Tag Archives: Fairport


So I’ve worked out I only need to update one or twice a month, as the comments keep everyone going in the between times. Just kidding, but no more promises to update with any more regularity, these are busy times (which probably means I’ll be updating in order to hide from all I have to do…)

The festivals review (that’s probably been so long awaited that most of you went past caring months ago):

The Gower Folk Festival

This was a really chilled out and relaxed weekend, no camping as it’s about 25 minutes drive away and a fantastic lineup. We had really been looking forward to seeing The Old Rope String Band again, and introducing their unique humour and skill to friends who had yet to come across them. Tragically only a couple of days before the festival Joe Scurfield of ‘TORSB’ was killed in a hit and run incident on his way to the pub in Newcastle. There were many songs and tributes dedicated to Joe, but the overall feeling whenever we thought of it was just one of disbelief. The thing about folk music is that it’s about real stuff a lot of the time. Often it has an emphasis on the tragic, but there is always a lot of poignancy at events like these, this one was just even more so. There were some great sets from Steve Tilston, Spiers and Boden and the Wrigley Sisters. We went also to the ceilidh and to the church service (a fantastic little place where the minister has trained as a postmaster so as to use the schoolrooms as a Post office during the week – sadly under serious threat of closure by the URC) and had fab veggie breakfasts and watched the ducks and caught up with old friends and met new ones.

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

Or just Cropredy really. This was my 11th Cropredy, but my first on a canal boat – in fact my first stay over on a canal boat full stop, getting my ‘sea legs’ (technically ‘canal legs’, but that sounds odd) was fine, it was the land legs that were the problem (especially with everyone around swaying to the music) We were sharing the boat with Wood and Tracy who were, but are no longer ‘Cropredy Virgins’ according to the festival parlance. Wood was having a little trouble adjusting to some of the expressions and assumptions prevalent at Cropredy – especially the use of the word ‘god’ for Richard Thompson – an expression that I’m not going to argue against as long as it stays a small ‘g’. Musical highlights for me included Richard Thompson – always at his best at Cropredy, the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and Beth Neilson Chapman. Jah Wobble was ok and Fairport started out a bit rough but got better. The boat meant that we managed to aviod the rain pretty much completely and it didn’t rain during Richard Thompson’s set for the first time in many many years. Fab weekend – but then it always is.

Pontardawe Festival

Another local one that we stopped in on for the afternoon, Rhys did some morris dancing along with my dad, and soon after decided to give it up (I thought he was quite good, but what do I know?). A pleasant enough festival, but I’d rather enjoy the atmosphere from the point of view of a punter than of the spouse/daughter of participants.


Was as fab as ever, introduced Jacqui to it’s delights, and discovered a few new delights of my own – mostly in the form of pancakes. The new site layout worked really well once we all got used to the fact that it took a while to get from Stage 1 to Cedar etc. Didn’t do a lot of worship stuff, or spend quite as much time in the (relocated) Tiny Tea Tent as in previous years, but enjoyed a lot of talks and comedy stuff and bits of music. Jim Moray was as (thinks of polite words) diametrically opposed to my music tastes as I thought he would be. Wasn’t fussed over Duke Special either – went and looked at a thoughtful display of shoes at that point. Karine Polwart and Martha Tilston were both pleasant enough, and the Proclaimers were brilliant. Great to meet some wib-people at the meetup, and to hear the bloggers panel too.

Bromyard Folk Festival

Last year at Bromyard, Isobel was there, she was 9 years old and although she suffered from Cystic Fibrosis she seemed fine. We played games, mucked around, she was part of the Chinese Dragon parade it was great. She didn’t make it to Christmas, or her 10th birthday. At her funeral there was music from a lot of the people that she had heard and enjoyed at Bromyard and elsewhere. This year she wasn’t there physically but the memories of last year meant that she was present at the turn of many corners. Especially seeing the Chinese Dragon go by.

