• Artifact Report #50/52a: All The Merry Year Round – Further Broadcasts and Reviews (Wanderings Amongst the Moss, Golden Apples and Elsewhere)

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 1-A Year In The Country

    Further reviews, transmissions etc of the All The Merry Year Round album…

    dr-who-image-of-the-fendahl-Golden Apples of the Sun-radio show

    First up is something of a gathering from the album by Golden Apples of the Sun radio show, including Circle/Temple, Field Lines Cartographer, United Bible Studies and The Séance:

    “Claude Mono presents Golden Apples Mix Number 46 where the Doctor’s assistant from 1973 to 1976 Sarah Jane Smith enjoys listening to music from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Pram, United Bible Studies and others…”

    Originally broadcast on RTR FM, the show’s archive can be visited here.

    Was Ist Das?-radio show-CAMP

    Was Ist Das? included Magpahi’s track on their radio show… from out in Arizona by way of the Pyrenees…

    Originally broadcast at CAMP, the show is archived here.

    Sunrise Ocean Bender-radio show-Bedsheet, Moss-Altered Circuitry episode

    Sunrise Ocean Bender included Pulselovers track on the Bedsheet, Moss / Altered Circuitry episode of their radio show (which is something of a fine episode title)…

    Originally broadcast on WRIR, the show is archived here.

    Mind Decoder radio show-episode 73

    Mind De-Coder included The Séance’s Chetwynd Haze in amongst the lysergic (of the rock and folk variety), Radiophonic and hauntological wanderings of their show.

    Originally broadcast on Waiheke Radio, the full length post on the show can be viewed here and the audio is archived here.

    John-Coulthart-Feuilleton-five in a row

    John Coulthart writes about the album at his feuilleton site:

    “…extended drones and atmospherics by regular contributors Polypores and Time Attendant alternate with contemporary takes on the folk idiom by Magpahi, Sproatly Smith, and The Hare And The Moon… this is another potent collection which doesn’t ignore the sinister potential of winter time…”

    Visit that here.

    Music-Wont-Save-You-raffaello russo-5 in a row

    Raffaello Russo has written about the album from over the seas at his Music Won’t Save You site:

    ““All The Merry Year Round” appare senz’altro la raccolta più varia e, in fondo, leggera nel catalogo recente dell’etichetta inglese, che sotto le insegne del mistero e della magia unisce declinazioni antiche e moderne della cultura popolare del periodo più buio dell’anno.”

    Visit that here (and via robotic translation here.)

     

    Previous All The Merry Year Round reviews and broadcast:
    Artifact Report #47/52a: All The Merry Year Round Reviews and Broadcasts

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night and Dawn Editions-opened-A Year In The Country copy

    All The Merry Year Round is a wandering through an otherly calendar, which travels alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike…

    The album features United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple, Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine, Time Attendant and The Séance.

    More details can be found here.

    As always, a tip of the hat to all involved.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #50/52a: Image X/2a

    Image-X2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #50/52a: The Good Life, Underground, Overground and Prime Time Gentle Bucolia in Suburbia and Elsewhere

    The Good Life-1975-BBC
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    So, I was watching The Good Life, the 1975-1978 BBC sitcom where a chap who lives in suburbia decides he’s had enough of the rat race, quits his job and along with his wife decides to try and live self-sufficiently…

    But not self-sufficiency on a small holding out in the countryside. No, rather, this is self-sufficency attempted in a normal house in suburbia, next to their more conventional, affluent neighbours.

    As a programme it is enjoyable, lightweight comedy that has aged reasonably well; not quite a Fawlty Towers or Rising Damp but more than reasonably watchable.

    What is curious about it is the theme, of self-sufficiency, of a sort of middle-class back-to-the-land utopianism that at the time probably seemed pretty out there.

    (In the 1970s, as has been mentioned around these parts before, there was a movement or urge within society to look towards the land, folk culture/music and an attempt to find a more authentic meaning to life  and The Good Life could be seen as part of this.)

    With the passing of the years, many of the ways that the main characters, Tom and Barbara, get by and adopt have become quite mainstream; recycling, eating what are essentially organic foods that they grow and harvest themselves and so on.

    Although generally the taking up of such things have more been incorporated into modern life through being often organised or offered by councils, supermarkets and the like rather than the wholesale dropping out of the Good Life.

    Another thing that strikes me is that although some of the ideas presented within the series are quite radical and although much of the comedy is derived from the conflict between the self-sufficient lifestyles of Tom & Barbara and their more normal neighbours/setting, this is gentle, uncynical comedy – a form of bucolia in suburbia.

    The Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie Crook-Toby Jones-A Year In The Country The Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie Crook-Toby Jones-Johnny Flynn-A Year In The Country

    I think you could draw a line from it to Detectorists, the more recent television comedy series based around metal detecting, which also has a gentle, uncynical air to it.

    Another point on that line would probably be the 1973-1975 animated television series The Wombles, which again was ahead of its time in the way that it dealt with themes of recycling and waste.

    The-Wombles-Annual-1974-A Year In The Country

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #316/365: The Detectorists; a gentle roaming in search of the troves left by men who can never sing again

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Encyclopedic views; The Good Life. DetectoristsThe Wombles.
    Flickerings; The Good Life. DetectoristsThe Wombles.

