I Know, I Know, I Know
Last night, I went to see Marie Antoinette. I was expecting an utterly vapid but immensely beautiful piece of fluff, with fabulous frock coats and a great soundtrack. Well, it was actually slightly less vapid than I was expecting (still superficial, but slightly deeper than I had been led to believe) in terms of political machinations. But let's face it, no one went into it expecting a treatise on the French Revolution. I was expecting shoes, wigs, frock coats and new wave classics. And even some Kevin Shields remixes! (How on earth does Coppola continue to tempt him out of the house?) Amusing and diverting frothy fun.
The night before, I went to a folk club - The Magpie's Nest. It's a proper folk club, in that between the support and headlining acts, they have half an hour to an hour of open mic. And it's the quality of these open mics which is what keeps me coming back. Of course, there are the usual serious young men with crap emo songs about how some girl done them wrong, but then some unpreposessing older person will get up, and reel off some traditional tune a capella, that sends shivers down my spine.
The other night was The Devil's Interval, who, in between singing almost unearthly harmonies, made cracks about how "young" their audience was. I suppose folk music does traditionally attract oldsters. I mean, traditions themselves are usually something that only appeal to the very very young and the rather to very old. Though, as I wrote in a Plan B article a few months ago, the huge folk revival among kids of hipster age is something quite remarkable - perhaps a desire to be connected to a tradition which is both timeless and un-cooptable by The Music Industry. Folk songs don't belong to Sony or Warner Brothers or the RIAA - they belong to everyone, to use, adapt and make your own, as you see fit. And that's something quite powerful where even our icons that would have been "folk heroes" in another age belong to corporations.
For me, it has a comforting sort of feeling, I associate folk clubs with my father, and the few intimate times we actually spent together.