Mudcat Café message #791902 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #51714   Message #791902
Posted By: Desert Dancer
26-Sep-02 - 01:56 PM
Thread Name: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
Peggy Seeger wrote(in The Peggy Seeger Songbook, Oak Publications, 1998):

[In 1955 she left home for Europe to ?continue her Russian studies.?]

"I traveled, sightsaw, and hitchhiked for a year. I was staying in a Danish youth hostel when the folklorist Alan Lomax put a call through from England. Granada Television needed a female singer-cum-banjo-player for a production of Dark of the Moon. So at the age of nearly twenty-one, on March 25, 1956, at 10:30 in the morning, I entered a basement room in Chelsea, London, and sealed my fate. Ewan MacColl was sitting on the other side of the room. Twenty years my senior, he was a singer and songwriter par excellence and it is to him that I owe the basis of my political education and commitment. He said that he fell hopelessly in love the first moment he saw me. Ewan was a married man with a child. I returned to America.

I came back in July 1957 to attend the World Festival of Democratic Youth in Moscow. From there I was invited, with 300 members of the U.S. contingent, to go to China. Forty of us went, to the consternation of our paranoiac government. I returned again to England in the spring of 1958 to work with Ewan, displacing the four-string-banjo player who had been accompanying him. Mrs. Banjo-Player reported my expired work-permit to the Home Office and I was given two days to leave. I went to France via Dover but made the mistake of trying to return too early. I was kept overnight in the marine police cells and put on the boat back to France. The French authorities shoved me over the border in to Belgium. The Belgians bequeathed me forcibly to the Dutch who discreetly slipped me back into Belgium a week later. The Belgians made a deal with the French and there I was, back in France again. They must have made deals with each other for none of this traffic appeared on my passport. The Pentagon had made a deal with them all?- but this time they all slipped up. I had a two-month respite in Lucienne Idoine?s microscopic fifth-floor flat in the Rue Jacob, St-Germain-des-Prés. Idoine: Thank you with all my heart, for by that time I was in love?- and seven months pregnant. Ewan thanked you too, for he had followed me by plane, train, boat, bus, and on foot to Boulogne, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Dieppe, Amsterdam and was glad to have a resting place in Paris. Alex Campbell, the Scots singer, broke the chain of events by marrying me in Paris on January 24, 1959. Thank you, Alex, It was a hilarious ceremony. The American priest, in surplice and sneakers, lectured Alex at length on his forthcoming lifetime commitment to the poor girl whom he had gotten into such trouble. The following day I arrived, unimpeded in London, six weeks before the birth of my first son. In the flyblown office of a Commissioner of Oaths, I swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen (and all her issue thereof into perpetuity) and then settled down with Ewan, with great upheaval for everyone concerned."

~ Becky in Tucson