ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Operation Valentine

Permission: Postverk Føroya, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Last night I stumbled upon a short film from BBC's 'Coast', in which Neil Oliver traveled to the Faroe Islands - halfway between Shetland and Iceland. The story that the film was hung around was that of 'Operation Valentine' - the period in 1940 when, Denmark having been overrun by the German Army, Winston Churchill moved quickly to place the Faroes under British control. It was where Angus MacPhee, as a soldier in the Lovat Scouts, was posted as a young man - and where the first signs of his illness occurred. 

Although Roger Hutchinson writes at some length about this in 'The Silent Weaver', the film brought it home to me in a very immediate way. The British soldiers built the one and only airstrip on the islands; they built most of the surfaced roads, and they left behind several hundred vehicles. Romances flourished between the troops and local women, and I found myself wondering if Angus would appear on any of the film footage of soldiers they unearthed for the film. 

Neil Oliver mentioned how many of the soldiers were Scottish islanders, and how they would have identified with the lives of the Faroese. The footage of Faroe's coast, by the way, was stunning and quite incredibly beautiful. What chance of 'Angus' playing in Tórshavn, I wonder?

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