Show of Hands

Show of Hands

Where did my thesis come from?  It was born of the twin passions for history and music that go back to childhood, although I’d be the first to agree that it neither had a trouble-free gestation (it’s something of a mutation), nor was it entirely my idea.   They are bound up together in my love of folk music.  It’s rather nicely summed up in a song called ‘Roots’ by the rather brilliant Steve Knightley of Show of Hands.  When my thesis is published (how’s that for optimism?!), the epigraph should be this:

Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where we come from?

History is, after all, stories; ballads and folk songs are stories set to music.

“Seed, bark, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
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”

This week I’ve been looking at the ballads written about Mary and Philip, and their background.  So I’m looking into the authors and printers, and the culture of balladry in the early modern period. I’m really finding it very interesting, not least because of my background in music and my particular interest in the folk tradition.  That said, Shakespeare they aren’t, and one of them at least strays into Dr Seuss territory!  Some of them are quite well known, but others less so.  They are heavy with imagery, and a couple of them use the image of the marigold for Mary, which is a lovely play on words.

A friend put me on to the conference on Attending to Early Modern Women in May at the University of Milwaukee….  I wish!  The actual conference and accommodation isn’t that expensive, but getting there?  Well, that could be a bit of a problem.  That and the childcare!

I spent a few days typing up a sermon by John Feckenham.  It seemed like a good idea when I started.  Then I realised it was 58 pages long and it seemed like an amazingly bad idea.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday afternoon when I finished, but I’m glad I did it because I now have a much cleaner copy that is much easier to read.

At the end of last week I went to visit the librarians at Chetham’s and the John Rylands in Manchester, which was very interesting.  I got some interesting contacts out of it, and a lot of useful information.

I had a singing lesson yesterday.  Singing is providing a nice change from all the book work, especially as the pile of reading that needs doing seems to be expanding exponentially!