On the Sunday 25th June 2017 I found myself in the graveyard of All Saints Church, Sutton Courtney, Oxfordshire to celebrate 2 things:-
Eric Arthur Blair’s (better known as George Orwell) birthday and the 10th Anniversary of the 1984 Symposium, a gathering put together by Christian “Documentally” Payne to bring together some like (and not so like) minded people to discuss issues surrounding civil liberties, surveillance and the current political climate.
(And this year quite a lot about Hammocks and barefoot shoes…)
Christian always holds his gathering on George’s birthday regardless of what day of the week it is, this year it happened to coincide with the Orwell Society’s visit which happens on the closest Sunday. That meant that as well as our merry band, a number of Orwell Society members were in attendance including Richard Blair (Orwell’s adopted son) and Archie Blair (Orwell’s grandson), who both gave readings from Orwell’s writings.
Christian also had a special treat for those of us in attendance, a specially brewed bottle of “Wallop”, a “mild” beer brewed to the same recipe as the beer Orwell himself was fond of, with custom designed labels by Jess Payne.
(“Wallop” is rhyming slang – Wallop the child, Mild:)
I’m, of course, a long time fan of Orwell and in particular “1984” (though arguably Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” is closer to our current
shitshow situation – The oppressive state does not need to force data collection etc upon us we submit to it willingly (Facebook et al) in exchange for shiny things…..) so to celebrate his birthday at his graveyard was a great honor and one I hope to repeat, along with Documentally and the other participants for many years to come (until such gatherings are illegal of course :)
You can hear the full readings by Richard and Archie Blair HERE (Audio recorded by Me and edited by Documentally)
Plenty of other #1984symposium content over on the Twitter hashtag HERE
Technical mumbo jumbo:
Video shot on Sony A7sII with Sony FE 28-70 lens, CameTV Optimus gimbal, Rode Video mic pro and RodeLink wireless filmmaker kit.
(Photo courtesy of Christian “Documentally” Payne, tattoos and receding hairline all mine)
Additional footage from Documentally’s Livestream of Richard and Archie Blairs readings.
Music “Diffusa Est” by the Soli Sisters (used under a creative commons license)