Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A bit of song and dance.

I spent the Bank Holiday at Chippenham Folk Festival. Not to avoid the Jubilee, but because it's how I always spend the late May Bank Holiday.

Some people spend the summer going from festival to festival. Every Friday they pack tents and sleeping bags, dancing kit, fiddles and accordions, and trek off to Towersey or Warwick or Cambridge. I go to just one - that's knackering enough.

Some of you may have seen Jenny Woolf's post about morris dancing (see the link here), with some great clips of dancers in all their finery. What, I wonder, do all those people do in real life? When the boots and bells are packed away, the beards trimmed, flowers plucked from hair - are they accountants? Plumbers? Nursery nurses?

And those of us singing our hearts out? This year saw me joining the chorus of: 'What can you give a nudist for his birthday?', (first sung by Gracie Field - the original is here - so you can seen how flexible the word 'folk' is used) with the same enthusiasm I recently poured into singing Zadok the Priest with a local choir. A couple of years ago I caught myself singing, 'Oh, I'm a one-eyed cormorant looking for a shag!' (sorry, it's not on youtube) and tried to connect this singing woman with the orthodox one who wanders round the supermarket and chooses between trout and salmon.

I love this disconnect. And it's possibly one of the things I love about travelling. That moment of standing a little outside myself and noticing - this is me, doing this thing, singing this song, climbing this mountain, looking for tigers. A multiple personality? No - facets of myself that I let out to play occasionally.

And you - do you go out and surprise yourself? Do you enjoy that 'bloody hell, this is me' moment, or does it send you scuttling home for tea and cake? (Sometimes I do the cake thing sometimes, too!)


  1. I'm not surprised at what I do. Other people are!

  2. Spoilsport! Why is not on Youtube? Congratulations Jo - a lovely inspiring post! And my answer to your question is 'not nearly enough' :)