Through the post comes my copy of “Noble Life” the new film by Simon North, as premiered aboard Cambria while she was in St Katharine Docks recently. At 1 hour 42 minutes this is a good long one, a film to sit down and bask in while you are enjoying an evening’s relax, not one to fuss through quickly when you have a million and one other things on your mind. And it will reward that relaxed basking being a delicious and rich mixture of archive clips, stills, film and interviews in the barge context as Simon, narrating goes exploring and fact finding, trying to re-discover the barges and barge places he knew in the 60’s and 70’s.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and especially the more recent stuff which has all happened since I decamped to this land of no Thames barges. I have seen the Facebook stuff and read the comment, but felt I was sneaked in to the Dedication Service along with Simon’s camera, and taken along on the Sea Change Sailing Trust trip last year where they carried a token few bags of cement on the route of Cambria’s last trip in trade – Tilbury to Ipswich. Then, they carried cattle cake, Simon tells us. This time they had to contend with waiting to come out of Tilbury while a huge tanker chugged past, they enjoyed a visit from Air-Sea Rescue where a Sea King chopper winched a man down on to the deck for a cup of tea.
It was good to see Dick Durham aboard for the first part of this trip and there is some nice interview with him. There is nice interview too with Richard Titchener (of Sea Change) who talks through the reasons behind their choice of the barge and their reasons for doing sail training as well as more recently, their reasons for trying to buy their own barge (have their own replica built from new, which can be done for nearer £600k than our own £1.4 million price tag). Interviews too with plenty of other barge and Thames related heads – Hugh Perks, Tony Farnham, Jeff Gransden, Frank Spice (snr), Boss of Volunteers, Basil Brambleby, Bob Roberts’s two daughters and a former Thames Lighter-man among others.
There is also, as you’d expect, whole sections of high quality, beautiful footage of barges sailing and racing in recent years as well as plenty of archive footage of barges and dock activities, lighters rafted up like a log-jam, cranes, loading and unloading, pictures of barges deep laden and so on.
This is a DVD well worth adding to your own private archives and collections of barge ‘stuff’. It is only £13.00 and Simon can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. My copy and others were for sale aboard on the day of the premiere but that was purely for the premiere event.
Meanwhile, Thank You Basil for sending me this copy and thank you to Simon and all the team for producing such an interesting and enjoyable film.