The Lads Like Beer: the Fiddle Music of James Hill's Tyneside
by Graham Dixon (2nd edition)
There are times in a librarian's day when they take a deep breath, smother a sigh, and try to pretend that they really, really enjoy cataloguing piles of books. Amidst today's pile, the bright orange cover of Graham Dixon's The Lads Like Beer and its accompanying CD offered a diverting break from the classical and jazz repertoire on the desk in front of me. And it blew my breath away.
A closer look (purely in the interests of establishing correct name and subject authority headings) revealed a fascinating book, with an extensive preface about fiddle music and fiddling styles in nineteenth century Newcastle upon Tyne, followed by a collection of the fiddle tunes written by James Hill, who originated from Scotland but spent his adult years on Tyneside. Did you know there was a 'Newcastle Style' of bowing hornpipes? (If you want to know more, you also need to read an old fiddle tutor by W. C. Honeyman - The Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor. We have it in the Whittaker Library. Just ask at the desk!)