Les Barker + Skuffle + Julia Hills + John Conolly + Bernard Cribbins + Nonny James Bob Williamson + Jon Briggs + Linda Bellingham + June Tabor + James Bolam Gaynor Faye + Mrs Ackroyd Band + Eric Allen + Toyah Willcox + John Scott Cree Mrs Ackroyd Band + Elaine C Smith + Jeremy Irons + Tom Bliss + Sue Jameson Alex Lester + Ken Galipeau + Cindy Kent + Norma Dixit + Michael Palin + Eileen McGann Ann Widdecombe + John Tams with Coope Boyes and Simpson + Edward de Souza
The Guide Cats for the Blind album series is produced to raise funds for a project run by the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB). Guide Cats Volumes 1 to 4 enabled the Association to create EyeT4All, a programme of life changing computer workshops for blind and partially sighted people. Our vision doesn’t stop there.
With funds from Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’ we will empower community centres for blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK to hold EyeT4All workshops for themselves. Guide Cats and EyeT4All ‘Skill Share’ will transform and enrich people’s lives! These projects are increasingly important to blind people as more and more services are being made available online only.
Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he's now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. A well known style icon Les always cuts a dash in the world of fashion where he is much respected as the leading exponent of the cardigan in all its splendour.
On the poetry front and in spite of the poetry police his most famous works include The Shipping Forecast, Jason And The Arguments, Cosmo The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive, Spot Of The Antarctic, An Infinite Number Of Occasional Tables, Stamped Addressed Antelope, Have You Got Any News Of The Iceberg, The Lemmings Reunion, The Missing Persian’s File, Will The Turtle Be Unbroken and The Lost Elephants Of Denbigh.
BCABis an UK organisation of visually impaired people who use information and communications technology. Their membership ranges from experienced computer professionals, to people who are beginning to explore the use of information and communications technology for leisure, study or employment. BCAB aims to promote the use of computers and technology amongst blind and partially sighted people. We actively encourage people to explore the use of computers at work, in education and at home. BCAB stays up to date with recent developments in computing and technology, identifying relevant information and resources for blind and partially sighted people.
You are invited to visit the BCAB web site for further information.
The BCAB will benefit from any media exposure you can offer via press, radio play or word of mouth. Benefits will come to the BCAB and its members in two ways. The first benefit will be financial as all proceeds other than the manufacturing and the very minimum administration costs will see the bulk of all earnings going to the BCAB. The association will also be able to sell the CD direct to the public through their many fund raising activities.
The British Computer Association of the Blind wishes to thank all the artists and everybody involved for your total support of this project in your own time and at no cost. We would like to thank all those performers who contributed to the previous albums which have now raised in excess of £50,000.
Catalogue: Distributed by Osmosy’s Records & The BCAB
Click on You Tube link to hear Charlotte Green read 'Voicemail'
Featuring Les Barker, Terry Wogan, Mark & Lard, Johnnie Walker, Charlotte Green, Brian Perkins, Peter White, Paul Gambaccini, Nicky Campbell, Roy Hudd, Ken Bruce, Nicholas Parsons, Dave Cash+Five Guide Cats Of Arijaba, Mike Harding, Sally Boazman, Ned Sherrin, Sarah Kennedy, Brian Matthew, Bill Cadddick, Sir Jimmy Young, Gerard McDermot, June Tabor, Heinz Wolf, Nonny James, Genevieve Tudor, Allan Beswick, Ryan Kelly, Cyril Tawney, Sic Transit, Bernard Wrigley, Billy Butler, Martin Carthy, Galliard, Trevor Peacock, Roger Lloyd Pack, Ian MacMillan.
Les has written 68 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs mainly because people don't quite believe what they've just heard.
Les began his career as assistant to Mrs Ackroyd, a small hairy mongrel who lay around in folk clubs, bit people, and became famous. Mrs Ackroyd was the only dog ever to own her own record label. Since her sad demise, Les is mainly a solo performer, though he has taken to working with humans from time to time.
Les Barker - Guide Cats For The Blind Ken Bruce - Across The Plains Of Africa Mike Harding - Curse Of The Baskervilles Ned Sherrin - Stamped Addressed Antelope Sarah Kennedy - Sprouts Sir Jimmy Young - Reg The Vegetable Gardener Bill Caddick - Custard Creams Gerard McDermott - Waste Not, Want Not Brian Perkins - Shipping Forecast Sally Boazman - Crawl Of The Light Brigade Johnnie Walker - The Man Next Door's A Burglar June Tabor - Git A Long Little Dogie Heinz Wolff - Administerium & The Science Of Unclear Physics Nonny James - Nobody Hugs A Hedgehog Allan Beswick - Jehovah's Witness At The Door Ryan Kelly - Blessed Are The Meek Cyril Tawney - Sammy's Bar Revisited Nicholas Parsons - Amnesia Paul Gambaccini - The Last But One Of The Mohicans Dave Cash + Five Guide Cats of Arijaba - Detritus/Tu Haiku (Barker/Lever)
Click On You Tube Link To Hear Brian Perkins Read 'The Shipping Forecast'
Sic Transit - Sidney (Barker/Thompson) Terry Wogan - Have You Got Any News Of The Iceberg? Nonny James - Spot Of The Antarctic Roy Hudd - An Infinite Number Of Occasional Tables Bernard Wrigley - The Man Who Was Eaten By His Own Bum (Barker/Wrigley) Charlotte Green - VoiceMail Billy Butler - It Was The Surprise More Than Anything Martin Carthy - Hard Cheese Of Old England Peter White - I Can't Find My Camouflage Net Dave Cash - Detritus Brian Matthew - The Dog Formerly Known As Prince Galliard - The Unigate Milkman Trevor Peacock - Captain Indecisive Roger Lloyd Pack - One Legged Horse Cyril Tawney - Lassie Free and Easy Ian MacMillan - Ancient Mariner.com Nicky Campbell - The Phoenix Genevieve Tudor - Everything Glows (Barker/Porter) Mark and Lard - Jason and the Arguments Les Barker - Déjà Vu.
