On Saturday we shot the last day of footage for my documentary on drag racer Nigel Holland. We were really lucky; the weather was bright and clear and Nigel and his car got the all clear to race. And this time we had a car, three cameras and we dressed properly for Santa Pod– thick sock, hoodies and jackets with lots of pockets.Very important to have pockets – you can stuff ‘em with tapes. And it’s very important to have hoodies, because when it’s cold, or should I say colder, you can flip it over your bonce for added protection.But perhaps the best garment was Rhys’ bobble hat. Everyone agrees to an interview when the cameraman filming sports a bobble. It just seems impossible that the experience will be a bad one. Once again, Santa Pod proved to be a place full of positive people only too eager to share their stories. Even Rick and Carla - who it seemed, had a bit of shit day - were only too happy to take time out from swapping a gearbox for a quick portrait.We filmed for about 11 hours, right into the fading light, when the racetrack began to look quite magical and you could clearly see the flames from the exhausts.Once again a massive thanks to Nigel Holland and his family for letting us film him and ask silly questions. Here’s what we learnt:• Top fuel cars – depending on what they’re running will spew a crude form of tear gas out of their exhaust. Nice!• Shooting from the island in the centre of the track is do-a-bit-of-wee scary, but that’s where the best shots live• My camera shoots natively to .mov whereas Rhys’ records in .dv format fans!• But my camera is smaller• Don’t forget gloves• Bike drag racers have the biggest balls on the planet• The smell of Santa Pod reminds me of my Dad’s shed• I think I actually did the job of director this time, as opposed to someone who kept saying ‘well, what do you think?’• Faulkner’s fish and chip shop on the Kingsland Road ain’t all thatSo that, as they say, is a wrap. Now uploading all the footage for Rhys to edit in Final Cut Pro, so I’m going to use this bit to say an absolute massive thanks to Rhys Thwaites-Jones of Cox & Jones for basically working for food. What a gent. Looking to finish the film for Christmas
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Guilty pleasures: Quiet by Smashing Pumpkins, Drown Me by Soundgarden, Melvins and Helmet <Volton supertransformation: jeans expand, emerica trainers, Fuct t-shirt (sorry Mum)>. Suburbia. Drop D tunning Epiphone SG.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Mp4 with chapters for skipping and the such, but for everyone else, here's the playlist - it's mixed with the Radio 4 Archive Hour documentary of the same name. You can get the pure version at the superb Speechification.
Glenn Branca - Sym.No1
LCD Soundsystem - Dance YRSF Clean
Sister Sledge - Lost in Music
City in Shock
Suicide - Cheree
No Money New York
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation
Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
Glenn Branca - Sym.No1 - Movement 3
Save New York
Nico - These Days
The Wu Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M.
Get a Good Lock
Glenn Branca - Sym.No1 - Movement 4
Cannibal Ox - Pigeon
Son of Sam
Bush Tetras - Can't Be Funky
City of Sin
ESG - You Make No Sense
Total Power Failure
Glenn Branca - Lesson No 1
Television - Marque Moon
The Mood Turns
Sonic Youth - Shadow of a Doubt
El P - Deep Space 9mm
New York Dolls - Courageous Cat Theme
The New York Times coverage
Dinosaur L - Clean On Your Bean
The Velvet Underground - Beginning To See The Light
I think all the music is from the city. Chicago Public Media also has a good documentary show each week, free for download from here. I really liked this one, great stories, but they're all pretty solid.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Last night members of 26 and the IVCA gathered in a screening room below the Sanctum Soho Hotel to show what they'd been up to for the past three months. Back in May we had met at Elmwood to be given the brief: 'make a 26 second film'.
I was nervous: this was supposedly a collaborative effort and I hadn't collaborated with anyone (well, I did but they jumped ship to a more polished crew. They were helpful though - thanks!), and the film I was showing was different from my original proposal.
Nobody minded and I think they liked the film. They laughed, they clapped, but perhaps they were being kind. Especially as some of the films shown were amazing and professionally put together. They're not online just yet, but expect a link on the 26 homepage.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Nice little doc about my local bike shop. Ciaran the owner has created a sweet little bike nirvana with none of that attitude you sometimes get now biking is the new golf. He sells plenty of sweet rides too.
Monday, 13 September 2010
I thought class war had come to The Hill. That might have been interesting and this is the problem with these things: the reason never matches your imagination.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
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I have not read Infinite Jest. I have it, but every time I pick it up the sheer density of the book is off putting - the detailed writing, the nuanced ideas, the sheer number of pages covered in text and footnotes. I look at this book and I realise it’s going to take me the best part of a year to get through it. Can I commit to that? Do I want to? It’s the perfect book to take travelling – chunky to take the punishment of the road and long enough to absorb its boredom.
Of course, I chickened out when it came time to pack for my travels. Instead I opted for the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy. But I’m going to read it – I can feel its mass drawing me past his other works, such as, A Supposed Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and now this, equally DFW titled book about DFW, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.
Really, it should be called Although Of Course You End Up Talking About Drugs, Depression and DFW’s Eventual Suicide. His death stains the book. How could it not? David Lipsky has edited his tale of five days on the road with America’s rising star of literature because we are all in some small way, reading to find out why he hanged himself. DFW’s depression, possible drug and alcohol use; Lipsky circles these subjects, trying to tease some indication as to why he did it as they fly, drive, smoke and eat at Denny’s across the Midwest. But there’s none to be found. The closest he comes is in the foreword: DFW had recently changed his medication before he committed suicide.
Shame, because his death is often at the expense of all sorts of fascinating details – descriptions of DFW teaching, the revelation that even after his second novel was published, he had to take work as a security guard. And that David Foster Wallace was a big Alanis Morissette fan.
Originally, Lipsky’s trip was to be the basis for an article for Rolling Stone. It was never published. It would be interesting to know why.
Friday, 3 September 2010
The place was huge, it takes ten minutes to pass it on the train. Every summer for two weeks the it shuts down for a complete clean.
Casper's job was to wear a space suit and climb through the massive chemical pipes spraying out God knows what heavy metal gunk had collected there. For twelve hours he would be up to his knees in the dark with just a high-pressure hose and a flash light for company. There were miles of pipes.
It was filthy,oppressive work - despite the amazing pay. And even suited-up, Casper would find he had a sour, metallic taste in his mouth at the end of each shift.
I think he worked there for two weeks before he quit.
The taste of this drink reminded me of Casper's story. Price: 59p
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Regular readers may notice Uruguay vs. Ghana is clearly not the film about drag racing I said I was going to make in this post here. Don’t worry, Against The Clock is still going ahead, I just haven’t finished filming Nigel’s progress through the 2010 Nationals.
I did try a 26 second cut of the footage I’d shot with Rich, but it became pretty clear as my subject is Nigel Holland, drag racer and not drag racing, the format was suitable to tell his story.
Instead I’m entering a film about the last minutes of the controversial 2010 World Cup semi-final. Come along and have a look if you like.