Some good memories and good images to be found in Dean Govier’s coverage of our wedding festivities back in late September of this year at Longstowe Hall – go have a look. Dean is very competent and professional, and has an artist’s eye. And he’s a good sort. Recommended.
After a break of three years, we returned to the Glastonbury Festival and it was one of the best ones yet – the weather for the main days was lovely, the sheer quality and variety of entertainment on offer was mind-boggling, and of course many of our fellow revellers made for a great atmosphere throughout.
Musical highlights included Chic (staggeringly good), the Rolling Stones (epic singalongs), First Aid Kit, Goat, Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma, Ondatropica, Molotov Jukebox, Evan Dando, John Fairhurst and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
Other assorted moments of happiness:
- Seeing the One Minute Disco in the Theatre Field. Basically a completely innocuous white van pulls up in the middle of a bunch of people, the back shutter rolls up and two men in boiler suits scream out ONE MINUTE DISCO! At which point dance music starts blaring out of the van and people run up to have a boogie. Sure enough, more or less one minute later, the music stops, the back shutter rolls back down again and it’s back o to being just a van, leaving a group of very bemused people.
- The view from Flagtopia / the top of the Park field either at day or night was simply staggering.
- Getting into Heaven at Shangri-la and finding not only posh, clean, flush toilets, but also the Snake Pit club, where our eyes were opened by a bondage / dominatrix / pyrotechnic act involving flaming whips and not a lot of clothing.
- Sunny afternoons getting into the spirit of things. Ondatropica at the West Holts stage, with its Colombian salsa, was just the ticket. And the sun coming out on Sunday just as First Aid Kit sang “Emmylou” got me a tad emotional.
- Great food from Goan Fish Curry, MeatLiquor (Dead Hippie burger), Anna Mae’s pesto & bacon mac & cheese, Buddha Bowl veggie curry, Grillstock pulled pork bun. Yum.
- Finding out that my “poo” photo which had been made one of the Amnesty International postcards turned out to be the best-selling one of the festival.
Only “lowlight” was occasional overcrowding and a bit of lairy behaviour in the Pyramid field – but on the whole not much to complain about!
The photos below are just a sample. Many more can be found within my Glastonbury 2013 Flickr Set.
June 10th is my birthday.
10 years ago I had a very unique birthday celebration. A friend was on the production staff of a film they were calling “Shaun of the Dead”, and myself and my friend Graham had been invited to be extras on a couple of different occasions. The first one was back in May 2003 when we headed for North London to do some location shooting, which resulted in me being immortalised for literally three or four frames of film as “man at bus stop.” Some of my finest work. Obviously I impressed with my background artiste skills and so – surely nothing to do with our friend on the crew – we were invited back for a night shoot in New Cross in which the zombies were to surround a derelict pub, which had been refitted on the outside to act as “The Winchester.”
Our friend had advised us of a 6PM call, so we arrived in New Cross slightly early and, it being my birthday, had a beer to kill time. We swung by the town hall which had been commandeered as a unit base, to find it swarming with other eager extras, many of whom seething with pure nerd energy, waiting for the action to begin. We found it a bit overpowering, and when our friend told us that realistically we wouldn’t be needed till at least 9pm, we repaired to a nearby pub and decided to have some birthday pints – all in keeping with the theme of the film, or so we thought.
You can guess the rest… our call time kept being pushed back and back until we actually closed down the pub, and we were beginning to look like zombies before we’d even had any makeup. Speaking of which, it did occur to us that we hadn’t had any makeup applied yet. We waddled back to the unit base, which by now was swarming with nerd-zombies, who had all queued to get makeup from the handful of makeup artists. However, when we went in for makeup we were the only people left to adorn. Graham and I ended up, for expediency’s sake, with three women apiece working on zombie-fying us, and I remarked that my birthday was looking up!
Unfortunately now we were in zombie makeup, drunk, and with the call time being pushed back and back into the wee hours, we devoted our energy to practicing our zombie walk on the pavement with the casting director, James, himself in zombie getup as well, and idle hands being the devil’s tools, we soon noticed the dodgy off-license down the road. We soon convinced the proprietor to open the beer counter up for us (for a monetary consideration) and before you know it there was a queue of bored-looking zombies buying Red Stripes and wobbling up and down the road to the unit base.
Graham and I realised they had actually started shooting some of the main actors, so we snuck through a park and watched the “White Lines” scene where Shaun and Ed see the “wasted” punter – actually a zombie-fied casting director James – ambling down the road. I was glad nobody caught us spying on this shot as we would have made quite a picture, hiding in a hedge, covered in blood and holding tins of beer.
I am ashamed to say that by the time we were actually required to perform our duties as “background artistes”, swarming a car outside the pub, and doing a classic zombie swarm shot surrounding the pub, Graham and I were very much the worse for wear, having the times of our lives, but not necessarily being completely attentive to all the instructions the director and first AD were bellowing out. We were background zombies – we didn’t have the physical wounds and special contact lenses given to the foreground zombies – but somehow we always seemed to end up near the front by the time the swarm had “swarmed.” Occasionally this resulted in an annoyed “cut” and an instruction for the background zombies to remain in the background! Consequently I am not sure I have ever identified Graham or myself in these shots, though it’s hard to tell given we all look alike!
(We were invited to the crew screening later that year where I apologised to Edgar Wright for letting the side down – I begged extenuating circumstances).
When all was said and done, it got to 4:30 in the morning, we were finished shooting, and marooned in New Cross, needing to get back to North London. So what did we do? Why, a night bus, of course. Upon boarding we realised that we had never gone back to unit base to clean up, and thus we were still in full zombie getup. I have never had so much room on a bus before or since.
