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Short film from Doc Rowe's collections

GUEST, topsie 23 May 09 - 03:35 PM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 04:22 PM
Bat Goddess 23 May 09 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May 23 May 09 - 07:01 PM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 07:29 PM
Amos 23 May 09 - 07:54 PM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May 23 May 09 - 08:39 PM
Surreysinger 23 May 09 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May 24 May 09 - 05:08 AM
BB 24 May 09 - 09:57 AM
johnadams 24 May 09 - 10:06 AM
Bat Goddess 24 May 09 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Silas 24 May 09 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Silas 24 May 09 - 10:22 AM
johnadams 24 May 09 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Wheatman 24 May 09 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray) 24 May 09 - 03:01 PM
johnadams 24 May 09 - 03:18 PM
GUEST, Chris Smith 24 May 09 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray) 24 May 09 - 04:26 PM
johnadams 24 May 09 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray) 25 May 09 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray) 25 May 09 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Silas 25 May 09 - 06:15 AM
johnadams 25 May 09 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Wheatman 25 May 09 - 10:27 AM
johnadams 25 May 09 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 May 09 - 10:52 AM
johnadams 25 May 09 - 11:01 AM
Amos 25 May 09 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Earl o' Rone (Sedayne at Home) 25 May 09 - 02:09 PM
katlaughing 26 May 09 - 12:27 AM
Splott Man 26 May 09 - 03:18 AM
treewind 26 May 09 - 03:32 AM
johnadams 26 May 09 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Sedayne (Astray) 26 May 09 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore 27 May 09 - 04:34 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 27 May 09 - 04:52 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 05:57 AM
Will Fly 27 May 09 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Silas 27 May 09 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Silas 27 May 09 - 06:23 AM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 06:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 06:39 AM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 07:23 AM
Will Fly 27 May 09 - 07:24 AM
manitas_at_work 27 May 09 - 07:34 AM
manitas_at_work 27 May 09 - 07:37 AM
manitas_at_work 27 May 09 - 07:38 AM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 07:41 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 08:57 AM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 09:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 10:33 AM
katlaughing 27 May 09 - 10:58 AM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 11:13 AM
Valmai Goodyear 27 May 09 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Gillian B 27 May 09 - 03:48 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Gillian B 27 May 09 - 04:23 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 04:38 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 05:28 PM
johnadams 27 May 09 - 06:19 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 09 - 06:30 PM
Gillian B 27 May 09 - 06:35 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 May 09 - 03:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 May 09 - 05:41 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 May 09 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore 28 May 09 - 07:42 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 May 09 - 07:59 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 May 09 - 07:59 AM
Gillian B 28 May 09 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Silas 28 May 09 - 10:10 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 May 09 - 10:33 AM
curmudgeon 28 May 09 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 28 May 09 - 10:43 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 May 09 - 10:48 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 May 09 - 12:32 PM
Norman FitzNicely 28 May 09 - 08:21 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 May 09 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Silas 29 May 09 - 05:34 AM
Norman FitzNicely 29 May 09 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Silas 29 May 09 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Keith Leech 29 May 09 - 08:25 AM
Gillian B 29 May 09 - 08:42 AM
Ruth Archer 29 May 09 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Keith Leech 29 May 09 - 09:44 AM
Ruth Archer 29 May 09 - 10:14 AM
johnadams 29 May 09 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Keith Leech 29 May 09 - 01:15 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 May 09 - 01:52 PM
BB 29 May 09 - 02:41 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 May 09 - 03:39 PM
Gillian B 30 May 09 - 04:58 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 May 09 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 10 - 06:26 AM
MoBF 10 Jan 11 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:35 PM

Hobbyhorses, cheeserolling, tar barrels, bogeys and giants, and more

http://www.showstudio.com/project/britannica

(though it made not load easily if you have a slow connection).


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 04:22 PM

This film was edited together for the launch of Simon Costin's launch of Museum of British Folklore

The video is great. I hope the traveling museum has some success. It deserves to.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 23 May 09 - 06:30 PM

Uh, could you please post an explanation and location of the collection of events for us poor ignorant Yanks?

I'm more conversant with British folkloric traditions than most of the US population, but despite general knowledge, I'd really appreciate some more identification.

Thanks!

Linn


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:01 PM

Just had a quick flick - here's a few hazarded guesses:

Minehead Hobby Horse

Copper's Hill, Gloucestershire, Cheese rolling (better footage on YouTube)

Rapper Dancers (?)

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

Bacup - Britannia Coconut Dancers

Mari Llywd

Tar Barrels - Ottery St Mary

Padstow 'Obby 'Oss

Minehead Hobby Horse

14.37 - Burry Man - South Queensferry

Tar Barrels - Allendale, Northumberland

Not sure who the singer is; likewise the neo-green man masquerade & the lovely old clog dancing (?) footage.

For more info - Google the above!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:29 PM

The Earl of Rhone ceremony accounts for one of the Hobby Horses and the guy riding the donkey backwards.

The step (clog) dancing was possibly Dartmoor stepping because the melodeon player sounded a bit like Bob Cann - again, checkable.

The Green Man was possibly the Hastings Jack In The Green Festival?

Interesting to see the two horses at Minehead - I've only ever seen the one which goes around the festivals - The Town Horse?

Between us we can tie all this down and maybe win a prize! :-)


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Amos
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:54 PM

I don't suppose any of you limeys have the faintest notion how absolutely incomprehensible -- not to say daft -- these clips make y'all seem to those of us on the other side of the Pond.

A


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:09 PM

Amos, of course we do. We rejoice in our daftness. It's the only thing that keeps us sane in an otherwise crazy world.

Come across the pond and join us at one of our daft ceremonies some time. You'll maybe find a little magic in there!

J


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:39 PM

Some of the footage was instantly recognisable from The Future of things Past, an hour-long documentary broadcast on Channel 4 20 or more years ago now. I still have it on VHS! This present offering is a pretty slipshod affair though, unlike The Future of Things Past which gave the events greater dignity than being presented out of context, washed over with wholly irrelevant folk music and juxtaposed with the new-age posturings of the Green Man Festival (if that's what it is) which looks more like an American Ren Fair. Gawd help us all!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Surreysinger
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:49 PM

Singer - Eliza Carthy

Green stuff - Jack in the Green festival, Hastings


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:08 AM

There's more Hunting the Earl of Rhone footage on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq99sUfNCTY (etc.)

According to Barnstable Tourist Info, Hunting the Earl of Rhone happens this weekend apparently, at Combe Martin in North Devon, so hopefully more YouTube footage to follow. Traditionally observed on Ascension Day (21st May 2009) - according Christina Hole the custom died out in 1837... Ah! The glad discontinuity of English Folklore!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: BB
Date: 24 May 09 - 09:57 AM

Actually, it's The Hunting of the Earl of *Rone* - as in *Ty-rone*, not French wine. And it's happening right now, this minute, and only an upset stomach is stopping me taking part! And it's also Barnstaple, not Barnstable, which is, I believe, the other side of the pond.

It was traditionally observed in the week before Ascension Day, but after it's reconstruction, it was decided that the Bank Holiday weekend was more convenient for the modern world of the 1970s. As it happens, this year it's almost exactly on time.

