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Last Night of the Proms

Steve Parkes 17 Sep 03 - 04:14 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 05:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Sep 03 - 05:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 04:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM
George Papavgeris 16 Sep 03 - 03:11 PM
Harry Basnett 16 Sep 03 - 03:04 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Sep 03 - 01:50 PM
George Papavgeris 16 Sep 03 - 01:16 PM
greg stephens 16 Sep 03 - 12:56 PM
PeteBoom 16 Sep 03 - 12:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 12:36 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM
Steve Parkes 16 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Sep 03 - 12:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
fiddler 16 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
Dave Bryant 16 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 16 Sep 03 - 04:51 AM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 03 - 04:29 AM
ooh-aah 16 Sep 03 - 03:58 AM
ooh-aah 16 Sep 03 - 03:24 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Sep 03 - 09:08 PM
michaelr 15 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM
ooh-aah 15 Sep 03 - 07:09 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 15 Sep 03 - 06:47 PM
ooh-aah 15 Sep 03 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 03 - 06:07 PM
ooh-aah 15 Sep 03 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 03 - 01:29 PM
Charley Noble 15 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM
Les in Chorlton 15 Sep 03 - 12:23 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Sep 03 - 11:45 AM
Dave Bryant 15 Sep 03 - 10:05 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM
Steve Parkes 15 Sep 03 - 09:12 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM
Steve Parkes 15 Sep 03 - 08:44 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Sep 03 - 08:33 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 14 Sep 03 - 05:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM
Martin Graebe 14 Sep 03 - 05:29 PM
greg stephens 14 Sep 03 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 14 Sep 03 - 05:16 PM
MBSLynne 14 Sep 03 - 05:03 PM
Martin Graebe 14 Sep 03 - 04:29 PM
Mary in Kentucky 14 Sep 03 - 03:47 PM
Phot 14 Sep 03 - 03:34 PM
MBSLynne 14 Sep 03 - 03:25 PM
michaelr 14 Sep 03 - 03:25 PM
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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:14 AM

Sorry Greg -- you're quite right! Still, people can't expect me to digest their every word; if, every time I make a knee-jerk reaction, it has to be to what was said and not what I thought I heard I'm not going to get much chance to shoot my mouth off, am I? That's enough irony for now -- I don't want people taking this nonsense seriously!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:41 PM

Britannia Coco-nut Dancers official website

Anobody who could get offended at them would be looking for being offended for some ulterior motive.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:12 PM

I think I accept the points Malcolm and McGrath are making, let me repeat myself:

I find the Brittania Coconut Dancers unique, thrilling and more than a bit magical and I cannot say that about much morris. But other people don't, they find them disturbing for other reasons.

I don't like the sentiments expressed in those songs and I don't understand why anybody would want to sing them at the end of a series of concerts of world class music.

Harry is correct, some other folk cultures have some very unpleasant features well beyond a bit of jingoism.

Ok I surrender, I have made my point as best I can and I have to say, as I did above:

I think it says a great deal about the sensitivity and sense of justice that abounds in the 'folk community' that we enjoy English and other traditions without becoming jingoistic.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:24 PM

Rochester sweeps and the various dance sides associated with that go in for blacking their faces too, but that's chimney-sweep blacking, not minstrels. But it has been misunderstood too at times.

Some sides which go for painting their face avoid any misunderstanding by painting them bright green or red and so forth - which is good and colourful too. Like parrots.

And Pierrots paint their faces white.

We are drifting!


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM

The Nutters and other similar dancers black their faces with soot as an informal, token disguise. There hasn't ever, so far as I know, been any suggestion that they are "blacking up" in the way the Minstrel Shows did it; except from outsiders who are bringing their own cultural baggage and preconceptions to a situation where they don't belong (BBC TV producers in the last example I heard about). Quite a lot of ceremonial dance in parts of Africa involves whitening the face with ashes, and there is no racist implication there, either; though to the disguise element is sometimes added a religious aspect also (white being associated with the spirit world, if I remember correctly).


