Thursday, 13 February 2014

'If any solitary wanderers read these notes...'

The delight of opening a book at a random page and finding ...

“This aerial photo might be of many of the hundreds of hidden places in England: here it is used as a diagram to illustrate the fate of ‘escapists’ …”.

Wasdale in the Lake District

The Land of England - Dorothy Hartley (1979)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Wyrd Britannia

The current popular narrative on libraries is generally pretty negative: under threat, marginalised in the digital age etc. How refreshing to come across Calderdale Libraries in West Yorkshire curating Wyrd Britannia, a season of special events exploring themes of landscape, folklore, ritual and psychedelia: books and DVD's, authors talks, live film and music. 

In the last few years there has been, if you will excuse the pun, a mushrooming interest in a new (or not so new) psychedelic landscape, crossing many esoteric spectrums; terrain to be explored in more depth here soon. In the meantime, have a look here:

Sunday, 2 February 2014

We are the mountain people

This photograph was taken in the gloaming time as a clear-skied winter night was drawing in, following a perfect day on the Hatterrall ridge in the Black Mountains; walking and working on the watershed that presents a physical manifestation of the, in reality more culturally fluid and shape-shifting, border between England and Wales.

The technical quality of the image may not be the best, but it captures the light, the colours of this transitional time of day. Looking at it, I am also reminded of the magical pull that this place, this self-contained and enduringly mysterious old red sandstone massif, has had on me for the last ten years or so.

Having spent several weeks immersed in the prehistoric world recreated in Raymond Williams' People of the Black Mountains, energised by the on-going rain and wind-lashed endevours of the Black Mountains Upland Path Volunteers and with a potential landscape archaeology research project focussed on the area in the pipeline, this topographical fascination looks set to continue and deepen.   

For those of us lucky enough to find a place like this, we are indeed the mountain people:

They'll seek us in the valley

They'll seek us on the plain
They own the milk and runny honey
And they're not quite the same

And we

Live together under
Oak trees
In the dark 
We make sparks
So unique
We're the mountain people

Super Furry Animals - We Are the Mountain People