The Brain in the Backyard

And here it is, a photo taken at great personal cost (at least two mosquito bites) of the latest growth in the back yard. I don’t know whether it’s edible and I doubt whether I’ll try to find out.

So with my brain in the backyard, my mind in 1797 Bath, my memory falling down a hill somewhere (I can’t remember where), and my bank balance on its way to the IRS … here’s what I’ve been up to.

I went on Tuesday to see Steeleye Span, an appearance on their 4oth anniversary tour. Eeek. The line for the men’s room was longer than that for the women’s room, probably because of all those dodgy prostates. I counted three people who didn’t qualify for AARP membership (one of whom was my daughter–this concert was a birthday present. My daughter and I did a guest interview recently at MamaWriters which was fun). Steeleye Span was one of the folk rock bands in England started, uh, forty years ago, their main contender being Fairport Convention (although band personnel switched between the two).

Going to see a band you’ve followed, on and off, for a few decades is rather alarming. It leads to all sorts of thoughts about mortality and aging, and a live performance is quite different from recordings which give you a studio (edited, pristine) moment in time.

I didn’t want any sort of nostalgia trip or mourning for my lost youth or any of that stuff but I felt time was running out. Would they sound as good?

Thankfully, yes, they sounded amazing. And, oh, the Regency tie in. Their repertoire contains a lot of eighteenth century material. One of their most recent recordings, Bloody Men, has a whole group of songs, Ned Ludd, which begins with a setting of Inclosure by John Clare (and I’m listening to it right now):

Ye commons left free in the rude rags of nature
Ye brown heaths beclothed in furze as ye be
My wild eye in rapture adores every feature
Ye are dear as this heart in my bosom to me

And the same album has a version of a wonderful, raunchy traditional song, Bonny Black Hare, which proves that yes, in Regency England, they Did That Sort of Thing:

I laid this girl down with her face to the sky
I pulled out my ramrod and my bullets likewise
Saying, Wrap your legs round me, dig in with your heels
For the closer we get, the better it feels

As I said, my brain appears to be in the backyard (and mind in the gutter), but where’s yours today? What music are you listening to?

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