Oh, the slight discomfort as the opening credits ran. Allowing the media to take soundbites (video-nibbles?) of ones life is to allow them free use of those snippets in or out of context. Ridicule and parody are all available to the producer once the team of camera-, sound- and light-men have got what they came for. Ok, they might be nice and portray their victim in the best possible light too, but this is the media were’re talking about here… am I cynical? Me?
Channel 4’s ‘The Celts’ went out to air last night, and it was actually pretty good. Thankfully, Richard Rugely had come to the same conclusions as I; we happy folk enacting our rite at Avebury are not Celts, any more than pretty much anyone else is. Celt is an invented term used to represent an accumulated culturally shared artform, along with some similarities in terms of spirituality and genotype. Apart from one Germanic tribe called the Keltoi, there was no Celtic Empire.
Richard and his team turned up at Avebury on the Autumnal Equinox last year, as we were about to celebrate a rite within the stone circle. And not merely Richard and his team; there were two different teams making video recordings that day, the other being for a series (also for Channel 4 I think) on Sacred Spaces. It’s not unusual for Druid Rites to be of interest to various media, we’ve been video’d by folk from Hungary, Portugal and (if I recall correctly) Chile too before now – but two at once was a bit much!
Working rite in a public place means you can’t really complain if folk watch on, but it was mildly off-putting to call the Eastern Quarter with a ruddy great camera stuck up my nose. I competely lost the plot (as if I ever had it) and ever since then I’ve been wondering what it was I waffled on about, that was to be broadcast across the ether. Happily, they obviously thought Richard was far more photogenic as he called West, and there were just a couple of distant shots of poor bish, smiling inanely under his hat.
In the end, the Avebury scene was merely that, a scene within quite a wide and educative academic study of the story that nowadays is called ‘The Celts’. At least it didn’t show me naked and woad-painted, charging into battle… The programme went far in showing that our civilisation didn’t start with the Romans in 55ce, and that our heritage – whether it be called celtic or not – was a rich one.