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Music: Police and Striking Miners

Bonzo3legs 01 Jun 10 - 03:54 PM
Leadfingers 31 May 10 - 07:11 PM
Stringsinger 31 May 10 - 04:39 PM
Fred McCormick 31 May 10 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Essex girl 31 May 10 - 06:28 AM
Bonzo3legs 31 May 10 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Ian Gill 31 May 10 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Sallie Oughton a miners daughter from South 09 Feb 09 - 11:55 PM
theleveller 07 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Ian 07 Jan 09 - 07:33 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 09 - 04:17 AM
The Borchester Echo 07 Jan 09 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Ian 07 Jan 09 - 04:03 AM
theleveller 07 Jan 09 - 03:47 AM
Nigel Parsons 06 Jan 09 - 07:41 PM
Millindale 06 Jan 09 - 03:42 PM
richd 06 Jan 09 - 03:16 PM
Nigel Parsons 06 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM
Nigel Parsons 06 Jan 09 - 12:27 PM
Stringsinger 06 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM
theleveller 06 Jan 09 - 08:58 AM
richd 06 Jan 09 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Mr Dazed & Confused 06 Jan 09 - 07:04 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM
Folkiedave 06 Jan 09 - 06:02 AM
richd 06 Jan 09 - 03:20 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Jan 09 - 02:59 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Ian Ferguson 05 Jan 09 - 11:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 09 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Guest 05 Jan 09 - 03:34 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Jan 09 - 08:55 PM
Nigel Parsons 04 Jan 09 - 07:52 PM
Folkiedave 04 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Jan 09 - 04:07 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM
Ruth Archer 04 Jan 09 - 09:09 AM
Folkiedave 04 Jan 09 - 08:04 AM
Vic Smith 04 Jan 09 - 07:44 AM
Cats 04 Jan 09 - 07:25 AM
Ruth Archer 04 Jan 09 - 06:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 09 - 08:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 09 - 08:38 PM
Ruth Archer 03 Jan 09 - 08:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 09 - 06:08 PM
Phil Edwards 03 Jan 09 - 05:45 PM
Folkiedave 03 Jan 09 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Ian 03 Jan 09 - 03:46 PM
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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 01 Jun 10 - 03:54 PM

Bonzo3legs. Did you actually live through the Thatcher era? I did and I can tell you all about the destruction which the Tories wrought, not just on the miners, but on everybody else who got in their way. That bloody woman deserves to burn in hell.

Of course, I was far too busy enjoying myself to worry about a few nutters in trades unions.
    I'm going to have to close this thread for a while. It's really getting hit hard by autoSpam. I'll be glad to reopen it any time after 11 June 2010.
    Sorry for the inconvenience.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 May 10 - 07:11 PM

The saddest outcome of the '84 Miners Strike was the almost total emasculation of the UK Trade Union movement . Sadly , the PROPERLY run Unions were screwed along with the idiots ! When a Trade Union works convener can call 'The Brothers' out on a wildcat strike with NO meeting or ballot THAT union needs sorting out . However the Blessed Margaret managed to include all unions in the melee , wether they were well run or not .


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Stringsinger
Date: 31 May 10 - 04:39 PM

Jim, I think that was Napoleon. " If I could write the country's songs, I care not who writes the country's laws", for sure a bad paraphrase.

Archie Green's book "Only a Miner" is one of the best index into the history of US striking coal miner's songs. Uncle Dave's "Buddy, Won't You Roll Down That Line" is a history lesson of itself.

There was this song from Southern Illinois that Alan Lomax railed after saying it was a fraud. It was published in an Illinois newspaper I think in the 20's. It's an anti-union coal mine song.

"Come and listen to my song, story of a nation wrong,
Idle men in a roving band strike the tools from a miner's hands.

Chorus: Flag of blue, white and red, a man's got a right to earn his bread.
Flag of blue, white and red, a man's got a right to earn his bread.

