We were in the pub. They were saying how difficult it is for white English men to get funding from the Arts Council. I told them how difficult it was to tick the other ethnic minority box.
The landlord came over and asked, "Can you play now?" in a sarcastic manner, as if we were late. He looked at me as he spoke, then cast his eyes to the others and smiled.
We got up. Before starting to play, I said how important folk music was to me and what a big part it played in my life. I used the word culture and saw some women raise their eyebrows. That's their culture, to raise eyebrows. Mine is to look at the floor, apologetically.
The landlord, again, "The indie band..."
We're not indie. We're Britain, a mixture of Scottish country dancing, morris dancing, pagan folk music, Gregorian chant and a little sitar. We're not indie. Or did he mean Indi? Or did he say Hindi?
When society is divided between haves and have nots, the haves will kick us because they have something to kick us with. I don't have much, but I have my pride. It's not a weapon I use to kick people with, but it is a shield. It helps me to smile at raised eyebrows and to laugh, inside, when I hear people talking about all the people coming into the country and all the stuff they get for free.
They sat here tonight and heard me sing for free. I asked for nothing. All I got was a glimpse of the truth.