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At: Groove Pad, 48 Saltaire Road, Shipley BD18 3HN
Venue (not Club) Tel: 01274 586542

Est: 1956



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Topic Newsletter Archive


At the Bradford Irish Club, Rebecca Street, BD1 2RX - a wheelchair-friendly venue

Newsletter No. 103 - October 2010

As the days grow colder and the nights draw in there's always a warm glow emanating from the Bradford Irish Club on a Thursday night. September finished with a fiery flourish as an audience of eighty-five contributed to the warmth in more ways than one. It was great to see so many of you there and hope you will visit again before too long. Here's lots more to look forward to...

7th October - Tich Frier
Known and loved by many Bradfordians, Tich Frier returns with his varied repertoire ranging through traditional and modern Scottish songs, Burns, his own compositions, hilarious parodies and music hall songs to contemporary classics all linked together with his inventive off-the-cuff stories.Tich has also worked regularly on TV and radio (tracks from his albums have received airplay on national and local radio stations) and appeared many times at the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Well summed up in Folk Roundabout magazine: "A tremendously gifted and oft-welcomed back performer......Tich's live performances are always superbly enjoyable and involving". So come on down! 5/6

14th October - Singers & Musicians
Everyone welcome to come along and take a turn to sing, play (or just listen) in an informal and supportive atmosphere. Free entry and raffle. 8.15pm start.

21st October - Suntrap
First time to the Topic and well recommended by several Topic attendees who have seen and heard them elsewhere, Suntrap are a four piece band who have been described as "Fairport meets Fleetwood Mac" and as having Bert Jansch-like guitar coupled with big Œwall of sound‚ vocal harmonies and a strong dose of driving fiddles. Between them the band members play a multitude of instruments and their varied repertoire includes some of their own material as well as a good selection of traditional and contemporary folk. The songwriters of the band Sara and Paul create original, innovative works drawing on English song tradition as well as American Folk and Country. 5/6

28th October - Lynne Heraud & Pat Turner
Lynne Heraud & Pat Turner are two of the most experienced and established harmony singers on the folk scene. They have a leaning towards traditional English material, but you can also expect to hear Victorian, Edwardian, contemporary, rude, silly and self-penned songs, all delivered with Lynne and Pat's unique blend of harmony and humour. This promises to be an entertaining night, something a bit different. 5/6

4th November - Singers & Musicians
Come on down with your instruments and voices. Everyone welcome. 8.15pm start. Free.

And coming later...

November: Winter Wilson, The Hall Brothers & John Carey with Michelle Plum

December: Bowie Bliss & Cockerham, Kieran Halpin, Roger Davies

More details in the next newsletter or see


You might also be interested in...

Topic Memories

The letter below was recently sent as an email to Topic Webmaster Nicholas Waller. It is from Trevor Carolan who was a harmonica player and Topic regular from 1970-1972, playing with blues guitarist Paul "Josh" Grundy. If any of you remember Trevor or Josh, he'd be pleased to hear from you. Anyone out there who has any other Topic memories to share please do get in touch, either by replying to this email or by contacting us via the Topic Folk Club website.

Trevor Carolan here from Vancouver. I've discovered your Topic Folk Club web-site with great pleasure. I used to sit-in there pretty regularly with blues guitarist & singer Josh Grundy from late 1970 thru 1972.

