Ain't it great to go to a gig by someone hithero unknown, to be expecting nowt, and to be rewarded with a dextrous evening of wine-soaked raconteuring and beautiful Celtic balladry and punk-inspired dissonace? That's what happened with us and Jackie Leven, our first gig at Ropery Hall in Barton. Great little venue, tucked at the end of the quarter-mile long Ropery. The portents were not good for Jackie. He shuffled in with a bottle of wine and a placcy bag, looking like he'd been on the wrong side of too many Ginsters. The side-boarded compere announced him while he was trying to squeeze himself through the audience. And then he plugged his guitar in the wrong way. Dee gave me one of her "this is going to be like that awful theremin woman you dragged me to. Again, Laurie, again!" type-looks. But then he transpired to be brilliant. All late-night tales and candid observations about Bethesda, Larry Olivier, Colombo and Johnny Cash. Check him out, I say.