20 March 2015

Three Acres and a Cow - a folky history of land rights and protest

In many ways Three Acres and a Cow was not my sort of thing but it was my sort of thing in enough other ways for it to be a fun evening.

The main reason that I went was because it was a Green Party fundraising event and as Green sympathiser that appealed to me. The second reason was that it was held at the Vineyard Church Hall just off Richmond Hill. I had seen other events advertised there but it was a new venue for me and I always like collecting new venues. The final reason for going was because it had music, though I did not know what sort beforehand.

The hall was in a part of Richmond that I knew reasonable well, mostly due to its proximity to Raygun Comics which meant that I had walked past in many times on my way to or from the shop. Getting there was easy as the 65 stopped close by and I did not mind that almost all of the steps from the bus to the hall were uphill.

The hall itself was somewhat bigger than I expected though I was reassured by the general feeling of clutter verging on mess, so familiar from many jumble sales in my childhood. There was a smaller hall off this which was being put to good use selling beer. They had Twickenham Fine Ales' Naked Ladies so that was an easy decision to make.

Back in the hall I took one of the chairs in the front row and waited for the music. This came from Robin Grey and Rachel Rose Reid.

I am guessing a little here but it felt like being in a folk club. Obviously I have never been to a folk club but they spoke several times as though everybody there did. Sadly that meant an element of joining in and then my choice of a front row seat worked against me and I had no option but to try and sing.

Three Acres and a Cow was structured chronologically with key milestones posted on the washing line at the back of the stage as we came to them. Each milestone had its own story explaining how land rights changed and the reactions to this, hence the "protest" part of the show's title. Each milestone also had some music.

The music may not have been the sort that I usually choose to listen to but it was pleasant enough and the politics was of great interest to me. One of the classic political conflicts is between capital and labour and there is no better expression of capital than land. Unfortunately Three Acres and a Cow confirmed that capital still has the upper hand that it always had.

Despite the unhappy ending, Three Acres and a Cow was a jolly little show that was well crafted, informative, well presented and, above all, fun.

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