures and comments. Thanks to all loyal Spooky followers, fans and super-fans who have been there every tour.

    We all feel a rather long way apart at the moment, but it will happen again.

    Manhugs to you’s all

    Reply
    • Stuart

      Great picture Chris!
      It was a pleasure to attend the workshop and performance by you and the Fistfull of Spookiesat at Costa del Folk Ibiza 2019 (as well as the workshops by Naked Voices a decade ago!)
      x

      Reply
  37. Chris Samuel

    Sing off with Fisherman’s Friends in a Sidmouth pub. Now that was a night!

    Reply
  38. Nigel Holt

    Towersey Village Festival, 2007 I think, Spookies’ first visit to Towersey and unknown to many in the UK including myself. Watched them in concert, got this strange feeling of destiny, went to the workshop (I still have the lyrics of Glagolitica on the torn-up photocopied sheet) and CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER. Now a member of two choirs, including founder member of Oxford’s ManChoir, and have you to thank for it. Cheers guys!

    Reply
  39. Sally Scott-Biggs

    Way back on what may have been the Spookies first visit to Durham (UK) I was arranging flowers in the church in the market place, when a Spooky came in and asked if he could leave a bunch of flyers for a performance at the Gala Theatre. I said of course, took one, decided that it could be a really interesting evening or maybe something dire but I was willing to take a chance. I took my husband and we had such a great time – the first of many – we have seen The Spooky Men every time you’ve visited the UK since. However someone else at the church thought that the flyers depicted something decidedly demonic and binned the lot!

    Reply
  40. Peter

    What would our lives be without the spooky men much poorer. I had just started singing when I saw the Spooky men. When my choir would not sing Elesa I found Man Choir and have never looked back. We not professional we don’t make any money but we love to sing. Thank you a million times over for your sense of fun but most of all your beutiful songs. Can we beg for anither 20 years and occasional trips back to Britain?.

    Reply
  41. Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    This is obviously not normal behaviour. But what normal choral group would induce us all to tune in to a livestream to celebrate the handiness and appeal of tools? Thank you for a fabulous 20 years of fun, gorgeous singing (low and high), deep humanity and warmth, lots of festival bliss at Towersey and front row thrills at Kings Place. May you continue to thrive and, once the pandemic allows, do come back to Blighty and amuse and please us all over again.

    (PS That workshop at Towersey made me realise I needed to sing in harmony and I joined Rock Choir. Hope to get back to that too once group singing is bit safer.)

    Reply
  42. Finn

    I still remember the very first time I saw the Spooky Men. It was 2004 in the Carrington Ball Room during Winter Magic. Since, then I’ve gone to many different gigs with the Spooks as Big Dave’s eldest son. It’s taken me to several different formative locations including big Aussie music festivals like The Great Escape (2006) and Woodford (2004-5, 2006-7) as well as the UK and Ireland (2009). I have been welcomed in as part of the Spooky family and have had many a good singing and drinking session with the hairy men in black. I cannot wait to see them again once lockdown has ended.

    Reply
  43. Sarah Penicka-Smith

    Shared a concert with you and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir many years ago. Performing ‘Dancing Queen’ Spooks-style was a welcome change from the old razzle-dazzle. May you grace our stages for many years to come. Happy birthday.

    Reply
  44. Stuart Duke

    I have seen A fistful of Spookies at Costa Del Filk Ibiza and the Corale in Nottingham. On both occasions I was really amazed at the quality of the a capella singing, the sentiment of some songs, comedy in others and the quirkiness in everything.
    Amazing!
    Not forgetting the online/streamed concerts during 2020/21 – lets hope you will be back together again soon….

    Reply
  45. Helen McLagan

    My husband & I were Spooky groupies, addictively travelling around NZ and to eastern Australia following their gigs. Spooky Men, there’s no one else like you, keep on keeping on. I love you as you are and as you’re always been but please don’t feel duty bound to fossilize (except organically & harmoniously) or become mere caricatures of yourselves. All the best. Onwards & upwards ho.

    Reply
  46. CHRISTINE CLARK

    Happy times at Sidmouth – Mancarena day 2019. Many people looking forward to seeing the Spooks back on the UK festival circuit again.

    Reply
  47. Jeremy Cook

    Evidence of a Spooky presence at the National FF, Canberra 2017

    Reply
  48. Jeremy Cook

    Hats have always been important – pre RAV tour filming weekend 2021

    Reply
  49. Jeremy Cook

    Indoctrination into mystical Spooky moves – pre RAV tour , Lawson enclave 2021

    Reply
  50. Anna Kasper

    The wonder, the pure transporting joy of attending a Sing Like a Bloke workshop in Canberra, Folkfest, I think 2009. Throngs of people standing tightly! packed in the warm room above the Session Bar, finding our voices from you, interspersed. We all can still sing, ‘Let me through, let me through, I’ve got very important things to do.’ Our boys were 9 and 6, now 21 and 18, your ways were truly formative. Hearing Glagolitica and (different time) Sweetest Kick in the Heart at another Folkfest when I’d found my way to your venue, and lost my crew. Gorgeous – thank you for all you do.

