Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No Meeting on this Friday, the 23rd

Despite the lack of immediate-pre-Christmas events at the City Folk Club, a "Bah! Humbug!" attitude is not entirely prevalent, despite what you might think.

On behalf of the 'organisers' of the City Folk Club, I wish all City Folk Club attendees, past and present, supporters, friends and other like-minded folk, a very happy Xmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Ken. (No, that's not his picture).

The next meeting (full details in a preceding blog-post) will be on the 30th of December at the usual venue.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Remember, remember ...

The City Folk Club will NOT be meeting on Friday 23rd December.

On Friday 30th December will will be holding our

Grand Turn-of-the-Year Celebration.
  • We intend to have a prompt start with music at 8.00pm.
  • Doors will open at 7.30pm.
  • Please bring buffet-style food/Christmas left-overs to share.
  • Have your left-over seasonal songs and music ready for performance.
  • Dress-code: Lynda would like to dress up. Otherwise it's optional, but the wearing of clothes is recommended.
  • Leave at home all those things that might go 'BANG!'
  • We are granted an extension until midnight on the understanding that we leave in absolute silence.
So, let's say farewell to 2011 with fond memories of some joyous evenings of great company and music as we look forward to another successful year at The City Folk Club.

In the words of Tiny Tim:
God bless us, every one!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Being The 16th of December, 2011 ...

This was our last meeting before Christmas for 2011 and the evening was tinged with a certain amount of holiness.
There was also the customary jollity, even in the absence of two of our regularly frivolous participants.
Angela brought along a friend to assist in her direction of proceedings.
Her accomplice looked a little like this ...

I didn't catch the name, nor even discerned the gender.
He/she does not speak or sing, but, (given a little human intervention,) this flightless individual is capable of rhythmic swaying, waving, and even silent applause.

The gathering therefore totalled 26 bodies and 1 cuddly toy.
At the end of the evening Dogsbody noticed that the contribution pot was just a little short of the sum expected.
Did the penguin pay?

So what?
This is the season of goodwill.
These were our offerings:

The Good Old Way: Angela, Roland & Colin
Mistletoe and Wine: Lucy
The Snows they Melt the Soonest: Lynda
You Gentlemen of England: Roland
Lady of Beauty: Eddie
Blue Cockade: 'Folk in Chaos' (= Dave, Jane G., Phil & Liz.)
Silent Night: Lorna
Black is the Colour: Margaret
Leaning in the Everlasting Arms: Jane R. & Roger
Small Things: Folk in Chaos
Knocking on the Window: Tony
Grandma's Feather Bed: Mike
Motherless Child: Roger
Coventry Carol: Mave
Christmas Day in the Morning (Shetland tune): Mick
Caledonia: Folk in Chaos
Mary's Boy-Child: Les
His Eye is on the Sparrow: Paul
Appalachian Carol: Colin
Le Sommeil du Bébé Jésus: Angela
Delta Dawn: Lucy & Paul
Scarlet Ribbons: Lynda
Sally Gardens: Amanda
Good King Wenceslas: Eddie
Gloucester Wassail/Dvorak's 9th Symphony: Lorna
Winter Wonderland: Margaret
I Send my Love to You: Jane
In no Strange Land: Roger & Mick
Jenny, Won't you Please Take me Home: Mike
Let it Snow: Mave
If I Die Young: Folk in Chaos
Little Drummer Boy: Les
It's a Wonderful Life: Paul
While Shepherds Watched: Colin & full cast

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Now, all be upstanding.
As the festive season approaches I simply had to share this ...

Thanks to George Wilson and Sam Satyanadhan, via Facebook and Youtube.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Being The 9th of December, 2011 ...

Mike was in the chair to welcome a congregation of 17 other participants, including two new faces: Melanie and Steve.
We were very pleased to have Tony back in our company after his recent spell of hospitalisation.

These were the occasionally wintry offerings:

Gypsy: Mike P.
Streams of Lovely Nancy: Lynda
White Christmas: Eddie
Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Lucy
Carol Mudley: Lorna
The Fox Jumps over the Parson's Gate: Roland
Bright Morning Stars: Angela
A Short March: Richard
I'm Just a Country Boy: Tony
Rambling Boy: Les
Christians and Pagans: Melanie
When Winter Comes Howling in: Dave
Cold Winter is Come: Colin
In Spite of Ourselves: Steve & Melanie
Grave Digger: Tony
Flowers Never Bend in the Rainfall: Mike
Maid of Culmore: Lynda
There'll Never be another You: Lucy
All I Want: Les
Holly and the Ivy: Lorna
Good Ale: Roland & Colin
Wandering Boy: Angela
"On the porch with a banjo": Richard *
Bottle of Wine: Les
Let the Mystery Be: Melanie
City of New Orleans: Dave
Shelter from the Storm: Steve
When all Men Sing: Colin & full chorus, (including women!)

