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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, July 10, 2003
    Justice and joy joining hands
    As a man who flounces about in long white robes for a 'living' (whatever that means) I feel a bit ambivalent about the forthcoming appearance of ultimate flowy-robey people The Polyphonic Spree at this year's Greenbelt. After all, lots of clergy go to Greenbelt to get away from all that and be among people dressed like real human beings for four days.

    Although obviously, in my designer Everton shirts, I epitomise the event's counter-hippy couture I admit I've lost this argument, jester hats with bells on and stripey dungarees being the standard festival wear. But my real ambivalence about the Spree bumping up to Billy Bragg on Trade Justice night is that the occasion may lose some of its teeth. They'll be a fine spectacle for sure, but perhaps rose-tinted too.

    This is the thing: I was all geared up for Greenbelt Monday going out on a good old Bragg campaigning high, Bill firing up the fifteen thousand to get out there and shake up our local politicians on trade. Now I fear what'll happen is half the punters will float away on a polyphonic cloud, only using their Christian Aid postcards-to-Tony to paddle through the air as they go.

    I'm not worried that BB will be out-performed by P-Spree; very different styles, equally high class. I'm just hoping the crowds will stay to love him too, this one-man Clash, the man who kept the opposition going during the dark Thatcher years, (who, along with Greenbelt and little else kept me going during the dark Thatcher years), a serious trouper.

    Perhaps the festival may invite them to come together - in the style of Bill's wondrous eighties roadshows. Ah, now I'm imagining justice and joy joining hands as Bill (robed, of course) invites the Spree back onstage for the great finale, his classic reworking of Route 66, A13, Trunk Road To The Sea. Now that would be heavenly. The perfect way to send the punters home (or at least, the ones heading over to Essex).