annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary



I've just watched the latest episode of the most fascinating documentary series ever. I recommend it to anyone interested in people - 56 Up, on ITV, bound to be on youtube. Wiki explains it concisely:

The Up Series is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The documentary has had seven episodes spanning 42 years (one episode every seven years) and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC. In a 2005 Channel 4 programme, the series topped the list of The 50 Greatest Documentaries.
The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The purpose is also stated at the beginning of "7 Up," as, "Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The union leader and the business executive of the year 2000 are now 7 years old."

It is incredible to watch a person's life unfold in this way - at each stage they are talking to the unseen director about their beliefs, hopes, fears and later also their work, relationships, families and so on. The boy in care, glumly making his dormitory bed in 1964, was anxious and withdrawn for decades but in his fifties has clearly found a way of being at peace with the fact that his confidence is low, helped by being married to a woman who is clearly his friend as well as his wife.

On the other hand, something terrible clearly happened to another boy - at seven he was as relaxed and open a child as you could wish for but by fourteen he was a visible wreck. He's been a bag of nerves ever since, homeless for years, more recently become a politician at a local level and now talks bitterly about the people who think they know how he feels through seeing the programme over the years, saying that obviously there is far more to his story that he doesn't wish to share. Whist this is clearly the case - viewers drop in for a snapshot every seven years - we know enough to be moved and amazed by his tenacity, by the fact that he has somehow kept himself alive, let alone become so intensely involved with a community.

I can't tell you how good it is.

Apart from that I have been ticking off items on my to-do list, getting caught in heavy rain without a coat, and going to the new art class. It was OK - doing colour wheels, which I have done several times before, but not with as much attention to detail. I think she's going to be a good teacher. The biggest thing I learnt was how to keep a palette of acrylics viable so that you can leave it for days and still use it. You put a piece of kitchen paper on a plate and wet it. Then cover with greaseproof paper, press it down and carry on. Marvellous.

12:21 a.m. - 15.05.12


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