December 2009 – A RAF rescue helicopter rescues people from their homes in the centre of Cockermouth in Keswick, United Kingdom. A major rescue operation is underway after severe weather conditions caused floods cutting off villages and towns in England’s Lake District. Wast Water is the deepest Lake in the Lake District and is over looked by Scafell pike which at 3206 feet is England’s highest mountain. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Hard to imagine that the Life Boat crews would be rescusing folk from the downtown streets. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
On holiday with their mother in the Lake District in 1929 four children are allowed to sail over to the nearby island in their boat Swallow and set up camp for a few days. They soon realise this has been the territory of two other girls who sail the Amazon, and the scene is set for serious rivalry. This is the scene where the Swallows meet the Amazons.
Thinking back to a distant era (1929) of stuff upper lip behavior (‘grin and smile’ no matter how much it rains!). Swallows and Amazons is a British classic summer holiday film set on Lake Windermere. Our family began spending summers on the shores of England’s longest lake, coincidentally we relocated permanently very near to Windermere.
Wired reporting on the strange cloud observations. Still figuring out a root cause.
In hill country from Iowa to the Scottish Highlands, sky-gazers have reported some strange, ominous-looking clouds of late. Dubbed undulatus asperatus (turbulent undulation), the atmospheric anomaly could be headed where only 80-odd clouds have gone before: into the International Cloud Atlas. If it makes the cut, asperatus will be the first new addition in more than 50 years.
Where did it come from? Gavin Pretor-Pinney, president of the UK-based Cloud Appreciation Society, has a theory: “It’s warmer, moister air above and colder, drier air below, with an abrupt boundary in between.” Add wind passing over rolling terrain and “you get the same wavy effect as on the surface of water.”
Surfers Against Sewage began in Cornwall back in 1990 campaigning against sewage pollution on the beaches of St Agnes, Chapel Porth and Porthtowan. From these humble beginnings, SAS has grown into a nationwide force fighting for clean and safe recreational waters across the UK.
When reports flood the news about rising sea level, you’d hardly expect The Daily Mail to break the story. Notwithstanding this newspapers significant dubious past as UK’s gossip column, they are citing climate change scientist James Lovelock. I’ll give it 10 years before we’ll be all swimming in the great flood. Not 40 years! Call it accelerated climate demise.
Sea levels are “most likely” to rise by 0.8 to 2.0 meters by 2100. Scientific analysis is finally catching up to scientific observation.
In 2001, the IPCC projected that neither Greenland nor Antarctica would lose significant mass by 2100. The IPCC made the same basic projection again in 2007. Yet both ice sheets already are. As Penn State climatologist Richard Alley said in March 2006, the ice sheets appear to be shrinking “100 years ahead of schedule.” For more permismistic news read this.
From the looks of it, the wind swept winter day may have become a surprising advantage to this inspiring fashion image. Photographer Steve Howdle from the UK using PhaseOne with just one strobe light. Nicely done.
Extreme kayakers have been condemned for canoeing down a dam in mid-Wales. A photographer captured the latest incident as one canoeist slid 300ft down the spillway at Llyn Brianne reservoir, on the borders of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Powys. Welsh Water said the practice was dangerous and such activities were banned at the reservoir which has the tallest dam in the UK.
The blind climber story quickly gained status amongst the locals. It’s a story that could of easily become folklore, a old man loses his sight and against all odds, starts climbing the local mountain in aid of charity. I stumbled across this documentary by pure chance. What happened was a blind climber story had quickly gained cult status amongst the local’s mountain community in Cumbria (North of England).
Arriving in the village of Coniston, I wandered into the local post office and asked for directions. Sure enough, they knew a blind climber who’s actually better known as Charles Turnbull, 86, a retired police inspector with a passion for remembering names, place and people. “It’s comes from 40 years on the job” he explains over tea, clearly at ease with sharing his story with the inclusion of charm and good humour. This was an extraordinary tale of adventure and courage.
Director/Cameraman Dan Sellars
Sound and Vision Jez Curnow
Format: U-matic High Band – 10 minutes
Like many future filmmakers, British-born Christopher Nolan began making amateur movies at an early age, playing around with a Super 8mm camera that belonged to his father. When his family relocated to Chicago for three years during his formative years, this child of a British father and American mother traded tips on movie making with pals Roko and Adrian Belic (who in 1998 premiered their documentary “Genghis Blues”). While an undergraduate at University College in London, Nolan saw his short “Tarantella” air in the USA on PBS in 1989. By the mid-90s, he had hooked up with Jeremy Theobold who appeared in the shorts “Larceny” and “Doodlebug”. Theobold would go on to produce and star in Nolan’s feature directorial debut, “Following” (1998). Serving as director, co-producer, co-editor and cinematographer, he inverted some of the conventions of the film noir to recount the tale of a blocked writer (Theobold) who spends his days stalking strangers in the hopes of jump-starting his imagination. Then, one of his “victims” turns the tables and invites the scribe to join in a series of petty thefts. Juggling time via flashbacks and flash forwards, Nolan established a key signature of his work in which chronology takes a back seat to character. Critics found much that was admirable in Nolan’s first feature, although most felt it was a marginal achievement, at best.
