“Excellent!”, “Immaculate!”, “Wonderful views!”, “We had to ask for more towels!”. These are just some of the comments made by lovers of folk music who have stayed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Paul Carbuncle’s native county of Kent.
Born behind a hop-pickers’ hut in Pluckley, Paul moved to Canterbury at the age of 6 and 359/365ths to be closer to Gideon Coe. An adolescence spent flitting between punk bands and folk clubs lapsed into an adulthood similarly squandered. Twenty years ago he found himself stranded in Nottingham when the head gasket went. He now claims, falsely, to be employed by the English Place-Name Society, whilst merrily gigging at pubs, festivals, and folk clubs on evenings which have been described enthusiastically as “Saturday” and “Wednesday” and sometimes “Friday”.
Since the Midlands magazine Folk Monthly labelled him “bourgeoning”, back in the days before spell-check (2015), Paul has spent much of his spare time sitting next to the telephone ready for stardom to call. When the call finally arrived at tea-time yesterday, it came as a great joy to learn that he may have been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance.
In a recent interview with a lady who said she was from off of the telly, Paul deftly cleared up once and for all any mystery surrounding his chosen musical genre. “Some call it folk-punk,” he explained, “while others call it punk-folk. Either is fine, but over-blend it and you’ll end up with funk or polk, and I’m sure none of us wants that. It’s rather like mixing the grape and the grain… you’ve got to be careful not to wind up with muesli.”
Although the foregoing blurb has been woundingly described as “unhelpful” and “unusable”, some people have nevertheless said the occasional nice thing about Carbuncular offerings. Doug Welch described the album A Cold Cup Of Tea And A Howl Of Despair as “very enjoyable” on his BBC Radio show Kent Folk, though he was chuckling a bit when he said it, and Bob Oram kindly gave the album a five-star review in the Morning Star. Jess Silk, as in Jess Silk, admitted to listening to Carbuncular Christmas “voluntarily”. The mighty Fungalpunk threw an extraordinary 1829 words at Monkfish Mix-Up At Farmers’ Market and is slowly recovering. Steve Oliver, host of The Random Sessions, described it as “a delightful album from start to finish and if you don’t agree after listening I will see you outside in the car park”. You can judge for yourselves here on Bandcamp (and buy a beautiful t-shirt at the same time). Oh, and Roger Williams acclaimed “the estimable Paul Carbuncle’s formidable right hand” on his radio show A World Of Difference at an hour when young people might conceivably have been listening.
Paul is one of the hosts of Carrington Triangle Folk Club, which meets every Wednesday at 8.30pm upstairs at The Gladstone, 45 Loscoe Road, Nottingham, NG5 2AW. On the first Sunday of every month he runs The Sherwood Shessions at Bradey’s Micro Bar, 71 Haydn Road, Nottingham, NG5 2LA, raising funds for BlindEye Soup Run and other Notts charities (next Shession is on Sunday 2nd October 2022, 6pm start, to be followed by 6th November and 4th December, both 5pm starts). Since 2015 he has been one of the many organizers of gigs flying the We Shall Overcome banner, collecting donations for local foodbanks and homeless shelters.
Paul Carbuncle uses Jim Dunlop 1mm plectrums. He has one trophy and quite a lot of cardboard.
top of page © 2014 Hugh Miller
foot of page © 2014 Andy Hastings