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Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011

Ross Campbell 18 Jul 11 - 07:15 AM
Steve Hunt 18 Jul 11 - 07:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jul 11 - 07:24 AM
John MacKenzie 18 Jul 11 - 07:31 AM
Ross Campbell 18 Jul 11 - 07:58 AM
Desert Dancer 18 Jul 11 - 04:41 PM
richd 18 Jul 11 - 06:28 PM
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Subject: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:15 AM

New British Film Institute (BFI) DVD on traditional British customs:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jul/14/bfi-heres-to-a-health-barley-mow

"Something for the dwile flonkers and sword dancers: the BFI has compiled a DVD – Here's a Health to the Barley Mow – celebrating the best of British folk customs and rural games

Jude Rogers
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 July 2011 22.30 BST


When you've seen a teenage boy running through a village with a flaming barrel of tar on his head, you might think you've seen everything. But then you indulge yourself further in Here's a Health to the Barley Mow – the BFI's DVD celebrating British folk customs and rural games – and an even stranger Britain comes to light. Here are men swinging fireballs in Aberdeenshire. Here's a boy dressed up as a horse for a Mummers' play in Derby, in sheepskin, with lightbulbs for eyes. Here are the dwile flonkers of Suffolk, led by a man the spitting image of Vic Reeves, who explains, with some glee, what their tradition demands. "A capacity to take beer, I should think – and to be an idiot."

This DVD may showcase national eccentricity gloriously, but it's not a simple, silly trek through ye olde Merry Britain. Instead, the disc reveals the peculiar rituals that have persisted here. In Ottery St Mary in Devon, tar barrel rolling was still going strong in 2000, for instance, as is sword dancing in Grenoside, Sheffield, and horn dancing in Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire.

BFI curators Vic Pratt and Will Fowler began this project in 2009, wanting to reveal to the world this rich, other Britain. That year, they showed three folk films, successfully, at London's Cecil Sharp House; Pratt is convinced the recent increased interest in folk music helped it succeed. "I think the technological, capitalist bubble just went to the nth degree, and burst," he says. "Then you had people embracing arts and crafts, making stuff themselves, going back to simpler things, because everything else is so dazzling and busy." Fowler adds that uncertainty in international politics has perhaps led to people exploring their roots again. "I think people are craving something authentic, even spiritual from that." He also thinks the internet's capacity to store and share the past helped this collective desire – but knew he and Pratt could go further, given their resources.

The Barley Mow DVD compiles dances and songs, extreme sports, and strange customs, in the form of news reports from regional TV, amateur footage, and experimental cinema. So alongside raw 1927 footage of the Llandudno May Queens, there is Leslie Daiken's 1957 Free Cinema award-winner about children's games, One Potato, Two Potato, and a fascinating spool of the English Folk, Dance and Song Society founder, Cecil Sharp, dancing in a garden with friends in 1912. This early "film" was made from photographs printed on card and mounted on a wheel, and is brought to musical life with a new fiddle-led soundtrack.

Some films explore how customs can change. The 1953 documentary Oss Oss Wee Oss shows the people of Padstow in Cornwall wearing red and white for the cameras of folklorist Alan Lomax – brilliantly, Pratt says, they have done the same ever since. Recent films such as 2005's Hare Pie and Bottle Kicking, Hallaton show how customs often operate on the fringes of health and safety rules – it shows one rugby-shirted youngster knocked out in a field, rather than emerging from the ruck with the winner's meaty prize. "It's just as important to include those details," Pratt says. "They are part of our world, rather than something that's gone."

More than anything, however, the curators didn't want to judge any of their 43 films on moral grounds "We just wanted to present this stuff as it was," Pratt says, "with respect. There's no point in patronising people when all this stuff is still emerging from ancient traditions. And no one really knows what they're for, do they? Or why they're still here."

Here's a Health to the Barley Mow: A Century of Folk Customs and Ancient Rural Games is out on 18 July on BFI DVD."

Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:21 AM

It arrived this morning - hurrah!


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:24 AM

I guess we always complain when the none folky world turns its light on us but:

"Something for the dwile flonkers and sword dancers".