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #50/52a: Plough Monday in Cambridgeshire 1978 and Tipping Point Recordings

    Plough-Monday-In-Cambridgeshire-1978-BFIPlayer-BFI-folk-ritual-celebration-and-costume-3e-lighter

    Plough Monday In Cambridgeshire 1978 is a short film of folkloric traditions in Cambridgeshire which can be watched at the BFI Player:

    For Fenland land workers, Plough Monday marks the beginning of the agricultural year and the resuming of work following the Christmas period. Locals in Cambridgeshire honour the traditions and execute a traditional Plough dance with great vigour. Anglia TV news reporter Alison Leigh interrupts the ‘Molly dancers’ to interview a participant. ‘Why have they revised this jolly old custom?”

    It is an interesting snapshot of local traditions and celebrations which despite being recorded a number of decades before its publication, would not necessarily seem out of place in Sarah Hannant’s Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the English Ritual Year book from 2011, where she photographically documents contemporary folkloric rituals.

    Plough-Monday-In-Cambridgeshire-1978-BFIPlayer-BFI-folk-ritual-celebration-and-costume-4b-lighter

    Along which lines, one of the things that struck me when I watched Plough Monday was that although a period piece, it did not seem so far removed and almost from a parallel world as such films from just a few years before can do.

    It seemed to have more than just hints of what I think of as modernity or modern times – something in the atmosphere and spirit of the time and place, alongside certain aesthetic details such as the style of some of the cars and the branches of national shop chains that are pictured.

    Plough-Monday-In-Cambridgeshire-1978-BFIPlayer-BFI-folk-ritual-celebration-and-costume-2b-lighter

    It made me think of comments I wrote back in the first year of A Year In The Country about such things, that this film feels like it on the edge of now, today, while earlier films seems to be from an elsewhere-like before:

    …in a more abstract sense, possibly it’s because that point in time was a tipping point in society, it’s direction, aims, wants and needs; a move towards more individualistic concerns, accompanied by a move economically, politically and socially towards the right… Programmes made up until that point somehow are imbued with an antideluvian quality, they are now broadcasts or remnants from an “other” time…

    Watched now Plough Monday seems to be a document not so much of folkloric rituals but rather a recording of the new sitting alongside the old but with the new having the dominant hand and the old appearing already somewhat out of place, almost as though it is ready to shuffle off like creatures from an evolutionary strand that has almost come to its end.

    Plough-Monday-In-Cambridgeshire-1978-BFIPlayer-BFI-folk-ritual-celebration-and-costume-b-lighter

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    Plough Monday In Cambridgeshire 1978 at the BFIPlayer

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #66/365: Sarah Hannants wander through the English ritual year
    Day #183/365: Steam engine time and remnants of transmissions before the flood
    Ether Signposts #5/52a: Homer Sykes Once A Year And A Lineage Of Folk Custom Wanderings
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46/52a: Barsham Faire 1974 And A Merry Albion Psychedelia

     

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  • Ether Signposts #50/52a: Klaus Leidorf’s Aerial Archaeology

    Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-7

    Over the year I’ve explored aerial views of the land and related aerial archaeology a number of times and mentioned how it can represent an “abstract art-like, natural calligraphy of the coasts, trees, natural features etc”.

    Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-6

    Along which lines, a while ago I came across Klaus Leidorf’s work, which in particular seems to represent or capture what look like almost staged artistic patterns and installations.

    Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-5

    Often his work focuses on man made structures and collections of items – stores of discarded tires become a circular semi-random repeat pattern, a coach park forms an arrow head like image – but its his images that are either purely of the natural world and/or the natural world temporarily tamed and given a degree of geometric structure or marking  by man that particularly catch my eye.

    Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-4 Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-3

    He has been photographing aerial archaeology since the late 1980s and a large archive of his work can be seen at his Flickr site.

    Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-1 Klaus Leidorf-Aerial Archaeology-2

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions And Destinations:
    Klaus Leidorf at Flickr
    A Selection Of His Work At Colossal

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Wanderings #15/52a: Other Views / The Patterns Beneath The Plough, The Pylons And Amongst The Edgelands #1
    Wanderings #31/52a: The Shadow Of Heaven Above
    Wanderings #40/52a: Further Natural Calligraphy / Carving The Land
    Wanderings #45/52a: Recording The Layers Upon And Under The Land

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #49/52a: The Night Has Eyes

    The-Night-Has-Eyes-1955-BFIPlayer-Cats-Eyes-lighter 2

    When I was young the reflective glass cat’s eyes that were used to mark the dividing line between road lanes in the UK seemed like quite magical things.

    Cats Eyes-sparkle and reflection on the road

    That sense of magicalness was probably in part because of their name, the way lines of them spread out into the night as they reflected car headlights, the seeming improbability of their indestructibility when cars passed over them and that I was told they cleaned/washed themselves when cars passed over them – which always seemed like an impressive, practical and mildly astounding example of design and functionality.

    The-Night-Has-Eyes-1955-BFIPlayer-Cats-Eyes-4-lighter

    (Once in those younger years I owned some of my very own: near to somewhere that I lived their was a subsided road which had crumbled and fallen down the side of a hill – I think it had been repaired before but kept just collapsing again so it had been left alone. Along that stretch of disused road were some cat’s eyes and somebody plucked up the courage to go and fetch some of them when we visited it one time.)

    Although I know that they are still used on the roads, they don’t seem to be as commonplace as they once were and to a certain degree I think of them as belonging to a previous era.

    Anyways, at the BFI Player there is a short 1955 documentary film about them called The Night Has Eyes and well, I just had to watch it.

    The-Night-Has-Eyes-1955-BFIPlayer-Cats-Eyes-6-lighter

    It starts and ends like a scene from a rural noir, with period cars travelling down dark country roads at night and goes on to show the factory where the cat’s eyes were made and how they were fitted into the road.

