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Dancing English

"I can't wait for Sidmouth this year when these people show up who may only have seen Peeping Tom or Hekety. I want to see their reaction when the Oyster Ceilidh Band come on. They will blow their brains out, just as they did me when I first saw them all those years ago. And Spiers and Boden, they got the whole place jumping up and down last year ... they're the whole English thing in a nutshell."

He does, however, have one plea for the new generation - will someone please come and shock us all? "If the ceilidh scene could find its own Jim Moray it'd be laughing. We can't pretend to be 20 years old still because we ain't and we need new bands to do their own thing and amaze us. I mean, Whapweasel are stunningly fresh, but unless new bands find their own thing it'll be a short-lived revival. Someone described Tickled Pink as The Darkness of the ceilidh scene, but the day I start wearing spandex is the day I quit. I do want someone to shock me. A bunch of 19-year-olds playing skater punk ceilidh or something, somebody being dangerous. Hekety and Bedlam are great young bands but they're still in the mould. Now we need a band their own parents can't bear to listen to."

Thanks Simon. Uh oh, he's not finished yet. "And why isn't dance music recognised at the Folk Awards? It's great that Whapweasel were nominated this year, but we still need a dance award of some kind for the best ceilidh band, or dance team or dancer or whatever. There are two and a half thousand morris teams in the country and each one has an average of 20 members, but how much publicity or recognition do they ever get? It's time dance was properly recognised. And it's time we had somebody really taking liberties with ceilidh music. It's time somebody came along and outraged us..."

This feature first appeared in fRoots 250, April 2004


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