Without our stories or our songs / How will we know where we come from?

I’m not a natural folk music fan but a year or so ago, late one night on Radio 2 as I drove from somewhere to somewhere, I caught some lyrics that spoke to me.

… And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wells [*]
Well, I’ve got a vision of urban sprawl
There’s pubs where no-one ever sings at all
And everyone stares at a great big screen
Overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens [**]
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps
And we learn to be ashamed before we walk
Of the way we look, and the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where we come from?
I’ve lost St. George in the Union Jack
It’s my flag too and I want it back

(* Have to admit I may be with the minister on this one, but I accept the spirit of the song.)
(** Why do you blush and shuffle your feet, Ladygrove in Didcot? Boundary House in Abingdon? I may be looking at you but I’m thinking of plenty others.)

And I thought no more about it, until today’s dose of the Life and Opinions of Andrew Rilstone actually included the video from whence it came. I can now reveal – because I’ve found out myself – that the lyrics, and the title of this post, are from “Roots” by Show of Hands. Here are the lyrics; here’s the video.

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