Tried to work 'cause I'm almost broke, to dig for Donnegan's Coal and Coke.
A hundred miners came around and beat me bloody to the ground.

Chorus:

John L's pay is big and fat, I wish I had a tenth of that.
I don't like to sit at home and hear the wife and children moan.

Chorus:


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 31 May 10 - 03:04 PM

Bonzo3legs. Did you actually live through the Thatcher era? I did and I can tell you all about the destruction which the Tories wrought, not just on the miners, but on everybody else who got in their way. That bloody woman deserves to burn in hell.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Essex girl
Date: 31 May 10 - 06:28 AM

A Song written by Mundy-Turner (Markham Main) after evening with a person who had a relative commit suicide sums up the miners strike for me.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 31 May 10 - 05:35 AM

Thank goodness they didn't.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 31 May 10 - 05:30 AM

I still reckon the '84 strike was the biggest political turning point of the last fifty years in the U.K. If the TUC had supported the NUM when they called for a General Strike the Thatcher government would probably have fallen and the rest of the decade - and U.K. history - might have been very different.


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Subject: Just to set the records straight.
From: GUEST,Sallie Oughton a miners daughter from South
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 11:55 PM

David Wilkie the Welsh taxi driver was killed November the 30th 1984.He was killed by two striking miners Dean Hancock and Russell Shankland
Wilkies fare was David Williams a scab who worked at the Merthyn Vale mine.They were accompanied by two police cars and a motorcycle outrider.The two striking miners dropped a 46 pound concrete block from ther bridge 27 feet over the road.Wilkie was killed instantly , Williams was slightly hurt.
Hancock and Shankland were found guilty of murder and sentanced to life imprisonment.Am appeal of conviction were reduced to manslaughter replaced by 8 years jail sentance.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM

"Leveller, you'd be more logical if you castigated disgraceful Thatcher government policies that denied the right of miners to live in the same way as those still in employment"

That goes without saying.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:33 AM

"It's interesting to see how her tearing the country in half still persists." - Jim Carroll

For me, I would never give the credit for still affecting anything. Both political parties had hitherto produced papers questioning the long term viability of coal. The difference was that she did not believe in communities and the bonds that hold them together.

I would have laughed to hear the tory politicians moaning about destroying communities and wider effects when this present government abolished fox hunting. However, irony is wasted on most of the politicians I know and have to deal with these days.

Yes, Scargill was duly elected. I voted for the other guy, Bell I think his name was, but accept that he won the national leadership ballot so called him my leader. I only wish he represented us, that's all. I only wish he had the talent and wit to achieve the aims of the union. I only wish he didn't use trade unionism as a springboard for regime change at Westminster.

I only wish the rest of the country saw the struggle as a plea to keep jobs, save communities and for 20,000 people to carry on doing what they did best, feed the energy demand for the rest of the country.

They couldn't whilst both sides rattled on about class struggle, political might and win / lose. You knew it had all gotten out of hand when the Prime Minister of your country, the person who vows to represent you refers to you as the enemy within, on the basis of what you do for a living... Now there's a thought.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:17 AM

"Leveller, you'd be more logical if you castigated disgraceful Thatcher government policies "
You should know by now it doesn't work like that Countess.
Those who chose to support Thatcher and to believe the press at the time still do - the defence of the mining communities only gets in the way of the argument, and it's always easier to discuss where Arthur buys his butties.
It's interesting to see how her tearing the country in half still persists.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:05 AM

Arthur Scargill was an elected union official who was paid to enact NUM policies. If that salary enabled him to buy property and eat occasionally at restaurants, that's exactly what most people do with their earnings. I don't know either if he gave his son a house or even if he has one but I certainly met his daughter at a World Youth Festival and a more committed socialist it would be impossible to encounter.

Leveller, you'd be more logical if you castigated disgraceful Thatcher government policies that denied the right of miners to live in the same way as those still in employment.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:03 AM

Thank you.

When I put my earlier post up, I appeared to be a lone voice. Now, the thread has a more balanced set of views.

