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posted by: Ian on:
May 30, 2008 @ 4:12 pm
Another knitting film for Friday afternoon… This here is a knitting machine made out of LEGO by the resourceful Thomas Johnson, whose site also features some other contraptions made with little bricks.
The Telectroscope is one of those nifty ideas that make you go ‘why didn’t I think of that?’. Two giant lenses in London and Brooklyn, and a chunky broadband connection enabling you to wave down the trans-atlantic ‘tunnel’ in real-time. The Jules Verne aesthetic just tops it off.
Compton Verney gallery in Warwickshire asked us to put together something filmy which will complement their Fabric of Myth exhibition, opening next month. We settled on a programme of knitting-related shorts and animation, to screen throughout the weekend of 19/20 July with free needles, wool and knitting tuition for those who’d like to have a go. More info soon, but in the meantime here’s a youtube clip of one of the films: a promo for ‘Les peaux de lièvres’ by Canadian duo Tricot Machine. The animation by Simon Laguanière was made using over 700 frames created on an electronic knitting machine.
The imminent arrival of Julian Cope at Town Hall next week has resurrected heady teenage days when I wore a homemade ‘Julian Cope is God’ tshirt, played Peggy Suicide to death and pored over his declarations in the NME. Cope’s freewheeling memoirs are still a joy to read, and a reminder that Monday is almost a homecoming gig. He grew up in Tamworth, fled to Liverpool as a student and tasted pop infamy with The Teardrop Explodes, then after the group broke up in the early 80s holed up in his hometown to nurse various paranoid complexes, accumulate a huge collection of toy cars and gradually rebuild his life. In one of his more mental solo songs ‘Reynard the Fox’ the backdrop is provided by childhood memories of the countryside east of Tamworth (see Paul Drummond’s map below), and long before he was writing scholarly tomes about megalithic Britain Cope was making up his own pre-history of the ‘Alvecote mound’, a slag-heap which now overlooks the M42. (Pictured on the cover of Fried with emblematic toy truck, above.)
The internet does boast a ‘Tamworth Bands Heritage Trail’, but there’s no mention of Cope in there (too posh? too weird?) so I decided to rectify this with a little help from Google Maps (in the process discovering that you can now attach video clips to specific locations, which is very exciting). Now that’s quite enough stalking, time to get on with some proper work…
If you’re anywhere near Birmingham (uk) this weekend, be sure to book yourself an appointment with The Divine Edgar, which has found a new home in the Vaults restaurant as part of this year’s Fierce Festival. Scott Johnston’s unique premature burial experience was one of the highlights of our Halloween event at Ikon Eastside last year, and even if you’ve already sampled it a rerun is recommended; Scott tells us he is working on some modifications…
With the Rotunda reopening last week it seemed a good time to show Rosalind Fowler’s film about the building’s past. Calling her work “salvage anthropology”, Fowler combines interviews with some of the inhabitants of the old Rotunda – including original architect Jim Roberts – with footage of the building shortly before it was closed down for refurbishment. It’ll be showing at 7inch this Sunday, after Travelling for a Living.
This industry writeup gives some background on the new version, introducing us to some nice building terms like “spandrel panels”.
We urge you to take 7 minutes out of your busy schedule to watch the latest ‘ambiguous animation’ from Bologna-based muralista Blu. His creepy bald fellows have been popping up on walls all over the world for a while, but recently they have begun to move. Some of the video sketches he did last year were nifty, and MUTO is another step up; I love the way the 2D and 3D rub up against each other. Can’t wait to see Megunica either, a doc/animation about Central/South American adventures which Blu has been working on with Lorenzo Fonda (another talented Italian – more great videos on his site).
>> If you have creaky broadband like us, you might want to pause this while it loads. >>
(With thanks to Gas and Chris, who emailed us the link simultaneously)
I’m doing a bit of moonlighting this week, writing press releases for Moseley Folk fest at the end of August. One of their guests on the Sunday afternoon is Ian Campbell, father of Ali and Robin from UB40 and a godfather of Birmingham’s folk scene. Back in the 60s his Jug O’ Punch folk club round the back of Digbeth Civic Hall (now the Barfly) gathered all the big names on the revival circuit – including Paul Simon, who went on to cover Campbell’s ‘The Sun is Burning’. The club helped to spawn the Red Lion folk club in Kings Heath, which is still going strong today and pays host to Peggy Seeger and assorted Watersons this Saturday. Big events like last month’s Town Hall sell-out English Originals and Moseley Folk owe a lot to these smaller pub promoters, who kept the folk circuit ticking over through many years of unfashionability.
Anyway, all of this is obviously a very roundabout way of plugging the final event in our spring season. Also jumping on the folk bandwagon, on Sunday 18 May 7inch will be screening a lovely 1965 film about the Watersons; Travelling For a Living. The director Derrick Knight will be up to introduce the film, and you can read a wee interview we did with him here.
After enduring the horrors of Nim’s Island this weekend I turned to the web in search of some hope for childrens cinema. There are plenty of folks out there rightly lamenting the narrow choice on offer in the UK, although on the education front the launch of Film Club looks promising in terms of getting a wider range of movies into schools and giving teachers plenty of autonomy in choosing their own programme. (A lot of film ed in this country has been heavily studio-driven in the past with compulsory St Trinians goodie-bags etc.) Teacher friends have spoken with religious zeal about the effects that careful use of Google Video/YouTube can have on their pupils, and the podcasts on the Teaching for the Future blog are very much pushing in that direction. What would be really handy is more places gathering relevant material, particularly short material, under curriculum-related headings.
For more casual home viewing some great stuff can be found at Bangazee, a nice varied selection of youtube clips compiled by one half of Stratford-based animation duo the Brothers McLeod. ‘Vinni Puh’ goes down particularly well in these parts (below). Or if you’re feeling ambitious the now-dormant but still-useful no-longer-dormant, and still-useful Alternative Films for Kids has loads of suggestions from a parent who is obviously quite happy to twist her offspring’s melons now and again (including classic Saturday morning fare like Samuel Beckett). On the multiplex horizon, auteur types Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr Fox) and Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) seem to be mellowing with age and doing one for the kids, and Michel Ocelot’s Prince’s Quest arrives here on DVD in a couple of months. Any other hot tips to rescue us from Nim II would be much appreciated…