FOLK SESSION - Howard Arms, Brampton


The Brampton folk session met on 17th May with the theme ‘clothing’.  It was a pleasure to see John from Whitley Bay joining us again after a long gap. 


A sub-theme of ‘footwear’ seemed to develop early on (was there a Freudian significance in this?)  Betsy Bell and Mary Gray (Gary) died of plague in their green shoes; Sam’s Quality Shoes had steel toecaps; Gerda introduced sneakers, boots and ‘regulation shoes’ in her Walking Song; Anne’s heroine wore golden slippers to Dance around the spinning wheel; Uncle Jasper, in Phil’s parody Prancing with ewes, comes home with mud on his wellies; John envied St Peter’s shoes (Grey Funnel Line), while the hero of the Stanley Holloway monologue, recited by Mary, suffers social opprobrium for wearing Brahn Boots to a funeral.


Uniform appeared on the ‘manly form’ of the officer whom Anne admired through the Keyhole in the door.  Gary’s heroine cursed the recruiting officer who induced her lover to wear the Blue Cockade, whereas in the ballads Polly Oliver (Ruth) and William Taylor (Chris) the girls put on men’s apparel in order to join the army and follow their true loves.   Mary’s Soldier Soldier cunningly got himself kitted out from head to foot by his sweetheart.


We ranged through exotic to exquisite and from there to homely.  Starting with the exotic, grass skirts featured when John suggested Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian, and huli-huli skirts in She wears red feathers (Ruth).  Chris’s ingenious shaggy dog story, The King’s Tailor, ran through a smart suit, waistcoat, tie and button before coming to the punch-line.   The Laird of Cockpen (Katy) wore wig, gold ring, sword, blue coat and waistcoat to go courting; Sam praised satins and silks but preferred The Maid in the Calico Dress and Eli the barrow boy (Gerda) wanted to dress his love in ‘a fine robe of gold and silver’ while he himself dressed in corduroy. 


And let us not forget the underpinnings, so ably represented in Phil’s Big Knicker Blues!


We next meet on Tuesday, 21st June at 8pm in The Howard Arms with the theme of ‘water’.  ALL WELCOME!