Monday, 2 February 2009

'Barbados' in the real real Snow

Snow today accompanied by the usual fear and trembling and forecasts of doom. So much so, I called off an afternoon seminar because of those very forecasts. And still it snows, albeit lightly. More and deeper expected any time now. Until then time for me to steam ahead with the second Newcastle lecture.

In London, however:

London, 2 February 2009

Photo, today, by daughter, H.

And big hat-tip to Linda, for the wonderful BFI film (below) of the 1962-63 snow that I remember well, at age thirteen, in a winter that will always be marked, for those who love poetry, with Sylvia Plath's suicide. Watch and wonder.

The reference to Barbados becomes clear in the film if you watch closely. This is part of the text with it:

In a mere half-dozen films released between 1959 and 1975, director Geoffrey Jones revealed himself as an outstanding talent, embracing industrial filmmaking as consistent with a personal style, blending movement and sound into a joyous, rhythmic whole. Brilliantly aided by Wolfgang Suschitzky's shimmering camerawork, the Oscar-nominated 'Snow' is Jones' masterpiece. It's crisply invigorating enough to induce brief amnesia about our trains' notorious inability to cope with the white stuff - then and now. (Patrick Russell)

BFI is a blessing.


Anonymous said...

George, the film, 'Snow', is fabulous. Thank you for that. It is a work of art I can identify with. The music especially, is perfect. The drumming is just like a fast train going over rail joints and at times, it's just like the sound of a train negotiating points. I come from the age of steam and 'Barbados' was a fine beast.

That was '63. I can go back to '47 when it really did snow. :)

George S said...

Ah, you beat me on age, Billy. In 1947 I was in a state of pre-existence.

Budapest snow was dense and deep. The temperatures were in the -20C region.

Gwil W said...

George, If you ever come to Austria you should come in winter and go on the little train known as the Mariazeller Bahn. Then you'll see some real snow.
So far this winter seven snowfalls in Carinthia and East Tirol, and another 40 cms yesterday.
I love to go running in the woods in the snow, to hear my feet crunching along on the packed snow,
sometimes get a good rhythm just like train!

Michelle said...

Wonderful film. Thanks for sharing it.

Gwil W said...

In this morning's paper is an amazing story, with picture, of a regional commuter train in a rural area of Austria that hit a snowdrift in the darkness, jumped the lines, and ran along for 500 mtrs in the the snow before coming to a final standstill. The 35 passengers and the driver left the train safely.

Anonymous said...

George, a very late Plath poem with an image from the age of steam and possibly a premonition too

Sheep in Fog

The hills step off into whiteness.
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.

The train leaves a line of breath.
O slow
Horse the color of rust,

Hooves, dolorous bells ----
All morning the
Morning has been blackening,

A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.

They threaten
To let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water.