From Sensate – A Journal for Critical Media Practice
Between 2011 and 2014 I gathered environmental sound recordings from South Gare, a man-made stretch of land along the North East coast of England. These recordings formed part of a doctoral research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and undertaken at Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP), University of the Arts, London.
The final and on-going act of research involved rebroadcasting the collected sounds back into the site before deleting them. The two films presented here examine the process and context of the work. They are audio-visual performance essays, constructed within the screen of a laptop in real-time. (Mark Peter Wright).
Mark Peter Wright’s fascinating work can be seen here Sensate Journal – Mark Peter Wright
Thanks to Chris Whitehead for this
Staithes had a very practical way of dealing with their local witches. If a coble or fishing smack had a run of bad luck, the fishermen took it for granted that a local witch was responsible. The owners of the unlucky boats gathered together at midnight, killed a pigeon, took out its heart, stuck the heart full of pins and burned it over a charcoal fire.
When the heart had been reduced to ashes, they all waited to see who would come to the door. Whoever it was, would be the witch who had ill-wished their boats. She would have been drawn to the house by the power of the spell they had cast.
When she arrived, instead of setting about her they gave her a small gift to gain her good will. Then, when the boats had better luck, it showed that the witch had appreciated their gift. Not many Yorkshire folk tackled their witches in such a humane way.
Source – Witches in Old North Yorkshire. Mary Williams. 1987
‘T’ Hunt o’ Yatton Brigg is a dialect poem by Richard Blakeborough which was published in 1896. The poem is too long to reproduce here but it tells the tale of the Old Witch and John Simpson.
John Simpson was in love with a girl from Great Ayton called Mary Mudd, unfortunately Mary loved a man named Tom Smith. John Simpson’s love soon turned to hate of the pair and he asked the local witch, Old Nanny, to work an evil spell on Tom and Mary.
After some arguing Old Nanny agreed , telling him to go to the churchyard and gather certain things, these are not specified in the tale. Once this was done she gave him instruction what to do with the things that he had collected. She then instructed him to wash in the old well and leave her besom (broom) by its side.
John carried out Old Nanny’s instructions but broke faith and ignored Nanny’s final injunctions, thinking that the Old Hag would not know. He then set out for home. He soon discovered that he was mistaken and was visited by a number of demons followed by three hags who knocked him down and flew him to the top of Roseberry Topping.
Once on the top of the peak the hags bound the besom to John’s legs and told him to hurry away as fast as he could because they were going to hunt him with all the unearthly things suchlike could call to their aid.
After a terrifying chase John remembered that the witch had told him that he would be safe from harm as long as he had a foothold on Ayton Bridge (Yatton Brigg). John ran for the bridge but with just a few yards to go was tripped by the besom and fell into the beck. The hags dragged him out of the water and bit and scratched him until he was half dead. The hags finally left him as dawn broke and the tale ends.
We had somehow managed to get a couple of tickets for the first home match of the 1996-7 season . The last time I had watched Boro was at Ayrsome Park, I now found myself stood amongst thousands of fans outside of our shiny new stadium on a beautiful sunny day, it was quite a surreal moment. It was a time when there was a great feeling of optimism around the football club, we had a new stadium and players who were world class such as Juninho, Emerson and Festa.
As we waited to go through the turnstiles we saw a couple of policeman stop a fan and search his bag, they pulled our three large pizzas. ‘What as these for?’ they asked ‘They’re for Ravanelli’ was the reply, sadly the pizzas were confiscated.
The match was against a very good Liverpool side, more importantly it was the debut of Fabrizio Ravanelli, the White Feather. In terms of the game and atmosphere it was probably one of the most enjoyable football matches that I’ve ever watched. The game ended a 3-3 draw, Ravenelli scored a hat trick.
It was a strange season for the Boro, they reached two cup finals, lost both and ended up being relegated from the Premier League. Ravanelli scored 31 goals in 48 appearances that season and was the highest paid player in the Premier League. He left the club the following season to join Marseilles.
When I was young summer holidays were generally camping trips to the Lake District or ‘days out’. Days out were day trips generally locally and usually by train. The most popular local seaside destinations for the children of Middlesbrough were Redcar, Saltburn and Whitby.
Each seaside town had its own particular draw, Redcar had gaming arcades and a cinema, Saltburn had a cliff lift and rock pools, Whitby, my favourite, had the Hand of Glory.
The Hand was, and still is, kept in a display cabinet in the Whitby Museum. The museum remains one of my favourite places. It’s a lovely place that rejects the need for modern push-button interactivity and focuses on antiquarianism, stimulating our natural curiosity by presenting us with strange, beautiful, bizarre and exotic objects.
The Museum also houses the best collection of marine fossils outside of the Natural History Museum in London.
For further reading on the Hand of Glory I’d recommend a two-part essay by Robin Wilson entitled A Blaze of Glory published in the excellent quarterly magazine Northern Earth (issues 140 & 141).