Well, what can I say. I’m a sixty something chap currently living in Godmanchester, Cambridge with my wife Joy and several accordions. I work for a company based on Alconbury airfield, where I am a senior technician.
Way back in the 70’s I was fortunate enough to hear a guy called Charlie Bate playing the piano accordion, I fell in love with the sound he made and from that day I vowed I would learn how to play and that as they say – was that.
Since those early days I have played in various folk bands, learning my craft playing in a band called the Rangers. Under the leadership of Johnny Conquest, we played at many festivals including Whitby, Felixstowe, Eastbourne and Broadstairs, working with the many popular callers around at that time including Bernie Chalk, Dick Whitt, John Langdon and John Chapman to mention just a few.
More recently I have satisfied my appetite for music, playing for Ceilidhs, Barn dances and Folk dances with my own band “The Flowers of the Thorn” or occasionally in a duo with friend and fellow musician Rupert Ainley. Also over the years I have been involved with a few Morris and Sword dancing teams, playing and dancing for the Offley Morris Men, Stevenage Sword and the Westminster Morris Men. These days however, I tend to confine myself to playing at home or tinkering with accordions in my workshop and when I get the chance, I enjoy playing at the odd pub session or singing spot with my oldest friend Roy Hart, a Norwich based banjo player and singer who has the ability to sing for a four hour session without repeating a single song, which is just as well with some of the St Patricks evenings we’ve played for!
Finally, as an aid to avoid confusion maybe some clarification on my name is required? My given name is Michael usually shortened to Mick or Mike except within Morris circles, where due to there being four Michael’s in the one team, I became known as Mitch. Then just to add to the confusion – for reasons far to long to explain here – at work, I’m usually referred to as Uncle Mick (among other things) so there it is, clear as mud!