At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
Topic Newsletter Archive
Tue Jan 15th 2002
THE TOPIC FOLK CLUB INFORMAL NEWSLETTER No 2
Greetings one and all.
FIRST, NEWS OF WHAT'S COMING UP
Thursday 17 January is the third of this month's Singers' and Musicians' nights. These have really taken off recently (see below) and if the last ones have been anything to go by, it is certainly worth coming down. The theme for this one is Murder and Death. Plenty of scope there. As always, there is nothing compulsory about the theme, but having one adds a certain interest to the discussion.
Thursday 24 January, the first guest night of the year. We are pleased to welcome Tom McConville, legendary Northumbrian fiddler and singer of Northumbrian songs, even if now based conveniently nearby in North Yorkshire. Usually introduced with the words "needs no introduction", and to hardened members of the circuit this may be true. But if anyone hasn't seen him, then be aware that he is a consummate musician, appearing as support on many an artiste's CD. He has a nice line in self-deprecating wit; and he'll heckle himself if no-one else will. Someone ask him to do Beeswing - his version is just so haunting. Sometimes appearing with Pauline Cato, he is on his own tonight - which is nice, as he said last time, as you can fart in the car on the way home and no-one objects.
Thursday 31 January, and we are back to Singers and Musicians. The theme is Revenge this time. Think about it . . .
Thursday 7 February, and another frequent visitor to the Topic, London-based Robb Johnson. Energy, excitement, commitment; songs so topical he may well not have written half the ones we will hear in February. Expect songs about supply teaching, kids, street crime and all the social problems of inner London. Oh, and a few songs he wrote in protest at the actions of the last Conservative government, which he has seen no reason to stop singing over the past five years. If you don't want political edge, then don't come to Robb Johnson. A live performer if ever there was one.
Thursday 14 February. Singers and musicians again. The date suggests a theme of romance, tenderness and slush - any such offerings are welcome, but so are songs of anger, spite, sadness, unrequited love and disappointment. That's not a theme, that's a mish mash. So be it.
AND WHAT YOU'VE MISSED
The singaround (it's easier to type than Singers and Musicians, with all its potential apostrophic pitfalls) on 27 December had 12 attendees with 7 performers. 2 January had 15 and 9. On 9 January we managed over 25 attendees, of whom perhaps 20 made a musical contribution.
At this last we were particularly pleased to welcome The Durbervilles, a five-piece mainstream band featuring a particularly telling accordionist; and also Emily Weygang and Ben Harker, a rising duo from York with guitar, whistles and vocals who are starting to get guest spots around the place. Also a big welcome to Lee Greygoose, recently decamped up north from Leicester, with a nice line in hornpipe tunes on the tin whistle (sorry, it probably had a more sophisticated name). All three making their Topic debuts. Add a collaboration between Joy and Rahel, another collaboration between Mike and Arthur (no, that was the week before), two world premieres from Karl and contributions from the usual suspects of Dave Robey, Ian Gobbi and John Waller - that is what singarounds are all about.
Two musicians or singers working together always produce more than the sum of their parts. Well I think so. It would be great if more of our regulars would team up. Not easy if you live in Giggleswick and she lives in Wakefield, but still. Remember, if two play together, they get two joint spots each time the circle comes around. Work on it, work on it!
FEATURED SUPPORT SPOTS
There has been a pleasantly encouraging degree of interest in the Featured Support idea. Dates have yet to be fixed, but our hope is that at least three worthy performers will be officially supporting Guest Artistes over the coming months. Official Supporters get to play three numbers just before each of the Guest's spots. In March we hope to have guitarist extraordinaire Mike Newman, who hopes to re-establish himself on the circuit. In April we expect to have Mike Garner and Arthur Silcox, who challenged us with guitar, banjo, voice and an insistence that the singaround theme was actually "travelling" rather than "summertime". At some point we'd like to welcome Emily and Ben (see review of singaraounds). Add to this vague promises received from both Chris Manners and Duncan McFarlane that they'd like to call in on unspecified dates, and we'll have packed programme after packed programme of real quality. Watch this space.
But you won't be watching it for at least three weeks. Your intrepid editor is shortly to fly to Hong Kong and China for purposes connected with work (missing both Tom McC and Robb J). Well, someone has to fill the aeroplane seats post-September 11. So keep this newsletter handy, the next issue won't be until at least 12 February.
On which note, I have been pleased to receive feedback from recipients, almost exclusively positive. Thank you. Contributions for inclusion welcome (though it is not intended that this Newsletter becomes some sort of chatline). Suggestions for singaround themes welcome. Offers to lead singarounds welcome. Just don't send me any after the end of this week if you expect a response.
There has been very little overlap between the attendees at the last three singarounds. That means there are about 50 people out there who have come down to the Topic at least once this year (and about 30 of you should receive this Newsletter!) It would be great to see you for either Tom or Robb - arrive by 8.30 and you may get a floor spot. The more often you come, the better the evenings.
See you all soon!
Topic Informal Newsletter Editor