Well, finally, the book is nearing publication, and as a taster, here’s the book trailer about it-
As I say on the Unbeaten Path page of this website, thanks go to all the people who helped me make the trailer:
Particular thanks go to Sam Lee, who was kind enough to sing one of the songs he was taught by the Scottish Traveller, Stanley Robertson, which he then reworked so it sat well with the pictures of Dale Farm, Tom Green, whose edgy sound and music bed gave the trailer the gritty feel for which I was hoping (no Borrovian sentimentality, thanks), the wonderful Sebastian Hesse, whose photos grace both the trailer and the book (along with those of Tom Green) and the director and camera-man, Johnny Howorth, who was kind enough to share his Guardian/Dale Farm footage with us and edit the film (along with Tom doing the dub and final edits). Thanks also to the Guardian, which gave us permission to re-use Dale Farm eviction footage. And a special mention to Cuzzy Delaney, whose son Johnny was kicked to death ten years ago this year, for being ‘a Gypsy’, who appears in the film, holding his photo. And to John Cole, from Liverpool’s Services for Gypsy and Traveller Families, who has done so much to support the Delaney family since Johnny’s death, and other families from the communities in the Liverpool area. It’s the work of people like John Cole, and other people like him from the settled community, who convince me that we can bridge this divide between us and actually talk to each other – across the centuries of hatred, contempt and apartheid that have separated us from Britain’s nomads. It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.
So the book explores that theme, and others: the problem of accommodation for Gypsy and Traveller families on our island, where many people from the settled community clearly articulate that they feel that the communities get an unfair advantage (little knowing that so many live on contaminated sites, or by roadsides, clearly), racism, the vexed issue of crime which I unpack and examine with the help of some facts, rather than just stereotyping, looking at crimes against, by and within the communities and the upsurge of religion as well. I also celebrate some of the brilliant artists of Roma, Romani and Traveller origin who are coming to the fore today and whose work deserves to be more widely known. I have tried to be fair to all sides in this – there have been many sleepless nights trying to achieve that goal. But one thing is clear – the present situation benefits nobody. I think everyone can agree on that, at least, and work forward from common ground towards some solutions that start from mutual respect.