In an earlier post, I said this…
I loved Seth Lakeman’s set on Saturday evening- he made me proud- not sure what of exactly- perhaps that English-ness thing again.
A trip down south set me thinking again about my roots, and the nature of our heritage in these wonderful islands.
I have struggled to feel fully at home anywhere- at least in terms of geography. I am Northern English, if anything- and that is a different thing from Southern English I can tell you!
But my father is Irish.
And I live in beautiful, proud Scotland.
But still, I remain… English.
This comes to me in subtle ways. In gentle landscapes and rugged hills misted with rains and quartered off by ‘dry’ stone walls.
In a love for cricket in all its skillful grace.
It is wrapped up in stories of working men trespassing in the Penine hills in defiance of the landowners- claiming the gritstone for their weekends and their children’s picnics.
Of the Levellers and the Luddites and the Chartists.
Of the Methodists who formed the labour movement with their English kind of revolution.
It has nothing to do with this
or even this
Perhaps most of us encounter our roots through our cultural connection- perhaps above all things, through music. Perhaps that why I enjoyed Seth Lakeman driving folk music at Greenbelt so much. Despite him being a Southener, his music, rising as it does from working class South West England, communicates something of the history that connects me with who I am, and where I came from. My Scottish friends can not understand this- any more than I can really ever become Scottish.
One of my favourite bands is another West country duo called A show of Hands. They wrote a song that captures something of this. Here’s a you tube clip of their (somewhat naff!) video. Song is great though…