Show and Tell #23 - John Kirkpatrick

John Kirkpatrick 2
22 November 2017

John Kirkpatrick will perform his 'Carolling&Trumpets" show on Saturday 25 November.

John was born in Chiswick, West London in 1947. A deep love of music was instilled from birth, and family gatherings always included a hearty sing-song. School choirs, the Church choir, playing recorder and piano ensues, until he joined the Hammersmith Morris Men, in their second week, in 1959.

Whilst with the team he took up the melodeon, then the button accordion, then the anglo concertina, and got hooked on the traditional songs that were accompanied with a post-dancing pint.

John has gone on to become one of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene, performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, and has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and session musician, as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music. He has been a member of the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands.

He rejoined The Albion Band for The National Theatre productions of "Lark Rise" and "Candleford", and from 1980 has regularly worked on shows at The Victoria Theatre (later The New Victoria Theatre) in North Staffordshire, The Orchard Theatre Touring Company based in Devon, and elsewhere. As songwriter, composer, choreographer, and musical director, he has contributed to over sixty plays in the theatre and on radio. And as featured artiste, band member, or session player, his music can be heard on over 200 different commercial recordings.

John has lived in Shropshire since 1973, where he had four sons by his first marriage. Now happily re-married, he still dances, with all four sons (on a good day), with the Morris team he founded in 1975, The Shropshire Bedlams.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Playing with my four sons in our ceilidh band Kirkophany, to a room full of happy dancing people.

What lies at the heart of your own desire to do your creative work?
I love being part of the stream of traditional music makers and being able to pass on that enthusiasm to future generations.

What are the first things you do in developing an idea in response to a subject?
I put the idea in the middle of a circle and spiral in towards it. I try not to go at it in a straight line.

What’s your favourite film and why?
Buster Keaton’s The General. The man was a genius.

Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks.
The Hallelujah Chorus. The King stood up, and so should we all.

From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?
Oh tell me the truth about love, by W H Auden.

“When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning
Or tread in the bus on my toes?”

If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
A golden eagle. I’d love to fly in a 3 D world.

What is your greatest extravagance?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Walking on a windy hilltop with the one I love

Which artwork/film/book has most inspired you?
The paintings of J M W Turner

Favourite website/blog?
None – they are all ghastly.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your heart, not your head.

Piece of equipment you can’t live without?
My Swiss Army penknife

Best recent read?
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

What is your final word?