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Meeting Doc Rowe

This was the day I first met Doc Rowe. It was an inauspicious and somewhat damp night when I made my way to a Wetherspoons pub in Farringdon. We didn't really know what each other looked like but as soon as I spotted him by the bar I knew it was him. Doc is an incredibly affable and charming man with a blinding knowledge of British Folk Culture. Described as a National Treasure, he has thankfully spent over four decades, photographing, recording and filming singers and story tellers along with our annual customs Nationwide. His archive is second to none and contains artefacts, newspaper cuttings, posters and printed ephemera. In a word, it is unique.


I knew that any project I might want to start would have to be done with the Doc's blessing and also hopefully, his guidance. Over several pints of Ale, I outlined my ideas. Naturally at this point they were quite unformed and just being pushed forward by my overwhelming enthusiasm for the project. Doc was able to point out pit falls and suggest ways and directions that I could go in. We compared notes of events we had been to and I hope he realised I was a kindred spirit. Like a shameless groupie I asked him to sign my copy of his May Day book. It was closing time when we tottered out and I remember sitting on the bus home feeling so happy...... and rather drunk. Since then we have met many times and I've kept him up to speed with every step I've taken. It's also been my great pleasure to meet Jill, Doc's partner. A more kindly soul it would be hard to meet. Jill also has the most sublime singing voice and I sat entranced in the National Gallery last December, having no idea that Jill could sing so beautifully. Anyway, enough of the gushing, they could read this at some point and I don't want them getting big heads.