Born in Bradford, I emigrated with my family to Canada in '57, then returned to Bradford for three years in 1970. My first week back in Yorkshire I met Josh, who was a pal of Roger Sutcliffe, at the White Horse Pub on Great Horton Road that used to have a Thurs. night music session. I was a young blues harmonica guy and had sat in on the West Coast here with T-Bone Walker and others; that seemed work with the English fellas and I played regularly with Josh in a blues duo for two years. We played clubs all over the north, getting to gigs in his old motor. I lived with my Irish relations a few streets up the road from the Star Hotel on White Abbey Raod in the heart of the old Irish district. I recall the Polish owner very well with his comb-over hair-style. Roger S. and another big, booming-voiced/guitarist fellow named 'Baz' were both polished regulars back then. Josh, by contrast, has a very scrappy style style, although he was terrific as well. There was actually a regular rota of gigs back then: the White Horse on Thurs., the Topic on Friday, a pub on Canal Road on Sunday nights. The Otley Folk club--got in a tremendous punch-up there one night--and the Three Nuns at Mirfield also had regular folk nights. There was a club at Queensbury where Swan Arcade sang fairly regualry with Jim Boyes. They were as trad as the broad Yorkshire crowd got. Dave Burland invited us down his neck of the woods to a gig in Barnsley and we played a couple of very large Workingmen's Clubs in Leeds. The best tiems, I think were in the warm weather months when there'd be runs out to the Dales, and people used to camp over for a couple of nights at one ancient pub or another and sing and drink pints all weekend. Kettlewell, stands out in mind as the best of the lot. Other gigs at Appletreewick and Settle--that's nearly 40 yrs. ago now.

It was always a scuffling time in the U.K. back then; I earned 13 quid a week and spent 5 of that on rent for a bedsit-flat while working at St. Luke's Hospital. Finally came back to Canada, then moved to California for a couple of years. Returned to university and began writing. Have since published 16 books. In my first book, a poetry collection back in '85, I included a poem entitled "Bengley Moor" that I wrote after a weekend run in spring of 1971 out to Bingley Moor. From time to time during my readings I resurrect it, out of old affection. The key person in it was a Topic regular too. Among the other local singers who used to get up and do a turn, I recall Neil Ingram, whose wife Kathy would join him on their signature tune "A Sailor's Life". Big Mick Hanson, a former boxing champ in the British navy used to look out for us all. Another regular fella who'd stand up and do a turn back then--and it was always a highlight for me--was an older fella, a workingman sort of bloke who would stand up with a pint in his hand and deliver a long recitation--a story of the Battle of Hastings. He had a punch-line in his narrative that he'd deliver every so often--an old memory-aid of oral tradition people said--and it went "'Arold with iz 'Awk in 'iz 'And". Whenever he came to this, right on cue the crowd would take any empty glass on the table and rap the bottoms on the table 4 times--tap/tap/tap-tap. As a result of my travels and ongoing studies I became a university English prof, and for more than 25 yrs I've told my students in poetry classes here about this narrative display that clearly tied ordinary working people and students into a centuries old bardic tradition. It was unforgettable.

When I first arrived into this scene I was lost: everyone else seemed to know the words to the tunes, when to bang glasses, what the chorus was...but it didn't take long to get the hang of it. There was quite a sense of camaraderie in it all, and it stood in juxtaposition to the flash music scene in London. Nevertheless, the folkie crowd mixed easily with other music communities. I think it was the innate respect for both an old English, and especially a northern English heritage that set the Topic kind of scene apart, even thought the touring headliners came from all over the isles--down south, the midlands, sometimes Scotland, and people like Therapy from Ireland. Most of the performers knew each other. They respected each other's abilities, sometimes swapped songs, and maintained loose, but friendly rivalries. It was a culture entirely alien to what I'd come up with as an immigrant kid and young hippie on the west coast of North America.

A fair bit of drinking took place with the folkie crowd, and a lot of them still smoked like chimneys back then, so the air was often blue. The Topic was a good scene though, and well run. It was not an especially big music room, but people packed in together and there was denseness to the packed bodies. The vibe was significantly different among Yorkshire people than what I'd experience down south, particularly in London. It may seem curious now too, but in a chat with John Renbourn who played Vancouver two or three years ago, he mentioned that back in the late sixties/early seventies you never heard anyone talk about "Celtic" music. Now, he noted, there's a whole Celtic renaissance underway around the world. Oddly, my first awakening to the new "Celtic" culture came specifically at The Topic in 1971.

