After a long, busy day with children and food preparation and tidying and socialising and everything else that goes on around here, the last thing I want to do is drag myself out to Pilates on a Thursday evening. But I do. Almost every Thursday. This past Thursday, though, going out into the chilly rain felt like a real treat. Because instead of trudging off to tone pregnancy-weakened core muscles, I went out with Dan to see Newton Faulkner play in Birmingham! Newton Faulkner is a ginger-haired middle child and a talented guitarist, songwriter and singer. He seems to possess a great deal of self-confidence, clearly doing his own thing when it comes to music. We first saw him play live after winning tickets to an iTunes gig held at the Apple store in London, back in October 2007. After an amazing evening of music, we sat in a nearby La Tasca and each drank two double espressos to keep us awake for our drive home! In spring 2008 we went to see him play again, this time in Birmingham. That was an epic gig; Angus and Julia Stone opened and were brilliant --the first time we'd seen them play live! Back in Birmingham on Thursday night, Newton was as brilliant as ever. It goes without saying that he is a talented musician; yet his extroverted conversational skill onstage surpasses that of any other musician I've seen. He sets the audience immediately at ease with a combination of English-style small talk [complete with mug of tea--allegedly!], and a bit of mild grammar school humour, which is completely disarming and so entertaining that ninety minutes of music and dialogue passes quickly.