Tag Archives: Richard Thompson

Silly Love Songs

I was picked on by our minister in our morning service this week to answer a question on the spot with no preparation. I failed to come up with any sort of useful, amusing, appropriate or otherwise answer. Normally I’m not this lost for words, at least coming up with something half witty, only to refine it beautifully as the opportunity passes. But this one had me stumped.

The question – “Tell us the name of a song that describes your love for Rhys“. (Rhys, by the way being my husband of nearly nine years in case you don’t know us and thought the minister was being ,really odd.)

So being me, a fan of Richard Thompson, June Tabor and various other expounders of love gone wrong, I had a thousand inappropriate songs going through my head. There are other songs that as a couple we have adopted as our songs over the years. None of these have anything to do with love, other than occasionally in the aforementioned ‘gone wrong’ capacity. One of the songs played at our wedding reception by friends who know us very well was Matty Groves (incidentally I just tried to link to a blog post I made about that song in mid May 2003, but it seems to have been written before the days of permawiblinks. It appears I was having a very bad day that day, so I’ve taken my own advice and am typing this post into Word first too). It turns out that there were people in the congregation willing me to come out with something highly inappropriate and therefore hilarious. Not being one to totally disappoint, it’s a little too late for the sermon, but the one I should have said was “Great Balls of Fire” – can anyone do any better?

Really there is no song that describes my love for Rhys, or any significant part of our relationship. We are two unique individuals, just as God intended, and therefore make a unique couple. Neither of us are popular songwriters (thank goodness), and no-one without an inside knowledge of our relationship could write a song about it. So even when you take away all the songs where love goes wrong or was never meant to be or is cruelly cut short, you are left with a (small) handful of songs that mostly don’t quite hit the mark. One or two other people were asked, and gave the answers; “It Must Be Love” (Which is admittedly a weak point in my argument, being a good song and fairly good at describing love, I think it’s just too cheery for me though.), “When I’m Sixty Four” (The respondent being that age), something by Dire Straits (reflecting husband’s music tastes) and “Wonderful Tonight” (vomit)

As the sermon went on, the point was made that these songs are different to the love songs we sing as part of our worship together. (‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ titles apart), yet this is where we really have to rely on the words of others to describe our personal relationship. And maybe this is why so often that act of congregational singing can be so difficult. Sometimes those words seem a million miles away from what we want to be saying to God. I would never serenade Rhys with a rendition of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ (partly because I can’t sing and don’t know the words to be fair) because it just isn’t what our relationship is about. So what does God think when I join in with a song just because everyone else is singing. What does He think when I sit one or two out?

By the end of the service none of these questions were answered. It had occurred to me though that ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ was as close to the mark as I’ll ever get to a song that describes my love for Rhys. I whispered it to him as the music group started up the closing chorus and he smiled, so that’s the one.


Just bemoaning the fact that my favourite internet sites are not being updated frequently enough, so thought I’d stop calling the kettle black (especially as our kettle is a rather fetching shade of silver) and get on with updating my own bit of the web.

I have had an excuse for not updating in the past month, I’ve had flu and various other illnesses to numerous to go into, but hopefully out of the way now. This has not been the best welcome for our new lodger, but she seems to have settled in OK to the Lemly and Rhys way of doing things.

Oh my, Minn has a wiblog – about time too really, I miss my regular dose of stream of Minnieconciousness, and it’s not really suffering from being in blog form, hurrah!

Went to see a fantastic Richard Thompson gig at the weekend, 2 hours drive away, but well, well worth it, as good as it gets. (I should perhaps point out for some international readers of this blog that 2 hours drive away for a concert in mainland Britain is a really long way, as I am aware that’s the sort of distance you go for a pint of milk in Australia (or something)).

Otherwise life has been pretty hectic for the past couple of weeks, our youthworker has croup, meaning I’ve been far more responsible for a lot of the little darlings than I usually am, also some good friends added to the number of little darlings last week – currently known as “boy” at a week old I hope he gets a name soon…

Has anyone got any ideas on the Guardian quick crossword by the way, I’m a bit stuck?


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?

great game

You’ll need sound for this, and I’m not sure what it’s like on a dial-up connection, but this is the cool game of the day for me, type in the name of practically any artist to get a 10 round music quiz based on their recordings – cool or what? (I did best on Kylie, although I reckon the Richard Thompson one was a little obscure)

(edit: remembered to add that I got the link off of the Neighbours forum general chat boards, where I have spent much of the day discussing the wonderful Alan Fletcher)

A national obsession?

It seems that the humble doodle is getting a new lease of life, thanks to various efforts, and celebrity support.

Not only can you now get your doodles on the telly, albeit on a subscription channel, you can also join in the celebrations for … wait for it … National Doodle Day!

Actually the most interesting part of this is not the fact that we have an excuse for something we’d do anyway whilst whiling away the time on a Friday afternoon, but the E-bay celebrity doodle auction. It’s fascinating in just so many ways. For a start it’s far more reliable than the ‘A-lists’ and ‘D lists’ from TPTB, in that we can see by how much people are prepared to pay for the memorabilia that Jake is the most popular Tweenie, and that Nick Park is currently more than 10 times cooler than Graham Norton. Also interesting is the descriptions given after the names – an interesting insight into what, given only limited wordspace to describe someone, is the pinnacle of their career. Some make perfect sense (Alan Titchmarsh – Ground Force, David Sneddon – Winner of Fame Academy), but others, you have to wonder… Lord Jeffrey Archer – Prison Diary, Helena Bonham-Carter – Fight Club, Giles Bradreth – Countdown. That’s all before you get to looking at some of the actual doodles themselves – I’ll leave you to find your favourite celebrities, if you’re thinking of making a bid consider that while you’d need to pay about £500 for a Nick park original, you could help save the reputation of an ex Newsround presenter with no current bids for only 99p, and get a really bad drawing too!

