“Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.” - Kurt Vonnegut. Rather like J.G. Ballard, Nigel Kneale had a certain knack of preempting future social, technological and cultural trends. Kneale's work is perhaps less appreciated than Ballard's because … Continue reading Nigel Kneale and Fascism
As recently announced, I have a book being released in January all about Folk Horror and its many related areas of interest. The book has been in the works for the last year or so though many of the arguments within have been growing now for several years. Though I'll undoubtedly being doing the usual … Continue reading Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange (January, 2017)
This presentation was originally given at the Folk Horror Revival day at The British Museum (16/02/2016). My thanks to the fellow admins of the Folk Horror Revival, especially Jim Peters and Andy Paciorek. There's an overt connection between analogue technology and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in British horror, especially when made during the 1970s. … Continue reading The Ghost In The Grain – Folk Horror Revival @ The British Museum (16/10/2016).
There are few writers that figure more prominently in everything I do than the teller of beautiful Edwardian ghost stories, M.R. James. Alongside W.G. Sebald, J.G. Ballard, Alan Garner and Virginia Woolf, his writing holds a great power over me with its familiar yet unfamiliar worlds. His writing preys upon my mind at regular intervals, … Continue reading Trailer – No Diggin’ Here.
At the recent Alchemical Landscape conference in Cambridge, there was some interesting analysis of the portrayal of landscape in the opening sequence of Alan Clarke's Play For Today episode, Penda's Fen (1974). The point in the analysis was to show the subversive nature of the opening in regards to its melding of two potentially differing realities … Continue reading Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.
With time being at the core of the series, Sapphire and Steel is perhaps one of the few cult television programs whose narratives can convey astutely some questioning of the philosophy of temporal concepts. Rather than being a framing device for journey and travel, as in series like Doctor Who (1963-1989), time becomes a force … Continue reading Bergson’s Duration in Sapphire And Steel (Assignment One, 1979).
In the 1980's introduction to the repeated BBC Ian Nairn series, Nairn Across Britain (1972), Jonathan Meades suggests that the series still managed to capture Nairn's sense of poetics and character in spite of "the filming techniques seeming a bit dated, as nothing dates quite like the recent past". Though Meades is right in his … Continue reading Poetics of Visual Space in Ian Nairn’s “Nairn Across Britain” (1972).
The BBC Science-Fiction anthology series, Out Of The Unknown (1965-1970), was famous for producing a wide range of intellectual sci-fi drama, exploring ideas and concepts more than spectacle and scale. With adaptations from a range of writers, including John Wyndham and J.G. Ballard, the surviving episodes of the series are both stimulating and useful in … Continue reading Hauntology Of The Dead Past (1965) – Out Of The Unknown.
This article contains plot twists. Harold Pinter's The Lover was a script first publically showcased as a television play in March 1963[i] before it went on for a theatre run a few months later starting from September that year. As a model of how Pinter plays on words and the natural duel meaning found explicitly within … Continue reading Communicative Reality in The Lover (1963) – Harold Pinter.
The relationship between myth and ritual has been often debated within anthropology ever since its Victoriana days of enlightened scientific thinking through the prism of evolution and the birth of mechanisation and industrial blight. The idea of returning to the "primacy of ritual", where whole belief systems stem as a result from repeated actions or … Continue reading Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.