Nolan took a giant leap forward with his second film, “Memento” (2000), working from an unpublished short story by his brother Jonathan. An intriguing skewering of the conventions of film noir, “Memento” centers on a man with “anterograde amnesia”, a condition that does not allow him to form new memories, who is seeking the man who raped and murdered his wife. While the heart of the piece was a conventional revenge drama, the story unfolded in an intriguing manner — backwards, with bits of additional information added each time. Fascinating and complex, “Memento” earned great acclaim when it opened in Europe in fall 2000 and at its US premiere at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival where Nolan picked up the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The film also earned him numerous citations from critics’ groups. Despite the fact that the idea for the story originated with his brother’s fiction, Nolan’s screenplay was deemed an original for the purposes of Academy Award consideration, in part because the film had premiered in both Great Britain and the USA before the short story was published in the March 2001 issue of Esquire. Capitalizing on his success, Nolan directed the English-language remake of the 1997 Norwegian crime thriller “Insomnia” (2002), starring three previous Academy Award winners, Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank . The critical response to the film was mixed: while some labeled the thriller as an early Oscar contender and heaped praise on Williams’ smart, controlled performance, others found the film a lackluster sophomore follow-up to the bravura efforts of “Memento.”
Nevertheless, Warner Brothers, which produced “Insomnia,” was still confident enough in Nolan’s talents to tap him to direct its long-aborning effort to revive the all-but-defunt “Batman” franchise after various other incarnations failed to make it into production. Teaming with screenwriter and comic book author David S. Goyer, who’d previously translated the “Blade” character from comics to film, Nolan took the film series 180 degrees from its increasingly gaudy and campy direction, envisioning “Batman Begins” (2005) as a pitch-black, deadly serious psychological exploration of the origins of the legendary comic book superhero. Taking direct inspiration from many sequences from the post-”Dark Knight Returns” era of the comics, Nolan’s film traced Bruce Wayne’s journey from orphaned millionaire to intensely skilled crimefighter, taking pains to craft both a Gotham City and an outer world that was as realistic as its pulpy source material would allow and eschewing over-the-top theatrics and computer-generated special effects in favor of nuanced acting and old-fashioned stunt work. Nolan and Goyer’s take attracted an all-star cast, including Michael Caine as Wayne’s faithful aide Alfred; Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, Gotham’s sole uncorrupt cop; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, the provider of Batman’s technology; and Liam Neeson as the mysterious, machiavellian Henri Ducard; but the true discovery of the film was Christian Bale in a star-making turn as the titular superhero. Though the film lacked some of the darkly manic pop inspiration that characterized the Tim Burton films, “Batman Begins’” soberer take was a breath of fresh air for loyal fans of the comic books and moviegoers turned off by Joel Schumacher’s more recent camp efforts, and the film proved to be both a critical and commercial success. Nolan was set to return to the franchise for “The Dark Knight” (scheduled for release in 2008) reteaming with Goyer on story chores (with a script by Nolan’s brother Jonathan) and helming again, this time with Heath Ledger in the role of the iconic villain The Joker.
July 30, 1971 in England
* Job Titles:
Director, Screenwriter, Director of photography, Producer, Editor
* Brother: Jonathan Nolan. wrote short story upon which “Memento” (2000) was based
* University College, London, England, English
* 1989 Made short “Tarantella” which received airing on PBS in USA
* 1996 Short film “Larceny” screened at the Cambridge Film Festival; Jeremy Theobald made acting debut
* 1998 Feature directorial debut, “Following”; Theobald starred and served as one of the producers
* 2000 Helmed second feature, the acclaimed thriller “Memento”, adapted from a story by his brother
* 2002 Directed the English-language remake of “Insomnia”
* 2005 Directed and co-wrote the fifth Caped Crusader installment “Batman Begins” which starred Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
* 2006 Directed Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in “The Prestige,” about rival magicians working in early-20th-century London
* Began making short films at age seven
* Collaborated with Theobald on the short “Doodlebug”
* Spent three years of his youth living in Chicago; made early films with Roko and Adrian Belic (the future Oscar nominees for the documentary “Genghis Blues”)
Two London based product designers have learnt to be adaptive and figure out way to get products out of the door. They describe the story, about humble beginnings from a basement in North London. Suck UK is a highly awarded and respected source of inventive and often inspiring products.
