Thursday, February 28, 2013

Room 101: Fear the Parrot of Self-righteousness

I knew nothing of folk music as a young man. I'd been made to do country dancing at school, and didn't like it one bit. I feared morris dancers.

And then this was my first exposure to folk, in the loosest sense of the word.


Let me state for the record that I think the Levellers' politics are great and I really do like 15 Years and Just The One. I still can't quite get with the rest of their music, feeling as I do that folk music should be about heartbreak and death rather than upbeat tales from the alternative community, but I can live with it now.

But I came across This Garden first, their commercially successful but - for me at least - ill-fated dance experiment during the Second Summer of Love. It had both a didgeridoo and a repetive parrot sound effect which I felt was just a bit too much; and I was partial to a bit of Banco di Gaia in those days so my global village tolerance threshold was quite high.

And then there were the lyrics, which were - kindly put - the kind of left-wing holier than thou posturing non-activists hate. It made the nearest thing the UK in the 90's had to The Clash sounds like finger-wagging vicars.
I never thought, I'd see the day / When you became what you've become / It's easy now just to look away / And leave your conscience on the run
Spend so much time not looking for an answer / But someone else's to blame / As long as you don't take the drop / To you it's all the same.
Again, I am reminded that there's a difference between being right and being persuasive.

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