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MANIFESTO

“DO YOU THINK PEOPLE LIKE ME JUST TOSS OUT ALBUMS IN BETWEEN SPRAYING GRAFFITI ON THE WALLS OF CECIL SHARP HOUSE AND URINATING ON THE GRAVE OF SAM LARNER?” JON BODEN

I DON’T DO GRAFFITI – OR STREET ART – I’M NOT VERY URBAN – MORE URBANE REALLY….

IF I WAS A BETTER GUITAR PLAYER I WOULD FORM A ‘FOLK JESUS AND MARY CHAIN’ AND INCITE A RIOT AT CHERRY HINTON….

MOST OF MY WORK IS CONCERNED WITH FOLK MUSIC AND ITS IMAGE. FOLK MUSIC IS USUALLY PORTRAYED, OR PERCEIVED, AS ANCIENT, PASTORAL, VINTAGE, FROZEN IN TIME – THE USUAL STEREOTYPES OF BEARDS, JUMPERS AND FINGERS-IN-EARS. BUT FOLK MUSIC IS AN EVOLVING, LIVING, CONTEMPORARY VEHICLE FOR TRANSMITTING STORIES AND IDEAS, LIVES, LOVES AND FEARS – THE HUMAN CONDITION. FOLK SONGS HAVE EVOLVED OVER DECADES AND ACROSS GENERATIONS, SOMETIMES OVER CENTURIES. NAMES GET CHANGED, LOCATIONS GET MOVED, MODERN EVENTS ARE INCORPORATED, THE SONGS GROW, CHANGE SHAPE, ADAPT, EVOLVE, AND MUTATE. WHEN CECIL SHARP, VAUGHAN WILLIAMS ET AL TRAVELLED THE COUNTRY TO COLLECT AND RECORD THE SONGS, THEY INADVERTANTLY ‘FROZE’ THEM IN THEIR RECORDINGS AND WRITINGS. THEY HAVE SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN SEEN, BY SOME, AS COMPLETE, FINISHED AND DEFINITIVE.

FOLK SONGS ARE DEAD UNLESS THEY CONTINUE TO BE SUNG, TOLD, EXCHANGED, RE-WORKED, ADAPTED AND RE-INTERPRETED.

FOLK MUSICIANS BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO THE SONGS AND MOVE THEM FORWARD BY “TRAD/ARR” – TAKING THE TRADITIONAL SONG AND ARRANGING IT IN THEIR OWN STYLE AND PERHAPS CHANGING EVENTS, PLACES & NAMES ETC TO REFLECT THE TIMES THEY LIVE IN AND THEIR OWN LIVES. I HAVE APPLIED THIS SAME PRINCIPLE TO MY WORK.

AS A VISUAL ARTIST ( AND RUBBISH GUITAR PLAYER ) I HAVE HAD TO FIND WAYS TO INTERPRET THE THEMES, IMAGES AND STORIES IN A VISUAL LANGUAGE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT FOLK MUSIC IS CONTEMPORARY, MODERN, RELEVANT AND ALSO BEAUTIFUL, SAD, AND FUNNY.

FOLK MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, THROUGH NUMEROUS STYLES , FASHIONS AND FADS , YET IT HAS RARELY BENEFITTED FROM THEM. IT WAS ASSIGNED AN IMAGE FROM SOME MYTHICAL BYGONE AGE – A STRANGE SEPIA SNAPSHOT OR RUSTIC WOODCUT THAT IT FINDS IMPOSSIBLE TO SHAKE OFF.

SOME OF MY WORK IS SERIOUS, SOME HUMOROUS, SOMETIMES A PASTICHE, SOMETIMES AN IMITATION, SOMETIMES A BLATANT RIP-OFF. SOME IS THERE TO MAKE YOU THINK, LAUGH, INSPIRE YOU OR PROVOKE YOU TO FIND OUT MORE.

MY GRIEVANCE IS NOT WITH POLLY SWALLOW, FRANK MEADOW SUTCLIFFE OR EWAN MACCOLL BUT WITH THE LAZY AND STEREOTYPICAL IMAGERY THAT THE MEDIA AND EVEN SOME PROPONENTS OF THE TRADITION INSIST ON USING TO REPRESENT OUR VIBRANT AND IMPORTANT MUSICAL LIFEFORCE.

IF YOU ARE A HARDCORE, HARDLINE TRADITIONALIST AND FIND MY OPINIONS ON FOLK MUSIC HERETICAL AND MY IMAGES OFFENSIVE AND SHOWING A GENERAL LACK OF RESPECT, THEN I AM OBVIOUSLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.

Comments

Comment from bill rush
Time May 30, 2010 at 6:50 am

Your work reminds me of when I was 18 and had to keep my secret record borrowings from Bradford library away from my fellow punks. Attending UK Subs gigs and listening to The Copper Family on the sly only deepened my early 80s personality crisis. It took the arrival of The Pogues for me to come out and admit that I had full-blown folk, by which point I had already attended several Spen Valley Longsword Team practices and unsucessfully attempted a beard..
If I was going to go with cliches, I’d describe your work as ‘quintesessially English’ or ‘erudite’, but I like ‘punky’ better. Anyway, I’m looking forward to your new stuff as it comes out and just sorry that I didn’t see your work until after ‘Clash City Morris’ sold out.

best regards,

Bill rush.

Comment from rod warner
Time May 31, 2010 at 9:58 am

Love this! You express exactly my own feelings about the music(s) and disentangling them from the encrustations of no doubt well meaning but essentially (in my opinion) misguided guardians of the ‘tradition.’ Love the Clockwork Morris image!

Comment from louis vuitton
Time June 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Hello, I like your website. This is a nice site and I wanted to post a comment to let you know, nice job! Thanks Cathy

Comment from Kevin Gannon
Time August 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Rock on.
You are a breath of fresh air.

Comment from Joel Smith
Time August 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Hello David myself and the rest of my team have taken a great interest in your work and your ideas

Comment from ruth ball
Time August 17, 2010 at 2:01 am

sad sad sad that I cannot be in London for this amazing event – I should think it will be frightening enough without me , however.

Comment from Rowan Wulfe
Time August 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I love morris dancing and am quite traditional, but still think there’s a place for the heavy metal morris, and morrissey dancing – my particular favorite, but i can’t help but think the high male energy may be a tad missing from that one – as much as i love morrissey.

This is FANTASTIC. Dance on!

Comment from JOHN
Time September 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Sharpe himself said ‘The Morris is lusty and vigorous or it is nothing!’ I love what you are doing and I AM SO BORED with the lazy journalism that files morris under ’smirk’.

Comment from Joe Grint
Time October 27, 2010 at 12:53 am

Loved your work at Musicport especially the subbuteo morris and the star wars figures! Have posted link to your site on my Facebook profile

Comment from Hilary
Time February 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

My Morrisey dancer takes pride of place in my cafe/restaurant window, bought at Musicport and kindly brought back to Nottinghamshire by Wholesome Fish in their van!

Comment from Bob jury
Time June 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Great stuff I love traditional folk as much the nu folk pscyh folk alt folk or whatever you wanna call it. As Johnny Walker once said I like to visit a museum but I don’t want to live in it. Keep up the good work

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