Folk Tunes and Englishness

Folk Tunes and Englishness

I’ve created the artwork for a new podcast, Folk Tunes and Englishness. This will be a three-part series in which Dr Alice Little explores English traditional music, its history, and how it is played and passed on today, with input from various musicians, researchers and collectors.

Very glad to be a small part of this, and podcast art is an exciting first for me!

In this 3-part series, Dr Alice Little speaks with folk musicians, researchers and music collectors about English folk music in history and in performance today. She and her guests will discuss what it means for music to be 'English', and play examples of English music. Alice Little is a Knowledge Exchange Fellow with the University of Oxford and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. In this trailer you will hear the voices of Becky Price, Rob Harbron, Sam Sweeney, Matt Coatsworth, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcouhn, Alan Lamb, Marie Bashiru, and Jeremy Barlow. The full podcast series also includes Nicola Beazley, Stewart Hardy, and Tom Kitching. The background music is Clark's Hornpipe, performed by Boldwood.

A short trailer was released this morning, with the series itself to follow soon. Listen and subscribe via your podcast app of choice here.

In the Country of Last Things

In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster

“Life as we know it has ended, and yet no one is able to grasp what has taken its place.”

The unnamed, isolated city state where Anna Blume searches in vain for her missing brother is extreme in its desolation, its daily hardship, its moral rot, its cruel bureaucracy, even in its nature, with a brutal, historically ‘Terrible Winter’ to make the urban nightmare even less survivable. The subcultures that spring up in this doomed world, including comically bizarre death cults, precisely different disciplines of scavenging, and a resourceful criminal underbelly, are briefly sketched, but enough to build a horrific overall impression and a gripping backdrop to Anna’s tale.

This sort of dystopian near-future setting makes this novel in one way an outlier in Paul Auster’s work, but otherwise it has so many of his hallmarks — a protagonist on an obsessive, all-consuming personal quest, a fluid, absorbing narrative marked by sudden changes of fortune, and memorable oddball characters encountered along the way.

Perhaps it’s not quite toppled the mighty Moon Palace as my absolute favourite Auster novel, but it’s up there.