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Sunday, 2 November 2014

It's Traditional...

is the worst argument I can think of for doing, or not doing, anything. Traditions come and go, but the ones that survive do so by adapting.

I'm a fan of traditional music, mostly Irish and English, but I don't believe we should only play the tunes that our great-grandfathers wrote, nor that we should play them only the way they played them (where we have recordings or manuscripts to even tell), and only on the instruments they used.

Fortunately Irish Music is a living tradition, constantly adapting and evolving, and new tunes are being written and the best are adopted into the tradition constantly.

I spent the last four years of my UK life as a Morris dancer and musician. My team were, to my mind, too fixed in their repertoire, and I'd have liked to introduce new tunes never before used for Morris, and invent new steps to go with them, to go alongside our 'traditional' repertoire. Other Morris teams did, just not mine. Morris is steeped in tradition, but was almost dead before the revival of interest in folk music and dance in the sixties and seventies in the UK.  Those youths from the seventies are now old men, and if Morris is to be still as popular in twenty years as it is now then it needs to evolve.

And so to gay marriage. Much of the argument against gay marriage is that it somehow spoils or devalues 'traditional' marriage. B***ocks. If traditional marriage can't survive the 'challenge' of same-sex couples then it doesn't deserve to survive, period.

Fortunately much of the US seem to favor my view, and now same-sex marriage is legal in 32 different states. It may take a while for the others to come around, but this has all happened since the start of 2009, so it's been a very rapid change.

Modern society should be bout inclusivity, not exclusivity. We all benefit from variety, choice, and a rich mix of cultures around us. The US is a big slow beast, but it looks like it'll eventually accept that everyone has a right to their own personal happiness as long as it isn't hurting someone else, and to find that happiness in their lives their own way.

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