If you want to know more, there's lots of - correct - information here

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 24 May 09 - 10:06 AM

Lord O'May wrote

This present offering is a pretty slipshod affair though, unlike The Future of Things Past which gave the events greater dignity than being presented out of context, washed over with wholly irrelevant folk music and juxtaposed with the new-age posturings of the Green Man Festival (if that's what it is) which looks more like an American Ren Fair. Gawd help us all!

This criticism seems a bit off the mark to me. Firstly The Future of Things Past was a properly constructed and budgeted documentary with a narrative structure. This video is purely a short piece of propaganda designed to grab the eye of the casual viewer and get them to investigate further. Chalk and Cheese.

As far as the 'new-age posturings of the Green Man Festival' are concerned, the Green Man festival has a longer history than the Bacup Britannia Coconut Dancers who also feature in the piece.

I didn't like the way Eliza's music was used but that's a stylistic thing and I come back to the point of the video piece in the first place. It was footage of her that Doc had shot and I didn't think it was irrelevant.

Doc is not the keeper of the purity of the traditions - he's a documenter of how things change. To him the evolving graphics on the cards that pimps put up in London phone boxes to advertise their girls are just as important a signifier of cultural change as the growing difficulties of finding enough people to 'Ring' or 'Clip' Wirksworth Church. Reference

The editor's inclusion of these things was entirely appropriate to the job that the video had to perform. I think she did pretty well.

John Adams - Doc Rowe Collection Support Group.
Link to Doc's Support Group


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 24 May 09 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the info!

Yes -- BarnstaBle is on Cape Cod -- that great hookey thing extending into the Atlantic from the rest of Massachusetts.

Some of us USers, too, "rejoice" in your "daftness" -- envious of such a rich and ancient tradition.

Linn

(What? No swan-upping?!?)


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 24 May 09 - 10:22 AM

I think the clog dancer was Sam Sherry. Singer was Eliza Carthy. Green man festival could have been Clun.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 24 May 09 - 10:22 AM

Oh - brilliant film btw.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 24 May 09 - 10:23 AM

Hi Linn,

It's not only Swan-upping that's missing. Have a look at the list of the events that Doc has covered.

Seasonal Events List

There's lots of ways of being daft!

J


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Wheatman
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:43 PM

Brilliant documentary, aimed at attracting the innocent eye not the committed participant. I don't care if it does look daft you will have to spend a least 30+ years observing these events and just be there to begin to understand what it is all about, just as Doc has done. All of us who are involved in the preservation and development of British Traditional (and not so traditional) Customs should be very grateful to Doc for dedicating his life to the preservation of both the visual and audio images of the diverse events which encapsulate British culture. It is oh so easy to knock a very short insight to 30+years of work. Just travel the 22 miles over the channel and see just how bizarre some of the events our continental cousins get up to. Come to Britain and experience some of these events, but don't get in the way ? enjoy. Brian


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:01 PM

As far as the 'new-age posturings of the Green Man Festival' are concerned, the Green Man festival has a longer history than the Bacup Britannia Coconut Dancers who also feature in the piece.

Despite some considerable misinformation to the contrary, The Green Man is a modern / new-age / Fantasy Folklore construct which has precious little to do with Jack-in-the-Green etc. And Hastings, in essence, only dates to 1983 - a folk custom dies as one thing, but it is revived as something else altogether! That said, I sported similar garb during the Morpeth Gathering Procession this year - and won first prize for best costume for my efforts:

A Green (Sedayne) Man

If you can't beat 'em... though in actuality there is a bit of serious reconstructive archaeology going on here, based on a notion that certain of the Medieval Ecclesiastical Foliate Heads are actually depictions of Medieval Carnival Masks. I based this one on a misericord at Chester Cathedral - see Here.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:18 PM

There are lots of customs that are misinterpreted, re-invented, synthesised, etc. The point is not how accurately they are preserved but how people carry their culture forward. That's partly the point of Doc's work and The Museum of British Folklore is doing a good job of bringing people's attention to it.

Being crabby about other peoples efforts to spread the word and develop a bigger audience is not in any way helpful.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST, Chris Smith
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:21 PM

The section at the end of the film, from 15:54 to 17:08, is from the annual Nov 5th Bonfire Night celebrations in Lewes, East Sussex.

The first part shows members of the Cliffe Bonfire Society - one of several bonfire societies in Lewes - processing through the town during the early evening, complete with effigies of Guy Fawkes and Pope Paul V.

This continues (at 16:51) into a section filmed at the firesite (the destination of one of the main processions) showing an effigy of Guy Fawkes (at 16:51) and Pope Paul V (16:57) being set alight with fireworks and blown up.

Cliffe Bonfire Society


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:26 PM

There are lots of customs that are misinterpreted, re-invented, synthesised, etc.

With the best will in the world I think there's a whole world of difference between (say) The Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers and the Hastings Green Men. Carrying culture forward? Sadly, I think not.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:05 PM

I can only say it's lucky for us that Doc doesn't have your narrow viewpoint.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:56 AM

Trying to post here without any success; other threads fine, so what's up (Doc) here I wonder??


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:59 AM

Why isn't possible to have any sort of discussion around here without being accused of being crabby or having a narrow viewpoint? There is nothing narrow or crabby in pointing out that there is a whole world of difference between Fantasy Post-Modern Folk Customs (such as the Hastings Green Man Jamboree) and the real thing (such as The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance) - or even spirited revivals (such as The Hunting of the Earl of Rone). One would have thought an understanding of those differences is crucial to even the most elementary appreciation of British Folk Customs - just as an understanding of the differences between Traditional & Revival essential to one of British Folk Song.

In these days of mobile phone cams (etc) the documentation of such things becomes a lot more immediate. If you do a YouTube search on any of the above customs you will be sure to find exciting, independent footage taken very much as part of the proceedings, often by the participants themselves. Thus does Youtube become a Museum of Folklore by default. There are, for example, some fine wee films of the Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels given a decidedly non-folky gloss by the respective soundtracks. Worth a look. I'd link to them here but I've having difficulty posting this morning...


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:15 AM

There is nothing wrong in new 'traditions'. Some are really livley and make a worthy spectacle.

Just pop along to Upton at festival time and look at the morris - its fantastic (Its Morris Jim, but not as we know it).

Also, some traditions, though ancient, are, well, a bit boring. Abbots Bromley, with all due respect, being one of tghe most boring of all, yet Padstow, another ancient festival is one of the best.

There is room on this little island for all of these 'traditions' and the more the merrier I say.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:36 AM

Sedayne,


The Green Man thing is obviously one of your pet issues and that's fair enough - I've looked at your web site and can see where you're coming from - and I'm not saying you're wrong in what you say. What I AM saying is that you've not spotted the plot here and have compared the incomparable.

Using phrases like 'new age posturings' makes me dismiss you as crabby. Maybe I'm over-reacting but it's just my opinion.

Concentrating on one issue which happens to be your pet hate leads me to think you have a narrow viewpoint.

The video is a frothy top level propagandist attempt to persuade people who don't know about the glories of our folk culture, in all its authentic and non-authentic guises, to take a closer look.

That the Green Man festival thing is made up, synthesised, misinterpreted etc. is irrelevant. Lots of people learn the wrong things before they learn the right things. Lots of people never get to learn the right things. It doesn't matter. The fact is that people do it and Doc includes it in his observation trail. Thus the editor included it in her video as a colourful part of the sequence.