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:11 PM

Hear, hear, Les. In today's PC world many fear to tread the line between nostalgia and not wanting to be jingoistic. I say "don't worry", because jingoism is not in the action, but in the intention. And as long as the intention is honourable, the action should not give cause for grave offence; perhaps just a mild reminder/reprimand. A little common sense, open-mindedness and willingness to forgive minor and unintentional trespasses goes a long way; let's use them to resist PC-madness.
See you at the Extravaganza, I hope (?)


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:04 PM

I wonder just how many folk songs from other cultures just might be a wee bit "jingoistic"?


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 01:50 PM

El Greko, thanks for you thoughtful reply. I didn't ask a polarising question. The first post, which is their to be checked, seems reasonable and it raises an interesting point, though not quite as innocently as it reads (to me).

When I first went to Folk Clubs some people told anti- Irish, anti- jewish, anti black........jokes, as did lots of other people in lots of other situations. Now they don't and that's better.

I am not asking for a whole scale re-interpretation of the history of humanity or a change in human nature.

I don't like the sentiments expressed in those songs and I don't understand why anybody would want to sing them at the end of a series of concerts of world class music.

It is a confusing line between wanting to enjoy old English songs and music and seeming to appear just a tiny bit jingoistic. I guess we all get it just a bit wrong now and again.

I find the Brittania Coconut Dancers unique, thrilling and more than a bit magical and I cannot say that about much morris. A Jewish friend of ours is uneasy about white men painting their faces black and as a result cannot connect with the sense of drama that I involunterily do.

I think it says a great deal about the sensitivity and sense of justice that abounds in the 'folk community' that we enjoy English and other traditions without becoming jingoistic.

And as for those deadful songs in the fantasia, how many more moving sea songs can you name that those?


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 01:16 PM

Les, you were indeed right - we did divide on this; but then it was always going to happen, as your question only allowed two sides: Like it or hate it, just a song or symbolic of whatever, black or white.
The issue I find is not the division in the responses, but the asking of such a polarising question in the first place. After all, whose ethnic past is untainted?
Imperialism and exploitation, eh? Well, my ancestors were creating empires and "democracy" on the back of slaves when the favourite colour in the british Isles was woad-blue. My very hero, Alexander the Great, was guilty of that too. But he also did a lot of good; and while I may with the benefit of advanced civilisation and knowledge decry much of what he did, I will not judge him out of context and will admire him for the good deeds.
The reason I find the asking of the question disturbing in the first place is that it reminds me of the German society's post-war self-deprecation: so much over the top, that we are now reaping its fruits in neo-Nazism. Because we all need pride in our background. And we all deserve it. To strip a person of that is inviting a reaction and serves no purpose. And to do so on the basis of historic facts viewed with hindsight achieves precious little. Just like hating one's parents for their bad points doesn't make one better. We should learn from the past to improve the present and prepare the future - not wallow in it.
The question of whether singing "Rule Britannia" today is a good thing and whether it implies tacit approval of past practices only serves to muddy waters and divert from questions that are more relevant now: Like the various forms exploitation takes in our times, more insidious but just as despicable.
As an aside: I remember singing "RB" while watching Last Night of the Proms on TV in 1996, having at the time been away from the UK for a few years, brandishing sparklers out of an Amsterdam 9th floor window like a demented fool. I confess to a couple of tears at the time. Heck, I'm not even a Brit! But I lived here for many years, have several good mates, and the tears were perhaps because I was missing them, and all the other good people of this land. The song was just a symbol to me. And in 2000, back in the UK, I watched it again, and that time I took more notice of the ponces in the front row and got discusted and switched off. Same event, same song, same person, different reaction.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:56 PM

Stever Parkes: we agree..."wider still and wider" comes from LofHandG, which I admitted was excessive, word wise. I only said Rule Britannia didnt have particularly imperialistic words.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: PeteBoom
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:36 PM

Right - and how many are gratefull for General Wade... whose efforts were directed toward "rebellious Scots to crush"...

Fercryinoutloud.

Either clean EVERYTHING or leave it as a reminder of the period when it was created. Reminds me of a church I visited in Wisconsin some 25 years ago where the closing hymn "God of Our Fathers" was reworked to "God of Our Parents"...

