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Sunday, 20 May 2012

A gallery of folk musicians lying in foliage

It all started at the Bristol folk festival when a leaflet with this image of Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston was thrust into my hands.

I puzzled over it for a while because it was just so bizarre - are they dead? - before deciding that it looks like the aftermath of a mid-air collision between a double bass and a mandolin with the two musicians as collateral damage.

It also reminded me of something else and it didn't take long to figure out that it was this...

... in which a slightly vampiric Jim Moray - red lips, red lips! - appears to be sleeping in a wood, hoping to be crept up on by the Big Bad Wolf, or having had a spell cast over him by somebody's wicked stepmother.

Or it could have been this one by Jackie Oates

which was probably consciously conceived of as having overtones of Waterhouse's Ophelia

but which was almost certainly taken by someone who had also seen this Eliza Carthy shot (hat-tip Leslie aka @EnglishFolkfan on Twitter).

This bizarre meme has a venerable history. I love this picture of Sandy Denny

in which The Lady clearly has a raging hangover. And this one of Lisa Knapp

which looks to be a haunting study of what happens to you when you're overcome by hayfever (thanks to Alex @FRUK).

I also very much like this of up-and-coming fiddler and photographer Elly Lucas, which makes me wonder whether she took it herself with one extraordinarily spindly, pale and prehensile arm that bends around the back of the shot?

And then there's this prize by the late, lamented Uiscedwr, suggested by @ruth_angell

in which the grass and foliage have been cunningly replaced by rose petals to create an entirely different feel.

Which was probably admired by The Devil's Interval, who'd given the same concept a more orgiastic slant by staring in glassy confrontation at the camera from underneath a pile of fruit and veg a year previously.

And if that qualifies then so does this contribution to the genre from Fay Hield, in which I think she looks, frankly, a bit chilly.

I also wish she'd wiped out that tub a bit before climbing in in her nice frock. I'm thinking frog spawn, cow poo...

One could pontificate about the meaning of it all. What is the symbolism of such passivity in the face of nature? Does it indicate a one-ness with beloved Albion or a languid, come-hither sexuality that invites the viewer even as it somehow implies victimhood? Or perhaps they each had one too many pints of Hobgoblin and didn't make it all the way home from the pub?

I'm pretty sure that's what happened to this lot. They're in there, in the undergrowth if you look. Honest. (Non folkies click here for a clue of what I'm on about.)

Hat-tip Phil Widdows @FolkCast for that. The dog's a genius touch. Apparently the pic was originally taken for this and the pooch's name is Holly :-)

* If you have a contribution to make to this sub-genre of the music snap please send them to me on Twitter @emma1hartley Coming soon... Ten things you never imagined Seth Lakeman could do with a glitterball.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Mr Mark - or can I call you Strokey Beard? - the algae pic has gone straight into the file on my desktop, so in the event I acquire enough of these pics to have a second go at this meme, it'll be a star turn. Thanks!

  3. I would have thought an obvious contender for this sub-genre was Martha Tilston, as her band of several years are named The Woods and they even released a spectacularly fine album of material, Ropeswing, actually recorded in said leafy glade, which they also chose for the cover (, albeit Martha-less, which would maybe have been a tad obvious.
    However, by the time Martha's "Of Milkmaids and Architects" album came out, our heroine finally got the reclining pose treatment, only amid... algae?
    And the message is clear: Nature is always the real star, but who wouldn't want to be in the entourage? (typo corrected)

  4. Perhaps the moment is ripe for a 'Tied to a chair ABOVE foliage' meme?!

    Hoping there is something left of them to play at the superb Leigh on Sea Folk Festival today


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