Bluegrass & Piracy

Yesterday we celebrated the New Year by heading into Liverpool with our neighbors (and fellow Americans). I had heard about this event called 'The Heritage Market' located someplace in the bowels of the old Merseyside docks. Apparently, once a week a vast amount of merchandise falls off the back of a truck (well, many trucks, I suppose), and appears on sale in stalls which spring up like fungus overnight in an old tobacco warehouse.

It was bitterly cold, but there were still hundreds of people shopping in dozens of stalls for such goods as copies of the latest XBox games, DVDs of every movie currently-still-in-theaters - and I mean every one. I picked up a copy of Alexander the Great, which isn't due out in the UK cinema for at least a week or two, let alone DVD release. Of course, the quality of the film is about equal to watching TV in 1978. If watching TV in 1978 included a black spot in the lower left hand corner of the screen shaped just like the back of some guy's head. And the shape occasionally had another shape attached to it shaped like a hand full of popcorn.

I find the whole concept of a widely acknowledged, pseudo-sanctioned market for pirated goods ... quintessentially Liverpudlian

The real find of the trip, however, wasn't a movie. Our critter was following her nose to the sausage roll place when I heard what sounded a heck of a lot like a banjo. We turned the corner to find a 6 man bluegrass band. Banjo. Steel guitar. Right there in the Liverpool dock. And they were a good bluegrass band. It was surreal. I chatted with them for a few minutes: they call themselves 'The MerseyBillies.' They're all local Liverpool boys - not a group of misplaced Appalachian folk.

I think we're going to hire them for Ella's birthday party. Clowns are so passé.