Mose Allum - Born in a Bow Top - Stepdance, Story & Song of a Bygone Age on the Road


Product Information

Born in a Bowtop

Sonny ‘Mose’ Allum was born on the 29th March 1941 in an open-lot bow top wagon on the side of the road at Sicklesmere in Suffolk.  Both his Mother and Father were from Romany travelling families and this is the way that Mose was brought up, to live a life on the open road, moving wherever the work took them, from pea picking in Essex, sugar beet hoeing and knocking the topping sugar beet in the hard winter months in Suffolk, to following the traditional road down to Kent for the hop picking.  A life that has now disappeared with mechanisation but one which Mose would readily go back to if he could.

Most said that the family were always moving on so there was never time for school, so he didn’t go at all and although he can sign his name, he can neither read nor write.  Anthropologist tell us that those people whose minds are not cluttered with writing have other qualities and Mose proves it.  It is said that numeracy is natural and literacy artificial.  Mose can count probably better than the latter day calculator user and had no problem when in business as a landscape gardener.  Mose’s education and upbringing was completely natural.

The Gypsy life is one of rejoicing and celebration and Mose tells us of the fun around the amp fires and in the pubs where he would sing and step dance, and he still does.  His Mother, with her black plaits, was well known in the Essex/Suffolk border area where she would go ‘docking’ along the road with a basket of pegs, home made flowers and reading palms.

Travellers live a life that is close to nature and Mose, as a young boy, had many wild creatures as pets.  He was indeed photographed by the famous photographer John Tarlton, with his pet thrush on his shoulder, this you will see on the front cover of the book John Tarlton’s Essex.

The day that Mose came to see me, he brought with him Leo Temple, a twenty two year old settled traveller, who relishes in the old inherited ways of his people and he tells us of how the latter-day gypsies interpret, and have adapted to, modern life.  He tells stores of his family, plays the music for Mose to dance to and as a born again Christian, as are many gypsies, sings us out with one of his favourite songs, ‘Help me to be what you want me to be, Lord Jesus’. As you will hear he is an accomplished performer.

In this modern world in which our minds are being deviated by scholastic and artificial technological and media controlled devices, I think that this is about as near as we can expect to get to an understanding of what it means to live a life that is natural and also to think in the more natural way.

Time:  1 hour & 40 minutes  Produced:  July 2012

Product Code: NLDVD83




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