I just wanted to type for a bit about a project that’s in the works, that, with budget (okay, more budget than the £50 or so I’ve committed to fling at it already) would be big and sculptural and probably have a little book involved. During this blog post, I’ll be dropping research and links here. I’ve got plans to write something more like an essay about the humble passing place.
On my googlings this afternoon, following my giving up of what I’m supposed to be doing (I’ll catch up, it’ll be fine… everyone else is on holiday… time isn’t real anyway…) found this short film made by Shanine Gallagher last year on the BBC, titled Passing Place, a short, thoughtful film on VHS about rural living, rural leaving, family and recordings, retracing steps, the rural place as a transitory passing place for the filmmaker.
In Higher Drama, back in… 2009? They made us read a play called Passing Places by Stephen Greenhorn, and I only remember that nobody understood the jokes about the Lada (sounds like ladder? it’s a kind of car?) that the characters were driving (because we were all born in the nineties) and it was more about surfboards than passing places.
I found a (thankfully) very short film from 1973 from the Public Information Office that features a, um, a song.
Here’s a nice still from it, with a passing place in action:
Amongst some patronising text about rural life, Country Life magazine does get on-side to encourage drivers to use passing places (yes that means including reversing into them). I hope that nobody that doesn’t find this article even a little bit offensive ever decides to blight a rural community.
I’ve also discovered sabre-roads.org.uk, which is a wiki / forum for people into British and Irish roads! Here’s their entry for single track roads: https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Single_track_road
According to the site, the square signs were introduced in 1994, and the diamond ones are older than that, but it doesn’t give dates. I’m not sure if I’m that desperate to know or not…
So yeah, I’m making a video about passing places, because it’s Important. or something, I dunno. I just kind of needed to. There are either 69 or 70 between here and Hawick, depending on wether you count the ones with missing signs, or the one that’s at the top of the hill that’s technically not on the way because it’s behind the junction.
I’ve photographed the first with polaroid, and, realising that £2/exposure x 2 sides x 70 passing places is £280 worth of film, I then used all the expired 35mm film I had to photograph them all, which is about £50 of processing, and I’ll not count the price of the film I bought in 2013. I’m still waiting impatiently for the bulk of the prints to come back.
More put-together thoughts about passing places coming soon, possibly. In the meantime, please don’t fuck up the verges?
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