    The-Night-Has-Eyes-1955-BFIPlayer-Cats-Eyes-8-lighter

    There seems to have been an awful lot of quite intensive labour, checking, construction and installation that went into the cat’s eyes and it seems to odd to watch this really quite heavy manual labour being done in suit jackets and trousers, in the days before modern workwear.

    (Oh and the documentary demonstrates how the cat’s eyes did indeed clean themselves when a car passed over them.)

    Investigating cat’s eyes further I found that they were invented in the 1930s by Yorkshireman Percy Shaw, after he was inspired when he saw the headlamps of his car reflected in the eyes of a cat…

    …which adds a certain pleasant winsomeness to them I find.

    However, I also discovered that there is the possibility that they are coming to the end of their days as they may be replaced by LED lights which apparently provide “extended visibility” over longer distances and in adverse weather conditions.

    So, on hearing that, Mr Shaw here is a tip of the hat to you and cat’s eyes.

    The Night Has Eyes-1955-BFIPlayer-Cats Eyes-3

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    The Night Has Eyes

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #115/365: Edward Chell’s Soft Estates – documents of autobahn edgelands

    BFIPlayer image

    PS…

    I’ve been visiting the BFI Player a few times at A Year In The Country of late, so I thought I would mention what it is:

    The BFI Player is an online site, run by the publicly funded British Film Institute, where you can watch a selection of amongst other things independent, left-of-centre, experimental/arthouse, social history and documentary films and television programmes.

    Some aren’t easily available elsewhere, some of them are free to watch, some you need to pay a monthly fee/take part in a free trial and some are pay-per-view.

    Essentially it’s an online version of the BFI Mediatheques that are in some cinemas and libraries across the UK, which have screens/booths for you to watch a library of films etc.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #49/52a: Image W/2a

    Image-W2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #49/52a: Further Bear’s Ghosts and Lost Dreams – from Soviet Era Space Shuttles to Hover Train Prototypes via Space 1999-esque River Transports..

    abandoned-soviet-space-shuttle-hangar-buran-baikonur-cosmodrome-kazakhstan-ralph-mirebs-7
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    A while ago I came across Ralph Mireb’s photographs of an abandoned Soviet era space shuttles and related infrastructure.

    abandoned-soviet-space-shuttle-hangar-buran-baikonur-cosmodrome-kazakhstan-ralph-mirebs-20

    Even in amongst the many thousands or more photographs of abandoned and derelict projects, buildings, industry etc that can be found online, these still stand out.

    abandoned-soviet-space-shuttle-hangar-buran-baikonur-cosmodrome-kazakhstan-ralph-mirebs-4

    They bring to mind a very modern take or attempt at space travel, to seem to belong nearer to a modern day convenience or consumer take on space exploration than the more imperialistic seeming golden age of space travel traditional rocket designs.

    abandoned-buran-wooden-wind-tunnel-model abandoned-buran-wooden-wind-tunnel-model-5

    The wooden wind tunnel model is particularly eye and mind catching – putting me in mind of something nearer to a folk art project than an institutionally/nationally funded attempt at space exploration.

    One of the things that strikes me when looking at such projects is the scale of the infrastructure and buildings that surround them – it beggars belief almost, even more so when you think that they have been abandoned after such a huge amount of work and effort went into creating them.

    When I was wandering amongst those photographs, as is often the way, I found myself taking a few other routes and diversions and soon came out in another cul-de-sac that could well be called “The Shape of the Future’s Past”…

    Aérotrain-Experimental-02-stored-in-France

    In particular the Aérotrain prototypes such as the one above, which were a form of hover/maglev transport that at one point was being developed in France.

    These are from 1977 but seem to belong more to some midcentury modern, atomic age take on how the future was to be.

    abandoned-Raketas-or-Rockets-that-once-plied-the-Volga-and-other-great-rivers-of-the-Soviet-Union-during-the-Cold-War-years

    And then there are the abandoned Soviet era hydrofoils, made from the mid-1950s to mid-1970s; there’s a bravery, an optimism, a genuine progressive modernism, a venturing and adventuring onwards and outwards to designs like these that seems to have been lost somewhere along the way, surrendered to a more day-to-day practicality in design.

    They seem nearer to something that you would see in say a science fiction series such as Space 1999, to belong to the realms of imagination rather than actual working transportation vehicles.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #229/365: A Bear’s Ghosts…

    Week #34/52: Restricted Areas – Further Wanderings Amongst A Bear’s Ghosts

    Day #346/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #1; a library of loss

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Space shuttles (photography by Ralph Mirebs).
    Wooden space shuttle (photography by Alexander Marksin).
    Other forgotten vehicles (photography by baseguru (?)).

     

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  • Artifact Report #49/52a: A Year In The Country at The Sunday Experience

    Mark Losing Today-The Sunday Experience-The Restless Field-A Year In The Country

    Over the weeks, months and years Mark Barton has written a fair few times about the various A Year In The Country releases at his The Sunday Experience site and I thought it would be good to gather together links to a selection of his related writing…

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 6c-A Year In The Country

    On All The Merry Year Round:

    “Cosmic Neighbourhood whose sleepy headed ‘Winter Light’ we must admit, has had us creeping near the sound system somewhat fixated by its, as were, delightfully dinked dance of yawning diodes, binary alarm clocks calls and wheezing electrical nick nacs… (The Séance) usher these A Year in the Country reports to a year ending hibernation with the arrival of ‘Chetwynd Haze’ and in so doing, summoning forth secret portals into the kind of alternative parallel worlds more accustomed in the company of Melmoth the Wanderer. 

    Visit the three related posts herehere and here.