There's a wider viewpoint.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Wheatman
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:27 AM

Good onya John, what ever happens the good events will stand the test of time and the rest will disapear like a Fenland Mist only to be re invented be some northern oik or similar after a few years sleep. Oh how I wish there had been a Doc around in Whittlesey 150 years ago.
Brian


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:47 AM

That would have been fun Brian - a Doc with easel and paint brushes trying to keep up with the bear!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:52 AM

Thanks for starting this thread and posting the link, Topsie. There are things I wish they had done differently in making the film, but it's good to see that people of all ages are still having a good time while following the old traditions.

What with war, torture, crime, child abuse, etc, one could conclude that nobody in this world is ever good or happy, and this shows that that is not the case.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:01 AM

er... Brian?

I've not been to Whittlesea Straw Bear for several years and checking on Wikipedia I see it says Pub sessions of Irish and other traditional music take place in many of the public houses during the day and evening

Is it predominantly Irish and is English music just included in 'other'? I'm just curious.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Amos
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:19 AM

John, et al:

It is only the lack of familiarity and understanding of the symbols that creates the impression of daftness; once one is into the thing, of course, it is all coherent and meaningful and the sea of random symbols becomes poetic.

BTW, I love the expression "glad discontinuity"!!

Someone tell me, please, what the real ancient Green story is in contrast to the modern-day invented Green thing. I am awash with omitted information...


A


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Earl o' Rone (Sedayne at Home)
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:09 PM

Someone tell me, please, what the real ancient Green story is in contrast to the modern-day invented Green thing. I am awash with omitted information...

There's a couple of threads here which discuss this in some depth:

Any info about the green man?

Folklore: The Green Man

As ever, there are certain crossover points between the two threads & links to various pages & articles elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:27 AM

Sedayne, would you pick ONE name and stick with it, even as a "guest?!"

Thanks to Micca, I was able to recognise the Hastings Green Man right away! Some of the others, I kind of guessed at. I love seeing these. Thanks a bunch, Topsie, for this thread.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Splott Man
Date: 26 May 09 - 03:18 AM

There are now at least three hobby horse parties in Minehead on Mayday weekend.

It's interesting looking at the the Mari Lwyd (NB one "L"), which I believe is the Llangynwyd one.
The current horse skull does not have a bandaged head.

Splott Man


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: treewind
Date: 26 May 09 - 03:32 AM

John A:
Is it predominantly Irish and is English music just included in 'other'?"
Nick Barber is a regular visitor to Straw Bear (with White Rose Morris) so you can imagine what some of the sessions are like. But yes, there is usually an Irish music session going on somewhere, and there's always a very rowdy singing session at the Bricklayers Arms. None of this has to do with any Straw Bear festival policy itself, of course. It's just whoever turns up.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:19 AM

Thanks Anahata. I was just a little saddened by that emphasis in the Wikipedia entry. It would be nice to think of one of the nicest English traditions accompanied by English and other traditional musics.

I must get down to Straw Bear next year, now I have lost the day job.

J


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray)
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:29 AM

It is only the lack of familiarity and understanding of the symbols that creates the impression of daftness; once one is into the thing, of course, it is all coherent and meaningful and the sea of random symbols becomes poetic.

Symbols????


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:34 AM

Lord O'May wrote

This present offering is a pretty slipshod affair though, unlike The Future of Things Past which gave the events greater dignity than being presented out of context, washed over with wholly irrelevant folk music and juxtaposed with the new-age posturings of the Green Man Festival (if that's what it is) which looks more like an American Ren Fair. Gawd help us all!

Oh we do like a forum! I feel some explanation of the Britannica short film might be in order from the person who commissioned it. As John Adams quite rightly pointed out, this was only ever meant to be a small, visually exciting taster, which was shown originally within the context of a launch event for the museum tour. It was put together from 22 hours of Doc's footage and shown to an audience, who for the most part were totally unfamiliar with the content, (and were also busy eating and drinking). It was made with zero funding by a budding young editor on two computers at home, not by a major TV channel. Despite these limitations, the reaction to it has been quite overwhelming and the museum website has been hit with many emails from people asking exactly the same things as some of the people here, 'where was that shot and what does that mean?', etc etc. As for the 'wholly irrelevant folk music', I imagine the person who wrote that didn't take the time to listen to Eliza Carty's lyrics and marry them to the opening image...... 'Strange, how a dreary world can suddenly change, to a world as bright as the evening stars.....'


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:52 AM

I liked the film - as a visually stimulating collage. But the Museum especially looks simply great - love the artwork the presentation, and concept of a traveling caravan. Highly imaginative, alive and engaging. Nothing dessicated, dully academic or stuffy about this. It's got that magical story-tale thing going-on. Like a little world of wonders tempting naughty children in. Great work.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:57 AM

Oh we do like a forum!

Evidently not if you can't take even the most basic piece of criticism and feel the need to offer up such a defensive apology for what remains a shoddy piece of work no matter what it was edited on - it is, after all, a bad workman who blames his tools; and this is most certainly not the impression given by the hype on the page which hosts the footage. Whatever the case, there are innumerable offerings on YouTube made with mobile phone footage edited on lap-tops (or not edited at all) which operate as far more vital introductions to the individual customs than this half-assed pastiche ever could. Here's one of my favourites to be going on with:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bddvXDbXPGk

And one of my own, though I'm sure you'll find the comments a good deal more entertaining than the film itself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=993m0yRR0bg

*

Forgive me though - I love our customs in terms of their empirical feral human autonomy, and it irks me greatly to see them brought under such a twee folksy umbrella and lumped together as if there were part of some sort of common cause which they most certainly are not. Worse still, is to see them co-opted into a project which comes out with such bullshit as:

It is therefore a surprising fact that there exists
no properly funded centre in Britain to research and celebrate
our native traditions and vernacular arts.
It is my aim, that over the next few years, such an institution
will exist, which will address this situation.


Am I the only one to find this statement wholly depressing? Institutionalised centralised state-funded folklore! It'll be the death of it for sure.   

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd / Sedayne / Lord O'May etc.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:18 AM

GUEST, Silas:
I think the clog dancer was Sam Sherry.

Sorry to disappoint - 'twasn't Sam. I used to guitar duets with him in the mid-60s in Lancaster. Lovely man and great clog dancer - but it's not him in the film. :-)


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:21 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd


Are you sure you have posted the right clips?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:23 AM

Hi Will

Do you recall him siging 'I want to be a sausage'?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:25 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd:

Question. Do you consider Doc's work to be important? If the answer to that is yes, where would you hope that his massive collection would be deposited when he finally shuffles off in years to come?

Personally I hope that it would end up in a properly funded centre in Britain to research and celebrate our native traditions and vernacular arts.

Some people argue that we already have institutions that would take Doc's collection but looking at what happened to other collections (including Peter Kennedy's, although I'm not clear on all the details yet), I don't think it's very satisfactory to put the sound recordings in the sound archive, the film and video in the film archive, the photos in the photo library, the texts in the book library and the ephemera in the museum. Doc's body of work deserves to be kept intact and that means we need a properly funded centre such as exists for other cultures - a 'Smithsonian' would be nice. And Doc's is not the only collection that deserves proper consideration.

