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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Blair Dunlop does determinism at Towersey

Sometimes Blair Dunlop, whose maturity shines through his music, betrays his extreme youth through his references. "Is anyone here doing philosophy A' level?" he asked the Big Club tent on day two of Towersey.

Someone in the audience made like a windmill, indicating that they definitely were.

"Hey! I did that course and I remember when we did determinism. I opened up the book and I couldn't believe my eyes: I'd believed in that philosophy since when I was a little kid and it used to make me feel really down. I was a strange child."

Determinism, if you recall, is the belief that everything that happens is the only possible thing that could happen, given all the circumstances that led to it. It leaves no space for free will and so, in a society that places a high value on freedom of expression, could very easily be depressing.

"I stuck my hand up in class and said 'Miss, miss. I invented that'," Dunlop recalled.

Provocative. I mean, it makes perfect sense that an intelligent child should feel this way: a "good" childhood in modern Britain is basically the condition of being subject to the will of a bunch of responsible adults and the knowledge that you have less freedom than them and that many of your basic decisions - what school you go to, for one - have been made for you can weigh very heavily. I remember.

It also made me wonder how Blair Dunlop - who by the time he took his A' levels had been in a film with Johnny Depp - could feel trapped in this way, and curious about how he thought, at the time, that his life was predetermined to turn out?

So I asked him.

"What it was, basically, was that I felt that my entire existence was being determined by a girl called Alice Whitehead," he explained.

Ah. That makes sense.

"I'm over that now."

* Blair Dunlop has a new album out on Rooksmere Records, called House of Jacks. It's really good.

* If you would like to read more about Blair Dunlop on this blog, you could try this, which is about his first album Blight & Blossom.

* If you would like to read more from Towersey 2014 there is this, about Lau, and this, which is about Dunlop's dad, Ashley Hutchings and the forthcoming documentary about folk legend Shirley Collins, who is his former wife. And there is this interview with Nancy Kerr, on the occasion of launching her debut solo album, kind of.

* If you'd like to receive posts from this blog directly into your Facebook newsfeed, you could *like* its Facebook page and then use the drop-down menu to indicate that it's one of your "interests". This will enhance the possibility that you'll get them. You could also follow me on Twitter at @emma1hartley

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