After Bok, a Show of Hands

Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 10:49 AM

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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Comments:

1

Posted by Alan (UK) on February 18, 2007, 12:04 PM | #

Yet another voice dissenting the programmed destruction of our country. Do I detect a growing retaliation against the tyrannical features of a failed Blairite regime? I sincerely hope I do, as the song says…..“This is my country and I want it back”.....we CAN take it back.

2

Posted by wintermute on February 18, 2007, 03:01 PM | #

my reaction to it was a curious mix of mild embarrassment and stubborn pride.

Between mild embarrassment and stubborn pride seems just the right place for an Englishman, GW.

Sort of how most people function best between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3

Posted by W.LindsayWheeler on February 18, 2007, 03:31 PM | #

Though I would be more impressed with the video if it had shots of the British Military in ceremony, castles, country life and a picture of the monarchy and House of Lords.  I didn’t get those white modern domes in the video.  If the song is about getting back to British Culture back to Anglo-Saxon tradition, I would think that the video would match that tradition.  In some ways it did and in others it did not. I like the lyrics but the rythmn could be more stirring.

4

Posted by Furius on February 18, 2007, 03:48 PM | #

Those comments on You Tube ought to give you hope GW. If the English still have the fire in their hearts, their country can be saved. The only question is how strong that fire is and how it can be kept alive.

5

Posted by Proofreader on February 18, 2007, 04:15 PM | #

The lyrics:

‘ROOTS’ by Steve Knightley.

“Now it’s been twenty-five years or more
I’ve roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Tamar, Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen
Played in cafes and pubs and bars
I’ve stood in the street with my old guitar
But I’d be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request
For ‘Duelling Banjos’ ‘American Pie’
Its enough to make you cry
‘Rule Britannia’ or ‘Swing Low’
Are they the only songs the English know?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
They’re never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - they need roots

After the speeches when the cake’s been cut
The disco is over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing until the morning breaks?
When the Indian, Asians, Afro, Celts
It’s in their blood, below the belt
They’re playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we’ve got wrong?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know
Round the rocky shores of England

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wells
Well I’ve got a vision of urban sprawl
It’s pubs where no one ever sings at all
And everyone stares at a great big screen
Over-paid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps
And we learn to be ashamed before we walk
Of the way we look and the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where weve come from?
I’ve lost St George in the Union Jack
It’s my flag too and I want it back

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots - we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know
Round the rocky shores of England”

6

Posted by Guessedworker on February 18, 2007, 05:26 PM | #

Thanks, Proofreader.  I appreciate that.

7

Posted by Proofreader on February 18, 2007, 06:29 PM | #

You´re welcome, GW. Great blog!

8

Posted by W.LindsayWheeler on February 20, 2007, 03:46 PM | #

I would like to retract the last part of this sentence: “I like the lyrics but the rythmn could be more stirring.”  The rythmn is alright. I can’t get the song out of my mind. It is quite catchy.

This song reminds me of the time I spent in boot camp of the FFL.  We had five Englishmen.  On a couple of nights, they would burst into song.  I didn’t know that Englishmen were such singers.  They sung every tune from movies, to musical scores, to pop songs, to folk songs.  They could go for hours.  I was totally blown away and impressed.  They knew so much by memory.  It was one of my favorite times in the Legion.

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