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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘Britain from the Air – Spiritual Britain’

Now, I like the idea of exploring the British landscape from above: there’s a whole series of these Britain from the Air DVDs. And I like the idea of video explorations of the places that are spiritually important to Britain, especially as a sort of armchair-travel adventure. But doesn’t an aerial guide to spiritual places sorta negate the spirituality? These places were designed to be experienced on the ground, weren’t they?

Britain’s landscape is rich in sacred and spiritual sites, places of worship, religion, myth, mysticism and legend. Join us for a spectacular journey visiting many of the most important and impressive spiritual landmarks which have shaped Britain and become part of the fabric of society. Stunning aerial photography, from Skyworks’s advanced high-definition cameras, gives you rarely seen views of the locations and buildings which tell the fascinating story of spiritual Britain, from the sacred sites of pre-history to the diverse religious centres of today, including mosques and Hindu temples. Starting with the ancient sites still shrouded in mystery, we explore how the peoples of Britain have marked the landscape with sacred symbols, from simple stone circles to the architectural complexity of the great cathedrals and beyond. The cameras travel throughout Britain to show the Bronze Age barrows such as Maeshowe in Orkney, mystical ritual complexes like Avebury and Stonehenge and the outstanding ancient symbols including the Cerne Abbas Giant. Most remarkably we discover many of these pre-historic sites can only truly be fully appreciated from the air making their construction all the more impressive, and our footage all the more breathtaking.

Surely that’s exactly wrong. Yes, of course there’s an aspect of these places that can be appreciated from the air… but the only way to truly appreciate them? That’s ridiculous.

The influence of Roman temples, the worship of the natural, the impact of invasion by Vikings and Normans and the political turmoil which shaped the religious landscape are all examined as we journey across the cities, towns, villages and countryside. Arguably the most visible and popular symbols of spiritual Britain are the great cathedrals, and we see the spectacular grandeur of many of the most impressive, including St Paul’s, Durham, Wells, York Minster and Liverpool s 20th century Anglican and Catholic cathedrals from the air.

Yeah, I bet Christopher Wren was thinking, Better make sure St. Paul’s still looks awesome in case that helical air screw thingie of Da Vinci’s ever gets invented.

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