Caught by the River

Thankful Villages #17

Darren Hayman | 2nd November 2016

The seventeenth instalment of Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages project

Butterton, Staffordshire

There are two Buttertons in Staffordshire. I had to be careful to find the right one.

I arrived as light was falling. There were some small patches of melted snow still on the ground. I was tired and heartbroken. I shuffled around in my dirty green coat and filmed the amber glow of the streetlights.

I found a plastic lamb in the graveyard and a small group of goats behind some barbed wire. I thought at one point I heard a howl or a cry of the animal.

A dog walker asked what I was doing and as always I reply with the truth. “I thought you might be a journalist”, she said. “About the abattoir.”

The landlady at my guesthouse filled me in further, “It was a local scandal, a few weeks ago a film was leaked of the animals being treated horribly.’

I walked several yards to the village pub and had dinner and beer on my own. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. For reasons outside of the project I was emotionally fraught, although the tales of the abattoir didn’t help.

I rigged up a studio in the guesthouse bedroom. I had recorded loops of gates shutting and metal creaking. I thought about the last days of snow. I thought about all of the blood in the abattoir.

I tried to make a slow, uneasy, dissonant melody.


View the previous Thankful Villages posts here. Thankful Villages Vol. 1 is now available to buy digitally, on CD and vinyl in the Caught by the River shop.