Friday, November 09, 2012

Hatfields and McCoys - worth a-watchin'!

This recent 6 hour mini-series (official website here) has just been broadcast on Channel 5, a dramatisation of the classic Scotch-irish post-Civil War mountain feud in Kentucky and West Virginia. Gripping viewing. An online review from the Los Angeles Times said: "Although deftly nailed into its time and place with sets and costumes so vivid you can smell the blue wood smoke and the stink of moonshine sweat, Hatfields & McCoys transcends the confines of its age by revealing the feud's posturing, resentments and callous violence that mirror the dynamics of modern urban gangs... It isn't a perfect piece — when faced with a choice between historic detail and story, Hatfields & McCoys errs on the side of detail, which is both the series' greatest strength and weakness."

'...We think of clans today mainly in connection with the Scottish Highlands. But they also existed in the lowlands, northern Ireland and England’s border counties where they were a highly effective adaptation to a world of violence and chronic insecurity. The clans of the border were not precisely the same as those of the Scottish Highlands, and very different from the Victorian contrivances of our own time. They had no formal councils, tartans, sporrans, bonnets or septs. But they were clannish in the most fundamental sense: a group of related families who lived near to one another, were conscious of a common identity, carried the same surname, claimed descent from common ancestors and banded together when danger threatened...' - from Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer (click here)