Life on the Road No 2


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In his essay ‘The Storyteller’ Walter Benjamin maintained that the archtypal storytellers were the travellers and the crafts people who were employed in their handicraft and that their stories were like their practical lives in that they were handcrafted, sculpted, moulded, hammered, forged, carved, sewn, woven with ultimate care and savvy. The storytellers had a practical interest when they told their tales, and their stories were filled with counsel and wisdom. Albert Bates  refers to their technique as the ability to compose story during the performance of everyday communication, and that is something that the modern generation has lost. Benjamin as long ago as 1936 reported that the communicability of experience had decreased and that the art of storytelling is moving towards its end because the narrative side of truth, which is wisdom, is perishing.  I was brought up by a Mother who could not pass a bend in a road without a story of some sort, and as an auctioneer I found the ability of a speaker to use cunning devices to hold the attention of his audience something worth studying, so what a thrill it was for me to come across Les and Edna, people who can really tell a story. As Mother had little devices that punctuated her stories to maintain your interest such as ‘howsomever’, Les uses devices such as ‘Well, any road up’. He furthermore breaks into dialogue to bring into vision the participants in this play of life and frames his stories from afar to tell you something of what you are going to hear, and later has a juxta position that makes a usually humorous close so that his stories naturally have a beginning, a middle and an end. ‘Hilarious wisdom’, Benjamin calls it. It is a subconscious technique honed by man himself from time immemorial and was inbred in all people unaffected by the artificialities of modern life. Les tells us that at the end of their day travellers would relax around their fireside to swap stories and tell of the day’s events, and storytelling to them was a natural thing, so enjoy these stories of an unspoilt life whilst you can, for they pass on history and meaning from a life that we shall not see again.

Product Code: DVD86




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