Paddle Your Own Canoe
About Jim Birmingham
I wrote my first song in August 1969, and in the September of that year I bought my first vinyl record that changed my life: Abbey Road by the Beatles. When I heard this album I was hooked. Doing my paper round I saved enough money for a guitar and amp that was going for £10.00 and set about learning some chords.
I have been writing songs for over 50 years and for forty of those years have made a living as a professional comedy entertainer under the name Arnold Gutbucket. As an act Arnold has performed his songs from all over the UK to The middle east, toured Germany supporting Freddie and the Dreamers to entertaining the troops in the Falkland islands. He’s appeared in theatres with Engelbert Humperdink, Jim Davidson, The Stylistics, The Barron Knights, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Three degrees, Shakin Stevens and Chas and Dave to name just a few.
However, performing as me, Jim, a significant change came in 1976. At that time I was in training at RAF Cosford in the midlands. They had a folk club every Monday night and I began writing songs to perform there each week. By the time I returned to Portsmouth, where I was stationed, I had a bunch of songs and the confidence to perform them. It was a brilliant folk scene at the time and you could get a floor spot virtually every day of the week.
One of the highlights was the Centre Folk Club in Southsea where I got to perform on the same bill as Jake Thackray, Fred Wedlock and Peter Sarstedt.
I love a song contest and I was interested in the songwriting competition as it had to be an acoustic song, I’m very much in to acoustic music and being ancient, another criteria, it was right up my boulevard. I was knocked out by the standard of songs and performers involved and it made me up my game and put a lot more effort in to my writing. The offshoot group “LATE NIGHT FLYING” is a super talented bunch of people and I feel privileged to be a part of it.