The Story Of The HUGE Huge Man

Written 10/6/11


Much of the world is totally frigging insane, yet mysteriously remarkable and quite possibly magical things can still occur.  Last Friday we experienced a night which makes one believe in these more mystical higher powers.  Such things happen more often than not at the Nevada City Classic Café, where my band Beaucoup Chapeaux frequently plays. But this one Friday night was particularly enchanting.

The Café was overflowing with people that evening, beautiful young couples with their gorgeous children, handsome older folks including three octogenarians who sat right up front, some wild dancers, of course, and this most interesting Balkan music playing couple from Berkeley who showed up with our great friends Kent and Cindy.  Mari had a dumbek with her, and Paul a cute little stringed thing called a tambouritza.  Our bandmates Murray and Randy were away that night, so we had lots of room on the “stage”, so to speak.  So we invited Mari and Paul to play with us, which they did.  We had a great time playing two or three tunes with them before their dinners came, at which point they returned to their table to eat.  Soon after that our friend Sally came through the front door, and I asked “Sing a song with me?”–well, it was more a command, but Sally is game for most singing adventures, and I had the words to this great tune called “Grey Funnel Line”, a mournfully lovely sailor’s song which Sally had taught me years ago. We managed to make our way acapella through that–big coincidence alert:  I had found the lyrics right before we headed into town that night, and somewhat off-handedly thrown the sheet music into my accordion case, with no idea Sally would appear.  Then came a request from one of the 80-something year olds, a lively Dublin born woman who did indeed possess extremely sparkling eyes, for something Irish, so we launched into “Blackbirds and Thrushes”.  At the conclusion of that song, Sally went to sit and have a bite to eat.  Luke and I continued playing.   

A couple of tunes later, two biker looking men came through the door.  One of them was HUGE, and the other just sort of normal.  They were wearing elaborately decorated black leather vests, proudly proclaiming on the back:  E Clampus Vitus–meaning, as it turns out, they were Clampers, which I had heard of, but never encountered first hand.  I later learned that Clampers like to party and are into gold mining history, doing good works, and are generally harmless.  To me that night, however, they simply looked like very serious Biker dudes, the type one should avoid crossing if at all possible.

At any rate, the HUGE huge guy, 6’5″ and 370 pounds give or take a pound or inch or two, walks in, filled the entire doorway, paused, gazed around, a stranger in a strange land. Then he turned his gaze at me,  and with nary a second thought,  I asked him,  “Do you have a song?”.  He looked surprised, I repeated my question.  He paused briefly, then he got kind of a gleam in his eye and said in a rich, deep, and resonant voice,  “I believe I do.” So he moved right in next to me, sort of–there wasn’t any way he could squeeze himself into the bench seat with me, so he just sort of crouched down next to me like some giant bear might–and he launched into a sort of moshed up version of the traditional Irish song “Johnny I Hardly Knew You”,  and the U.S. Civil War version of it, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again”.   Luke and I began to play light accompaniment on tenor guitar and accordion along with him.  As it happened, the huge guy possessed a voice to match his frame, knew LOTS of verses, and believe me,  everyone sang on the choruses. It was absolutely brilliant.  We were all thrilled, and quite relieved that the guy who looked like he could potentially crush each of us between his little fingers was a sweetheart in disguise.  After the resounding applause at the end of the tune, the huge guy and his pal, now café celebrities, went over to sit at the counter to order some dinner.   We told the waitress to put their drinks on our tab. Café owner Genevieve, who is French, told me later that the guys were hoping to order something like burgers, or club sandwiches.  Which the Classic doesn’t serve on Friday nights, being a wine and tapas and crepe kind of place.  But, in her lovely accent which few can resist, she convinced them that they should try the prime rib crepes, which apparently they enjoyed immensely, eating three each.

