Mudcat Café message #2378026 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112375   Message #2378026
Posted By: theleveller
01-Jul-08 - 05:17 AM
Thread Name: Glastonbury English Folk Festival?...
Subject: RE: Glastonbury English Folk Festival?...
I'm going to expose my arse for a kicking here and leap to WAV's defence. It's hard not to sound condescending and supercilious, which I don't mean to be (on this occasion), so please take these comments in that spirit.

What I admire about WAV is his passionate defence of Englishness, which is now deeply unfashionable but which I believe should be celebrated more. Forget about pride and misplaced jingoism, but it would be nice to see more people getting pleasure from being English, in the same way that the Scots, Irish and Welsh are actually pleased to belong to those nations. We should enjoy being English and celebrate the huge diversity that makes up England.

To understand what I'm talking about, visit or, better still, buy the book. England In Particular describes itself as 'a celebration of the commonplace, the local, the vernacular and the distinctive' (and, I would add, the eccentric) and is the culmination of 20 years' work by Angela King and Sue Clifford who formed Common Ground together with my old friend, the late Roger Deakin (who I know would not mind my describing as a true eccentric in the best English tradition).

Personally, I love listening to songs that people have written about the localities they love. To see what I mean, listen to the songs of Yorkshire and the North East by Brother Crow, Wendy Arrowsmith, Richard Grainger and, of course, Mike Waterson. These are wonderful, stirring songs that are preserving the local heritage and keeping folk music alive, vibrant, current and a real, living entity. To hear them sends a tingle down the spine.

I'm not going to comment on the quality of WAV's verse (but just remember that MacGonagal's work is still being read), but I do respect his passion, if not always the way he puts it across.

Perhaps more of us should be celebrating our own bit of England and taking positive action to resist the ever-increasing pressure to change, to conform to a stereotype, to unify, to depersonalise and to centralise. Diversity is the life-blood that keeps alive the true character of England. Don't let it be swamped in a sea of motorways, McDonalds, mundanity and municipal short-sightedness.

Home Rule For Yorkshire!: )