Farewell, Farewell

June 13, 2015

The aftermath of the news of Christopher Lee’s death has seen a flurry of social media postings of clips of films he’s been in, as well as other broadcasts he’s made. In terms of the cycle of life and death of The Wicker Man – implicated in terms like aftermath (a second crop in the same season, after mowing) and broadcast (scattering seeds) – I thought that this clip that someone shared with me was very significant. Listen very carefully to the tune the brass band is playing…

The tune had a familiar ring to it. Eventually, I worked out what it was. It was the Fairport Convention song, Farewell, Farewell, from their 1969 LP, Liege and Lief. In the light of Lee’s departure, I thought it was very apt.

The song was written by Richard Thompson to the tune (as I’ve just found out) of the Child ballad, Willie o’ Winsbury, an original which, I suppose could equally have given rise to the brass band tune in The Wicker Man. I’ve also just found out that Thompson wrote it following the car crash in which his girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn, and Fairport drummer, Martin Lamble, were killed.

Edit: 14/6/15

The day after I posted this, it came to my attention that yesterday marked 44 years since the passing of a dearly-loved uncle, who died way, way before his time. Today I realised how much I’m still reeling from it…

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