The first night of Bromyard was also the night that the other to members of The Old Rope String Band took to the stage with Joe’s girlfriend to perform a tribute. The balance was perfect, the right amount of sad reflection, but a lot of the hilariously funny spirit that we associated with the band.

The rest of the festival was thankfully normal Bromyard. A new veggie cafe has opened up since last year, the craft fair was very good as usual. Musically Colum Sands was great as were Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. Artisan were fantastic as ever, it’s a pity in some ways that they are splitting up to start new projects, but I’m sure they will be just as good in future guises.

So that was the festivals review of 2005. Maybe I’ll see you at one or more of them in 2006?

Amusing Searches

What sort of person types ‘woodworm in fridge’ into Google?
I’m number 6 hit, and I’m fairly well acquainted with the number one entry as well.
I hope they found what they we looking for, although I’m probably going to be less helpful to the next punter by describing the search terms.

Forgive me, I was up very late last night completing my art class portfolio, and have spent the morning drawing the Moondial.

For those of you of a not-easily-offended nature, might I point you in the direction of this game? I can’t get past level 5 myself, keep blasting angels by mistake.

December 17th, a good time to start getting excited about…

…next years festivals.

It’s not often that I’m glad I live in Swansea as a direct result of the music, but next June the line-up of the Gower Folk Festival 2004 is unmissable.

Not much info on others as yet, aside from dates. Greenbelt will be themed around the phrase ‘Freedom Bound’, and has John Bell and Chad Myers booked. Fairport will be at Cropredy (OK I’ll stop stating the obvious now).

Oh well, time to start writing Christmas cards, and dreaming of the summer…

“Red and Gold are royal colours…”

kudos to anyone (apart from Rhys) who can spot where those lyrics came from without the aid of Google.

I was looking at some internet sites the other day for pretty Christmas decorations. I wasn’t really intending to buy, you might say I was windows shopping (sorry). But something came to my attention: “Festive Colours” seems these days to describe pretty much any colour you want, therefore becoming a somewhat redundant phrase. Now we always decorate our (green) tree with red and gold decorations, and white lights. I will also concede that silver has a place in the Yuletide colour wheel, as well as brown, and yellow (although the latter is normally just a cheaper version of gold), but there was, for example a set of lights that flashed on and off ‘in festive colours’, these colours were ….pink….orange….purple. No, sorry. I realise that this rant is in danger of competing with ‘the bloke down the pub’, so I’ll stop now.

Love the new Marks and Spencer Christmas ads though, lovely Mr Patrick Stewart, mmm.

Thought for the day…

Wood has made some excellent points on my comments thread. Perhaps it’s time to admit that despite appearances on this wiblog, we are good friends, sometimes our music taste gets in the way of that.

So the moral for the day is that we should all stop hiding behind our stereo speakers, or whatever it is we use to cover our true identities and start being real with each other. It’s something Mike Yaconelli talked about at Greenbelt. In the end I like to listen to some types of music more than others (see links, left) but my music tastes are not me. The fact that I watch Neighbours is not me. I enjoy reading Margaret Atwood books, having long baths, watching shooting stars, reading stories to children, eating candyfloss and doing cross-stitch, but even adding all of these things together you don’t get anywhere near the real Lemly.

To be honest, you’re never going to get near the real Lemly by reading this wiblog, that’s not what it’s for, but I know that my close friends do regard me as more than ‘that mad woman that listens to Fairport’. That’s why it took one of these close friends to get me to admit all of that. Thanks Wood – may your wise words continue to bless those who listen. :)


Well, I thought I should update, not sure what I’ll write about, but we’ll see…

Cropredy festival was, well, primarily hot. Loved Fairport, Keith Donnelly, Blue Tapestry, Richard Digance, also liked Dennis Locorriere, Lindisfarne and Equation. Special thanks to Cropredy School for the fabulous breakfasts.

Tonight is ‘The Tempest’ in the grounds of Oystermouth castle.plus a picnic with friends. Should be fun.

Then of course, next week is Greenbelt. How fab is that?

Oh, and sorry Tracy, I will make sure to put future lunchdates here! ;)

late, but lots of links.

