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neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.

Sleepy Rosie 21 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM
Jack Campin 21 Nov 08 - 03:45 PM
Little Hawk 21 Nov 08 - 03:51 PM
Joybell 21 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM
PoppaGator 21 Nov 08 - 04:50 PM
Murray MacLeod 21 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM
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The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 08 - 06:02 AM
trevek 22 Nov 08 - 06:26 AM
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RiGGy 22 Nov 08 - 06:39 PM
Joe G 22 Nov 08 - 06:59 PM
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Manitas_at_home 23 Nov 08 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM

I've been bumping up against neo-fascism in England and in particular the British Nazi movements ideological investment in our English heritage.

Can anyone enlightn me as to what the fuck? I thought these guys liked lager and football riots...
    Note: this discussion is open only to registered members.
    All Guest posts will be deleted, with NO exeptions for members who are not logged in
    - so please do not reply to Guest posts.
    We've had too many problems with Guest posts on this subject.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 03:45 PM

Not so much "neo" as the original. Google for Rolf Gardiner.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 03:51 PM

Well, German folksongs were very popular among Nazis, young and old, during the 30s and 40s. This was probably true in Italy and in Franco's Spain too. What makes you think that folk music and fascism are mutually exclusive? One of the notable features of fascism is a fierce pride in (many of) the nation's old cultural traditions, one of which is traditional folk music. Part of the appeal of fascism is that it invokes old heroic national myths or archetypes and attempts to meld them with new military technology, for example.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM

Labels are moveable. I can think of many times a label has been attached to songs, ideas, the way someone looks, paintings.
In the 60s True-love was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. In Mississippi the KKK jammed the radios with wonderful old music and songs. Both sides loved those old songs.
Joy


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 04:50 PM

I've seen videos of a white-supremacist meeting in Tennessee with Memphis soul music (black singers accompanied by integrated bands) playing in the background.

Go figure.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM

This song (Tomorrow Belongs to Me) has always inspired mixed emotions as far as I am concerned.

I have linked to this version rather than the movie clip because this video is a little more thought provoking.

I happen to think it is a truly great song, but in the movie it acquires horrendous overtones .

I know it isn't a folksong and that it was written for the musical, but it does have the timeless quality that all great songs have, whether "folk" or not.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:30 PM

I can't do YouTube on the computer I normally use for Mudcat - what do you mean, "Tomorrow Belongs to Us" from "Cabaret"?

There's a similar phenomenon in Scotland - the fascist wing of Scottish nationalism, Siol nan Gaidheal, has a lot of folkies in it. One of the better known is a neo-Celtic bagpiper and folkdance instructor, others are into the crude we-gubbed-the-English historical song genre that Gaberlunzie specialize in. (I've no idea to what extent Gaberlunzie themselves are that way inclined, but they must have noticed the response that kind of song gets).


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM

yes, you guessed right Jack.

somehow, Gaberlunzie songs just don't have the same spine chilling effect ...


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 06:53 PM

During the wars in the former Yugoslavia, folk music of one sort or another was very much in evidence as a way of generating enthusiasm for the conflict among Serbs.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 07:31 PM

Maybe Sleepy Rosie could say where she'd come across the connection - just on the "English national instrument" thread, or elsewhere?

English folk can't be a promising avenue of infiltration for a fascist these days. In the 20s and 30s, it had much more potential as a mass phenomenon, and in the Balkans (not just Serbia) it still is one, with the "turbofolk" movement. You can't go far in the British folk scene without bumping into a grumpy old Daily Mail reader, but they aren't going to be organizing uniformed mass rallies any time soon.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 07:33 PM

Keep an eye out for this lot - Steadfast Trust..

We had one chap that we thought was quite a good recruit to the local folk scene albeit with some romantic ideas about Anglo-Saxon England. Then he started campaigning for this bunch and spouting forth against immigration and the importance of the Germanic-Scandinavian gene pool.

He was told his ideas were not welcome and we don't see much of him now.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 05:34 AM

The big advantage to fascists of concentrating on the past is that while you're getting maudlin about the sad sufferings and stirred by the heroic deeds of a hundred years ago - you can be dismissive of the sufferings and heroic deeds of the society you want to change with the jackboot.

Having said that, you can't chuck away your heritage and the advantages its confers.

I do feel though, we have been through a terrible time of people feeling that they can confront and dismiss what the generality of people are listening to - and thus disenfranchise them from the folk process.

In the 1960's we were all so bloody competitive - who could be the most esoteric. It was not just folk. It was every kind of music. In classical music it was Schoenberg and John Cage outraging the Beethoven fans. Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayers in the jazz field - outraging the boppers, who in turn had had their fun pissing off the trad jazz fans. And didn't we all love the look of puzzlement and anger on our parents faces when B Dylan's discordant harmonica, and Jimi Hendrix's drug inspired feedback epics gripped their shit.

Our comeuppance was soon on the way though, when the traddies hit the form that has never really deserted them. An insistence that old gypsy singers were doing it right, and the rest of us were doing it wrong - an obsession with dance tunes that no one much in England dances to. songs in accents no one speaks in any more.

When we so totally ignore the present in trying to cling to the past - we are on our way to accepting the fascist agenda. Its to do with saying, 'I have no obligation to communicate with you. You must get on MY wavelength.'

I think it is high time we tried to build bridges - the fascist are already saying - No need to understand the man down your street - understand your glorious past!

Big Al Whittle
(speaking from the BNP heartland in North Notts)


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:02 AM

an obsession with dance tunes that no one much in England dances to

Really? On the eceilidh list only a couple of days ago, Derek Kingscote wrote (in a discussion about the lack of a searate dance music category on the Folk Awards):

"I call for about forty ceilidhs a year [weddings/PTAs/parties etc] and the average attendance is around 100 [ok not all of those dance] but that's 4000 people a year watching and dancing to e-c; and I'm just a jobbing caller. If there are, say, 100 callers nationally doing a similar amount to me then that's 400,000 people a year [and I'm not talking about the e-c mafia and their Woodpeckers, Committee, Stomp, Gloworms, Random, Steamchicken, etc and the all the regular dancers you see at these events] This is Joe Public having traditional culture given back to them".

That's a lot more than "no-one much".

There is, however, considerable concern over attempts to hijack the work of well-known artists by the nasty right. Chris Wood, Spiers & Boden. Show of Hands and Maggie Holland (to name but four acts from the top of my head) have had struggles on their hands to get listings of recordings and illegal streamings removed from neo-fascist sites which used them in such a way as to suggest that they were lending their support. It's very insidious, but that's how fascists operate. In present day Germany. trad music is still a shameful, guilty secret which remains locked away in university music departments because today's musicians don't want to be associated with its nazi connotations. It's desperately important not to let Britain's white supremacists get hold of ours.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: trevek
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:26 AM

I think a lot of it ties in with visions of the idyllic Britain of the 19thC and early 20thC, funnily enough, when all the folk movements and anthropology were getting into the swing.

Across Europe people were digging up old folk songs and classifying things as 'pure whatever-nation'.

If you think about Irish Gaelic nationalism, Finnish nationalism (Kalevala etc)and Polish nationalism (Mickiewicz etc) then it really isn't that surprising to find it being used today.

I've seen Punch and Judy being heralded by BNP. It's symbolic of the fight for survival of 'British Culture" against the PC brigade. Worrying, cos I'm a Punch performer myself and certainly not a BNP supporter.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:49 AM

You gotta do what your conscience and your sensibility dictates I guess, Diane.

I was absolutely gobsmacked to find a village about two miles away from me (Brinsley)on the PM programme. Apparently 42% of people from there support and vote for the BNP.

I know this place has always had its problems - the lead singer of Skrewdriver was born in Heanor (just down the road) and the BNP have had rally weekends in Jacksdale (between here and Heanor).

It made me think there needs to be a new note in our music. Its not there in my music at the moment and in its certainly not there in any of this old stuff. We've been waking up and smelling the coffee too long, we need to wake up and smell the danger.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: RiGGy
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:39 PM

I have a good friend who's a great fiddler. He got a gig with a successful, touring Celtic-Rock band from Northern California.
Over a relatively short time he noticed a sharp spike in skin-head attendence at their concerts. Turns out they were adopted as a musical focus for a neo-nazi org. Seems that a new take on celtic is that it's REAL "white" music. Buddy quit the gig.

Riggy


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Joe G
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:59 PM

I'm struggling to follow the argument here weelittledrummer - are you saying that we should reject our folk traditions in case by hanging on to them we leave them open to appropriation by the extreme right? I believe it actually makes it more important for those of us with moderate political views to celebrate our folk traditions so that they are not twisted by those who would use them for their own evil ends. I also hugely support those on the folk scene who are building the bridges you mention - I consider The Imagined Village to possibly be the most important folk CD for a generation - though I also believe that Steve Knightley's Roots is possibly the most important song.

I can't see why you have chosen to criticise English Dance Music in this context as well - as Diane says there are quite a lot of people who adore this music, including me. I don't see why it should be abandoned for fear of subversion by the fascists!

Sorry if I have misunderstood you but, though I love contemporary folk probably more than traditional, I believe we need both to prosper.

Interested to hear you further views, especially if I have misinterpreted your comments


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 07:26 PM

No I'm saying we need to write something pretty bloody quick which addresses the present situation, where fascists (who my Dad spent five shitty years in a tank fighting against) are getting elected. Not just dumb kids but parents are passing these racist ugly violent values on to a next generation.

If you think you can say something which addreses a modern audience on the subject sounding like a peasant or factory worker of a century ago - you do it!

Steve 's song - I don't really want to comment on. I'm not really much in sympathy with it. I've had to work anywhere there's a job, anywhere I can afford to live all my working life. We'd all like to live in a two hundred grand cottage in Cornwall.

However he states his position with eloquence and he has great presence and stagecraft - compared to the early 1970's when he used to gig down the Opposite Locks in Exeter. I admire him and Phil Beer immensely. and paul Downes.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Joe G
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 07:39 PM

Thanks for that clarification - I certainly can't do it but I think Robb Johnson has been doing just that for many years - unfortunately he does not seem to have acquired the audience he should have given the quality of his material and performance.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 08:58 PM

Okay i'll look out for his work.

But really if there is someone who is doing it. We should know about it. And its the fault of BBC djs (mainly paid by the public purse) that we don't.

cos its the best thing our music can do for our age. Far more important I've heard addressed by the current crop of folkies. Myself included in the criticism.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 09:06 PM

are we gonna wait til these bastards start killing people? Study Hitler. Its not very far down the line. right now I feel intimidated to write something - knowing that 42% of the village down the road are pro fascist.

It really is that simple. which side are you on?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 02:58 AM

But why is it that White supremacists seem to have latched on to Celtic culture? Didn't Hitler consider the Celts to be lesser humans?

Mind you, that's not as strange as skin-heads in the 1960's and 70's playing reggae and ska.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 04:10 AM

From Wiki : A skinhead is a member of a subculture that originated among working class youths in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and then spread to other parts of the world. Named for their close-cropped or shaven heads, the first skinheads were greatly influenced by West Indian (specifically Jamaican) rude boys and British mods, in terms of fashion, music and lifestyle. Originally, the skinhead subculture was primarily based on those elements, not politics or race. Since then, however, attitudes toward race and politics have become factors in which some skinheads align themselves. The political spectrum within the skinhead scene ranges from the far right to the far left, although many skinheads are apolitical.

On YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufKb5M9Uj4E


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 05:05 AM

'But why is it that White supremacists seem to have latched on to Celtic culture? Didn't Hitler consider the Celts to be lesser humans?'

well you could play the connections game all day. aren't there celtic connections with Wagner's operas.

Not that I think it loomed large in the oafs minds who attacked the newsagents 6 year old kid in in our village.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 06:09 AM

Cheers for the requested illumination people. Very interesting discussion, thanks. Although I'm in no informed position to comment, I can certainly appreciate where weelittledrummer's 'dangers of purity' type reasoning is coming from. And it's a thought provoking one.

Yes I know the Caberet clip, and a little of the history of German Nazisms appropriation of folk tradition to their cause.

The BNP are always looking for some way to appeal to the 'common man'. In recent years they have toned down their style. And they do appear to be doing so with increasing success now. Where once they were laughed off, I too think they are an increasingly insideous influence.

So, I'm curious about the politics. Are many folkies out there actively addressing this?
Any folk anti-fascist songs being written...?
Must admit to have a fond spot for a bit of Billy Bragg in days past.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 02:39 PM

There's always a danger that fascists will appropriate traditional folk songs but I'm with Joe and Diane that its all the more reason not to give them up. Luckily the far right doesn't exactly seem to be producing a slew of talented folk singers and most folk clubs and events I know wouldn't exactly welcome them with open arms. Hopefully that is the same elsewhere.

I think it's a shame that so few of our contemporary UK folksong writers (is that the right phrase?) are addressing political/social issues, but I hope if more start to, it isn't just mindless sloganeering and purer-than-thou piety. That would send me, for one, running for the hills. The best left wing/protest singers have also been great story tellers and aware of nuance and subtlety - such as Leon Rosselson or Billy Bragg when at their best. When Chris Wood gets stuck into addressing contemporary concerns he's bloody good at it (just listen to Trespasser) but I can't think of many others.

Maybe folk club organisers and regulars could name a few have come there way over recent years? Maybe some of our left of centre songwriting Mudcatters could big themselves up here?

I suspect the folk clubs will hardly be the front line in the current battle against fascism, though, any more than any other harmless, minority interest hobbyist groups...


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 03:46 PM

If only I could write and perform like Billy Bragg but it's wrong to wish on space hardware.

If a leftie folkie was doing a song that derided the Bastard Nutter Patrol would a sympathiser of the latter even notice? If it was done to a trad tune do you think they listen to lyrics?

Well I guess they aren't all thick. More's the pity.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 03:52 PM

I suppose theres no real reason why folk music should concern itself - any more than any other music.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM

Robb Johnson is a good call - he's a really good songwriter, IMHO.

The following comes from the BNP's Mission Statement:

"Torch bearers of culture

The rich legacy of tradition, legend, myth and very real wealth of landscape and man-made structures is one of our island's richest treasures. The men and women of the British National Party are motivated by love and admiration of the outpouring of culture, art, literature and the pattern of living through the ages that has left its mark on our very landscape. We value the folkways and customs which have been passed down through countless generations."

I found two members of my local morris side (and it's a side that blacks up - am I right to find this even more disturbing?) on the recently leaked BNP membership list. Maybe I'm wrong to do so, but as they are both listed as "activists", I presume that their membership of a morris side is one expression of their political identity. I also presume that they are not an isolated case.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Nov 08 - 07:15 PM

If I may edit slightly: -

"The rich legacy of tradition, legend, myth and very real wealth of landscape and man-made structures is one of our island's richest treasures. We are motivated by love and admiration of the outpouring of culture, art, literature and the pattern of living through the ages that has left its mark on our very landscape. We value the folkways and customs which have been passed down through countless generations."

Now what could be wrong with that?

Al, Tom Robinson wrote some superb anti-nazi songs - but alas his chord sequences are so much cleverer than one realises (mark of an artist there) that I can't play any of them. I'd like to do them acoustic though.

More generally, I do feel it important that we both preserve and renew the great music and song from our past - and beieve that there is a link through that tradition to the present day. That should not get that great music and song dismissed as irrelevant or condemned as racist (both of which happen disappointingly often here on this site).

