Friday, 16 September 2011

The World Turned Upside Down

Leon Rosselson sings 'The World Turned Upside Down', preceded by Robb Johnson's 'Red and Green', Tolpuddle, 2009. 'Upside Down' begins at 2:30. See the words.

This song has been in my head for a couple of days now - not that it's ever far away. I was doing a version of our family walk through the Jewish East End with cousin Helen, over from Australia for a brief visit. One of the first places we stopped at was a gap between two buildings in Whitechapel Road, which we think is the site of the house where Leon's grandmother first lived when she came to London with her young daughter, Leon's mother. Leon is a sort of a cousin of mine, so I know these things. 

A few minutes later we stopped outside the Freedom Press, looking at the panel of Anarchist heroes on the wall of the shop. Helen had said she was thinking of visiting Burford in Oxfordshire, and I'd mentioned that the town had connections with the English Revolution of the 1640s (Leveller soldiers were imprisoned in the church, and three of their leaders were shot there, in 1649). So I pointed out the figure of Gerrard Winstanley on the Anarchist wall, and explained briefly about the Diggers movement during the Revolution. As we were talking it struck me that Leon had a song about the Diggers . . .

And it's been in my head ever since.

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share

See Leon's website.