At present, the nearest thing we have to this is the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and while this is a good national folk archive, the EFDSS doesn't enjoy the level of support to deal with a sizable collection such as Doc's.

Maybe you don't think his work is important enough to keep.

Johnny Adams
Doc Rowe Collection Support Group


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:39 AM

Maybe you don't think his work is important enough to keep.

Johnny - sorry if I gave that impression; nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:23 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd / Sedayne / Lord O'May etc.

Quite so, but I'm still a bit confused by your reference to Institutionalised centralised state-funded folklore!.

In another thread you ask if the EFDSS have any plans to digitise sound recordings and quote the Max Hunter Collection at Missouri State University ( a state funded institution with a role as a centre for the study of folk song in the Ozarks).

There seems to be a mismatch in your opinions.

Getting back to your reply to whoever it was posting on behalf of the Museum of British Folklore, they weren't attaching any importance to the tools used but merely illustrating the level of operation of that particular edit. As someone who runs a degree course in TV production I would have lots of criticisms of the piece but the fact remains that it was a quick bit of propaganda and will probably be displaced by other more considered work as the MoBF gets more established. Give them a chance.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:24 AM

GUEST, Silas:
Hi Will

Do you recall him singing 'I want to be a sausage'?


I don't actually - it's such a long time ago. He was, however, one of the first people I ever heard sing the song about the man with the dancing dolls - "Come day, go day" - drinking buttermilk all the week, whisky on a Sunday, etc. He told me he'd learned it from a man in Liverpool who actually used to do the dancing dolls act in the streets. He sat on a board which stretched out between his legs and the dolls would dance up and down, twirling their legs, in time to the music of a harmonica.

Sam was a lovely guitarist in an old-fashioned style - played a small parlour-style Gibson guitar - and was a good singer. I only found out some time later that he'd been one of the 5 Sherry Brothers - a superb music-hall act, singing, playing instruments, dancing and acrobatics - all at the same time!

I left Lancaster and the local folk scene (including Sam) in 1968 - and I believe Greg Stephens used to play for Sam's dancing in later years.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:34 AM

I'm not sure if the 'new age posturing' referred to Hastings but Hastings doesn't have a Green Man Festival or Jamboree. There are green men, women and even dogs there but is' a Jack in the Green and is a concious revival of the 19th century sweeps' festivities. Of course many of the participants are new age romantics and I'm sure some of the organisers look askance at this but people are questioned on their belief systems when they join in and the organisers seem very keen to keep the festival open to the whole community even to the point of neo-pagans being allowed to store their processional ginat in the church overnight. There is even a link to the traditional Bank Holiday motorcycle rally with a greened up motorcycle being ridden in the procession.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:37 AM

I'm pretty sure the step-dancing was being acompanied by Bob Cann.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:38 AM

Whoops! That should have said 'people are NOT questioned on their belief systems' !


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:41 AM

I haven't spotted any clog dancing. There's some step dancing but I can't recognise the dancer or the stye. I'll ask Doc to identify it.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:57 AM

There seems to be a mismatch in your opinions.

In which case, allow me to clarify. First of all there are the empirical events - the songs, the customs, the stuff as it exists, or has existed in times gone by. Second, there is the documentation of the stuff - the collected matter which is not the stuff itself of course, but a secondary archive in the form of manuscripts, sound recordings, films, photographs etc. These occupy completely different realms - the first is a thing; the other is a study of a thing, and, as such, must be as objectively dispassionate as it needs to be clear on its objectives & agendas. So far so good; I've got no problem with that.

There is, alas, a third level which seeks to interpret such events in terms of a fantasy folklorism wherein such things are seen in terms of highly selective aestheticism which is loaded with assumption, agenda, speculation and spin which has absolutely nothing to do with the events themselves. This is the realm of Revival and Reinvention - the realm, I fear, to which The Museum of British Folklore belongs, with its nasty folksy Green Man imagery which owes more to The Wicker Man than the wondrous reality of British Folk Custom. This is bucolic post-modernism at its very worst; an indulgent weirdness which exists in direct opposition to sheer and often shocking ordinariness of the customs themselves - and the people who participate in them.

So, whilst I applaud any attempts to maintain the integrity of the archives, I can't help but feel the Museum of Folklore trivialises the whole issue and is somewhat counter-productive to a cause that would be better served by taking the wider view you spoke of earlier.

Just one opinion though, to which I am no doubt welcome.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:51 AM

....... where exactly do the BMoF actually promote this " nasty folksy Green Man imagery which owes more to The Wicker Man than the wondrous reality of British Folk Custom."?

True they include images of of these celebrations (or one at least) in their extensive range of observation (as displayed here but I can see nothing other than an observation that it exists, which is does, and is thus observable. They don't appear to be expressing a judgement one way or the other. Are you objecting to Doc or them even acknowledging its existence?

I don't actually disagree with you when you express a dislike for 'fantasy folklorism'   but I would reserve the right to observe it and make it available for other people to observe and comment on. It's up to them to make their minds up about it and not up to you or me or Doc or BMoF to filter and sanitise their experience before they consume it. We had enough of that from the early collectors.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:33 AM

Have a look through the images on the website, from the logo to the images that accompany it, and to the caravan itself. I don't think I could face looking through it again! Of course people can do what they like, but this sort of fantasy folklore is just as noxious as the sanitisation of earlier collectors. It is subjective, unreal and of little interest to both a serious study or a casual awareness of the subject. And where are the grave decorations? The wayside shrines? The illuminated houses at Christmas? The hen-parties at Blackpool? The resolutely un-folksy folklore that still represents the hopes & fears of the folk to this day. If I've overlooked it, then I do apologise.   

People are free to document whatever they like, but I feel distinctions must be made between what is genuine and what is contrived to be so, just as distinctions must be made between a record by Steeleye Span and one containing documentary recordings of Walter Pardon.

There's another thread hereabouts - 1979 Pics - Devon & Newcastle Dancers - which is worth a look in this respect, especially Tug the Cox's comment of 20 May 09 - 03:00 PM. Either there is something real here, or else the term Fantasy Folklore is entirely tautologous.

Enough anyway - I doubt we're going see eye to eye on this one, nor that anything I have to say will have the slightest baring on the matter one way or the other.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:58 AM

Meanwhile a clip of the chasing the roll of cheese down the hill was featured on Keith Olbermann's COUNTDOWN on MSNBC last night, so now we know what that round bouncy white thing was in Doc's docu!:-)


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:13 AM

Of course I've looked at them - as soon as this thread started.

The caravan looks great and is surely as relevant in the scheme of things as David Owen's 'Seeds of Love ' exhibition or Matt Cowan's Flash Company exhibition - using art to attract people in with a view to leading some of them to dig further.

You talk about them leaving out all this other stuff - it's a quick launch video not a fully peer reviewed balanced academic artefact. I'm prepared to have a little patience and tolerance and see what follows. It seem to be an ambitious plan and if the vision were to succeed it would benefit us all.

It's not really a case of seeing eye to eye. Given that you accept that the fantasy folkists have a right to get it wrong and given that you accept that Doc, MoBF, etc have a right to observe it, I can't actually see what you are objecting to except that somebody's effort didn't meet your exacting standards with regard to your pet issue.