It is not possible to say this side were fully in the right and that side were fully in the wrong.

The government had a two fold plan; destroy the power of the trade unions, as they were too aligned to the labour party and too powerful. Question the long term viability of coal fired power.

I was bemused to see the labour party sat on the fence for most of the time, relying on Benn, Skinner and other deniable assets to carry the flag whilst relishing the thought of not being dictated to by the unions in the long term.

So... what did this all achieve?

New Labour! Congratulations to Messrs Scargill, McGaghy etc for being the founding fathers of the alternative to a conservative government... wait for it... a different conservative government!

Not that the police are happy with them either.....


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 03:47 AM

"I have heard the story of Scargills 'mansion' ad nauseum"

So that makes it untrue, does it?

One thing I can tell you for certain is that, during the strike, Scargill regularly ate in the expensive Brooklands restaurant near Barnsley. I saw him there myself on two occasions. Another thing that I know for certain is that, at the same time, kids were going hungry around where I lived. Much as I hate Thatcher and what she did, Scargill was an arch hypocrite who let the miners down.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:41 PM

And news today The Times seems to show the NUM profitting from compensation payments which should have been going to ex-miners!

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Millindale
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:42 PM

I would, before posting anything on a forum, check out the truth of what I was saying. I have heard the story of Scargills 'mansion' ad nauseum apart from the mention of his son. I am not sure that he even has a son. He has a daughter who was a GP in my home town of Penistone.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: richd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:16 PM

One thing that does interest me greatly is why there was seemingly relativly little music generated through the strike, and what there was doesn't seem to have lasted. I only realy have direct knowledge of s Wales, and I can't think of many songs of the time- if anyone else does I would be glad to be wrong, Dave Burns excepted. I did spent some time in the Durham Coalfield just before the strike, and there seemed to be little enough there too. I would like to be wrong, but it didn't seem that there was little new created by the experience of the strike and the lead up to it. There were lots of poems, but not much music, although there was a fashion for whistling 'The Cuckoo Waltz' when the police turned up. I'm trying to remember what went on at a lot of the events I went to- mostly speeches I think. Even the buses and coaches were pretty quiet and grim. I wonder in what conditions the songs of the American Coalfields were created in, and how they were achieved, remarkable as they are. I will ask around about this.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM

Oh, and that was 100


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:27 PM

We have had terrible incidents such as the Sago mine disaster in West Virginia

We have 'Treacle mines' here


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM

I would like to call attention for my UK friends to the book by folklorist Archie Green called "Only A Miner" about the labor travails here in the States. We have a notable history of
struggles that parallel your own.

It still goes on through the mountaintop destruction in Kentucky by the coal companies
to the absurd ad campaign on TV called "clean coal". We have had terrible incidents such as the Sago mine disaster in West Virginia. The plight of the coal miner in the US is palpable.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:58 AM

I agree with richd – I don't think there's much to celebrate. I was living in the Selby coalfield at the time and had previously been married to the daughter of a Nottinghamshire miner.

It was a brutal time, with Scargill's thugs making nightime visits to 'blacklegs', women fighting in school playgrounds and a general air of confusion and bewilderment. I blame the inflated egos of both Thatcher and Scargill, both of whom seemed to be more interested in their own positions rather than the fate of the mining industry. While miners' kids were going hungry (we would often invite my children's school friends back for some tea) Scargill bought himself an expensive new house which, I was told (by a miner), he put in his son's name. Thatcher was just a black-hearted bitch who didn't give a s**t about anyone.

And what was the outcome? Well, I pass Gascoigne Wood colliery (the site of the famous "battle of bull run") twice a day on the train. It's now been dismantled and is just a derelict brown-field site while, within sight of it, Drax power station runs on imported coal. In the end, the main victim was the UK mining industry.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: richd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:36 AM

I don't remember too much music at the time either, except at benefits and the such. The politics of it all in s Wales were very complex, even down to indvidual pits, let alone between coalfields. Arthur Scargill was (and is) a much disputed figure, and there are still people arguing over the ballot, as opposed to lodge votes to strike. What I do know is that individuals, families and communities invested and lost massive monetary resources, pride and personal and cultural capital. This loss was so great that in the part of Wales that I belong to has still not recovered. It's ironic therefore, to look out of the window to the hill oppposite to the top of the mountain beeing scraped away by opencast.

