[This piece was originally written for Loops magazine, which I think just stopped at some point before they published the issue that this was written for]
Folk doesn’t need Reviving!
The English countryside appears to enjoying something of a revival of late. Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Ruins (2010) delves into the dark arts of biophilia, lichen metaphors and the crumbling post-revolutionary stakes of a rural idyll that is somehow just as much a base for the military-industrial complex as it is for butterflies. Rob Young’s recent Electric Eden casts a similarly wide-ranging and sympathetic eye over British folk music from Arnold Bax and Vaughan Williams to Ghost Box. Less than 20% of British people reside in the countryside, yet we are obsessed with visions of Albion, of some sort of calm, greenish idyll, even if we forget that the British countryside is also the history of enclosures, of the destruction and put-down of peasant revolts, of heavy militarization, of bigotry and racism.