    The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-4

    On The Quietened Cosmologists:

    “…features a dozen spectral suites, each exploring the various aspects, forgotten histories and what ifs of these golden age adventures… Pulselovers serve up ‘Lonely Puck’ – a wonderfully serene and affectionate love note mailed out from across the outer edges of the cosmos, a transmission from a long lost and forgotten outpost if you like, twinkle toned and radiantly awash in what sounds like shimmering cosmic church bell celebrations… While last one for this brief ride, Field Lines Cartographer’s ‘OPS-4’ with its binary shimmer tones and vapour rubbed ethereal detailing, cuts a finite line between the enchanting and the eerie, a ghost flotilla perhaps a sonic spectre of sorts or rather more, an orbital occurrence with past visions looped on endless replay.”

    Visit that post here.

    Undercurrents-A Year In The Country-album-landscape artwork

    On Undercurrents:

    “…here these monolithic drone recitals act as something akin to aural cartography capturing eloquently the very pulse, the bleak beauty and the secret majesty of these wide open spaces all the time bowing forth to their legacy.”

    Visit that post here.

    From The Furthest Signals-clips landscape image-2

    On From The Furthest Signals:

    “Pulselovers whose ‘Endless repeats/Eternal Return’ is adored in a twinkle toned orbital phrasing all shepherded and harvested upon a delicately whirling crystal cut sepia fantasia. Listening Center draws this latest report to a close with the aptly titled ‘only the credits remain’, a beautifully serene and widescreen cosmic sea spray dimpled in sleepy headed dream drifts, utterly touching and tender, need I say more.”

    Visit that post here.

    The Restless Field-Night Edition-landscape sticker artwork 2-A Year In The Country

    On The Restless Field:

    “…is your bountiful feast of spring dew harvesting, an as ever exquisitely hand crafted package of dawn and night variations that features a fourteen strong gathering of familiar friends around the mystical and magical ley lines that crisscross these fair green lands each blooded and ghosted in historical flashpoints and historical turning points.”

    Visit that post here.

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-04-the-seance-with-lutine-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    On The Forest / The Wald:

    “The Hare And The Moon offering… a ghostly love note murmured in spectral tidings upon which droning mists descend which once cleared and lifted reveal siren-esque apparitions softly wooing with their beckoning bewitchment…”

    Visit that post here and here.

    no-more-unto-the-dance-track-5-a-year-in-the-country

    On No More Unto The Dance:

    “A taking by the hand journey down dimly lit back alleys into signless word of mouth back rooms and basements where inside sounds come wired to the hive mind pulse of the underground, a place where Add N to X ghost lights prickle with ominous intent amid a palette populated by LFO trancetones, motoric murmurs, psychotronic disturbias, radiophonic echoes, kosmick pulsars, serene ambient flurries and soundscapes siren calling futureworld dystopias.”

    Visit that post here.

    Time Attendant-Crafty Mechanics-The Quietened Bunker-A Year In The Country-with stroke

    On The Quietened Bunker:

    “…a most alluring waltzing orbital sorrowfully sighing in the starry outlands mournfully transmitting crystalline cosmic distress calls from forgotten far off outposts to its long since fallen creator as it observes the heavenly nightlights in states of gracefall dulling, diminishing and disappearing…”

    Visit that post here.

    Fractures-album-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke

    On Fractures:

    (Listening Centre’s) ‘Triangular Shift’… ought to find keen interested ears among those who tune into the occasional transmissions of the Ghost Box endorced ‘Belbury Parish’ podcasts… a futuristic orbital that takes its core reference point, or so it would seem, from the paranormal time travelling sleuths ‘Sapphire & Steel’…”

    Visit that post here.

    mark-losing-the-sunday-experience-a-year-in-the-country

    A tip of the hat to Mark and all concerned.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #49/52a: The Haunted Generation – A Spectral Primer/Revisiting and Hookland Re-Enchantments

    Fortean Times June 2017-Bob Fischer-hauntology-2b

    The June 2017 issue of Fortean times is well worth a visit.

    It contains an 8-page cover article called The Haunted Generation by Bob Fischer that essentially acts as a primer for all things hauntological and to a degree where such things meet and intertwine with the flipside and sometimes unsettled aspects of bucolia:

    From children’s TV to public information films, the 1970s were suffused with melancholy and disquiet. Bob Fischer discovers how Penda’s Fen and the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water inspired a generation to creativity, and ponders the future of popular hauntology.

    The article takes as its initial and core theme haunted/spectral television largely from the 1970s (rather than say overtly concentrating on the more lost progressive futures aspects of hauntology) and wanders elsewhere from its starting point as Bob Fischer talks to Jim Jupp of Ghost Box Records, Frances Castle of Clay Pipe Records, Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records and Richard Littler the creator of Scarfolk about their influences, inspirations and where they see such work travelling to next.

    Fortean Times-June 2017-Fiona Maher-Hookland-2

    Also in the issue and just following The Haunted Generation article is a feature on the imaginary forgotten English village Hookland, where Fiona Maher talks to its imaginer (summoner?) David Southwell, who says this on some of his reasons for Hookland coming to be:

    I wanted to do something that dealt with the ghost soil of Britain – all the folklore, all the high strangeness that grew and bloomed in the gloriously strange TV, film and books I grew up with as a child in the 1970s. I wanted to put the weirdness back. I strongly believe that re-enchantment is resistance and even back in 2012 you could see how the fight for the national narrative was going and how the ghost soil voice needed to be heard more strongly within it.

