It's been a hectic few months for me. I've recently moved house, and just afterwards my sister decided to get married. This was followed by another wedding the week afterwards thanks to a friend at university. On the plus side, I did manage to sneak a quick day in Whitby for the John Birmingham Cup Final. If you've been keeping up with this blog, you'll have seen the post I made about getting into the final after winning the heat at the Sheffield Sessions Festival.
Watching all the other performers was great. One of the things I love about the folk scene is the amateurs who have a touch of roughness around them but could usually hold their own in a professional setting and the final had that in spades. Most importantly, there wasn't a single song that I heard that I couldn't see merit in stealing due to either the subject matter or the way the lyrics worked1.
I won in the Under 25 category, with the main category having Hugh Waterhouse (another Sheffield entrant) as the runner up for his song about The Dewerstone:
Dave Collins from the Upton heat2 won with a song about the river Trent. Nice chorus, and the sort of song that fits the competition. You could probably flash mob a pub with it and it'll shock and amaze the patrons.
There was a really good song that I didn't catch the name (or writer) of, telling the story her grandmother polishing the buttons for the brother who was on leave from the Great War when she was younger. It's perfectly innocent and harrowing and it's the sort of song which I wish I'd written.
All in all, Whitby was good fun3. I've a plan to enter again next year with a song (though which one it will be depends on if I have another blast of creativity again). I'll be counted in the Under 25 category still, and the organisers tell me it'd be great if there were more entrants in the heats. Keep an eye out...
That's important to me. Each song I sing has a place, a purpose. I'm telling a story of an event that's been mostly struck from history in the case of Paradise Square. I'm remembering an evening sat in a holiday cottage with my fiancee in the case of Wicklow. I'm locking into a message of hope in the case of Palaces of Gold. It's far too easy to take a song we've heard and regurgitate it out without working out what it's for. ↩︎
I was actually hoping for a Sheffield sweep. The other Sheffield entry is a cracking song. ↩︎
Festival sessions are the best sessions. Just walking into a pub and asking if we can play songs and being told yes is fantastic. ↩︎