Going for a song

In my experience trees seldom, if ever, complain and certainly never do so in song.

However, in a single that has just been released we are asked to believe that an oak tree “on the edge of the Misbourne Plain” is expressing its feelings about being felled to make way for the HS2 line after standing for 200 years. Now I would have preferred to have been serenaded by a Warwickshire oak rather than a Chilterns specimen – I find them to be much more noble trees – but I must admit that the Buckinghamshire oak gives a very good account of itself.

The single in question is a festive folk song called The Oak Tree Lament, which is performed by Buckinghamshire group Dirty Mavis. As well as being a poignant reminder of what we all stand to lose if HS2 is built, the sales of the track will benefit Stop HS2 funds.

I must confess to being a very poor judge of popular music, but I think that this song has a lot going for it. The tune is certainly one of those that keeps running around your brain and the words are very haunting.

The tree tells the listener to “hang your head in shame” because despite having “survived the harshest winters and summers without rain” that morning strangers had come and “with axe and saw” had cut the tree down “to the floor”. The reason for this environmental vandalism, the tree claims, is because “time is money” and “half an hour could be saved”.

The song has certainly touched a chord with me as, although the tree in the song is an oak, being cut down is precisely the fate that HS2 has in store for our own vulnerable wild pear tree in Cubbington and countless more trees in the ancient South Cubbington Wood (see my blog Another walk in the woods posted 29 May).

The chorus of the song has a simple message:

“And on the English hills runs a line that kills;

Leaves my Country scarred and raw.

If you love my leaves and shade then please

Prepare yourselves for war.”

Many of us have, of course, already heeded this call to “war” and are campaigning, through our local action groups, to get the Government to pull back from its intended acts of environmental vandalism. When the route of the extensions of the line to Manchester and Leeds is announced next year we can expect that the ranks of campaigners will be swelled by many more people who have been alerted to the damage that HS2 will do to our countryside and people’s lives.

And for any of us not prepared to heed its call to metaphorical arms, the tree sings an implied reproach:

“Did you fight to save this England?

Did you stop the HS2?”

The track is available by download only and full details of how to do this can be found here. The track can be ordered for PC download now by text message. Just text TRACK 7655 to 80818 (Texts cost £1, which includes operator revenue share. UK only.) To buy this track with SMS for Direct to Mobile download, text TRACK 7655 m to 80818 (Texts cost £1, which includes operator revenue share. UK only.) Operator Data Transfer fees also apply for mobile downloads.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Here’s another anti HS2 song http://www.mp3unsigned.com/JamesOakwood – it’s a bit ruder and more direct. Kudos to dirty mavis though!!!

    Reply

    • Thanks Andy. Having just returned from a “bilateral” meeting with HS2 Ltd at which it was obvious that all my efforts at trying to avoid ancient woodland damage had been fruitless, I found your “ruder and more direct” song just the tonic that I needed. We have tried being polite with these people, and it gets us nowhere. Perhaps it is time to get “ruder and more direct”.

      Reply

  2. Thanks Peter and please feel, if it is of any use to you, to use the tune for the cause. Andy

    Reply

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