SUCK UK produce furniture, lighting, interior products and accessories. Design is mostly by Sam and Jude or selected by them from some of the best designers around the world.
The story … IN THE BEGINNING… we started out doing stuff for other people. One off eclectic projects attracted commissions from architects and other designers. The idea to produce actual commercial products came from working on low budget film, TV, and interior jobs (but mainly from the gaps between the jobs). SUCK (the brand) was established in late 1999 from humble beginnings working on a kitchen floor in a bedsit in North London. We worked on our own concepts making stuff that we liked for no-one in particular: products with Glamour and pure industrial forms, off-the-wall and unnecessary functionality, things to grab your attention without resorting to kitsch or parody. We used materials that we knew about and experimented with ones we didnt. We obsessed about processes and materials, always working towards elegant (Cheap) production solutions. Working in this cramped environment with no outside support made learning hard and fast. We worked (unfortunately for the neighbours) through the night and filled our days with dead-end jobs to buy materials and pay the phone bill. Money was unbelievably tight and a unique ability to utilise our surroundings and whatever tools we could get became a way of life. With trial and error we learned to cannibalise existing products, combine materials in new ways and to scrounge professional expertise as often as possible. It was fast becoming evident that our makeshift studio was completely inappropriate, kitchens are no place for sheet metal fabrication, sticky chemicals and spray paint. Our flat-mates decided enough was enough and they wanted their home back. New premises were required and with no money the solution came in the form of an empty room in a squatted embassy building in Primrose Hill. The only room without boards at the windows became our studio and a nearby phone-box the office. It was damp, dark and smelt but there was lots of room to experiment in. It was at this time that we really started to develop our products, banging together prototypes with whatever materials were at hand and attempting some sort of small-scale manufacture. Now SUCK really started making progress and developing some sort of a direction. We were working on stuff that wouldnt look out of place in Londons clubs and galleries but we wanted to get this into peoples houses… Production was set back by an unexpected eviction late one night. Most of our old equipment was lost as we scrabbled around on the floor gathering up our stuff with bemused police officers looking on in disbelief. We made it out with our prototypes intact and the determination and confidence to quit our day jobs and put all our energy into developing the brand. Two moves later and we are now based in a East End studio like proper designers. No sooner than the dust has settled and we are planning a permanent exhibition space… We refuse to restrict ourselves to any one material or technique. Each of our products is different from the next and as we discover different ways of working and new materials we incorporate these into new products. SUCK is not a craft based company, we design based on our knowledge of how, why, where and what is possible. We work closely with specialist manufacturers in many fields so we get the benefit of years of manufacturing expertise without having to physically learn the craft. As time passes a more recognisable SUCK Style is emerging and we are already ditching some of the earlier products which helped launch the company as we introduce newer ideas. Our stuff is attracting a lot of attention from the public as well as the press. We have appeared in the usual interior mags and Sunday supplements. We have even represented the face of “contemporary design” on the BBC. Public reaction to our products was fantastic when we launched at Mode in June 2000 (we kept it quiet that everything at the show was only at the prototype stage and nobody seemed to notice!). We have been presented an award for ‘Most Innovative New Product’ by Terence Conran (It took another ten months before The Conran Shop itself agreed to stock our stuff) and Best ‘In Show at MODE’. We are now represented in all the big ‘name’ department stores as well as loads of indie shops (who supported us from early on). We are never content however, and the next few months will see us release some of the best new products to come out of the UK in a long time… SUCK UK is products designed by Sam and Jude Central Saint Martins 96 (BA Product Design)
Dan Sellars post-graduate design study was at the Royal College of Art. The image above is taken from his interactive narrative project that he directed/designed as part of the CRD 1997 show.
Nine Star Ki was a late night interactive film experiment running on three TV channels simultaneously. You would be allowing viewers to experience a thriller by switching between opposing points of view. This conceptual interactive tv prototype could be deployed (assuming three UK network television stations would agree to run the films simultaneously) without expensive costs.
How does a Havana film school attract lavish funding and the likes of Soderbergh and Spielberg? With a nod and a wink from Fidel Castro. Chris Payne reports on a little corner of Cuba that is forever Hollywood .
“If you’re unfamiliar with Cuba’s cinematic heritage, you might assume that a film school run with Fidel Castro’s help would be coaching its students in flag-waving reconstructions of the Bay of Pigs or promo reels exhorting the nation’s nickel workers to greater heights of production. Hardly any films produced on the island since the 1960s have achieved distribution in the UK. The Buena Vista Social Club, the internationally successful documentary about a group of old-time Havana musicians, which became the soundtrack of every middle-class dinner party, was made by the German director Wim Wenders.”