item1 item1b item1c item1d item1e item1f item1g FBfLogoblue29


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

Est: 1956



Write to Tony Charnock
to get the email newsletter


01 May 2021
01 Apr 2021
01 Mar 2021
01 Feb 2021
01 Jan 2021

01 Dec 2020
01 Nov 2020
01 Oct 2020
29 Aug 2020
27 Jul 2020
01 Jul 2020
01 Jun 2020
01 May 2020
01 Apr 2020
01 Mar 2020
01 Feb 2020
01 Jan 2020

01 Dec 2019
01 Nov 2019
01 Oct 2019

01 Sep 2019
22 Aug 2019
01 Aug 2019
01 Jul 2019
01 Jun 2019
01 May 2019
01 Apr 2019
01 Mar 2019
02 Feb 2019
01 Jan 2019

01 Dec 2018
01 Nov 2018
30 Sep 2018
01 Sep 2018
01 Aug 2018
01 Jul 2018
01 Jun 2018
01 May 2018
02 Apr 2018
01 Mar 2018
01 Feb 2018
04 Jan 2018

01 Dec 2017
01 Nov 2017
01 Oct 2017

27 Aug 2017

01 Aug 2017
01 Jul 2017

01 Jun 2017

01 May 2017

01 Apr 2017

28 Feb 2017

01 Feb 2017

01 Jan 2017

28 Nov 2016

31 Oct 2016

01 Oct 2016
27 Aug 2016

02 Jul 2016

01 Jun 2016

02 May 2016

01 Apr 2016

01 Mar 2016

01 Feb 2016

06 Jan 2016

01 Dec 2015
01 Nov 2015

01 Oct 2015

01 Sep 2015

01 Jul 2015

01 Jun 2015

01 May 2015
01 Apr 2015

01 Mar 2015
01 Feb 2015
01 Jan 2015

01 Dec 2014

01 Nov 2014

01 Oct 2014

29 Aug 2014

01 Aug 2014

01 July 2014

01 June 2014

01 May 2014
01 Apr 2014

02 Mar 2014

02 Feb 2014
01 Jan 2014

29 Nov 2013
01 Nov 2013
01 Oct 2013
29 Aug, 23 Sep 2013

01 Aug 2013
01 Jul 2013
01 Jun 2013
01 May 2013
01 Apr 2013
01 Mar 2013
01 Feb 2013
02 Jan 2013

01 Dec 2012
30 Oct 2012
30 Sep 2012

01 Sep 2012
01 July 2012

31 May 2012
30 Apr 2012
01 Apr 2012
29 Feb 2012
29 Jan 2012
03 Jan 2012

20 Nov 2011
23 Oct 2011

17 Sep 2011

17 Aug 2011
06 Jul 2011
10 May 2011
13 Mar 2011
26 Feb 2011
01 Feb 2011
19 Dec 2010

01 Dec 2010
01 Nov 2010
01 Oct 2010
30 Aug 2010
29 June 2010
01 June 2010
01 May 2010
01 April 2010
01 Mar 2010
01 Feb 2010
01 Jan 2010

01 Dec 2009
01 Nov 2009
01 Oct 2009
01 Sep 2009
01 Jul 2009
01 Jun 2009
01 May 2009
01 April 2009
01 Mar 2009

02 Feb 2009

02 Jan 2009

09 Dec 2008
06 Nov 2008
01 Oct 2008
01 Sept 2008
01 July 2008
01 June 2008
06 May 2008
08 Apr 2008
07 Mar 2008
08 Feb 2008
26 Feb 2008
09 Jan 2008

05 Dec 2007
29 Oct 2007
28 Sep 2007
04 Sep 2007
10 July 2007
23 May 2007
25 April 2007
06 March 2007
07 Feb 2007
22 Jan 2007

22 Dec 2006
07 Dec 2006
24 Oct 2006
25 Sep 2006
28 Aug 2006
06 July 2006
13 June 2006
15 May 2006
25 April 2006
21 March 2006
23 Feb 2006
01 Feb 2006
06 Jan 2006

