Keith Brown - Some Thoughts

November 1997

    I had seen the briefest of references to the plough-jag custom in books by Mrs Rudkin and Christine Hole; I had also heard some extracts of the Barton on Humber jag on field recordings made by Peter Kennedy. But I did not realise that the play was still being performed until I began attending Scunthorpe Folk Club.

    1989 saw my debut as a Jagger. The ensuing years are a blur of plough-jag performances, good music, enjoyable songs, jokes, 'Vanessa', limericks, delicious beer and excellent company. But I feel that for the purpose of this publication, my induction into the Plough-Jag is worth a mention.


    SCENE - Scunthorpe Folk Club- innocent young folksinger is approached by John Baker, singer, reciter and sometime notorious recruiting sergeant.


    JOHN:   "How do you fancy doing the jag this year, Keith?"


    ME:   “ .....Urmmmh......"


    JOHN:   “Steve’s going to New Zealand, and we're desperate for a replacement."


    ME:   " Well... er... um...”


    JOHN:   "It's an easy part, there's not a lot of dialogue to learn.... In comes I, old Joe Straw.........What do you think? ".                    


    ME:   “It sounds right enough, OK. I'll give it a go."                


    JOHN:   "Good. We’re rehearsing next Wednesday, is that all right? "


    ME:   "Yes, that's fine"


    JOHN:   " Oh incidentally, Joe Straw is traditionally the musician- so don't forget to bring a squeeze box, goodnight!”