Flatpack Festival
Film, and then some

7inch no.32: Travelling for a Living

Sunday 18th May, 2008

Hare and Hounds | 19:00

1966 documentary on the Watersons, introduced by director Derrick Knight

(dir: Derrick Knight, UK 1966, 40 mins)



A glimpse of the mid-60s folk revival in Britain, through the lives of the Waterson family. Plenty of gorgeous footage of smoky Hull pubs, with honest chat and beautiful singing from Norma, Elaine (Lal) and Mike along with their cousin John Harrison. Includes cameos by the legendary Anne Briggs and Louis Killen. The film will be introduced by director Derrick Knight, with appropriate tunes and shorts to follow.


"There are plenty of films about the mid-60s music scene, but none quite like Travelling for a Living, the 1965 documentary about British folk revivalists the Watersons. The music is glorious throughout, but it's prima facie evidence of how little the swinging 60s swung outside of London. Shot in Hull, it's like something Tony Richardson might have directed, then abandoned for making the north look too gloomy. The Watersons live in a terraced house, with a one-bar electric fire that seems to be attached to the wall with a piece of rope. Outside, it's permanently foggy. Inside, it's the same, because everyone smokes continually, regardless of what they are doing: in a cameo appearance, the singer Anne Briggs distinguishes herself by keeping a fag on the go while simultaneously playing with a toddler, participating in a discussion about the folk revival, and eating a scone."

Alexis Petridis in the Guardian

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