How to remember the strike is difficult. What is there to celebrate?


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Mr Dazed & Confused
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:04 AM

Mmmmm.. Seems there are three camps here;

The camp that says that folk music is something to do with class struggle.

The camp that says that folk music is a way of recording events.

The camp that says that folk music is best when in the abstract, it being, after all, entertainment.

Well, this is a very interesting subject, the '84 strike. I was there, I worked at the same pit as Ian (above) who never went back at all, even after the strilke. Don't blame him. I keep seeing his name in articles and his face in the papers. The lad done well. One of the largest pits there was, and within the ranks of the NUM members sported (figures more or less accurate) 8 labour councillors, 2 tory and 1 SDP. In addition, 3 magistrates and I knew of four special constables.

So... as all the songs and poetry of the time spoke of everybody having black faces, zinc baths in the kitchen and listing pigeon fancying in their hobbies, it must have come as a surprise to General Scargill to find his members were more worried about their mortgages, holidays and investments. In fact, many saw Scargill et al as hastening the demise. One side of our pit was unworkable after the strike, leading to vacancy freezes, whittling down the numbers till eventual closure.

Sure, the government of the day were hell bent on breaking the unions. Looking back, there was no innocent side and no guilty side. Just two generals on two hills.

Aye, I reckon I will write a song based on that image....


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM

and whether your old NUM card gets you in free... :D


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:02 AM

It would be interesting to hear who he is reminding of what.......


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: richd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:20 AM

Good for Billy- shame there isn't a Welsh singer willing, able or high profile enough to do the job.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:59 AM

Just received this:

"Ex-punk, ex-soldier, and ex-member of the Labour Party, Billy Bragg rose from working class origins in the 1980s to become one of the UK's foremost pop and protest singers and left-wing icons. It was Margaret Thatcher who propelled the Bard of Barking into action; Bragg's defining political moment came with the Miners' Strike of 1984-5, when the Conservative government set out to lay waste to Britain's industrial heartlands, crippling communities and livelihoods in the process.

Twenty five years on, Billy arrives in Wales on a special eight-date solo tour in June 2009 to remember the Miners' Strike and its legacy on the communities across Wales."


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM

Thanks Ian,
That is one of the most articulate and concise descriptions of the events surrounding the miners strike I have come across.
Al,
Sorry for having a go at what is obviously a bad time for you.
Look forward to your PM.
Best wishes,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Ian Ferguson
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:44 AM

Having been far too closely involved with police tactics during the miners strike I have read postings on this thread with interest and distaste in some cases. If anyone is interested the link below presents a reasoned argument from, IMO, one of the best performers on the scene.
http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/ramblings/strike84.html


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:08 AM

Jim, I would never say your music is irrelevant. If its relevant to you - that's the acid test.

However I'll respond in a PM - as i need to talk in more direct terms about the English folkscene and the way its gone.

will write soon - its been a shit Christmas with a close bereavement, and I've got the undertaker in the next room as I write this. when i have time I will discuss your interesting post with you - andexplain exactly why I don't agree with you!

best wishes

Your pussy cat doll
al


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:34 AM

Just to add to the musical side of the discussion:

Test Dept and the Striking Miners' Welsh Voice Choir made an album to benefit the strikers.