    Fortean Times June 2017-Bob Fischer-hauntology-Hookland-Fiona Maher-2b

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Fortean Times
    The digital version of the June 2017 issue (which I assume is legitimate as the same website is advertised in the magazine).
    The lost county of Hookland

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #65/365: Mr Jim Jupp’s parish circular
    Day #162/365: Hauntology, places where society goes to dream, the deletion of spectres and the making of an ungenre
    Day #169/365: On your marks… the return and reprise of the corporeality of vibrations in the air… and a bakers dozen of Clay Pipe Music
    Week #20/52: Pastoral Noir, if onlys, a seeking of names / the ether giveth and the ether taketh away

     

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  • Ocular Signals #48/52a: Image V/2a

    Image-V2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #48/52a: Kelli Ali’s The Kiss and Cinematic Conjurings

    Kelli Alli-Rocking Horse-album and EP-1

    I recently wrote about The Sneaker Pimps’ and Kelli Ali’s versions of Willow’s Songs from The Wicker Man soundtrack, with Kelli Ali being the vocalist on both versions.

    Vashti Bunyan-Lookaftering-Gentle Waves-The Green Fields Of Foreverland

    In an interconnected manner, a while ago I came across The Kiss from Kelli Ali’s 2008 album Rocking Horse, on which she took a more folk orientated direction and which contains gentle, pastoral, lulling songs that may well share a subtly fabled landscape with Vashti Bunyan and some of the solo work of Isobel Campbell/The Gentle Waves such as The Green Fields Of Foreverland.

    (As mentioned when I was talking about those versions of Willow’s Songs at A Year In The Country previously, Max Richter produced Rocking horse and also produced Vashti Bunyan’s 2005 album Lookaftering, which was part of her return to recording around that time.)

    A track on Rocking Horse that has very much stood out for me is The Kiss.

    Rather than me thinking of folk so much when I heard it, it more made me think of one of those wordless songs that you find on the soundtrack to an obscure late 1960s/early 1970s continental film, maybe a semi-forgotten giallo or the like… a hazy corner of cinema that seems to conjure an atmosphere and world parallel but distant to our own.

    The Duke Of Burgundy-Cat's Eyes

    In an interconnected manner of conjuring a sense of continental hinterlands/never-never lands, it also seems as though it could be a forebear of both the bucolic otherworldly explorations of Cat’s Eyes on their soundtrack for Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy film and maybe also the cosmic aquatic folklore of Jane Weaver/Septième Souer’s Fallen by Watchbird album…

    Jane Weave-Septieme Soeur-Finders Keepers Records-Bird

    …or possibly the experimental work on Jane Weaver’s side of the Finders Keepers Records released La Rose De Fer / Intiaani Kesä, in particular Parade of Blood Red Sorrows, which in that just mentioned parallel world is the soundtrack to a tender, fever dream of a film in my mind’s eye.

    Finders Keepers Records-Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders soundtrack

    That Finders Keepers reference is quite appropriate as, linking back to sound tracks to semi-lost films, if I had stumbled on The Kiss on a Finders Keepers release of a semi-forgotten soundtrack then it would not have sounded out of place, possibly filed next to the soundtrack for Valerie and Her Week of Wonders or other Czech New Wave conjurings of their own cinematic worlds and fantasia.

    Conjuring is a word that I keep thinking of when I think of The Kiss; it conjures a sense of a film that seems to exist just out on the edges of my consciousness, reality and the further flung reaches of cultural history.

    The Butterfly-Kelli Ali-2c

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    Kelli Ali’s The Kiss (and it’s Epilogue)

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #6/365: The Fallen By Watchbird – Jane Weaver Septième Soeur; the start of a journey through cosmic aquatic folklore, kunstmärche and otherly film fables…
    Day #150/365: Parade Of Blood Red Sorrows
    Week #1/52: The Duke Of Burgundy and Mesmerisation…
    Ether Signposts #6/52a: Peter Strickland – six films that fed into The Duke of Burgundy
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #28/52a: Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders Unreleased Variations Away From Bricks And Mortar
    Wanderings #29/52a: Broadcast; constellators and artifacts (revisiting)
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #47/52a: Summer Isle In (Sort Of) Pop #2 – The Sneaker Pimps’ How Do / Kelli Ali’s Willow’s Song

     

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  • Wanderings #48/52a: A Few Ether Gatherings… Ghost Signs, The Vault of the Atomic Space Age and Avantgardens

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    So, I was wandering around the ether a while ago and I came across a few places that variously caught my eye, intrigued me and/or made me think “I’m glad somebody’s gathered those together”…

    Ghost Signs UK-A Year In The Country-stroke

    Ghost Signs UK: for a while I used to collect images of these myself, I lived in an area where there seemed to be a fair few such things.

    I particularly like/was drawn to the ones that are barely still there, that are literally ghosts of their former selves.

    These painted, faded signs seem to form part of a semi-forgotten history of places, layers of how we once lived, worked and traded.

    …and then there’s The Vault Of The Atomic Space Age…

    Midcentury Modern-The Vault Of The Atomic Space Age-stroke

    There’s nothing quite like a good old bit of mid-century modern take on how the future once was…

    Avantgardens-Shepherd Huts In Slovena-A Year In The Country-stroke

    And finally Avantgardens… a gathering of experimentation and exploration in, well, gardens (amongst other places).

    The shepherd cottages from Slovenia are a thing to behold. They put me in mind of former Soviet Union folk art such as you might find in the Home-Made; Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts book or the design of Soviet bus stops in Christopher Herwig’s book of the same name.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #335/365: Folk art – a wandering from these shores to other shores and back again…

    Week #9/52: Christopher Herwig’s Soviet Bus Stops, echoes of reaching for the cosmos, folkloric breakfast adornment and other artfully pragmatic curio collectings, encasings and bindings…

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Ghost Signs UK. The Vault of the Atomic Space Age. Avant Gardens.

