Me and my blog

Follow me on Twitter @emma1hartley

Monday, 11 July 2011

Spoof folkies set fire to Leige and Lief

A video was uploaded onto YouTube earlier today of the FLK, who are spoof folkies, burning some vinyl copies of Fairport Convention's Liege and Lief album, which is regarded as one of the most influential folk albums ever recorded.

I really like the album. But even if I didn't I wouldn't set fire to someone else's work, for the same reason I don't think burning books is a good idea: it's the fruit of other people's creativity, the flowering of something ineffably human. Burning a CD seems provocative and rude at the least and at its worst rather sinister. We know the precedents.

Obviously this is a joke of sorts, intended to create a stir, and I guess I'm rising to the bait somewhat, having previously asked Simon Emmerson for more details about the FLK, only to discover that the idea was intended as a tease. There was a vague suggestion that Bill Drummond of the KLF might be involved, but only a suggestion.

But the question is: is it actually funny?

I previously came across the FLK when it was supporting Walking with Ghosts, an Emmerson project, at a concert in Cecil Sharp House back in May for the Lush spa music.

They appeared on stage wearing cows' heads with two of members of The Belles of London City. Here's a video. The belles in question were having some difficulties seeing each other through their own fake horses' heads, which meant that their usually spirited dancing was rather subdued.

Jackie Oates was also there but not looking very happy. All in all it was a rather interesting occasion: a bit surreal but I enjoyed it.

It also crossed my mind that Steve Knightley might be involved, mainly because he has form with this kind of thing (I'd link to it directly on YouTube but there seems to have been some kind of clearout of Downfall spoofs from there recently, so one via my former blog at the Telegraph will have to do). Also I believe Simon Emmerson has been producing something recently for Show of Hands, so it's conceivable that it's a joint effort. If I hear from either party I'll let you know.

I also put a call in to Stevie Horton of Iconic Media, at Fairport Convention Towers. But a couple of hours later I understand she's been unable to get hold of anyone for a response.

Watch this space.

* If you'd like to get posts from this blog arriving directly in your Facebook news feed you could *like* its Facebook page.


  1. I found the whole video creepy and sinister. In a "I'm glad it's a tiny YouTube video and I'm watching it in daylight with the lights on" way. (Though I am fairly easily creeped-out by this kind of thing.)

    I would never have thought it was meant to be funny unless I had read your blog post. Without knowing anything about FLK prior to this, I interpreted it not as spoof folk, but anti-folk. The album burning was then of a piece with the sinister, threatening mood of the film. Burning art as a trope being, of course, something only Evil Villains do.

    My interpretation is that FLK are positioning themselves - probably for deliberate, artistic effect - as in opposition to the folk tradition, both old and modern. "We stole the songs. This is not a revival, it's a revolution" (!/TheFLK/status/66168147618701312)

    If this is meant to be a debate about whether L&L deserves it's lauding as "Best Folk Album Ever" it fails. I'm not sure it really is trying to do that.

    So in the end for me this is in a different category artistically from something like the SOH Downfall spoof. The Downfall spoof is, crucially, funnier the more part of the folk circle you are. It's the folk world mocking itself, which always has less of an edge. I think this is trying to do something considerably more confrontational than just light mocking or spoof.

  2. Yes. I suppose I only thought of FLK as folkies because of the company they keep. I should get in touch with the Belles of London City and ask them what they think...

  3. I don't think it's nearly as sinister as you imply in the blog, it's a jokey folky reference to this act by the KLF:

    and this:

    and nothing to do with having a go at the Fairports.

  4. Nice once Simon! Being a folk record, there is of course no chance that anyone would believe that a million quid went up in flames, as with the KLF. More conceptual jokey folk please!

  5. It is definitely Show Of Hands behind this. You can tell because, when the man with the cows head goes into the geometric dome thing you can see that it is Phil Beer because he has very distinctive fingers. Why not ring up SOHs manager, Vaughan Pearce? Although he will probably deny all knowledge of the project, which proves it is them.

  6. it not Phil Beer it's Doctor Who in there I tell you!

  7. sorry typo, meant to say Dr Moo


Emma Hartley blog logo

24hourlondon logo

Did David Hasselhoff End the Cold War?