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Cocker and the boys make pegs with the strips of tin and the wood. Cocker is asked what his ambition is, and he replies, travelling. He is then asked whether he has a National Insurance card, and replies, no. When asked what he does if someone is ill, he replies that he finds the local doctor, but has to pay.

A Romany Life

The interviewer puts it to him that some think that they lead an aimless life, and he replies that they should mind their own business. The two families are then seen travelling to, and arriving at, Appleby fair. Visitors at the fair swim and ride and bathe their horses in the river. The commentary states that 7, gypsies attend the fair each year.

The film does a tour of the caravan site, showing some impressive caravans and cars. There is a large gathering in the Crown and Cushion pub, and when they have all had plenty to drink the landlord refuses to serve one of the gypsies and the police are called to clear them all out of the pub.

In the caravan park a man dances to an accordion. Then some horses are run through the crowd and there is much bartering over the buying and selling of the horses. In the evening there is another gathering outside a pub and more dancing. The film ends with the family again camped by a roadside.

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The interviews with Cocker and Ellie reveal much about the attitude and lifestyle of this traditional, by no means representative, Romany family, pursuing a nomadic life that has all but died out in the UK. This is a film by the highly esteemed documentary maker Barry Cockcroft, who also wrote a book to accompany it. The Romanis are among the most oppressed peoples in history, being slaves in much of Europe until well into the nineteenth century, forcibly assimilated in several European countries, and killed in their hundreds of thousands by the Nazi genocide, the Porajmos.

Douglas Murray. Matthew Parris. Richard Dawkins. Katy Balls. Matthew Taylor. Lucy Vickery. Chris Daw QC. Books Was there ever anything romantic about the Romany life?

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