There is no reason why there should not be accretion to the tradition. As I type I am re-playing the Maddy Prior thing off BBC4 and when Maddy Prior and June Tabor do "the Grey Funnel Line" it's nearly made it as a folk song (1954 def) even if we know the composer. The next song in the set is "Dives and Lazarus" - more boogied than I do it. Folk song can come up to date too (athough the line about the dogs licking his sores away makes me heave!).

I am more worried about the Irish songs that celebrate the murder of the English than I am about the Scottish similar ones, perhaps because the relevant events are more recent.

Where do we draw the line? Is it only modern song that must not address the impermissible? Remember the fellow from the BNP, what was his name, Hannam? He used to be a member and post here. Not a bad guitarists, not a bad singer. Some songs that were good presenters of social concern - until suddenly the absence of housing was the fault of foreign immigrants - rather than the capitalist system.

Why and where does pride in one's ancestry and history and traditions tip over into hatred of others? (Other than the French of course - Trafalgar to the lot of them).

Difficult stuff.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: bobad
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 07:12 PM

It seems that the BNP are big fans of Mudcat, they even set up a web page extolling its virtues: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=7570532622.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 07:41 PM

In the US "folksingers" are just assumed to be left leaning peacenick agitators. My impression is that the same music without those assumptions gets called Country...


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Escapee
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 09:37 PM

It hardly seems fair that we have to tolerate these people. My father got to drop bombs on them.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 11:14 PM

And their fathers got to drop bombs on "you". So what? That's what young people in air forces do whenever their country gets involved in a war. After it's over, the ones who won it get to lord it over the others and declare their immense moral supremacy for a few decades or centuries afterward...(depending on how long their military dominance lasts).

Tolerance is the hallmark of any genuinely democratic society. Intolerance is the hallmark of fascism, authoritarianism, dictatorships, and other extreme systems of that sort. If you want the right not to "tolerate" certain groups of people expressing their views, then I think you may be on the wrong track.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 03:13 AM

Yes I was a huge fan of Tom Robinson of the Power in the darkness period. Saw him loads of times. I thought he would be the English Springsteen. I'd rather have a drink with Martin, than the bloke in Meeting by the River.

Tom was having an affair with the Head of Drama at the school I was teaching in at the time. I never got to meet him but I locked onto his recordings - I was very sorry when he didn't seem to spot the potential himself!

Anyway, I wrote this, and I'll probably stick some chords to it soon.

The Blame Game Boys

Oh the rich man stood on his castle wall
And said that the poor deserve bugger all
So soon there was no one oiling the lock
And all the economy went to cock
And the radio kept up a stream of pap
And the tv pumped out nowt but crap
Dream of being a ce-leb/wag on a reality show
Buy this year's strip, and give it a go!

Chorus
The Blame Game Boys are out there , and at it again
First they tell you, that you're their friend
They say, Oh my friend, you're not a reading man
But from the book of hate I taken this plan
Its all these blacks and all these Asians
They ruin the fabric of our nation
And soon the bloke next to you in the pub
Has a mind like a jackboot or a club

And the schools couldn't teach the kids
And no one could reach
So much wrong-headed right wing crap had been preached

Chorus
The Blame Game Boys are out there at the school gate
Stopping the white kids calling 'em mate
You don't read too good, don't worry man
I've read the book of hate and I've got a plan
Its all these blacks and all these Asians
All the fault of this immigration
And soon the kid next to you is going through life
With a mind like a jackboot or a flick knife

So this is a song
To say your parents are wrong
If they vote BNP, they've been fooled and conned
You wanna go the place Hitler took the krauts?
Just think twice before you bring that about
Pride in Fatherland
Make the foreigner bow
It was bollocks then and its bollocks now!
Chorus
The Blame Game Boys are out there , and at it again
First they tell you, that you're their friend
They say, Oh my friend, you're not a reading man
But from the book of hate I taken this plan
Its all these blacks and all these Asians
They ruin the fabric of our nation
And soon the bloke next to you in the pub
Has a mind like a jackboot or a club
© Alan Whittle 25/11/2008 07:48:08


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 03:14 AM

Allright you!
Hey Nonny sodding no!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:28 AM

Goood man, WLD!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:36 AM

There are lots of differences between the "left" and the "right" - but their ability to use folk music and song for their own purposes is not one of them.

Regards


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:56 AM

On Saturday night I was playing traditional music for people to dance to.Every week I play traditional songs for people to listen to. Until wee little drummer pointed it out on this thread, I had never realised that I was thereby opening the door to fascism. What should I do? Burn my guitar? Perhaps it will be all right if I write "This machine kills fascists" on the fret board.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 05:07 AM

Tonight I'm backing Hugh Lamond, Ilkeston's only singer in Gaelic (and no I don't understand the words). I don't see why addressing a contemporary audience and playing traditional songs have got to be mutually exclusive.

Why aren't they part of the same thing - folkmusic. But I get told my songs aren't folkmusic.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 06:21 AM

While I am sure there is plenty of scope to oppose fascism with contemporary folk song, my main concern is to make sure that traditional music does not become identified with the right and it suffers the sad fate of German folk music. Ruth's quote from the BNP's Mission Statement above shows the danger.

I have heard that Nick Griffin likes to finish BNP meetings with a hearty rendition of John Barleycorn. This is not a reason for not singing John Barleycorn but a reason to sing it all the more in celebration of its central message and abiding truth - Beer Makes You Drunk!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 06:43 AM

Well if you're absolutely sure in your own mind and you're insistent that John Barleycorn stands for nothing except getting drunk - you really have only yourself to blame.

The song is (from the top of my head and I'm no trad scholar) about the fecundity of the earth, the equality of all men before a great force of nature, the cruelty and pitiless nature of the life cycle....

Sounds to me that at least this Griffin character has recognised there is substance there - even if he has seized upon it and misappropriated it.

If you leave unconsidered trifles hanging round - they will be snapped up.

The reason this song is not more well known to the general public and they don't know about it, despite nearly sixty years of folk clubs on the streets of England is because - your traddy lobby has insisted that it be sung in a daft lugubrious voice in a style that recognises its true modal character. In other words totally inaccessible to modern ears.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 06:45 AM

It depends. There are three versions of John Barleycorn (maybe more).


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 06:54 AM

The band that I play with has a repertoire consisting of 99% traditional folk music. We play a lot of gigs in Stoke, which judging by the council elections is a BNP hotbed. But I have to say the right wing is not in evidence at our gigs (as far as I can judge). I think we appeal mainly to woolly minded lefty Guardian readers, as folk music has always tended to in living memory. I may be wrong, obviously, the far right doen't tend to wear swastika arm bands when going to the pub. But I would be incredibly suprised if they are coming to our gigs.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please iluminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 07:03 AM

OK WLD, it's also about corn deities and death and resurrection and Osiris and Jesus. What it is NOT and must never be is an anthem for fascists and racists.

Sing it how you like but SING IT or else the nasties will take it over.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 07:44 AM

"Why and where does pride in one's ancestry and history and traditions tip over into hatred of others?"
Richard Bridge (posted above)

I wish I knew the answer to that Richard.   Sometimes I wonder if patriotism and racism aren't two sides of the same coin. Maybe a racist is only a patriot who has got on top, and a patriot is just a racist who is still underneath. Perhaps the day will come when everyone on this planet realises that we are all citizens of the same world, and that (as Auden said in 1939) "we must love one another or die". But not just yet, I fear.

Meanwhile, the old familiar stuff keeps on happening. If people who live in misery, feel humiliated and see no hope for the future are fed with plausible lies by charismatic orators, what happened in Germany in 1933 could happen again. Anywhere. (Yes, even here.) And against this threat, the old familiar remedies still apply. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance – and all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that the good do nothing.

Singing politically "right-on" songs may help, but it's not enough. It may prick the consciences of the comfortable, but it has little impact on the deprived, the desperate, or the deranged.   The bigger challenge is to create an environment where people who feel downtrodden and undervalued (sometimes with reason) have better things to look forward to than the ultimate victory of "us" over "them".

And how is this to be achieved? Well, if I knew an easy answer, I might become a highly paid government consultant, a best-selling author, or a Guardian columnist (rather than a retired history teacher who dances the Morris and plays guitar in a ceilidh band). Anyhow, I suspect that the economic and social renewal of an entire nation requires something more than a master-plan scribbled on the back of an envelope by an amateur.

While we wait for the professionals to tackle the big problems, there are tasks nearer at hand that we might undertake. Music, dance and song (traditional or contemporary) can play a part in restoring the sense of community which has been so massively eroded over the last half-century or so. But only if we are prepared to take it out into the community, rather than just preaching to the converted behind closed doors. This may not accomplish much, but better to light a small candle than keep on cursing the darkness.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 08:02 AM

'But only if we are prepared to take it out into the community, rather than just preaching to the converted behind closed doors.'

Theres this terible thing though isn't there - the poplularisers are despised in the folkscene.

Roger Whittaker, The Yetties... you never see 'em booked at the big festivals.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 08:20 AM

WLD you seem to have missed (or ignored) my post of 22 Nov @ 0602 when, in response to your assertion that nobody dances to trad tunes any more, I quoted statistics from a well-known caller showing just how many people in the community (i.e. not just the eceilidh mafia) are regularly involved annually.


The Yetties are a band who are frequently out there playing for local village dances. I haven't a clue, though, what Roger Whittaker has to do with a discussion about the threat to English culture (unless you consider him a threat per se . . . )


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 09:28 AM

I saw Rolf Harris at Sidmouth along with thousands of others, I've personally booked Chumbawamba in their old incarnation, for a festival. The Yetties did Sidmouth in the last couple of years or so,,,,,,,

As for taking folk out into the community - people do.

Loughborough Festival in collaboration with the Demon Barbers had a fruitful collaboration with local schools and others have used this model to get funding for work within schools. Gate to Southwell Festival did the same and I spent a great afternon watching the young people doing long-sword, and rapper and singing.

At Ulverston three years ago I saw a superb group of young performers doing ensemble, solo, duo and trio work. One of these is in the Young Folk Awards final this year. She was fourteen at the time I saw her.

Shepley Festival has a community choir conducted and encouraged by Bryony Griffiths and works in schools.

Down in Alton Hamshire I listened to a community choir singing songs collected locally by Gardiner and encouraged and conducted by a local folk luminary.

Sheffield Folk Chorale has a load of bookings over December at churches and they appear with young folk group Kerfuffle at Belper just before Xmas, now an annual event by the looks of it.

I am prepared to bet most ceilidh bands' work is weddings and PTA's and similar - I know people came from a long way to dance to Glorystrokes at the Wateraid ceilidh 'cos I was busy selling raffle tickets and talked to a lot of people.   

And don't start me on the work of Sam Lee employed at the EFDSS - that well-known dinosaur of folk music :-) - who is taking a range of folk music based on the library in C# House out to schools, colleges, community choirs and even the Royal College of Music.

I can give loads of examples (those are just a few) of folk going out into the community. The work of Nick Wyke and Becky Driscoll and the Wren Trust......Hallamshire Traditions.....

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to point these out.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Faye Roche
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 09:55 AM

To sidetrack a little: what about songs such as "The Bold Fenian Men" or "The Wind that shakes the Barley"? Can we ever divorce them from their politics and judge them just as songs?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 10:18 AM

Personally, not yet.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 10:19 AM

Al, to add to the impressive list posted by Folkiedave, what about the work being done in our neck of the woods by Village Ventures and similar organisations?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 11:26 AM

A few years back jack hudson and I were at The Pokeyhole watching Derek Brimstone do his support gig to Alan taylor.

As usual they asked del to finish off the evening despite being lower on the bill - cos the crowd there loved him.

I suddenly said to jack - you know mate - I really don't envy Derek his audience - finding something to do with folkmusic that ordinary folk relate to. jack couldn't see it cos folk clubs are all he's ever done.

But England has mislaid its folk sensibility. Do other types of gigs and you would see it. A true folk music has its place in the broad highway of the nation's psyche. Not in silly little interstices.

switch on the radio in spain - you hear something that is unmistakeably Spanish. I don't feel that way about English music.
And I don't think all that many English people do. that's all I'm saying.

By all means - keep the aspidestra and the white cockade flying, but the changes you have elected to embrace have rejected the broad mass of English people.

The thought of doing my little song in a one or two of the open mikes round here (like I say BNP territory) frightens me - the thought of walking cross the carpark afterwards. When was the last time your songs felt like they had anything that edgy to say.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Musket
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 11:43 AM

Very interesting discussions here.

Folk music, as played over the years in UK folk clubs has been a broad church to say the least. However, one common theme is that of songs, both traditional and contemporary bemoaning the situation you find yourself in.


The hardship of your occupation, the haves versus the have nots, the environment, lamenting change, political satire. You name it, it's somewhere in a folk song. Many songs are there to engender change. Woody Guthrie had a note to himself carved into the top of the belly of his guitar where he could read it whilst playing "This machine kills fascists." I travelled Ireland for many years and some of the songs I thought as a lad in the UK clubs were quite benign were rather powerful political tools really.

It isn't surprising that an aspect of UK folk music ie., heritage, is being hijacked by people who cannot get their message across by legitimate argument. I cannot remember complaining when Red Wedge tours to get rid of the tories were all the rage, and as an ex miner, I recall sharing a stage with Dennis Skinner and Tony Benn singing "Daddy what did you do in the strike" during the strike, and only a few weeks after McColl released the words. the cheers and ovation of 1,000+ that night made me realise what a powerful political tool folk music can be.

Their hijacking is wrong and revisionist but not altogether surprising.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:02 PM

Fascism in the UK is a shadow of what it was in the 1970s. The sky is not falling (well, not because of anything the BNP's doing, anyway).

The "Celtic" label has been very effective at creating a whites-only genre. There are less black faces on the covers of "Celtic" recordings than any other musical genre. Not just jazz and blues: there are far more non-white performers on the opera stage. I suspect that most of the people who describe what they're doing as "Celtic" *want* it that way.

The same goes for singer-songwriter music in the US. In the UK we have a few exceptions - Joan Armatrading, Tanita Tikaram, Sheila Chandra, and perhaps we can call Benjamin Zephaniah an honorary folkie - but not many. In the US, *everybody* doing music in the tradition Dylan started is white. Not a great start if you're claiming to be anti-racist.

Traditional folk is not so compromised, and some people are doing a damn good job of making it unacceptable to fascists. In the US, Bruce Molsky has been insistent that the African component in old-time music is absolutely central to its vitality and power. In the UK, much of the material people sing and play today has come through the Gypsies, in very recent times (i.e through people who would have been murdered if the Nazis had won). Traveller tradition-bearers are still enormously influential in Scotland, and in England we have Eliza Carthy stating her Gypsy heritage up-front. As somebody else said in this thread, racists can listen to music from the minorities they despise, but Molsky and Carthy's attitude goes deeper - saying that American and English tradtion is Black and Gypsy at its core, there is no ethnically pure part of it the racists can keep for themselves.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:13 PM

Ian Mather:
"I recall sharing a stage with Dennis Skinner and Tony Benn singing "Daddy what did you do in the strike" during the strike, and only a few weeks after McColl released the words. the cheers and ovation of 1,000+ that night made me realise what a powerful political tool folk music can be."

Aye indeed, and I wonder are there questions begging pertaining to this, regards the matter of recent legislation raised in the "All Folk Singers are Terrorists" thread.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM

"I suspect that most of the people who describe what they're doing as "Celtic" *want* it that way."

I suspect that you don't know what you're talking about.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Goose Gander
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:49 PM

"My father got to drop bombs on them"

Unfortunately, the allies often bombed working class and, specically, 'red' neigborhoods, hoping to incite revolt against the Nazi authorities. Didnt' quite work out.

