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Angus Carlyle

A dented, mottled moon hovers small against the black night before
jerking up and out of the frame. Clouds drift across the darkness,
thickening to grey and thinning to white. A port-hole rises and falls;
the sea beyond leans in closer, rolling a dull relief of waves. A lantern
magnifies the horizon and bends the ship’s ropes through its curved
glass. Nothing is quite in focus. The port-hole again and now – at first
against the bluest sky – twisted lines of rope stretch and shimmer
to the pulse of different winds, sometimes sheets of sail behind,
sometimes a flag and then an obscure geometry of shapes through
which a possible prospect of distant fir tree crowns.
The arc of a ship’s wheel, grippably metal, its details picked out by
bright sun. A coastline of exposed bands of grey rock and green
grass stoops to the sea; the camera turns us round to see the boat, the
ropes, the stairs, the furled sail, the mast, a wooden locker. That same
grey-green coast broken into its rippled reflection and then explored
on foot, an arm extended and a hand gripping a little mirror, a red
string circling the wrist; clouds stripe the sky and shadow the land.
Sails and ropes and then seas: wave crests scattered with sunbeams
that blur into dancing loops of white-yellow; jellyfish and rubbish and
swirls of pollution float by; submerging in clustering constellations
of bubbles and strands of sea-weed, surfacing to a light that is no
longer northern.

(nc) Angus Carlyle, 2014. A still from the early rushes of a future work which will recreate from memory a film seen once forty years ago, made by my father and his fatherin-law as they sailed round the north of Scotland.