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Tolpuddle 2000

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The Shambles 18 Jul 00 - 01:15 PM
Doctor John 18 Jul 00 - 04:44 PM
The Shambles 18 Jul 00 - 06:16 PM
The Shambles 18 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM
Catrin 18 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM
GeorgeH 19 Jul 00 - 06:03 AM
Ringer 19 Jul 00 - 07:48 AM
The Shambles 19 Jul 00 - 02:07 PM
Doctor John 19 Jul 00 - 04:47 PM
GeorgeH 20 Jul 00 - 07:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Jul 00 - 08:12 AM
Ringer 20 Jul 00 - 01:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM
Liz the Squeak 20 Jul 00 - 06:38 PM
Ringer 21 Jul 00 - 09:43 AM
GeorgeH 21 Jul 00 - 12:33 PM
Ringer 21 Jul 00 - 12:39 PM
The Shambles 21 Jul 00 - 02:50 PM
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Subject: Tolpuddle 2000
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 01:15 PM

I spent the Saturday at the nearby village of Tolpuddle. The Trade Union Congress, have a rally there every year, to remember the Tolpuddle Martyr's. It is usually only on the Sunday but this year it was spread to the Saturday also. The idea for the Saturday was to have an afternoon of song, in the village hall.

Leon Rosselson and Robb Johnson were booked to play and the mike was open to anyone else who wanted to sing. Their socially committed songs set the scene for a fine afternoon of music from folk from as far apart as Newcastle and Cornwall. Leon Rosselson is the writer of just about my favourite song (The World Turned Upside Down or The Digger's Song) so it was great to share the 'stage' with him.

I did not manage to go anywhere else on the Saturday and I intended to return on Sunday to see Billy Bragg, but unfortunately I did not manage this. It would be nice to hear about what I missed, from anyone else who was there.

If the intention is to repeat this every year, I will flag it up on The Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Doctor John
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 04:44 PM

I'd like to go to that one year, The Shambles. I have to say that "The World Turned UpsideDown" is a terrible distortion of history. You can't judge then by now. Is there any other examples in folk music I wonder: an idea for a new thread perhaps. I'll start it.Writing centuries after the event the "Diggers" are seen as proto-communists or good old union men. Winstanley's men were just one of many crazy groups thrown up during the Commonwealth period and certainly not the most attractive - if you have the patience to write Winstanley's writings. Initially they were regarded as harmless lunatics after a visit by Thomas Fairfax but their behaviour went just too far. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 06:16 PM

To me the unerring ability of all human beings to foul-up the very best of concepts is never in question.

However the reality of the events depicted matters less to me, than the wonderful IDEAL, that comes over so well in words and structure of the song.

What matters more is the very spirit of freedom that runs through me, when I sing lines like: The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell or you poor take courage, you rich take care.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM

World Turned Upside Down


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Catrin
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM

Or - 'Its the same the whole world over/Aint it all a bloomin' shame/It's the rich what gets the pleasure/And the poor what gets the blame'

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: GeorgeH
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 06:03 AM

HOW is "The World Turned Upside Down" a terrible distortion of history? And "you can't judge then by now" is pretty meaningless, too . . there are universal values you can apply . . and in the Cromwell period (esp. in the Putney Debates, but also in a broader liberalism of his early years) there are some fine universal truths which resonate down the ages. The "learn from or repeat history" remark may be a cliche, but it holds much truth; far more than "you can't judge then by now".

Clearly Shakespere's works have no contemporary relevance, on "Dr John"'s philosophy!

Angry of Cambridge . .

G.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Ringer
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 07:48 AM

I thought that the only thing we learned from history was that we learned nothing from history.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 02:07 PM

Distortion of history in folksong


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Doctor John
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 04:47 PM

I agree that the spirit of the song is very fine and much finer than the reality. Winstanley in his writings comes over as a dangerous and deranged fanatic and I'm sure it was better to have Cromwell rule over us than he; he certainly had honest and simple followers with the best of intentions like many a cult leader and a cult leader he was in the worst sense of the term. I still maintain that you should not judge the past by the standards of today; no more than the future should judge our standards now by theirs in the future. We are now apologizing for the crusades: what nonsense! by the same measure why shouldn't the Saracens apologize for overunning the Byzantine empire. The crusaders thought they were right and God was on their side; so did their opponents. Cromwell did and Charles l. We delude ourselves in desparate hope that there is a universal right and wrong: there isn't - it depends on who has power and holds it. Take things to an extreme and ask is it right or wrong and you'll find there's no simple answer. Goodies or Baddies? Try this one. Cops and robbers: cops! Cowboys and Indians: my children say "Indians" but I used to say "Cowboys". Police and striking miners: now there's a problem! Dr John


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: GeorgeH
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:42 AM

Sorry, Dr John - what I've seen of Wistanley's writings does not support your dismissal of him. Indeed, I could as well say from your writings that you seem to me to be a "dangerous and deranged fanatic". OF COURSE there are immutable, universal standards of right and wrong . . Just as there are irresolvable difficulties in applying them in situations where the rights conflict. And I'm sure the Irish will be delighted to hear they were better off with Cromwell ruling over them. Heaven help us if we ever accept that right and wrong are dependent on who holds power.