As did most of Henry Cow, who made an EP The Last Nightingale with Robert Wyatt (Adrian Mitchell RIP donated his fine 'On the Beach at Cambridge'). The EP had a long explanation of the whys and wherefores, it still makes good reading.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM

Al,
Dylan may have had a draw for some in the folk scene (not me, I hasten to add - I was well into Joe Heaney by then) - before he took the shilling and followed his star to stardom. Dylan was shrewd businessman from the words 'they're off' who was prepared to use folk music and pseudo-left politics as stepping stones for his career. But Donovan, for chissake, imitative chewing gum, nothing more (Mellow Yellow and Tangerine Dreams my arse - purile pap! - as Dave suggests Magic Roundabout Land). He certainly has nothing to say to the kids today - whatever their tastes may be. Do you honestly believe that promoting either would be 'listening to the young'. I suggest that what we are seeing here is a display of your personal preferences - in which case, I'm sorry for your loss, as they say round here.
I get a little tired of being told by you that my music is irrelevant - for you maybe, but not for me, nor for many like me. I find the appeal to 'follow the kids' a little reminiscent of an elderly doting, and very, very embarrassing grandparent desperately trying to prove that they are up-to-date and patently proving that they are not.
Nigel,
The right for workers to be represented was what it was all about; the mining communities were Thatcher's Guernica, where she, with the aid of a subservient police force and media, flexed her muscles to see what she could get away with - it was a totally unequal battle from the word 'go'. Intimidation on whether or not to strike came from both sides. In the end the miners were starved back to work and we all lost out.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 08:55 PM

'Are you really saying that folk clubs were full of young people inspired by Donovan? Donovan???? I reckon most people had better taste'.

I think a lot of people were inspired to try something creative by seeing Mr Leitch and I can remember a time when the traddies weren't too proud to put him on package tours with them. In fact it would be small of them top forget the debt they owe him. A lot of people came to see those package tours with The watersons, Louis Killen, Tony Engle, and Mr leitch - shouldn't be surprised if the Watersons captured a few of his fans.

'Al, you have just ranted against 200 year old songs and dance music only good enough for PTA's'.

I'm not ranting. but the music you admire is a bit like Pooh bear - it has its place in 100 acre wood with all the nice woodland creatures. and in its place, its terrific fun.

Mellow Yellow though is made of sterner stuff; it gets to go out in the real world, with Christopher Robin and Piglet and the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:52 PM

Jim Carroll:
Sorry if I over-reacted - the miners strike was a traumatic time for all of us and had implications on many of our lives - especially on those of us who relied on a pay packet at the end of the week.
Whether they liked it or not, the strike was not just about coal, but about the rights of workers to be represented by a Trades Union -

The rights of the workers to be represented by a Trades Union was never attacked. What was attacked was the attempt by one particular Trade Union to enforce its will on its members without asking them what they wanted!
If Scargill could have won a vote for action he would have called for a vote. Failure to call for a vote was sure to lead to people saying he was enforcing his will on the Union. As I understand it he continued pulling in a good wage while the miners suffered. poor bloody infantry


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

Are you really saying that folk clubs were full of young people inspired by Donovan? Donovan???? I reckon most people had better taste.

Al, you have just ranted against 200 year old songs and dance music only good enough for PTA's. Are you really saying "They call me mellow yellow " is better?

As I remember it at the time, went to folk clubs because it was possible to have a good time listening and singing along. You could always chat to the artist in the bar - and they were delighted to pass on their expertise. People at the folk clubs I went to were delighted to have people like Jeannie Robertson and later her daughter to listen to. Maggie Barry who drank pint bottles of Guinness, Willie Scott who had the most wicked sense of humour. I count myself priveliged to have listened to these great artists.

Oh! and meeting members of the opposite sex in convivial circumstances was a big influence.

In Manchester we went back to Terry Whelan's and got two big pans of curry and rice and sat around chatting and putting the world to rights from a left-wing point of view.

In Hull people often came back to our house and drank. Those that were there will remember why! And they developed their relationships with the opposite sex. We went to Bill Cowley's farm at Potto and had a ceilidh in a barn with the High Level Ranters.

We partied, ceilidhied, walked, some went climbing and so on. We never discussed Donovan and the meaning of mellow yellow.

And a vast number of the people I knew from those days still love the music.

