Football, I am told, is like marriage: you have to cleve only to one team, forsaking all others. You have to pretend that Bristol Rovers are always and in all respects better than Bristol City. In extreme cases, you might be expected to try to physically maim City fans.

I don’t think that poems and songs and books are like that. I think that you make a contract to believe in a particular story-world while the singer is creating it, but that you are fully empowered to put it away an inhabit a different world when the next singer, or the next song, begins. I believe in Steve Knightley’s angry, radicalized England while I’m in it; but I also believe in Martin Carthy’s gentle old England and Bellowhead’s radical subversion of it. In the right mood, I can lustily join in with both Land of Hope and Glory and Imagine. I find Mr Chris Wood’s Come Down Jehovah deeply moving, although I don’t agree with it (or at least, I don’t think it means what he thinks it means).

But “agreeing” with a song seems like a category mistake, like trying to determine if the jelly in the trifle logically entails the choclate sprinklies.

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