The Devil’s Plantation

In The Kid Stays in the Picture Robert Evans observes:

There are three sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth.

Years ago, while exploring the abandoned Leverndale Psychiatric Hospital, I discovered in a file of case notes labelled ‘Visits After Discharge’ the record of a former patient, Mary Ross. Her habit of taking long, seemingly arbitrary walks around Glasgow caught my attention. When I then chanced upon Harry Bell’s self-published Glasgow’s Secret Geometry I realised I had the makings of a film about my home city.

Harry’s quest, detailed in his book, was to rediscover the trackways by which ancient peoples had navigated. Of the many ‘prehistoric communication lines’ he identified, two passed right through my childhood homes in the city’s southside. This, and my own connection to the many places visited by Harry and Mary, expressed the chance ways in which our lives are contingent and circumstantial, of how we shape the landscape, and how the landscape shapes us.

For two years I travelled over 4000 miles, exploring Glasgow’s edgelands, its schemes, abandoned streets and historic landmarks, re-tracing Harry’s and Mary’s footsteps. Here I encountered my own past, travelling in time to find myself back where I once lived, studied or worked, places now gone or irretrievably altered.

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The Devil's Plantation poster