Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Imagined Country

I have been reading about children's TV series of the sixties and seventies which draw on the folkloric zeitgeist of the time. I mean The Owl Service, Penda's Fen and others of that ilk, which I was too young to see at the time, although I have seen some of them since.
These programmes also drew heavily on the fear at the time that the contemporary idea of progress was bringing the rural world to an end. This led to a romanticisation of the rural world.
This was all the rage when I was a child but has fortunately left me largely untouched. Even then I was a complete townie!
It is unfortunate that the romantic idea of the country as well as some rather fanciful ideas of British folklore and history after the Christianisation of the country tend to dominate in the modern witchcraft and Pagan worlds. The reality of much rural life, both now and in the past, is endless slog and precarious conditions - animals and crops simply never give you a day off, and these unromantic conditions were exactly what those who flocked into the cities at the industrial revolution were seeking to flee.
I suppose what I'm getting at is the ahistorical romantic view of the country, pseudo history and an imagined past, created in fear of the present. Even 'using' the country in this way is a form of colonialism and making these TV programmes means the world of technology invading the idealised country : the illustration shows the filming of Akenfield.


  1. "The reality of much rural life, both now and in the past, is endless slog and precarious conditions" - and cowpats. Even when there isn't a cow in sight, there are always cowpats.

    1. I think city people manufacture them and leave them around on bank holidays.


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