Recent research in the psychology world has suggested that, contrary to Mark Twain’s suggestion, the past is not mostly a vehicle for regret but instead a source of inspiration and hope. Generally, we are told, humans tend to use the past as a motivation to run towards, rather than away from, something.
In order for us to maximise the opportunity for future happiness, there is a strong case that we should preserve, and regularly interact with, our history.
Living in the North East we are particularly fortunate to be surrounded by an abundance of history with which we can interact. Of this history, very little has done as much to shape our recent culture and identity as coal mining which influenced where we lived, how we lived and why we lived.
Set against a backdrop of archive footage, and using traditional North Eastern sounding folk, the four piece Pitman Poets provided a musical journey documenting what coal mining meant to the North, in all of it’s beauty and hardships.
Whilst introducing new songs, the Poets spent the majority of the show replicating classic coal mining songs. Of these, Tommy Armstrong, the original pitman poet, featured heavily, his work tending to be a conversational documentation of his anger at the way the world was and the governments’ failure to intervene when the working people needed help.
Closer ‘Union Man’ is the night’s highlight. Dedicated to the NHS junior doctors it reminds us of the need for solidarity.
The Poets provided fantastic entertainment and insight into our past. And it’s a good past. One we can use in the future.