Sunday, 24 June 2007

Romantic Folk

Following my recent comments on the former politician, Tony Benn's tours and CDs, I read an interview with him today and realised I had missed half of it. It turns out he has been appearing at the Glastonbury Festival, the UK's largest and longest established music event since 2002 and he is back there this weekend talking about weapons of mass destruction and the environment, alongside leading performers from the charts. In addition, I did not realise that my comment about him resembling a performer you might see in a pub was so close to the truth as apparently he won 'Best Live Act' in the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards for a set he does with Roy Bailey called 'The Writing on the Wall' in which he reads radical statements from history. There has always been an overlap in the UK between folk music and radical politics, partly as the genre had a revival in the heated politics of the 1970s and because some of its songs were protest songs of centuries past. So, I acknowledge my error, Benn is not a rock performer, he is a folk performer and no higher authority than the BBC confirms this.

The other tiny thing in the interview that I found incredibly touching was about his late wife. He was married to her for 51 years. The park bench on which he proposed to her in 1948, he bought and it now sits in front of her grave. That is not a showy declaration of love, but it really touched me with its sincerity. That is the kind of attachment to another that few of us will ever achieve and showed me another side to this man.

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