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Scotland the most beautiful

Sunday, 10 September, 2017 0 Comments

1. Scotland: And finally, the world’s most beautiful country is revealed: Scotland. Who can deny that these wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world?”

That was the result of a poll of readers conducted by the Rough Guides travel publisher in a bid to determine “the most beautiful country in the world.” Angus Wright dutifully wrote up the result for The Scotsman, but it’s the comments on his article that take the Walkers Shortbread biscuit:

Rank Bajin: “It’s quite nice when the rain stops. Usually that’s March 28 and June 30 at 3:30pm. The rest of the time you can’t see anything”

Stewart Mckirdy: “Seriously ??? Who did Rough Guides ask ? people from Scotland presumably”

14152956259: “Not Scottish unionists, that’s for sure.”

Paolo Tognini: “Italy has 53 UNESCO World Heritage sites, highest number in the world on a country basis. Scotland has 6. It is obvious that none of the voters has ever visited Italy….. Mind you, I do like Scotland but this survey result needs a reality check.”

RejeanLavoie: “…or…Scotland needs more UNESCO sites and Italy has a complex?”

Ed Watts: “Paolo, with all due respect why “It is obvious that none of the voters has ever visited Italy…..” – I have visited Italy, and had little, if any, interest in UNESCO sites. Italy’s nice, undoubtedly – Scotland’s better.”

Filmmaker Adam Stocker would agree with Ed, there. After driving around Scotland in his (white) van, he made a short video titled “Scotland – Lochs, Mountains & Light”. He included lots of the most beautiful rain, too.


Pursuing the undulatus asperatus

Friday, 28 July, 2017 0 Comments

“The work on this film began on March 28th and ended June 29th,” says stormchaser Mike Olbinski. He drove 28,000 miles across 10 US states and spent 27 days pursuing the storms that have been condensed into the spectacular clip he calls Pursuit. “I snapped over 90,000 time-lapse frames,” he writes. “I saw the most incredible mammatus displays, the best nighttime lightning and structure I’ve ever seen, a tornado birth caught on time-lapse and a display of undulatus asperatus that blew my mind.”


A sense of place

Monday, 10 July, 2017 0 Comments

Landscape is a mirror that reflects life. Those fields, woods, rivers and mountains reveal the soul of a place. The English filmmaker Max Smith began his “Sense of Place” series of videos in the Argyll Forest Park on the Cowal peninsula in the Scottish Highlands, and he’s just added the Cairngorms, a mountain range in the eastern Highlands that forms part of the Grampians. The two clips offer a combined seven minutes of sublime place.


Aeroplane of unrequited love

Friday, 5 May, 2017 0 Comments

He describes himself as “an electronic music producer obsessed by the culture of Ireland.” He’s Daithi. She describes herself as “Singer-songwriter-human, from Co. Kildare, Ireland.” She’s Sinéad White and the two of them wrote Aeroplane.

According to Daithi and Sinéad, the song was inspired by old Irish TV dramas from the 1980s and ’90s. “True to the people of Ireland at the time, the characters in these shows all seem to have a hard time expressing their feelings, and we wanted to write a song that imagined what was going on in their heads, while they stumbled through talking to their love interest. The video for the song uses footage from a short film that was shot in my home town Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, in the 1990s.”


Joshua Cowan’s Alpine Adventure

Thursday, 16 February, 2017 0 Comments

“In January i took a road trip through Europe visiting mountains, frozen lakes and steam trains in the forest,” says London-based video-maker Joshua Cowan, whose clients include, Under Armour, Adidas, Maserati, Vice, Sony and Visit Britain.


Mesmerising Kilauea

Saturday, 11 February, 2017 0 Comments

The “the fire hose” lava flow continues to gush from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and pour into the ocean Kamokuna. As the “Lava viewing guide for the Big Island” puts it, “Hawaii wouldn’t exist if it were not for the continuous volcanic activity that created all the islands in the state.” Going with this flow, Givot Media, a creative agency based in Los Angeles, made the spellbinding “Hawaii — The Pace of Transformation.”