I am happy to start listening to the young. But it depends on which young.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 04:07 PM

If you can't see a qualitative difference between Dylan's first three or four albums and Girls Aloud, Jim I'm sorry....words fail me.

Just pick those albms up - read the sleeve notes and you would see through a glass darkly - most of the things folk music is made up of. And the synthesis was made by a boy scarcely twenty years old.

That was what why the folk clubs were full of young people - its why certain kinds of folk clubs are still full of people my age whose eyes still burn bright with the vision.

Its why the other folk music is where it is and what it is.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM

"If we want this music to have a future we must start listening to the young, instead of dumping on their heads the burden of this bloody tradition that is so obviously going nowhere."
I really don't know why you don't sit at home and listen to Girls Aloud if folk music is so irrelevant Al.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM

No - twenty five years lends enchantment to the view. most people, at the time, were intensely ashamed and upset about the outbtreak of violence in their communities - there was little of the triumphalism of the Blackleg Miner song at the time.

what to do now...? An interesting question, Dave.

We were so damned lucky as a generation in some ways. they'd just had two world wars and for a lot of people we were the golden generation - the first with free healthcare, education, well fed, well looked after - we were the hope of the future.

When we talked about our world, the best of our elders said - well maybe you've got a point - you can't screw things up much worse than we did....

Compare that with abuse that young kids get nowadays for their 'navel gazing' music. Its only if you play dance tunes that no one dances to (outside of PTA social events), work at a lugubrious accent with songs that are written to sound two hundred years old that you well maybe get a pat on the head from the folk world.

donovan was 17 when I first heard him, Dylan only twenty, The beatles not much older.....It was exciting to see your contemporaries having a bash and being successful. And the folkclubs were full of people, inspired and having that same bash.

Seth Lakeman, Liza C, Kate R., - these guys are middle aged (compared to the people who got us into folkmusic) and they and their approach, would have seemed as such to us at the time if they had appeared in the 1960's.

If we want this music to have a future we must start listening to the young, instead of dumping on their heads the burden of this bloody tradition that is so obviously going nowhere.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:09 AM

Vic, that's hilarious.

Cats, I think certain sectors are much stronger than others - a teaching union used to sponsor some outreach work I ran, and I got the impression that it is a very strong sector for unionisation. You'll perhaps be gratified to hear that I've never been a parent who has moaned when teachers feel compelled to strike. :)

If numbers are going up, that's great. But the unions will never again represent what they once did in terms of community cohesion, which is sad.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 08:04 AM

Well done Al.

But then I suppose that is the problem. and its the reason so many folk clubs are empty.

Since you are so clear as to why they are empty perhaps you would be so kind as to tell people what to do about it in this context?


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:44 AM

During the strike in 1984, our band was asked to do a dance for the Iford & Kingston Conservative Association. Apart from me, all the band refused to do it, so I raised a scratch band after telling them of my scheme.
We did the dance and at the end, after I had ensured that we had been paid, I, as caller, announced that the entire fee was going to be given to the miners' strike fund. We packed up and left in stony silence and giggled all the way home.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Cats
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:25 AM

Ruth, I am a teacher and we are seriously unionised, mainly for 'insurance' purposes but I deal with everything from bullying heads to redundancies, paternity and adoption leave to can you check my pay and everything in between. The stats are not just from teaching, though, but for all sectors and are from the TUC


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:45 AM

"But then I suppose that is the problem. and its the reason so many folk clubs are empty.."

I've never run a folk club, so I can't help you there. But I do work on festivals. Having booked and seen Roy Bailey on several occasions, I cannot remember anyone walking out in disgust at his choice of material. And before you come over all prolier than thou, I don't believe that folk clubs were packed with ex-miners but folk festivals are full of middle-class, wine swilling hoorays. As it is not a requirement to take the social and political history of every attender at the door, it is always possible that someone may be offended by pretty much any folk song. But it is equally possible that someone who hears the song, and has experienced something similar, might feel moved to find that their deeply-held and unexpressed emotions have been articulated skilfully by another. I have had experience of this myself - the fact that the singer could not possibly have had the experience himself firsthand (as he was a man) was irrelevant - I was still deeply moved. But maybe that's because I'm not working class enough or something.

