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Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A Short History of the Bluestone Wars

Last evening I earned a free supper (not to be sniffed at in these straightened times) by giving a talk to the Preslei Tourist Association.  Seemed to go down well enough, although of course all the tourist operators LOVE the heroic human transport myth, and HATE the idea of somebody coming along and undoing all their careful sales pitches about the mysitcal wonders of the Preseli Hills area.  Heroic Neolithic tribesmen bring money into the local economy, as the Stonehenge management knows full well.......

Anyway, I had a bit of fun talking about the GW/TD tribe and the MPP tribe, and their various territories, magnanimous benefactors and TV spectaculars.   Mention was made of sacred springs and petrified ancestors.  That's all I am prepared to give away for the moment.....  actually you have heard most of it here before.

13 comments:

TonyH said...

"Mull of Kintyre,
Oh Mist rolling in from the sea
My desire is always to stay here
(till the electricity supply gives out at least)"

What Paul MacCartney did for this part of West Scotland with his bagpipey song, so MPP & TD/GW have done in their various ways for a certain part of West Wales.

We're all suckers for a bit of romantic shmaltz, what the heck. But we just need a decent Scandinavian, Icelandic or Canadian musician (Abba's writers? KD Laing?) to come up with a decent heart-felt evocative Song of The Glaciers, God love 'em!!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Sigur Ros, maybe? Got a very soft spot for them, myself...... they capture the bleakness and coldness of faraway cold places....

TonyH said...

We'll all visit Sigur Ros's Internet music site and have a listen,then....I hadn't heard of them, but I'm sure the likes of Bob Harris have.

MPP says one of his favourite songs is "Driftwood", which as far as I know is the Moody Blues song, probably only released as part of a C.D. It is a beautiful song, sung by Justin Hayward. Spookily, Justin comes from Swindon, WILTSHIRE! Neolithic vibes??

Anonymous said...

Said it before say it again
Stan Rogers' Northwest Passage.
If your heart does not melt at this song you have a frozen soul the size of the Titanic.
Hear his version with the voice breaks.
Not sanitised inferior copies.
"Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
And make a northwest passage to the sea"
It is the second line of the chorus that so affects me.
Thomas the Rhymer

TonyH said...

American singer-songwriter James Taylor is also an experienced sailor. I strongly recommend a listen to his "Frozen Man" (1991). I will quote from Taylor's biographer, Timothy White.

'...the track that is quite possibly the finest narrative piece Taylor has ever composed. "'The Frozen Man' was written based on an idea I had after reading another article in National Geographic", said James. "The article was about a sailor found buried in the permafrost, A British expeditioner who died while trying to find a northern passage above the Arctic Circle".
The lyric is constructed as a first-person account of a human archaeological find from the subject's own startled standpoint, the miraculously revived sailor remembering a tempest "reaching up to swallow me whole", the icy shock of being tossed overboard stopping his heart in mid-beat. After being encased in polar ice for a century, The Frozen Man is awakened in hospital by an enquiring nurse. Bewildered, he tells his angelic attendant how he lost his brothers and other hands at sea, and then pines for all he's been cursed to have outlived.
Provided with a peg leg and a new eye, The Frozen Man is a notorious freak of nature who frightens children and becomes a tabloid sensation. He is permitted to visit the graves in Liverpool, England, of his wife and daughter, as well as his own vacant tomb, and these experiences leave him desolate. The song is a sad tale of a displaced life - but also an allegory for fame, success, and the right choices made for the wrong reasons.
One can gain the whole world and forfeit one's soul - as the New Testament has always warned. But 'The Frozen Man' makes it appear as if civilisation is evolving towards a stage where it may be able to suspend free will, thrusting the whole world upon someone in order to steal his or her private essence.
Marking time with its gentle knell of ringing acoustic guitar chords, terse shakers and doloful base drum, the Frozen Man is humanity brought to its knees, bereft of comfort or closure, compelled to come back and bear interminable witness to everything it could not control or change or undo, as if in an uncaring/ dismissive dress rehearsal for the Last Judgement. Not even Scrooge was handled to forcibly or roughly by the Ghosts of Past & Future."
I saw Taylor perform this soon not so long after he wrote it, but I already loved it. As his biographer says, its record production is 'impeccable in its lovely austerity'. This also evokes the frozen arctic landscape.

Jon Morris said...

Have you spotted any increase in tourism Brian?

TonyH said...

Jon, the Bluestone National Park Resort,Pembrokeshire, although located some distance from the Preseli Hills, near Narberth, probably owes some of its success in attracting tourism to its name being so well publicised by local archaeologist Geoffrey Wainwright in particular.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Not sure that our friend Geoffrey had anything to do with that. The term "Bluestone Country" has been used for many years, by the Preseli Tourist Association, in marketing the area -- Preseli Hills and the north -- as a tourist destination. We were not best pleased when the holiday resort pinched the name -- and their famous resort isn't even in the bluestone area.....

chris johnson said...

Hopefully the tourists go to the Bluestone Park and they arrange a circle there. It has a decent road access.

Visiting Rhos-y-felin twice I nearly burned out my clutch trying to reverse up a hill on one occasion, and nearly flooded the engine trying to cross the ford on another. Not exactly tourist country.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Not exactly stone-hauling country either........

Myris of Alexandria said...

"A hit, a very palpable hit".
(said by the best part in Hamlet!!)
M.

chris johnson said...

My abiding memory of my visit to the site is the look on Colin Richard's face when contemplating that stones could have been moved overland for 180 miles by people with the technology on view at Rhos-y-felin - in other words, next to no technology.

MPP thought that the big haul would have been up the bridle way to Castell Mawr, and then presumably to Wiltshire by a more capable group and for cultural reasons. We seemed to agree that a likely route would be along the Taff in the direction of Camarthen and A40, so exactly why he is reported as thinking that Poppit Sands and the sea is possible is a mystery to me - I don't think he ever said this. Nor did he mention to me that 4500 BC was a likely date for transportation.

I have not heard anything from the other side in Bluestone Wars recently - Darvill and Wainwright. Any news?

TonyH said...

One suspects that MPP, even with his Indiana Jones persona and hat, knows a good SOUND BITE when he uses one, i.e. EPIC SEA VOYAGES, etc etc. Such phrases have been the meat and drink of the National Geographic since we were all nippers.

And he who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune..............