Shame that dwile flonging, as much fun as it is, gets dragged up. Invented by The Goons around 1950's?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:31 AM

Original post with hyperlinks


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:58 AM

Couldn't find your post, John (I did look, but the terms folk + cinema were not the uppermost in my mind).

Here's the BFI link (can't get the blickifier page up at the moment):-

http://filmstore.bfi.org.uk/acatalog/info_19989.html

And the BFI description etc:-

"Here's a Health to the Barley Mow: A Century of Folk Customs and Ancient Rural Games

certificate 12 Certificate
1912-2002
Runtime: 365 mins
Colour/B&W
UK
Published/distributed by BFI
ISBN/EAN: 5035673009208
Ratio mixed original aspect ratios
Region 2
Price: £22.99
(Including VAT at 20%)

        
Here's a Health to the Barley Mow: A Century of Folk Customs and Ancient Rural Games
dirs: Various
Release date: 18th July 2011
From the sexy, savage' Cornish May Day rites of Alan Lomax's Oss Oss Wee Oss, to Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane's footage of ferociously fought traditional football; from children's games in London's bombed East End to intricate sword and step dances, this collection of poetic documentaries, long un-seen television reports and rare silent film footage reveals just how powerful and enduring the folk traditions of Great Britain have always been. This double-disc set of newly remastered films is accompanied by an illustrated 58-page booklet including detailed notes and essays by folk historians. The silent films feature innovative fiddle and melodeon accompaniments by contemporary folk musicians.

Disc 1:

Dance and Song
Films taken from Kinora Spools Made in 1912 (1912/1982) Bampton Broom and Morris Dances (1928) Sword Dances in North Skelton, Handsworth, Sleights, Westerhope and Grenoside (c.1927) Dances by Ilmington Teams in the Grounds of Peter De Montfort's House 1220 AD. Fiddler Sam Bennett (1926) Abbots Bromley, Painswick and Bampton (c.1928-36) High Spen Sword Dancers (c.1928) Bacup Coconut Dancers (1930) Grenoside Long Sword Dancers (1938) Wake Up and Dance (1950) Here's a Health to the Barley Mow (1952)
'Winlaton Sword Dance' from Mining Review 8th Year No 5 (1955) Dick Hewitt 'The Norfolk Step Dancer' with Percy Brown - melodeon (1979) The Flora Faddy Furry Dance Day (1989) Rapper Dancers at 'The National' (2003)

Extreme Sports
NEWSREELS: Shrove Tuesday Football Games (1921-29) 600-Year-Old Custom! (1927) The
Game of Haxey Hood (1929) Handba' at Kirkwall, Orkney (1939) New Year Fireball Festival, Stonehaven
(1965) NEWS STORIES: Shrove Tuesday in the 1960's (1965-66) Ancient and Traditional Sport of Dwile Flonking (1966) Dwile Flonking from Harleston (1967) Tar Barrel Rolling, Ottery St Mary (2000) Shrovetide Football, Ashbourne (2000) Hare Pie and Bottle Kicking, Hallaton (2005)

Disc 2:

Mummers and Hobbyhorses
The Tichborne Mummers' Play (1919) Walk in St George (1952) Oss Oss Wee Oss (1953) Derby Tup (1974)

All Manner of Customs NEWSREELS: Greater London May Queens (1922-30) NEWSREELS: Llandudno May
Queens (1927-29) Boy Bishop of Berden (1927) Merrie England (1928) One Potato, Two Potato (1957) Castleton
Garland Day (1957) Election of New Mayor of Harwich and the Traditional Ceremony of Throwing Kitchels
(1962) All Manner of Customs (1965) Informal Gurning Contest at Whitley Bay (1963) Girl Wearing Earring at
School Dispute (1966) Children of the Moor (1975) The Face of a County (1976) Castleton's Traditional
Garland Day (2000) The Burry Man of South Queensferry (2000-02)."

Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 04:41 PM

BFI sales catalog page

BFI Sight & Sound magazine article by Philip Hoare

BBC4 interview with BFI curator William Fowler

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Barley Mow DVD 18 July 2011
From: richd
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 06:28 PM

I would LOVE for such films to be made now.
In fact, I am going to start doing so.


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