Friday, 3 February 2012

Things Ain't What They Used to Be

I'm driving a lot at the moment, which means I'm listening to the radio quite a lot. Unfortunately, as my older daughter remarked after accompanying me on quite a lot of this driving, 'The radio here leaves just about everything to be desired.' She may have gone on to spoil this quite amusing observation by adding, 'In fact, the radio here is shit.'

Anyway, let's not go into how I failed to bring up my children to be polite young ladies, (I don't have any sons, I should add - I wouldn't suggest trying to bring up boys to be polite young ladies, although I suppose an argument could be made for the idea; it's possible the world would be a better place if young men went around aspiring to behave like polite young ladies. But I digress, and anyway I've failed at the more basic task of persuading young women to behave like polite young ladies, so I doubt I'd be likely to manage any more complex task in that domain).

The point is, yesterday I actually heard something quite interesting on the radio: a programme about Ewan McColl, (from which I learnt that a) he knew an enormous about folk music, b) he was a Stalinist and c) he wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"). As well as those basic facts, I also heard this clip from a tape of a meeting at his place in which he describes one of the folk clubs he used to sing in. Listening to it almost made me a convert to the doctrines of Health and Safety:

Should I become a disciple, or am I giving in too easily to the forces of bland?


  1. I've played at least seven places worse than that in the New Jersey area. (I feel like starting a neo "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch: "We used to have to play without instruments. the best I could manage was to have to strum a dead herring...")

  2. "Dead herring, luxury, think yourself lucky: we had to catch live herrings with our bare hands and then strum them as best we could. They were slithery little devils, I can tell you."