Elf & Safety vs. Old World

By Almendra Maria Mcbride Perez

sleep-furiously-gideon-koppel.jpgSleep Furiously, 2008

Crofts' Cottage: Crumbling Mansions. Grandma’s cat and dog in view. A town crier and mascots arrive to paradise. Bales of hay strewn around church dotted village fields. “I’m used to it whether I want to or not”, says a farmer, interrupted by a yellow van: The ‘walking library’, which brings relief to all – an emotional first aid, giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the isolated.

Green valleys sing to farmers, harvesting tractors, ploughing fields, seeds sown. Birds pick up worms with glee. Eating Ploughman’s lunch 'al fresco'; Winds recite old verses and glue communities together. Abandoning old traditions is a slow death, losing communities, closing schools. Cold councils ‘health and safety’ decisions ravage all. “I’m not anti anything”, begs a local man, yet relentless, the ‘political scythe’ chops down. Communing with nature, in the company of mans ‘best friend’. A tombstone honoured by a pebble more. RIP Heinz Koppel, visited by one and a dog. The trees reply in glee. Shearing sheep: a black eye’s roving tells of a scared beast at man’s hand. Nature’s thought reversal. Wool creating: the tool that keeps mankind warm.

A siesta in the sun: world's labourer’s prerogative to take. A sheep’s dog ear tweaks its master goodbye. The town gathers babes round. Old world charms, like boiled sweets in gone days town shops’ bottles – mint humbugs, liquorice, marshmallows pink and blue… Young babies clapping away: Old black automobiles. The forests heart is warmed by rays of light, at home by daily chores: Butter spreading on British bread. Young swallows enjoy the simple goods in life, whilst men, tough real men, work and play with cars. Boys will be boys. Girls full of spice.

sleep-furiously-gideon-koppel-2.jpgSleep Furiously, 2008 

Sheep’s trials fence-building. Constable paintings come to life in the background. God breathes peace through clouds, floating over seaside coastlines for all to see and appreciate. Nature is his. Mist gently kisses the earth, as soft as a caress, as sweet as an angels blessing. Choirs sing psalms which calm the soul. Old folk exchange gardening tips in an agronomic science-literate land, not void of forestry secrets as the lush green reveals. A table spread, on cotton cloth, crowned by Victoria sponge. Old folk give gardening tips. Cows hanging udders provide rivers of flowing milk, ‘manna from heaven’. Hoofs step on dung, rich reward for hungry soils: whose product feeds us, thank god, to continue the mortal toil. Pastry-making good and wholesome women make the world go around. Tea brews, liquid gold that dresses jam-filled cream cakes, feeding hungry bellies of good people.

Clean-washed clotheslines fly through gentle wind in garden fields. Cleanliness is close to godliness, they say. Anecdote exchanges amongst laughing women remind us of basic fun. Showing friends memories of our past, sharing life’s pulse, whilst all around us time ticks on, customs changing, young growing old, old gone to heaven, passing on. Babies lie in cots, like seeds to be sown in the field of life. As plants growing up surrounded by love: Flowers and trees, like waves on the shore, guarding men and women from evil ways.

sleep-furiously-gideon-koppel-3.jpgSleep Furiously, 2008 

Singing round a fire is where the heart is. Books at hand, craft fairs, man’s mascots for company, mean more than fair-weather friends, who stay away in bitter wintry months. Clean living, country pursuits, close knit villages which make up squared formed pieces in life’s jigsaw. Amidst the rain, England of old, yesterdays Britain: threatened by Today: Modern times annihilating lands, sapping life out of countries. Patterns formed by nature, mostly symmetrical, are broken by odd exceptions to the rule. A white sheep is a life line, breaking of monotonous routine. “Looks like cabbage tonight” woman asks. “For supper. Why not both?” is man’s cry.

What will ‘The Credit Crunch’ mean to Crofts’ fairs? To shepherds and farmers, whose livestock and livelihood fluctuate, like the worlds markets, supply and demand dependant in a shares rise or fall World Market Place?: Wools price, lambs meat?. The weather rules; Mother Nature reigns supreme. Man waits and prays, filling time with skills and crafts galore.

A little love goes a long way. Frozen animals, remind us of forgotten friends: some gone to heaven, others far away. If only friends could be ‘stuffed’, put in a basket and taken home? Weaving coloured threads, a young boy sees life flow through his hands. Life goes on: Nature giving birth... Nature aware. Sleep Furiously!

Sleep Furiously is screened at the Soundtrack Film Festival.

Almendra Maria Mcbride Perez is a writer and journalist living in London.