By Tom Kitching
Tom Kitching is one of England’s leading traditional fiddle players.
He has worked as a solo performer, band member, dance caller, violin teacher, and street busker. That last element – the busking – was an afterthought, something to be phased out as he built a career in music.
But the busking bug wouldn’t go away. Beyond the music and the collecting hat, perhaps fiddling through the streets of England could be a key to finding out who the English really are, how they view themselves and how they deal with change. Is there anything that ties together people across England’s many cultural divides, from neat Cotswold villages hugging village greens to former mining villages huddled beside abandoned pits, from multicultural city to Anglo-Saxon market town?
Armed with a violin, a Northern sensibility and a love of life in all its troubling richness, Tom took an 18-month journey through England to find out.
This isn’t really a book about busking, though. It’s about people, place, and that elusive beast – Englishness. On Tom’s street-level odyssey, the lines between friend and stranger blur, informality reigns, and chance encounters make a mockery of careful planning.
As the seasons change and the tally of busking towns grows, the complex mosaic called England confronts its fly-on-the-wall observer with the challenge – define me if you dare.
By Freddie Davies, with Anthony Teague
With a foreword by Ken Dodd
In 1964, a single appearance on TV talent show Opportunity Knocks made ‘Parrotface’ comedian Freddie Davies famous overnight. Spectacular success followed, stars such as Judy Garland, Cliff Richard, even Cary Grant, were fans…
But when it all began to slip in the 1980s, Freddie became a producer and then forged yet another career as a serious actor. He appeared to great acclaim in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Secret Garden and cult film Funny Bones – alongside Lee Evans and Jerry Lewis – based on tales of Freddie’s music hall comic grandfather Jack Herbert. Now he has come full circle, delighting audiences again as Samuel Tweet in theatres up and down the land.
Fifty years on from his television debut, Freddie finally tells his own story, revealing for the first time the tragedy behind his early days in Salford and a family secret that rocked his world. He paints a vivid and hilarious picture of a gruelling apprenticeship in the Northern clubs – revealing how ‘Parrotface’ spluttered into life.
With a foreword by legendary comic Ken Dodd, this unique autobiography is a poignant and hilarious evocation of a vanished world, offering insights into the art of stand-up and a richly nostalgic treat for comedy connoisseurs.
LIMITED HARDBACK EDITION ALSO AVAILABLE
“…a very very funny and informative book . If you like good writing and folk music then you will love this.” – Norma Waterson
By Dave Hadfield
With an introduction by Bernard Wrigley
For almost 50 years, Dave Hadfield has followed the genres of music that grabbed his youthful heart and mind. Now, in ALL THE WRONG NOTES, he has written not just a musical memoir, but a personal and social history of the last half-century.
Like a Zelig with a finger in his ear, he has been where folk music has happened and describes it, affectionately but warts-and-all, in a way it has never been described before.
Hadfield’s sure ear for quirks and eccentricities produces unique takes on major figures like Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl and Leonard Cohen. It celebrates the foot-soldiers and their role in keeping left-field music alive.
Humorous and provocative in equal measure, ALL THE WRONG NOTES is the key to a fascinating world of music.
DAVE HADFIELD has been a journalist and author for 40 years. This is his eighth book. He lives in Bolton with his wife, various children and an alphabetical CD collection.
By Mick Martin
Lewy Jenkins is a young Welsh rugby player, lured north by the promise of money and sporting glory; the David Beckham of his day. Lewy’s sweetheart, Bessie Butterworth, is a rising star of the music hall. Beautiful and flirtacious, life has taught her harsh lessons.
These are the protagonists at the centre of Broken Time, a critically-acclaimed play by award-winning playwright Mick Martin. Set in Victorian Yorkshire, where fictional West Broughton Rugby Club are enduring a torrid run of defeats, it is a story of Corinthian idealism and class struggle amid the Industrial Revolution and tumultuous events that led to the historic rugby league – rugby union split of 1895.
After an eye-catching tour across the North of England, the complete script of Broken Time is published here for the first time. This edition also contains a foreword by Mick Martin himself and a specially commissioned introduction by respected rugby historian Professor Tony Collins.
By John Fisher
With a foreword by Barry Cryer OBE
Founded in 1948, the Leeds-based Proscenium Players were the first Jewish Amateur Stage Group, regularly winning rave reviews for their varied artistic programme. Now, at long last, John Fisher, the organisation’s official chronicler, has charted their history in a book rich with photographs, bill postings, programmes and testimonials. Paperback, 160 pages.
￼Founded in 1948, the Leeds-based Proscenium Players were the first Jewish Amateur Stage Group, regularly winning rave reviews for their varied artistic programme. Now, at long last, John Fisher, a leading light in the Pross’ productions and the organisation’s official chronicler, has charted their history in a book rich with photographs, bill postings, programmes and testimonials. It is a sparkling tale that will be of interest to locals and theatre historians alike. And one added bonus is that the book’s foreword is written by a very well known former Proscenium Player indeed – Leeds’ very own British comedy legend, Barry Cryer OBE. Bring up the curtain on An Audience of Curious People; a warmly-written book about theatre like no other.