Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.

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 of English landscape; on the one hand, the typical pastoral … Continue reading Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.

Salthouse Marshes (Ghost Story).

In October I released a ghost story for Halloween.  It was partly inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, but the majority of its actual narrative structure (especially in terms of character) came from a short story of my own inspired as well by Blackwood’s story.  As it’s near Christmas, the original story is presented below.  It’s very typically Jamesian and should be read late at night … Continue reading Salthouse Marshes (Ghost Story).

Short Film – Salthouse Marshes

Salthouse Marshes began life in a strange way.  Having chatted about adapting Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows with Robert Macfarlane (who had wanted to re-set it in England), there was always to be a “haunted waterway” film on the cards.  But, after constant reading of the narrative of The Willows, the thought of organising the filming on two boats and on celluloid simply proved too intimidating.  … Continue reading Short Film – Salthouse Marshes

Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

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 events, is a common theme of exploration in Folk Horror as … Continue reading Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Part 1. Part 2. The Eeriness of Landscape Entities. The final aspect to assess is the natural eeriness created from putting an object within a landscape; here, it is the context of such an action and implications of the aesthetics that is key.  When Hepworth’s work is situated in the landscape, two things can occur.  The first is that the link between the work and … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Walking “A Warning To The Curious” (M.R. James).

A few years back, whilst on holiday in Norfolk, I began exploring some of locations used for the BBC’s famous M.R. James adaptations, specifically for Lawrence Gordon Clark’s adaptation of A Warning To The Curious (1972).  Though I had been far from thorough in this escapade (I completely missed the film’s most iconic structure in the church at Happisburgh), on finding myself in Suffolk, I … Continue reading Walking “A Warning To The Curious” (M.R. James).

Trailer – Salthouse Marshes.

Above is the trailer for my last film of the year, Salthouse Marshes.  Continuing on from last year’s theme in a trend I hope to continue with on a yearly basis, the film is a short, landscape obsessed ghost story.  With the BBC seeming reluctant to bother with a ghost story for Christmas any more, it feels necessary to in some way plug the gap … Continue reading Trailer – Salthouse Marshes.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 2.

Part 1. Portals, Dimensions and Time. For Barbara Hepworth the process actually began in Yorkshire, and Cornwall is the second and last English phase of a basic topographical emotion which is no longer a matter of geography but one of the mind and creation. Neither is it any longer a matter of feeling for landscape in the narrow sense but one of the relation of … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 2.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 1.

Introduction. The building of form within the space of landscape has become a common occurrence in sculpture for a number of years now.  The moving of artistic forms out-of-doors provides so many new potential contexts that it seems almost puerile to suggest so.  One aspect of particular interest is when these new forms of Earthologistic sculpture come into contact, perhaps even competition, with older forms of … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 1.

Analogue Ghosts of the 1970s And Hauntology.

There seems to be an overt connection between analogue recording technology (of both the visual and aural varieties) and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in 1970s British fantasy television.  Of course, there are no doubt connections between the interest in such activity (with the genuine events surrounding the Enfield Haunting for example, recently made into a drama on Sky) and the technological means of the … Continue reading Analogue Ghosts of the 1970s And Hauntology.