Source:
Mike Davies, Dead Cities (New Press: 2003)


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: NormanD
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:51 PM

The Steadfast Trust got mentioned earlier in this thread. A small piece in a newspaper today suggests that they've been using the BNP's email list. But just reading their homepage tells you all you need to know about this 'charity':

"The Steadfast Trust is the first and only registered charity which undertakes work specifically for the ethnic English community. It exists to promote the education, legal rights, welfare, and overall interests of the community within England. Our work is driven by the belief that the English, and in particular the young, would gain greater self-respect and self-confidence if they had a better appreciation and understanding of their unique culture and heritage."

You can pick out a few key words here: 'ethnic English', 'unique culture', 'heritage', and draw your own conclusion.

The BNP, like most other fascist organisations, panders to the lowest levels of social prejudice, and is opportunist in its interventions. Anti-paedophile campaigns? Anti-Gypsy sites? They're usually there. I've also known them involved in anti-health care cuts campaigns. Sniffing around the folk music scene is probably an easy option for them, latching on to the arguments of "We English should be proud of our heritage, as are the Scots and Welsh and Irish".

As our economic crisis worsens, and the serious shit starts after the current sticking plasters fall off, there are going to be a lot more poorer, dispossessed, working-class people feeling angry and let down by the political system. The BNP will, no doubt, start becoming more radical in their slogans (attacking the uselessness and lack of difference of the big parties) and even more anti-immigrant (though having to compete with the present government).


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Goose Gander
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 12:54 PM

Sorry, that was Mike Davis.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 01:04 PM

Jack Campin

I suspect that most of the people who describe what they're doing as "Celtic" *want* it that way.

That's exactly the sort of attitude that I think we need to avoid; because the far right have latched on to Celtic music then fans of Celtic music get labelled as right wingers.

This only plays into the hands of the fascists.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: bubblyrat
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 01:20 PM

I, for one, am totally sick and tired of all this neurotic clap-trap about Fascism and English folk music. If you don't like it,why don't you do those of us who LOVE English folk -music for what it is,rather than what you foolishly suppose it MIGHT be,a very big favour,and go and live in Cairo,or Beirut,or Bosnia,or Somalia or some other place,have a good moan at THEM,and leave the rest of us to enjoy our musical heritage in peace ?? (Please !!).


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 01:40 PM

Bubblyrat - not quite sure what point you're trying to make - something along the lines of "leave the poor little folk-loving fascists alone"?

Apologies if I have misconstrued you, but that's how you come across.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 01:50 PM

neurotic clap-trap about Fascism and English folk music

Well y'know, Josef Bloggsschmidt down at the Berlin Volksklubb thought along those blinkered lines (whatever they actually ARE).

He thought (if you can apply such a word to the muddled processes meandering though his head) that those nice blokes in leather trousers and black shirts were helping to keep his "Kultur" alive by ridding the streets of all those alien Slavs, Jews, Gypsies and Gays who wanted to "pollute" it.

So those anti-fascists should sod off to . . . Jewland? Slavland? Gypsyland? The Pink Republic?

People live in the space they are in (and absorb, contribute to and participate in the cultures around them) because that is where they are for historical reasons, both political and economic.

There are those out there (Richard Bridge named somewhere BNP councillor and occasional performer David Hannam as one of the most high-profile) whose aim, in conjunction with ridding our erstwhile green and pleasant land of everyone (EVERYONE?) who cannot prove "English ancestry back to . . . well when? the Norman Conquest?)

Of course our cultural heritage is under threat from these twisted, white-supremacist bastards. And perhaps more so from those so complacent that they cannot manage to see it.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:28 PM

There's this terrible thing though isn't there - the popularisers are despised in the folkscene.

I think your man there must be living on a different planet from me. Or maybe just a different part of the forest. Alright, there are always people who are happy to grouse about anything, and some people who get obsessive about particular specialities, but by and large the folkscene is quite extraordinarily open in a way that other musical genres are not. (I think you'd have a hard job playing a concertina in a hip-hop setting...or in a chamber music consorte.)

One thing that sets folkmusic apart from the rest is that innovation tends to be about adding rather than replacing. The old stuff continues alongside the new stuff.
..............................

And to get back to the thread - it's hardly surprising that the far right should recognise that there's something useful and powerful in English folk music, because it's true.

And the very fact that this music tends to get put down by the music industry and the media actually makes it more attractive for these people - especially since they can tie it in with accusations that the reason for that is because of hostility to it because it is English.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: trevek
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 05:02 PM

"The "Celtic" label has been very effective at creating a whites-only genre. There are less black faces on the covers of "Celtic" recordings than any other musical genre. Not just jazz and blues: there are far more non-white performers on the opera stage. I suspect that most of the people who describe what they're doing as "Celtic" *want* it that way."

Jack, I'm not sure that I agree with you. Jazz/Blues is a music based in Black culture, so of course there would be mor Black faces. Likewise, Classical and Opera are enjoyed by and taught to Black people th world over and so may be mor accessible from a cultural aspect. Are thre many Black Klezmer players? Many Black C/W players?

I don't think the term 'Celtic' creates a 'whites-only' genre. I think it is more a matter of cultural familiarity. Until recently there simply weren't huge numbers of Blacks in Ireland or even in Scotland (although Scotland has a large Indian/Asian community)so it is less likely to gain a huge following amongst them.

However, if you consider bands like Afro-Celt Sound System openly explore the links between different cultures and play with (non-white)musicians from different countries and cultures then I'd suggest the term "Celtic" is more a tag for a cultural starting point for making contact with others where you are not going to b accussed of appropriation of another culture. I don't think it is an exclusive genre, it is perhaps more that others have their own culturs to explore.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 07:56 PM

dunno trevek all those indian regiments played the bagpipes you know. And what of people like Gerry Lockran, who were Indian and Johnny Silvo who is black and one of the best English folk club pros ever......

surely no hard and fast rules...just cos you're West indian, theres no obligation to sing reggae and quite a lot of Irish people don't dance jigs.

I mean we do what we want to.... its called artistic freedom.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 08:35 PM

Its Oh So Easy for the mindless to be influenced by a little bit of clever rhetoric , but that is NO reason for the sensible majority to
leave ANYONE's tradition to the extremists . If you enjoy the music , sing it and play it , and To Hell with any one who wants to twist what you sing or play . An if you CAN write better Socialist Lyrics than Robb Johnson then write and sing them .
Its on a par with NOT flying the flag of St George , just becuase some idiot thinks it means something else .


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 08:44 PM

The worst thing in the world would be to abandon a music because it gets taken up by the nasties. The fact that the BNP may be sniffing around the music is all the more reason to play it, and play it better.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 02:17 AM

well maybe so.

But they never would have been sniffing round if ewan and pete seeger were still leading lights.

Those guys made it clear where the movement was politically. And to my mind that was no bad thing.

But where is the movement politically nowadays.

We've spent so long distancing ourselves (sneering at everything from Lonnie Donnegan,to the bay City Rollers, and Bros, and Roger Whittaker, and the Spinners and god knows who else) - no wonder the BNP thinks we regard ourselves as even more god's elect than they do. And they're applying for membership. We are renta-sneer!

the folk movement is full of snerchy sneerers. We have people who could sneer for europe at international level.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:36 AM

switch on the radio in spain - you hear something that is unmistakeably Spanish. I don't feel that way about English music.

Well Al I have spent a fair bit of time in Spain over the past ten years, and until recently I had a house there. When I switch the radio on in Spain all I can hear is ghastly Euro-pop.

Where were you listening?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 05:11 AM

well I dunno it all sounded a bit Spanish to me. Even the ones they told me weren't Spanish.

I'm not sure that's a good thing, on calm recollection.

do you know - Rod Mayall - John's brother? Rod's a Chesterfield/Sheffield folkie nowadays, but at one point he had seven hit records in Spain.

I bumped into him one night doing an Irish theme pub in arse end of god knows where, somewhere in Derbyshire. Usual scene - no Irish people there. No one knew any of these songs they were all supposed to be joining in with.

I said Rod, why don't you jack this lot in, go back to Spain and do a gig performing your hits....?

he said, nah! they were all shite!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 06:06 AM

well I dunno it all sounded a bit Spanish to me.

I find it's a characteristic of Spanish radio. :-)

Not come across Rod - but if he plays folk tell him to get in touch.

I do have a radio programme you know. No guarantees but it is local..........


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 12:41 PM

By saying "we" that would imply you are including yourself in there, weelittledrummer. But I suspect you don't.

I don't recognise myself in there either, nor a lot of other people I know.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: GUEST,Trevek
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 01:03 PM

weelittledrummer,

Funnily enough, when I had my passing-out parade in the army we had a Gurkha pipe band!

I agree with what you say. It proves my point about it not being as exclusive as suggested.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Joe G
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 02:51 PM

Just a quick note to let those in the UK know that the moral maze at 8pm on radio 4 is discussing whether BNP members should be banned from certain occupations - will be interested to read anyone's reactions here - I have to be careful what I say as I work in a political environment myself so I will probably not be able to contribute much to the discussion but will be watching with interest.

A fascinating thread so far.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 03:01 PM

Just an opinion from across the pond:

I've been learning and singing songs since the early 1950s. When I first started, I knew very little about the songs, and although I had a general sense of whether a particular song came from England, Scotland, the Ozarks, or somewhere else, that made no difference to me. Did the song appeal to me? If so, I learned it and sang it. It wasn't until later that I began delving into the origins and backgrounds of the songs, and that became a fascinating study itself, giving me insight into the songs and improving my singing of them.

With hundreds of songs from all over the English-speaking world (and a few from the European continent) committed to memory, whether or not a song appeals to me—for whatever reason—is still my criterion for whether or not I want to learn it and sing it. National origin just doesn't figure into it.

And the same holds for most of the people I know. At a local song fest or concert, one might hear a local singer sing a song from the California gold rush, followed by an Irish drinking song, followed by a Southern Appalachian love song, followed by a sea chantey, followed by a Scottish border ballad. And that's not just me. That's Bob Nelson (Deckman), Miken, Stewart, and whole bunches of others.

Standard practice in my neck of the woods.

If anyone were to tell any of us that we shouldn't sing certain songs, or we should sing only songs from our own cultures, this person would be either laughed at or, if they got snarky about it, would be smote hip and thigh and tossed out a window.

Apparently in some of the British folk clubs (judging from what I have read on several threads here), some people try to set up rules for who is allowed to sing which kind of songs. I can see why this may have come about in the first place, and it quite probably did aid in getting people to dig for regional songs that might have lain fallow otherwise. Well, far be it from me to try to tell anyone, especially in another country, how they should go about it, however, it strikes me that hard-and-fast rules of this sort not only put a straitjacket the singers (not to mention the listeners), but it tends to play into the hands of more thin-lipped nationalists and monoculturists.

If an American such as myself gets up the nose of a humorless superpatriot by singing songs like "The Braes of Yarrow" or "The Water is Wide," well, I'm more that happy to do so!

Frustrate the nationalists! Sing songs from lots of different cultures.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 03:59 PM

I wonder if Don Firth followed Joe's advice above and listened to the nasty little white supremacist fascist ranting away on The Moral Maze. You think it's as simple as singing songs from different cultures and then they'll go away? Let me translate it into a US context. The KKK come along and start hijacking fine American tunes to promote their filthy, racist cause. You sing them Kum Ba Yah or We Shall Overcome or some such. They say "ok" and go off and be nicely multicultural. I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:11 PM

Is the wireless programme available on listen again or soemthing? I was watching Star Trek...

BTW, if the BNP want to join my club, I will reject them. They are not gentlemen.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:18 PM

I'm curious to know what the Morris side Ruth Archer mentioned did on discovering they had BNP activists as members.

If anybody wants a copy of that list, send me a PM with your email address. It's about 3 meg. PDF or HTML.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:35 PM

'By saying "we" that would imply you are including yourself in there, weelittledrummer. But I suspect you don't.'

oh yes I'm a recidivist sneerer. one of the snottiest sneerers who ever got snerchy about another performer. people who know me, say cut it out Al! You're getting snerchy again.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:48 PM

Ah no, WLD is a circular sneerer. He sneers at us sneering at him, sneering at us (etc)


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:56 PM

Jack, I had heard a rumour a while ago that the couple in question were BNP members - the list simply confirmed the rumour.

So the answer is that the side may well have been aware of their political affiliations for some time - and as far as I know, haven't done anything at all.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Gervase
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM

The programme is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fl5w5/Moral_Maze_26112008/
Most bizarre; a fascist going head to head with Melanie Philips. The adage about bald men fighting over a comb springs to mind.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 05:33 PM

Fair point, Diane. Busy now. I will watch it when I get a few minutes later in the day.

My point is that I will not be intimidated in my musical tastes--or anything else--by someone else's political aberrations. And I don't see why anybody else should allow themselves to be either.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Joe G
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 05:52 PM

And that was their 'Legal Adviser' Diane!!!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 06:23 AM

Scary anecdote, third-hand but I can probably check it: at a singing session in East Anglia, a bloke does a song and is told "you're a Traveller, aren't you, and that was a Traveller song? - this session is for real English songs".

Looks like some fascists have got one step ahead of me, with the comment I made about British folk music being permeated with Gypsy influences. They want to *do something about it*.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 06:46 AM

""Just a quick note to let those in the UK know that the moral maze at 8pm on radio 4 is discussing whether BNP members should be banned from certain occupations - will be interested to read anyone's reactions here - I have to be careful what I say as I work in a political environment myself so I will probably not be able to contribute much to the discussion but will be watching with interest.""

As soon as someone starts talking about banning people of one political persuasion or other, from anything, it starts alarm bells ringing for me.

I loathe the likes of Griffin and his slimy cohorts, but I can't support the idea that repressive measures are justified on that basis.

Once you start down that road in a "free" society, it becomes a little less free, and how far do you allow it to go, before you suddenly wake up to find that the last opposition to the ruling party has been vanished, and you are living in a dictatorship?

I don't have any answers as to what one can reasonably do, but I rather think that the answer is in a concerted effort to ignore, and exclude, in the hopes that without publicity they will wither and die.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 07:21 AM

with respect Don, I think a rather more forceful stating of our position is needed.

if they get a foothold, they'll start chucking their weight about.

I didn't like it when people told me my cigarette smoke was unpleasant to them, but it spelt out the situation to me. Something similar is needed here.

As in the case of cigarette smoke - for the ultimate good of all.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 07:36 AM

Carefull ... t's all too easy to wander into paradox territory here. Consider the following imaginary conversation.

Mr Right-On: "I believe we should tolerate everything … except intolerance, of course."

Ms Sceptical:   "So, you are intolerant of intolerance? "

Mr Right-On: "Absolutely!"

Ms Sceptical: "Then does it not follow logically that you cannot tolerate yourself?"

"Mr Right-On: "Er ... next question please."

Rather than demanding that everyone we disagree with must be silenced, I suggest that we repeat the remark made by an 18th century French philosopher to a bitter enemy: "I detest what you say Sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."   (Though with the reservation that freedom of speech does not permit us to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre – unless there really is a fire.)

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: trevek
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM

I always found it puzzling how those who screamed about the right to freedom of speech were also the ones who were shouting for the BNP to be banned.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 08:21 AM

I think the difficulty for a liberal society, is where specific groups use and abuse social rights and freedoms, in order to *actively* undermine the rights and freedoms of others.

There's nothing wrong in a liberal society and it's laws, reserving the right to be intolerant of intolerance IMO. It's about the only pragmatic response available to such abuse of our rights and freedoms. But there's never going to be a fully satisfactory way to work out the conflict of interests, that doesn't involve either some degree of abuse or hypocrisy.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM

Trevek - its cos of the lineage of BNP.

nobody made us a present of freedom of speech - my Dad and a lot of other Dads had to get in tanks, aircraft and footslog all the way to germany and win freedom of speech - from those who would take it off us.

