The Oldest Stories; Take A Bow Storyteller

I’ve read before that the oldest surviving work of literature is the  Epic of Gilgamesh, engraved on ancient Babylonian tablets 4,000 years ago. But no doubt our need to tell stories goes back beyond this, oral storytelling and art, for example in the form of the ancient cave paintings, both fulfilling this ancient, human desire.

In one of those moments of serendipity, as I was wondering what the oldest stories could be, beyond known written narratives such as Gilgamesh, I came upon a BBC article,  Fiction Addiction: Why Humans Need Stories (link below) with this interesting sidebar:

image

Much in the way that local folklore gives definition to landscape and the world that surrounds us, did ancient man also make sense of his world with such creations?

The examples in the sidebar image are clues passed down to us that survive in written form, but what about before these? If only we could trace the lineage back, the evolution of storytelling, back into those obscuring mists of pre-history to rediscover the very first story, and pay homage to that very first storyteller, maybe sat around a fire or in a flame-illuminated cave, speaking into being the first myths and tribal histories.

Explaining events that gave fuel to a people evolving to wonder at origin and meaning, weaving a magic that still enchants today.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180503-our-fiction-addiction-why-humans-need-stories?ocid=ww.social.link.facebook

 

Advertisements

Roman; Saxon; Norman; Schoolboy

Whatever your persuasion, whether you look at it as Beltain, May Day, or the first day of summer, yesterday, for once, the weather played its part. Actually the weather always plays its part-it’s just that it’s not always the weather you want!

Anyway the sun was out, and after doing my errands for She Who Must Be Obeyed I took time out in our local Jubilee Park which was certainly dressed for the occasion.

image

Adorned in her best Cherry blossom, who cannot be lifted on a day such as this? Even I-Autumn and Winter lover that I am.

Though it may not be the exact geographical centre of my town I certainly look upon this area as both its historic and spiritual centre. St.Leonard’s church, part of which dates back to Norman times, is the church that my wife and I were married in.  It is believed there was a wooden Saxon church here before this, and possibly built, as was the custom, on the site of a pagan temple. A stone’s throw away is the suspected place of a Roman signal point, and just behind it some long gone prehistoric barrows.

image

And speaking of history-here’s a building that has figured prominently in mine. This is Middleton Library. You guys know I’m a bookworm, right?  Go beyond those upstairs windows, in what is now the reference library, and you just might see the ghost of an eleven-year-old Jackdaw diligently doing his homework with his school mates in the former children’s section.

I wonder if I’d recognise him? Would he know me?

I’ve been a member of that library for something like thirty five years. And now my own book is in there. How cool is that?

image

Near to the bandstand I found the Middleton coat of arms, shyly stating its claim in the grass. And those dandelions-so important for the early bees when many flowers have yet to bloom. At least that’s what I tell my wife when she wants the garden doing.

image

The Ghosts Of East End Children

Taken in the early 1880’s, this is one of the earliest images of the East End of London.

I love the way the children appear insubstantial and ghost-like, which in effect they are. Lingering echoes of lives long lost, wandering along now vanished streets.

image

Cross My Arms And Hope To Spy

Another one of those old photographs that I love. A young woman standing on top of a wash tub. At first glance it appears from her stance that she is displaying no little attitude.

image

But close up you see a playful smile.

image

Maybe she stands on that tub to fit into the shot the plant on the window ledge behind her.

Of more interest, though, is the little girl in the background: the spy; the photobomber; maybe awaiting her turn.

Next in line for a photograph now lost to time’s censor.

However here she survives, perhaps only here: the eternal spy; the photobomber; the girl who intrudes. Pushing herself forward for 21st Century eyes.

Hell’s Angel

As my train approached Manchester station, seeing Angel Square lit up against the night sky emphasised how far we had come, seasonally. This occasional commute of mine has mostly been made in daylight, but now night had descended as another train hurtled past in the opposite direction.

image

Attracted by the flashing streaks of this brief neighbour, (and maybe me capturing it on my phone), a man peered out of the window. He continued to look out long after the train had vanished.

“I’ve slept under those arches,” he said.

Resisting the most obvious question, which was none of my business, I instead asked “What was it like?”

“Bloody cold,” he replied. “But at least it was dry.”

That’s what it was like this night: cold and dry. I wondered if anybody was under those arches now, settling down for the night.

Angel Square, that beautiful glass modern building, is built on the site of Angel Meadow, that 19th Century slum that Friedrich Engels called “Hell upon Earth.”

Despite appearances to the contrary, maybe nothing changes. For some people anyway. Two hundred years on there are those who lie cold on the city’s underbelly, no matter how we dress it up.