Topic Newsletter 59, Dec 2006
Greetings: and welcome to the last lap of the 50th Anniversary Season.
First, an apology to anyone confused by the advert in (the old) Tykes News, or the orange flyer, both of which give incorrect dates for all the Topic’s December gigs. We are still meeting on Thursdays, and so the dates below are the correct ones.
Dec 7 Tom Kitching and Paul Sullivan
Innovative fiddle playing (Tom), guitar and bouzouki (Paul) and song (both). A young act: Tom was a finalist for the 2003 BBC Young Folk Award. For a sample of their excellent music, click on this link: http://www.myspace.com/kitchingsullivan Tom has a distinctive fiddle style, and the effect is both unquestionably traditional in approach (as are many of the songs) but somehow also contemporary; full of verve and dash. “Fiddle and bouzouki in melodic thrash romp” says one of the reviews. It also appears that this will be their last folk club gig together (for the moment at least) given the arrival in the Sullivan household of a new son, and a job at the other end of the country. The performance will therefore be recorded for posterity. We have had some great audiences of late for the venerable stars of yesteryear: do come and support the possible stars of tomorrowyear. Featured Support will be from tried and trusted local band Pigjig. Tickets £4 / £5. MC: Wayne Stote.
Dec 14 Kieran Halpin
A long-time Topic favourite, Keiran writes superb songs of deceptive simplicity and emotional depth, which have been covered by artists all over the world. Not only that, he delivers them with a powerful and unadorned voice that allows the words to speak for themselves. Keiran is one of the most assiduous tourers in the business, and we are very pleased to have him as part of our 50th anniversary season. Featured Support comes from Aidan Jolly: a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose songs tell stories about communities and places, and a winner of the 2006 “songs for change” competition. He is accompanied by Jilah Bakhshayesh (violin and voice) and Martin Milner (guitar and voice). Aidan is an artist who takes part in Raise Your Banners events, so we may see him again in 2007 (see below). Tickets £5 / £6. MC: Ian Gobbi.
Dec 21 Scarlet Heights: the original duo
Pat Sherry, Nigel Broadbent and any musical friends they can persuade to join them. An appropriately barn-storming party-atmosphere end to the 50th Anniversary season. They won’t tell us in advance exactly what sort of material they are going to perform, but that won’t matter: it is bound to be eclectic, familiar and enjoyable. Featured Support will come from the inevitable Holbeck Moor Mummers, now in their 45th glorious year; and Three Score and Ten, two of whose members are part of the Mummers. “Les vieux chanteurs de vieilles chansons” is one way they style themselves. Tickets £4 / £5. MC John Waller.
Dec 28 Singers and Musicians.
Performers, audience, all welcome. Entry free.
And onwards into 2007:
January 4 The Durbervilles; Floorsinger opportunity (see below)
January 11 Tom Napper Tom Bliss; FS Gerry McNeice
January 18 Singers and Musicians
January 25 Jez Lowe; FS Liz Ryder A
And later onwards:
February 1 DH Gerry Cooper and Clive Leyland
February 8 Vicky Swan and Jonny Dyer FS tbc
February 15 Pete Morton Floorsinger opportunity
February 22 The Hall Brothers; FS tbc
Points from the AGM
The Topic is a money-in, money-out organisation, with almost all door receipts going to the booked Artists. So success is not measured by profit or loss, but by turnover. In this context it was very pleasing to see yet another 30% rise in the amount we paid out to artists; a 56% rise over the 2004 figure. Our door charges have not increased significantly since 2004 (though there are slightly more £5 / £6 nights) so this increase represents an equivalent increase in numbers through the door. That has to be good. As does a level of membership unparalleled in recent years – we even ran out of 2006 membership cards! (2006-07 membership due now!)
After three years at it, John Waller has passed responsibility for booking the Main Guests in 2007 to Simon Alexander, while retaining responsibility for the Featured Support acts. What you see above from January 2007 onwards, is therefore mainly Simon’s programme. There will be two slight changes (both, in fact, a return towards the normal arrangements prior to the excitements of the 50th Anniversary Season) in that there will once again be more regular Singers and Musicians nights (about once every six weeks); and also more obvious opportunities for floorsingers. Excellent and much appreciated though the institution of Featured Support has been (and massive though the demand for FS slots remains), for the next few months we will deliberately schedule some Main Guest nights as floorsinger opportunities. There had been a perception that there was little scope for floorsingers when a Featured Support artist was booked, and maybe potential floorsingers were not coming. Anyone wanting to book a floor spot on such nights can do so by emailing John Waller.You’ll still have to pay your way in, but booked floorspots will be guaranteed a prime slot.
There have been changes at the venue from the situation when we moved to the C&B in January, not all for the better. Nevertheless, after a sticky summer and early Autumn, things seem to have settled down a bit, and many of our new guests (artists and audience alike) find the interior of the pub delightful. The Committee will, as always, keep the situation under constant review.
The 50th Anniversary Season:
After a slowish start, the season has really taken off in November, with near sell-out audiences for Allan Taylor, Dana and Susan Robinson, Julie Felix and Wizz Jones. Takings in November were just about half what we took in six months of 2004. Our hope is that you will all keep coming, even when the names are not quite as big as the above.
Raise Your Banners
Early notification that the 2007 Raise Your Banners Festival of Political Song will be coming to Bradford: November 5-11. Events will mostly take place at the University; but the Topic will be involved. Anyone who wants to help in the organisation is invited to visit the website: http://www.raiseyourbanners.org/
See you all some Thursday at the C.ock and Bottle at one or more of the above events. 8.30 start. Be there by then if you want a floor spot, which are available every night even where a Featured Support artist is booked. No smoking in the club room.
Topic Newsletter Editor
Topic Newsletter No 59: December 2007