In other non-drawing news, I’ve been trying for about a week to seamlessly link into this wiblog Richard Thompson’s description of his visit to the Ironic Grill. I give up, there it is.

Happy doodling!

[edit: if you don’t normally read the comments on this thing, make an exception, if you do, then don’t make an exception. Ta.]

Where have all the flowers gone?

girls have picked them, every one, apparantly. Well at least that’s cleared up then.

For other items, however their final destination is not so easily deduced. For example if there’s no silicon heaven, where do all the calculators go? An old favourite of this wiblog Richard Thompson offers some thought as to where all the odd socks go, as well as some very helpful advice as to where their left behind counterparts can usefully be sent.

In sorting through our filing cabinet yesterday, we did at least discover where all of the out of date vouchers, empty envelopes and used up cheque books go, but as our moving date may turn out to be a fair bit earlier than previously expected, I think the other 3 drawers of the unit could remain unsorted for some time.


… long time no see. Yes, I know. My fault.

look, stupid people

It’s been a mostly good fortnight since I updated last. Low points have been saying goodbye to 2 very good friends who have emigrated (to Scotland and England). They both seem to be getting on well though, and it means someone to visit next time we need a break.

Weekends now include a visit to the local folk club, it was a bit daunting at the singers night last week, especially for one who doesn’t sing, but the plethora of Richard Thompson songs more than made up for that. The week before was a John Kirkpatrick gig, which nessa more than adequately covered. JK was on top form, and even sang my request, which was fab.

I also managed to lead my first talk in the youthgroup I help with – demonstating the evils of gossip with a can of baked beans and some red lentils, topped off with a reading from the great Elinor M Brent Dyer. It seemed to go down well.

There’s probably tons more to tell – serves me right for not updating in so long.

Neighbours is fantastic at the moment – highly recommended viewing.

I’ll come back and do another update later when I’ve had time to think.

It’s amazing what a week’s holiday can do…

You get ‘out of the system’ and suddenly it’s more than a fortnight since you either updated your blog, or read anyone else’s. Apologies, I will not catch up – especially as I’m off again tomorrow for 4 days. Devon was good, especially House of Marbles which we visited on the way home. We also saw some friends who had recently moved to Devon – if you know who I’m talking about, go visit them!

So tomorrow, Cropredy Festival begins – should be a good weekend for it, but then the rainmaster won’t be playing (music or cricket it seems). Well, I’ll have a pint of 6X for you all, and might manage to update somewhere in between Cropredy and Greenbelt at this rate. Chug-a-lug.

Music for the Soul

Those of you that have met me, and have discussed music with me may have noticed that there has up to now in this themed month of Lemly’s wiblog been an absence of the output of a certain singer-songwriter-guitarist-demi-god. Today is the day to address this discrepancy.

May 27th: Oops, I Did it Again.

And for those of you expecting a Richard Thompson song, you’ll be well advised to catch him in concert as he promotes his ‘1000 years of popular music’ CD (available here – I won’t go into the details of how the CD came about, it’s all there too). That’s right – a scary prospect if ever there was one Richard Thompson sings Britney Spears.

And I’m guessing there’s some of you that haven’t heard of Mr Thompson either. At risk of tuning this into ’31 songs in a day’, highlights for me include:

Galway To Graceland a beautiful song that inspired a radio play back in 1998ish.

1952 Vincent Black Lightening a motorbike ballad, a tune that grabs you by the waist and carries you along, the lyrics never tire.

End of The Rainbow in some ways a truly depressing song, but the tune and the passion behind it provide reason enough to move on. Very cleverly written.

God Loves a Drunk lyrically fantastic, covered by Norma Waterson on her first solo album.

Tear Stained Letter this one establishes Richard Thompson’s ‘rock god’ status. Not many songs get me dancing, Tear Stained Letter does.

Dimming of the Day an antithesis to the likes of Tear Stained Letter in style and mood, yet as perfectly formed.

She Said it was Destiny my favourite track from Richard Thompson’s latest album ‘The Old Kit Bag’, a twist around every corner, with a great tune to boot.

Beeswing a beautiful love song, so sad, it metions the Gower too.

Cold Kisses the tune in this one captures the mood so well of knowing what you shouldn’t. Sung with a wry smile.

Waltzing’s for Dreamers… and losers in love. Covered, not surprisingly, by June Tabor. I much prefer the original.

How Will I Ever be Simple Again? The effects of war brought out in stark contrast to the simplicity of young love.

I was asked a while ago why I like the clever lyrics in Richard Thompson’s songs, yet back away from similarly obtuse references in the songs of for example Elvis Costello, and The Beautiful South. Richard Thompson songs are generally appreciable on more than one level, and I have to like a song on a superficial first listen before I want to explore it any deeper. In my opinion, Elvis Costello and Paul Heaton miss this superficial level. They also tend not to notice the importance of the tune. It should not be just good enough, it should be perfect.

I realise that the comparative success of Richard Thompson in Britain shows that I’m probably in the minority in my views, and that’s a sad thought. There is good music out there that is meaningful to all of us.

I’m not going to try and describe this man any more, lest he find out where I live and break my legs for saying the wrong thing. If you’ve not listened before, do so. If you have, do so again. Thank you for your time.