Pete


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:36 PM

I've alway understood that Blake was referring to churches when he wrote "dark satanic mills". But the meanings of a song don't finish with the ideas in the poet's mind when he wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM

I have just read the thread on Ethno England. How appropriate would it be to sing Rule Brittania at the end of that?

And, just in case am missunderstood:

Not much and I bet it wouldn't enter anybodies head.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM

Dave, the "dark Satanic mills" were Oxford & Cambridge Universities in Blake's vision of things, so I don't expect there'll be much adverse comment from Up North!

Greg, "Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set/God who made thee mighty make thee mightier yet" sounds a bit imperialistic to me. Doesn't marr my enjoyment of singing it once a year, though. I noticed they did the second verse of God Save the Queen, but not the "confound their politics/Frustrate their knavish tricks" one; shame -- I'm all in favour of that!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:09 PM

This was part of my first post:

I guess we will divide completely on this.

One side is descibed by Martin Carthy, in another context, to the effect - you can't do any permanent damage to a song - you sing it - it goes out of someones mouth and into someones ear - you either enjoy it you don't - that's what it's all about.

Another side is challenged by lots of people singing Rule Brittania etc. Britons never...... will be slaves, when Britons enslaved millions of people and became immensly rich and powerful as a consequence.

I was embarrassed to see David Blunkett in the Observer today.

People have misrepresented me and gone off on all kinds of tacks. I was a bit prickled by this from Malcolm because I always value and respect what he posts:

In the face of all that, Les' objections to the last night of the Proms really do look very small and rather petty;

My comments were not about 'The last Night of the Proms'. They were about the singing of a number of songs at the end. For what my opinion on this matter is worth, and I guess not much, most of the music is probably the best of its kind. That's more reason to be confused about those songs at the end.

Music and Art in general can never be free of ethical considerations. Where did the money come from to build the Tate (and Lyle) Gallery?

And, in only a slighty connected way, one of the richest sources of traditional songs from the oral tradition are sea songs and shanties. Are we, in our English Folk Clubs, aware of how what proportion of sailors on English/British ships were black?


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

This isn'tvreally too relevant to the Proms - but I'd disagree with Malcolm about the insignifucance of the slave Trade. There were enormous profits from the trade itself, over a couple of centuries. These were a significant element in fuelling the Industrial Revolution. And that's what I mean by saying there is a debt involved.

True enough, within the British Isles slavery wasn't economically viable, but in British colonies elsewhere, more especially in thge West Indies and on the American mainland the situation was different.

Agreed, there's no point in feeling responsible or guilty (or proud for that matter) because of things our remote ancestors did. In any case, far more of us than realise it could include African slaves among our ancestors, since the sizeable black population of freed slaves in England melded into the general population over a couple of generations. We should worry about the things we are doing today which might make our descendants embarrassed about us, and there's surely enough there.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: fiddler
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

My my my,

I listened to a prog on BBC Radio 4 about this.

lets keep it in perspective - we are not remembering we are enjoying good jingoistic (but well constucted) music. Yup it relates to allsorts of bad things - that we know now - but at the time if we said oh my war is bad we'd not be in a position to sing now we'd probably not exist!

There is a context not only in the words but the periods - Look at all the deaths in the name of religion - or rather please don't it's too horriffic - Lets lie back for once and enjoy being British - which is what none of us brits are good at other than the footbal thugs (who really don't like football but use it as a vehicle) - I'm off on one here.

Context - context - The Yanks are proud of Iraq - I'm not but I understand why they are proud - I don't agree but there we go.

How many folk songs glorify war - how many cover slave trade or glorify the sea - forgot the press gangs have we - context again.

Better go getting contextually boring.

A
XXX


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM

How nitpicking can you get - The BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts are one of the finest series of classical music concerts in the world, and people are quibling over the inclusion over the lyrics of one particular song which is traditionally sung in the final concert. Do people really consider that this ha'porth of tar spoils the last night, let alone the whole season. The last night was originally a chance for the regular prommers to let their hair down after spending many evenings of the previous two months enjoying some wonderful music.

