Is football the enemy of poetry? People always talk about the beautiful game as if it’s somehow poetic, but I’ve never seen it myself. But last night football was definitely on the side of the devil as match-related traffic delayed my buses and got me to Yesim’s half an hour after I was supposed to be there. So that was annoying. Still, my musical performance of the Bowstring Bridge seemed to go all right and people joined in with the chorus, which is always good. There’s something I really love about traditional folk clubs, especially those which have a circle and not a stage: it’s an environment where everyone’s equal, where everyone can join in and where everyone has a part to play. John Holt, the guru of unschooling, once told an anecdote about a traditional society – it could have been gipsies, I’m not sure – where everyone is musical, and rather than teaching the children at a certain age they give them an instrument and just let them join in. They are motivated to be a part of things and they pick it up by watching, listening and copying.
Which is pretty much how Daniel works. Last night I heard a melody being played on the piano. ‘Who is that?’ I thought. ‘Can it possibly be Daniel?’ Daniel had a handful of lessons when he was about eight but never kept it up: from time to time he gets out his keyboard and tinkers around on it, but last night he found a tune on youtube which he liked. He decided he wanted to play it, and by watching the player on video, he learnt it. I was astonished; though his playing was pedestrian it was thorough and included a fairly accomplished trill in the right hand. I can’t find the piece – I’ll have to ask him when he gets up.
If he gets up…
Anyway, once I got to Yesim’s it proved to be packed to the gunnels with talented musicians and poets: Bobba gave Mark a card on which he had written his poem ‘I see in you, you see in me,’ which Mark had admired at Simon Says; Stuart read some haikus and I had just enough time to do Rye Harbour as a poem (next time I’ll sing it); an Iranian guy sang in an incredible voice and duetted later with Sheila – and we finished up with a nice ‘come-all-ye’ version of a Polar-bear’s take on the Titanic:
‘Have you got any news of the iceberg?
my family were on it, you see…’
Here are the lyrics:
Yesim’s is getting so big now, we’re going to need a spin-off. I suggest Wednesday evenings…
And finally… tonight’s the night when, if you happen to be in the country in a place where there are no clouds, you might see a shower of Perseids. A meatier shower, you could say…