(* Richard's Medley included a tune interestingly entitled 'Push the little pig's foot closer to the fire'. Hmmm!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dance me to the end of love ...

Be transported by this:

Jane - lead celestial vocalist.
Roger - mystic guitar.
Mick - burning violin.
David - baritone ukulele, harmonic vocals and sound engineer.
Linda - silhouette dancer.

We are so very fortunate to have such musicians and dancers in our world, aren't we?

Thanks to David for permission to post this delightful recording.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The First Book Review ...

I have just finished reading Georgina Boyes’ award-winning book The Imagined Village. (1993, Manchester University Press.)
It was a hard read, albeit a paperback!

My expectations of a romantic account of rural England in bygone days were utterly misplaced.
This is  a well crafted and meticulously researched academic social/historical tome about the folk revival in England.

Within these pages Georgina questions the very existence of ‘folk’ in her first chapter.
Enigmatically she entitles that chapter: ‘A Name for our Ignorance’.
She describes the early years of The Folk Song Society, (founded 1898,) as a hegemony overseen and orchestrated by Cecil Sharp.
In 1911 Sharp was instrumental in founding The English Folk Dance Society, and it was not until 1932, (after CJS's death in 1924,) that the two organisations amalgamated to become The English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Key-words in the aims of these organisations were ‘preservation’ and ‘education’.

Georgina has little sympathy for Sharp.
He comes across as an arrogant dictator.
She accuses folk song/dance collectors of appropriation of heritage from those rustic people from whom they recorded their material.
Sharp near-raped country folk for his own commercial benefit.
Then CJS sanitises the lyrics and arranges the songs for piano accompaniment, to be performed during school lessons, and only publicly exhibited by trained singers dressed in evening-wear.
Moreover, CJS claims copyright!

It is clear from Georgina’s account that the folk revival was not immune from politics.
CJS is perceived as an autocrat.
Mary Neal, Sharp’s accomplice in promulgating traditional dance, seems to have been largely ignored by history. I think she was a socialist, and she had suffragette sympathies. Both seem to have been colluding in an effort to bring about a socio-cultural transformation. 

Misogyny was rife, even though membership of all these societies was oestrogen-heavy.
FDS declared that morris and sword dancing were exclusively male activities.
Women could only attend social dances if they were accompanied by a man.
Then came Henry B. Gardiner. He is portrayed a fascist.
He was followed by Douglas Kennedy who had near-Nazi sympathies, and very political agenda.
Women remained problematic.

This all gets a bit scary! 

Was ‘folk’ rescued by Ewan McColl and Bert Lloyd? (Communists, both.)
McColl used to require that singers at his folk club restricted material to their native language.
The guitar was unwelcome.

Were we in Britain reminded of our heritage only when Joan Baez brought back British songs from across the Atlantic?
What about all those protest songs?
Where do contemporary compositions fit in?

I return to my earlier contention that folk music is what you hear in a folk club.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being The 2nd of December, 2011...

Dogsbody wasn't there, so Lynda set up the hall before going to collect Paul:

I understand that some enthusiastic and hardy participants waited in the cold for a key-holder to arrive.
Otherwise, I tremble in anticipation to discover exactly what went on in my absence.

Lynda collated the song list:

Pilot of the Airwaves: Paul
Look What they've done to my Song, Ma: Lynda & Paul
Fakenham Fair: Roland
No Telephones in Heaven: Angela, Roland & Paul
Dancing with You: Eddie
When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney: Yvonne
Flying High: Mike H.
Chocolate Jesus: Jane
Here Comes the Sun: Les
A Heart Needs a Home: Mike P.
Angie: Mick
Willy 'Ole Lad: Nigel
Flying Sorcery: Dave
Anything that's part of you: Paul
Stewball: Lynda
The Flying Cloud: Roland
I'll Fly Away: Angela & Roland
Sing with me now: Eddie
Lavender's Blue: Yvonne
Effervescent Elephant: Mike H.
Please, please, please, let me get what I want: Jane
Morningtown Ride: Les
Beeswing: Mike P.
Blackbird: Paul & Mick
Look Where I've ended up now: Dave

Seems like a lot of flying went on!