I'm not out of line with your viewpoint on some of these things. I'm just showing a lot more tolerance towards somebody's efforts to make a difference.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:28 PM

Excellent footage of the Ottery boys and an even better choice of Cliffe Bonfire Society as the climax. Filming by firelight, firework light and flare light is not easy.

Valmai

P.S. What shall we do with him?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Gillian B
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:48 PM

I'm beginning to think that Suibhne O'Piobaireachd / Sedayne / Lord O'May or whatever his name is, might be a little unhinged. It is one thing to air an opinion in a measured and interesting way but totally another to stoop to being rude and ignorant to boot. To dismiss someone's hard work using terms like 'bullshit' etc says more about him than it does about the people or person he is venting his bile on. I was hoping to have read a response from the MoBF but am hardly surprised they haven't posted anything. What would be the point?
The most laughable thing is to have posted a 'film' of his own as if it is an example of something worthy, which then turns out to be badly filmed, boring and cut with images of stone carvings and green man faces. If that's what Doc and the MoBF have to live up to, heaven help us!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:12 PM

The most laughable thing is to have posted a 'film' of his own as if it is an example of something worthy, which then turns out to be badly filmed, boring and cut with images of stone carvings and green man faces.

Bile venting? Bloody hell, Gillian - I'm not in same league as this choice personal onslaught. I might criticise people's work (only because I care about the subject) but to dare call another human being unhinged? You're on another there. And who said anything about my Cheese Rolling film being worthy? It doesn't have to be worthy - it's YouTube! I did it as a joke - cutting casually filmed footage of this absurd little event with the equally absurd Victorian foliate-faces from the surrounding architecture. It was only meant to be up there a week, but I left it up owing to the amount of hits it got and the general hilarity of the Cheshire vs Gloucester comments, which, as I said, is the most interesting thing about it.

And never once have I questioned the sterling work of Doc Rowe - I just feel it's worth a good deal more than this. A lot more.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Gillian B
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:23 PM

Dare we ask if you yourself has a website of any sort?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:38 PM

Any amount, Gillian - most of them on Myspace, alas, owing to convenience. Go to Jesus at the Zoo (a free on-line album project) & scroll down for the links to the others on the right hand side of the screen.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:28 PM

Furthermore...

I came into this with a Guest Post at 23 May 09 - 07:01 PM with a simple list of the things I recognised in the compilation film in response to someone asking. I then pointed out in another Guest Post at 23 May 09 - 08:39 PM that some of the footage was familiar from The Future of Thing's Past (which I regard very highly owing to its general air of impartiality & dignified objectivism) next to which the compilation film looked a tad slipshod. An opinion is expressed - and away we go! It's the Mudcat way...

So, before this goes any further, my apologies to all involved and my sincere regrets if any of my unmerited mouthing off has caused anyone any upset. At times, I am a belligerent gobshite; and sometimes it's easy to forget we're talking to human beings.

Best of luck with the venture; and you know if our paths cross I'd be in there like a pig in shit anyway.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:19 PM

I've got no problem with a robust exchange of opinion on this or any other forum. I thought your criticism 'off mark' and said so. You gave me back your opinion. Some of the language you used was less diplomatic than I find comfortable but hey, not everyone's a diplomat.

While I can understand your passionate objection to the "nasty folksy Green Man imagery which owes more to The Wicker Man than the wondrous reality of British Folk Custom (not that I have an opinion on it myself), to pick on a single element of the offered video and use it to dismiss the whole vision that is the Museum of British Folklore seems a little excessive.

As a person who has spent more than a decade actively supporting Doc's work, sometimes to the detriment of my own, to have some more support feels really good. I've never met or spoken with Simon Costin and hadn't even heard of the MoBF until Doc mentioned it in a phone call a few weeks ago. As far as I'm concerned it's a gift from the Gods and if it has a few imbalances in the early stages, so what.

I say "Let's have more selfless people like Simon Costin - people with a vision and a dream of making things better, with no thought of self aggrandisment!"

I look forward to seeing the MoBF on a festival field somewhere.

Johnny Adams


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:30 PM

I look forward to seeing the MoBF on a festival field somewhere.


Me too.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Gillian B
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:35 PM

How very strange. I've just spent a very enjoyable few hours looking through both the Museum of British Folklore site and several of Sean Breadin's blogs etc. How anyone who is as obviously intelligent and well read as Sean could heap such scorn on a project that is so much in it's infancy is beyond me. The MoBF site comes across as a heartfelt, sincere project which the director is at pains to point out, is a personal one. It seems that he has been trying to make the right contacts within the folk community (Doc Rowe etc), and is striving hard to establish something, that I for one, would love to be able to visit one day. He is obviously not an academic but just has a heartfelt love of something that we all share I suspect. As John Adams has said, give the boy a chance! Even with your apology I doubt if we will hear from him again if he thinks this is the welcome a first effort receives. You mention the 'dignified objectivism' of The Future of Things Past, it's a pity that, with your obvious intelligence, you could not have applied some before you decided to be so spiteful and rude.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 03:46 AM

Gillian B: "He is obviously not an academic but just has a heartfelt love of something that we all share"

There is also IMO a danger implied in the tone (rather than content) of criticism leveled at the project. Some people have the energy and personal determination to do things like this, some people are well informed enough to judge them as wanting. The kind of damning critique so common to Mudcat - as opposed to educated feedback or constructive criticism - is most dispiriting. Clearly there needs to be collaboration between people with the ability to create, and more serious academics, to get a 'real' archive and museum sorted (if such a thing is wanted at all). But I saw this as a homespun creative project - if anything very idiosyncratically human, crude and imperfect - and in no way a serious academic exercise (I'd be rather surprised if anyone mistook it for such.) It's a miscellanious menagerie of interesting objects and images, a chest of curio's designed to attract the eye and interest of casual passers by. And on that basis, I think it works well.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:41 AM

before you decided to be so spiteful and rude.

I am naturally wary of attempts to create an umbrella of folklorism under which The Burry Man is the natural cousin of the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green, and the Cheese Rollers of Cooper's Hill drink from the same cup as the Britannia Mills Coconut Dancers - and all to an Eliza Carthy soundtrack. I've no problem with any of these things as disparate entities - even Eliza Carthy to whom much respect - but to bring them together in such a way implies a common continuity of purpose that just isn't there. To juxtapose the more fanciful creations of post-modern fantasy-fakelore (and evident revivals) with the very real McCoy of the Allendale Tar Barrels is, in my opinion, not only entirely misleading, but disrespectful to the very ordinary people who keep these going and to whom they ultimately belong as living, breathing entities. In so saying I'm not being spiteful, rude, crabby or narrow-minded, I just feel that any study of folklore and folk custom requires the aforementioned dignified objectivism that seems, to me, to be entirely absent from this project.

