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Friday, 11 May 2012

The Young'uns play the Olympics

Foremost for me among the pleasures of the Bristol folk festival last weekend was The Young'uns, who brought such attack to their set and such humour to the bits in between that it was possible to forget completely for the duration the terrible-ness of their band name. Like getting a tattoo somewhere where you're prone to put on weight, it's unlikely to weather the years well, is it?

Anyway, there were some fabulously politically incorrect jokes about the lady stage manager agreeing to stand behind David Eagle to hold his trousers up for him, another about what it was exactly that kept bashing into the waist-level accordian mike and a sea shanty in French sung with north-eastern accents that was unaccountably sexy.

And while it's still not clear whether there will be any morris dancing in the Olympic opening ceremony - though surely someone would have mentioned it by now if they'd been asked? - it turns out that there will definitely be some Young'uns in the cultural Olympiad. An Aardman animation called The Itch of the Golden Nit starring the voices of David Walliams, Vic Reeves, Miranda Hart and Catherine Tate and for which The Young'uns wrote a song will be showing across the country.

So *drum roll* here's The Smelly Pirate Song.

Sean Cooney explained: "We do a lot of work at The Sage in Gateshead. This was a collaborative piece involving lots of children. The kids came up with the character of a pirate called Captain Iron Ears and when they were looking for someone to do a pirate song they thought of us."

Cooney is also a freelance storyteller and told me a great tale called The Fisherman and the Toast, which had a punchline that ran "I've told you once, I've told you twice, I've wiped my arse on every slice." Ask him for it if you see him :-) But you can understand why kids love them, can't you?

They also mentioned that there's a counterculture "sea shanty mania" in Poland, a country that they recently visited, that it's "massive and really young", involves girls whooping and taking their clothes off (apparently - although by his own admission Eagle's sight is extremely poor) and which grew up partly because under Communism there were very few ways in which the young could get to travel. I didn't really understand this but am going to look into it because it's two of my favourite things rolled into one: folk and European quirkiness.

* The Young'uns will  be releasing their first album on Navigator this year and they do podcasts.

Also from Bristol, Show of Hands and ahab in (separate) extreme fandom incidents.

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