Roy Bailey's show with Tony Benn, The Writing On the Wall, is especially popular. The Nottingham Evening Post selected it (as part of Loughborough Folk Festival) as their folk gig of the year for 2008. I don't think any ex-miners wrote to the paper to complain about this choice, but I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 08:39 PM

happy New Year! by the way!


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 08:38 PM

Oh come on Ruth! roy bailey is one your traddy big hitters. If even he couldn't see that the sentiments of Blackleg Miner was pretty damned upsetting to people living in places which previously had been decent, peaceful and law abiding - when suddenly violence was being committed on the very streets regarded as home. then somethings gone wrong with the vision.

God help you. But then I suppose that is the problem. and its the reason so many folk clubs are empty..

Its a bit like these Ruth Rendell novels where the murderers are all fascinating neurotics - rather than social casualties. its the middle class viewpoint - working classes my dear, are just inpenetrably weird!.

art as an entertainment. its why the blues was so offensive to black people for many years - like black people were just stereotyped as dissolute sexual toys.

Its why Prince heathen is grimly sat through and tolerated rather than enjoyed. domestic violence nowadays - woman to man or vice versa isn't remotely entertaining. and does it reflect the experience of the poor sods caught up in these situations?

Does it never occur to these people singing these songs that the folk they may be singing to, may be in these situations, or their children might? I've lost count of how many of my wifes friends have had daughters married to some awful brute.

In folk music, the music is tangential, the important thing is the 'folk'. they are in front of you and it their lives you should be trying to write about.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 08:05 PM

"still we have these arguments everyday on mudcat - middle class people can't see that many of the 'working class anthems' are of their time and as such utterly offensive to a modern audience."

Rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 06:08 PM

Blackleg Miner was particularly offensive.   I can remember similar scenes in Mansfield, and sutton in ashfield folk clubs. It was the song - not Roy Bailey. some idiots thought they they were being 'relevant' by singing it - yeh like singing 'Old black Joe' at a black panther meeting.

still we have these arguments everyday on mudcat - middle class people can't see that many of the 'working class anthems' are of their time and as such utterly offensive to a modern audience.

I can remember a year into the strike, a guy went back to work in Pontefract and was beaten to a pulp outside the WMC where my mate was gigging. Not really the subject for rejoicing and community pride.

As for the villification of the police. a big topic of conversation at the time was, is it the police we are facing? there were lots of stories of soldiers put in police uniform. secret service men hanging round the fringes of the miners - collecting evidence. unauthorised phone taps.

I'm sorry - it wasn't a situation that reduced to simplistic formulae of marxist ideology.

the trouble was that nobody was telling the truth, and no one was in a rush to believe the truth that many had arrived at, but couldn't bring themselves to face.

Tebbit was on telly saying that if the miners packed in the strike - not a single job would be lost in the mining industry. The Notts/Derby miners had been through this twelve years earlier - when Alf Robens had given similar assurances - and afterwards the men who had given Robens their trust never struck another blow.

the notts/Derby lot saw it as a comeuppance for the Yorkshire blokes who had refused to back them with strike action in the 1960's. they could see that their own turn was coming - so they might as well grab some money whilst they could. they didn't believe tebbit.

scargill was on telly saying that the country would be lost without his deep mine coal. how lost has the country been?

The labour party upper echelons kept a frigid silence - they knew damn well they would be pusuing similar policies themselves.

Would the miners have been better getting the money and that the government spent on police action and putting it into their communities - bribing other industries in? would Thatcher have given them THAT much money, to a load of people who never have voted for her in a thousand years anyway.

i don't know if it was worth fighting for, I'm damn sure it wasn't worth dying for.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 05:45 PM

Thre are songs about incest, rape, murder, etc etc,,, do none of them want to make you leave?

