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Spirit of Albion

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Spirit of Albion

On the road with New Age travellers: political disquiet in the apocalyptic years of the mid-80s.

Documentary 1987 60 mins

Director: Richard Philpott

Overview

Richard Philpott accompanies the Peace Convoy as they travel around the country, visiting different festivals and campaigning for access to Stonehenge during the Solstice. Conflicts arise, including the notorious Battle of the Beanfield, and Philpott provides a unique perspective on political resistance through a group who rejected the idea of property just as we were being encouraged to buy.

Spirit of Albion was screened twice at Glastonbury 1987, such was its relevance to the festival and the people who attended it. New Age travellers were pariahs to some, with a way of life certainly contrary to the lifestyle encouraged in mainstream society and politics. Philpott provides a sympathetic view of their life and ideas, allowing the travellers to speak for themselves, and the film was generally well received. As Julian Petley noted, it explores "a facet of the growing authoritarianism of contemporary British society." The film includes music by Test Department and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, as well as an appearance by the artist Bruce Lacey, who was very active on the medieval style fayre and festival circuit at the time.