ulysses black

ulysses black

word. image. action

Field Report on the Padstow Mayday

Ulysses Black @ The Catalyst Club

Ulysses Black delivers his presentation at the Catalyst Club in Brighton 2012.

Ulysses Black delivers his presentation at the Catalyst Club in Brighton 2012.

The Old Oss out for the Children's parade at dawn (around 6am). There is no word of irony or humour in the presence of the red and white Nike trainers, but rather demonstration of the degree of dedication to which the participants approach this festival.

 

This piece of work took the form of a field investigation of the Padstow Mayday celebration in Cornwall. Ulysses Black is fortunate enough to have immediate family living in Padstow who are of the 'old blood', and who take central roles in the famous Mayday festivities. The purpose of the trip was less to document the celebration, and more to discover and experience the subtleties of the ritual from as close to an 'insiders point of view' as possible. 

Besides adding general information to the Ritual Research, the results included a short monograph on the ritual practice itself, a series of images and a presentation delivered to the Catalyst Club in Brighton (a monthly event in which interesting people talk about interesting things). A review of it can be read here

 

The Master of the Ceremonies leads the procession up through the urban areas, where the only onlookers are the residents, for whom the parade is passing by, to remind everyone of its importance. 

Outside the 'Golden Lion' pub, home of the Oss. The Oss - the blurred black shape - tilts and whirls in a last frenzied dance while the people of Padstow bellow out the final renditions of the MayDay Song, with tears visibly welling in their eyes, as they watch the Oss finally be put to sleep for another year.