The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89365   Message #1686600
Posted By: GUEST,J C
06-Mar-06 - 03:08 PM
Thread Name: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
Sorry, I was interrupted and didn't finish. This is taking far too long, but I'm getting very verbose in my old age and I think there are some points that are worth making.
Back in the late eighties my wife and I recorded a long interview with MacColl stretching over six months. One of the questions we asked him was did he regret having written The Ballad of Stalin. He said he didn't - not that he still held those sentiments – he certainly wouldn't have written it again - but "If you go through life worrying if you will still think the same in ten – twenty – thirty – forty years time, you would never put pen to paper.
My own family was made up of a mixture of Socialists, Communists, Irish Republicans, and those who didn't give a toss one way or the other.   I can remember when Stalin died in 1953 some of them wept; as far as they were concerned the world had lost the leader of the world's first worker's state. On the basis of the information they had available to them then, they were right. The fact that later information led them to change their minds is really beside the point. I was lucky enough to have that information available to me so I didn't make the same mistakes they did, but I hope I'm not smug enough to castigate them for not knowing what I know.
On MacColl's nationality – again from personal experience.
I was born and brought up in the North of England to an Anglo-Irish family. I never really thought about whether I was a Brit or a Paddy, but I got numerous kickings when I was at school for being the latter. I now live in the west of Ireland where I am regarded (I think) as a returned Brit. In the summer we are visited by hundreds of people with London, Birmingham, Bronx, Sydney (you name it) - accents, all pleased to have made it 'home' – sometimes for the first time in their lives: (any Yanks out there named Murphy or Kennedy who know what I'm talking about?).
Finally, there was a wonderful Monty Python (remember them) sketch about a composer named Arthur 'Two-Sheds' Jackson.   He was invited onto an arts programme to discuss his work, but the interviewer insisted on asking him why he was called 'Two Shed', did he compose his music in one of his sheds, what colour were they, why did he need two and on, and on, and on, and on – a bit like this thread really!   
Let's talk about the man's work, not his youthful indiscretions, his politics, where he was born or why he changed his name (or whether he picked his nose). Freeborn Man, Shoals of Herring, The Tenant Farmer, and the 137 Child ballads he put back into circulation tells me everything I want to know about him