From 1985 to 1994 Dave played electric fiddle in manic Brighton folk-punk band Tricks Upon Travellers (TUT). The lineup varied, but Graeme Hobbs was always the main vocalist, and Dick Langford the main guitarist. Plus there as me, on fiddle, tin whistle, and bouzouki (I might have played a bit of mandolin too, I can't remember now). Sometimes we were a full seven-piece band (e.g. with Dulles Foster on drums, Martin Sharpe also on guitar, Mike Skinner on bass, and Jules Lawrence on sax and flute) while at other times just Graeme, Dick and me gigged with drum and bass machines ("the perfect blend of sweat and technology", as Graeme once put it).
Our songs (almost all by Graeme and Dick), had titles like "Jelly", "Another Zombie Bloodbath", "Invasion of the Slug Creatures", etc.
Tricks Upon Travellers was a great name: and we mostly sounded pretty good (one c. 1991 review in Rock'n'Reel described TUT as having a "... varied musical background helping them create a clever mix of sound"). And the band was a lot of fun to be in (if somewhat argumentative at times).
We did quite a lot of gigs, scattered across the southern half of England. Ones that stand out (in my memory at least) were:
those that we did at the Old Vic in Brighton. A grotty dive, but good for hearing bands on virtually every night of the week, despite the poor acoustics. I worked there for a while, cleaning. Angie (who also worked there as a barmaid) once found a nest of maggots among the "clean"glasses above the bar, I recall.
our first gigs in Oxfordshire, one at the Lampet Arms in Tadmarton, but especially the one at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury on 31st May 1986. (Why that one? Because that was almost the last time I saw Joanna Davies - though all we said was "Hello" - before we met again in September 2003. TUT returned to the area in September 1986, and again in August1987 when the floor of part of the bar of the Lampet Arms collapsed while we were playing. The audience continued to dance after we moved a table over the hole.
not exactly a gig, but it was very nice to play jigs on a summer's evening while dibbling my feet in the water of Graeme's sister's swimming pool, in Kemptown (part of Brighton).
the gig in November 1987, my first after breaking my left wrist (on my birthday, 27th August, when I fell through the sofa in the back of the TUT van, on my way to a group practice). It was quite painful. But the pain was nothing compared my relief at still being able to play!
the ones in Gosport, with its strong naval presence, playing "Rose of England" (see below) which was about the Falklands War. Was this wise, at that date and with all those squaddies about? The Gosport Festival in July 1994 was one of my last gigs with TUT. At the time, I was living in Oxford and catching trains to join the rest of the band at gigs... not very sustainable...
At the same time as being in TUT, I did many PA hires together with friend Angie (as Vamphire: great name, Ange!). I shall never forget all those evening treks around 1986-7 in a battered van from Brighton up to the Black Horse in Camden Town, London, then getting back at 3am, ready for work the next morning... No wonder I took so long to finish my PhD thesis!
TUT continued with a different fiddler, Mark ('Madfiddler') Knight, after I left the band. And the name lives still! Dick Langford started TUT2, and the original name is now used by another band. We had a reunion in Brighton in August 2013 (I think), but I left the fiddle playing to Mark Madfiddler.
Here are some mp3 files from recordings made with the full-band version of TUT, with me on fiddle.
Party Politics (Favis-Mortlock/TUT). The tune to this anti-election diatribe is derived from a Macedonian dance, which I learned from whistle-playing philosopher Peter King.
Rose of England (Hobbs/Favis-Mortlock). Graeme Hobbs and myself wrote this about Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War.
Bring Me the Head of Cilla Black (TUT). We often used to finish the first half of our set with this melange of a stomper.