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At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
Little Germany, Bradford, BD1 5BD Tel: 01274 721100

Est: 1956



Coronavirus/ Covid-19: Club Suspension


Due to the novel coronavirus/ Covid-19 pandemic, The Topic has been closed since the 12th of March until further notice. 

See the Newsletters for information about various online folk-related activities instead.


No 218
Aug 2020

Newsletter No 218  - August 2020    

Hello all, a few days early this month: once again I sincerely hope you're all keeping well and safe. It's become a bit of a mantra, but I mean it.

Things are changing, pubs open etc, but not allowed to have live music, so we have no programme for the foreseeable future.

There's the usual stuff going on online, with a few changes, I'll list them at the end of this email,

John Howson of Veteran Records has asked me to publicise the Virtual Festival CD Stall which will be going live on Friday 31st July and will be open throughout August and September. It's in lieu of being able to sell CDs at the usual festivals, of which of course there aren't any this year. There's some artwork about the project at the end of this newsletter, including website details.

The Topic in cyberspace:  

The Topic's virtual singers and musicians nights are coming! These will be done via a "meeting" on the Zoom app.

These will start on Thursday 6th August and continue every 2 weeks starting at 8 pm and will be running for an hour with a short break in the middle. The dates covered by this newsletter will be 6th and 20th August and 3rd September. Some of you will be old hands at these sort of events, some won't, but we will guide those of you who are unfamiliar with Zoom through the procedures in a separate email when you apply to attend: if you need this guidance please say so in your email to me.

We want the people who used to come and perform in person at the singers nights to be able to continue to do so; also club members have to be given some priority, but the number of performers will have to be limited because of the time factor: 12 including the host and the MC will probably be the maximum, but if someone has to miss a turn we'll try to ensure they can perform at the next one.

It's important to note that if you apply to come to the meeting, either as a performer or just to listen, I will need to pass your email address on to the host, so implicit in your application to attend will be your agreement for me to share your email address. This is because of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. (GDPR, remember??).

If you would like to attend, please email me at the latest one week before the event indicating whether you would like to perform or just be part of the audience. We can have a maximum of 50 people attending altogether. As I said above, please let me know if you will be needing guidance in respect of the procedures to be followed in setting up/using Zoom etc.

You will be informed of the meeting ID and password on the day.

Now to those other online happenings:

Kath Reade, singer songwriter, has been using lockdown as an opportunity to broadcast her songs live on Facebook and they have been getting thousands of views. To watch the song videos go to her timeline on Facebook or to her website 

Her music can also be listened to at

Skinner & T'witch, a Leeds-based duo who have been to the Topic on a singers and musicians night, have a facebook page which is well worth visiting, they have different stuff going on regularly, eg "Pick & Mix" sessions with some well-known performers, and what they call "Garden Sessions"

The Grove Folk Club is running sessions every Friday on their group Facebook page at folkatthegrove

Zbig's Queensbury Unplugged site has been discontinued for the time being. 

Karen Pfeiffer & Paul Walker continue to do a regular afternoon spot on  Fridays at 4pm  NB their Tuesday slot has been discontinued, the Friday one may be a bit longer.

Honey & The Bear bring their excellent music every Sunday evening at 7.30 pm

Winter Wilson's "Live from the Lounge" everyThursday, 8.15 pm, see their facebook page. 

and something special for all Fairport Convention fans: Cropredy alive and well on Fairport's YouTube channel 15th August. This from the band...


As you know, the Covid-19 pandemic means there will be no Fairport’s Cropredy Convention this year.

But even though we can’t be together physically on the field on Saturday August 15 we can all meet on the web for something very special on what would’ve been the closing night of the festival.

We are delighted to announce that on Saturday 15 August we shall be streaming a Fairport’s Cropredy Connection on our Youtube channel.

And what a show it will be! There will be a mix of great music and chat spiced with lashings of the inimitable Cropredy vibe.

Drawing on performances from Cropredy 2019, the evening’s entertainment will include Richard Thompson’s complete set with guests Zara Phillips, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol and Dave Pegg.

The show will also feature Fairport Convention’s entire two and a half hour show. And, of course, as midnight approaches we can all be together in spirit if not in flesh to sing ‘you-know-what’.

Nearer the date we’ll publish a complete timetable of the streaming so you won’t miss a thing. John Gale and Nev Bull have been working tirelessly on the footage during lock down and we think the results are fantastic!

You can stream the evening for free. But if your appetite for Cropredy 2021 is whetted please feel free to purchase your tickets at any time. We never close!

All you need to do is don your Cropredy t shirts, pour yourself a 6x and head for YouTube to enjoy the fun!

Love from us all – stay safe!

Simon, Peggy, Ric, Chris and Gerry



Finally there is the artwork concerning the Virtual CD Stall, mentioned earlier: see below.

Best wishes to everyone, continue to take care of yourselves, stay safe and well.

Tony Charnock

Topic Folk Club


A History of The Topic
An outline of
the History of The Topic from 1956

Topic Historic Photo Gallery
Pictures from the 50s, 60s, 70s and more on the website
in a single gallery here.

The Topic at 60
The view from 2016, by John Waller. This is not a comprehensive history - instead John has put together a snapshot of the Topic as it is now, telling the story of how those currently responsible for the club's running came to be involved.

Topic Club Membership
5 a year from 1st January. That gives you 1 off concert tickets, and you can get more involved with running the club too if you are interested.

Clicks since 03-2-2004:

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