Did we have fun? Yes. Did we make a good show of ourselves? I am not so sure. But am I sure that I will never have a birthday party like that, ever again.
My thanks to the crew for their indulgence and the opportunity to have been a tiny, broken part of this cult classic.
Snow is a rare(ish) thing in London, so when it arrives, two things happen. The first is that all transport systems immediately fold under the pressure at the first snowflake. The second thing is that everyone, yours truly included, rushes out to take pictures. Here are mine.
I will resume normal Japan-trip service shortly.
It’s been a good year, again. A lot of travel (43 cities, 12 countries, 100K+ kilometers), a lot of laughs, a lot of good food. A promotion and the largest deal we’ve ever done closed at work. And, most importantly, a kind young lady agreed to marry me. I end 2012 feeling very fortunate.
NOTE If you are reading this in a news reader such as Google Reader, or inside Facebook on a tablet, you might want to open this in a dedicated browser window as the photo layout may work better.
In January I returned to Scotland in winter, this time to the Isle of Skye, accompanied by my good friend (and accomplished photographer) Corin Dimoupolous and guided by local expert landscape photographer David Langan. We spent a long weekend exploring the island, and, weather permitting, shooting a few landscapes.
The coldest month saw us on a mini-break to an even colder place: Berlin. Despite icy temperatures we had a great time exploring both the historic and modern aspects of this vibrant city. We ate well and drank better.
MARCH, APRIL, MAY
These months were fairly quiet, at least in terms of photography for me, as they consisted mostly of a series of work trips which didn’t allow much time for quality snapping. Must do better.
However, I did manage a few shots around London in the downtime.
June saw another personal trip to France for a wedding in the Dordogne – but first stop was a few days in Paris. (More Paris shots can be found in the original blog post.)
After Paris we moved to the Dordogne and Limousin region for our friends’ wedding. This was a lovely few days in rural southern France, touring the medieval fortress towns along the river, and eating as much duck, pate, and Limousin beef as we could manage. Again, for more photos go and check out the original blog post.
JULY AND AUGUST
In the late summer, London was host to the 2012 Olympics and we were lucky enough to visit the Olympic Park as well as going to see the Men’s Hockey and the Men’s Basketball Final. It was a magical time in London, and I will always remember what it was like to be here in the thick of it.
In late August I went back to Paris for the first of a series of work trips there, and I managed to catch a perfect summer’s day along the banks of the Seine.
We began September with a lovely late-summer break to the Cyclades: a two-part trip to Mykonos, famed for its maze-like streets and raucous nightlife, and Santorini, land of a million postcard views. More photos can be found in the original blog post.
The morning after I returned from Santorini, I boarded another flight to Bangkok for work. Fortunately I allowed myself an extra day there to get reacquainted with this city, and to sample some of the myriad food delights on offer in its street stalls and markets…
Early October saw me on yet another work trip, this time to Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey, where I was fortunate enough to have a few free hours to myself here and there to wander the old town and the nightlife district of Beyoglu. It’s always good to return to Istanbul.
NOVEMBER and DECEMBER
November and December were all about our trip to Japan and Hong Kong. Though I am only about a third of the way through processing the photos from that trip, what I have gone through thus far is encouraging and more photo reports from this trip will be gracing this blog over the course of January. Of course, this is the trip that hosted the aforementioned proposal, so it has a special place in my heart.
First up: Tokyo
And, of course, the rural beauty of Hakone and Nara:
That’s about all for 2012, photo-wise at least. I am happy that we’ve had a fulfilling year. Here’s to 2013 being bigger and better!
Happy New Year
I was extremely fortunate that a certain friend of mine decided to move home to Australia, and equally fortunate that he had a kind thought for me, as I ended up with his tickets to the USA v Spain basketball final on the last day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As usual in the actual Olympic venues there was no problem bringing in my 70-200mm F2.8 and 1.4X extender – and these were juuuuuuust about enough to capture some of the action from our seats in the rafters.
It was an unexpectedly close match, with a lot of action on both sides of the court, and if you went by audience volume alone then it seemed like Spain was winning for most of the time. (I must say that thirteen years absence from America makes me slightly cringe to chant “U-S-A” like a pumped up frat boy, but I managed it.) There were the expected celebrities – although no Jack Nicholson – and the expected results at the end. USA 107, Spain 100.
As usual these and more shots of the match (and the Olympics) can be found over on Flickr.
Also, I would like to echo the sentiments of many, many others when I say that the Olympics was a real pleasure to host in London, and my didn’t London pull it off? So many emotional moments, so many shared highs and lows, and now back to the sordid business of normal life. I was very fortunate to go to a few events, and was happy to share the fortune with others by giving some tickets to those who had missed out. We will not see the like of these Games in our town again, at least not in our lifetimes. So it was truly special to be here, and I am thankful for it.
Now, if they had only not bolloxed up the closing ceremony…
On Friday, August 3rd 2012 we returned to the Olympic Park to see the Men’s Hockey matches, Spain v South Africa and Belgium v South Korea. Though we arrived late due to underestimating travel time, we still caught some of the first match and all of the second. The atmosphere was merry for the Belgium / Korea match, as while there were a fair few Belgium fans and a smattering of Korean fans, the vast majority of the crowd were neutrals who took up the Korean cause as the supposed underdogs – cue curiously British football-style chanting of “We love Korea, we do, we love Korea, we do… ohhh Korea we love you.” Mexican waves abounded. And the hockey wasn’t bad. We joined the throngs afterwards ambling back towards the park towards Stratford and got to see the Stadium, the Orbit and the other buildings in their full night-time regalia.
There are about double the number of shots here shown in my photoset over on Flickr – go have a look.
I also did a cheeky little 360 degree panorama on the iPhone from inside the Riverbanks Arena which you can see here.