Archive for August 2011
Words and picture are only related by the spectrum of technology upon which they both sit. The kinetescope in the picture was in the Lumiere Museum in Lyon which is a really fascinating place to visit. So much about the origins of the moving image, how they reeled film through a gun barrel to fire off images in quick succession to give the illusion of movement. And before they could solve the problem of projecting film to large numbers, they built these kinetescopes, where you placed your eyes downwards on a giant box, where a tiny screen projects the moving image.
But I wasn’t going to talk about that. I wanted to talk about weird Wifi network names because I discovered two this week. Firstly, and most disturbingly, somewhere in the vicinity of the Edinburgh Psychology Centre, I kid you not, is a network with the name of ‘Joseph Fritzl’s Dungeon’! Surely, there can’t be a bigger cry for help than that? Can there?
I think the staff of the Edinburgh Psychology Centre, to a man, need to start hammering on the doors of all their neighbours until they identify the owner of this network, collectively frogmarch him (or her… I guess… although to be fair we’ve got the law of averages on our side if we default to ‘him’) down to one of their meeting rooms for some compulsory, intensive therapy, don’t you think?
Then. Today, in front of my office, my phone picked up a network named ‘MI5 Surveillance van’ which made me really laugh. I am assuming that it is a joke and a result of having an office that is right in the heart of the Edinburgh Festival this year. Surely MI5 would be a bit more circumspect, or is the new spirit of openness and sharing upon us and MI5 are now wandering the streets in branded t-shirts and megaphones.
Still, if you want to make the world a safer place, MI5, you could begin by arresting all the mime artists clogging up Teviot before I personally kill them all. I’m beginning to wonder if the car that I may or may not have machine-gunned the other night in my dream might indeed have been full of them – in which case, I might consider it a public service.
This week I have been mainly dreaming about wasps! I’m not sure why. I did get stung by one in France this summer, that flew into the car and got trapped in my armpit. So now I have developed a slight phobia to them, can feel my anxiety levels rising when any happen to be close by.
And then this week (actually in one night), I had two separate dreams about being tormented by the evil things. In one dream, a single wasp was continually buzzing aggressively very close to my face and would not leave me alone no matter what I did. In the second, I had a cluster of them attached to my big toe that I could not get to go away. In the end I managed to flick them into some sand and then tried to bury them as quickly as possible.
It was quite a stressful.
I also had a dream about machine-gunning a car full of people, although in all honesty, I don’t think I was actually holding the gun. That’s what watching Team America: World Police does to you. I’m very suggestible like that!
And I can’t get the Kim Jung Il puppet singing ‘I’m so ronery’ out of my head – makes me larf every time!
I had a very wierd dream last night. I dreamed that I came across a white wall (not unlike the one in this picture) with two sets of shutters (also not unlike the one in this picture) in the middle of a field. But a wall that had no building behind it, It didn’t go anywhere, it was like one side of a house but with no house. On opening the shutters, I could see through the window to a beautiful Chateau with spiralled turrets, high on a hill with trees cascading down towards a wood.
I thought it would make a nice picture so went back to the car to get my camera. When I returned the shutters had disappeared completely and all that was in front of me was a plain white wall. I was confused but as I drew my fingers along the wall I eventually managed to locate the undetectable shutters. On opening them however, the scene I’d previously seen was no longer visible, I could only see overgrown hedgerows in the foreground and little beyond this. When I stood on tiptoes, however, and looked through the camera lens I could see a wall with really amazing graffiti on it but set in a very neglected looking urban environment. No Chateau, no turrets, no woods.
As I tried to figure out what was going on, I heard some noise to my left. I turned to see a long line of people dressed in sky blue robes and with their heads bound completely, except for their eyes, with white bandages, coming down the hill like well dressed patients in an asylum.
Anyone care to take a stab at analysing that one?
On another note, I also managed to accidentally expose myself to some Jehovah’s Witnesses this morning. The price you pay for living opposite the Kingdom Hall. And for absentmindedly getting dressed just as they are all spilling out of Sunday service. The godlessness of it all!