In the 1950's and 60's it was Colin Jordan and they still called themselves fascists.

In the 70's - it Martin Webster and the National Front.

No we've got this lot.

Always in the background are a scary looking heavy mob - God forbid that they ever get to be making the rules for us.

They've got to be resisted. Someone said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. This is the lot that we've got to watch and be vigilant about.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 09:04 AM

"This is just the trouble with liberals - they don't want fascists organising, but they don't want fascists getting their heads kicked in either. There's no pleasing some people."

(Guest–Heart of this nation, above)

But the problem remains, Mr/Ms Guest –Heart of this nation: exactly who gets to decide who is a "Fascist", and who is a "Liberal"?

Are you telling us that everyone who disagrees with you deserves to have their head kicked in?   Are you also saying that you have the right to do the kicking, because you know who's who and we don't?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 09:55 AM

"As soon as someone starts talking about banning people of one political persuasion or other, from anything, it starts alarm bells ringing for me."

Much as I detest what the BNP stand for, me too. The dilemma I have is: should members of avowedly racist organisations be allowed the freedom to police black people, teach black kids, look after elderly and infirm black people and so on? Can we trust them to do the job fairly, to the best of their ability and to give their black clients/pupils/patients etc the same quality of service and care they would give their white counterparts? This isn't a theoretical debating point but a real life dilemma that's being acted out around the country right now. Not sure what the answer is though. It may be about capability managing those in that position.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:01 AM

to be honest, I don't really want my white child being taught by someone who belongs to a racist organisation, either.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:04 AM

Nor me, Ruth, nor me.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:10 AM

Can we trust socialists to work in banks or manage factories, the religious to teach science, nihilists to practice medicine?

I don't know but you have to hope that if they enter these professions they will have some sort of personal integrity in dealing with individuals regardless of their political attitudes to groups. Their performance will be monitored and they can be removed from their jobs if necessary.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:12 AM

Nor do I want people like David Hannam who is high up in a racist organisation hijacking the genre to:

(a) raise BNP funds at his barbecues and
(b) sing lyrics which extol how nice the English countryside would be if only immigrants weren't blotting the landscape.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:41 AM

The problem, Manitas, is that a number of organisations have been investigated and found to be institutionally racist. This includes certain police forces and some areas of the the armed services. I believe that the rules against BNP membership for people in these jobs was introduced precisely because some proved that they were NOT capable of leaving their politics at home.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 10:45 AM

""The dilemma I have is: should members of avowedly racist organisations be allowed the freedom to police black people, teach black kids, look after elderly and infirm black people and so on? Can we trust them to do the job fairly, to the best of their ability and to give their black clients/pupils/patients etc the same quality of service and care they would give their white counterparts?""

Manitas, I think, has the right of it.If these types get into policing, teaching, or similar positions, surely someone will notice that an inappropriate situation has arisen, when their political affiliations come to override the professional requirements.

I do tend to regard religious fundamentalists in the same light as political extremists, but surely they have to be treated as individuals and dealt with in response to what they do, not what they believe.

This argument has been played out before in respect of homosexuals, and there seems to be (with a few exceptions) a consensus that, unless they try to convert others, there is not much of a problem, and, given that I have yet to meet a proseletysing gay, I have no problem with that.

Banning groups for their beliefs is supposed to be one of the things this country stands against. I for one don't want to see that change, unless there is a much more compelling reason than the destruction of a political movement that is more an object of derision, than a credible threat.

Dijit


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:04 AM

Diane Easby,

"Nor do I want people like David Hannam who is high up in a racist organisation hijacking the genre to:

(a) raise BNP funds at his barbecues and
(b) sing lyrics which extol how nice the English countryside would be if only immigrants weren't blotting the landscape."

I wish it was that simple, but the BNP has a much nastier programme in mind for folk music than just raising BNP funds. These scumbags are genetic determinists, whose primary aim is the ethnic purification of Britain. IE., they believe that everything British comes about because of the racial/genetic makeup of the British. Therefore, just like Hitler and the Nazis before them, they believe that in order to reinstate true 'Britishness', they have to eliminate all traces of 'foreign' culture. That is widely known already.

What seems to be less widely understood, and what perhaps concerns us more directly as members of Mudcat, is that the BNP also believe that British folkways - and the forms which they take - are a natural consequence of said British genetic makeup. In other words, the 'reinstatement' of a racially pure Britain necessarily involves the 'reinstatement' of racially pure British folkways.

Yes I know it's codswallop. It's very dangerous codswallop. The last time anyone tried to put a programme like that into force it cost the lives of 55 million people in the second world war.

BTW., somebody opined that, since a large part of our musical folklore is bound up with Gypsies and Travellers, we have a natural bulwark against BNP ideology. Don't believe it. If the BNP ever get their hands on power, they will intern the entire Gypsy and Traveller population on the grounds of racial and social degeneracy, and they will wipe all traces of Traveller musical culture from the record. Just think how empty the shelves of the Vaughan Williams memorial Library will look if these bastards get their way.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:18 AM

That must be the first time I've been criticised on this forum for being restrained.
I wonder what the outcry would have been had I said what I really think which is more or less what Fred said?
As it happens, I spent most of the 70s pursuing the BNP's predecessors, the National Front (including sitting through "public order" cases in the courts) and churning out "investigative" pieces.
There's still rather a lot of convincing to do, especially when someone tries to equate the evil of fascism with homosexuality and uses the unbelievable throwaway line that they're both OK as long as the adherants don't try to "recruit" others.
Excuse, in which century are we living, and did WW2 not happen?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:31 AM

Pardon my lack of restraint. I too spent a good part of the 70s fighting the National Front and Colin Jordan's British Movement (both groups were pretty active on Mersyside, where I come from). What's more, I grew up in the aftermath of the second world war and I am still haunted by some of the footage of the concentration camps that used to get shown on tv in those days. Remember that clip where they were shovelling the corpses en masse onto the backs of lorries?

Yes I'll give the BNP the right of free speech, but I reserve the right to organise against them.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Kampervan
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:39 AM

I don't think that you need to apologise Fred.

It's an evil ideology practiced by people who are trying to appear reasonable so that they can suck in others who, for whatever reason, don't question the real motives for its existence.

As others have said, freedom of speech is essential but it brings with it the need for constant vigilance.

K/van


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:51 AM

"Yes I'll give the BNP the right of free speech, but I reserve the right to organise against them."

Spot on, Fred. My thoughts entirely.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 11:57 AM

I've stayed out of this until now, because I don't think the problem is at all simple. Back in the 70s and 80s, we flattered ourselves that we saw off a far stronger and more overt attempt to install racism and social authoritarianism, by exposing them for what they were. But then we had a great deal of help from a then still strong Labour and Trades Union movement, who still knew what they stood for. And what they stood for was the interests of working people- of all ethnicities- and that the interests of the "indigenous" working class were no different from those of the "immigrant" working class.

The Labour party has since distanced itself from the tattered remnants of the Trades Unions, and concentrates on a technocratic approach to job creation and protection. Hazel Blears (I think) actually said that one of the good things about migrant workers was that they keep down wage demands from the indigenous workforce. This is rather a long way from the spirit of Clause 4.

In Langley Mill, Heanor, Blackburn, etc. ordinary people, know little of the "other" cultures that are now an integral part of British society, and often have little contact with them even when they live alongside them (they don't very much in Heanor), other than what they are told by the media, who use "bogus asylum seekers", "floods of Eastern Europeans", etc. as profitable marketing tools. They feel betrayed by the Labour Party, simply because they have been, so they are little inclined to listen to squeaky appeals for racial tolerance. Into the gap steps the BNP (note no geese this time round), and both the main parties are in fact quite happy to see this, as it might frighten their own dissidents back into line.

One of the results of the 1970s/80s struggles was a promotion of minority ethnic culture and a quite correct insistance that it was of equal value to indigenous cultures- especially as most indigenous people's culture was by then of a mass- market, consumerist, throw- away nature. But in their haste to acknowledge minority cultures, many cultural specialists felt it necessary to denigrate all indigenous cultures as somehow inherently tainted, even racist. So when Shirley Collins was involved in music in education in the South- Esat, she found herself frustrated in trying to promote traditional, local song in schools- it was seen as patronising and demeaning minorities. The people who saw it this way, note, weren't the kids- it was the educational authorities, who probably wouldn't have known a traditional song from the instructions on boil-in-the-bag rice.

I think one of WLD's frustrations is that he has been aware of this longer than most of us, who (speaking for myself) have been quite happy in my own little bubble of traditional Irish and British music, and not at all concerned how it relates to wider problems. Until, for example, a friend who knows little of folk went into a singing session on the fringe of a minor festival, and gradually noticed that those shanties mentioning "n*****" were sung with special frequency and gusto, and that "patriotic" themes were much in evidence. Hasty exit.

the developing economic crisis will certainly recruit many to extremism, and because of the fractured, sectional rather than class, view of society that has been deliberately developed, that is likely to mean racist groups (of which the BNP may prove one of the milder ones) for the whites, and jihadism, or whatever their background dictates, for non- whites. It's a bleak outlook, when you see what it brought about in Yugoslavia, which back in the 80s was an advanced industrialised society seen as a prime candidate for integration into Western Europe when the opportunity arose.

WLD is right, if we are to avoid disaster we need to work out ways of getting through the isolationist barriers. And the folks of Heanor might often be poorly educated and limited in outlook, but they aren't daft, and won't be patronised.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 12:45 PM

Paul Burke, cheers for that excellent post.

I've heard it said that some ethnic groups get really pissed-off at those local authorities, whose patronising bungled attempts at demonstrating how PC they are, merely result in generating animosity towards the very ethnic groups whose interests they claim to be promoting. It's a case of "Please get OFF my fecking side!"


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 02:08 PM

"You think it's as simple as singing songs from different cultures and then they'll go away? Let me translate it into a US context. The KKK come along and start hijacking fine American tunes to promote their filthy, racist cause. You sing them Kum Ba Yah or We Shall Overcome or some such. They say "ok" and go off and be nicely multicultural. I don't think so."

I'm bowing out of this thread for now, thank you (company coming), but I may be back. But before I go, this is not what I was talking about at all. I am not so stupid as to think that all anyone has to do is sing a couple of inane songs and the nasties will suddenly see the light. I know just how nasty the nasties actually are, in whichever country they manifest themselves and whatever name they chose to go under.

For Chrissake, give me some credit!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 03:21 PM

I don't think the "nationalists" (as Don Firth refers to them, though I find this rather a mild term for a bunch of filthy racists) actually give a toss whether he sings the blue national song book, and he is very much missing the point to bluster about his "right" to perform these songs and how no-one's going to tell him he can't. Don Firth won't be getting up their noses because they haven't the faintest idea who he is or whatever anti-fascist work he's been involved in "over there". Their aim, put simply, is "fascism in one country" and the US of A is of no relevance to them.

What Hannam and his cronies want to do is to subvert English culture and use it for their own ends. An American dipping into it is neither here nor there. Sorry, you're just not important to them. Some of us are on the list to be rounded up, forced to listen to WAV then shot long before they even think of you. Enjoy your turkey.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 03:36 PM

Diane, you are still not getting it and are completely mischaracterizing what I am saying. Leave that sort of thing to people like David Franks.

So I used a somewhat mild term, "nationalists" rather than "fascists." Do you know how many times people here on Mudcat have got on my case for calling fascists "fascists?" I guess you just can't please some people.

So simmer down, stop picking on me, and address the real issues.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 04:02 PM

I listened to "The Moral Maze." Most interesting.

Diane seems to resent my comments (perhaps she feels that because I'm an American, I'm butting into a private fight), but this sort of thing is a global issue.

There is a sufficient number of Lee Barnes's soul-mates here in the United States, and in just about every other country. What he said and how he said it is nothing I haven't heard before. The rantings of the Hayden Lake, Idaho enclave of neo-Nazis, a similar bunch of "survivalists" in eastern Oregon, and people such as white supremacist David Duke commenting that the day Barack Obama was elected president was "a black day for the white race in America." And I have debated people like this face to face. So the ranting of Lee Barnes is nothing I haven't heard before.

I'm quite sure I'm on a few lists of people to be rounded up just as Diane says she is.

I don't give a damn about whether I'm important to them or not. My interest in this is that if the BNP is successful in their aims, that will offer a great deal of encouragement to the local fascist vermin. A few decades back, I think Churchill said something about preferring to defeat the fascist aggressors on the continent so you wouldn't have to fight them at home.

Don Firth

P. S. And we're not having turkey.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: trevek
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 04:02 PM

Drummer, I agree about the need for vigilance but I still feel it questionable that some of the socialists I have encountered sang the praises and argued for the rights of (sometimes illegal) groups which were involved in paramilitary activity and hate crimes (because they were cool enough to be acting against the elected UK government)but then said legal organisations such as BNP should be silenced.

Like yourself, I had family fight (and die)in the war against the Nazis but if we talk about lineage then surely Communism might also be seen as a questionable belief based on what Stalin did, The Catholic Church etc.

On the BBC Moral Maze programme there was a question asked, "Do you have so little faith in the power of argument?" This is what I feel, it is a lazy and dangerous thing to ban someone because we don't agree with their views. Rather than push education and debate and increase vigilance we just ban it.

We need to be aware of the possible infiltration of our folk scene by these people and be vigilant, not make the mistake of thinking it is unlikely or insignificant.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 04:19 PM

I've been addressing the "real issues" here in England for the past 40 years, campaigning, marching, organising, writing and shouting. I just don't think you get what these are when you worry that somebody or other might be trying to curtail your repertoire. If you call that "picking on you" then I'd say you're far too sensitive to engage in the anti-fascist struggle where the going gets rough and tough.

In all that time I've never heard a fascist even mention music (except D Franks but he hasn't a clue what he's on about). I'm glad to say I've never met Mr Hannam (unless he was one of the thugs at Rock Against Racism). From their published works, though, it's pretty damn clear what they're aiming at and people like you don't even figure on their list of priorities. Back to the turkey.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 04:27 PM

. . . and I don't "resent" what your saying. I just don't see that it relates particularly to the actual topic.

What ARE you eating?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 04:29 PM

Being aware of infiltration of nasties is all fine and good. Just what does one do if faced with one or more rabid facists in a folk setting?

Do you refuse to perform until the bastards leave (passive aggressive)?
Do you face them down and tell them exactly what you think of them (suicidal)?
Do you go out and damage their cars while they are inside (criminal)?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 12:44 AM

Hors d'oeuvres, chicken Kiev, sweet potatoes, two vegetables, (peas with mushrooms and John's special recipe for brussel sprouts), raw vegetable plate (carrots, celery, olives), and choice of four wines, followed about an hour later by dessert (two kinds of pie, pecan and pumpkin) with French vanilla ice cream and Ethiopian coffee. Seven people altogether, Phoebe (a long time friend), Bernice (one of my guitar students) and her sister Mary, Nora (another longtime friend and neighbor), John (long involved in folk music and a free-lance writer), with, of course, my wife Barbara and myself. Much good conversation on a wide variety of subjects. I hope you also had a pleasant day.

Basically, I was addressing the musical aspect of the question as dictated by David Franks who, if not a "card carrying member" of the BNP, seems to advocate their position, not just on music but on political matters in general, and registering my objections to it, while at the same time attempting to elicit more information from people such as Diane on the BNP's efforts to make use of English folk music for their own purposes. Apparently I didn't make myself clear, because I find myself under attack for presumably dwelling on what Diane considers to be a trivial aspect of the conflict.

