I went to an enchanting Northumbrian Minstrelsy concert at The Sage, Gateshead, yesterday - celebrating the bicentenary of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. This was too close to my field of research to resist, as you can imagine! Before I went, I found a pdf of a 1965 edition of the original Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882). I downloaded that, then decided I'd try sending it to my Kindle. (Easy, as it happens.) By the time the train reached Newcastle, I was quite well-informed about the collection, and knew a bit about the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne! Funny to think that when I lived on Tyneside - we're talking nearly thirty years ago - I knew absolutely NOTHING about Northumbrian minstrelsy or societies of antiquarians.
I've written about my trip in a couple of blogposts on Whittaker Live, so I won't duplicate the effort here. (I've posted a couple of links to some fabulous Northumbrian smallpipe playing.) Suffice to say, it was intriguing to read about a society earnestly collecting and documenting its minstrelsy repertoire as 'my' Scottish antiquarian friends were also doing. Yes, I learned a few more historical names. (Acquaintances not friends as yet!)
After an excellent concert, I slept soundly in a hotel literally just five minutes across the Sage car-park, and had two new books to while away the train journey back!