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Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?

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GUEST,Mathew 25 Feb 16 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,Musket 25 Feb 16 - 02:50 AM
Dave Hanson 25 Feb 16 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,Musket 25 Feb 16 - 03:09 AM
The Sandman 25 Feb 16 - 03:31 AM
Doug Chadwick 25 Feb 16 - 03:44 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 16 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,matt milton 25 Feb 16 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Ray 25 Feb 16 - 04:30 AM
Will Fly 25 Feb 16 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,matt milton 25 Feb 16 - 05:20 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 16 - 05:47 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 16 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,rustom 07 May 17 - 03:56 PM
The Sandman 07 May 17 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 08 May 17 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Desi C 08 May 17 - 05:03 AM
Jim Carroll 08 May 17 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,pauperback 08 May 17 - 06:31 AM
Bonzo3legs 08 May 17 - 06:59 AM
Jim Carroll 08 May 17 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,pauperback 08 May 17 - 07:43 AM
Jim Carroll 08 May 17 - 08:13 AM
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Subject: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 01:37 AM

Does anybody know about Maccoll's views on the divine? He seems a rather spiritual sort, though he was a fan of the communists that were undoubtedly atheist. Any thoughts?


Cheers,

Mathew


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 02:50 AM

They say you should never meet your heroes. So based on my experience of him on numerous occasions;

Do you have to be religious in order to worship yourself? Sort that out and you have your answer.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 02:56 AM

Ewan MacColl was an atheist.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 03:09 AM

Just to be pedantic, it isn't just a matter of religious or atheist. Atheist denotes a stance on religion and most normal people don't have stances on things that may be irrelevant to them.

MacColl may well have been atheist, but was he? May he have been irreligious? Rational?


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 03:31 AM

Jim Carroll knew him well, he should be well qualified to answer.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 03:44 AM

Is it not possible to limit threads about Ewan MacColl, that are not discussing directly his songs or theatrical work, to no more than one per year?

DC


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 03:55 AM

Ewan was an atheist - pure and simple - as were his parents before him .
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 04:21 AM

Yup, atheist.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 04:30 AM

I suspect that he might have had the same objection as I do to being called "an atheist". For instance, I don't go to football matches but there isn't a specific name for people such as me.

I was only fortunate enough to meet Ewan in his later life and, in the evening we spent together, I found him far too pleasant for someone likely to have religious convictions.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 04:59 AM

Getting away from EM and going to the broader question in your post (GUEST, Mathew), is it possible to possess spirituality and be a non-religious person? Good ol' Wikpedia says:

There is no single, widely agreed definition of spirituality. Surveys of the definition of the term, as used in scholarly research, show a broad range of definitions, with very limited similitude. These range from very narrow and uni-dimensional definitions such as a personal belief in a supernatural realm to broader concepts such as a quest for an ultimate/sacred meaning, transcending the base/material aspects of life and/or a sense of awe/wonderment and reverence achieved via connection with the universe.

By this reckoning, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Richard Dawkins are spiritual in their own way.

No answer here - just food for thought.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 05:20 AM

Will, I would say that there's "spirituality" in Ewan MacColl's singing and choice of songs that lies in a faith in community and solidarity. Something you often find in political art.

A transcendence of sorts: becoming something bigger than oneself. That's where atheist humanism and religion have something in common.

So songs about kinship, defiance, love (whether romantic or filial or for one's fellow man), nature, even drinking songs can have a spirituality to them without being religious or mystical.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 05:47 AM

Ha, the hawks will be watching this one! :-)

Vaughan Williams's dad was a vicar, in Down Ampney. RVW himself was an avowed atheist, yet he wrote one of the finest masses of the 20th century, the Mass in G minor for unaccompanied double chorus and soloists. In his words, "There is no reason why an atheist could not write a good mass."


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 07:38 AM

Ewann was a humanist rather than being 'spiritual' and thet humanity was centered around working people.
He firmly believed, as Marx claimed that "religion is the opium of the people"
Some of the conversations he had with Charles Parker, who, though having embraced Marxism fully, never lost his middle-class feelings for the church and the bible, were a joy to behold.
The recording we have of Ewan, Peggy and others of the Critics Group arguing with Denis Turner, who tauh=ght in a Catholic School - is something else.
Charles's and Denis's positions were not uncommon among the left -
My grandmother was a fervent anti-Fasict socialist who despised the Church; she was arrested for throwing a stone which hit Mosley at a Blackshirt rally in Liverpool.
When arrested, she told the desk sergeant "That stone was guided by the hand of God".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,rustom
Date: 07 May 17 - 03:56 PM

Atheist. I interviewed him for BBC. He used that word specifically.