So—exactly how is the BNP attempting to use folk music for their own purposes? In some detail please, how are they going about this? What are they doing?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 04:26 AM

Apart from what's already been mentioned, I'm not privy to their intentions.
Their known activities include:

(a) fund-raising barbecues where they sing jolly songs about removing the blot of immigrants from the countryside
(b) placing references to high-profile English artists and even sound clips on their sites without permission, trying to create the impression that these performers support them
(c) setting themselves up as "torchbearers of culture" (as quoted by Joan) and
(d) pandering to the lowest level of social prejudice (as outlined by Norman).

They're not (yet) storming into festivals as they did RAR gigs 30 years ago but rather latching on to various artists, whether they like it or not. Usually not.

We don't do Thanksgiving here, though I've been known to live for a week or more on a freezer pack of minced turkey as a cheap form of protein. Last night I ate a samosa as I walked down the road. No parties.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 04:59 AM

Aha! Youre talking about the IRA, Trevek. Aren't you?

In the 1970's when there were bombs in going off in Brum and other places on the mainland, I had clubs in and around Birmingham. To be honest I felt very defensive about my friends who were Irish singers, cos I knew they were getting loads of shit for just being Irish. I knew one guy who gave up singing for 20 years - because he had encountered so much hostility, and even threats of violence. Being Irish in the 1970's was a 'hard old station'. Perhaps some people would back me up on that one.

When being Irish became fashionable in the 1990's. I tended to think - well they had their bit of luck coming. They deserved a bit of a break after all those years in the shit.

I know one Irish singer who is a member of the Peaace league or something and he won't touch songs about the IRA. Personally I think its difficult because you have to face it, the rebel ballads are amongst the most beautiful songs ever written.

Frankly I think they underplay it. One day, just for something to do - I went through the list of names, roll call of IRA men in the The Galtee Mountain Boy in Wilipaedia....absolutely amazing stories of escapes and assasinations, and personalities.

I see it as a different sort of thing from the BNP. The IRA was concerned with Ireland, these BNP guys want to kick ass on the home turf. Just this week the chairman of something or other in our local paper has gone over to the BNP from the Labour party.

As someone said, its a consequence of Blairisation of the labour party. The mining Unions and manufacturing unions generally have lost their economic hold on the Labour party, and the claret swiggers(as they used to call Roy Jenkins and his euro pals) - well they feel free to ignore what was a huge trenche of traditional labour voters.

Basically the Labour Party is doing what the folk revival did years ago. They are distancing themselves from people they see as unintelligent and probably unimportant.

To my mind the situation is more serious than it ever was in the 1970's. Some good decent people are being attracted to and joining this party that has a solid basis of thugs and fascists.

Probably the fastest growing partty in the country.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 05:43 AM

Don, what they've done is far more insidious than the overt racism of the 80s. They have re-invented themselves as the acceptable face of racism, and have presented themselves as the solution to the kind of paranoia and delusional "news stories" about asylum seekers and immigration whipped up by reactionary newspapers like the Daily Mail. They have tried to rescue the notion of English nationalism from its sullied image of the 80s (an image that they themselves were largely responsiblefor, of course), and tried to present their form of patriotism as something representing the values of all nice, middle-class people.

In this spirit they have tried to align themselves with the "folkways" of Britain. They will complain that, while you can get funding for multicultural arts projects, there is no respect for English traditional arts (this is not true, but it's a myth that's been perpetuated for a long time). They talk about freeing classrooms from a "PC agenda" and making sure children are taught about their own culture.

I can already hear Richard Bridge saying "What's wrong with that?"

The problem is, there are different ways to approach nationalism and traditions. One, the BNP way, would have you believe that English culture and traditions should be the only ones taught in schools and celebrated in our festivals and carnivals. They believe in the dominance and supremacy of the indigenous culture. The other approach, which i think many of us who work in this area would advocate, is to try and promote and celebrate English traditions as part of the whole mix of cultures and heritages which exist on this island. I am passionate about indigenous traditions, and I think it's very important that they form part of the national identity - but I do not believe in their dominance or superiority.

When I talk about the BNP hijacking folk to support their agenda, this is the kind of thing I mean. Using it to engineer some construct of Englishness which not only separates some people on this island from others, it also says "Because this belongs to us, it makes us better than you."


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM

I did some googling and it's worse than I thought -

http://bnp.org.uk/2008/07/excalibur-launches-new-music-line/

The track lists are here -

https://excalibur.bnp.org.uk/acatalog/audio.html

Do the people on these records know?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM

It also means that attacking it head on, waving red banners and screaming Nazi, is almost certainly not the way to deal with it. Their support is largely a protest against political disenfanchisement- they are represented by no mainstream party. The left was destroyed as an alternative by Thatcher, Blair and almost as much by the (usually very middle class) fringe left parties of the 70s/80s. What sensible person would want to associate with the SWP, IMG, WRP? They partially agree with the BNP story: after all, don't the daily papers tell them that there's too much immigration, blacks shoot each other over drugs, Asians are all jihadists etc? The vast majority would personally never harm anyone unless provoked, and like the communists of the 1930s they don't believe that the party's core is rotten.

If that seems naive, remember that many of us celebrated the triumph of the insurgents in Southeast Asia- until we had Pol Pot rubbed in our faces.

Back in the 70s, the support of famous names like James Hunt (Formula 1 champion) and Buster Mottram (another Brit who didn't win Wimbledon) couldn't make the National Front respectable, because of its overt fascism. The BNP are much harder because they are careful to keep the real agenda hidden, and decent folk can be taken in by the populism on show. They wouldn't REALLY make Jews wear yellow stars, would they?

What this means for music is hard to ascertain. Trad folk is mostly irrelevant in East Derbyshire, not many people listen to it. Country music is quite popular, pub rock and 50s/60s/70s pop nostalgia far more so, and I suspect that the BNP target those fields already. As WLD says, it would take a brave (and resourceful) musician to take on some of the pubs/ clubs in the area with any message that could offend some local heavy.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 07:19 AM

""especially when someone tries to equate the evil of fascism with homosexuality and uses the unbelievable throwaway line that they're both OK as long as the adherants don't try to "recruit" others.""

Thank you Diane, for showing once again, that you respond to posts without really reading them.

In no way did I, even inadvertently, equate Fascism with Homosexuality. Nor did I say they were both OK.
I said that similar suggestions were voiced and that the idea of banning was rejected.
That is not the same as equating the two.

I consider carefully how I make a point, and I do NOT use throwaway lines.

In the case of Homosexuality, my opinion is that it is none of my business, unless a pass is made, and that ain't gonna happen because they have no interest in "straights".

In the case of Fascism, Nazism, Communism, etc., my opinion is that they are equally abhorrent, equally dangerous, and equally insidious, but I still have reservations about starting down that very dangerous road, of banning those with whom we disagree.

It has never been successful in improving the situation, and whenever it has been tried, has always gone much too far.

Don T


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 07:41 AM

""The other approach, which i think many of us who work in this area would advocate, is to try and promote and celebrate English traditions as part of the whole mix of cultures and heritages which exist on this island. I am passionate about indigenous traditions, and I think it's very important that they form part of the national identity - but I do not believe in their dominance or superiority.""

Pertinent, sensible comment Ruth.

This IS the way to get results, but there is one aspect of the situation which gets in the way of this excellent solution, and it is this.

The PC brigade have been so focussed on minority ethnic groupings that they have ceased to recognise the plain fact that "white British" is also an etnic group.

Once they can be persuaded to publicly espouse that idea, there will no longer be reason for white Brits to feel left out in their own country.

Government has a role to play in ensuring that looking after minority interests does not lead to the majority being pushed into the arms of these sleazeballs because nobody else seems to care about them.

Perhaps it is government we should be tackling, because it could mean cutting the legs from under the British Nazi Party, without losing any of the freedoms won in defeating their forebears.


Don T.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 08:03 AM

"The PC brigade have been so focussed on minority ethnic groupings that they have ceased to recognise the plain fact that "white British" is also an etnic group."

As someone who works in this area and is as "PC" as they come, Don, I simply don't recognise that comment - at least in terms of the arts. I do think that there was a concerted effort to remedy the under-representation of other cultures present in Britain in the arts, and that some perceived this as a threat to "white English" culture. But what does "white English" culture mean? At a venue where I worked that had a very strong world music programme, we also had a huge strand of classical music, which even got its own brochure.

I think the fact that "high art" has been valued far more than folk arts for many generations in the UK has been a far bigger threat to English indigenous traditions than multiculturalism or the "PC agenda" has ever been. English people have thrown away what other cultures perhaps valued more highly. Now we're trying to claw some of that ground back.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 08:04 AM

"Do the people on these records know?"

If not, they're about to find out...


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 08:29 AM

making sure children are taught about their own culture

Whose own culture?   Has the BNP lately taken an ethnicity head count in today's classrooms? Of course they would not permit any non-British in the classroom, would they?

It is clear RB does not agree with BNP agenda. Read his first post more carefully, please. There is a danger of getting carried away in any ideology, if it leads to hate and violence. this includes anti-BNPism.

Re PC agenda, it is pretty well known that English tradtion, takes a back seat in the classroom, to a more global culture inthe curriculum. Simply the government's sad attempt to squash racism which as already said in this thread only serves to make it stronger. But what would you do? If you know how to blend both fairly then please make suggestions.

This all reminds me of Baptists way back in the day. They were quite isolationist. I remember preachers telling parishioners not to get too involved in politics (a worldy thing). Baptists are pretty fundamental. Look where that lead. It bred a splinter of moral majority that soon took over. We all know where that went. Jerry Orwell, Rush Limbaugh and George dubbya

As RB said above... this is difficult stuff.

We all neet to work at understanding, learn from mistakes made by self and others and practice and model tolerance.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 08:37 AM

"It is clear RB does not agree with BNP agenda."

I wasn't suggesting that he does...read MY post again.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:13 AM

Well I would like to see the BNP banned from Mudcat, that's certain.
It always arouses ire, and interjections from people who are great on theory and crap on experience on the ground.
You need to live in the areas where the BNP is strong to know the what when and why. No amount of reading, sociology degrees, or apocryphal stories, will deal with this threat.

JM


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:13 AM

Looking at that collection of records in those links The Snail gave us - sort of blend of National Front and National Trust.

There's no doubt that the BNP brand of fascism is much more dangerous than its predecessors. The danger lies in an evident awareness of the kind of stuff that pisses off ordinary people, and the need to put that under the counter, or even throw it out. And a parallel recognition of the stuff that appeals to people, and can pull them in.

Including a version of "The Streets of London" in a CD "Ballads for the New Britain - A compilation of cover versions of nationalist standbys"; or "Hal an Tow" as part of "A superb collection of patriotic songs by an array of Great White Records artists". That kind of thing is clever and threatening.

I think in fact that it is actually quite useful to look across the Atlantic for parallels and warnings about how it is possible for the far right to build up support among a swathe of ordinary people by hijacking symbols and images and tying them in with resentments and fears. And as a result came to dominate much of mainstream politics.

Stopping the BNP is going to take clear-eyes intelligence. And I think that the signs are that the folk world needs to play quite a significant part in that.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:27 AM

I did wonder whether you were so suggesting, Ruth. I am glad to be reassured that you were not.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:28 AM

"The PC brigade"

I wish someone would tell me who these people are. They get blamed for everything. I'm a Guardian-reading left-of-centre social worker - do you perhaps mean me? If so please tell me why fascism and racism is my fault and why your argument is not a cheap shot and a cop out. I blame the likes of the Daily Mail for perpetuating this crap, personally.

"there will no longer be reason for white Brits to feel left out in their own country"

So why as a "white Brit" should I feel left out in a country where the vast majority of the population, including most MPs, captains of industry, judges, union leaders, jounalists, police, aristocrats, land owners are white Brits? It's largely Thatcherite and New Labour "white Brits" (and "white Brits" have never been an homegenous grouping despite what the BNP would like us to believe) who have created the current cultural and political climate that has disenfranchised a proportion of white working class Brits (along with a fair few black and asian working class Brits, too, let us not forget!).

I think Paul Burke's analysis above is spot on.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:28 AM

"Well I would like to see the BNP banned from Mudcat, that's certain.
It always arouses ire, and interjections from people who are great on theory and crap on experience on the ground."

You know what they say, John: don't like it, don't read it. Please don't presume to pontificate, from Scotland, about what may or may not be the experience "on the ground" of the people who post to these threads.

I'd like to see the prim and proper, Daily Mail-reading, Mary Whitehouse, anti-BBC brigade banned from Mudcat and all. We don't always get what we want.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:35 AM

Richard, I think I understand largely where you're coming from. You would like to see English culture and traditions better understood, taught and represented - and so say all of us. The point I was making is that the BNP is trying to hijack this relatively moderate idea, and the relatively moderate individuals who believe in it, for their own nefarious ends.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 09:38 AM

Spleen cringe - well said.

Mcgrath - I have just let Simon Care know that the Albion band are on a CD being promoted by the BNP. I don't think he's going to be amused. I'd love to know how many of those artist are aware tha ttheir work is being used as racist propaganda.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:03 AM

Interesting to see that Margaret Barry is on one of the CDs ! And I always thought she was from Traveller stock !!!Or didnt the BNP do its research properly ?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:12 AM

they've clearly picked up on some CDs which have been packaged for places like Past Times and the National Trust, but are marketing them alongside their own racist label "Great White Records". The problem is that the way they're being marketed makes it looks as though they've been produced by the BNP. And that would imply the consent of the artists, which most certainly has not been sought.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:27 AM

I see that they have also been astute enough to include a number of Bob Dylan songs on their "Best of BRITISH Folk". Since they hold his work in such high regard why were such pieces as "The Ballad of Hollis Brown", "Only A Pawn in the Game", "Oxford Town" and "With God on Our Side" not included. I also can't find "I Pity The Poor Immigrant"
I also see that they have got the buck to include "Dirty Old Town" - written by Ewan MacColl, kinell.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:27 AM

Spleen Cringe
The P.C. Brigade:-
Those who would officially remove from our everyday working vocabulary words, apart from derogatoty terms, that have been part of our language for millenia because it "might offend someone".

Those who would ban the use of well established latin or foreign text from council official and public documents because people may not understand them. (Surely the thing to do is to educate to ensure people do understand them).

Those who would, off their own back and without reference, ban the religious or social rites that a community or the nation has always enjoyed because it "might offend someone".

Those in education who would shy away from telling the whole history of nations ,warts and all, because one side of the story "might be uncomfortable".

And perhaps on a more humourous tack, those who would enforce the use of signs on w.c. doors informing people who don`t know what gender they are, day to day, which toilet to use.

These are just a few examples but I`m sure there are more.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:29 AM

I lived in England for a lot longer than you have Ruth, I'm no blow-in.
I don't presume knowledge I don't possess.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:32 AM

Ruth is right. For instance The Best of British Folk is produced by a company called Pegasus. See here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-British-Folk-Various-Artists/dp/B000FS9PDK but that's certainly not the way it looks on the Excalibur site. They seem to be using a few legitimate records to give credibility to their own crap.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:35 AM

Leadfingers. "Interesting to see that Margaret Barry is on one of the CDs ! And I always thought she was from Traveller stock !!!Or didnt the BNP do its research properly ?"

The BNP wouldn't know who Margaret Barry was if she'd got up off the floor and kicked them in the crotch.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:36 AM

Maybe there'd be a way of turning this in a positive way. I'm quite sure that probably without exception the people who the BNP are implying are on their side in this way will be angry at this.