    Reply
  51. Lindsey Lukehurst

    I don’t know when the Spooky Men first came to perform in the UK, but at some time, Mary, my singing friend in Suffolk, told me about having done a workshop with you, and maybe they had a performance as well, not sure. I was intrigued as it sounded interesting. Where I live in Nottingham we have a lot of great music and singing, but I was looking for something a bit more ..something. In 2011 I went with another friend, to a singing workshop in London run by Stephen, and during the break I asked him if he would be prepared to come to Nottingham .. he was polite and non-committal. Later that year we saw the Spookies perform in Abergavenny, and occasionally I would email Stephen and remind him about coming to Nottingham. A couple of my choir friends approached him at a gig somewhere and asked him to come to Nottingham, and he thought one of them was me. I think it took 6 years of polite reminders and then Stephen emailed to say they could possibly fit in a gig in Nottingham in 2017 .. could I find a promoter? I couldn’t .. so I thought I would do it myself. We completely sold out for St. Mary’s Church, and had to put more tickets on. Two years later we did it again. Both gigs were amazing, it was a pleasure hosting Stephen and the Spookies here, and I wish them a very happy birthday. Lots of love from Nottingham xxx

    Reply
    • stephen

      and thank YOU for always being brilliant, lindsey! x

      Reply
  52. Andrew Langley

    The shock of pleasure as the opening chords to Mraval Jamier echoed off the back wall of the Budawang at the National Folk Festival, Canberra, Easter 2004. Goosebumps from singing The Fiddle and the Drum to over 2000 people at a packed UK Festival venue. The delicious intimacy of The Sweetest Kick in the Heart, sung acoustically in groups of three interspersed through an audience. The delight of dancing [remember dancing?] with graciously willing strangers-become-friends to round off an encore. And, underlying all of that, the unquestioned camaraderie and support of a group of brothers, men standing in the manline, rehearsing, sharing music, drinks, food, buffoonery and ideas.

    Thank you Stephen. This really would never have happened and could not continue without you. Thank you Spooky Men. Thank you to all the partners and families who support us, and to the fans who just get it, and keep coming back to get it again and again!

    Reply
  53. Michael Macken

    It’s really wonderful to read all these memories. I first saw the spooks about 2004 at the Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains and they were fantastic. Fast forward to 2011 and I somehow passed an audition to join this fantastic black-clad band of brothers, and have thoroughly enjoyed every incredible moment of it. Thanks to all our fans and supporters who seem to enjoy this beauty and stupidity as much as we do! And thanks to the Spookmeister for all the music and wit. Here’s a photo of us singing Stir It Up a few years ago.

    Reply
  54. Ric Drew

    I had the benefit of seeing your band of deep vocalists every year you have attended the National Folk Festival in Canberra. My first Spookie encounter was in 2003, soon after the bushfires has ravaged the ACT and surrounding NSW forests and some urban areas. Besides the excellent banter, besides the fantastic props, besides the big and small stages the singing is always enjoyable and entertaining and it resonates with blokes. I have many enduring moments of Spookiedom at the NFF: small overcrowded stages, multiple workshops, large stages with commanding views and many pithy signs to indicate Spooky presence splashed across the venue walls – particularly the gents! One night stands above others, one song in particular, in the Troubadour tent (RIP) about 2011 (??). The Spookies performed a short set towards the end of the evening spread in one line across the small stage with Stephen dancing across in front and the final piece was “Down to the river to Pray”. The majority of the audience knew it and we were encouraged to join in the chorus (and we did), My table in the back corner of 6 friends followed the maestro as he built the chorus up to crescendo and down to a whisper, and then an even quieter whisper. It was sublime, no one clapped for 8-10 seconds, the silence hung in the air, sharing this moment. We were all enraptured by the experience. Everyone at my table had tears in their eyes and tingles down their spines. I am sure we were not alone!

    Reply
  55. Andrew Pye

    Too many great moments to detail, but I’ll always remember the excitement and anticipation the night we all watched the temperature change on the digital thermometer at Archer’s Hideout during the “Behind the Sandstone Curtain” tour in 2012.

    Spooky Pics

    Reply
    • Martin Denman

      Magically my introduction to the Spooky Men was a gig at the Universal Hall in Findhorn, Scotland. From the first note I was hooked. Stunning powerful harmonies of their Georgian repertoire gave way to full on comedic songs of great invention. The tears flowed from my eyes with laughter and joy. That gig led to me joining ST for wonderful singing weekends at splendid locations across the UK.

