It can be moored to the day: On 27 May 1967, the Muswell Hill Fairport Convention was founded in the London district of Muswell Hill, a formation that was to write history. In 1969 the group had delivered their very personal folk rock statements with the records three and four, "Unhalfbricking" and "Liege & Lief". The five musicians, all in their early twenties and under, dedusted the traditional English folklore by enriching it with pithy, sometimes with finely chiselled rock. A new genre was born!
To date, Fairport Convention, which initially included Judy Dyble, Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson among its members, has released 24 other records of varying quality and with varying comrades-in-arms. In 1979, the troops disbanded, only to redefine themselves in the following year. She releases albums to date, most recently in January "50:50@50", and gives undaunted concerts. Founding member Simon Nicol (66) talks to eclipsed about the eventful past of the group and its active present.
eclipsed: What are your memories of 1967?
Simon Nicol: I was born in October 1950, left school at the age of 15, and since then I have lived exclusively on art. Already at the age of eleven I began to work towards my musical career. I practiced several hours a day on the guitar. My parents were not very enthusiastic about my decision to drop out of school. But I'm a stubborn boy, I was when I was a little boy. They couldn't stop me from devoting myself exclusively to music.
eclipsed: So, and now to 1967..
Nicol: In 1967 I was the Superhippie with long hair and a big peace sign on the guitar. Let's get to the point: I was willing to co-found an unconventional band like Fairport Convention. The Summer of Love had broken out in London. It took a group like us to impose a peaceable modern folk stamp on such a unique movement.
eclipsed: Were you friends when you formed the group?
Nicol: At that time in London all people were friends who wore hair, who waltzed over their shoulders, made music and believed in a different, more exciting world. Fate welded us together. We were a minority of outsiders who stood up against the bourgeois everyday life that most Londoners lived. This kind of friendship is delightfully exciting and the best I know.
eclipsed: How does it feel to be a member of a band that's been around for half a century?
Nicol: I may be heading for the seventy fast, but believe me, I'm still acting with the passion of a glowing teenager, just in the body of an old man. My head, however, is free and young and open to everything that the future may bring.