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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Ringer In praise of English music and dance (51* d) RE: In praise of English music and dance 25 Aug 06

I was made to "Sing Together" (Home Service, 11:00am on Mondays) with William Appleby at primary school. Some "filthy Mozart" stuff, some Victorian melodrama (eg Ash Grove), but not a little English Folk Song (eg The Keeper, High Germany). Quite enjoyed it, thought nothing of it then, certainly didn't thinkof it as "English Folk Music".

As a late-teenager (mid 1960s), I had a mate who played a mean blues guitar who took me along to some "Folk Clubs"; the quotes are because there was more blues & singer-songwriter stuff than folk (OK - I still have a liking for Howlin' Wolf, Julie Felix, etc). But the folk blew me -- songs (not just English; there was Irish stuff as well), particularly, whose music seared my soul, whose words taught me poetry, and whose style I was familiar with from Singing Together: thereafter I sought out the clubs where this material predominated (I still do).

Then, as Steeleye Span and their ilk were becoming popular, as a student I got into dance, first the social- then the ritual-dance, at first both in University clubs, later outside. It seemed enormously popular then: I could dance every night of the week -- possibly excepting Sundays -- if I wanted (and occasionally I did want), in halls absolutely packed with people of all ages, from pre-pubescents to pensioners (only when, of course, I was outside the university). But I had work to do, folk song clubs to go to, even Irish sessions (The Exiles of Erin, in Ardwick, was it? How memory fails).

I gave up the Morris when my first son was born, and took up bell-ringing instead (the Church was nearer than my Morris side). My dancing has dropped off to two sessions a month, my song-club sessions to once a month. The popularity seems to have waned almost completely among the general population; dance clubs, particularly, seem to be folding regularly; is it at all likely that a folk(ish) song will ever be on today's version of Top of thr Pops?. When I go dancing now, there are almost no youngsters; the clubs seem, literally, to be dying off. My regular club, of which I am the youngest member, staggers on with a core of about 8.

Ichabod! The glory is departed. Or is that an incorrect impression?

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