     

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  • Artifact Report #48/52a: All The Merry Year Round – Released

    Released today 28th November 2017.

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night and Dawn Editions-front-A Year In The Country
    Artifact #6a

    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.
    Available via our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and at Norman Records.

    Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by
    A Year In The Country.

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 1-A Year In The Country

    Featuring United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple (Dom Cooper of The Owl Service/Bare Bones/Rif Mountain), Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine (The Owl Service), Time Attendant and The Séance (Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and James Papademetrie).

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 2-A Year In The Country

    All The Merry Year Round is an exploration of an alternative or otherly calendar that considers how traditional folklore and its tales now sit alongside and sometimes intertwine with cultural or media based folklore; stories we discover, treasure, are informed and inspired by but which are found, transmitted and passed down via television, film and technology rather than through local history and the ritual celebrations of the more longstanding folkloric calendar.

    However, just as with their forebears there is a ritualistic nature to these modern-day reveries whereby communal or solitary seances are undertaken when stepping into such tales via flickering darkened rooms lit by screens, although their enclosed nature is in contrast to more public traditional folklore rituals.

    Accompanying which with the passing of time some televisual and cinematic stories continue or begin to resonate as they gain new layers of meaning and myth; cultural folklore that has come to express and explore an otherly Albion, becoming a flipside to traditional folklore tales and sharing with them a rootwork that is deeply embedded in the land.

    In amongst All The Merry Year Round can be found wanderings down such interwoven pathways, travelling alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike.

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night and Dawn Editions-opened-A Year In The Country copy


    Tracks also previewable at Soundcloud.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn Edition-all items-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-front-A Year In The Country
    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-back-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-opened-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-Dawn edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on string bound tag.
    3) Back of one insert hand numbered.

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x stickers, 1 x large badge.
    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night Edition-all items-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-front-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-opened-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-all items-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-booklet 2-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Booklet/cover art custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Contained in a matchbox style sliding two-part rigid matt card box with cover print.
    3) Fully black CDr (black on top, black on playable side).
    4) Black string bound booklet: 12 pages (6 sides printed);
    Printed on textured fine art cotton rag paper, heavy card and semi-transparent vellum.
    Hand numbered on the reverse.
    5) 4 x badge set, contained in a see-through polythene bag with a folded card header.
    6) 1 x large badge.
    7) 2 x square and 2 x round vinyl style stickers.

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 6c-A Year In The Country

    Tracklisting:

    1) Towards The Black Sun – United Bible Studies
    2) Rigel Over Flag Fen – Circle/Temple
    3) She Became Ashes and Left With the Wind – Magphai
    4) Winter Light – Cosmic Neighbourhood
    5) Azimuth Alignment Ritual – Field Lines Cartographer
    6) Meridian – Polypores
    7) Tradition and Modernity – A Year In The Country
    8) Moons (Part 1) – Sproatly Smith
    9) Tales Of Jack – Pulselovers
    10) I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still – The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine
    11) In a Strange Stillness – Time Attendant
    12) Chetwynd Haze – The Séance

    Artwork/encasment design and fabrication by AYITC Ocular Signals Department

    Artifact #6a / Library Reference Numbers: A011ATMYRD / A011ATMYRN

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night Edition-booklets-A Year In The Country

     

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  • Ether Signposts #48/52a: A Further Addition to a Library of Albionic Undercurrents – It’s Psychedelic Baby’s Issue 2

    Folk-and-folk-horror-books-Seasons-They-Change-Electric-Eden-Witches-Hats-Field-Studies-Adam-Scovell-Psychedelic Baby

    Although a magazine/periodical rather than a book, I think with its focusing on 1960s and 1970s British folk, underground and acid/psych folk, issue 2 of It’s Psychedelic Baby! magazine could well be added to the small but growing library of Albionic undercurrents that I have mentioned around here before and which includes the books Seasons They Change, Electric Edden, Witches Hats & Painted Chariots, Field Studies and Folk Horror.

    This is a description of the magazine from the Psychedelic Baby site:

    Dedicated to British psychedelic folk. New issue of printed version projected from the well-known, leading psych on-line site It’s Psychedelic Baby. After the previous issue covering exclusively the US psychedelic folk scene, this new issue covers the 1960s and 1970s British folk scene, with exclusive interviews of members from acts such as Fresh Maggots, Comus, Mellow Candle, Dr Strangely Strange, Spirogyra, C.O.B., Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Pererin, Courtyard Music Group, Magic Carpet, Sunforest, Oberon, etc.

    Its Psychedelic Baby Issue 2-British 1960s 1970s acid psych folkThe magazine is published by Guerssen Records who specialise in psychedelic, folk and progressive reissues and has cover art by Justin Jackley.

    That cover art is effectively a painted collage which at first glance seems to mix and meld British bucolia with a 1960s American psych atmosphere, with the lead image being an interpretation of an image from Trees 1971 album On The Shore…

    …but then after a moment or two other things start to register – the disturbing creature from Comus’ First Utterance album lurks in one corner and in the background are standing stones, druids around a Stone Henge like monument and what appears to be a relative of The Wicker Man, while in amongst the flowers stand a mushroom or two that I expect may well have particular properties…

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions And Destinations:
    Psychedelic Baby Issue 2

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Ether Signposts #11/52a: A Small But Dedicated Growing Library Of Albionic Undercurrents & Folk Horror

     

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  • Ocular Signals #47/52a: Image U/2a

    Image-U2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #47/52a: Summerisle In (Sort Of) Pop #2 – The Sneaker Pimps’ How Do / Kelli Ali’s Willow’s Song

    The Sneaker Pimps-How Do-Willows Song-Becoming X-Spin Spin Sugar-Kelli Ali-The Wicker Man

    Sneaker Pimps How Do is a version of Willow’s Song from The Wicker Man soundtrack and is on their 1996 album Becoming X, which had the song as its last track and is also a B-side for their single Spin Spin Sugar.

