the fetishisation of words, in all their glory

We’ve got damp-proofers in tomorrow, to replace our out-of-date coursing along the front of the house. This means clearing all our shite out of the living room, which turns out to be mostly books. I hate books, especially thousands of them, when you have to carry them up to the attic and they’re dusty and you sneeze on the stairs and the 40 books you’ve got piled up in your arms go flying everywhere. Little fucktards, books.

On the way to Moseley Folk Festival, I helped Ben (drummer) move house from Brighton to West London and, while loading up the car, discovered he’s published a book of poems. It’s excellent and extremely complex stuff, that I’m having to work hard to get my head around. I’m trying to persuade him to sell it on the merch stall in October – how cool, the drummer’s poetry book!? Best of all, it’s a small book and doesn’t weigh much when carried between rooms.

An amusing thing happened to my Morning Star column this week, where they’ve slightly edited one of my favourite sentences.

What I wrote:
Face it: cocaine is everywhere. It’s at the BBC, in Parliament, the police force is full of it, it’s in all the media companies, most bog standard offices and I’d be massively surprised if there’s not a fair wodge floating around the Morning Star HQ right now.   

What they’ve published: 
Face it, cocaine is everywhere. It’s at the BBC, the police force is full of it, it’s in all the media companies and most bog-standard offices and I’d be massively surprised if there’s not a fair wodge floating around in Parliament right now.

lol – understandable really!

I’m going to have to write a big bad Billy Bragg blog (say that fast 5 times) – or possibly Morning Star piece – in the next couple of weeks and find a way of confronting an old issue face on: although it’s almost three years since 9 Red Songs came out, this week I got yet another pair of nasty emails from rabid Bragg fans, still harking on about (and still totally misunderstanding) the line about him in my song ‘Preaching To The Converted‘. And literally on the same day last week, a Myspace friend sent me a Youtube link to the Imagined Village roots supergroup’s updated version of ‘Hard Times Of Old England‘, where the lyrics seem so close that they could well have been directly inspired by ‘Huntsman‘. Anyway, this sort of stuff (the aggressive emails I mean) does my head in and needs a new considered response, so I’ll have a think and get something down. 

At Moseley Folk, I clocked Martin Carthy, nosing through vinyl on his own at a record stall – so he must’ve been on site for my performance of ‘Huntsman’ only 20 minutes before. I wish I’d had the guts to go up and say hello, partly to shake his hand and say how staggeringly wonderful Signs Of Life is but also partly to ask whether ‘Huntsman’ came up when they were developing ‘Old England’. I bottled it, sadly, because I was hanging with friends, drinking coffee and eating a messy falafel. But it would be fascinating to know if they acknowledge or are even aware of the song.


3 responses to “the fetishisation of words, in all their glory

  1. ‘rabid bragg fans’ – that’s a band name surely :
    ‘I’m going to see The RBF at the Windmill on Sunday.’

  2. The Morning Star drug of choice is stout, based on the evidence I’ve seen 🙂

  3. lol James – I have to say, it turned out the MS crowd were super-honest and actually did a straw poll in the office to see if anyone had a charlie on them, before they edited the sentence! I should’ve realised they’re much more likely to be potheads / real ale drinkers than cokey.

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