Whilst in my Sinister Supporter guise at this year's Morpeth Gathering, a rather charming young Goth couple congratulated me for my evident pagan presence. Happily they didn't seem at all disappointed when I pointed out that far from being pagan the Green Man is one of the earliest indicators of the Nature / Nurture dialectic deriving from strong Gnostic undercurrents in the theology of the medieval church and that its presence in the Folk Consciousness is entirely due to the Post-modern Zeitgeist as engendered by the likes of John Michel (feature in a recent Fortean Times) and the ongoing influence of The Wicker Man etc. Culturally, these things are crucial; as is The Museum of Folklore; as is the work of people like Wyrdstone whose choice of folkloric images is a key signifier of the nature of his music. However, we're in the realm of very deliberate revival here, existing at a secondary or tertiary remove from the source; as such it threatens us with the notion of a bland consensus which has always, alas, been the unfortunate flipside of Folk. In this sense the Wicker Man phallic-symbol Maypole is just as twee and sanitised as - er - This (that's Staines Morris in case you don't recognise it at first!). Remember, the customs are not Folk in and of themselves; they are defined as such by outsiders.

Anyway, but here's another very choice piece of YouTubery from Ottery St Mary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEsRfcA5dts

Folk? Hmmmmmmm....


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:38 AM

I was wondering if it might be more appropriate if the 'Museum' had been pitched as what it actually is, ie: a collection of folkloric and fantasy artifacts? Or even an art piece inspired by British Folklore old and new.

The term 'Museum' does seem to be rather misapplied, as it implies a serious degree of academic clout and rigor, which the caravan - entertaining and engaging as it is (or so I feel) - seemingly lacks.

People surrender their critical faculties before the weight of terms like Museum or Archive. And I suspect this could indeed be confusing to the average punter.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:42 AM

I didn't have time to check all the posts yesterday and am just catching up.Let me start by saying that, as Gillian B has pointed out, this project is in it's infancy. It is not my intention for it to be 'Institutionalised centralised state-funded folklore' as Mr Breadin says. In fact I intend to try and get it privately funded so as to avoid the Institutional approach and keep it as free and vibrant as the subject matter. I must say it has been depressing to read the posts by Sean Breadin. I have several of his writings printed off in my files and have always respected his ideas. While I didn't think his posts were spiteful, they were certainly harsh. My reply wasn't a 'defensive apology' as he implies, merely my telling the background to the film and the context within which it was shown. I would have hoped someone in his position would have offered help and suggestions as to the pitfalls to avoid in starting a new project such as this. Using terms such as 'Bullshit, half-assed pastiche, nasty folksy Green Man imagery', etc etc, to undermine and belittle someones efforts is all very well and thankfully water off a ducks back. There will always be dissenting voices with a new venture, which is healthy and should work to make the project exciting, but how much more constructive they could be if they were to offer alternative advice instead of damming condemnation. To imagine the website would contain the breadth of material Sean mentioned, when after all, it serves as an introduction to the project and a journal is a little unrealistic. I am seeking the advice of academics and professionals and impassioned individuals such as Sean, as the project evolves, which will help to broaden and develop things as well as add depth to the content displayed. Once the museum becomes more established I'm sure the website will grow and expand and contain a lot more material. Thankfully, the general response to the project so far has been very favorable, with many people coming forward with offers of help and useful and constructive views as to how the whole enterprise should and could evolve. I will gladly take them on board and aim to work towards establishing a vibrant and unusual centre to celebrate and research our annual customs and traditions. My thanks go to all those here who have shown encouragement and all I would say to Sean is that it would be of more interest to people like myself and others I'm sure, to hear sage guidence rather than have to read arrogant and patronising posts.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:59 AM

Cheers, Museum of Folklore. MRAU - but do check my earlier apology & recent post which I hope you find more considered. That I wish you well in the venture goes without say & I hope our paths do cross one day. Maybe we need another thread - What is Folklore?. In which case, all lore is Folklore - I ain't ever seen no horse go guising; at least not a living one...

Here's something I read earlier on the Heart of Albion Press website that might have a relevance here:

Explore Folklore shows there is much more to folklore than morris dancing and fifty-something folksingers! The rituals of 'what we do on our holidays', funerals, stag nights and 'lingerie parties' are all full of 'unselfconsious' folk customs. Indeed, folklore is something that is integral to all our lives ? it is so intrinsic we do not think of it as being 'folklore'.

The implicit ideas underlying folk lore and customs are also explored. There might appear to be little in common between people who touch wood for luck (a 'tradition' invented in the last 200 years) and legends about people who believe they have been abducted and subjected to intimate body examinations by aliens. Yet, in their varying ways, these and other 'folk beliefs' reflect the wide spectrum of belief and disbelief in what is easily dismissed as 'superstition'.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:59 AM

MoBF: "I am seeking the advice of academics and professionals and impassioned individuals such as Sean, as the project evolves, which will help to broaden and develop things as well as add depth to the content displayed. Once the museum becomes more established I'm sure the website will grow and expand and contain a lot more material."

Very encouraging post. Glad to see some postings haven't alienated you, or discouraged you from undertaking a more serious endevour. In Sean/Sedayne's and others defense, the self-styled bogey men round here, are actually much more charming, helpful and encouraging than they might sometimes sound, as I'm sure you will find if you speak to any in person.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Gillian B
Date: 28 May 09 - 09:36 AM

As a relative newcomer to this forum it has been curious to observe how others deal with the likes of Mr Breadin. He seems to employ all the tactics and language of the bully. Many years ago when I was studying Archaeology at University, we had a very learned tutor who was both revered and feared. While being incredibly knowledgeable on a vast range of subjects there were some that he deemed to be his and his alone and woe betide any pupil who dared to explore them. Anyone who did was instantly shot down in flames and derided in much the same way that your Mr Breadin has done to Simon Costin. He has shown he would rather bully, undermine and shame another individual, than to help and nurture. I'm sure you all know and respect him but from an outsiders perspective his behaviour lacks any kind of respect or grace. I suspect he has behaved in this manner for so long that you are all inured to it. I applaud John Adams for pointing this out but I fear it will have little effect and that well meaning people will be frightened off from ever daring to ask for help or an opinion least they be humiliated in the way that we have all had to witness. Well done to Mr Costin for having the nerve to defend himself but shame on Mr Breadin for having spoiled what might have been an informative and friendly exchange.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:10 AM

Well, simon, I say again, I thought the film was wonderful. Really really good - i've watched it several times now.

As for the museum - fantasic concept, can't wait to see it 'live' so to speak.

Good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:33 AM

"I suspect he has behaved in this manner for so long that you are all inured to it."

As I've said elsewhere on this forum Gillian, fortunately for me, I've genuinely had nothing but support and encouragement from Sedayne and some others of his ilk here myself. And despite some of the peculiar customs, I would indeed encourage anyone - including the unfortunate slightly chargrilled Simon - to risk posting questions and queries to the highly informed and experienced members here. As said irrespective of this thread, the members are not Dragons, but it's alway's wise to wear asbestos underwear when venturing forth.

I was also an 'outsider' to the trad folk scene, until a few months ago. It's somewhat perplexing to witness such impassioned and unpleasant reactions over what appear to be minor matters. And it would be disheartening to be on the receiving end too - as I said earlier. Fortunately, never having been on the receiving end of it myself, I tend to stand back incomprehendingly (and with no small dismay) and observe it as a peculiarity of grumpy gout-riddled old men (and women - wouldn't want to leave certain famed members out) who tend for the most part, to gain perverse sado-masochistic virtual entertainment from dishing it out consensually between themselves...