A rare glimmer of sunshine in an otherwise rain soaked overnight stay in Saint Nectaire.
We got to see Saint Nectaire cheese being made though which was really fascinating, although I think a cheese factory might be the second most honking food-related workplace in the world after a fishmongers.
“Mmm darling, you’re wearing your eau de sour milk again!”
A big part of any holiday for me is the food, especially in France, where even a service station sandwich has a degree of love and care put into it that puts our rubber cheese and cheap bread affairs to shame.
A new discovery for me this year was Sea Snails (thank you J & L for introducing me to them!). I had already decided I didn’t like snails after trying them for the first time recently at a restaurant in Edinburgh (yep, grass flavoured rubber snot – not that bothered, to be honest), but I even had my mind changed about them too this trip after trying them for the second time. Turns out, you’re wrong Gordon Ramsey, soaked in garlic butter IS the only way to go when it comes to snails.
But Sea Snails. They are something different. Sweet like lobster, texture like calamari, I really, really liked them. Here’s a pic of the fabulous Fruits de Mer we had with J & L, washed down with a delightful bottle of the best French champagne.
That’s the life, innit?
A digression but the Festival is on in Edinburgh right now so worth a mention.
The ‘Mess Tent’ in George Square gardens was fun. £2.99 for a 15 minute show (you can’t knock it since a beer is £4.20!) and we saw a sweet lady do some crazy things with a skipping rope and a million hulahoops.
Also, check out the pic in the Ryan Air inflight magazine this month in the article about where comedians like to frequent in Edinburgh.
(so today’s photos are all about me, me, me)
This time last week we canoed 24km of the Ardeche Gorge; totally beautiful scenery, stunning river running at the base of breathtakingly steep cliffs, perfect setting for a day of whacky races down a river with thousands of other day trippers, let loose in canoes, hurling down rapids with nary a clue how to handle them.
And I include myself in this. My approach to a rapid is to shut my eyes, paddle as fast as possible, scream like a maniac and hope we’re still upright at the other end.
Which for the most part we were. Although we developed a weird pattern of pirouetting 360 degrees at the end of each rapid as for some reason I seem to be unable to paddle in a straight line.
Then towards the end of the day. Disaster. There was a three boat pile up in front of us that we couldn’t avoid. We hit a rock as well as a couple of other boats and turned over. I lost my sunglasses then got my ankle trapped between two rocks. The force of the water and the never-ending line of canoes coming through the rapid didn’t make it so easy to extricate myself.
But it all turned out OK, we got to the shore eventually and a very kind boy with a pair of goggles even retrieved my sunglasses from the rapid for me too. A total superstar.
It’s always good to have a bit of drama on your holidays, not too much, but just a little. It took about 8 hours in the end and was a very memorable day – completely knackering but great for the Bingo wings!
Back from a magical trip to France so time to share some of the highlights with you all. One of which (or rather two) were the concerts we went to at Fourviere, an amazing old Roman (or was it Greek!) amphitheatre in Lyon, high on a hill overlooking the city. Luckily the rain stayed away (the weather in Lyon was disturbingly like Edinburgh most of the time) but it was too cloudy for the shooting stars we got to see last year.
The first concert we went to was Moriarty (who stole the show in the seductive red dress) and Beirut with The Villagers supporting . The second concert was Angus and Julia Stone (the most magically musically gifted woman I’ve ever seen), Yael Naim with supporting act, Alina Orlova (Lithuania’s Kate Bush/Bjork/Tori Amos).
This clip is from the closing moments of Yael Naim’s final song (which Apple fans may recognize from the MacBook Air advert last year). There is a tradition at Fourviere, since it’s an outdoor venue, everyone is issued with a little plastic cushion to protect their derriere from the chill of the evening. At the last song, everyone chucks them at the stage, cushions flying in every direction – it’s hilarious. Everyone on stage then chucks them all back at the audience. Yael Naim has a fit of giggles in this clip as her piano gets swamped in cushions, then stops playing to chuck some back.
Hope you enjoy it.