06 Dec 2005
08 Nov 2005
04 Oct 2005
01 Sep 2005
09, 14 June 2005
18 May 2005
05 April 2005

14 March 2005

01 March 2005

07 Jan 2005

23 Dec 2004
01 Dec 2004
07 Sep 2004
28 July 2004

07 July 2004
15 June 2004
27 May 2004
12 May 2004
20 April 2004

25 March 2004

01 March 2004

02 Feb 2004
06 Jan 2004

10 Nov 2003
30 Sep 2003
03 Sep 2003
09 July 2003
10 June 2003
19 May 2003
06 May 2003
18 April 2003
02 April 2003
18 March 2003
25 Feb 2003
05, 11 Feb 2003
14 Jan 2003

10 Dec 2002
26 Nov, 03 Dec 2002
05 Nov2002
08 Oct 2002
24 Sep 2002
05 Sep 2002
23 July 2002
01 July 2002
12, 18, 25 June 2002
7 May 2002
30 April 2002
03 April 2002
19 March 2002
05 March 2002
15 Jan 2002
02 Jan 2002

17 Dec 2001

Topic Newsletter Archive

Newsletter No 222  - December 2020    

Hello all, as always I hope you're all keeping well and safe. 

Nothing much new to report that you don't already know, the situation is still fast-changing, with lockdown on the way out, tiers to come and vaccines on the horizon. So still no Topic programme news, of course, but hopefully some content in this newsletter that may be of interest. Most of it relates to artists who have performed at the club in days gone by.

As has become the norm, I'll list all the usual streaming stuff at the end: I keep an eye on most of it, but it's possible that some online performances have been discontinued for whatever reason, but there's plenty going on out there. Have a browse of the new stuff for December.


CD Review:   Plumhall – The Ghost of Noise

It’s been a long wait for Plumhall’s 2nd CD, but listening to this fine offering, it’s certainly been worth it. Impeccably produced by Dave Crickmore (Durbervilles/Fiat Lux) the 12 tracks push the boundaries of folk with innovative arrangements; however, it is the strong songwriting of Nick and Michelle that is at the heart of the album.

Some of the songs featured may already be familiar, but the newer songs quickly register on an equal level and result in an album which merits repeated listening –headphones bring out the subtleties of a superb recording – and one which will feature in my personal best of 2020 list.

It’s a shame that the CD hasn’t been able to be promoted live as intended; nevertheless, this is an album which builds significantly on their fine debut, but regrettably – in line with most Specialist music – it’s unlikely to gain the wider attention and audience which it undoubtedly deserves.

Highly recommended – it’s available to buy through the Proper Records website.

Neil Etherington  


A piece from a favourite of the club (and many others), Jez Lowe:

Jez Lowe – Lockdown Tales

As November begins, a reluctant look into my dusty diary tells me that tonight I should have been starting a week’s run of folk club gigs in the south of England, starting in Chichester, then up to Dartford, over to Dorking, and so on, ending at The Cellar Upstairs in Central London on Saturday. Instead, my main concern today is whether to have cauliflower cheese or mushroom curry for tea. Last night I did a short on-line gig for local pals Skinner and T’Witch and their Leeds Foodbank benefit fund. I’ve only done about half a dozen on-line events since lock-down started, some as fund-raisers for myself, and others like little on-line floor-spots, to Stonehaven and Glenfarg folk clubs in Scotland, and to Valley Folk in Corning, New York, and very enjoyable they were. But my main activity over the past months has been the recording and release of a new CD (“Crazy Pagan”), recorded at home, all on my “lock-down lonesome”, and just released in the past couple of weeks. It was hard slog, as not only did I have to play and sing everything on the album myself, I also had to learn how to use the Pro-Tools computer programme, a woeful experience at times. But in the end, I enjoyed myself immensely, and the CD seems to have been well-received so far. Luckily, all the new songs were ready to go, so any writing I’ve done in recent months has been directed at my other project, a third novel which had lain half-finished since this time last year. A first draft is now complete, though with plenty still to do, and whether it will ever be published is open to conjecture, but like those on-line gigs, it’s given me a focus and an escape from the real world when I’ve needed it, and for that I’m grateful.

Thanks to Neil Etherington for passing this on to us. We'll have a review of Jez's new CD in the next newsletter.


Topic Facebook Concerts

The second Topic Facebook artists' session will be on Thursday December 17th when Henry Parker will perform live through our Facebook page at 8 pm.

Topic Virtual S/M nights

The date for this month's virtual singaround (Topic version) is 10th December.

