...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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October 08, 2005 || 11:51 am
Adventures in searching out music

I realised that I forgot to chronicle my first success in searching out men with banjos in London town...which actually took place on Monday night. Which goes to show how, already, in London life, the concerns of the moment (work, etc) so rapidly eclipse experiences that one has had even a short time before. But in brief, I was hugely excited to go to the Hemingford Arms in Barnsbury, where I had read that there was an old-time/bluegrass jam every Monday night, and find that indeed, inside there were old men, banjos, mandolins and other assorted and appropriate instruments, playing that unmistakeable twanging sound...

I was wearing my Tannehill Opry top as a little signal just in case anyone might recognise it...and sure enough, although no closet Alabamian embraced me as a long-lost sister, the opry-word did attract the attention of one of the players, who came over to talk to me. It was quite strange to hear a broad cockney accent issue from the mouth of someone who was playing songs about moonshine, but I did reveal my fiddle-playing leanings and next Monday, I may even go along and jam...

Then on Wednesday, I got to hear a real Southern voice when Sam Douglas came into town for the screening of his awesome film Bound to Lose at the Raindance Film Festival. What a treat, both to see him and also to luxuriate in the movie, a funny documentary about the Holy Modal Rounders whose wholly irreverent, insane but inspired take on American roots music was definitely inspirational.

And last night, at my friend Sam's party I met another musician who is into, of all things, bluegrass and chicken songs. Any Kudzus reading this, don't get jealousl I've got to get that music fix somehow. So I'm pretty excited about the prospects. Though it is a little bit sad to me that most of the younger people I've met who say they're 'into' bluegrass a) don't really get the actual genre as a historical form, its relation to old-time/american geography/etc and b) do seem to like it more for its ironic americana value (hey! let's act like hillbillies, how funny!) than some of its more 'genuine' and touching qualities. That's one of the qualities that I loved about the Rounders - although they took the mickey out of old-timey stuff, they also did it with a tenderness and a love that I guess, as Chip commented, you only get if you've spent enough time around fires or on front porches pickin' with the old boys...

And, I fell asleep on the night bus last night. Awoke in Muswell Hill at 4am and had to get a cab back. Haven't done that for a while, I must say...



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