Here’s a bit of cockney folk-punk raconteur Billy Bragg, backed by a selection of brilliant musicians- including guitar genius Martin Carthy, and Chris Wood, he with the ‘dark brown voice’.
It manages to combine some stuff that says something right and true about being from a particular English tradition. One that is unsure of itself, and even if it has some awareness of it’s roots, is not static, but takes and incorporates from other cultures, and becomes something new…
And despite all the Empire Building and oppressing.
Despite the dark satanic mills and the miners strike.
Despite the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Poll Tax.
Despite the Spinning Jenny and the Enclosure Acts
Despite Margaret Thatcher and the death of ideology
England is still a wonderful place.
And because the sound quality of the last one was rubbish- here is a bit more from the collective of musicians called ‘The imagined village.’
Finally, from the same collection- a slice of Benjamin Zephaniniah which gathers some more ideas of Englishness…