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October 23, 2013

The Folk Process

"Can there be any doubt that long, deep and meaningful discussion on what constitutes folk song is indicative of troubled and possibly diseased minds? These considerations also apply to the discussion of the technical attributes of ballads, poems and stories. The delight is always in the doing,'' writes Dermott Ryder.

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October 04, 2013


"The power and longevity of a right good tune is undeniable. Lyrics - bound to a time, location or event – often fall by the wayside but a tune held in race memory lives on to serve generation after generation,'' writes Dermott Ryder.

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August 28, 2013

Questions In Time

...‘Ever heard of the Holmfirth Anthem? Ever written about it?’ These two questions, put to me recently, inspired a trip down memory lane. Or to be more accurate, to the filing cabinet in my music room where my old files and notebooks are gently sleeping and where scurrying, paper munching silver fish hide from the bright sunlight of Terra Australis....

Dermott Ryder tells of the origins of the Holmfirth Anthem, a song dear to the heart of Open Writing editor Peter Hinchliffe, whose family hail from the Holme Valley (first written record of the name Hinchliffe in the village of Holme, 1304).

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August 14, 2013

Spider By The Gwydir

"The riverside adventure reported here, typical of the tongue in cheek humour that plays an important part of the Australian national psyche, came to me from Leonard Teale and Andy Sundstrom in nineteen seventy,'' writes Dermott Ryder, bringing to our welcoming attention a choice Australian folk song.

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July 24, 2013

Beware The Canny Caledonian

...From the pen of a sixteenth century novelist balladeer and into the oral tradition, caught in the collectors net, onto broadside and song sheet, cylinder and recording tape, vinyl records of different speeds, compact disc, MP3, and ultimately to be captured and held forever in cyber space, is truly an amazing journey...

Dermott Ryder tells of a song about a canny Northumbrian lass which has survived for four hundred years

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June 26, 2013

Images Of Mount Newman

"Being at Mount Newman was like being stitched into a patchwork quilt and discovering that every other fragment of the patchwork had a different shape, size, colour and texture, and that, in some unexplainable way, all of the patches came together like the pieces of a flawlessly cut jigsaw puzzle,'' writes Dermott Ryder.

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May 30, 2013

It Always Rains At Auschwitz

"When I visited the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland in the early years of a new millennium I discovered that it is a sombre place, desolate, terrible and indescribably empty. It is as though, even in the light of day, all the spirits of good have abandoned it forever,'' writes Dermott Ryder, reminding us of the greatest horrors ever perpetrated by mankind.

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May 02, 2013

An Evening At The Golden Pheasant

..."Then ‘he’ arrived, late in the evening, a famous television sporting personality complete with gothic ego, penetrating voice and Saturday Night Blonde."...

But is "he'' about to get his come-uppance?

Ace columnist Dermott Ryder tells a choice tale.

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April 17, 2013

Remembering Max Harris

...Max Harris wrote: “Poetry should be about the world. It should not be about the poet. It should not be about what the poet feels about the world. These activities are for poetasters [dabblers in poetic art, a dilettante who pretends knowledge but lacks it], gentlemen, and children.”...

Dermott Ryder pays tribute to Max Harris, a great Australian man of letters who "became well-know, some say feared, as a literary critic, columnist and social commentator. He was a vigorous campaigner against capital punishment, censorship and fought to prevent the banning of George Orwell’s works in Australia.''

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March 18, 2013

Tirade Of A Tunnel Tiger

...There is a rain proof tunnel roof over my head, I don’t need to insure it or maintain it. I just enjoy it. The ground beneath me may be hard and cold but I have many layers of the Daily Tabloid as my mattress, its only useful purpose, and I have a frost proof alpine sleeping bag of surplus German army flock to hold back the coldest of nights. I do not need a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. Most nights I am as snug as a bug in a rug.”...

Dermott Ryder visits an area of his city known for its alternative life-style and its colourful characters.

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March 04, 2013

Signposts And Milestones

...There is something about a true traveller, a certain look in the eye, a questing spirit, a restless aura of going somewhere, an inattention to the here and now, because it is soon to become the when and then. Travel, like billiards, is a game of the mind...

A big welcome to Dermott Ryder. Dermott has been a regular writer for Bonzer magazine. Now he joins the Open Writing team.

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