~Les Barker~

A unique artiste is Les Barker - sadly, mainly a solo artist these days, since the demise of the lovely Mrs Ackroyd (for the uninitiated Mrs Ackroyd was a dog). When he's not mainly a soloist he is part of the Mrs Ackroyd Band which features the odd guest member like June Tabor and Martin Allcock.

Les hails from Manchester and is on his own admission a 'professional idiot'. He writes books (64 of them to be exact) featuring such colourful characters as Jason and the Arguments and Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower.

A prolific recording artist too with solo albums, the most recent being 'Arovertherapy', band albums like 'Tubular Dogs' and 'Gnus and Roses', and so called 'serious' albums most recently 'Airs of the Dog'. Such luminaries as Carthy and Swarbrick, and June Tabor have recorded some of the serious songs.

A larger audience is now being alerted to his madness via the wonder of wireless - such ditties as 'Dachshunds with erections can't climb stairs', 'Will the turtle be unbroken?' and 'Reinstalling Windows' have recently been thrust upon an unsuspecting public.

A reviewer wrote:

'Depending on your state of health this man could be a real tonic to your wellbeing.. or fatal. Mostly he's a ray of sunshine capable of brightening up the darkest day'

 ..that's my recollection too.

The bugger's also run a marathon in 2hrs 41 mins - possibly chased by dogs?