I've often wondered what became of Paul "Josh" Grundy. He taught school and was a vice-principal or something in Halifax. His wife was called Angie and they lived off of Great Horton road. He was good pals with many of the touring acts who came thru the Topic Club. He introduced me over the years to Dave Burland, John Pashley, Roger Sutcliffe, Vera Johnson, Martin Carthy, Sam Bracken and Fiona from Therapy. We'd often go off for a few drinks after the Topic closed and eat at a place called the Kashmir Restaurant run by a Mr. Bashir behind the Mandeville Arms further downtown near the bus station not far from the university--in those days meat curry was three shillings, chicken curry four shillings, and you got a small dish of mint chutney and all the chappatis you could eat. Oddly enough, over the years I had chance to renew acquaintance with Vera Johnson and Martin Carthy when they were visiting and playing here in Vancouver. Vera had actually come up as a singer in Vancouver, where she worked for the big Vancouver daily newspaper, The Sun. I don't think anyone knew that she'd been the secretary to Bob Hunter, a popular alternative-culture columnist in the city. Bob was one of the original six or seven people who founded the Greenpeace organization here in town that has since become the best-known Eco defence outfit on the planet. He was a guy I admired a lot as a young writer, and we became friends later on. It was in fact Vera, who introduced me to Bob in '73. Vera loved singing and used to take her holidays in the U.K., where she toured the folk scene. Two other acts I particulary recall among the glittering best were Ann Briggs and Rab Noakes. They had powerful singing styles. Diz Disley was another tremendous performer, but he may have played a bigger show with the Peggs who had a band called Mr. Fox. We opened for them and Diz at a theatre over that way not too far from the Alhambra. Stefan Grossman and Duster Bennett, both wonderful bluesmen came and played at St. George's Hall as opening acts for blues shows, and I recall many of the topic gang turning out to hear them as well.

Anyway, from time to time I still pass thru Bradford, visiting relations there while on holiday or book tour visits to Europe. We'll likely be over there and in Ireland & France again next year. I'll have a scout thru my old photograph colletion and see if there's any likely memorabilia. I did contribute a chapter about those years, when Bradford had a very compelling social dimension and the multi-culture vibes felt a lot different than now, in 'Bradford Chapters: Episodes in the History of a City', a book edited a couple of years ago by Bob Duckworth, the city archivist for Propagator Press in Leeds. If you might have any news of what become of Josh Grundy, I'd love to pass a hello along to him. Regards from Canada's Pacific Coast.

My author web-site address follows,

Trevor Carolan
Vancouver, CANADA

Webster's note: Since sending that letter, Trevor got back in touch to say that someone who knew Paul Grundy from school days had written to him with the news that, unfortunately, he had died some years ago.


A Folk Song A Day

A Folk Song a Day is a new project from Jon Boden. Jon is releasing a new version of a traditional folk song each day for a year (this started on 24th June 2010 - Midsummer's day). The aim is to raise the profile of unaccompanied social singing. By visiting <> you will get the chance to hear each new track free for short time after its release. This could be a good source of material for trying out at a Topic Singers & Musician's night, so worth checking out.

If you would like to become a member of the Topic Folk Club, a reduced fee of 3 will take you up to the end of this year. The new membership year starts on 1st January 2011 and costs 5 for the year. Being a member entitles you to the lower ticket prices shown in this newsletter, as well as the chance to become more involved in the workings of the club if you would like to.

The Topic runs on Thursdays at the BRADFORD IRISH CLUB. 8.30pm start. (Singers & Musicians nights start at 8.15pm)

Floor singers are always welcome, especially in the first half. Please get there by 8.15pm if you'd like a slot - it helps the MC to plan the evening.

To find the Topic on Facebook search for "Topic Fc"

More details in the next newsletter or see

If you would like to become a member of the Topic Folk Club, a reduced fee of 3 will take you up to the end of this year. The new membership year starts on 1st January 2011. Being a member entitles you to the lower ticket prices shown in this newsletter, as well as the chance to become more involved in the workings of the club if you would like to.

The Topic runs on Thursdays at the BRADFORD IRISH CLUB. 8.30pm start. (Singers & Musicians nights start at 8.15pm)

Floor singers are always welcome, especially in the first half. Please get there by 8.15pm if you‚d like a slot - it helps the MC to plan the evening.

To find the Topic on Facebook search for "Topic Fc"

Rahel Guzelian
Topic Newsletter Editor

Topic Newsletter No 103 October 2010

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