The aqueous Hannigan Undertow

Saturday, 4 February, 2017 0 Comments

The word “undertow” is used usually when talking about the rip current that drags unwary swimmers away to their doom. More generally, undertow describes an underlying emotion that leaves a particular impression. Example: “There’s a dark undertow of rage in the tweets of those in denial about the recent election result.”

Genesis recorded a song titled Undertow as did Kim Carnes, Leonard Cohen, Suzanne Vega, Pet Shop Boys and R.E.M. Now comes Irish singer Lisa Hannigan with her own aqueous Undertow from her recent album, At Swim. On Monday night, Lisa Hannigan will play the Festival Antigel in Geneva.


Series of the Year: The Night Manager

Thursday, 22 December, 2016 0 Comments

In an age of sleeplessness and over-extended streamed series, The Night Manager manages to get in and out in six, 90-minute episodes. That’s a serious plus for the time constrained. This co-production by the BBC and AMC is a lavish update of a 1993 John Le Carré novel that feels a bit like James Bond meets Tom Ripley. In fact, Hugh Laurie meets Tom Hiddleston in the most picture-postcard parts of Egypt, Britain, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain and Turkey.

Laurie plays arms dealer Richard Roper, whose ability to fly beneath the radar has frustrated British intelligence agent Angela Burr (Olivia Coleman) for more than a decade. She’s obsessed with catching this Big Fish and her angler turns out to be Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine, the hotel night manager of the title.

Director Susanne Bier pans between the treacherous, charming Laurie and Hiddleston, a former soldier turned stylish night manager at upscale hotels. Elizabeth Debicki is the elegant American arm candy for Laurie’s character and her attraction to the attractive Hiddleston gives the storyline a needed touch of animality. Typically le Carré, the plot features elaborate conspiracies at almost every turn. Add in lots of drinking and you’ve got what’s needed to make The Night Manager our Series of the Year.

The Night Manager

“Promise to build a chap a house, he won’t believe you. Threaten to burn his place down, he’ll do what you tell him. Fact of life.” — Richard Roper, The Night Manager


Tweeds and tweets

Saturday, 3 December, 2016 0 Comments

Hackney-based filmmakers Jack Flynn and Nick David are Dog Leap and their fashionable clients include Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Sons Of London and the Harris Tweed Authority, which represents the weaving traditions of the Outer Hebrides islanders of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra. “The Big Cloth” is a short Dog Leap documentary about an industry that is transforming itself with new looms, young weavers, lighter tweed for the needs of a global market and tweets.


First Aid Kit could fill in for Bob Dylan in Stockholm

Sunday, 20 November, 2016 0 Comments

On Wednesday, the Swedish Academy announced that Bob Dylan would skip next month’s Nobel Prize in Literature award ceremony because of “other” commitments. “He wishes that he could accept the award personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible,” it said.

But all is not lost as Dylan is expected to play a gig to Stockholm in spring. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told Swedish public radio that she received confirmation from Dylan’s manager. “Then he will have an excellent opportunity to hold his lecture,” she said. Giving a public talk is the only requirement for the Nobel laureate and must be done within six months starting from December 10.

A radical solution would be to get First Aid Kit to fill in on the Big Day. The Swedish duo consists of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg and here’s their interpretation of It Ain’t Me Babe, which originally appeared on Another Side of Bob Dylan, released in 1964.


JT Singh and the art of high-impact storytelling

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016 0 Comments

The amazingly talented JT Singh describes himself as “city geneticist,” studying interactions, collisions and opportunities. A mix of urban futurist and media artist, he focuses on bridging the gaps between technology and storytelling.

“Shanghai’s iconic skyline is symbolic of its presence as a premier global city, but below the towers, the intimate, and human story that unfolds is what will always be part of the city’s core DNA,” he says. This is special.