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Zoe Mulford: Postcards (Blog)

I’ve run into Alun Parry in a couple of different contexts, so I took notice when he announced that he was starting up a new folk club in Liverpool. The opening night of the Woody Guthrie Folk Club was exuberant, pleasantly intergenerational, unabashedly Socialist, and so packed that latecomers were turned away due to fire regulations.I enjoyed a pair of bouncy young men with a modern take on Cole Porter’s “Let’s Fall in Love” culled from the pages of the tabloids, and two women of different generations singing “The Maintenance Engineer” (a song about housework.) Alun had assembled a super-group of Liverpool musicians to keep the energy high.The downside? By the time I got there, the sign-up list was full, so I didn’t actually get to play. But better to listen at a cracking evening than to play at a lame one. The show ended at 10:30 and the last train from Lime Street Station left at 11:38, populated by drunk young people and a pair of Spanish-speaking [...]
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Monday night, without advance planning, I head for the Bacup (pronounced “bake-up”) Folk Club. I’ve gotten quite good at getting out to the ring road around Manchester, but once I leave it, all bets are off.The club meets in a nondescript building (the local football club) on the evocatively-named Cowtoot Lane, one of a warren of little streets up a steep hill. The small but enthusiastic company includes a high density of whistle-players. There is also an uillean piper who has brought along an instrument he has just invented but cannot yet play much, made from a long pole and some plastic tubing. The evening’s best moments are a roof-raising rendition of “Summertime” and several other sprawling, inclusive jams.

Lambs (Click Header for Full Entry)

Posted on February 24, 2010 with 0 comments

It is lambing season. City-dwellers can be reminded of this by tuning in to The Archers, where even during Phil Archer’s funeral, someone needed to be on duty in the lambing shed.Anytime I leave the city, I see sheep. Out the windows of trains or buses, up close and personal on country hikes, sheep are a feature of the landscape and always a pleasure to watch (except for the occasional dead one encountered while walking, decomposing into wooly wreckage on the hillside) The lambs, however, are the stars of the show.
They run around in packs, bounce with all four feet off the ground, and overturn water troughs just so they can jump over them. When they are tired, they collapse together in little fuzzy piles or climb on their mothers’ backs and lounge across them like sofas.Like deer, they initiate suckling by nosing vigorously upward under their mothers’ udders. As they nurse, their little tails - long and fluffy until they are docked - waggle in ecstasy.

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