Today has not been a good day. Firstly, I tried to type up this wiblog this morning, and after about 2 hours of research and typing, I pressed one wrong button, and erased the lot (don’t ask). So I then went over to see Soo for dinner, and locked myself out. Rhys helpfully came back with the key, but it has really not been very useful as far as days go. I have also just counted the number of cherry stones by my side and it appears I am going to marry a sailor, which might be fine, had I not married a computer programmer.

Well the upshot of all this is that I have learned a lesson, and am typing this into Word, so I can save it at intervals, and not delete it all again…save… there, no excuse now.

May 14th: Matty Groves.

Right, what was I saying about this this morning? OK, well, it’s a traditional ballad, which seems to be found on both sides of the Atlantic in some version or another. In fact there are so may variations, it would be possible (though probably a little tiresome) to spend the whole of May looking at this one song, there’s also enough verses in some versions to keep us going on a verse a day well into June. So it is hard to find a definitive version. Here we turn to one of the bibles of folk music, the work of ballad collector extraordinaire, Francis Child, where it is entitled “Mattie Groves (variant of Little Musgrove and Lady Barnard)”, or for folk purists, “Child #81”. (Incidentally any folk purists with a spare £848.77 to spend might want to check out this copy of Child’s complete 5 volume set of “The English and Scottish Popular Ballads”.

Really it is just a popular song about a scandalous occurrence (probably fictitious) that has survived through the centuries because it is fun to sing (especially with a few verses getting the chop), and great to listen to, overflowing with theatrical spirit, it is a song that must be performed rather than played. The story goes that the wife of a lord uses her position to entrap ‘little Matty Groves’ into spending the night with her while her husband is away. Unfortunately the exchange of words is heard by the lord’s servant, who runs to tell his master of his wife’s deceit. So it is that the lord rushes home to find Matty asleep in his wife’s bed. (Up until this point, I have always been reminded of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (except with a much better tune than Mr Lloyd Webber could ever dream of, no matter what colour coat he wore).) At this sight Matty is challenged to a sword fight, which to cut a long story (and at least 4 verses) short he loses. Being the olden days this means he is now dead. So the lord asks his wife to choose between him and the corpse. Rather irrationally she chooses the lifeless body over the angry guy with the sword in his hand. She doesn’t last long after that. The lord then calls for a single grave to be dug for the sorry pair (no expense spared there then), and the last line must be quoted because a paraphrase would lose a lot: “but won’t you bury my lady at the top, for she was of noble kin”. There we are then.

I have mentioned the many different versions of this song, and a good way of illustrating this is the number of names given to the ‘lord with the sword’:

Child #81 lists alternatives of Barnaby, Barnetts, Bengwill, Barlibas, Barnet and Burnett in England, also Thomas, Danial and Banner in the Appalachians. Other alternatives include; Airlin; Donald; Arnold; Arlen; Darnell and Barnard. The most likely explanation for the lord’s name changing so much, and Matty’s staying pretty much the same is that the name of the nearest local lord with a name or character that suited the song was added in every location it was sung. The rumour mill still works this way today, adding a well known name to the latest bit of scandal, irrespective of any actual involvement – it’s the story that wins out in the end.

I mentioned before that the closest we can get to the definitive version is to look in Child’s collected ballads, this was a little misleading, as I believe a definitive version cannot exist on paper, it must be sung, and in the case of Matty Groves in particular, performed. For that, you need these guys. Fairport Convention have been singing this song since almost their beginning, and it’s not worn thin yet. The tune they use for it is a combination of an English one also used in Martin Carthy’s version of The Famous Flower of Serving Men and an American tune called Shady Grove (which Jerry Garcia used to sing – you can play a clip on that site too.). The two tunes work together wonderfully, and with constant adaptation, like adding some of Sid Kipper’s words of wisdom on interior decorating, the song remains fresh.

Incidentally, given the date I was going to write about another trad/Fairport song, but it was too rude: you have been warned.