Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zombies, lobsters and kilts

Tuesday was cloudy, shock horror! But, still warm enough for shorts. Off to the Fisherman's Rowing Club for a session on Stories and Ballads of Magic and Transformation by Dave Arthur. It was really good, covering all sorts of transformations, with a lot of talk about ghosts and the walking dead. Apparently people who come back to life are called revenants, I didn't know that. I thought they were zombies! It was a widely held belief for many years that if you had a bad death, as opposed to a good death of course, then you could come back as a revenant, and there are many good stories and songs about them. To kill them you had to chop off their heads and cut their hearts out apparently. Staking them down also helped to keep them in their graves! Another common belief was the fairies, and we listened to some recordings of old storytellers talking about them. There's a common story about getting lost and walking around in circles which is a state known as a fairy straying. Dave's theory was that much of these beliefs could be explained by the dirty wheat used for making bread which contained hallucinogenic plants. Once threshing machines were invented, the fairies disappeared! Apparently there's a good book about it call Bread of Dreams.

Then off for some important business, shopping for tea. I bought crabs, lobsters, anchovies, smoked salmon, prawns and smoked mackerel, so nice to have so much fish around, and not expensive. Dressed lobsters at £4.50 is not something you see in Sheffield!

I wanted to catch Ray Hearne, a local singer songwriter at some point during the week but was finding it difficult, so dashed off to a session on songwriting which he was singing at. He's written some great songs, and one of the ones he chose to sing was written for the Radio Ballads series, the programme on Steelworkers. Called Pudding Burner, it was about the women who drove the cranes in the steel works during the Second World War. Pudding Burner being the nickname for any women who dared to turn up at the Sunday lunchtime gatherings in the Working Men's Clubs. Great song.

A large gathering of friends and family in the Shambles in the afternoon was good fun, and then it was off to Family Folk Tunes. Again MCd by Stanley Accrington, and based on Family Fortunes.

And yes, they had asked 100 folkies the answers to the questions. Guess what the top answer to "which instrument would you most like to run over?" was...


Yep, Banjo.

Then home for a very large seafood salad. By the time we were ready to walk to the ceilidh it was raining, and by the time we got there we were soaked. It was that wet rain, the kind that wets you. Dancing in soaking wet jeans is not a pleasant experience, but the kids were up for dancing and the band were great. Gallus again, and this time kilts had made an appearance. Even Martyn Harvey the caller was wearing one, describing it as liberating. Thought he was very brave to stand so close to the edge of a very high stage in it though! Great fiddle playing from Aidan Broadbridge:

Then Stu and I walked up to The Metropole for a very late night concert starting at 1130. It was packed,but we managed to get two seats right at the front. An excellent line up starting with The Young Uns, 3 lads who couldn't half sing.

Then 422 who played some cracking tunes,

and then The Wilsons who were on great form as usual.

Amazingly powerful singing, and again lots of banter. They've just appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in the folk prom, and I suspect they were rather difficult to manage. The musical director in a rehearsal said they'd lost 8 bars, to which they retorted that they'd never lost a bar in their lives.

Here's a clip of them singing Biker Hill

When we came out it was still raining, so we got a cab home. Funnily enough no one else was up, but it was past 2am.

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