As they ate, Luke and I played another tune, then the Balkan folks came to join us again.  We played a couple more tunes, then the huge guy approached again, pointed his very impressive finger at me, and quite sweetly demanded, “You sing a song”.  So.  After a brief moment of thought, I came up with a good sing-a-long, the popular song “Stand By Me”.  It sounded great with the Greek instruments, and in no time at all the whole café was singing their heads off and the narrow aisle was full of dancers, including the huge guy.   By the end, the huge guy and his pal had looks on their faces like they had been transported to a beautiful place they had never been to before no less imagined.

As the two of them were finally leaving the Café, I put the accordion down, got up to thank them and bid them adieu.  The huge guy surprised me by taking me up in his massive arms and gave me what could only be described, of course, as a huge huge bear hug.  He asked me, “Does this always happen here?”  I smiled, hugged him back as best I could, and said,  “Maybe so. Come again and see.”  

Off they went into the night. 

Sadly, we’ve never have seen the huge huge man again.  But we’ll never forget him.

The End of the World–written on December 21, 2012

As some would have it, this may be the last day of this world. I must say I’ve enjoyed this world, and I’ll miss it, despite it’s many faults.  At the moment, my house smells like coffee, French toast, maple syrup, chicken sausage, sautéed walnuts, pears, blueberries.  I’ve just come in from the barn, where I’ve bedded it with lots of fresh straw, should the 34 year old La Belle Mare choose to spend the evening luxuriating in the soft golden fluff of it all.  I gave Rosie the bone from last week’s band holiday party leg of lamb, and as such, she feels like she is already in a better place.

Puck and Flora nearly turned green at seeing Rosie get a bone that was nearly as big as Flora. They informed, reminded, and otherwise implored me with their most desperate looks of longing, that they had only received a few of the MEREST morsels of meat in their meager breakfasts this morning.  I attempted to assuage their grief by telling them that they will no doubt find bits of Rosie’s bone later today outside.  For a “Me! Now! What’s tomorrow?” creature, this tactic is of course of no practical use whatsoever.  As such, they brooded–but not for long.  Indeed, they seem to have completely forgotten about this grave injustice as they curl up next to me on the couch, one on each side–a dog armchair, I call it–cozy by the fire, while outside the wind howls and rain falls.  Nap time. After all, one should be well rested to greet the next world.

Doing Nothing With Horses

    One little known fact about having horses, to non-horse people at least, is how much horse people enjoy doing nothing with their horses. By “nothing,” I mean that the horse people are not riding, or feeding, or grooming, or cleaning tack, or shoveling out stalls, or doctoring, etc.  They are simply hanging out with their horses, doing nothing.  This doing of nothing most often occurs on sunny winter days, the ones that appear between the long stretches of cold and damp gray days.  That’s when you can most likely find horse people doing nothing.  To do nothing, a horse person may just sit quietly for fifteen or more minutes on a corral fence while their horses graze nearby.  They may even be up on their horse, barebacked or saddled, but if there is tack, the reins are slack, the boots are out of the stirrups, while the horse, also lulled by the delightful warmth of the winter sun and their rider’s relaxed posture, dozes, equally relaxed, one back leg cocked, head hanging low, eyes closed, lower lip drooping.  
    Now, if there are two or more horse people doing nothing together, which is a very frequent event, they will chat with each other, of course–tell horse stories, dog stories, laugh, complain about the weather, admire the weather, etc.  Some might interpret the chatting as doing “something”–but it’s done in such a relaxed manner, the words lilting, the sound soothing, that it in no way interferes with the sense of doing nothing. That doing nothing is a gift to be savored seems to be something that many horse people and all horses just know and appreciate.  I count myself among them.

A Really Good Day


Okay, the world is going to hell in a handcart, and only by some extraordinarily hard work,   perseverance, and a healthy dose of luck is anything going to change.  For Beaucoup Chapeaux, as musicians, we not only believe but also have personally experienced how music can be a transformative and motivating force, capable of opening up our minds to positive change, recharging our spiritual and mental batteries, and allowing us to imagine that we can indeed do something about the big problems of the 21st century.  It can also make you feel like jumping off a bridge at times, but that is for another story.

