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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Mike Harding at The Trades

The Beeb’s bizarre decision to sack Mike Harding from his hugely influential Radio 2 folk show has benefited his fans in one way as he is now back on the road.

Not surprisingly fans from all the North snapped up tickets for this very intimate show expecting the usual mix of old gags, storytelling and daft songs. Ever the pro, that's what the former Rochdale Cowboy delivered in a masterclass of knowing your audience.

Mike Harding

Brought up by his Irish grandparents he learnt to tell tales as a kid and he hasn’t lost his touch. The Trades Club faithful responded with gales of laughter to his extended runs of tall tales inspired by his homes in Ireland and Yorkshire.

As he pointed out he might have born across the Pennines, but has lived in God’s Own County for thirty years, and is still anxiously awaiting naturalisation like so many of us.

Part two kicked off with a mini-rant about this appalling government, which was appropriate as the last time Mike played here was for a miners’ benefit 30 years ago.

Silliness continues with the epic Ballad of Cowheel Lou telling the tale of a good-time girl in the tripe mines of Mumps.

But in the midst of all the mayhem, Mike throws in Bombers’ Moon which is his tribute to the 56,000 young men who never returned from raids on Germany, including his father who was shot down before he was born. A reminder if we needed it that Mike is also a decent songwriter.

Mike Harding has almost single-handedly put British folk back on the map, but the BBC’s stupidity has brought this master storyteller and gifted stand up back to the stage which is where he is at his best.

See also:

HebWeb News: Mike Harding back at The Trades (22 Dec 2012)