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Topic Newsletter Archive

Topic Newsletter 46
November 2005

Greetings:   and news of the Topic's forthcoming new location.  But more of that later.  First:  

Nov 10  Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman.  
A return to their folk "roots" for these two seasoned performers and members of folk-rock crossover band Equation.  They promise an eclectic mix of traditional song, plus more contemporary work by the likes of Tom Waits and Suzanne Vega.  Featured support will tonight be from Otley-based Gerry McNeice: another member of the Yorkshire rock scene now introducing his own acoustic material to folk audiences.  

Nov 17  AGM   
If you are a member, do come down and join in  find out how you can best ensure the Topic has a successful 50th year.    A report of the proceedings as they affect the listening public will be sent with a future Newsletter.

Nov 24  Steve Tilston.         
"A performer who can stand shoulder to shoulder with any singer/songwriter/guitarist in the world".  Best known for the much-covered "Slipjigs and Reels", Steve has no fewer than 18 CDs, LPs and Albums to his credit from a career that dates back to the early 70s.  He has been a regular at the Topic over most of that time, and we are pleased to have him back.  Featured support will tonight be from a new trio of old hands: Bitter Shanty.  This features three musicians well known on the Yorkshire scene: Ian Hill, Jim Lawton and Malcolm Deveraux.  It'll be good to see them together.

Dec 1   Alan Reid and Rob van Sante.    
Two members of the Battlefield Band (well, Rob is the band's sound engineer, but a mean musician and songwriter in his own right) taking a spot of time out from the full band's hectic international schedule to tour as a duo.   Rob is on guitar, and Alan on portable keyboard, so this should be an evening of consummate professionalism and superb songs.  

Dec 8   The Duncan McFarlane Acoustic Band.   
Always great fun, noisy, enthusiastic; Duncan is one of the better local showmen and performers, and his band provide fulsome support.  Duncan mostly writes his own songs, many in the traditional idiom, and often with a wry twist.

Dec 15  A Double Header evening.  
Gerry Cooper started his come-back into regular performance with a featured support at the Topic about two years ago.  From this he has developed an ever-wider circle of gigs, festivals and appearances, playing mostly standard Blues material, but also anything else he likes.  Kevin Loughran has headlined with us on several occasions: and offers an eclectic mix of Irish, English and American songs, including plenty that you'll know.

Dec 22  The final formal Topic event at the Melborn (probably)  
The Christmas Party with the Holbeck Mummers: with their timeless tirade of traditional theatrical buffoonery and collection bucket; and who this time may stop around to provide us with some of their songs as well: musical hall, comedy, anything really. There‚ll be an opportunity for anyone who wants to have a sing to have a sing.

Dec 29  Singaround (still at the Melborn) for anyone who's around and up for singing.   

January:  
Barry Smith/Westport, Solan, Kath Reade, Richard Heacock/Becky Price         

AND ONWARDS:   A NEW VENUE

Half of you will know, half probably won't.  The fact is, the Melborn Hotel will, at some time during January 2006, cease to be a Pub.  Not sure what it will become, but it won't any longer be able to host the Topic's weekly concerts. Pity: we've been there over 11 years; our second-longest home.

The good news is that your Committee has already investigated a number of possible alternative venues; and the even better news is that almost all those we have contacted would be suitable, and all respective landlords are very keen to have us.  Each venue has its own different advantages and disadvantages.  So it will just be a question of us choosing which balance of facilities suits us best: location, accessibility, visibility, community, quality/price of ale, capacity, comfort, acoustics etc.  We have a good series of concerts lined up well into 2006 (including old favourites Tom Napper Tom Bliss, Roy Bailey, Julie Ellison, Vin Garbutt, John Conolly) so there's a lot worth getting a good venue for.

The next Newsletter will inform you of the final decision on where we are going, plus full instructions of How To Get There (wherever it is), including bus information.  It will also inform you of the precise date of the transfer.  I'd tell you now, but we still have to discuss it.

But just a moment to pause and pay tribute to the retiring Melborn Landlord, Brother Eamon.  Eamon has been a towering influence on live music in Bradford, and the Melborn has been one of the prime venues for any number of Irish and other bands, jam and jazz sessions, poetry and fundraising events: not just the Topic.  Everyone knows the changing demography of central Bradford: and Eamon has kept the Melborn going in the face of declining local trade long after most other pubs in the area have closed.  He deserves our heartfelt thanks for everything he has done.  We wish him well for the future.

More Good News (well, I think so).  I hope my tireless work producing this Newsletter will permit me a small plug: my second CD "Molecules" is now available.  Like the first, Liberator (of which there are still some copies available) it is home-produced; a fact reflected in its reasonable price of 6.  Apart from the title track, there are all the songs I have written in the past three years and performed at the Topic, including The Italian Chapel and other WW2 songs; plus a guest appearance by Ryan McGovern.  If you want a copy, contact me.  Or check it out first on http://www.john-waller.co.uk

See you all some Thursday at the Melborn at one of the above events.  8.30 start.  Be there by then if you want to perform a floor spot, which are still available every night even where there is a Featured Support artist booked.  No smoking in the club room.

AND KEEP WATCHING THIS SPACE FOR NEWS OF THE MOVE                                                                                      

John Waller    
 Topic Newsletter Editor
john@john-waller.co.uk         

Topic Newsletter No 46 November 2005

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