Maybe there would the the potential of generating Folk Against Racism activities which would directly and explicitly challenge and repudiate this, and would involve people who have been targetted in this way, along with others who object to having the music they love treated as a tool for the racists.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:47 AM

"Maybe there would the the potential of generating Folk Against Racism activities which would directly and explicitly challenge and repudiate this, and would involve people who have been targetted in this way, along with others who object to having the music they love treated as a tool for the racists."

I like this idea alot. Anyone fancy taking it forward?

Paul


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM

I think I might just list all the artists on those CDs , and try an E Mail to them asking if the ARE aware !


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM

Terry, it's in hand. Simon Care is already contacting several of the other artists. No, they did not know. But whether they have the power to do anything about it is another matter.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:13 AM

"Maybe there would the the potential of generating Folk Against Racism activities which would directly and explicitly challenge and repudiate this, and would involve people who have been targetted in this way, along with others who object to having the music they love treated as a tool for the racists."

I would certainly be interested.

BTW., the BNP are said to have a big demonstration planned for Liverpool some time in the fairly near future. If I can find out when I'll let people know.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:14 AM

I dunno about you, John, but this thread would seem to be about the attempts of the BNP to hijack English traditional music. As a direct outcome of the thread an example was uncovered and is now being dealt with. Result.

"great on theory and crap on experience on the ground."

You don't know what anyone here might be getting up to in real, practical ways. You don't know our political histories, or what we might have done in the past. So clearly with this statement you are presuming knowledge you don't possess.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:45 AM

IF I had mentioned any names you would have a right to be offended, as I did NOT mention any names, and you assumed the mantle of the insulted, perhaps you should look to your self as to why it upset you.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:50 AM

Folk demonsrtation against facism and racism is a fantastic idea.
Why stop at single demonstration.

Why not include information in programmes of little beer and folk fests? Why not broach the subject in folk clubs and create some sort of charter? Why not ask artists to include statements in sleeve notes of their albums? Why not talk to schools and parent associations and ask to do demonstrations of morris and folk music? Invite parents from all ehtnic background to visit a practice or session?

Just a thought or twenty.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Stu
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:55 AM

Excellent idea, but make it utterly inclusive. Folk clubs, sessions, festivals, performers, the whole works.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 12:28 PM

""As someone who works in this area and is as "PC" as they come, Don, I simply don't recognise that comment - at least in terms of the arts. I do think that there was a concerted effort to remedy the under-representation of other cultures present in Britain in the arts, and that some perceived this as a threat to "white English" culture. But what does "white English" culture mean? At a venue where I worked that had a very strong world music programme, we also had a huge strand of classical music, which even got its own brochure.""

Expand your thinking a little beyond the somewhat rarefied atmosphere of "The Arts" Ruth.

There are numerous examples of the fact that political correctness has passed beyond the realms of reasonable balance.

If a black person feels that he/she is being discriminated against because of skin colour, his/her complaint MUST be treated as a case of racism, and seriously investigated as such. No such consideration is forthcoming when the complainant is white. Try making a complaint, and see where it gets you.

Government, both national and local, is falling over itself to avoid upsetting ethnic minorities, in ways that sometimes even those ethnic groups find ridiculous.

Banning Blackboards
Banning Nativity plays in primary schools
Banning the traditional Christian assembly, that ties in with our having an established church.

I am not suggesting that we go back the other way, but we do need to treat EVERYONE equally, and if, as you say, we are doing that, then what is driving so many people into the clutches of the BNP? Because, you know, they are gaining support, and we need to stop that ASAP.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 12:29 PM

The Wizzythingy said earlier:

This argument has been played out before in respect of homosexuals, and there seems to be (with a few exceptions) a consensus that, unless they try to convert others, there is not much of a problem

By which he appears to be referring to Section 28, a really nasty piece of divisive legislation beloved of fascists and Mail / Sun reading types aimed at discriminating against anyone "a bit different" by stoking up hatred against them.

It's but a small step to banning Jews, Gypsies, travellers, asylum seekers of any hue and just about anyone the blame can be shifted onto for poor housing, unemployment, the Black Death and whatever you dislike on television from having jobs, a home or any rights whatsoever.

Yes, I can hear certain people screaming "what's this got to do with music?" Well, quite a lot when you start making your own concocted exceptions about who can participate. The idea of revising RAR as FAR is all very fine (though Love Music Hate Racism got there quite some time ago). I just wonder what membership criteria some people will be laying down though. If you're gay, go away?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:06 PM

If a black person feels that he/she is being discriminated against because of skin colour, his/her complaint MUST be treated as a case of racism, and seriously investigated as such. No such consideration is forthcoming when the complainant is white. Try making a complaint, and see where it gets you.

A few years ago my son got picked on at the local swimming pool. Trying to get an idea of who the lads were who'd done it, we asked him (among other things) if they had brown skin. He said "Yes, but why do you ask?", which made us feel... well, not racist so much as out of date. When he was at primary school he was told over and over again that being black or Asian is OK, that being Muslim is OK, and so on - and as a result of this bombardment of PC propaganda he grew up genuinely not caring about skin colour. I think that's a real social advance.

But the story doesn't end there. After we complained to the management of the baths about what had happened, we were contacted by the police, who asked if my son wanted to make a statement. They said that they were concerned that there might have been an incident of racially-motivated violence (i.e. that my son had been picked on because he's white), and they wanted us to know that they take any such incident very seriously. My son said he didn't want to take it any further, and that was that.

So I can assure you, Don, that (at least in Guardian-reading South Manchester) your belief is 100% unfounded. Not only do the authorities not reject complaints of anti-white racism - they actually invite such complaints.

Government, both national and local, is falling over itself to avoid upsetting ethnic minorities, in ways that sometimes even those ethnic groups find ridiculous.

Banning Blackboards
Banning Nativity plays in primary schools
Banning the traditional Christian assembly, that ties in with our having an established church.


Have you got any evidence that any of this has happened? (The 'banning' part especially.) It's true that at my daughter's school the morning 'act of worship, predominantly Christian' doesn't seem to have any religious content at all, but (a) that seems more likely to be a pragmatic adaptation to a 50% non-white school population than a diktat from higher powers, and (b) I don't know if this is true of other state primary schools, and if it is how long it's been like that.

These are myths, Don - myths, (urban) legends and occasional isolated cases of genuine PC zealotry, most of which have gained mythical proportions in the telling. And they're precisely the sort of myth that the BNP thrive on.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:11 PM

I don't think that Don said that, though, did he Diane?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:21 PM

Thing is, Richard, what Don said was so bleedin' muddled that it's hard to tell. As for the rest of what he said, I had composed a diatribe very much on the lines of that of Mr Radish (though obviously less polite). But who am I to try and stop people of reading and regurgitating the DM? (Wish I could though . . . )


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:28 PM

Er, excuse me but could you stop waving thsoe guns about? The enemy are over there.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:34 PM

No waving. Sights are fixed firmly on Derry Street.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:45 PM

Well one good thing from all this....

Now the facists have come for the folkies, we do not remain silent.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 01:50 PM

Every culture has it's folk-music and folk traditions. The UK is home to a great variety of different cultures. I think there could be some quite interesting multi-cultural folk-music projects? Which could both serve the agenda of an anti-facism/racism statement on behalf of concerned British folk artists. And potentially also work on cultural bridge building? Especially in some of those cities with lots of cultures.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 02:02 PM

Ruth said earlier:


I'd like to see the prim and proper, Daily Mail-reading, Mary Whitehouse, anti-BBC brigade banned from Mudcat and all. We don't always get what we want


The Now Show on R4 have just broadcast an item on these very lines (well, not about Mudcat but about the po-faced, whingey brigade in general). Concluded with "just because you buy a bus ticket it doesn't mean you own the bus. You can't make it drive you home and you can't make it park outside your house till morning.

It'll be on the iPlayer in a bit.

Isn't there a fair bit of re-invention of the wheel going on here? What the nasty right is up to in attempting to hijack music has been going on for several years now and it's been posted up on here more than a few times. Certainly by me anyway . . .


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 02:47 PM

Sorry I was being typically (American) sarcastic again with the Martin Niemoller mimicry above.   Not helpful at all.

Ummm aren't we all against fascism in this thread? Why then is there so much sniping at each other and willful misinterpretation of what is being said?

Follow the gourd! No follow the shoe! We are the People's Front of Judea and not the People's Judean Front.

This thread is only a tiny drop of justified outraqe in a sea of information good and bad.

Action out in the wide world is what is needed. Not a winge on an obscure message forum.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 03:25 PM

Thank you for the clarification.

Ruth:    "The other approach, which i think many of us who work in this area would advocate, is to try and promote and celebrate English traditions as part of the whole mix of cultures and heritages which exist on this island."   [Emphasis mine—DF]

Apparently I didn't put it very clearly in my earlier posts because it was completely misinterpreted, but this was essentially what I was saying. Sitting here an ocean and a continent away from David Franks and the BNP, I most certainly have no concerns about their wanting to limit my repertoire to please their agendas. I can treat it with the contempt that such edicts deserve and go ahead and sing what I want, mixing songs from different cultures like a tossed salad if I wish.

They are obviously not going to be converted by singing Kum Bay Yah at them any more than are the uniformed (and uniformed) Hayden Lake bunch or the rednecks dressed in their white sheets and cone heads. I was not so naïve as to suggest this, as some seemed to think.

I am in agreement with what Virginia Tam said just above: "Action out in the wide world is what is needed." The point of Virginia Tam's with which I don't agree is about the thread itself. Until I began reading it, I was not fully aware of the magnitude of the problem. I will continue to follow this discussion.

And in the meantime, sing what you want to sing, from different cultures if that is what you wish, and if there are people out there who object to your choice of songs for whatever reason, they don't have to listen. If it annoys a BNP member, so much the better.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 03:41 PM

Perhaps I should have said not merely a winge on an obscure message board.

I have been watching this thread since Sleepy Rosie started it. And I have kept my two bits to myself because I just did not know enough. Most contributors to it have been educating me and for that I am grateful.

I just wish people would stop being so (unkind?) to each other especially when they are basically on the same side. We should not be tearing each other apart.

Now I really must drag my lazy a** away from Mudcat and start practicing my instruments and learning Wassail songs for the season.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 03:41 PM

Yeh okay, but what if you get your fingers broken?

I'm not sure unilateral action is without risks.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 05:00 PM

Jack Campin, the Cabaret song was "Tomorrow belongs to ME," which makes its message even more pointed. Murray linked to a youtube version in which the US flag replaced the swastikas, but we don't need such in-your-face devices to understand humankind's terrifying capacity to be led by the nose. You can't herd cats, but you can herd humans. What happened in the film could happen anywhere, or at least anywhere where people had been made to taste dirt, as Germans had been in the aftermath of WW1.

The very fact that Murray is seduced by the song shows what a potent piece of work it was. The way it was handled in the film for which it was written is still, 30-odd years later, one of the most spinechilling sequences I have seen in the cinema (the dramatic impact of the song wonderfully enhanced with at least three stunning key changes). I cannot imagine what it must be like to sit through it if you are a Jew, a gay, a black or - it seems - a Serb (cf one of McGrath's posts above).

The urge to persecute those weaker than ourselves seems to be part of the human condition. I remember in South Africa and Zimbabwe seeing "coloureds" (as they were classified by their white masters), having been granted certain trivial privileges, abusing their "kaffir" servants and wallowing in their superior status. Whata pathetic spectacle hey made.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 06:19 PM

From McGrath:

"...sort of blend of National Front and National Trust."

Just need to say, as I work for The National Trust, that we sell, and have only ever sold, one English folk music CD. None of those on the BNP site are anything to do with us at all. I understand where you're coming from....but...The National Trust doesn't even belong in the same sentence as The National Front. Just needed to make that crystal clear.

From Ruth Archer:

"I'd like to see the prim and proper, Daily Mail-reading, Mary Whitehouse, anti-BBC brigade banned from Mudcat and all. We don't always get what we want."

Therein lies the difference, for I believe in freedom of speech, not banning those who don't share the same outlook as me, or taking their voice away, annhilating them on every messageboard possible.

Isn't this what the BNP love doing, ridding themselves of those they feel are 'different', the wrong colour, the wrong faith, not pure in their roots....

...the wrong music..the wrong outlook...the wrong accent....the wrong 'family'....

Interesting, huh?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 07:18 PM

If the National Trust has only ever sold one English folk music record that'd be pretty shocking.

If true it's just the kind of thing that could be used by the BNP as an example of how English heritage has been marginalised, even by an organisation that should be value it highly.

I think and hope that Lizzie may be mistaken there, because I'm sure I've seen, and bought more than one record with English folk music from NT shops over the years. If it is true, something needs to be done about it.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 07:33 PM

You can't say The National Trust is marginalising England's heritage, Kevin, it's HEAVING with heritage! :0) You want to take a look at some of the wonderful books we sell, for a start...let alone all the old skills that The National Trust is teaching young people, ensuring that everything 'lives on'....They're a wonderful organisation.

I just found this..

"..With the library at the heart of the strategy, some will say that there is no need to define the focus of the organisation too strongly, but if the EFDSS is to rekindle its membership (at one time it had more members than The National Trust) people need to know what they are joining and why...."

I doubt that. The National Trust has more members than all the major political parties of this country added together.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 02:45 AM

The real enemy is of course, as always, complacency and mediocrity. How many of you bothered to re-run The Now Show on the iPlayer?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/nowshow.shtml

To celebrate the new series, Marcus Brigstocke referred to that phenomenen, the moral minority', which has surfaced, wheezing and whining, in a flurry of faded Laura Ashley to queue at a "heritage" tat shops and buy pointless New Age dross, in his sights.

" I call them "the sanctimonious, narrow-minded, hysterical peddlers of censorship and mediocrity" minority but that's only because if I called them what they really are, they'd put the BBC on eBay in a massive pointless sacrifice on the altar of mundanity. The spirit of Mary Bloody Whitewash is reborn in a nation of clamp-buttocked, po-faced dullards with lips so tightly pursed they look like a cat's exclamation mark".

Their mantra is: "It falls to us, the moral minority, to make sure things are safe 'for the children', safe and clean and with Nicholas Lyndhurst in them". If only 30,000 people, egged on by the tossers of Derry Street, would call up the BBC to complain about mediocrity. Instead, what do you get? Somebody posts 10,000 names and addresses of BNP members on the internet. So Hazel Blears goes on the telly and gives them massive extra publicity while bleating about the "danger". Well done.

What we want to know is what's the Home Office going to do to alleviate the social deprivation that is at the root of the smug and selfish whingeing, or better still, deport the whingers instead to do a spell of VSO. A re-run of the Clash in Victoria Park 30 years on would be jolly good (I wish) but far from enough to quell the fascists' insidious bid for respectability. It needs more than a bunch of well-meaning "f*lkies" (probably also complete with Laura Ashley cladding). And to that I'll add the fervent wish that this wholly discredited, now meaningless term gets binned in the ensuing revolution that has to happen.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 03:10 AM

Ha! Even the clickingmaker doesn't work any more. I blame the BBC, the general decline in moral standards, and the cluttering of our high streets with useless junk shops (there'll be some massive ones where MFI and Woollies used to be).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/nowshow.shtml


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 03:23 AM

So, are you saying we should be a nation, a people, with no morals at all?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:02 AM

This is part of why people are starting to rebel against the Extreme Left political correctness, which has poured guilt down on the English, convincing them that daring to be proud of their nation is to be racist, who've taken away their feeling of who they are and what they stand for...



