The Kindred Of The Kibbo Kift: Intellectual Barbarians by Annebella Pollen
(Donlon Books, £35)
Review by Ben Myers
As with any youth subculture or movement worth its salt, it’s the clothes you notice first: a visually arresting array of ritualistic robes and austere smocks that suggest an earthen practicality. Here is a symbolically-loaded sartorial aesthetic with a clear message of purity in both presentation and purpose, one that recalls a wealth of disparate styles through the ages – Masonic robes, the sinister hoods and cowls of another KKK, the pastel-toned regimentation of Baden-Powell’s nascent scouting movement, the burgeoning Hitler Youth, the folk horror symbolism of The Wicker Man et al, plus a nod towards all manner of secret Victorian exponents of the dark magickal arts.
Then there are the activities that these lean, clear-skinned youths are photographed doing in their uniforms: from practising woodcraft skills and striding joyously through the countryside and striking ersatz poses on ancient landmarks of Wiltshire and Dorset, to conducting outdoor ceremonies that evoke long-buried memories of Britain’s pagan past…
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