          Now, anyone who knows the Beaucoup band knows that we do tend to enjoy what we do for the most part. Yet, to put it mildly, it’s hard work to do what we need to do in order to do what we want to do. We’re independent musicians, so we’re our own manager, booking agent, accountant, record company, and roadies.  But, as Utah Phillips liked to say “To do the art of music, it’s necessary to do the business of music”.

         Our tour had not the most auspicious of beginnings, with a so-so gig at a club in Sebastopol on Thursday night.  It was a late slot we were playing, 9-10:30pm, which was coming on the wheels of long drive from Grass Valley that afternoon.  So what was wrong with the Sebastopol gig?  Well, I need to clarify that Beaucoup Chapeaux is, perhaps, somewhat spoiled after three years of playing our fairly regular gig at the Nevada City Classic Café.  The Classic is one of those places that is a veritable cornucopia of community, a sort of Café Cheers, where everyone is friendly and everyone knows each other, or soon does, and we all feel like a well functioning family. At the Sebastopol gig, the audience, though lovely, was smallish, and few of them knew each other.  The management/owner was not in residence, so there wasn’t any host.  There was very little sense of community, and I’m being generous to imply there was any at all.  One bright spot was the resident stellar sound man, Max.  His good humor, knowledge, patience, and excellent ears went a long way to mitigate whatever else the venue lacked.  We sounded great.  The waitress was kind, and the woman who sat at the door taking in the cover was as well.  It’s not like it was horrible.  Far from it.  Like I said, we’re a little spoiled.  It just wasn’t the situation we hoped to find in Sebastopol.

The next day, Friday, began with a far different tune than the previous.  No crazy push to get organized in order to leave home to head out on the road.  A nearby rooster woke us up, and we found ourselves in the beautiful guest house of our host.  Having arrived after dark the night before, we had little idea where we were, which turned out to be a redwood tree paradise of blue skies, sparkling sun, and the faint but enticing scent of sea in the air was uplifting.  Smelling the ocean’s call, we turned down our host’s kind offer of breakfast, desiring at that point only to find a café for a brief coffee stop before heading to Tomales Bay.  Packing up the silver van, we headed west on the Bodega Highway with the assurance that there was a good café in the little town of Tomales about 20 minutes away.

Now, this is a crucial part in the daily life of a touring band, getting that first cup of coffee.  Twenty minutes is long, but doable. A little bit of build up to that first cup is acceptable, even desirable, but wait too long and things can get rather ugly very fast.  However, any threat of coffee withdrawal was quickly averted when just a few miles down the road, in the kind of area most city dwellers would call the middle of nowhere, an actual organic French Bakery appeared on the side of the road.  Right there at the intersection of the Bodega and Bohemian Highways, of all intriguingly named roads, the Bakery seemed by its remoteness mythical, certainly fairytale in nature, surrounded as it was by fertile green farmland where grazed very fat and sleek horses, cows, sheep, and goats.  We could not deny the feeling that it was a special day as we piled out of the van and walked through the front door of this unlikely outpost of a bakery.

Inside, the bakery was appropriately rustic, with a big, wonderfully worn wooden table just inside the door on the left, with benches to sit on. Then there was the ordering counter to the right, and behind that a long  counter down the middle of the room, with great beasts of clay and brick ovens near the very back.  As we stood there a few moments, taking it all in, looking no doubt somewhat groggy and bewildered, I noticed a man standing at the back, obviously a baker, noticing us.  Wiping his hands on his apron, he made his way across the room towards us, offered up warm greetings, and introduced himself as the owner, the head baker, and obviously French, ah oui!  What could he get for us?  Dazzled by the variety of breads and other offerings listed on the menu board hanging from the ceiling above the array of fresh loaves, it was the descriptions of the scones of the day that seduced us.  We ordered four of those, with accompanying lattes.