'ROOTS' by Steve Knightley:

"Now it's been twenty-five years or more
I've roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Tamar, Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen
Played in cafes and pubs and bars
I've stood in the street with my old guitar
But I'd be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request
For 'Duelling Banjos' 'American Pie'
Its enough to make you cry
'Rule Britannia' or 'Swing Low'
Are they the only songs the English know?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
They're never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - they need roots

After the speeches when the cake's been cut
The disco is over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing until the morning breaks?
When the Indian, Asians, Afro, Celts
It's in their blood, below the belt
They're playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we've got wrong?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We've lost more than well ever know
Round the rocky shores of England

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wells
Well I've got a vision of urban sprawl
It's pubs where no one ever sings at all
And everyone stares at a great big screen
Over-paid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps
And we learn to be ashamed before we walk
Of the way we look and the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where weve come from?
I've lost St George in the Union Jack
It's my flag too and I want it back

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We've lost more than we'll ever know
Round the rocky shores of England"


'Song for Saint George' written by Gez

It was this time last year when they told us to hide
To hide our St. George Flag away
"Take them down from your windows, they litter our streets
If you don't, they'll be much hell to pay
And we'll fine you if you choose to, so it's best you choose not
It's worse than the Union Jack
For St. George is dead and buried
We suggest you sit down, shut up, and please don't answer back

Just sit down
Just sit down
Just sit down
No, don't stand your ground"

On St. George's Day morning I want to run through my street
Find its Bank Holiday with her parties so sweet
Send my love to my country, be proud of this place
See the flags flown from windows, with a smile on my face
But I fear Monday morn' we'll regret we were born
In this country of green promised land
And we'll trudge off to work with no pride in our heart
And no love for our own countrymen
Oh the Irish - St. Patrick, The Welsh - David's Day
The Scottish - St. Andrew I'm told
Celebrated by all who arouse one and all
Old St. George has been left in the cold

Don't sit down!
Don't sit down!
Don't sit down!
Just stand your ground!

On St. George's Day morning I want to run through my town
Find its Bank Holiday with my neighbours around
Send my love to my country, be proud of this place
See the flags flown from windows, with a smile on my face
I know is I'm small, yet I try to stand tall
For my country on St. George's Day
Raise a glass to Old England my neighbours and friends
So they know that he's not gone away
I'll run with my flag in the cool winter spring
Through the fields and the streets of this land
You can take Old St. George from our windows and doors
In my heart there remains an England

You can take Old St. George from our windows and doors
In my heart there remains an England
You can take old St. George from my windows and doors
In my heart there remains an England"


I am fair fed up with those within the BBC who think they have a right to behave in whatever way they so choose. They don't. If they're kicking their heels up like spoilt little brats, excellent!For way too long they've been dumbing down this country, not ALL at the BBC, they make some bloody wonderful programmes, but this wanting to 'smash' what England once stood for, into dumbed down, no pride whatsoever pieces has now gone, forever. Ross and Brand, without realising it, in taking that step too far, woke many people up, enraged them, and they will no longer lie down and take it anymore.

The days of the Spoilt Brat BBC is over, they simply have to realise it. No-one is demanding a return to the days of Mary Whitehouse, but people are wanting change. A change from this 'in yer face' "YOU have to do and like whatever we say, to hell if it offends you!"

Sorry, the days of 1984 have gone and we Proles are Rising Up in our own, quiet revolution.

The BNP stink, they always have done, they always will do. Every country in the world has a minority of people who hate other people, ANYONE who is in any different. It's always been that way, and until the whole world intermarries and becomes the same colour, it will, sadly, continue.

The English Folk World also has people who think along similar lines, I'm afraid, who choose and desire to exclude those they deem not good enough, not 'correct', who are not 'pure' enough, or who 'sing in the wrong accents' The Folk World needs to look at itself with new eyes and change that attitude, because it also, stinks.



I happen to live in a deeply beautiful country, but one that has lost it's way, that has had every piece of shite history shoved down it's throat, whilst all the wonderful history has been denied a whole generation, possibly two by now. We have young people who know nothing of their country other than 'you English are baaaaaaaad people' and so they have no feeling of goodness about themselves.

Well, you know what...The English are a damned wonderful people! We are one of the most welcoming people in the world and that is why so many want to come to our shores.

Do not hold me or my country responsible for what happened hundreds of years back, that time is past, LONG past, and I doubt there is any other country in the world which is so welcoming, so fair and so non-racist, as England is these days.

We are the land of William Wilberforce as well as the land of the Bristol Slave Traders. Slavery has been going on for centuries, the English did NOT invent it. Yes, many bastards made money from a terrible thing, but there was one man who stood up to them all, who dedicated his life to ending that vicious, horrific part of history, and that man was an Englishman, a man who has now sparked off The Amazing Change campaign in America, to try to end modern day slavery around the world.

I am English.
I am proud to be English.
I am also a citizen of the world.
I am proud to be that also.

My country has Rainbow Coloured people these days and that's just fine with me.

I am a proud Englishwoman, but that does NOT make me a racist, or a facist, both of which I have been called by the two women on here who think that those who do not think as they do, should be banned and silenced.

Er??????????? You couldn't make it up really, could you.

EVERYONE has a right to free speech, sadly even the BNP, because that is how democracy works, what it is founded on. What is SO wrong, is when you get people who want to deny others their voice, their opinions, their beliefs, because that way lies dictatorship.

I personally know what it's like to have my freedom of speech taken away, it is terrible, particularly when those who still have theirs, use it to continue to abuse.

And now, I'm off to work for The National Trust, to help them raise yet more money to keep our wonderful history and heritage safe, so that ALL people, of ALL colours, faiths and backgrounds can enjoy the beauty of the countryside, the coast, the historic houses, farms and gardens of England.

Cry God For Harry, England...and St. George, in whatever language may be yours, and thank God that we are all free to live in England's Green and Pleasant Land, home of some of the most wonderful and inspirational people in the world.


The National Trust - "Forever, For EVERYONE"

And THAT is what MY country is about. It is not just MY country, it belongs to us all, even those who have yet to settle here.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:17 AM

To WLD, sure, unilateral action is unfortunately not a safe idea.

Still it will be interesting to see what others on the thread, who have been discussing broader possible actions to adressing the situation think?

Sensible discussion and further awareness raising on threads such as this amongst many things, will hopefully spur some further debate and inspire thoughts and ideas, which may generate collective real world action within the folk community? I had a vague discomforting notion that there was something dodgy going on, and thanks to some great feedback, I'm now aware that very clearly there is. Responses here have enlightened me greatly.

I do hope this thread doesn't get derailed by hair pulling and point-scoring exercises, on quite irrelevant side issues. Because there were indeed some interesting embrionic suggestions for real world action that could be taken, and some people onlist were very clear about their desire to become actively involved.

Very curious too, to hear updates about what those artists who have been told that thier music is being used as BNP propaganda, think on the matter??

If action is needed, it's got to begin with greater *awareness raising* within the folk community as a whole. I don't know how that would be initiated. But if concerned folk artists were to become vocal in some way and object, it might be a start.

For those who are concerned and well informed, and indeed may well have been concerned for a long time, what real world actions would they suggest in order to promote far greater awareness of the situation?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:24 AM

I'm sure Steve Knightley is going to be absolutely thrilled that his rather dubious, dreary rant has been dredged up yet again to back the tedious and divisive "we're better than you because we're cleaner and whiter" brigade. There was enough bother getting Roots (amongst other misconstrued ditties) off neo-fascist sites in the first place.

With National Aids Day coming up, it's timely to reiterate that there's no greater sin, indeed no sin at all, except ignorance. If you choose not to be active in opposing every threat to democracy, culture and freedom of expression except filthy proclamations of fascist ideology however sugar-coated for the dim, you are complicit in its propagation.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:27 AM

if concerned folk artists were to become vocal in some way

They are.
Especially about those who hijack and distort their work.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:42 AM

From Diane:

<<<...."we're better than you because we're cleaner and whiter" brigade >>>

Er. you're the *only* one who said that.


From Rosie:

>>> ..I do hope this thread doesn't get derailed by hair pulling and point-scoring exercises, on quite irrelevant side issues. Because there were indeed some interesting embrionic suggestions for real world action that could be taken, and some people onlist were very clear about their desire to become actively involved...<<<

Quite, although some comparisons did need to be drawn, for some folk, Rosie.

And now, I'm dashing to work and dashing off this thread.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 04:47 AM

Fairport Convention are probably the highest-profile group to be represented on the Excalibur compilations. They have their own forum, and I think some of the band or their agents monitor it. Maybe it would be an idea to open this discussion there?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 06:26 AM

He's a nice chap Steve Knightley. But I'm not keen on 'Roots' or 'Country Life'. And I'm suspicious of those who know all the words and sing along with steve at concerts. theres a lot of antebellum nostalgia going on there.

And theres a sort of inherent rejection about the way our country is in the lyrics.

I'm sorry if English people like American Pie better than Haul Away Joe.   Haul Away Joe, was in every Singing Together Book in the country; the book was subsidised by the taxpayer, and you got the slipper if you didn't sing it loud enough at school. And still no one much goes around singing it.


American Pie didn't need a subsidy - we, English flocked to buy it in our millions, and paid through several depressions for tickets to see Don sing it.

Similarly with the other song - Country Life. I can't afford to live in a cottage in Cornwall - I've had to go where there there is work, and live where I can afford.

Part of our problem we need to sing about life, as is.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 09:51 AM

Part of our problem we need to sing about life, as is.

I don't think that was Don Maclean's secret. When did you last drive your Chevy to the levee, only to discover that the aforementioned earthwork was (in some unspecified way) dry?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 10:23 AM

that the aforementioned earthwork was (in some unspecified way) dry?

Last I heard was that continued precipitation had compromised the integrity of said earthwork with the prospect of consequent homelessness.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: hal2
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 10:28 AM

The Steadfast webpage said the organisation is a registered charity - so I thought - aha - prove 'em wrong/liars.

Unfortunately, the charity comission website shows that they realy are a registred charity.

Nasty


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 04:41 PM

The Charity Commission was persuaded to withdraw the charitable status of a West London string of charity shops several years ago, once they were made aware of what the funds thus raised were actually for.

Workers at these shops were very reticent when I went to interview them and said only that the takings were collected regularly. I followed one of these "bosses" and was able to identify him to the Charity Commission and the shops were closed down.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 05:21 PM

We were all(in that generation) in love with American culture glimpsed on the new ITV channel. hawwaiaan Eye and 77 Sunset Strip showed us what real cars were about - huge great shiny monstrosities - not these fussy farty little Morris 1000's that were on our roads.

read Thom Gunn's poem about Elvis - that's how fixated we were.

the poetry of On the Road and raymond chandler and Bob Dylan - it was just so potent.

And when we tried to renew our vitality in that fountain - it had been screwed up, dried up and sour as piss and vinegar.

As Jeff Nuttall said in Bomb Culture - we found out tthat the only freedom for us was to spectate on The Beatles and The stones and see them enjoying their freedom.

Yes we went down to the levvy - yes it was dry.

Haul Away Joe! my arse!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM

An interesting addition to this discussion comes in the form of an article in, of all places, The Telegraph of 23rd November.

Emma Hartley wrote this interesting and provocative piece under the title -

The curious case of BNP leader Nick Griffin and the folk gig

Apart from consistently calling the place that she visited Cecil Sharpe House, she has come up with a challenging and thoughtful piece.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 05:34 PM

I was just discussing this piece on the nefarious, Europe-wide shenanigans of the nasty right and musical interference, but now that this forum has struggled back into life, the link may as well go on here, for information.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 06:18 PM

"And I'm suspicious of those who know all the words and sing along with steve at concerts. theres a lot of antebellum nostalgia going on there.

And there's a sort of inherent rejection about the way our country is in the lyrics."


Yes, it really is very suspicious when people know the words of songs and sing along with them at concerts. And there's an awful lot of that goes in in the folk world.

And all this antebellum nostalgia. Like Billy Bragg with "Between the Wars". Or those songs about the Great War.

And you get these people who keep on saying that there are things about the way the country is that they don't like.

Of course you could say that it rather makes a difference what those things they don't like actually are. I mean there's a marginal difference between wishing there weren't any black people here and wishing the BNP and maybe a few other parties would vanish off the face of the earth.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 06:49 PM

Like Billy Bragg with "Between the Wars"

I did Between the Wars once when I was getting started on floor spots, & for a long time vaguely thought I ought to bring it out again; I was never really happy with the line about moderation, though. Then my dilemma was solved, because we weren't any more - and we haven't been ever since. Funny old world.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 06:56 PM

hal2

The Steadfast webpage said the organisation is a registered charity - so I thought - aha - prove 'em wrong/liars.

Unfortunately, the charity comission website shows that they realy are a registred charity.


Indeed, they are. A look at their entry on the register is quite enlightening.

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1105806&Su

Click on Charity framework on the left for their objectives.

There is evidence that suggests the Charity Commission may have regreted their decision. APPLICATIONS FOR THE REGISTRATION OF THE ETHNIC-ENGLISH TRUST AND THE IRONSIDE COMMUNITY TRUST is a long read but some of it is very funny. I recommend paragraph 5.11. There is quite a lot of arguing that White doesn't actuall mean skin colour, it's more a state of mind. These people are essentially the same as the people behind the Steadfast Trust.

For the historically inclined, there is mention of the Malfosse Society. Malfosse is the reputed site of the last stand by the Anglo-Saxon nobility after the death of Harold at Hastings so the message is, if you've got any Norman blood, you're an illegal immigrant.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 07:00 PM

Don't worry, Fairport know what's going on as well. I will hopefully be able to give you an update on the state of play with Excalibur tomorrow.

We're trying to get some national press which distances the artists from the BNP's marketing of their work, which they are all distressed about.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 07:03 PM

one hopes that the establishment ,and m i5,infiltrate these far right groups in the same way that they have in the past infiltrated left wing and communist groups.
apparently John Gollan s[Communist Party of Great Britain]secretary was an MI5 agent,
and according to the Guardian,Ray Buckton[ASLEF]Union Leader was reporting back on union meetings as well.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 07:05 PM

"An interesting addition to this discussion comes in the form of an article in, of all places, The Telegraph of 23rd November.

Emma Hartley wrote this interesting and provocative piece under the title -

The curious case of BNP leader Nick Griffin and the folk gig

Apart from consistently calling the place that she visited Cecil Sharpe House, she has come up with a challenging and thoughtful piece. "


Oh. My. GOD!
That was the session that took place after the RVW event in October! I remember her! She told me she liked my singing...


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Nov 08 - 07:21 PM

Got no beef with Steve Knightley - he's lived down the south west and that's how he sees things.

The antebellum thing really hit the ground running in the 1970's. After eric Bogle's massive successes with green Fields of france and the band Played Waltzing matilda. And of course Ralph with Maginot Waltz.

Bill Caddick came up with another epic in The Writing of tiperary.

you couldn't fault these guys - because it was a genuinely fresh perspective, and they were inspired.

by the time Bill was singing I'm in love with a Gibson Girl - I thought it was getting a bit formulaic. Looking back as a discipline. It when I started to despair of folk ever being a mode of expression that I could access. Its still easier for my generation to discuss and write songs about WW1 than The Falklands.

Martin Carthy in a an interview with Guitar magazine's special volume on acoustic players tells of a band getting booed at Cambridge for saying thet Thatcher's role in that campaign was somewhat less than saintly.