I was always rather uneasy, by the way that the popularisation of the last night (with the more serious music of the first half replaced by popular items for the those outside of the RAH) is seen to be the be-all and end-all of the Proms. How would many folkies feel if the final concert at a festival like Sidmouth or Towersey suddenly became the focus of a completely non-folk public who had no interest in the rest of the programme and wanted "Easy Listening" pieces provided to replace some of the demanding material ?

What about the other items that the audience join in with - any complaints from the northerners about Blake's "Dark Satanic Mills" or from the nautical fraternity about the clapping in "The Sailor's Hornpipe" ?

I have only one gripe about the singing of "Rule Britannia" and that is the fact that at least 95% of the population get the words wrong. Many years ago I can remember "Flash" (the late Sir Malcolm Sargent) pointing out to the audience of a last night that the phrase following "Rule Britannia" was an Imperative and not a Statement - ie it's "rule" not "rules".

Now that I realise how offensive that RB to many people, I'll have to think carefully before singing it in folk clubs even if the chorus does end Marry-i-ed to a merm-i-aid at the bottom of the deep blue sea - BTW there are three versions of it in DT - better complain to Dick !


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:51 AM

Les from Chorlton: you might as well say that any French person singing the Marseillaise is glorifying every single atrocity of the French revolution. They aren't, they are just singing their national anthem, and a grand song it is too.
    The precise sentiments of Rule Britannia arent all that imperialist, by the way. I think they merely extol the virtues of having a few boats deployed defensively round the island to keep marauding Foreigners out. Though I agree that Land of Hope of Glory does have some rather unfortunate lines in it that cannot be conveniently swept under the carpet.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:29 AM

Not intended to be patronising, I assure you; the allusion was to the small number of people who, earlier posters have assured us, take the patriotic bit over-seriously; and to my personal opinion that, so far as the Proms are concerned, it is as harmless as a children's game. I expect I could have been more clear about that.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: ooh-aah
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:58 AM

Apart from the ludicrously patronising bit at the end likening classical music lovers to children. Ho-hum. 'Educate them' forsooth - you sound like a 19th century imperialist yourself! We know exactly what's what, thank you!


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: ooh-aah
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:24 AM

Another nice bit of balanced common sense Mr Douglas.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 09:08 PM

Income from the slave trade was a significant part of the economic development of some areas of Britain (notably Bristol), but less so than in many other countries; and of no significance at all, despite what McGrath says, compared to the Industrial Revolution (during which it quickly became apparent that it was cheaper to use "wage slaves", for whom employers had no responsibility when they were not needed, or when, due to accident or illness, they were unable to work). For what it's worth, slaves brought by their owners into Britain automatically became free, though in practice they continued to be bound to their employers as indentured servants; just as a great many British people were similarly bound. The majority were able to "buy out" eventually (in much the same way as you can "buy out" of the armed forces), and a good number were set up by their former owners as proprietors of lodging houses, pubs and the like. There has been an African input into the British gene-pool from at least the 17th century onwards, though it was quite small to begin with and therefore tends to be forgotten.

That doesn't alter the fact that slavery is an abomination. To pretend, however, that Britain is the prime offender is wilfully to disregard the evidence of history. What's done is done, and cannot be changed. We need to be aware of, and to acknowledge, the mistakes of the past; but to indulge in middle-class angst over things that happened long ago, and over which we had no control, is pointless and fatuous. Is there a nation in the world that has nothing with which to reproach its history? I rather doubt it. We need to concern ourselves instead with the things that are being done in our names today; the illegal invasion of Iraq would be one such, as would the inexcusable interference with national economies of loan-sharks like the International Monetary Fund.

In the face of all that, Les' objections to the last night of the Proms really do look very small and rather petty; not unlike complaining about children playing at "cowboys and indians". They mean no harm, and they don't know any better. By all means educate them; don't try to stigmatise them. That achieves nothing.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM

So did anyone catch Karen Matheson's set?


