August 22nd, 2008

Morning In The Streets

BBC 4 showed Morning in the Streets last night as part of a evening of programmes about Liverpool. It's a wee gem- a lyrical impression of the post-war city- somewhat in the style of Humphrey Jennings-  put together by the BBC Northern Film Unit.  It records a society that has completely- but completely- vanished. Respectable tramps are dossing in blitzed out buildings, respectable families are sleeping seven to a room, all the men wear flat caps, all the women wear headsscarves- and girls in the playground are doing a complicated ring dance and chanting,

Take her by the lily white hand,
Lead her to the water, 
Give her gifts and make her cry-
She's the old man's daughter!

And then someone on screen tells us about something that happened in 1957. Sheesh, was I really contemporary with all of this?  But of course I was.  I checked with the Radio Times this morning. The film was made in 1959- when I was eight- approximately the same age as the ring-dancing girls.