Soundtrack: Beach Boys - Sunflower
So the weekend was spent at Fairport's Cropredy Convention. It's a folk festival. But this year it was quite an off-kilter one.
The merchandise shirts were firmly fixed in the 60s, with their illuminous flower power writing boasting claims of peace and love. Fine. But the bands... quite an unusual mix, compared to the last time I attended. There was The Muffin Men, for starters. They're basically a group of music teachers covering Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. I'm quite impenetrable to Beefheart, so I used the time wisely to buy a melodica instead. Then there was The Dylan Project. They were basically Fairport Convention fronted by a Bob Dylan-wannabe. By the time they came onstage, Thom and I had suffered a day of intolerable coldness, so when we went back to the tent to get our sleeping bags we thought 'sod it', and went to bed instead.
So the weather put a bit of a dampner on the weekend. A bit of sun on Thursday, freezing on Friday, and freezing with rain on Saturday. But there was still fun to be had. Firstly by meeting up with Kelly (New Order) and Wood again, and secondly by playing 'Cropredy I Spy'...
You might remember the fun Thom and I had at Crosby, Stills and Nash recently. Well Cropredy was a veritable goldmine of I Spy frivolity. The most prevalent was the gay dog wearing a neckerchief. Bonus points for a pink neckerchief which Simon claims to have seen, but has no witnesses to substantiate this claim. There was also the oldest Cropredy t-shirt found. Kelly claimed a 1989er, but again, a lack of witnesses means it doesn't qualify for points. 1 pointers for the exotic waist coats/comedy hats brigade. 'Folk Mothers' were quite a funny one - she wears a Cropredy shirt from many a year ago, drainpipe jeans, has her hair in a dishevelled bob and is usually trailing 3 miserable kids behind her. My favourite was capturing a folk knitter. She must've been using needles that were 2inches wide!
So from this fun to poignancy. Carole, my recently widowed Aunt also came to the festival with us, and after Fairport on Sunday night the family traipsed over to Cropredy Bridge to scatter my Uncle Alan's ashes. I felt very bad for Carla, my cousin. I was stood next to her and she was understandably upset. I didn't know whether to hug her not. I tried stroking her back, and she didn't respond. But Carole was getting all the sympathy it seemed. I couldn't bear to leave Carla alone, so I gave her a huge hug and rested my head on her shoulder. This time she hugged me back.
It was a sorry sight though, the water under this particular bridge. Cropredy has a wonderful canal running through it, but under this bridge the water was quite stagnant with rubbish thrown in it - but it had to be that particular spot. Then there was a silly moment. Suddenly Carole clocked a Morrison's shopping bag, and Carole couldn't help but laugh. 'It's a sign!' she kept saying - the Morrison's bag symbolising my uncle's passion for The Doors. You have to laugh, really.