After receiving our lattes and what would turn out to be some of the best if not the best fruit and savory scones any of us had ever had in our lives, the Baker invited us, s’il vous plait, to enjoy our petit breakfast while sitting in his garden. Charmed we were, so of course, out the door and through the garden gate we went, to discover lovingly tended beds of rich black soil, full of various winter greens, herbs, flowers, an orchard off to the side, all looking as exquisite as his scones tasted.  Sitting on a couple of benches warmed by the morning sun, with every bite of each scone causing  near swoons, we were overcome by the garden’s beauty, devas, and scones–and decided we would live there.  And we almost did.  But suddenly, like someone touching your arm to get your attention, the most gentle of breezes, a most tantalizingly tangy smelling salt and seaweed sirocco ruffled our hair and tickled our noses.  In it, we heard the undeniable voices of fabled beings.  It was the siren call of the Oysters, and the spell of the Baker was broken.

We have this thing about oysters. The raw kind. Well, to be truthful, Murray, Luke and I were the oyster devotees, and Randy just thought we were crazy to eat them.  We’re happy to report that with love, patience, and a certain amount of heckling over the last couple of tours, Randy has been converted and is fully on board with our premise that raw oysters are essential to good life and band bonding.

To follow that chords of that sweet song, we knew we had to leave the magical garden and bakery–but not before giving the French Baker a copy of our CD, buying a loaf of his excellent bread, and calling a fond “Adieu!”  Off in the van again, heading west on the Bodega Highway.

Before too long, we found ourselves on the edge of Tomales Bay pulling into the parking lot of the Hog Island Oyster Co.  We arrived at “Happy Hour”—which we were enchanted to learn at Hog Island on a Friday means 11:30am.  It was there, Happy Hour at Hog Island, that the sails of the day really began to unfurl.

Murray oystering2012-02-24_11-57-25_389A certain amount of beer goes well with oysters

Sitting at a picnic bench overlooking the bay, ordering four dozen of the très délectable bivalves, as well as white wine for me, beers for the guys, we were delighted to be the first customers of the day. An hour later the place was packed with people who brought baskets, bags, and boxes filled with salads, bottles of wine, beer, and their own oyster shucking knives. Some ate the oysters raw, and some, having brought briquettes, lit them up in the barbecues conveniently situated by each table and grilled the oysters in the half shell.  I can safely say everyone was having the most merry of times.

Our appetites supremely satiated and our moods infinitely lifted with that effervescence little known to non-oyster eaters, we continued on to our next destination, the wonderful town of Point Reyes Station.

After a bit of business at the KWMR community radio station there–a very sweet little sister to Nevada City’s own community radio station KVMR ( KWMR manager’s own words)– and a visit to a thrift store to look for treasures, the day being such a gorgeous one, and with the rest of the afternoon to ourselves, we inquired about the best beach around, and subsequently hightailed in the van out to the southerly edge of Drakes Bay and Limontaur Beach.  With barely a breath of wind blowing on this unusually balmy and sunny day, Murray and I, being big swimming enthusiasts no matter the temperature, took to the waves, while Randy and Luke did their thing of watching us swim, trying to stifle their horror at the very idea of it, as well as keeping a look out for the remarkable and distinctive dorsal fin of the Great White Shark, who apparently gather in great numbers in those exact waters. Fortunately, there were no shark sightings that afternoon, or meetings.  The water temperature was, of course, the typical Northern California coast freeze your ass off as well as other body parts cold.  We didn’t swim all that long, only a few minutes, but the air temp was so mild when we got out that we weren’t the least bit chilled, and we quickly warmed up.

At this point, Randy followed his muse on a walk along the beach to contemplate the life of the legendary jazz musician Lemuel Crook, whose music Randy would be performing at a concert the same afternoon we returned home, which is a WHOLE other story.  Meanwhile, the rest of us availed ourselves in the shelter of the inviting white sands of the Limontaur Dunes and stretching out, quickly drifted off to dreamland. When Randy finally returned, we all felt so invigorated; we decided we would live there.

But then we recalled we had a gig that night.  And we were once again very hungry.  As such, we pulled ourselves away from Limontaur’s embrace, and headed back to civilization as one finds it in way West Marin. At the Point Reyes Station Café, we dined on some great fish and chips.  Properly fueled up, we then headed off to Inverness to check into our host’s home, which we were quite pleased to find was clean, roomy and exceedingly comfortable.  A hot shower, change of clothes, and then on to our show at the Blackbird.

