Authenticity. Not a descriptor that should have anyone wanting to stick a boot through their telly. But when it appears in the context of a phrase like, ‘it’s precisely this authenticity that advertising executives are trying to tap into’, it kind of does. And when it appears in a documentary which has the sheer gall to gently mock ‘folk Nazis’ like Ewan McColl while lauding the likes of Alt-J for supposedly bringing the form up to date, it definitely does.
It’s a shame, because there’s some lovely footage of, among others, Pentangle, the Incredible String Band and John Martyn in this film which forms the centrepiece of More4’s folk night. But it’s hobbled by its desperation for contemporaneity: its confusion between timelessness and transitory modern relevance. This leads to phrases as trite and meaningless as ‘folk has become the new punk’ – something that no show which includes Mumford & Sons should ever be claiming. A wasted opportunity.