As I’ve been lazing around a bit in the peaceful backwater that is post Solfest (along with trying to get all the wedding preparations done with Karen…The day is ten days tomorrow) I’ve been watching some of the stuff I’ve recording on my BT box that I couldn’t watch as I was too busy with other things.

One thing was the documentary on the late Harry Patch who was until his recent death the last surviving participant in World War One, now there are none left. A most moving programme, again saying to me how important it is to keep the stories of your own lives alive, tell your children what it was like for you as a child. It may not be long ago but times are changing fast. Thirty five years ago moving two huge knobs to control flat white lines up and down on the side of a TV screen to stop a white dot from flying off screen was considered shit hot technological entertainment, how the hell can the WII generation understand how good that was at the time. Forty five years ago clipper lighters were a huge excitement to me and my sad crowd of mates and only rich kids had colour tallies, fifty fives and was born into world still rationed and Sputnik and Telstar were still unlaunched.

The other show I watched today pointed this out and perhaps something important too, it was from the Beebs “Blues Britannia” series entitled “Can Blue Men Sing The Whites?” (Borrowing a title from THE BONZO DO DOO DAH BAND) and it told of the rise and influence of the great British Blues Revolution and spawning the likes of FLEETWOOD MAC, JOHN MAYALLS BLUESBREAKERS, CREAM, THE ROLLING STONES, MANFRED MANN and THE YARDBIRDS.

In those days people like the young Mick Fleetwood and Chris Dreja of THE YARDBIRDS could only get the authentic black blues music that excited them in specialist shops. Rock and Roll having been and gone leaving only a watered down copy in it’s wake, but in a few shops off main streets and frequented by somewhat dodgy looking post war proto geeks in Mackintosh’s recordings by MUDDY WATERS, HOWLIN WOLF and LEADBELLY could be found.

You heard on the grapevine that “Someone in Ealing has a Champion Jack Dupree LP” so you’d get on the bus and go to an address you’d been, knock on a strange door and timidly ask “Can I see you record please.”

Time and effort were spent seeking out this Wonderstuff that spoke to you.

Today the music ever written is available at the click of a few tiny buttons and can then be played on your mobile phone for pence. Is it a true improvement? If something is so cheap and requires no effort, do we value it less? Does its message have less importance because we choose not to listen long enough to let it speak before we are chasing the next synthesized dragon?

That of course brings me back to Solfest, the community where we can sit as villagers used too. To talk and care about each other as we did all our homes were part of small and tight villages, and where in all likelihood as at Solfest there was live music every night. It is only about one hundred years ago when the only way you could hear music was live. In the century just gone we got recordings, before then you had to make some effort to go and listen.

Solfest rocks doesn’t it.

The Wizards Pot

An archive of the life and rantings of The Wizardmarra. The Best Storyteller In The World.

About Alan Whittaker

A storyteller like no other. Weaving traditional storytelling with madcap posing and stand up comedy riffing. Taking the listener from here to there and back again at break neck speed; with panache and a fine sense of the ridiculous.For more information about Alan, read his biography.

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