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Topic Newsletter Archive

Wednesday April 3rd 2002

THE TOPIC FOLK CLUB INFORMAL NEWSLETTER No 5

Greetings one and all.

FIRST, NEWS OF WHAT'S COMING UP

With apologies for the fact that it is Wednesday, and Thursday April 4 is tomorrow, here is a quick reminder:

April 4 - Jon Harvison. Local (well, Keighley) singer/songwriter/guitarist, with a good strong voice and a nice line in patter. Does mostly his own material, but spiced with the occasional traditional song which he interprets with relish. Some of his songs are being taken up by other performers, which is always a mark of respect in the trade. Melodic, approachable, entertaining, accomplished, sensitive - these are just some of the adjectives on his PR release. Come down and judge for yourself. And buy one of his CDs.

Talking of Marks of respect, Jon is to be supported by Mark Newman . Mark is the first in our new series of Featured Support acts: a guitarist of some considerable achievement and delicacy (as anyone who saw him do a floor spot when Alistair Russell was here last year will know). A Topic regular of old, he claims to remember all our old venues . . . Once a regular professional performer on the Midlands and Yorkshire folk circuit, Mark found it more difficult to combine with the day job; but is now hoping to re-establish himself on the circuit. Come and give your support. And access his website: www.marknewman.org

Mark has submitted the following extract from his website:

My guitar work, both for instrumentals and accompaniment, shows a far-reaching set of influences. I include a varied mix of Celtic music, traditional instrumentals and blues-based material, played in my own individual style.

I sing a variety of songs, some serious, some humorous, together with some of my own material. I offer diversity - guitar work to keep the audience on their toes, sharing good-time music and humorous anecdotes.

I am available for bookings in both England and France. Generally, I am in England in Spring and Autumn and in France in the Summer and Winter months. As I'm re-establishing myself at present, I can be available at short notice.

Get in touch at mark@marknewman.org

I've always loved playing guitar, both for accompaniment and instrumentally. Over the years, many have come and gone, among them, a big blonde Gibson 175 (and the associated electric blue suit!), my Chamberlain, which was recently identified on an old photo of me with Thaddeus Kaye in Leicester, and a Martin 00-45 Custom Anniversary. I wish I'd kept the lot! Have a look at my current guitars on my "Guitars" page.

Until I went to Leicester to train as a teacher. The income from gigging was an invaluable support to an impoverished student! After qualifying, I stayed in Leicester and combined a full-time job in school with very extensive club work, building, I've been told, a strong reputation in the Midlands and Yorkshire with my own inimitable style! I taught guitar extensively at that time, both privately and in night-school, and many of today's players, particularly in the Midlands area, kindly acknowledge my influence on their development and the folk scene at that time. I have some real memories from that time - not least of Rev Gary Davis playing that Chamberlain in my student digs! I really should never have sold it! Playing mainly in the Midlands and Yorkshire, with occasional forays into the South of England, I developed a blend of bluesy-material, good-time music and Celtic tunes which always goes down well, whether in a singaround, in support, or as a guest. I've always enjoyed singing humorous songs - Tom Lehrer's and Miles Wootton's, for example - and they write such good material, it always makes for a good evening! Together with well-known singer and guitarist John Coy,

I started the Martin Owners' Club. This was enormous fun and enabled Martin owners across the country to get together for playing and swapping notes. I was also involved with The Music Shop in Ilkley, our family business. As we were a Martin dealer, I enjoyed playing the merchandise! My career in teaching, especially as I moved into Headships, meant that working in Clubs became less practical and, although I've always played for my own pleasure and enjoyment, over recent years, I'd been working less often other than at special events and at private gatherings.

However, having taken early retirement, I've begun to play more regularly and am building up gigs both in the UK and France. I had a worrying six months which culminated in an operation on my left hand - I had begun to wonder if a Dobro was going to be the next option - but, happily, it was a success and my hand is back to normal. I'm enjoying learning and writing new material and look forward to playing at a venue near you some time in the future.

And also what's coming up before the next Newsletter:

April 11 - Solan.Unique and addictive, haunting and beautiful, fiddle guitar and concertinas (and voice). Chris Hutchins, Frances Wilkins and Richard Chuff hail from the Shetland Isles, and much of their music reflects this. They write their own stuff too. I am sure they'll bring the odd CD or tape to sell - do come prepared to buy; we can't afford to pay massive appearance fees, so this is another way to make sure that our guests feel welcome and rewarded.

April 18 - Ken Nicol. Just whisper Albion band, and a guitar technique to die for. Will this be another Alistair Russell night? Come down early if you want a good seat and/or a floor spot.

April 25 - Singers' and Musicians' night. Suggested theme - old, traditional, chorus songs (or refrains, repeats and reprises). With a hey nonny nonny - well, you know the sort of stuff. Sea Shanties, fair maidens, wicked squires, a bit of magic and mystery, wars, battles, bygone ears, derring do, chastity belts (if you must), knights, damsels, dragons, slaughter - whether dating from the actual period or made up since.

SORRY ABOUT THE CUT AND PASTE REPEAT OF LAST TIME'S NEWSLETTER, BUT I am between various trips. With luck, normal Newsletter service will be returned by or at the beginning of May.

No room for a review of the very pleasant evening with Chris Ellis, who contrived to forget to bring his case of CDs, having warmed us up into a potential purchasing frenzy. If he gets in touch, I'll pass on details of how to get hold of one if you want one.

Nor a proper report of the small-but-beautifully formed attendance at the "original material" singers' night, which had those of that did come scraping our creative barrels somewhat - all apart from Dave Robey, who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of his own as well as other people's material.

See you all soon!

John Waller

Topic Informal Newsletter Editor

j.waller@bradford.ac.uk

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