Using the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley as his muse, storyteller George Murphy has written a series of Yorkshire monologues in the Music Hall tradition. That tradition was often bawdy, but never explicit. Here are some tales about the secret history of Upper Calder, included Fiery Jack, a bawdy tale worked up from an anecdote told to George 30 years ago by Jack Noble of Cottonstones.
George has been performing his tales at The Shaggy Dog Storytellers’ club in Hebden Bridge where he has floor spots most months.
A number of these tales have been inspired by news stories and discussions on HebWeb, the local website.
While the tales are about Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley, the dialect has been tempered to appeal to a wider audience. Many of them have been performed alongside Rod Dimbleby, a teller of dialect tales from the recent past, “a proper Yorkshireman” and an authority on the great Victorian writer and performer John Hartley. Rod told George that in Yorkshire dialect writing aitches are not dropped in the spelling, only in the speaking. “So think on!” Pam Dimbleby has written the musical notation to go with some of the tunes and songs he’s made up.
George offers thanks to “the good people of Hippy Valley - and the bad people, without whom most stories would be incomplete.” And to Kath, his present wife, for laughing… “sometimes in the right places.”