The Blackbird, located right in the heart of tiny downtown Inverness, right across from the market, is only one year old. Owned and run by Carol and Jude, Jude related to us that she decided to open the café because she wanted to be able to get a good cup of coffee in Inverness, and there wasn’t any such a place, so she opened one.  Before long, she had music happening as well.  So now there is good music and good coffee in Inverness.  Turns out, it’s a magical place too.

Blackbird was empty of customers when we got there, but by 7pm when we started to play, it was filling up, and soon was overflowing with the most exceptionally wonderful array of Invernessians, all completely riveted on LISTENING to us, and experiencing what we do. And we played our hearts out for them, these great ocean listeners, these hearty salt air applauders, these in the nooks and crannies tidal dancers, which resulted in many new friends made, and CD’s sold, while that mystical air which musicians and a wonderful audience can create together enfolded and swirled and whirled about us like some invisible and benevolent wave, and finding the door, it surged forth to merge with the blessed sea air and starry sky, and we truly felt, yes, that moment at the Blackbird Café, the oneness of the universe.

Well.  I can get carried away a bit.  But it was a really good day.

Midnight found us sitting comfortably with our exceptionally lovely host, nestled into cozy couches and chairs, warmed by the flames of the open fireplace, telling our stories, feasting on the French Baker’s crusty bread, Cowgirl Creamery cheese, and sipping on locally brewed single malt.


We all agreed we would live there.  Forever.

Proposal at the Plough and Stars

On a Friday evening in early September, love and romance flowed as freely as the beer and whiskey at a pub in San Francisco, California, known as the Plough and Stars. This venerable institution on Clement Street is a place where I play music with my band on occasion. It’s a great pub, with the prerequisite dartboards, pool tables, and friendly barkeeps. There’s also a small stage, dance floor, and decent sound system for live music, which happens many nights of the week. As pleasant a spot as the Plough and Stars may be, it certainly does not jump to the top of my list of places I would think of as the perfect spot for a marriage proposal.

However, a marriage proposal at the Plough and Stars is exactly what one man had in mind for his girlfriend. A few weeks before one of our gigs at the Plough, I received an email from Robert, who lives in Southern California. Robert explained that he was looking for a unique way to propose to his girlfriend, Janice. He wrote that he had first envisioned himself learning a song on guitar called “Love You ‘Till The End”, by the Irish band, the Pogues, and singing it to his beloved somewhere in San Francisco.  At the conclusion of this performance, he would spring the big question. But that hadn’t worked out very well, due to the fact that Robert couldn’t play guitar. So, thought the determined lover, whom else might he get to sing this song? With a little web search on venues featuring Celtic music in San Francisco, Robert came up with the Plough and Stars, and the name of the band that would be playing there on the night Robert was planning on bringing Janice there.  The band was my band, Storm Session. So, he contacted me through our website, asking if I knew the song, and if I did, might I consider singing it at the Plough and Stars that night, after which he would propose to his girlfriend.

Well, it has been said it takes all kinds to make a world, and I for one believe it. I mean, I love the Plough and Stars, but it is a bar, and can be very, very, noisy, because people go there to drink, socialize, drink–not exactly where I would fancy a marriage proposal taking place. I’ve also spent a great deal of my life saying yes to things I later wondered why in the world I had agreed to that, so I’ve been working on saying “no” more. As I didn’t really know this song anyway, and was fairly well swamped with trying to learn my own new songs, I wrote to Robert that although I would love to accommodate his request, I didn’t really have the time to learn the song. So unfortunately, he couldn’t count on me to be his Irish Cyrano on that night.

Robert wrote back, and kindly thanked me for even bothering to respond to his email in the first place. He went on to share his alternate plan, which was to do something like spell out “Will you marry me” in rose petals on the bed of the hotel room, and have the song playing on his iPod. How did I think that would work, he asked.
 That did it. I don’t know if he calculated that telling me plan two would set the hook, but I was sincerely touched by his sense of romance. I grabbed my guitar and looked up “Love You ‘Til The End” on the web. Of course, there it was on YouTube. After listening for a bit, I started playing and singing along. I decided I liked the song, and knew I could do a good job of it, even for a wedding proposal in a bar. I wrote Robert back and let him know that I had touched my heart and changed my mind, and that if he did indeed wish to show up that night with his girlfriend at the Plough and Stars, the band and I would be prepared to do the song.

