After Bok, a Show of Hands
I am indebted to Troy Southgate for putting up a link to this video, Roots, by folk-rock musicians and, it seems, English cultural heroes Show of Hands ...
As what, I suppose, might be described by our liberal friends - without much love - as a professional Englishman, my reaction to it was a curious mix of mild embarrassment and stubborn pride. The one was a middle-class sensibility and the other something wholly Anglo-Saxon. In fairness, this isn’t quite my usual musical stamping ground, and I’m not accustomed to hearing my own English voice shouting so unselfconsciously into the political wind (though I gather from Troy’s frequent references to such music on New Right Forum that there is a thriving sub-culture in statements of this sort).
After a couple of plays stubborness got the upper hand, I’m glad to say. I was reminded of a moment towards the end of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which I read thirty-five years ago, where the colours of the defeated French are ceremonially lowered before General Kutouzov, with all his Grand Army, a monument to stubborness, looking on. I think the real event occurred after the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Anyway, Tolstoy has it that as the colours are lowered the company wait in silence for the words of their great chief. None, however, come. Instead he, well knowing the spirit of the common soldier, issues an almighty oath and turns his horse away. The men assembled across the hillsides hear and understand, and they respond in kind with a long and faithful roar.
This crude vigour lives in our people, too. The elegant flutterings of the intellectual lepidoptera never call it forth. But music does, and it is here in this song.
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