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: ooh-aah
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 07:09 PM

An interesting point, since slaves were only taken from certain parts of that continent - mostly where the locals were proficient at rounding up their fellow Africans and selling then to the Europeans. Present-day African leaders follow this tradition all too well, of course, all over Africa.
I don't think you have to live anywhere particularly splendid to find urban decay displeasing.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 06:47 PM

ooh-aah, I don't know what splendid place you live that lets you be so sophisticated about Bristol and Liverpool, but it's a safe bet you've never spent much time in any part of Africa.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: ooh-aah
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 06:29 PM

What 'economic prosperity' are you talking about? Have you BEEN to Liverpool or Bristol (biggest slave-trading centres) recently? Yuck, yuck, yuck.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 06:07 PM

But the economic prosperity of Britain is undoubtedly founded on the slave trade, and it still is.

Anyway, feeling guilty or proud about something your distant ancestors might have done is nonsense. Paying off the debt, now that is perhaps another matter.

And none of this has anything to do with "Land of Hope and Glory", or for that matter "Rule Britannia", which some people seem to confuse with it. When an English croud is really feeling patriotic it's probably more likely to sing "Yellow Submarine" or "My Old Man's a Dustman".


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: ooh-aah
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 05:55 PM

I don't see how Les can say we are 'still benefitting' from slavery when any attempt to assert a humane, not too serious and balanced kind of English identity, and have a good sing about it once a year,is always thwarted by people like himself bleating anxiously about slavery, and the dangers of excessive nationalism and so on and so on, and shouldn't we be ASHAMED? etc, etc. Far from benefitting, we are still paying the moral price for slavery. This is despite us being one of the first nations of the world who had enjoyed the economic benefits of slavery (and there were LOTS)to voluntarily ban it - the trade in 1807 and the institution in (I think)1832. The British Government subsequently spent millions of pounds, and the lives of thousands of British sailors (mostly from disease) trying to stamp out the traffic. Unlike the French we did not drop it with great trumpetings during a violent revolution only to quietly continue it under a subsequent dictator, and unlike the Americans we did not include the rights of man into our constitution while quietly continuing with slavery. We did not need a massive civil war to get rid of it either - the will of the British people was against slavery remarkably early (we can tell from petitions of the time, many marked with a cross by illiterate labourers etc, and signed by the Parish priest for authenticity), and if it hadn't been for slave-owning members in the undemocratic Parliament of the time it could have been banned in the 1780's or 90's. So there!


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 01:29 PM

Here is a link to the BBC's Proms Website - and up until September 20th, you can listen to the Last Night and see what you think about it. Links to other sites, including a Picture Gallery of prommers cavorting. I don't know if Dave Bryant is in there somewhere...

And who is on at the Albert Hall tonight, making their debut there? The Dixie Chicks. Though that doesn't count as a Prom.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM

What an arcane and archaic special event!

Glad you all are providing details for those of us elsewhere in this world.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 12:23 PM

I don't no why people want to sing:

Rule Brittania etc. Britons never...... will be slaves, when Britons enslaved millions of people and became immensly rich and powerful as a consequence.

Nothing people have written above helps me to understand. I replied to the post because I clearly have nothing better to do, as has been implied above and I guess that goes for the impliers too.

I did not, and do not wish, to comment on most of the proms. The enslaving of millions of people and the economic expliotation of many more was not my responsibily. I have not suggested it is that of most people of recent generations. However we continue to benifit from it. The recent failures to create fairer systems of trade are part of the same problem.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 11:45 AM

Well I enjoyed it, I took it at face value and consider it an annual spectacular, and a tradition worth preserving. Im afraid that I find the wringing of hands, stabbings of conscience, and regrets for the wrongs of our forefathers somewhat comical. We all have done things we later regretted, but expecting todays Brits to apologise for the occupation of India, etc.etc. sounds a bit like seeking absolution for someone elses sins. I'm afraid that too many people have too much leisure time. I detect a severe case of terminal angst.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 10:05 AM

I have been a regular promenader for over 40 years (and even sung in a few choral works) and for quite a few years I bought full season tickets. I have been to many last nights and always enjoyed them, but as the climax of a great music festival, not just as a single event. To get last night tickets, you have to present six ticket stubs from other proms - and if you leave it too late you might find that they've all run out. I do wish that many people would attend other concerts in the series, rather than only showing interest in the last night.