Of course, I hoped it would turn out to be a very wild and sweet moment at the pub. With this in mind, I discussed Robert’s idea with a number of good friends I consider to be experts of sorts in romance as well as pubs. I then came up with a simple plan on how Robert might best accomplish his task. First, I suggested, the band would begin the evening by playing three or four songs. After which Robert would approach the stage and “request” the song. At which point I would make a show about “Hmmm, I think we can remember how to do that one..”, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc.  We begin the song. Robert would then use the opportunity of the instrumental break after the second verse to make his proposal. If the audience were very noisy, he could come up to the stage, and I would hand him the microphone. I also added that I thought it wise that he be fairly confident of what Janice’s response would be. Otherwise it was destined to be one big really bad awkward moment for everyone there. And lastly I suggested that he and Janice come early, and take advantage of what is usually the quieter part of the evening. He replied that he was planning on coming at 8. I told him we didn’t start until 9. He wrote back that he figured he was going to need a hearty dose of “liquid courage” in order to do the deed. I’ll see you early, then, I wrote back. And have courage, man!

And so it came to pass, taking only 23 emails, eight days of anticipation, two minutes of song, and less than ten seconds of proposal and acceptance time. Although for a few sketchy minutes, I feared it wasn’t going to happen at all.

As we were setting up that Friday night, I let on to our friends who were there, as well as the trusty bartenders, what was up, and thereby adding greatly to the sense of anticipation I already felt by doing so. Everyone had a great time just trying to figure out who Robert was, as at that point I had no idea if he was young or old or what, and so we were all on the sly glancing around at new arrivals, whispering to each other “Do you think that’s him?” But the minutes went by, and I was beginning to think maybe Robert had decided to do something else, or find his liquid courage at another watering hole.

Finally, about ten minutes before 9, I was walking towards the bar when I heard an urgent voice behind me whispering “Maggie, its Robert behind you. Don’t turn around!” So, I just walked on, but at the earliest opportunity, turned and very casually made him out across the room. He and Janice chose a table, and a minute later Janice went to the ladies’ room. Robert leapt up, came over to me, and we had a short conspiratorial hug. He looked really, really, really nervous–and young, and cute, in a dark handsome kind of way. Get a beer, I said. Janice then appeared out of the ladies’ room, and Robert quickly turned to the bartender and ordered.

Armed with my own pint of Guinness, I returned to the stage, and we launched into our first set. A few jigs, then a lively ballad, followed by a set of reels, leading into another song. Four numbers down, yet no Robert. I do another song. Robert still doesn’t approach. We do a set of slip jigs. Still no Robert. Was something amiss? Had he gotten cold feet? And if so, should I, could I, force the issue? What should I do? What would you do? In the name of love, I took Robert and Janice’s fate in my hands, so to speak, and announced to the crowd that a guy named Robert had requested “Love You ‘Till the End”, and we would do our best to make our way through the song. I glanced at Robert, and he smiled. At least I think it was a smile. Janice was smiling, at any rate. With great expectations, I began the song, and was thrilled to see Robert lead Janice over to the dance floor. As most of the people in the pub by that time seemed to know what was going on, it suddenly got very quiet, except for the band playing the song, and people whispering to each other, all eyes glued on the couple on the dance floor. Robert and Janice danced through the first two verses and accompanying choruses, and right when the instrumental started, Robert, looking very dashing and seemingly quite confident, went down on one knee, and held up a ring to the lovely looking and evidently surprised Janice. With nary a moment of hesitation, she took the ring, Robert stood up and took her in his arms, and they kissed a long, passionate kiss. The room, as might be imagined, erupted in cheers and applause. I then explained to the few that might not have known what was going on exactly what had just transpired, and then there was another round of cheers and toasts. It was great!

