The defining moment of a wonderful gig at Cecil Sharp House on Thursday night was when Peggy Seeger introduced one of the last songs penned by her late companion, Ewan MacColl. Written as he ambled round the lower reaches of a Peak District escarpment, watching Peggy and his daughter, Kitty, make a much-loved climb that he was now unable to undertake, MacColl wrote ‘The Joy of Living’. “Farewell you northern hills, you mountains all goodbye.. Farewell to you, my love, my time is almost done.. Give me your hand and love and join your voice with mine / And we’ll sing of the hurt and the pain and the joy of living”. Despite its poignancy it seems to perfectly sum up the live-life-to-the-full approach of this incredible woman, even if she didn’t write it herself.
Thanks to Billy Bragg’s first foray into non-fiction, ‘Roots Radicals and Rockers’, markontour is currently listening to Lonnie Donegan. Although I’m sceptical that ‘Rock Island Line’ would induce the same excitement in twenty-first century kids as it seemingly did in 1957, as Bragg turns out to be as eloquent in prose as he is in lyrical verse, I am nevertheless both highly entertained from taking the book’s journey and prepared to believe that skiffle did indeed change the musical world.
Martha are “a pop band from Durham” and they are wonderful. If you are not already addicted to their fast paced, jagged guitar music and sparkling…
Put your finger up to the night sky and there are 15,000 galaxies under your fingernail. Earth may be an extraordinary and unique combination of the universal elements found across all those galaxies, & it contains enough variety in nature to astound & intrigue the average human mind for a lifetime. But 15,000 galaxies under one fingernail? You can’t help but want to explore it. That’s why we need sci-fi & Alastair Reynolds is the best living purveyor of it.