All work and no play makes Jack and dull boy.

Category: Life & living it (Page 2 of 8)


This tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US on 9/11 fills everyone who witnessed them with a sense of grim remembrance, from constant replays on television news and accounts of individual memories of the events on that day.
I can remember very clearly where I was. It was the first day of the new term at Bramley Sunnyside Junior School, which had started late because of delayed building work at the school over the summer. The day was given over to prepping the classrooms and buildings before pupils came back on the 12th and I had gone out to “Milnes” hardware shop in Maltby to buy some baskets for desks. I can recall quite distinctly looking through the baskets while another customer was telling one of the shop assistants what had happened in New York.
Having been to New York, having been to the top of the south tower in 1995, I had a particular fondness for the place. Sleek, minimalist design but somehow projecting an enormous (and somewhat Freudian) sense of power and wealth and might. So to watch it destroyed by hijacked planes, tumbling to dust in 10 seconds, brought an emotional response as one who had lived and worked in New York, among New Yorkers. Tracey and I had stood at the bottom of the north tower when we visited New Yok in October 1998.
There is so much horror in that day – the hijackings, the crashes, the destruction of the WTC and part of the Pentagon, the bravery of those on Flight 93 and their deaths, the jumpers from the towers – it’s hard even now to take it in.
Today is a day for remembrance, remembering who were lost on 9/11 – and in the wars since – and remembering a slightly more innocent time.
Let’s hold on to the hope that sometime in the future we can find that innocence once again.

Ted Thompson

Back in 2010, and as part of the Steelos Songs of Steel project I had the great pleasure of working camera on an interview with Ted Thompson, a former Rotherham steelworker, who was then in his 1990s and living alone in Rotherham. It was one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve ever watched and I could’ve sat and listened to Ted recall his childhood and working life long into the night. He recalled his school days with such incredible clarity, describing places in Rotherham that I could recognise (though only just recognise for the town – and the world – has moved on) and remember even his first day at work in the early 1930s, still a boy and barely out of short trousers.
I found out last week that Ted passed away recently and I was touched by a genuine sadness, both at this eldely gentleman’s end and at the loss of memory and history that he takes with him. The town where I live, that has such a rich, varied and interesting past, and how that place used to be dies a little more as the generations blink out and fade into memory themselves.
RIP Mr Thompson. It was a pleasure to have met and talked with you.

Road To Nowhere – a music video

Doing a music video is something I’ve considered doing before. Sheffield band A Season of Secrets had wanted a video doing for their early single Coffee Girls, back when they were still known as Little Secrets. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my backside into gear, their line up changed and I really lost the first hand contact I had with the band so said music video never happened.
I wrote previously about the strange workflow of preparing for a music video. Phil’s song was not necessarily a narrative that I could map images and visuals to so I shopped around a bit with existing videos in the same style of music and after song discussion with Phil we agreed a general look and feel for it. It was a case of story-boarding for individual shots and short sequences rather than a through,  linear narrative; and then a case of getting the coverage out on the shoot.
Not all music videos have to be like that though. I supposed creating a video for something like Mardy Bum by the Arctic Monkeys, or Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses would be more like making an accompanying short film – that straight story-telling approach mixed with added creativity to present the band or artist.
This video was also the first professional piece I’d done using the HD capabilities of a DSLR camera too. Land of Dreams cinematography had convinced me of the ease and efficiency of DSLR shooting over conventional tape and so this was done using the Canon 550D. The post work-flow was easier too – no waiting for tape to transfer, just plug the SDHC card into the front of the editing suite et voila!
Anyway – here it is, my very first attempt at a professional music video. Enjoy!
P.S: It was shot in the Derbyshire Peak District before anyone asks… 🙂

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