So, love and romance were found in abundance that night in the little pub known as the Plough and Stars. Who would have thought it? As a sidebar, there were no storms that night, as often accompany our band on our tours—hence, our name Storm Session. Although, as I read the next day, the east coast was getting hit that night with a tropical storm, a veritable hurricane, in, of all places, Boston, Massachusetts, where there happens to be ANOTHER Plough and Stars Pub–which actually comes up first on a Google search for “Plough and Stars”– and that area was whacked hard by the storm. Perchance Mother Nature just clicked on the first thing she saw and sent the storm in error to Boston instead of San Francisco.

Or maybe Mother Nature has a romantic streak too, and she wanted to make sure there was someone to play for Robert and Janice on their special night.  May they live happily ever after.



I understand you are playing Plough and Stars on Friday night the 5th of September, I was looking for some help and not sure where to turn.  My girlfriend and I are coming to SF that weekend and I was looking for a unique way to propose to her, I was trying to learn the song , “Love you Till the end” by The Pogues  on guitar but turns out you need talent to do that J  I was wondering if you knew that song or if you knew someone that did that could help me out.  Or if it was easy to learn for an actual musician.  Thanks

Hi Robert,
I don’t know the tune, but I can offer to take a look/listen to it and see if it’s possible to get it together by then. I’m on the road right now in Kentucky of all places, and once things settle down a bit by the weekend, I’ll try to get to it.  Can’t promise anything right now.

I do have some other very nice love songs….

I’ll get back to you by next week to let you know how it’s coming along.  If you don’t hear from me, please contact me again, as it’s going to be a busy week, and it might slip my kind of feeble mind.

Kind regards,


Ok, if you have time to do it let me know, or if you know of any other local musicians that might be able to help me out that would be great.  thanks. I noticed you play in a group also would one of those guys know it or be able to help.  Thank you very much for your quick response.

Hey Maggie how are you, any chance you had some time to look at that song.  I was also trying to get a hold of the Piano player at the Season Bar to see if he or she could help me out.

Maybe I will just pop the question with no music, out at Alcatraz or something…. :)  Ha Ha

Dear Robert,

I’ve just returned home two days ago, and have been caught up in the usual maelstrom after being gone for a month!
I hate to say this, but so far I’ve not had time to get to it, aside from listening.  I like the song, it only has two chords, so it is not like the music is difficult.   As it turns out I’ve got two gigs that just materialized this weekend, and there may be just too much going on to tuck another song under my belt.  I love the song–once I heard it I recognized it…sometimes I miss the song titles…  But I just can’t promise I would get it. I hate to let anyone down, I have a hard time saying no.  But I have a crazy busy schedule this next week.

But, I was thinking what else you might do.  I don’t know about Alcatraz, although it is an interesting concept.  Maybe have the song playing somewhere unexpectedly on some hidden speakers.  On Bart under the Bay.  On Ocean Beach, a plane flies over with “Will You Marry Me” while the song plays on someone’s boom box.   There is a You Tube of the song, which just has a black screen, with the lyrics in white on it.  Have it projected while you’re at a movie theatre.

At any rate, I haven’t given up completely on the idea, but I can’t guarantee anything.  I’ll let you know asap if I manage to swing it.
Kind regards,

From Robert:
Not a problem, I think I’m just going to have the hotel we are staying in put out some rose petals and spell out the question.  And then have the song playing from my iPod.  Might still come and try to see you, whats your schedule for that weekend, i know your at the plough and the star Friday night.  Are you playing anywhere else?  Thanks and yes if all the sudden turns out you can help let me know. :)   and thanks for even answering my email and entertaining the idea..

From Maggie:
Oh gosh I am such a romantic, and I’ve just spent the past half hour playing the tune along with the Pogues and I seem to be  bonding with the song.   I just can’t play anything, you see.   Has to be some connection.  It reminds me of a song I wrote called “Everything” .   So, if you feel like coming to a what can be a kind of loud crazy bar with a great deal of Irish pub character–I should warn you, we don’t play just Celtic stuff, we play all kinds of music–, maybe I can make the crowd quiet down enough so that your beloved can hear what it is you’re trying to say.  I would suggest write it out on something just in case.

