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cardigan for a rabbit

first published on the leeds innscene

Blimey, Chris, what another steaming night.

You can say that again, Torps, that certainly was a meditation room Buddha would have been proud of.

And who would have thought we could have found solace in such a gyrating pub.

But, remember, Torps, we had come for a folk club night, more your sort of night than mine. The only folk clubs I’m usually in are the ones where you find young folk.

I suppose it’s up to me to say where we’d gone for this folk do. We went the short journey along Kirkstall Road to the ‘Cardigan Arms’. As we walked in we were greeted by an anonymous cry of "where’s mi shoes?", ‘oh dear, I thought, are we in the right pub? I don’t remember any Bob Dylan tunes with those words in.’ But yes my directions were correct again, why would they be anything else? Whilst I searched for the aforementioned Town Cryer, Chris went to the bar.

Cleverly linked Torps, I guess that means you want me to mention what beers were on offer, or at least what we had to drink. Well, I had a lovely smooth pint of Tetley’s, while Torps enjoyed his half’a’lager and blackcurrant.

I was driving, Chris.

No you weren’t, they haven’t let you drive since the diarrhoea incident. And from what I heard, they let you off lightly.

Now, let’s have less of that. Let me change the subject quickly. We had entered a busy, but homely, pub, almost as if it had been pulled from a game of ‘Cluedo’, yet it was like no other place I’d been before.

As Torps was saying, each of the rooms downstairs had its own unique atmosphere, which seemed to attract the differing personalities of the residents.

That was a good choice of words, it did have the feel of a hotel, in fact there is a push bell waiter service operating during the week.

After sampling the delights of the ground floor we moved upstairs to the function room, where we were treated to many and varying degrees of ‘folk’. I didn’t quite know what to expect, I thought I might not recognise any of the music. But soon even my feet were tapping to the rhythm of relaxing tunes from artists such as ‘Crowded House’, and ‘The Beatles’, amongst others. Which was a bit of a shock as I was expecting a coach-load of Arran sweaters and back-packs, with blond beards. And that’s just the women.

Even though Chris has just mentioned the more recently penned songs, some of the tunes took one back to a time when even I wasn’t born.

What, you mean pre-16th Century?

I’ll have you know I was born recently enough to have been named after a popular singer from earlier this century. Do you remember the ditty "You Need Hands"?

You mean the M. Torpey is Max Torpey?

No, Chris, my initials are M. B. Torpey. My full name Michael Bygraves Torpey. See, you learn something every day.

I bet that made you popular at school, if you can remember that far back.

Aye, one of my greatest anecdotes is about when Richard Whiteley used to bully me in the playground. Of course he was known as "The Big Dick" then.

That’s enough about your pathetic childhood, Torps, let’s get back to the review.

Thanks, Chris. It’s an unusual thing on a Sunday night to find so many talented musicians in one place, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon it, and get paid.

You’re right there, they are planning to extend these special nights to a wider audience, by staging big-name gigs, starting in January ‘98 with stars such as Vin Garbutt, Harvey Andrews, and Roy Bailey.

All names which I’m familiar with, of course, Chris.

Well, you would, Torps. You’re never one to hide your light under a bushel.

Finally, Chris, I’ll just mention that I gained some respect for you tonight. I thought you were above emotion, but I’m sure that I saw a tear come to your eye during one song.

That wasn’t emotion, Torps. It was just that some of the smoke from your Woodbines had drifted towards my face.

All in all, the pub presents music that deserves a bigger stage, but is accessible to all. The folk club is on the first and third Sunday of every month. So why not bring your instruments and yourself along to the ‘Cardigan Arms’, relax, have a few beers, have a jam, but above all, enjoy yourself.

Now we have what you’ve all been waiting for, the Rabbit’s verdict.

The Rabbit’s Verdict: Well, where did you last see them?

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