John Humphrys, Joss Ackland, Harvey Andrews with John Shepherd, Prunella Scales Timothy West, Les Barker, Emma Chambers, Tom Paxton, Jeremy Vine, Nonny James, Genevieve Tudor, Ed Stewart, Steve Tilston, Frank Hennessey, Ryan Kelly, Roger Lloyd Pack, Rodney Bewes, Sic Transit, Desmond Carrington, Gerard McDermott, Trevor Peacock and last but not least The Mrs Ackroyd Band.
The Stealth Comma - John Humphrys, If - Joss Ackland A Crufts Conversation - Prunella Scales Cosmo The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower- Les Barker (Genius) I Don’t Like My Boomerang – Emma Chambers Will the Turtle Be Unbroken - Tom Paxton My Snails Have Not Yet Arrived - Timothy West & Prunella Scales Napoleon’s Circular Retreat from Reading – Jeremy Vine Lorna the Library Book Burglar – Nonny James Travel Iron – Genevieve Tudor Spot Was Not Like the Rest – Ed Stewart Dipsticks & Seals – Steve Tilston Death by Daffodils – Frank Hennessy Self Knowledge – Ryan Kelly Non Sequitors – Roger Lloyd Pack One Way Cul De Sac – Rodney Bewes The King of Rome – Sic Transit The Undead Parrott – Desmond Carrington King Harold Was a Ventriloquist – Gerard McDermott A Very English Thing – Trevor Peacock The Lemmings Reunion – The Mrs Ackroyd Band
CD Booklet notes by Paul Donovan Radio Columnist of The Sunday Times.
I have a confession. I never thought Guide Cats for the Blind would be a great success. A mixed bag of radio folk reading strange poems by a relatively unknown Mancunian called Les Barker? Happily I was quite wrong. The combination of his extraordinarily clever wordplay, his stature on the folk circuit - even if the London-dominated literary and media worlds have yet to discover him - and the presence of names like Terry Wogan and Charlotte Green, was such to ensure healthy sales. That double CD has now raised over £21,000 for the British Computer Association of the Blind, a charity that helps people across a whole range of visual impairments to get the most out of their computers. In my experience this community, if it can be called that, contains the most erudite and enthusiastic radio listeners anywhere.
That was two years ago. The Missing Persians File is the sequel, again created by Clive Lever. It follows the same successful format: surreal and funny verse from the prolific Les Barker read (or sung) by stars of music and broadcasting. I'm not a member of the BCAB, just a maverick critic, and my personal view is that it's rather better than Volume 1 - the imagery sharper, the music more tuneful, the puns more inventive.
JOHN HUMPHRYS begins it, just as he so often begins the day for Radio 4 listeners. His reading of The Stealth Comma reflects both his own keen interest in punctuation and Barker's hostility to "smart" bombs. Today's senior presenter might also approve of the second poem, If, read by JOSS ACKLAND, which is as savage about lying politicians as it is faithful to Kipling's great work on which it is based.
HARVEY ANDREWS and JOHN SHEPHERD come next, using vocals, jazz piano and whistling to render the title track, and they're followed by the first of two appearances from PRUNELLA SCALES, adopting her best Morningside accent to engage in A Crufts Conversation about dogs. LES BARKER himself follows, regaling for an appreciative live audience the saga of Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife-Thrower in the style of Marriott Edgar's lugubrious classic Albert and the Lion. EMMA CHAMBERS, best known as the dim blonde verger from The Vicar of Dibley, continues in comic vein with I Don't Like My Boomerang, before American folk legend TOM PAXTON sings - in his beautiful mellow voice and with marvellous string accompaniment - Will the Turtle Be Unbroken.
PRUNELLA SCALES now returns to partner her husband TIMOTHY WEST, she as a French waitress and he as a remarkably patient man who spends his entire life in a restaurant because, as he says, My Snails Have Not Yet Arrived. JEREMY VINE reveals in Napoleon's Circular Retreat from Reading that it was in fact the county town of Berkshire rather than the capital of Russia that engaged Bonaparte's attentions in 1812 - when its hellish one-way system prevented him from getting out of it. NONNY JAMES, presenter of the blues and folk show, Fretwork, on BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC Hereford and Worcester, paints a sensual portrait of Lorna The Library Book Burglar, a well-read kleptomaniac "who hides James Joyce in the place of his choice", and then her BBC Radio Shropshire colleague GENEVIEVE TUDOR recalls a wandering Travel Iron - again in front of a live audience in Birmingham.
