The Woods and the Trees

The CONDEM proposals for selling of forests owned by the Forest Commissions have attracted, quite rightly, a lot of opprobrium, with particularly concern expressed about the potential threats to both the natural and cultural heritage connected to British woodland. The latest versions of the proposals appear to show some governmental concessions to these widely expressed …

British archaeology on the ropes?

An important article from Nature highlights the threats to British archaeology from the results of the recession. Archaeology is being hit by a three-way whammy: the economic recession is causing a collapsed in commercial archaeology, the withdrawal of state funding from a wide range of areas as part of the CONDEM cuts agenda, and a …

The Imagined Village

Pleased to see that Georgina Boyes’ seminal book The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology and the English Folk Revival has been re-issued. Very interesting stuff (if still showing the scars of being based on a PhD thesis…). This book developes some of the earlier ideas put forward by Dave Harker’s book Fakesong: The Manufacture of British …

Folky stuff on the web

A couple of folky discoveries on the internet. First, the British Library has a fantastic collection of ethnographic field recordings of world music- much of which is on-line. In general, there is more Africa and Asian material than European music. However, its great to see a good collection of traditional music and song from England …

Museums and the CONDEMS

Last week David Cameron gave a lovely heart-felt speech all about how the UK has been not promoting its touristic charms effectively. He argues that the significance of England’s heritage had been underplayed by the previous administration: “”The last government underplayed our tourist industry. There were eight different ministers with responsibility for tourism in just …

Folk and Industry

I’ m looking forward to reading Rob Young’s Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music. As the review in today’s Guardian notes, the historiography of the British folk revival has been relatively limited (although in addition to the few examples noted in the review, there is also Georgina Boyes’ Imagined Village and the BBC 4 series …

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

It’s one hundred years since the first performance of Vaughan William’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. This has become part of the canon of British (or should that be English) popular classics (voted number 3 in its Hall of Fame by Classic FM listeners). An interesting article in last weekends Guardian contextualises the …

The Making of the British Landscape

I’m now going to do that most difficult and irresponsible of things, comment on a book I haven’t read. Once can’t help but think of home-county vicars getting outraged by alleged smut on BBC drama series they haven’t actually seen, but what the hell, you only live once. Francis Pryor’s Making of the British Landscape …