I came across this recently –
(prompted by Jonathan Calder\’s recent mention of Mr. Culpeper in one of my favourite films – Powell & Pressburger’s A Canterbury Tale). It has been assembled by the artist Andrew Norris from three separate scenes in the film, and it made me think about this matter of slowness.
It has become almost a cliche in the world of video art (after Bill Viola), this habit of taking scenes from commercially released films, or films specially made for the purpose, and slowing them down, but it does so make you attend closely to scenes that would otherwise pass you by as part of the ever flowing stream that bears all its sons away.
Occasionally the train I take to work encounters a problem and has to move very, very slowly and suddenly all the things that usually pass by in a numbing blur become visible in detail – the endless embankments are teeming with life, the numberless fields have foxes and dog walkers in them, the golf courses have players missing vital putts, the back gardens are full of climbing frames, discarded toys and early morning smokers. There’s been a lot of talk recently about high speed trains, but I think I’d pay good money to travel on a low speed train that would allow me to see properly what I’m passing through.
And I’m not sure that this isn’t one of the things I enjoy about county cricket – a legitimate reason to sit in the same place for seven hours and watch the movement of the clouds, the traffic up the Radcliffe Road, the steady ticking over of the scoreboard, the comings and goings of the birds.