We're out of practise when it come comes to telling people - this machine kills fascists. but the fascists still want to kill us.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM

I knew the writing was on the wall when I| was hissed at a folk concert for dedicating "The Band Played Waltzing |Matilda" to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Generalissimo Leopoldo Galtieri, and the dead of both nations . . .


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Dec 08 - 01:45 PM

Yes, in the interview, Carthy says (and I think he's spot on) the music has come come full circle. Nowadays its depoliticised.

Which is another way of saying the reality element has been subtracted.

Certainly somebody somewhere along the line has been convincing people that it can be abstracted from its context.

I've heard about the work in schools Brian Peters does telling kids in schools about conditions for children in Victorian factories. It sounds like a valiant effort.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Dec 08 - 02:27 PM

I'm tickled by the ignorant comments on the Torygraph pages under teh Cecil Sharpe (sic, plainly this woman sees clearly and in depth all parameters of her chosen subject) piece. You can take a horse to music but you can't make it learn.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 08 - 04:36 PM

A certain ambiguity there, Richard. Do you mean the comments carried on the Torygraph pages or the comments on those comments which have been posted here on the Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Dec 08 - 08:12 PM

I can remember in the 1970's ian campbell saying that his phone was being tapped by some sort of government security gang, MI5 or MI6.

One of the major disappointments of the Blair years was that Blair didn't clean out the Augean stables that represents our security forces. If you believe Spycatcher, we never would have had to endure one term of Thatcher if MI5 hadn't been sticking their oar in the democratic process.

the late Barrie Roberts had some sort of intelligence line into the NF, and he told me that the police at the highest level had approached the NF and offered whatever support they could.

All of which suggests - the establishment is very right wing, and they don't like us.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM

Just wanted to say(if anyone's interested) I got my anti-BNP song finished today
Its here:-
http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id35.html


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 06:47 AM

Whats the tune for that Al ?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

it should be playing in the background.

Is in G rtuning. three or four chords. woody would have written it with two chords only better!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM

It's obviously time we started dusting off some of those anti-fascist songs, and creating new ones of course. Here's one I wrote a few years ago.

On the March Again

The banners of intolerance
Fly above the masks of hate.
The chanted taunts and tramping feet
Proclaim the fascist state.
They hail the fascist state.

The boasts of white supremacy,
The myths of racial war.
The lies of Munich and Mein Kampf,
We've heard them all before.
We've heard them all before.

They tore the continent apart;
The would be master race.
And everywhere the jackboot's heel
Ground in the human face.
Ground in the human face.

The whirlwind of the holocaust,
The rage of fear and strife,
The butcher's blade, the driver's lash,
Come crawling back to life.
Come crawling back to life.

The lemmings of humanity,
The legions of insane,
Plunge blindly o'er the precipice.
The rats are on the march again.
They're on the march again.

If anyone wants to sing it, please feel free. I set it to the tune of an American version of Young Hunting. Ewan MacColl used the same air for his song, Winds of Change, which features in the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 05:37 PM

Here's another from me:

Got no use for the BNP
No use to you, no use to me,
Time to time we disagree,
But we got no use for the BNP

Times are hard, it's plain to see,
Hate is spread so easily,
That's the road to misery
We got no use for the BNP

You like coffee, I like tea,
Differences are plain to see
But there's one thing that we agree,
We got no use for the BNP.

Time for solidarity,
All together keeps us free,
Ain't it clear as clear can be,
We got no use for the BNP


Tune more or less that of Coulter's Candy


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

I set it to the tune of an American version of Young Hunting. Ewan MacColl used the same air for his song, Winds of Change, which features in the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People.

Fred that's a bit recondite .

couldn't you just sing the bugger, let us know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 08:42 AM

WLD "Fred that's a bit recondite ."

I'd have said abstruse rather than recondite, but I always was awkward. If anyone wants the tune could they PM me with their email address and I'll send them a sound clip.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 07:48 AM

I came across this on a fRoots thread -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/19/vera-lynn-bnp-cd-court

Very heartening.

I notice that the Excalibur catalogue is somewhat reduced.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 08:54 AM

Good for her. May everyone else who's intellectual property has been highjacked by these scumbags take similar action.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:03 AM

I endorse this (McGrath, WLD, Fred McCormick) in its entirety.

Ewan had the rights of it when he wrote (Jamie Foyers ?)

" . . . and leave not a fascist alive on the earth . . . ".

My old man (d. 1951) was in the International Brigade.

(I've opened a book on how long it will take the organic matter to contact the air conditioning . . . )


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:16 AM

Mind you, the BNP are right when they say they will need every cent they can raise to fight the European elections. Searchlight have hired Blue State Digital to fight them. BSD organised that famous on-line campaign which played such a key part in getting Obama elected.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:08 PM

"There is, however, considerable concern over attempts to hijack the work of well-known artists by the nasty right. Chris Wood, Spiers & Boden. Show of Hands and Maggie Holland"

Phil Beer is quoted somewhere that he was surprised that the expected fall out regarding the far-right and Roots didn't occur (if you're observing this thread Phil, it'd be great if you could verify or deny this)


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:38 PM

Excalibur, which is the sales arm of the BNP is located in Deeside, Clwyd, just on the Welsh side of the Queensferry bridge. Perhaps all of us who are concerned at the highjacking of our musical culture by this bunch of intellectually and artistically challenged freaks should go and picket the place.

One interesting line they seem to have added recently, presumably since Carol Thatcher opened her big mouth, is - gollywogs or gollys as they call them. Honest, I swear I haven't made this up. BNP members can now fortify their love of everything British with golly mugs, golly money boxes, golly pens, golly coasters, golly fridge magnets, golly dolls, golly England supporters and the devil knows what else. All in the name of fighting political correctness.

How pathetic can you get?


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:51 PM

Then there was the Robertson's Jam golliwog enamel brooch one used to be able to get after saving a certain number of golliwog stickers from jars of jam...oh damn!! I just gave the the British Nutsy Party another idea..oh well!


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:15 PM

Recent geneticists and scientists have found that the DNA for many people of Irish, Scottish and British descent is similar more than not. They are descended from the same phenotypical roots.

Am I wrong that the BNP stands for the British Nazi Party? I've only heard about it
through you people on Mudcat.

Hitler extolled the virtues of Wagner and classical music has been used to further political agendas for many years. Stalin did the same with banning certain composers, Shostakovich's later works for example.

Bluegrass music festivals in the US often find factions that sport the Confederate Battle Flag.

I support Don T's statement from Nov 08 about always encouraging openness in ideas
and not banning music just because it appears as a tool for ugly groups with agendas.

I believe that music transcends partisan differences even when they are explicit.
I think music can be presented in a historical context where you don't always have
to agree with the song you sing. I would sing Unreconstructed Rebel in the context of a balanced Civil War program. I sing many songs that I don't agree with because they have significance as songs for certain people that are not inciting or destructive. I will sing religious songs that I admire although I am a non-believer. I would be the last to denigrate The Saint Matthew's Passion by Bach or other of his brilliant works. I love
African-American gospel and spirituaIs. I l attempt to avoid songs that denigrate racial or cultural groups and this is a process of skating on thin ice. How can you know in advance who you will offend?

If music is being used to foster a destructive political ideology then I think it's up to the
singer to illuminate its use in a program context and explain that.

Some songs because of their heated associations (sometimes unjustly such as the song
"Dixie") I will purposely avoid. Dixie was stolen by the South during the Civil War.
Daniel Emmett, the composer, would have been chagrined that it was used as a theme song for the South during the war as he supported the Northern Union side.

Many songs are distorted in their meaning by fanatical groups with their agendas.

Some of these types of songs can be used to illuminate as was the song
Tomorrow Belongs to Me which made Cabaret a very powerful statement as a musical.
The show highlighted the decadence that spawned Nazism in Germany.

The ThreePenny Opera did the same thing even more powerfully. Brecht and Weill wanted some of those songs to be offensive to "instruct" people about the need for rational views of society in a dramatic and historical context.

I think that a folk song has a value as a statement in itself and not as a propaganda tool.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:22 PM

Exactly so!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:28 PM

"I swear I haven't made this up. BNP members can now fortify their love of everything British with golly mugs, golly money boxes, golly pens, golly coasters, golly fridge magnets, golly dolls, golly England supporters and the devil knows what else. All in the name of fighting political correctness."

It couldn't possibly be *more* pathetic, to define their 'love' of Britain and British culture, by mass reproduced formulaic icons of classically non-White/British stereotypes.

Why use such an image, which fails in any way to celebrate native tradition or culture, apart from the most historically ugly imperialistic elements? It's an uttterly cynical and fraudulant call to the increasingly popular 'anti-PC' ("Common Sense Brigade") attitude, which although innocent in nature, is very easily brought on board the fascist agenda by such cheap (good awld dayz) tactics.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:31 PM

The PC Brigade annoy me to no end,the BNP annoy me even more.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 06:54 AM

If it was all just gollywogs, sorry, gollys, I'd say it was laughable if it wasn't so funny. However, I saw a tv programme about the BNP recently which showed them trading in a book by David Irving, the Nazi "historian" and holocaust denier. Maybe their search engine isn't up to the mark but I could find nothing by him in their on-line catalogue. What's the chances, I wonder, that they keep the real nasties under the counter and don't tell outsiders about them?

BTW. Where I come from, a golly is a colloquialism for a big dollop of spit. Just reminds me of the BNP that does.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 02:00 PM

As Lee Hays used to say, "This too will pass. I know, I've had gall stones".


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 02:07 PM

Too much credibility is being given to the BNP with all the attention their actions get. There are far more important things to get angry about in this world of ours


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 02:16 PM

Don't be too sure. BNP unseats Labour in by-election


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 02:23 PM

How do you define "too much credibility"? Would such a definition include their by-election victory in Swanley last night, or the possibility that they might score a victory in the European elections in June? Or would you perchance include all the people who are taken in by their lies and rhetoric, and who have no idea what the BNP really stand for?

It was once said that too much credibility was given to Hitler, but that was a long time ago.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: heatherblether
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 03:31 PM

The BNP was founded in the early 1980s by John Tyndall out of the ruins of the equally racist and violent National Front.
John Tyndall was a horrible,vile thug of a man obsessed with race hatred.
He had a long string of criminal convictions and was an out and out nazi who liked nothing better than parading around the place in full nazi regalia giving the Hitler salute.
This character was Nick Griffin's immediate predecessor.Mudcat readers can see him in full nazi outfit by going to "google images" and typing in his name.
ifor


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 06:08 AM

When I first looked at the Excalibur site, they included CDs by Canadian singer Heather Dale. I contacted Heather and have now received this reply which I pass on with her permission -

Hello Bryan, and thanks for writing. I was made aware of this several years ago and have discussed it with the company involved. The people at Excalibur are aware that I am not a supporter of their affiliations, and will not allow my work to be represented in any political or social activist fashion. The company purchased the CDs to resell them before I was aware of their reputation; I expect they will continue to sell them until they have depleted their stock. I appreciate your email... all the best... Cheers, Heather.
==============
HEATHER DALE
www.HeatherDale.com
==============


Her CDs have now gone from Excalibur's catalogue.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: GUEST,Craig
Date: 13 Jun 11 - 06:37 AM

My song Lady Whisky is on one of those Best of British Folk Album. Note the politically charged lyrics below.

Whisky, whisky I loved you tae well
Promised me heaven wi' a wee kiss and tell
Ye'll aye be the lady in good company
My Lady Whisky, whisky and me

When first we met you were bonnie and blithe
Warming ma heart wi' yer waters o' life
You're ay the cure for the trouble and strife
It's whisky today and whisky tonight

When I picked you up you were golden and gay
Breath sweet as heather on a morning in May
We kissed and we kissed till night turned to day
Singing whisky tomorrow, whisky today

Now you have gone you bold courtesan
You're tasting the lips o' every young man
And just to kiss you it's silver to pay
Singing whisky tomorrow, whisky today


I was told by my distributor that the song had been requested for a 'Best of' CD and the cheque would be in the post. Naturally, as a full time musician you don't ask any questions when people are giving you money. In this case as far as I knew and still believe the company are simply a legitmate non political company selling records. The Excalibur team must have bought a load of CD's from them I suppose and to me they have two agendas at least - make money, promulgate a political view.

I think these things happen and I find myself with a lot of contradictory feelings about it but mostly I am too busy trying to survive as a musician to do anything about these feelings. I've played occasionally at Political meetings in Germany - the last one was a Private Party for the Green Party where me and my colleague unwittingly sang 'The Bonnie Ship the Diamond'.

The question of politics and music is one that I find challenging. I love music and I find I can operate at two levels. I like 'Jerusalem' for example, beautiful English tune but I don't really identify with the image of Jesus strolling around England having a quiet word with the boys at Eton. I love The Foggy Dew. Superb lyrics, beautiful tune, I also like Johnnie Cope a mixed a jeering rant about n Italian Prince fighting a German chap's lackey. In the case of the latter songs I feel sad when I think of people dying in those conflicts. Very sad. There are plenty of songs I like to hear but wouldn't sing.

Sometimes I dislike the idea that music is used as a political vehicle and at other times I feel that's a good thing. In the midst of Thatcher's era people singing derogatory songs seemed quite a good idea and I was doing it myself. Perhaps to an extent it depends on the depth of feeling behind the song and the singers and the time and place. Music is clearly a means of vocalizing and expressing feelings one of which would be the feeling of what is right and what is wrong.

I think an artist has got to paint what he or she feels and this is drawn from the inner part of his or her being - then perhaps the artist has to deal with what others do with the music.

Incidentally, I'm still waiting for a cheque for Lady Whisky and I suspect if it does come it'll pay for about one glass of laphroaig.


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Subject: RE: neo-fascist-folk, please illuminate.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 13 Jun 11 - 08:03 AM

The good news is that the Excalibur warehouse no longer exists, and the BNP has been reduced to selling a much reduced stock, from a box number in Leicestershire if I recall correctly. Somewhere in the Midlands at any rate. However, the rest of the organisation will follow Excalibur by exploding/imploding/disappearing up its own agenda before much longer.

Amongst other things, they no longer seem to be selling any folk CDs, although you can still find gollywogs, British Bulldog badges and the 2010 BNP manifesto on their bargain basement tat page.

The bad news is that, among the few books they are are still selling is Steve Roud's The English Year; presumably in the mistaken belief that it is something about Englishness.

I emailed Steve and told him. Naturally he was appalled but felt that nothing he could do would persuade Penguin to stop selling their wares to organisations like the BNP.

However, as he pointed out, the book actually contains quite a lot about the calendar customs of the various immigrant groups who have come to make Britain their home. Doubtless, the BNP would have realised that if they'd bothered to thumb through the book before ordering it.

But if you think that was dumb, get a load of the blurb, as it appears on their website:-

"This enthralling statement will take you, month-by-month, day-by-day, through all the festivities of English life. From national celebrations such as New Year's Eve to regional customs such as the Padstow Hobby Horse procession, cheese rolling in Gloucestershire and Easter Monday bottle kicking in Leeds, it explains how they originated, what they mean and when they occur."

This enthralling account is lifted almost word for word from the publisher's blurb, but here's the undeliberate mistake. The Penguin correctly identifies the location of the bottle kicking as Hallaton in Leicestershire, but in the Excalibur version, Hallaton becomes Leeds. That, my friends, is just the latest in the long running saga of the BNP getting absolutely everything wrong. I still wake up laughing at the thought of the 20 million leaflets they printed with the wrong phone number on.

So Craig, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a royalty cheque from the BNP. If they've remembered to pay up, and thats a bif "if", they probably sent it to the Beatles by mistake.

Personally, if I ever received a cheque from the BNP I'd wipe my arse on it and send it back.


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