The RAH is a wonderful place for hearing some of the larger works - Belshazzar's Feast, The Berlioz Requiem, Mahler's 8th, and of course Beethoven's 9th. Despite it's size though, it still manages fairly well for the smaller pieces.

Fionn - at one time the promenader's queue used to be let in nearly an hour before the concert started, and "shouts", "ping-pong" etc, helped to pass the time. In those days, season tickets were issued as books of single ones and buying and selling of unwanted ones also took up some of the pre-concert time. Surely the "Heave" (from the arena) and "Ho" (from the gallery) that accompanies the raising of the piano lid must qualify as a tradition. Considering that most arena promenaders are on their feet for quite a long time, they are wonderfully quiet during the actual performances.

I have heard a few "Shouts" during the actual music, but I think that in most cases they were justified. For example during the premiere of Stockhausen's "Gruppen" with an extremely overworked (and enlarged) percussion section having to run around and leap over bits of kit to get to and strike the next one, the comment "Not so much a concert - more an obstacle race" was entirely appropriate. Especially so as the awkward placement of the instruments had been dictated by Karlhienz himself. On another occasion, the fact that half of the orchestra was at the back of the arena, prompted "What's this - Berio in Stereo ?" - before the music started in this case.

I liked the days when "Shouts" were regularly worked out and spread around before the performance and then carefully timed to happen just after the evening "went on air" - they gave a bit of spice to the evening.

Even after all these years though, the moment that the fountain in the arena is turned off evokes a wonderful feeling of anticipation.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM

You think the nose is funny, you should see the rest of me!!!

You'd be in therapy for weeks!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 09:12 AM

I've seen it, Liz - I had to take a cold shower!


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM

Steve - you should see mine!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:44 AM

Some of us find a funny nose quit sexy, Liz!

Fionn, isn't the puerile behaviour part of the tradition? Of course, I look at it from a man's perspective ...

I watch it because I've always watched if for as long as I can remember (the fifties, probably); same as I always watch the Royal Tournament. If you prefer your music a bit more serious, there's no end of pre-last-night concerts to chose from.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:33 AM

I couldn't help but notice that during the traditional race to the finish between the promenaders and the orchestra, during the 'Fantasia on Sea-songs', the band blatantly cheated by missing out a whole 8 bars, not once, but twice!

And didn't that soprano have a funny shaped nose? Liked her second piece better than the Carmen bit. She sang the first techinically and the second passionately.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:59 PM

Les, If you ever get chance to go to an ordinary prom concert, and see the puerile behaviour of maybe 30 or so regulars at the front, you would be even more pissed off. It's always the same crowd, year after year, many of them hopelessly clinging to memories of their student days, and they get poll position for the last night on the strength of their season tickets.

Without doubt the proms is the worle's serious music festivalpar excellence but within the next few years it will be laid low by the self-indulgent antics of a few. The last night is already an absurd parody of itself, with the BBC desperately milking the "last night" brand for all it's worth, with simultaneous last nights in the park, the car park, etc, etc. Not quite sure why they couldn't have run these add-on events independently of the proms, on a channel appropriate for the kind of audience they are likely to attract. l


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM

"Around here you can say the sky is blue, and someone at Mudcat will swear vehemently that it is gray" - well it is going to be grey in some places, especially over here, that's the way the weather works.

Prom stands for "promenade", because you can move around in the Albert Hall auditorium during the music, in the series of concerts which take place every year in the summer. It's not just a matter of sitting down in a concert seat. Makes it feel more participatory. Typically many people will have a season ticket and come to a whoel number of concerts.

I think songs deserve more respect than is implied by the sentiment that they are just jolly songs and the words don't matter. The words do matter. That doesn't mean you can't sometimes just sing a song without agreeing to what it is saying - but I think when we do that we should be aware that we are doing it, and consciously distancing ourselves from the meaning if we disagree with it. And vice versa.