      Reply
  56. Kazza White

    I was lucky enough to be at The Spookies 1st gig on 4 August 2001 and have loved you ever since.
    One of my favourite gigs was at Mosman Art Gallery when I introduced my music loving 14yr old nephew to The Spookies. He absolutely loved it and really enjoyed chatting music and harmonies with The Spookmeister & a couple of Spooks afterwards (Thanks Stephen, Wazza & Dana). My nephew was so inspired he joined his school choir the next week !
    Happy 20th Man-niversary Spookies!

    Reply
    • Spooky Waz

      Hey Kazza, that was a lovely gentle gig. Hope your nephew is still singing, a nice fellow he is.

      Reply
      • tabs

        kazzaaaaaaaaa! you haven’t got either photos or poster from the first gig by chance? x

        Reply
  57. Lisa Roth

    Hi Stephen and all the Spookymen, we wish you a very happy 20th birthday 🥳

    We absolutely loved your workshop at the Turner Gallery in Margate UK Aug 2017. It was a pleasure to meet you and sing with you. We had a blast. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see you again in the uk. Take care and thank you,

    Lisa and Leanne.

    Reply
  58. Spooky Waz

    It’s the first time I have rehearsed with the Spookes in the Blue Mountains, 2003(?) 3 weeks before our first National Folk Festival in Canberra. Robin’s small lounge room in Hazelbrook, a dozen spooky men and the Beatles love song ‘And I Love Her’. Warm shivers running down my spine; Stephen’s beautiful arrangement resonates within us: magical, etherial, eerie, soothing, warm and…. very spooky.

    Then, at the national, we are asked to do a cameo on the Friday night at a Beatles sing-a-long. It was our first performance, apart from the Sing-like-a-bloke workshop that morning, and it was in the wine bar venue, well into the evening, crowd enjoying the wine, songs and camaraderie. We squeeze between the stage and the front of the audience, a line of men dressed in black with an assortment of hats. A note from Stephen….. “She gives me all my love…..” and the punters go strangely quiet, spellbound, amazed at the beauty of the sound coming from a bunch of blokes. And my spine tingles again.

    Reply
  59. Liz Rhodes

    I have had various random encounters with Spookyness, including (sadly) a couple of near misses…I first heard the general brilliance that is Spooky harmonies back in the early 2000s at a festival somewhere in the UK (not sure which one, probably due to the amount of beer imbibed). I was then lucky enough to see you at Shrewsbury Folk Festival and partake in a workshop in the art and science of singing Spookily. If you would like a compliment – yours was the only concert that weekend that my then 8 year old Evil Step-son sat through without wanting to leave before the end!
    Since then we have dedicated ourselves to serious Spooky stalking. We have stalked you around festivals including Ely (where my Evil Step-son managed a backstage raid and we haven’t been able to wash his T-shirt since as it is covered in Spooky signatures). We participated in workshops back when my Evil Step-son was still singing soprano. We have spread your songs and videos as wide as we are able, and made a surprise trip to Bury St Edmunds to celebrate the Evil Step-son’s 14th birthday. He was allowed to stay up very late on a school night, got a T-shirt and very embarrassed when his Evil Step-Mum accosted a random spook for an autograph after the concert. Many moons ago I was supposed to be joining a singing workshop in Bath, but sadly had to cancel due to lack of funds. I was also looking forward to attending a Spooky weekend in Norwich last autumn, but sadly the coronovirus prevented that. Last year I spend many a happy morning warbling away in my conservatory whilst watching strangely small Spooky men on a screen singing and playing back to me from the other side of the world in what is the fantastic massive singlet. My Evil Step-son (now definitely singing tenor) even made a special appearance with a wonderfully decorated cake he made. I am now an Evil Midget Step Mum, the Evil Step-son is trying to grow a beard in his quest to become a fully fledged Spooky Man, and we all continue to marvel in your general wonderfulness. If you would like another compliment, I want you singing (not necessarily live) Crossing the bar at my funeral. I’m hoping it won’t be for ages, and I have also selected songs by Chumbawumba, Merry Hell and the Oysterband so you will be in good company. May there be many more years of Splendid Spooky Singing. Much love from Sutton, near Ely in Cambridgeshire UK

    Reply
  60. Glen Hunter

    I love the Spookies, especially at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, where they put up some of the funniest promotional posters.

    I particularly like seeing them singing with Fred Smith.

    My favourite memory is of them performing during a cold sunset at the Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba one year when a tourist steam train blew its whistle part way through a song and they spontaneously reacted and varied their performance, causing much amusement.

    Reply
  61. Jan Underhill

    I will never forget the absolute amazement and joy of hearing my first Spooky Men song on stage in Bridport Dorset. It just got better and better with every song. Thankyou for the joy and laughter !

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 30 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, archive, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here