In Spot Was Not Like the Rest, ED STEWART chronicles the travails of an unusual zebra called Spot, a full-stop among barcodes. Folk guitarist STEVE TILSTON nods affectionately towards those who love messing about with rusty old motors in Dipsticks and Seals, FRANK HENNESSY spoofs one of Wordsworth's most celebrated ballads in Death By Daffodils, and RYAN KELLY, the blind actor who plays sighted Jazzer in The Archers, ponders Self-Knowledge.
ROGER LLOYD PACK who, like Emma, is best known for The Vicar of Dibley, has a pair of Non Sequiturs, which he uses for not pruning the roses; RODNEY BEWES lives in a once pleasant road that is now, sadly, a One Way Cul-de-sac; and SIC TRANSIT, the Kent folk duo consisting of Clive Lever and Don Thompson, sing, unaccompanied, the saga of The King Of Rome, who is not a potentate but a pigeon.
The avian theme is maintained by DESMOND CARRINGTON in The Undead Parrot, though this particular bird is one to be avoided, since it comes from Transylvania and eats sparrows by the score.
The partially-sighted actor GERARD McDERMOTT, in the last of the recordings in front of an audience in Birmingham, offers the fascinating but little-known fact that King Harold Was A Ventriloquist and met not only the Normans at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 but also Cosmo the dodgy knife-thrower. That's one in the eye for you, Harold! TREVOR PEACOCK, the third member of the Vicar of Dibley cast to appear, recalls a clifftop picnic interrupted by a man who falls over the edge - in a very English way, of course. The final track is Les's own MRS ACKROYD BAND singing The Lemmings' Reunion, a somewhat sparsely attended event. It's a poignant, harmonious and in its own way rather lovely end to a delightful album.
Blind and partially sighted people are being left behind when it comes to information technology. Computers and internet connections can be more beneficial to them than for sighted people.
Many blind and partially sighted people experience social isolation. This results from difficulties in getting out of their homes, finding their way around, and getting information including communicating with other people.
Take, for example sending a letter. This presents huge challenges for blind people. Difficulties include: Writing the letter, correcting it, getting an address on to an envelop, putting on a stamp (the correct way up!), finding a post-box and getting to it. When a reply comes, some one must be found to read it.
Blind people just love email. It can be read out immediately through speech synthesis, and replying is just the press of a key.
The vast amount of information on the world wide web can replace a personal library of unreadable print books.
Information technology has so much to offer blind people. The “EyeT4All” programme is being developed to show blind people what is possible, to enthuse them, and point them in the right direction with affordable solutions and training.
The work so far has included seeking and evaluating suitable solutions. This has involved evaluations according to a template indicating usability and affordability. The programme will not give a theoretical technical approach, but a practical solutions based presentation.
A small pilot based on a limited product range, has been run. A one day presentation has been defined and developed.
The programme will be rolled out across various locations in the Autumn. Links have been established with local voluntary societies for the blind who are keen to host the days.
Dave Cash + Nonny James + Roger Lloyd Pack + Joss Ackland + Robert Lindsay Les Barker + Jenny Agutter + Tim Brooke-Taylor + Edward de Souza + Prunella Scales Trevor Peacock + Tony Hawks + Tessa Peake–Jones + Andrew Sachs Michael Cochrane + Peter Donaldson + Judi Spiers + Ken Bruce + Norma Dixit Gerard McDermott + Christopher Cazenove + Clare Balding & Jimmy McGrath.
Dave Cash -- The Franco Prussian War Of The Spanish Succession Nonny James -- Top Cat White Tie & Tails Roger Lloyd Pack -- Knot Joss Ackland -- An Admission Robert Lindsay -- The Mask Of Mono Les Barker -- The Church Of The Wholly Undecided Jenny Agutter -- Bungee Jumping For Lemmings+ Garden Waste Tim Brooke-Taylor -- Mute Swan + The Author’s Story Edward de Souza -- Disaster At Sea + The Secret Prunella Scales -- No May Trevor Peacock -- Inconsonants Tony Hawks -- I Used To Be A Singer In A Rock Band Tessa Peake–Jones -- Acupuncture Andrew Sachs -- On Performing Poetry + Leonardo da Thingy Michael Cochrane -- Home Improvement Peter Donaldson -- My Phones Out Of Order Judi Spiers -- Go Stay & Fetch Ken Bruce -- MacPhersons Lament Norma Dixit -- Reg Was A Lonely Glow Worm Gerard McDermott -- The Y Files Christopher Cazenove -- Chronology Clare Balding & Jimmy McGrath -- The Charge Of The Light Brigade
If you are a fan of Les Barker's 'Shipping Forecast' as read by BBC Radio 4's Brian Perkins check out Charlie Connelly's book 'Attention All Shipping' www.charlieconnelly.com