Enough from me on this, I trust that Simon hasn't been alienated from potential fruitful future communications with some of the informed membership.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: curmudgeon
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:41 AM

Have I missed something? Who is this Sean Breadin of whom you speak?

Thanks - Tom


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:43 AM

Who is this Sean Breadin of whom you speak?:

Sedayne/Sinister Supporter/Insane Beard/Suibhne O'Piobaireachd/Lord O'May et al.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:48 AM

Thanks for that, Gillian - but despite your rather picturesque analysis, no one's bullying anyone, simply reacting to a situation in which an individual artist appears to be co-opting our common popular traditional culture (CPTC) for his own personal arts project. He has every right to do this of course, just as I have every right to say what I have. I do this all the time in my professional life when I feel our CPTC is suffering in the name of self-interest - see HERE for one such incident involving storytelling and, yes, The Green fecking Man. Note here that rather than perpetuating the issue into protracted discussion, as has happened here, I've allowed the perpetrator to have the last word in the matter, though his unrepentant stories are ours to mess with attitude sticks in my craw.

In the present instance I (personally) would disagree that there is a need for such a museum, given that the internet provides that role anyway, without the agenda, the objectives, the proscription and the aestheticism which I (personally) feel are counter-productive to a wider appreciation of the subject as a whole - i.e. that of our CPTC which exists, and will continue to exist, regardless of projects such as this one. As I say, input any of the above customs into Google and you will find webpages, YouTube film, and photographs by the shedload. Neither do I feel the customs need promoting; God knows they attract enough attention as it is - last time I went to the Allendale Tar Barrels I was almost crushed to unconsciousness by the crowds. That said, I wish the venture well and might suggest a few events at which it would be very welcome indeed.

Always nice to see Doc Rowe's footage though; here's an idea - why not upload some of it onto YouTube and see what the reaction is? If my shitty little film of the Chester Cheese Rolling can get over 55,000 hits and inspire some choice inter-county debate on the comments board, I bet it would cause quite a stir AND create a broader awareness of the existence of the archive with people who have a real interest in such things.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:32 PM

On musing about why I've been so kindly received by people here, I feel in no small part, it was my desire to ask questions and seek guidance from multiple others who were already fully immersed in the history of the tradition before I began forging ahead (I only sing by the way - nothing more ambitious than that).

I understand that while it may be alien to me (and it surely is at times), what many of these individuals hold and cultivate, is precious and rare to them (and to us all likewise). Through the naive eyes of a newcomer like myself, I tend to only see bickering over interesting pretty things (though I don't at the same time - for I'm now forging my own living personal relationship with some of these artifacts).

It has however, appeared to me - at more times than I can number, to be contrary and perverse (with consequent dangers of scaring away possible further enthusiasts). And yet the personal passion which inspires such strongly expressed views, is ironically a quite non-selfcentered devotion to the those rare cultural materials they engage with every day - as performer, researcher, recording artist or simply session organiser.

As such, I can readily appreciate both the Museum as a personal creative project with an ambitious and important social purpose intended to attract the interest of people like me. And also, the reasoning behind why it has also caused some degree of inflamed reaction.

I understand the vibrancy and enthusiasm of Simon's piece, and thus it's likely success in attracting interest from regular people. But I also understand the reaction against some of it. Such a project will inevitably be fraught with great challenges to meet demands of both an unknowing public, professionals, passionate dilettantes, and academics alike.

Whatever it's flaws, or personal aesthetic biases (which I see some problems with) however, from the position of a relative newcomer to the world of folk, I heartily wish the Museum well both in infancy and full fruition.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Norman FitzNicely
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:21 PM

The above exchanges are among the reasons I resisted joining this forum. Rudeness hidden behind a ludicrous number of noms-de-plume is not the kind of thing that I came here for.
So I'm off again. Probably the shortest membership of what could be a good and useful resource, but on almost every occasion that I've been here I have come across unpleasantness and insults cloaked as "constructive criticism".
And before you pick on my nom-de-plume, my name is Bill Prince. Don't bother replying to this - I won't be reading it.
Hi John.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:31 AM

Don't bother replying to this - I won't be reading it.

I'm sure you won't, Bill - but that's a fairly rude & unhelpful piece of posting in itself, especially as it's wholly inaccurate with respect of what has taken place here. The multiple identity issue was due to technical reasons: my main post ID is currently Suibhne O'Piobaireachd and whilst this name occasionally changes, the membership ID does not - in other words, if I change the name, so the name changes on all the other 2,461 posts (this will be post #2,462) I have made under this name since becoming a member on the 13th Jan 2007. My GUEST ID is generally Sedayne (Astray); this I use if I'm logging in from other computers on the hoof, or, in this case, when we were having problems with our main computer at home. For the purposes of this thread, I chose the anonymous (and festive) Lord O'May (think of it as a kind of guising) but quickly changed it to include the familiar soubriquet when the discussion showed signs of heating up.

Nothing I have said here was intended to be gratuitously unpleasant or yet to insult any individual. Any critique has been directed against the work of the perpetrators and most assuredly not against the perpetrators themselves, who, if the impressive CVs on the webpage linked to in the OP of this thread are anything to go by, are serious design professionals to whom such criticism is, as they have said above, water off a duck's back.

Which reminds me of something I haven't heard for a year or two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8yx4k4tzqE

S O'P


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:34 AM

Well, Norm, if you are reading this (and we all know you are), you just need to develop a slightly thicker skin.

This is a great place and has wonderful and varied and extremley knowledgeable membership. We don't all agree all the time, thank god, and some posters styles are a little robust, but its all good clean fun. So shed the 'holier than thou' attitude and jump in.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Norman FitzNicely
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:44 AM

I apologise. And I will explain.
I was recently persuaded by another member to join this Forum. I have not done so in the past for the reasons I stated above.

I am a depressive. After a particularly bad day yesterday I decided to look at a subject which I thought would interest me. I found the tone of some of the "discussion" a little more than robust; that has been my previous experience here too. That, on top of my day, tipped the balance for me.
Those of you who know me will know that I am not the miserable git that I appeared to be in my previous post.

I have no wish to detract from the discussion about Doc's sterling work. Therefore if it is possible, after a few days I will delete these posts as if I had never been here, and I will confine my future visits, if there are any, to reading but not participating in the Forum. For now.

I'm sure I heard someone say "Good!" just then ;-)


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:52 AM

Well, Norm, nice to see you back.

If you find a way of deleting posts please let me know. I would love to be able to delete the posts where I have made a complete tit of myself!!


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Keith Leech
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:25 AM

I have only just been directed to this site so sorry if I am way behind. Firstly the film needs to be seen in the context of what it is meant to be. It is a short representation of British customs which is being used to promote the museum of British folklore. It needs to be able to hook in potetial contributors and supporters. It therefore needs to be short and punchy. If you want the full academic thing then go elsewhere. Simon is really working hard on pulling this all together and I think we should be supporting him.

