Friday, 16 December 2011

Art Decades

I've been haunted by the opening shots of the second episode of Shane Meadows' truly brilliant and heart breaking This is England '88, that show Sheffield's Gleadless estate in an early morning winter fog like a place that could deny time itself: it was like 1988, 1962, and 2011 all at once.

It also took me back to the winter of 1980/81 when I used to wander around my estate moodily taking early morning B&W shots (all lost now) of the Middlefield Lane estate, after getting back to Gainsborough off the 3.25am 'milk train' from a night out at Sheffield's Limit Club, and with much of Metamatic in my head. 

Even in dank, shortest-day, winter weather, the (dare I say it) pastoral beauty of this hillside estate as filmed by Meadows is undeniable. Lionel Esher called it 'one of the prettiest suburbs in England', while Owen Hatherley neatly sums the estate up as 'Taut’s Berlin via Neutra’s Los Angeles, refracted through the English Picturesque.’ Have a look at that episode of This is England '88 - - and get a glimpse of what was, and what could still be, if anyone cared enough. Happy Xmas.

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