Monday, 20 June 2011

a field student of binds weeds

Field Study’s Man in E17 paused to admire a glorious emanation of bind weed in and around a fence on Winns Avenue and the front garden of the temporarily closed William Morris Gallery (or Lloyd Park if you will). Bind weed, (Calystegia sepium) also known as Morning Glory, is considered to be one of the great banes of gardener’s lives given that the plant has a remarkably vigorous and resilient root system. The perennial roots defy boundaries and give rise to a wiry and pernicious vine which overwhelms and strangles its hosts. It might just be forgiven by virtue of the temporary gift, the fanfare of its delicate and simply pretty trumpet like flowers. Field Study’s Man was, however, returning home from a shared allotment where the Morning Glory does not have quite the same appeal as that urbane and winsome display reminiscent of Morris’s Honeysuckle design.
Recent rains have invigorated local flora to such an extent Field Study’s Man has shied away from some of his night walks exploring the dark paths of Walthamstow. The resurgence of intermingling foliage and overarching canopies has conspired to make some paths very dark, too dark, and in some instances difficult to discern they are there as paths at all.
Take this path nowhere but between Kirk Road and Gordon Close. 

By night he imagines he would have missed this path - a public right of way? - such is the overgrowth of wayside shrubs and other plants. Field Study’s man has reservations about being seen as a suspicious shadow foraging for footpaths in the undergrowth of overgrown byways. The hazard of a cul de sac in the event of a need to scarper looms big (too much alliteration all ready) and forbiddingly. Of course he could don ultra violet emitting specs in the hope foxes have tagged the territory with the flourescent secretions of their violet glands however such bespectacled novelty has worn off - visually if not in the realm of the olfactory. He doubts he would cope with 3D stinky vision and so Field Study’s Man in E17 will err on the side of caution rejecting daring dos in favour of more ‘cowardy custard’ ways. Call this a survival instinct.
Let’s segue to the cinematic, although staying on a thematic path of jungles. This morning, Field Study’s Man in E17 was happy to disseminate news on behalf of Waltham Forest Arts Club about Screen 17 - a new, regular, affordable and accessible independent community cinema brought to Orford House Social Club by Vintage Cabaraoke and Location Audio. Screen 17, in association with Scribble and Smudge, is launching this venture with a Saturday Kids Film Club, on the 16th July. Here are some of the details from the press release.

  • Saturday 16th July, 10am – 12.30pm. Official launch screening.

The Jungle Book (1967, 78mins, Cert U)
We launch with a children’s timeless classic bringing you a Disney masterpiece that is known and loved by all.  Featuring such unforgettable songs as “The Bare Necessities”, “Trust in me” and “I wanna be like you”, this animated wonder needs little, if any introduction.  Fun is therefore guaranteed for all. 

Now it just so happened, Field Study’s Man in E17 was born 100 years to the day after the birth of Rudyard Kipling, author of, The Jungle Book (1894), on which the Disney cartoon is based. Kipling’s ‘jungle book’ is a collection of short stories which includes, ‘Mowgli’s Brothers’; also published as, ‘Night Song in the Jungle’. Tenuous connections you might say, but was that the protective spirit of Bagheera that crossed my path nowhere near Kirk Road and Gordon Close?
Rudyard Kipling has probably fared less well than William Morris in contemporary debates about British imperialism and colonialism, as it seems he did not, as William Morris, ‘cross the river of fire’. At a ‘News from Nowhere Club’ talk, an authoritative speaker appeared outraged about William Morris being referred to as a dead white European male imperialist because this view ignored Morris’s anti imperialism e.g. his opposition to colonial military campaigns in Sudan. Kipling and Disney, however, are considered by some to be grandees of (different types of) cultural imperialism.   
At school, Field Study’s Man was told Kipling was a great advocate of digging as a means of clearing the muddle or tangled undergrowth of one’s mind and pulling one’s self together. This he (Field Study’s Man) tried in earnest today on the allotment, digging out a redemptive compost heap for material to nourish a nearby vegetable bed and perhaps subconsciously also weeding out some of the perennial roots of his imperialist sympathies.       

Field Study’s Man in E17 has added these articles and texts to the virtual compost heap of his mind and no doubt will need to dig it out, sieve and turn it over to get the best out of it.

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