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 May 17 - 05:53 PM

I think there is spirituality in the following song.
The Joy Of Living Lyrics
Farewell you northern hills, you mountains all goodbye
Moorland and stony ridges, crags and peaks goodbye
Glyder Fach farewell, Cul Beag, Scafell, cloud-bearing
Suilven
Sun warmed rock and the cold of Bleaklow's frozen sea
The snow and the wind and the rain of hills and
mountains
Days in the sun and the tempered wind and the air like
wine
And you drink and you drink till you're drunk
On the joy of living

Farewell to you my love, my time is almost done
Lie in my arms once more until the darkness comes
You filled all my days, held the night at bay, dearest
companion
Years pass by and they're gone with the speed of birds
in flight
Our life like the verse of a song heard in the
mountains
Give me your hand then love and join your voice with
mine
We'll sing of the hurt and pain
And the joy of living

Farewell to you my chicks, soon you must fly alone
Flesh of my flesh, my future life, bone of my bone
May your wings be strong, may your days be long, safe
be your journey
Each of you bears inside of you the gift of love
May it bring you light and warmth and the pleasure of
giving
Eagerly savour each new day and the taste of its mouth
Never lose sight of the thrill
And the joy of living

Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling
Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind
So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are
breathing
I'll be part of the curlew's cry and the soaring hawk
The blue milkwort and the sundew hung with diamonds
I'll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your
hair
Reminding you how we shared
In the joy of living


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 08 May 17 - 04:57 AM

I have never liked the term "atheist". It was first used by the Church, who said that it meant "somebody who did not believe in god", the point being that it also implied that there were people who did believe in the existence of god (theists) - thus "proving" that god must exist. Maybe I am not expressing myself well, but as god is clearly a man-made (I'm nor being sexist - the church, until recently, has always been anti-women and was developed as a means of controlling women) construct, it seems pointless to discuss the matter with others who cannot see this. My daughter studied religion as part of her first degree course at Leeds. She once explained how the Church had various "proofs" for the existence of god. When I queried these, she added that, in fact, it was impossible to prove these proofs"!

Pity that MGM is no longer with us. I'm sure that he would have enjoyed this thread!


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 08 May 17 - 05:03 AM

I've been told from a couple of people who knew him that he was an Atheist, though ironically it used to be said that you couldn't be a fan of McColl, you had to be a 'devotee' due to the rather reverentual(spelling?)way people were around him i.e sitting at his feet almost in Worship and I once saw that effect in action in real life. I felt some people were even afraid of him


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 May 17 - 05:41 AM

There is an arrogance of all religions that assumes that if you didn't believe in (their) god, you didn't believe in anything - not true, of course.
Ewan certainly had no time for gods, spirits, blind beliefs based on faith rather than reason.... but I don't think I ever met anybody with such strong beliefs - in humanity, its potential and its achievements - that is pretty well what he dedicated his life to, politically and artistically
His pride in folk song, the voice of the people, as far as he was concerned, was the first thing you noticed whenever you got into serious conversation with him - that was as strong as it ever was right up to his death.
His own songs reflected his humanity - the best of them were based on interviews and conversations with 'ordinary' people (a term he hated as much as I do - there are no 'ordinary people')
Desi C
Nobody 'sat around his feet' - he would have hated it if they had.
He was presented with the opportunity to create that situation in the early sixties when he was asked to hold "classes" for less experienced singers.
He refused and instead, proposed a self-help group working on each others singing - the was what 'The Critics Group' was.
It achieved what it did largely though his influence, but that's a different matter.
Mike mentioned Mike Grosvenor Myer - a fine example of a critical admirer of Ewan - warts and all.
Iv'e argued this before, but I believe it to be narrow-visioned to reject MacColl's work and ideas because of flaws in his character, perceived or real.
That's like rejecting the Theory of Relativity if someone told you Einstein picked his nose.
I passionately hope I live long enough to see MacColl's ideas discussed seriously without the trivia
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 08 May 17 - 06:31 AM

barmy jim wishing for a 'serious' talk about a beloved friend haha. Maybe if your Methuselah


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 May 17 - 06:59 AM

He was British Communist which is one of the nuttiest arrogant states of mind up for grabs - one worse than the Corbyn one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 May 17 - 07:34 AM

Thank you for your intellectual input Bozo - it helps make my point
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 08 May 17 - 07:43 AM

Sláinte Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 May 17 - 08:13 AM

And you
Jim Carroll


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