Tinker, tailor…

Child your life is just beginning;

You must look ahead.

Life, alas! consists of winning

Little bits of bread;

Pause and ask yourself a minute:

‘How do I propose to win it?

How shall I be fed?’

~from The Problem by A.P. Herbert

I hate job-hunting. Unfortunately I am beginning to realise that I cannot survive on my student loan alone, and trying to stretch out the remaining £100 of my overdraft over the 3-4 months of the summer holidays is looking nigh-on impossible. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that I have no clue what I want to do, but have very strong ideas about what I don’t want to do.

Crumbolina’s jobs from hell:

1) Anything to do with cleaning. Toilets, dishes, cars. Just no.

2) Handing out leaflets and/or going door-to-door. You don’t want me here, I don’t want to be here. Save the trees. And my face from being slammed in the door.

3) Anything that involves being up before dawn. Newspaper delivery, post-sorting, rubbish disposal. For many years, I toyed with the idea of being a ‘lady’ farmer, until someone informed me that this would involve milking the cows in the wee small hours, and slaughtering my livestock.

Currently I’m contemplating working in one of the many museums in London, whilst doing a bit of writing/other media-related work experience on the side. It is the latter that has led me to start a blog. I doubt that there are many people, possibly including my lecturers, who want to read my essays on the development of Roman towns, or reviews of books about gypsies, so I’m trying to generate some slightly more varied literature. Also several friends have asked several times for me to start one, and I can only ignore them for so long.

I suppose I ought to get back to writing the aforementioned essay on Roman towns. In the meantime, I leave you with a short piece I wrote about a trip I took back in September last year.

In the hallowed halls of London’s Royal Festival Hall, Ed and Will are starting a Communist uprising. Lenin and Trotsky they are not. Instead, they have just launched into a 400 year old folk song, The Diggers, composed to rally up disaffected farmer youths to fight against Old England’s bent aristocracy. This is no Bolshevik meeting though. Rather, it is a gathering of middle class yuppies being treated to the folklore of Old England and Ireland, in honour of Topic Record’s 70th birthday.

I didn’t mean to come. Jay Z, Girls Aloud and Coldplay are playing across town at Wembley, but funds are low, and, at a fraction of the cost, this landmark event by folk club the Magpie’s Nest will have to do. The line up is strange yet not sparse; a banjo and harmonica player – recent graduates in Folklore Studies from Newcastle University, two lads walking around Britain, singing for their supper, an Irish traveller, and a couple of old folkies thrown in for good measure, form tonight’s line up.

I’ve brought my dad along. At 18, it’s hard to persuade your friends that a night spent drinking Real Ale and listening to songs about the corn harvest is better than an evening spent dancing with minor-league footballers in an overpriced West London night club.

A folk enthusiast could tell you about the fantastic arrangements, the careful recital of these ancient songs. I am not this person. What I took from this gig was that no matter how old the tune, a song about a woman marrying a man with no balls is still funny, and even if you are a hip, cool, East London folky, side burns are never a good look. What my dad took away was that he has a more extensive folk collection than Vaughan Williams himself, and that, pushing 60, his side burns (which threaten even Wolverine’s in length and silvery slickness) are more on-trend than they were when he started growing them in 1968.

Together we get the tube home, quietly humming the songs of our ancestors, and singing the ballads our descendents are yet to hum.

http://www.themagpiesnest.co.uk/ ~The Magpie’s Nest

http://www.awalkaroundbritain.com/ ~Ed and Will’s website. Check out the choons.


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