On Bell Street

The Lisson Gallery at 27 Bell Street in London is presently home to a fascinating and wonderful collection of sculptures by Ai Weiwei, cast iron facsimiles of tree roots grubbed up from the Amazon rainforest even before the latest round of Bolsonaro inspired deforestation wildfires. Melancholy mementos of ancient trees untimely ripped and castaway via traditional Chinese craftsmanship. Continue reading “On Bell Street”

Frames of reference

Epping Forest x 3

Three walks in Epping Forest, all within the past few weeks. This time of year I can’t get enough of its green light to escape the city. I never lived in a forest but this place always feels like home. Maybe I did in a previous life, maybe we all did, maybe this is the nearest thing to a prelapsarian London. Continue reading “Epping Forest x 3”

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Nature’s Vanishing Trick

This from Robert Macfarlane –

My teenage daughter Lily made this short video to try and explain to other young people — and to herself — why biodiversity loss, extinction & vanishing species really, really matter. It’s spoken from the heart. It’s about one of the vital issues of our times. Please share, show, discuss.

The video is free to use by anyone in any setting; no need to seek Lily’s permission or even to credit her. She just wants it to be seen, and for it to prompt discussion, awareness, action and change.

If you do want to acknowledge her, she’s Lily Macfarlane, and the video first went up on my Twitter feed (@RobGMacfarlane).

The video was made with the encouragement and support of Action For Conservation, an inspirational young conservation charity working with 12 to 17 year olds, for which Lily became a ‘youth ambassador’. Find out more about their amazing work at actionforconservation.org

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The Sound Of Falling Leaves

The plan was for a quick walk around the Lost Pond then back home again. But by the time we got to Epping Forest the low November sun was so bright that we got hijacked by the light and followed its trail through the trees along the Green Ride past the pond and beyond to parts of the forest we’d never been before. The light was exceptional, extra special. It was an ordinary Sunday that had suddenly become graced with a new radiance. I can’t remember a day in the forest like it, and the more I hear about climate change the more days like these become precious and poignant and we must catch them while we can. And all the while there was a gentle flutter and rustle of falling leaves. Continue reading “The Sound Of Falling Leaves”

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Knepp

Karen had just finished reading Wilding and was recommending it to everyone, saying it was the best book she’d read in ages. It’s the story of an experiment to rewild a West Sussex farm, restoring the land and its wildlife. It’s written by Isabella Tree who, together with her husband Charlie Burrell, is the owner of the Knepp Wildland Project. Dominic said he’d visited Knepp Castle many years ago, so as a surprise, whilst he was away in Spain, we arranged a works outing for when he returned. Continue reading “Knepp”

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Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by the German poet and critic W G Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears.

Grant Gee’s film should make anyone want to read ‘The Rings of Saturn’ and the rest of Sebald’s relatively small but exquisite oeuvre, some eight or nine books in all.

Philip French

Frames of reference

Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, The Rings of Saturn by the German poet and critic WG Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears. Continue reading “Patience (After Sebald)”

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Wood On The Downs

At the gate we met a man with a camera, overloaded with telephoto lenses, overexposed to the sun, returning to the shelter of his car. He’d taken up photography in retirement, pursuing butterflies over the Downs, but today there were too many people and too few photo opportunities. He’d seen Green Hairstreaks and Orange-tips but didn’t think he had any good photos. As we spoke, bright yellow Brimstones danced around his head, but too quick to photograph. “It’s the story of my life,” he said. Continue reading “Wood On The Downs”

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A Walk In The Woods

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A Walk In The Woods

There’s a lovely and surprising exhibition by Jelly Green at the Alde Valley Spring Festival, and there’s not a single cow in sight! She’s abandoned her usual subject matter and gone for a walk in the woods, and lost herself in the green and tangled delights of the trees, and found herself there. Continue reading “A Walk In The Woods”

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Holloway

A beautiful short film shot on Super-8 and painstakingly woven together by Adam Scovell. He was inspired by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood, Dan Richards and their book Holloway. I first stumbled into it here and I find it hard to leave. Adam has written a great piece about his film here. It’s mesmerising.

Frames of reference