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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lavery

New show at Kardomah94 to mark 50th anniversary of the Triple Trawler Disaster

Sunday 14th January 2pm

Kardomah94 94 Alfred Gelder Street Hull HU1 2AN

ACCLAIMED radical singer/songwriter Reg Meuross has joined with author Brian W Lavery to present 12 Silk Handkerchiefs* which tells in music and multi-media the story of the disaster and subsequent uprising led by fighting fishwife Mrs Lillian Bilocca.

The unique performance will take place on Sunday, January 14 at 1.30pm until 3.30pm. It will feature original songs by Reg, as well as multi-media show including never-seen-before images, and a series of narrative links by Brian W Lavery from his book, The Headscarf Revolutionaries.

Accomplished local folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Martyn will be special guest for the inaugural performance.

It is intended to take the show to ports across the UK throughout 2018, after the Hull launch.

Reg said: ‘In March 2017 I was invited to play a concert in Hull. I had already heard about Big Lil Bilocca and her fight in the late Sixties to pressure the Government into introducing much tighter safety after the triple trawler tragedy of 1968 and I was drawn to find out more while he was there.

‘My research led me to the book The Headscarf Revolutionaries by Brian W Lavery and to a meeting with Brian’s friend, local musician Mick McGarry. Together we went for an in-depth tour of the old fish docks. Mick also gave me a collection of local songs and Brian gave me a copy of his book.

‘The detail in the book provided some really rich source material for a song cycle based on this fascinating period of British industrial history.’

Brian added, ‘I was greatly honoured when I heard the song cycle Reg had written. He is truly a gifted songwriter and it seemed obvious that we should work together on what became 12 Silk Handkerchiefs. *The title comes from the fact that Lil’s last action was to send her daughter to buy a set of handkerchiefs to give as gifts to those who had treated her is hospital before her death in 1988.

‘Reg’s music honours and complements the story and I think launching the performance in Hull is a great way of marking the 50th anniversary of the Dark Winter that claimed so many of our brave trawlermen.

‘I am looking forward to taking the story on the road with Reg and the various guest musicians who I know are lined up across the country to take part.'

All artists will be signing/selling their books and CDs after the gig.


Described by BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe as ‘a brilliant singer-songwriter with a social conscience’, Reg Meuross first emerged onto the acoustic music scene in the 1980s with the fast paced duo Panic Brothers and has, over the years of touring and playing solo as well as with many other acclaimed artists, developed a style that as Pete Townshend says 'allows the listener to embrace the whole breadth of his work over many years without distraction… he sings in the neutral accent of an Englishman who travels the entirety of the British Isles, and tastes all its flavours, influenced by all its most profound national colours. In this he reminds one of Roy Harper or Ewan McColl, recent greats who went before him.' Reg then went on to form the band The Flamingos which featured ex Graham Parker guitarist Martin Belmont, Bob Loveday from The Penguin Cafe Orchestra & Bob Geldof’s Band & Alison Jones of The Barely Works. They recorded one album called ‘Arrested’.

In 1996 Reg decided to go solo and has since released 11 highly acclaimed studio albums. Reg's appearances at art centres, music clubs and festivals throughout the UK and abroad, and his albums have established his songs as ‘the hinges upon which swing the doors of perceptive English folk’ (Folkwords). Festival appearances include: Cropredy, Folk on the Coast, Bude, Great British Folk Festival, Auckland Festival NZ, Broadstairs Folk Week, Gate To Southwell, Costa Del Folk, Illawarra Folk Festival (Australia) and many more, small and large. Reg is the patron artist of Priston Folk Festival in Somerset and Bridport Folk Festival in Dorset and of Holywell Music and Folk in Oxford.

'One of the most talented storytellers of our generation' Pennyblack Music. 'Powerful and moving songwriting' Martin Chilton, The Telegraph. 'A mighty songwriter and an equally fine singer’. Martin Carthy.

Brian W Lavery was born in Glasgow’s East End in 1959. He has been a factory worker, car valet, market trader, waiter, university dropout, VAT officer (very briefly) and latterly a journalist, university tutor and writer. After more than twenty-five years of various senior roles in national and regional journalism he returned to higher education and gained a first in English literature and creative writing at the University of Hull. His book, The Headscarf Revolutionaries (Barbican Press, 2015) – now optioned by a major television production company – derived from a funded PhD at that university, where he taught creative nonfiction. His new book The Luckiest Thirteen, the story of the St Finbarr 1966 Christmas Day trawler disaster has already established itself as another best-seller for Barbican Press this year.

In 2017, he contributed to End Notes, a collection published by the University of Hull as part of its Crossing Over project; and Hull: Culture, History, Place (Liverpool University Press, 2017) – with a chapter about trawler safety campaigner Lillian Bilocca.

His programme for BBC Radio 4’s Four Thought series, entitled Courage and Effect, was also drawn from his doctoral research. The Oxford University National Dictionary of Biography (‘the biographer’s Bible’) commissioned him to write the entry on Mrs Bilocca, aka Big Lil. Planet Publications (Wales) and Umber has published his short fiction over the years, and Other Poetry, About Larkin and the Larkin Press have published his poetry.

Dr Lavery has lived in Hull with his wife Kathryn for more than thirty-five years. They have two grown-up daughters, Catriona and Rose, and a border collie called Dylan. He is an honorary research associate at the University of Hull and works as a writer, journalist and creative writing tutor. He is proud to teach with the Workers’ Educational Association

Sam Martyn (performing in the Kardomah94 premiere) is a member of Hull folk band Beggar’s Bridge, the White Horse Ceilidh Band and the Green Ginger Garland dancers, and she also performs solo - when she can find the time! Combining her rich, traditional singing style with piano, low and high whistle, and harmonium, her eclectic repertoire stretches from folk ballads to her own reworkings of musical and popular songs.

Mick McGarry (who will join the tour at later dates) is a stalwart of the Hull folk scene for the past fifty years. He sings with the highly-respected singing group Spare Hands and is front man with cult-status steam-punk folk rockers The Hillbilly Troupe. He has sang and performed with some of the biggest names in the business and is much admired as ‘the singer’s singer.’



Reg Meuross - singer, songwriter, storyteller. Photo credit: Jonti Willis

Dr Brian W Lavery – photo credit: Jerome Whittingham.

Sam Martyn, singer and instrumentalist. Photo credit: Charlie Simonds/Parafotos

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