Monday 25 July 2022


A couple of weekends ago we took ourselves off to a music festival. Many people probably associate the idea of an open air music festival with events like Glastobury. But apart from being on a farm in a beautiful part of southern England this was as far from the crowds, mayhem and myriad horrors of Glastonbury as it's possible to get. A few thousand sensible, considerate people gatherered to listen to what was predominently english folk music. The photo showing the half empty post festival camping field as people left, devoid of any rubbish or abandoned tents and chairs with not even an errant piece of paper left behind shows the difference.

The other thing many people may not realise is that, although taking influences from all around the UK and elsewhere, there is such a thing as english folk music.Maybe it is that wider mix of influences that separates it from Scottish reels and airs or Irish jigs?

While the Beatles were revitalising pop music in Liverpool down in some London clubs there was increasing interest in folk music. American artists like Paul Simon and Dylan encouraged english singers and guitarists like Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Bert Jansch. Then bands like Fairport Convention, Pentangle and Steeleye Span added modern electric instrumentation and began to investigate old english songs and musical traditions. Morris dance tunes, field ballads, industrial work songs, nautical songs were reinvented for a new audience. 

Some of those artists and bands are still performing. Fairport Convention still play regularly, Steeleye Span occasionally get together, Ralph McTell played this year, great songs and he is still the best ragtime blues guitarist I have ever heard. Younger bands like Merry Hell from Wigan with energetic electric social commentary, Trad arrr, with a mix of electric morris tunes, traditional ballads and self-penned songs in a traditional mould are carrying on the traditions.

The other pleasures of these festivals is checking out the specialist food sellers, craft ales in the beer tent and small specialist traders and artisans around the site. I usually end up with a few CDs, a tee shirt or a bit of local artisan work. This year however was unexpected, a charity who collected refurbished then supplied tools to establish workshops and small businesses in developing countries, any unsuitable for shipping being sold to pay their costs, so I ended up with a lovely old, but excellent quality, refurbished electric mitre saw. Not something I expected to find at a music festival!

Sunday 3 July 2022

 How Woke Is Your Cat?

A few days ago our grocery delivery arrived (Yes, I know I'm lazy, if the shop will deliver why bother to drive into town to the shop?). In the delivery was the usual bag of treats for the cat, called Dreamies, made by Mars Petcare, and well known to most cat owners.

And on the pack was a rainbow and the declaration of how proud Dreamies were to be sponsoring an LGBT charity. 

I can well understand how a company division making pet products could sensibly sponsor a pet related charity. There are various such charities who I am sure would love some commercial sponsorship and many pet owners would be happy to choose the product, approving of the charity.

However, to the best of my understanding our cats have never once asked about or required LGBT counselling services. LGBT issues have absolutely nothing to do with cats or any other pets and are unlikely to tempt the product purchaser. Especially if, like me, they are sick and tired of being bombarded with LBGT propaganda and news coverage.

Yet another blatant case of a company ignoring their primary job of producing products as efficiently and cheaply as possible for the customer and making money for their shareholders by wasting their time climbing on the woke virtue signalling bandwagon. Fortunately there are other cat treats avaiable.