    Sneaker Pimps were linked to the trip hop genre at the time and had a fair degree of commercial success with the album selling over a million copies and a number of Top 40 and Top 10 singles were released from it.

    (Trip hop was a British and early 1990s originated, generally downbeat, atmospheric loose genre of music that often used hiphop beats, fusing them with electronica and sometimes also mixed elements of dance, soul, dub etc – those who are well known in connection to it would include Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead.)

    At the time I more thought of Sneaker Pimps as left-of-centre electronic pop than triphop but there are elements of both in their music and although I probably listened to How Do at the time I may well not have realised its origin.

    The Wickerman Willows Songs Gently Johnny 7 vinyl Record Store Day-Silva Screen International-A Year In The Country 2

    It was a curious thing for a quite pop orientated band – even if a more left-of-centre one – back then to include a song from The Wicker Man soundtrack.

    Although it was a known film, its extended and ever growing cultdom hadn’t really started to gather pace yet and Trunk Records’ release of the never-before-released soundtrack was a couple of years off, so information about it was probably still relatively thin on the ground.

    The Wicker Man-Trunk Records release-OST-vinyl-soundtrack-map

    In an interview at the time, when asked what his perfect film to create a soundtrack for, Chris Cornell of the band said this:

    The whole band is into a film called The Wicker Man, it’s an sort of obscure 70s English film, and the last track on our album, How Do, is a cover-version of a track from that film, which is originally a traditional folk tune. So, that music and filmwise is everybody’s sort of favorite film, and I think I would have liked to have written for that. In the future – well, I can’t speak for everyone else here, but something along those lines.

    (In connection to information about The Wicker Man being thin on the ground at the time of How Do, is the above mention of Willow’s Song being a traditional folk tune; without more information, in the setting of the film and the way in which it and the soundtrack seem to conjure in part a sense of being documents of actual folklore, it would be easy to think of it as being traditional rather than having been written specifically for the film by Paul Giovanni.)

    Anyways, How Do is something of a melding of styles and elements; it opens with samples from The Wicker Man and is in part a gentle, lulling atmospheric pop song with a touch of triphop and as it progresses it increasingly incorporates swirling, almost helicopter like electronic sounds.

    Kelli Ali-Rocking Horse and Butterfly

    In 2008 Kelli Ali, who was the singer with Sneaker Pimps at the time of Becoming X, released a pastoral, folk inflected album called Rocking Horse on One Little Indian, which was produced by Max Richter (the producer of once lost-lady-of-folk Vashti Bunyan’s 2005 Lookaftering album).

    Although not expecting performers to purely explore one set genre, when I came across Rocking Horse I remember being quite surprised by this more folk direction, knowing Kelli Ali more for her work with Sneaker Pimps.

    However, looking back at the above comments by Chris Cornell and on rediscovering Sneaker Pimps’ cover of Willow’s Song, it is less surprising and you could maybe drawn a line from it to the possible roots of Rocking Horse.

    After Rocking Horse Keli Ali self-released called Butterfly in 2009, which is a more intimate, acoustic extension of Rocking Horse and in part features new versions of songs from that album.

    On Butterfly there is also another version of Willow’s Song, which takes it back nearer to its purely imagined folkloric roots and although being her own interpretation it is closer to how the song was performed for The Wicker Man’s soundtrack and indeed would not seem all that out of place if heard amongst the other music in the film.

    The Wicker Man-soundtrack-OST-vinyl-Kelli Ali-Butterfly-Willows Song-2

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    How Do by The Sneaker Pimps
    Willow’s Song by Kelli Ali

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #18/365: Willows Songs
    Day #101/365: Gently Johnny, Sproatly Smith, The Woodbine & Ivy band and lilting intentions…
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #31/52a: Summer Isle In (Sort Of) Pop #1 – Pulp’s The Wickerman

     

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  • Wanderings #47/52a: Solargraphy / The Ongoing Moment

    Austin Capsey-Wendy Bevan-Mogg-solargraphy-Ernest Journal-3

    A while ago I came across the phrase solargraphy and the photographic work of Austin Capsey and Wendy Bevan-Mogg in the periodical Ernest Journal.

    (Solargraphy refers to a form of long exposure photography and the phrase comes from solar = sun and graphy = writing).

    Their work involves leaving pinhole cameras and sometimes an antique more conventional camera to take a single exposure out in the landscape at turning points of the year and returning often hours, a day or months later.

    In the Ernest Journal they wrote the following on the process:

    With ultra-long exposures, usually from solstice to solstice, it captures images that describe the movement of the sun, the enduring nature of the landscape, and hold an entire season in a single frame. The exposures are so long that neither animals nor humans are visible; only the tracks of the sun remain. These tracks trace a new new path each day as days lengthen towards the summer solstice – trails sometimes broken by intermittent cloud, and some missing altogether on days shrouded under grey skies.

    Austin Capsey-Wendy Bevan-Mogg-solargraphy-Ernest Journal-2

    The photographs are taken on black and white stock and contain all kinds of imperfections and colour tinting which results from atmospheric conditions, mould and a literal tarnishing of the metallic silver crystals contained in the photographic film.