So, if you’re up to it, just let me know.

My partner Luke and I are celebrating 30 years together on September 20, by the way…  So we know a little bit about love too!

From Robert:
That is very cool.  You bring up a good point about it being kind of noisy there and maybe it’s not the best place to ask.  Maybe i could do it at the room but still come to the show and you could play the song.  What do you think?  Not sure know I’m confused, so awesome you are learning it….

From Maggie:
Whatever works for you Robert.

From Robert:
What time do you guys go on Friday, is it usually pretty packed on a Friday night at the start of your set?

From Maggie:
We begin at 9pm.  And as we’ve only played there once before in October 2006,  I can’t say for sure what the crowd will be like at 9.  It was pretty full last time when we started.

Of course, it is impossible to say how it might be.  But I was talking to Luke about it, and he thinks if I just announce that someone has requested this Pogues song that I happen to know, and it is a very special request so could everyone be focused, we may get them to settle, and start it out just with guitar and bass, bringing in the other instruments like it is on the recording.  I think it would be fine.  I’m used to getting crowds to settle down, having taught teenagers for a number of years…  But it would most likely be best to think about doing the song closer to 10 pm, perhaps.

From Robert
so did it thin out closer to 10.  I need your Honest opinion since you said your a hopeless  romantic, do you think would be better to propose in the room with roses and stuff and then come to your show and have you guys sing the song.  Or the other way around do it your show as your playing the song and then go back to room.  She originally wanted me to sing the song, any chance I could stand up there and sing with mike off!! He He .

Either way I would like to come to your show and have you sing the song…

From Maggie
Okay Robert. After consulting with my good friend/musician/author/psychotherapist and somewhat of an expert on romance as well, this is what we came up with.  My friend immediately and overwhelmingly loved the idea of the proposal happening at the Plough, and this is what we came up with for how it might take place.  You come to the Pub.  I introduce the song, special request, blah blah blah,  hush everyone up.  Start the song.  Then, during the instrumental after the second verse, you excuse yourself and come up to the stage, get on the mic, and, ta da!  You propose!    I bet we’ll be able to hear a pin drop after that!  Your fiance-to-be says YES!  ( Hopefully you are confident of that outcome.  Otherwise it is going to be very awkward)  Then we finish the song.  Then I think you had better make sure there is a well chilled bottle of champagne handy and glasses!

So, what do you think?  We love the idea.  If you don’t want to do it, we’ll have to go out and find some other guy about to propose and drag he and his beloved in there.

Of course I’m not really really serious about that last part.  But otherwise the rest is.

Let me know…

From Robert:
love it lets do it, see you then.

From Robert again:
so cool love you already thanks so much!!!!

From Robert:
So are we all set for Friday night, should I check in with you once I get to bar?

From Maggie:
Yes, I was thinking you could just come up, to request the song.  I will, of course, act as if I have never had any previous knowledge of you before… Maybe carry on a bit about, gee, just MAYBE I know that one…

What time do you think you will try to be there?

From Robert:
i was going to try to be there by 8:00, I will probably need a pint or three before hand just to pull this off🙂

From Maggie:
We don’t start until 9.  Just for your info.   I would prefer to start earlier, but so it goes in the land of the Plough and Stars.


From Robert:
Liquid courage. might be there early to get a seat close by the where your playing.

From Maggie:
Then you won’t have far to walk and risk the danger of falling on your face in the process.

I think I will limit you to two pints….

From Robert:
So should I check in with you when I get there.  Plan is for me to do it after second verse, correct?  probably wont check my email after 4 today.  If for some reason you need to get a hold of me my cell:.

From Maggie:
Sorry I’ve not been near a computer.

Yes, come introduce yourself!

Hey Maggie,
Thank for the help the other night it went great.  Janice says Hi, and thank you.  She was very impressed, I will keep in touch.