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Blog: The English Earth

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At the weekend, between leaving work and starting my PhD, the Events Of My Life and I went to TWO (2) cultural things and they were both a) differently ENGLISH and b) similarly ACE.

The first was on Saturday night, when we went to see Chris T-T do his album launch at Housman's bookshop. It was in a Radical Bookshop with an inaccessible toilet and no BOOZE, with people sat on the floor not really minding because they were getting 90 minutes of Chris serenading them with his MIGHTY SONGS. It was all so polite and simultaneously ANGRY, folkie but psychedelic, ROCKING but thoughtful - very him and very English in a way that people rarely shout about. Also VERY enjoyable - I usually start to FIDGET after 20 minutes of a gig, but this one FLEW by!

Next day we went to The Harvest Stomp, which is basically a harvest festival in The Olympic Park. There was a Women's Institute Cake Stall, a bar, JAM making, dogs, kids, country dancing, vegetable competitions and everything you'd expect from a village fete, but with a crazy WHIRL of people of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages mixed up together and, basically, mucking about, getting it wrong, and having fun. I sat on a bale of hay drinking a pint of (BLOODY DELICIOUS) Locally Sourced CRAFT ALE watching a VERY East London set of people being guided through Country Dancing in GLORIOUS sunshine and found myself incredibly MOVED by the whole thing. I did Country Dancing at infant school (a MILLION years ago) and have seen "displays" of it elsewhere, but here it was exactly what it should be - a right laugh, with a few people doing it "right" and everyone else mucking in, dancing with babies, jumping over dogs, bumping into each other and generally being DAFT. It was beautiful!

I felt Actually A Bit Patriotic, not a common (or BECOMING) sensation for a true born Englishman like myself to feel. "When did I last feel like this?" I thought... then looked into the distance where the SQUIGGLE and Olympic Stadium smiled back at me. Ah - that was when!

posted 29/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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