In the English subsoil…

I have just watched this film on BBC 4.

English folk dancing- it’s a joke up here in Scotland. The Celts celebrate their folk traditions- their cultural heritage, their dancing and their music- but the English have tended to wrap theirs up in a veneer of slightly embarrassed politeness.

But it is still there- folk traditions that go back through the industrial revolution, down into the apple growing and corn harvesting middle ages.

Some of it is decidedly weird (check out the Britannia Coconut dancers of Bacup, Lancashire) and to most of us, Morris dancing will always raise a few eyebrows along with the smile…

But I am very glad that in the streets and hills of England, these traditions are still alive, because these islands would be a poorer place without them.

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Argyll Rhapsody…


We are just back from a schools music/fashion/photography event called Argyll Rhapsody. This is an event organised by CAST (Creative arts in schools team), and was led/inspired by a fantastic musician called Donald Shaw, one of the directors of Celtic Connections, and a founding member of the band Capercaillie. The concept is that some talent is gathered from schools across Argyll, and spend three days preparing and producing something wonderful.

Here is ForArgyll’s take on the thing.

Emily was one of 15 fiddle players picked to join in with an orchestra of traditional instruments, playing along with some professional musicians first in Oban, then tonight in Helensburgh. You can just about see her in the photo below in the second row…


To be honest, I do not usually look forward to these events- apart from my own daughters involvement of course! However, this one simply blew me away. The music was great- powerful, emotive and well produced.

The second half of the event involved a fashion show, with clothes designed and made by pupils.

I was so proud of my girl…

Here is some of the fashion stuff-