For anyone new coming along it's important to note that when 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).

So newcomers, please email me a few days before the event indicating whether you would like to perform or just be part of the audience. 

(Those already on the list need only tell me if they wish to perform (again, a few days beforehand please), or if they wish to have their name removed).

I need the names well beforehand of those who wish to perform so that I can tell the host/MC in time for them to draft a running order.

Everyone will be informed of the meeting ID and password by the day of the session.

NEW! Topic YouTube Channel coming soon!

Exciting stuff: we are in the process of setting up a Topic YouTube channel, so people can submit videos etc for public viewing: it's another way of keeping Topic stuff going in lieu of live performances. When it's finalised I'll let you know how it works and how to access it in a separate newsletter. Soon.



NINEBARROW are streaming another of their much-acclaimed live concerts on 12th December at 7 pm. For details go to

GARETH DAVIES-JONES  is doing a one-off publicly available Livestream Christmas Acoustic Concert the evening of Wednesday 23rd December at 7.30pm from a special location in Northumberland. It will be streamed live via Facebook and more details about it will be on his website and social media nearer the time. It will be a ‘by donation’ event with half of all the proceeds going to Christian Aid's Christmas appeal. Anyone will be able to watch and listen. 

VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER |(who have brought their festive show to the Topic in previous years) are doing several Christmassy Zoom streamings, including their brand new Winter Warmer which is on 9th December at 8 pm. Visit


We received this suggestion from a long-timeTopic supporter:

"Something your members might like is live concerts by LEO KELLY from the duo Tir na Nog you can find him on face book. 

There is a paypal account if people wish to make a contribution. He sings songs from Tir na Nog days and his solo works.

Kind regards


Other Online Stuff

Dougie McLean does a series of online concerts, some free, some longer ones for which you have to book and pay to watch. He has lots of website/contact pages which you can find by googling him, but this one seems to give most of the info about these concerts:

Pete Coe's club - Ryburn Folk Club, - has Mossy Christian via Zoom on 2nd December. For details or to be put on their mailing list or to request a place in their current Zoom Folk Club send your request (you'll have to look sharp, it's tomorrow!) to 

There's the usual regular stuff going on online: NB some artists may be taking a rest from regular streaming, but by following the links you can usually watch past sessions.

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. 

Kath has now set up a new facebook page, Kath Reade's Songs, so all her songs can be found in one place.  

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", plus lots of other stuff.

The Grove Folk Club is running sessions every Friday on their group Facebook page at folkatthegrove. The club has contacted me to say anybody is welcome to send in a video to take part, see the fb page for details.

Karen Pfeiffer & Paul Walker continue to do a regular afternoon spot on  Fridays at 4pm.  

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

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

Eddie Lawler emailed me to say he has put a selection of his stuff on YouTube

Check out The Live Room Saltaire -  who have had to suspend their recently introduced live concerts but are continuing to stream some excellent shows. Lots going on there.

HEART (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre) in Leeds has been closed for the duration of the latest lockdown: we have no information on what they are planning for the coming month, but there's sure to be something.

Well that's it for another month. Here at the Topic we send our heartfelt wishes that you will all manage to have an enjoyable festive season despite the difficult circumstances, and that the New Year brings better days for everyone. That is, of course, a huge understatement.

Take care all, be safe and well,

Tony Charnock
Topic Folk Club

SUPPLEMENT - 20 December 2020

Hello all (again)

As mentioned in the last newsletter a dedicated Topic YouTube channel has now been set up.. You will be able to upload your own videos and of course view those that have been uploaded.

Many thanks to Zbig Szafranski for setting this up.

There are two parts to this:

1. Topic Folk Club YouTube Channel which is on :

2. And any performers can submit a video on : Google Drive

with an account:

Use that email address to obtain the password.

Or send it on Facebook messenger or post in on Facebook - Zbig can usually pick it up from there

It will be included in that month's performers session.

Hope all this makes sense: any problems let me know and I'll relay them to Zbig.

While I'm on, so to speak, HERE is a lovely arrangement of a well-known carol from Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer (who have appeared at the Topic on more than one occasion) which they have encouraged us to share with Topic followers.

Once again, I hope you all manage to have an enjoyable festive season, and with every good wish for the New Year

Tony Charnock
Topic Folk Club

item6a item7a item7