Sunday, 17 May 2015

In the Mind’s Eye

The excellent John Coulthart posted this video earlier in the week. It's a sceptical looks at ghost phenomena broadcast in 1977.

The documentary concerns the 'Phantom Vicar of Ratcliffe Wharf'. It transpires this spectre is not all he was reputed to be, and the (occasionally hokey) journey the viewer is taken on delves into an analysis of how folklore is constructed and perpetuated.

The examination is rather cursory, but the show is endearing for being wonderful window into 70s London. Central to the human story is writer Frank Smyth - a bearded writer whose very serious brow looms earnestly over his pint glass. He would fit right into an East End hipster coffee-house in 2015. However, it's the shots of London's then-undeveloped docklands which excite me. The glittering glass and steel monuments to commerce which now occupy the region are nowhere to be seen, and it's easy to imagine how the dank, weed-strewn streets captured nearly forty years ago would be fertile territory for stories of murder and greed to breed.


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