Thursday, 10 November 2011

the moon and sledgehammer (d phillip trevelyan)

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, called England, there lived a teller of tall tales, who took tea with kangaroos and got tired on his way to the moon. His name was Mister Page and he lived in a nook in the woods with his four children who were all grown up. Together they drove steam engines and played the organ and cast spells in the coals of the fire. They climbed trees and drizzled oil all over the world. They were the inheritors of Falstaff and the progenitors of Rooster Byron. The world belonged to them and they had all the time in the world to make it theirs. It was nature and machine and human rolled into one. The steam engines played with the doves and the bugs. They made telescopes and submarines and televisions that killed you if you got too close. Before televisions existed. They'd been to the moon and seen the volcanos. Sometimes they didn't like living there, because sometimes we don't, but most of the time they were as happy as Larry.

And if you think this is could be one of Mister Page's tall tales, think again and get hold of a copy of Trevelyan's film. The old man, the filmmaker who captured this gentle madness, a madness lost in time but one which will always exist so long as we have groves and nooks within this land, seemed sad at the passing of time. He sat on the stage at Rough Trade records in the most advanced corner of London's hipsterdom and answered questions about his film with what the Hispanics would call nostalgia, as he talked about the Alice-in-Wonderland world he'd stumbled upon back in 1971. With the aim not of exposing or poking fun at its inhabitants, but paying homage to them by capturing their rhythms and their quirks. His film is a mellifluous amble through their lives. It represents one of the great documents of a rural culture (or counter-culture) which has persevered in this country in spite of everything the 19th and 20th centuries had to throw at it.  As well as an example of why documentaries work best when they find their own way; when their narratives and pacing reflect the worlds they're observing, rather than the demands of a market.

2 comments: said...

we should've asked mister trevelyan to join us for salt-beef and stout...

themoonandthesledgeh said...

Enjoyed your piece. Can you email me please at