Presumably Ian wouldn't feel those songs were directed at him personally in quite the same way.

As I said on another thread, the Blackleg Miner isn't a song I feel comfortable with. If you compare it with the Yahie Miners (which may well be its source) it looks very like a song that's been polished up by an outsider with definite political views - and had its aggression level turned up to 11 in the process. It's not a song you could sing if there were any strikebreakers in your street - not if you wanted to talk to them ever again.

I was solidly behind the NUM in 1984-5, and if I could relive those years I would be again. (My grandfather was a striking miner in 1926; they got beaten that time, too.) As people have said, everything Scargill said about the government's plans was true - where are the pits now, and where are the unions? But the Left doesn't do itself any favours by making out that every working miner was a Thatcherite, a mercenary or a class traitor. People at the sharp end had some very hard choices to make. Those of us who were on the outside can't possibly know what it was like, or how we would have reacted.


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 04:32 PM

He sang "Blackleg Miner" and I counted over 20 people who supped up and left that night in Sheffield (Grapes, Trippet Lane.) I was amongst them.

Roy Bailey sings protest songs. He is well known for it. What did you think you were going to get? Lullabies? And when precisely was this? After the 1984 - 1985 strike?

Certainly not the Sheffield I knew at the time by the way. You would have struggled to find 20 people in a folk club that would pay to go to a folk club and then leave. And you would certainly have struggled in the Grapes.

But it is an interesting concept. Thre are songs about incest, rape, murder, etc etc,,, do none of them want to make you leave?


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Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 03:46 PM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your last post to me. I am not too sure about conceding to Thatcher and all that, and just out of interest, it is cheap champagne, although more because neither deserve a decent vintage..

My point was, as always, trying to raise debate. I do appreciate your taking the heat of this.

I was trying to say without pointing it out too easily, that music is a wonderful instrument of propaganda, and whilst making the singer popular, makes the subject uneasy.

I moved away from the socialist movement as I decided that two wrongs do not make a right.   It is my problem, my having to deal with it. But please forgive me for not getting too excited when hearing Billy Bragg or Roy Bailey glorifying the thugs who knocked on doors of miners in Nottinghamshire and yes, Yorkshire, threatening them.

We decried the USA elections when Bush got in through bad vote counting, we were outraged when Westminster Council gerrymandered housing to get tory voters in swing wards.

Yet recording pits as having voted to strike when they voted not to strike is somehow OK if it fits in with a point of view? Using miners to overthrow a government in a Western democracy is OK??? I don't remeber being asked to vote on overthrowing an elected government. Even Joe Gormley stated that was not his intention in '74.

I was at Orgreave. Like many of my colleagues, I was dismayed by the numbers of people there stood at the back shouting "Charge lads!" Not been down a pit in their lives, especially not the women amongst them... 50 of us on a coach afterwards vowed not to be involved again. We were sick of seeing our union dues in the back pockets of agitators offering us our money if we used our cars for secondary picketing.

Songs can and will be sung about class struggle. Songs will be economical with the truth because that is how recording events often is, (see tabloids for details.) However, at the risk of letting the truth get in the way of a good song, there are many people, many ex miners who were disillusioned with the strike, could not understand why the strike ballot was held, when the 6 month long overtime ban was depleting stocks and drawing MacGregor into negotiating. But Scargill, McGaghy, Capstick and their mates claimed to be representing miners, but were representing undemocratic political movements, as all those I have just mentioned happily admitted at the time.

Yes, songs have been written (wrote a few myself) and yes, the details will be lost in the haze of time until it will be a tale of us versus them.

In the meantime, let me end by mentioning the last time I saw Roy Bailey. He sang "Blackleg Miner" and I counted over 20 people who supped up and left that night in Sheffield (Grapes, Trippet Lane.) I was amongst them.

You see, us versus them is OK so long as we know who "us" are. Perhaps this should be in the threads about why folk clubs are dying / losing relevancy / losing numbers / where are the young 'uns?


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