When I sing a song like "Rolling Home" it's not just a good song - it's a conscious expression of solidarity.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:29 PM

Lynne, it's the second time I've been but the last time was two years ago when, because of Sept 11, it was a different occasion and memorable for different reasons - I cannot now listen to the Barber Adagio without getting a little choked.

Last night was a joyous celebration - yes it is overtly about Britshness but the people around us were from New Zealand, Japan, Iran, Germany and were all having a great time because of music. We spent most of the afternoon and evening talking to people we'd never met from places we'll probably never go. And the balloons and the hooters and the party poppers (many set off in the orchestra , I noticed). Shan's rocket baloons nearly made it to the gallery - well apart from the one that scored a direct hit on one of the second violins.

The Proms are a great institution. Where else can you see Music of that quality for £4? OK, for that price you have to queue and you have to stand a lot - worth it? Oh yes! If you get lucky you can be on the front row with a double orchestra booming out The Planets or to hear Sarah Connelly singing Dido's lament. But it's over for another year. Come tomorrow I'll be out in the back room of the Golden Fleece in Stroud with friends, sharing our songs in a way that other musicians have since Purcell was around. Isn't it a great world where you can do that as well and enjoy it just as much?

Martin


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:23 PM

Greenjack: not only is it 100 years since C Sharp started collecting: the same applies to Vaughan Williams. This is indeed a year to celberate.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:16 PM

Greenjack, wonderful idea, why not post it on the Radio 3 board?

Actually I disagree about RVW, if Butterworth hadn't been killed in WW1 I think he would have been better, but that's a topic for a different thread.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: MBSLynne
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:03 PM

Thanks Chris, you said it better than me!

Oh Martin I do envy you! The atmosphere is so good watching it on television but that must be nothing compared with what it's like being there!

I've been a great believer for a long time, in all music being a fair thing. My tastes are very wide and I sometimes get a bit fed up with the categorising of music. You're right about Leila Josefowicz...she was worth watching as well as listening to.

Lynne


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 04:29 PM

We were lucky enough to be there - about 8 rows from the front in line with the soloists - I love folk music deeply, but Leila Josefowicz plays a pretty mean fiddle. It is a different world - or is it?

During the season there have been a fair number of folk song arrangements - Grainger, Vaughan-Williams (who has to be the Governor) et al. It struck us that there was a missed opportunity here, in a year when we have been celebrating 100 years since Cecil Sharp collected his first folk song. A number of the late night proms were a bit off the wall - I reckon that a programme combining traditional performers with younger performers of traditional song and with orchestral arrangements of the songs would have been a pretty neat event. Imagine the finale when they all got together!

If it sounds like an interesting idea to you, write to Nicholas Kenyon at BBC Radio 3 and suggest it - I plan to!

Martin


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 03:47 PM

Welcome MBSLynne. I know what you're saying. Don't let the negativity get you down. Around here you can say the sky is blue, and someone at Mudcat will swear vehemently that it is gray, or purple or green. Many people are just responding according to their personal experiences. They really aren't attacking you or your ideas. (But there is a strong preponderance to talking instead of listening.)


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: Phot
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 03:34 PM

When will you guys get your heads out of your arseh***s, and just enjoy a good nights singing and music for what it is, instead of trying to justify a political point on every word and lyric?
Lighten up and enjoy the music for what it is.

Good to see you Lynne

Chris


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: MBSLynne
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 03:25 PM

Bloody hell! I rather wish I hadn't started this! I sing hymns sometimes because they are good songs. I'm not a Christian. I sing whaling songs because they are good songs, especially when they have choruses and one can join with a large crowd of others belting them out. What I enjoyed about the Last night of the proms was the belting out of songs with rousing tunes and choruses with a whole load of other people who were enjoying themselves. A pity some people have to be quite so serious and up-tight about things.


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Subject: RE: Last Night of the Proms
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 03:25 PM

Er... question from America: what are the Proms? It's clearly short for something - promenades, promotions,...?

And did anyone catch Capercaillie singer Karen Matheson's set?

Cheers,
Michael


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