A note by Iain Sinclair on “By Our Selves” – a film by Andrew Kötting

The walk from High Beach in Epping Forest to the village of Glinton, north of Peterborough, in the footsteps (on and off) of the poet John Clare, became the basis for a book, “Edge of the Orison”. But that never felt like more than the start of something. For years a film, in the mood of Herzog’s “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”, haunted me. Our paths were never likely to cross – so, as an admirer of ‘This Filthy Earth’, I pestered Andrew Kötting instead. Andrew didn’t say no. He made his excuses and swam to France or jumped on a plastic swan. (I suspected that he couldn’t read my book or John Clare.)

Decades later, Kötting came by accident on the photograph in “Orison” of a fearsome Straw Bear with his sullen driver, dark fenland figures out of Whittlesey. Now he was smitten. He saw the perfect excuse for getting thatched, bell-hung, hobbled. The game was on. His energies were alarming. Within days, we visited the great performer Freddie Jones, in his Oxfordshire village, and enjoyed a convivial discussion – before coming away with a VHS of Freddie’s electrifying performance as Clare.
Now Freddie’s son, an actor of beautiful infolded presence, minimalist gesture, silence, will play Clare on the road. On modest (bare-bones) budget we’ll start to tramp. With the hope that crowd-funding can boost the wherewithal to the point where a few of Kötting’s larger ambitions for ‘By Our Selves’ can be fulfilled. I’ll trail along, putting my oar in, carrying a goat mask, muttering dark asides. After the long curation of the 70×70 year of films, this should be a holiday.
Iain Sinclair

By Our Selves – a film by Andrew Kötting

Andrew has launched a kickstarter campaign to collect funds for a new project. Read more.