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GUEST,Pseudonymous Review: Walter Pardon; Research (498* d) RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research 08 Nov 19


Hello Howard

Thank you for your input. No, I am not suggesting that 'tradition' is a Marxist concept. What I am pointing out, accurately, I think, is that some people have used it in a Marxist sense, including, obviously, Marxists like Ewan McColl and Bert Lloyd.

At the risk of repeating myself, what interests me is the way in which Pardon has been presented and analysed through various theoretical lenses, and Marxist has been it seems to me dominant. Mike Yates, as I said, was perfectly open about his Marxist approach, which seems to me to be good practice in terms of critical analysis: it is the done thing in some circles to make one's theoretical framework clear: it is seen as part of the intellectual challenge of drawing up and presenting the analysis.

I do not think that pointing out that a person is or was Marxist equates to carrying out a witch hunt. It is striking when one encounters works such as that of A L Lloyd as I did, from the perspective of one coming to it much later in time, a later generation, how much it reflects the left in post war Britain.

On one level, and putting this simplistically, it comes across as dated, and I don't think I am alone in this.

For example, Matthew Ord writes in his piece how 'gendered' be finds the work of that group, and in this I think he is correct. It stands out like a sort thumb to those of us who have moved on from the old post-war orthodoxies which, it seems to me, people like Lloyd and MacColl in their different ways, represent. Ord cites Althuzzer at one point: I think he is seeking to move beyond the 'vulgar' Marxism of some of Lloyd's early work (eg the first history of folk lore, the one based on AL Morton's history of England, which I do possess a copy of).

Similarly, David Hellier is quite at home with the idea that there is a 'tradition' but he does not frame it within the Marxist propaganda of McColl and Lloyd (and nobody with an open mind it seems to me can deny that this was their project, specifically a Moscow supporting type of Marxism, I have met Maoists in my time!) Hellier, it seems to me, is possibly writing in some sense 'against' the Marxism as if I remember correctly he described Billy and Pardon as small businessmen.

It seems obvious to me that as time passes, their work and those of their contemporaries within that group will inevitably be considered by more and more people who see it as something in the past, which it is, reflecting the - sorry to use the words again - ideologies of post war Britain.

What have I done with my life? What I could. Including making music, some of it, on the simple definition offered by Nick Dow, definitely folk music and already collected to boot.

My information on the union which Billy was a member of comes from a piece by Mike Yates on the Mustrad web site. Yates seems to have taken a particular interest in this, as evidenced by the piece. Were I to write up my draft, I would cite Yates as a reference on the topic. As I have said, he is one of the writers whose work on Pardon I have enjoyed.

Sandman, I forgot to acknowledge your G Lewis comment.

I forgot to thank the 'guest' who provided me with the Hillery information: it turned out to be Newcastle (which I guessed at because I knew the Vic Gammon link, I might have tried Sheffield next?). So thank you.




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