The fact that virtually nothing involving humanity (in its collective noun meaning) can be reduced to the simplistic judgements you seem to prefer (goodies and badies, indeed!) proves nothing. Such matters have been debated here before (I'd guess a forum search for Cromwell would turn up some of this) . . but your bland generalisations almost deny the possibility of worthwhile debate.

Clearly any analysis, historical or contemporary, needs to take account of context. And under every tyranny, at every point in history, there have been those corrageous people who have indicated that they were living amid tyranny. Don't deny their significance by claiming you can't judge then by now!

Of course it was a shame about all those Jews in the 1930s, but of course "you can't judge then by now"! Bullshit, I say.

G.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 08:12 AM

At any time the question is still Which side are you on? - even if sometimes the answer is a plague on both your houses.

People don't really change all that much. The strong oppress and exploit the weak, revolutions devour their children, you can't put your trust in leaders.

"Police and striking miners: now there's a problem!" No way. That doesn't mean that there aren't always going to be bad people doing bad things on your side, and good people trying not to do bad things on the other side. But most of the time there's a balance of justice on one side or the other. Which can change as the times change, and in different situations.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Ringer
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 01:04 PM

I've never heard World Turned Upside-Down, but I hope it sounds better than it reads. I really doubt whether a significant thought can be expressed in badly rhyming, badly scanning doggerel. Well, perhaps it can, but for me the brbsd just gets in the way and only tends to hide any underlying deep meaning.

GeorgeH: you say in the "Distortion of history in folksong" thread to which Shambles has kindly provided a link that "...a song like "World Turned Upside Down" comes closer to the truth than many "formal" history books' coverage of those events...". But how do you know? Were you there? Have you got some special insight denied to the rest of us? I suggest that what you mean is "Leon Rosselson's left-wing ideas agree with mine." I find my ideas more akin to DrJ's than both.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM

Bald Eagle, this may sound rude, but by your own admission you don't know what you are talking about in this case: "I've never heard World Turned Upside-Down"

Reading a song as if it was a poem and then dismissing it because it doesn't scan the way you think it should, when you've never heard it - that just doesn't make sense. Songs are songs, and different rules apply.

In fact I think that this song fits perfectly with the tune. And that is hardly surprisingbecause Leon Rosselson is a wily and experienced songwriter. When you've heard it, you might disagree, and think it doesn't work. But until you've heard a song sung, don't criticise it for those kind of reasons.

I suspect that it's what the song is saying you disagree with really, and that is OK - it's not written in the expectation that everyone is going to agree with it.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:38 PM

At any time the question is still Which side are you on?

From the Ballad of Vic Williams - The enemy ain't the other side, wherever they draw the line.
? The enemy is the ruling class who draw the bloody line.

If you are interested in the history of popular dissent in Britain, get hold of a copy of 'The Writing on the Wall' by Roy Bailey and Tony Benn. Or Tony's book 'The writing on the wall, a Radical and Socialist anthology 1215-1984'.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Ringer
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 09:43 AM

"Sound rude", McGrath? Perish the thought.

You criticise me for things I haven't said, not for things I have. I expected criticism for my second paragraph, but unless you are going to argue that the scansion and rhyme are perfect, I don't see how you can debate my first.

The crux, of course, is in your final, italicised, paragraph, and I wholeheartedly agree: I acknowledge my right-wing bias, that I detest the dreary invective of the left, the reduce-it-all-to-the-least-common-denominator statism-over-individualism-except-possibly-in-football, the yah-boo-sucks of Leon Rosselson (I have to confess here that I know only of 2 LR "songs": one is the words to - that's why I quoted "songs" - WTUD, the other is Palaces of Gold in a version I have by Roy Bailey, so if these 2 are atypical, I apologise to him) and that's part of (it may even be all of) my antipathy to WTUD. But I can see and acknowledge my bias, recognise that it may colour my viewpoint; if called to, I will argue for my point of view (although preferably not in a forum devoted to music). But GeorgeH doesn't seem to recognise his bias, and that was the point of my second paragraph. It seems to me that he puts forth his viewpoint as if he'd received it from Mt Sinai on tablets of stone, and in doing so comes across (to me at least) as smug, pompous and patronising. If he's got an argument (and, having seen many of his other posts, I'm sure he has) let him debate it, not sanctimoniously dismiss any opposing view as "...bland generalisations [that] almost deny the possibility of worthwhile debate."


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: GeorgeH
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 12:33 PM

Indeed, Bald Eagle, I don't recognise my bias because there was no bias in what I wrote, just a degree of superficiality as seemed to befit "debating" with Dr John. IF one chooses to look out accounts of St George's Hill they seem reasonably close to the narrative content of WTUD. Even Dr John, patent medicine touter to the right wing, seems only to depart from Rossleson on the "justification" of the removal of the Diggers. So on that basis - i.e. that of the evidence which others have researched - I maintain that WSUD comes closer to the truth than many history books (in particular, those used in schools!).

And yes, I have many special insights denied to you and many like you . . In particular I have the good, and humbling, insight and fortune to be aware of my membership of a common humanity.

G.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: Ringer
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 12:39 PM

See what I mean? Pompous, smug & patronising.


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Subject: RE: Tolpuddle 2000
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 02:50 PM

If I could just thread creep it round to Tolpuddle 2000 again. 'Which side are you on' was sung there too.

I saw in the local paper that Nora Guthrie (Woody's daughter), was there on the Sunday.


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