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               TV/documentaries                                              SaturdayGuardian 26.03.

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 Average Joe 
Men at Work…
It is in contrast a series of poetic and
In a new series of documentaries, traditional episodes depicting the years of
channel 4 explores the invisible world hard toil and effort by those individuals, who
behind establishments and the individuals are often take for granted ,but have im-
proved their employers facilities and ease of ates,
within, whom without, everything would ence
fall apart. work by immeasurable lengths.
One of the first subjects the pro- how
gramme follows is Joe Cornish, an ex- Beir
resistant materials teacher, now turned tech- serva
“What better way to make a living?” ence
These are the words of one of the subjects in nician. He has been working at a secondary
school in Somerset for over 32 years, “ ish l
this documentaries series, which examines
the lives of inconspicuous individuals in the working with wood, metal and making
work place. They epitomise the job satisfac- things,” and represents a generation of peo-
ple who stayed in the same employment for sider
tion and dedication felt by men and women shots
who work constantly behind the scenes of the majority of their working careers ,unlike
the younger people of contemporary society to cr
establishments and organisations, who keep arou
them running smoothly and efficiently. who no longer have the security of a life
long job. in th
scho
From the opening shots which portray
scenes of nature juxtaposed with the sounds Mr Cornish is seen as a wizard at his
of industry, we can immediately see that this craft, able to make anything that he is pre-
sented with from either his students or teach- cross
is not merely a popular reality television class
show or documentary following the “freaks” ers. Will characters like Joe be appreciated
by the British public in what some would of th
who are now exploited and publicized in expe
many of Channel 4’s latest programmes. describe as pointless nostalgia?
to tra
cross

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The quaint and poetic feel this film gener-
, would often only appeal to a niche audi- This series of films mirror the style, structure and
e, presentation of other short documentary films that regularly
ever, film producers Will Davis and Mark appear on 4docs such as “ A Damn Nice Café.”
ne are sure that “this humbling series of ob-
ational documentaries, will make the audi- The use of asynchronous sounds and time lapses, as-
e reminisce of the forgotten old ways of Brit- sociate the concepts of time and its relationship to the
ife and work.” subjects for the audience. This results in the subject leading
the film rather than it following the directions of its produc-
The documentary uses shots that are con- ers. It also prevents the overpowering use of narration
red to be experimental. At the start there are marking the start, middle and end of each scene and event,
s of abstract scenes of nature and industry, which can turn the film into a very structured rigid pro-
reate the sense that the school moves on and gramme.
und Joe and show that he is always working
he background and is an integral part of the Similarly to “A Damn Nice Café” this film is free
ool. flowing and the narrative appears very natural and continu-
ous, with no cancellation of scenes or topics, instead it
During the interviews there is a use of moves quietly towards the same destination. Even the end
s fades to make him almost drift through the of this film is not sharp or cancelling, but matches the slow
s room, as if he is “ingrained into the fabric dim of the end of a day’s work. As the subject stores away
he school itself.” Even though there are many his equipment and heads home, the film fades away as if it
erimental and poetic traits used, it also sticks was following his train of thought drifting off until the next
aditional documentary conventions with day.
s fades and blackouts creating a steady re- channel4.com/documentaries

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