Secondly onto the Green Man thing. Yes it is the Hastings Jack in the Green. Before you criticise you should go to see it and then speak to the reviver (ie me). In my book on the subject I state very clearly that it is a revivial not a recontruction and as such living and open to change. I also say that the green men were taken directly from European customs and are entirely contemporary and that there never was a suggestion that they existed in the original just as morris dancers didn't. Any questions? Fire away.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Gillian B
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:42 AM

'an individual artist appears to be co-opting our common popular traditional culture (CPTC) for his own personal arts project'

From the tone of this post it appears that Folk Culture now belongs to an elite group, it is 'ours' not 'their's'. Although you say he (Simon Costin), has every right to work with CPTC, your inference is that he does not. Surely this goes against everything you are saying. Should it not be everyone's to explore, cherish, research and celebrate?   Organising a research facility, setting up an educational out-reach programme, preserving objects and items that might otherwise perish, running a diverse arts and music programme, all seem to me to be worthy objectives. Or when somebody chooses to do this, is it now deemed to be 'appropriation' for selfish ends? (and why wasn't I consulted first!)

I can't help feeling that had the MoBF approached Sedayne/Sinister Supporter/Insane Beard/Suibhne O'Piobaireachd/Lord O'May to ask his advice early on, this sea of negativity would have been avoided. I have to agree with the post by Bill Prince, whether he admits to it or not, the recent posts by Mr Breadin are laden with 'unpleasantness and insults'. Mr Prince, you have no need to apologise, this forum is a good and useful resource, it's just that, sadly, certain members of it would prefer to use it as a means to brow beat others.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:56 AM

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your elucidation. I think that the reason why people have had a strong response to the film as it stands is that it was taken out of the very specific context for which it was made. If shown simply on its own merits and without that context or any explanation, I can understand why people who care about these things worry when revival events featuring characters such as the Green Man are shown cheek-by-jowl with traditional customs. The casual viewer cannot make the distinctions for themselves.

Does it matter? Well, I think it does. Unfortunately there is a lot of fakelore that has become attached to Britain's traditional customs and history. Certain people have engaged in the arduous process of teasing the different threads apart, which can be frustrating on lots of levels - many visitors to and practitioners of the customs themselves would prefer to believe in their version of history, because it's much more interesting than saying, "We don't know where this comes from or why it happens. It just does. Isn't it great?" I can understand why the people who do the research, and work patiently to de-bunk the nonsense, get cross if they perceive that someone is stepping in and jumbling it all up again (though I do appreciate, having spoken with Simon myself, that this is not his intention at all). I'm just talking about perceptions, and a certain protectiveness, that develops over time.

At the end of the day, I guess the danger in looking at that film out of context is that people latch onto the Jack in the Green stuff because it is an attractive and colourful event. That's great - but it would also be good if they realised what its relationship is to those longer-established living customs which form our folk heritage, and understand that it isn't one of them.

I know people, for instance, who prefer the Thaxted version of the Horn Dance to the real Abbots Bromley. That's fine, as long as they are judging them on their own terms and understand the difference between people doing something interesting with an idea, and a real, living tradition. Without context, that's hard to do.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Keith Leech
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:44 AM

Its the old debate isn't it? What is traditional? 25 years in which case the Hastings Jack in the Green is. 200 years in which case Lewes Bonfire as it is currently seen isn't. 300 years in which case mummers plays probably are not. Then we have revivals like the Earl of Rone, a great event but as it has only been revived for 30 years is it traditional? Some of the things we consider traditional are less than 100 years old. Now don't test me on that one because I cannot remember specifics.

I suppose this is something Simon will have to grapple with but personally I would like to see them all, old and new, provided they can be placed in context by the explanations. Certainly Doc has considered Hastings good enough to put into his May book published by English heritage.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 May 09 - 10:14 AM

"I would like to see them all, old and new, provided they can be placed in context by the explanations."

Which is exactly my point, too. I think it's simply that lack of context and explanation which has caused the ructions.

People can choose to attend/research/investigate/explore (or not) whichever events/customs they like. But because there is a heritage dimension here, it's helpful if they know what it is they're looking at.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: johnadams
Date: 29 May 09 - 11:01 AM

Ruth Archer wrote:

But because there is a heritage dimension here, it's helpful if they know what it is they're looking at.

In which case polite and constructive feedback to Simon, made in the spirit of support and development, is an essential part of the process.

This is now shaping up nicely as a proper discussion.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Keith Leech
Date: 29 May 09 - 01:15 PM

I think Simon is reading this anyway but if not I hope to see him over the next couple of weeks and then we can have a chat. I think the more ideas and help he has the happier he will be, after all hpefully we all wan this project to work.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 May 09 - 01:52 PM

Gillian B: "From the tone of this post it appears that Folk Culture now belongs to an elite group, it is 'ours' not 'their's'. Although you say he (Simon Costin), has every right to work with CPTC, your inference is that he does not. Surely this goes against everything you are saying. Should it not be everyone's to explore, cherish, research and celebrate?"

I'm curious though, as a prior student of archeology, if you went to a 'Museum' and found say err the bones of a dinosaur located next to resin 'bones' of a Unicorn (or a similar popular novelty item), my guess is that you might possibly react unfavourably to that? I recognise my analogy isn't all that strong, but it's exactly the kind of thing which would provoke a displeased reaction from some.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: BB
Date: 29 May 09 - 02:41 PM

I think tradition has perhaps more to do with being 'culturally embedded' than how long an event has been going, i.e. how much does it involve the local community, and who is it done for? If it doesn't involve the local community, or it's done purely for tourism purposes, then I have my doubts as to whether it can be called a tradition.

But someone will doubtless quote an instance where I'm wrong :-)

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 May 09 - 03:39 PM

Although you say he (Simon Costin), has every right to work with CPTC, your inference is that he does not.

I (personally) say that whilst he (Simon Costin) has every right to work with our CPTC*, from what I've seen so far, I (personally) don't feel that it's a worthwhile project in & of itself for reasons already expressed. Please note though, Gillian - I am but one person expressing a personal opinion about a project which concerns things I care deeply about. Please also note that my bookshelves are bending down with volumes on other things I care deeply about - Folklore, Folk Song, Folk Tale, Storytelling, Green Men, Folk Custom, Frank Zappa, The Fall, Duke Ellington, Scott Walker, Misericords, The Marx Brothers etc. etc. - many of which I think are absolute bollocks. Needless to say, I cherish each & every one of them as much as do the criticisms of my own work accumulated over the years - which is one of the reasons I never delete the comments on my YouTube films no matter how negative or downright rude they might be.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be suggesting The Museum of British Folklore is beyond criticism; I only hope those involved with it don't feel this way too.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Gillian B
Date: 30 May 09 - 04:58 AM

In the spirit of moving things on and seeing as there seems to be some interest in the subject I propose a new thread.....(for those who would like to see the project happen)
What would you hope to gain from visitng a Museum of British Folklore?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 May 09 - 05:28 AM

A wider view would be welcome anyway, Gillian - stuff like This for example - and This. Interestingly, in a thread I started just this morning, the second poster linked to This which gave me pause to ponder with respect of both the current thread and the old Folklore: The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance thread.


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 06:26 AM

Forgot about this one; classic stuff! Does anyone know if the Museum of British Folklore still going?


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Subject: RE: Short film from Doc Rowe's collections
From: MoBF
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 02:38 PM

Dear Astray, I just re-visited the site after several months and spotted this last post. Yes, the Museum of British Folklore project is very much still going and thankfully from strength to strength. Do please visit the website news section for updates and subscribe to the newsletter too should you wish.


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