Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Green Man

We do lots of Green Men in pewter. Here are some Sharon has done recently. They include a smiling Green Man we did as an order. Personally I don't think the Green man ought to smile but this one was done for a special occasion so I suppose an exception is acceptable.

I usually have a pewter Green man as the centre piece of our display on the market or craft fair. He always attracts attention. This goes beyond fashion. He strikes a chord with how many people feel about the world. People ask me: What does he mean? I can't give a straight answer to that  because I don't really know. Books on the subject give all sorts of answers to this question from the full blown New Age interpretations in which he is seen as a Pagan deity, to the prosaic, scholarly ones that ascribe no meaning to him at all.

My view is that we invest him with with the deep feelings we have about Nature. We are animals that have lost touch with our senses and, therefore, struggle to connect with the natural world. We yearn to be reunited with it. The Green Man offers path by which we can do this. He invokes that sense of the numinous that we get hints of now and then from walking in the woods, watching the sun set over the sea, creating a garden or watching birds.

Personally, trees give me that special feeling of connection with Nature particularly oak trees such as these ones in an area of old parkland near where I live. These trees and others like them are the source of our inspirarion for our Green Men  pictures. I took this photo on a bright misty morning last winter:

And here's a real live Green man lurking in a thicket in Belvoir Woods last summer:

As caught by Sharon .  Note Green Man T Shirt.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Oil City Confidential Filming

Cold Day Bare Trees

Hadleigh Castle, Chris Fenwick with the Thames Delta in the background.
Interviewing Rico. Julien Temple & George Hencken to the left.

Rico. The Salvager.

Myself watching ...apologies for anorak with asymmetric hood.

A cold day in march 2008. The first time I'd met up with Rico for decades. Just experienced that shock you get when someone you knew well in your teens appears and you find them totally changed. Then you blink and they are exactly the same person. No doubt it was the same for Rico. Who was this grey haired guy with funny ideas that got into trouble with him at Sweyne School!? Bleedin' 'ell it's 'arry! You all right mate? Odd memories sneak back. I recall Rico and I sniggering as we watched Lee write PHALLUS [a portent of things to come, eh?] in large letters on the back of the school notice board just before we all got caught and hauled up in front of  Mister Bowman, the Headmaster,  for interrogation and punishment.

Hadleigh Castle is a potent psychogeographical location for me. I used to go there on a summer's evening after it had been locked up, climb over the railings and ascend the tower, the one behind the sound guy in the above photos, and sit there and look down at Canvey and all the oil installations along the estuary. You could smell the burning oil from the cat crackers when the wind blew from the south west and as the sun set the 'towers burning' would become brighter and more ominous and more like the last panel - Hell- of the Bosche Triptych. I think we made this comparison even then.  Fancying myself as a yogi, I sometimes sat in the lotus position and chanted Om Mani Padme Hum. We did things like that in those days. It was the late Sixties after all. Looking back I can still sense the strange romantic optimism of the time. I still feed on that feeling. It helps dispel the sense of gloom that the current world gives me.

I was pleased that Julien and George tuned into the atmosphere of the place and the period. Almost uncanny it was.