    Such results occur through the actions of nature, created by the cameras’ time out amongst the elements and although they are essentially random the resulting photographs seem to represent some kind of melding of nature’s hand/art and a humanly directed expressive art project.

    There is a strange, entrancing beauty to the images, with them capturing a sense of the passing seasons and cycles of the world.

    Austin Capsey-Wendy Bevan-Mogg-solargraphy-Ernest Journal-1

    (File post under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings)

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Solargraphy at Knapp Ridge Films
    Ernest Journal

     

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  • Artifact Report #47/52a: All The Merry Year Round Reviews and Broadcasts

    All-The-Merry-Year-Round-CD-album-Night and Dawn editions-3 in a row-1600

    A gathering of some of the reviews, broadcasts etc of the All The Merry Year Round album:

    Shindig magazine-issue 74-All The Merry Year Round-A Year In The Country album review-Ben Graham-stroke 2

    Ben Graham has reviewed the album for issue 74 of Shindig! magazine:

    “A Year In The Country… operating like some sinister rustic arts and crafts movement manifesting online via a Wi-Fi connected scrying mirror… an almanac of unearthly sonics to tide you through the winter nights.”

    Issue 74 will be available here soon.

    A Closer Listen-website logo-3 in a row

    Richard Allen has reviewed the album at A Closer Listen:

    “All the Merry Year Round creates an atmosphere for wandering and wondering. The set succeeds through counter intuition, its alternative calendar creating such a ruckus that it causes all calendars to blow away in the wind, leaving us only with the eternal, visceral now.”

    Visit that here.

    The Terrascope-logo and reviews image

    Andrew Young has reviewed the album at Terrascope:

    “Polypores arrive with “Meridian”… huge slabs of synth create a musique concrete, pulses and washes ominously building and decaying throughout creating an otherworldly vibe.”

    Visit that here.

    Mark Losing Today-The Sunday Experience-The Restless Field-A Year In The Country

    Mark Barton has written about All The Merry Year Round twice at his The Sunday Experience site:

    “”I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still”… blessed with a church like serene, both reverent and majestic, a stilled grandeur forms from the spectral touching, a magical occurrence intimately brushed and in tune with the coming dark season, a ghostly ceremonial séance reaching deep through the ages instilling all in enchantment and beautified bewitchment.”

    Visit those two pieces here and here.

    More Than Human Records

    More Than Human played Polypores and Time Attendant’s tracks on the intriguing selecting and wanderings of their radio show.

    Originally broadcast on CiTR FM, it can be visited here and the show is archived at their Soundcloud page here and is available as a podcast here.

    dexter bentley hello goodbye radio show-logo-3 in a row

    And amongst further intriguing wanderings and selectings, Cosmic Neighbourhood’s track was played on The deXter Bentley Hello GoodBye Show.

    Originally broadcast on Resonance FM, the playlist can be viewed here and the show is archived here.

    The Unquiet Meadow-radio show-image 2

    The Unquiet Meadow played The Hare And The Moon with Jo Lepine’s “I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still” amongst their wanderings through “psych-tinged landscapes of mutated folk & haunted electronica” on their radio show.

    Originally broadcast on Asheville FM, the playlist can be visited here.

    Tip of the hat to everybody involved in the above…

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 1-A Year In The Country

    All The Merry Year Round is an exploration of an alternative or otherly calendar that considers how traditional folklore and its tales now sit alongside and sometimes intertwine with cultural or media based folklore; stories we discover, treasure, are informed and inspired by but which are found, transmitted and passed down via television, film and technology rather than through local history and the ritual celebrations of the more longstanding folkloric calendar… travelling alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike.

    The album features United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple, Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine, Time Attendant and The Séance.

    More details can be found here and the album can be previewed here.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #47/52a: Further Reflections on a Saggy Old Cloth Cat / Related Bucolia and Archiving

    Small Films-Pogles 3

    Well, time to wander towards some gently escapist imaginary worlds…

    In amongst the various images in Jonny Trunks The Art Of Smallfilms book, there are some that have a particularly natural/bucolic/set in the landscape aspect to them and which have stuck in my mind somewhat…

    Smallfilms-Pogles-1b

    Which set me of on something of a voyage of discovery…

    The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co at the Museum of Childhood at the V&A Museum Of Childhood-2

    First off I discovered that in 2016 there was an exhibition I missed called The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co. at the V&A Museum of Childhood … which was a real “Darned it” moment when I discovered it.

    Small Films-Pogles-3b

    On further wandering amongst Smallfilms related landscape set imagery I came across photographs from some Pogles books which were published in the late 1960s which are quite lovely…

    Ivor The Engine-cutouts and model

    …and before long I was stumbling upon home-crafted Ivor The Engines and indeed make-your-own-Ivor-The Engines…

    Small Films-Pogles-4b

    So, in homage to Smallfilms, Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin, Emily, a saggy old cloth cat, Welsh railways and volcanos powered by a gas meter, I though I would collect a few related images together…

    Emily-and-Bagpuss-stills-Smallfilms-V&A

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Pogles bucolia (and a touch of a quietly unsettled atmosphere here and there)
    Various reflections on The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co here, here, here and here
    The Art Of Smallfilms at The Creative Review
    The Art Of Smallfilms at Eye Magazine
    Ivor The Engine projects / Make Your Own Ivor
    Darned it, missed Sandra Kerr, co-creator of the Bagpuss soundtrack playing music from the series for but £4.00

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #164/365: A saggy old cloth cat and curious cultural connections…
    Wanderings #38/52a: The Moomins And The Seams That Keep Giving…

     

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