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Archive for December 2012


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Last night was the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar, I went to an End of the World party at Summerhall which was an intriguing journey through various tales of the apocalypse, meditations on endings that were unsettling, mournful and beautiful in equal parts.

This morning I went into town early and outside the church at the end of Princes Street, a hearse was waiting for the end of a service. I thought how sad it is for people to lose someone close to them at this time of year. How difficult it must be to fight your way through all the flashing lights and tinsel and the torture of Cliff Richard singing shit Christmas songs when the time of year reminds you of what you have lost, and the sadness associated with it, making this enforced glee all the more difficult to deal with.

Half an hour later, my mum called me to tell me that my aunt had died suddenly in the night. She was still reeling from the news. I was in a café having breakfast. I was then reeling from the news. They gave me a brandy. I drank it. It was 10.30 am.

This is the same aunt who was the star of the Great Easter Egg Robbery, I wrote of in my last post. She wrote to me only a handful of weeks ago to say how strange it had been to re-watch these old films and look so far back into her own past.

She was always healthy and active; hill walking in the Yorkshire Dales or doing long distance hikes like the Santiago de Compostella. She was also the most ardent all-weather swimmer on our family holidays in Wales.

My aunt was bright, she was intelligent and she was creative. She was often mistaken for Helen Mirren, both being stylish and elegant women of a certain age. She always had strong political opinions and was even known to smoke the occasional cigar in the past! I was full of awe and admiration. Still am.

Whether or not she chose to live and leave us according to the Mayan calendar is uncertain, but what is certain is that the world is a little emptier and this time of year a lot sadder without her.


Written by Spiller

December 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Posted in General

The Great Easter Egg Robbery

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I’ve been attempting to digitise my grandfathers Super 8 film. This one is an all-time family classic. The Great Easter Egg Robbery. If you can see past my very amateurish attempt at filming it (complete with split screens and a rogue torch) this little film involves my uncle as the policeman, my gran as the victim of stolen Easter eggs, my aunts as the robbers (watch out for my auntie Liz’s spectacular head first fall over a country gate in the car chase scene), various other neighbours and family members roped in as extras.

I’ve added the music, which I think you’ll agree, goes splendidly with the action.



Written by Spiller

December 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Five days, fifteen films and fat like fatty fat fat full of filo pastries…

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This interesting little journey started, unknowingly, last summer at the Edinburgh International Film Festival when, after a Q&A with the fascinating film director, Eyal Sivan, I hesitantly, politely, nervously asked, in an ever-so British way, if he would mind awfully if I took his photo. He was chatting with some folks in the Filmhouse Bar and he was more than happy for me to take his picture. The bar was buzzy with festival go-ers, there wasn’t much time or space in which to think or compose a photo but I asked him to ignore me and carry on his conversation, which he did, and while he was talking I took a couple of pictures. I wanted to capture something of his mesmerizing intensity and I hope that with this resulting image I managed to do that.

Eyal Sivan

It was a momentary encounter. Of no significance really. But a pretty decent image to come from it (apart from the annoying lights on his forehead but this was a busy cafe so you have to take what you can get!). I posted the picture on this blog, as is my habit from time to time, and thought no more about it.

Then earlier this year, while browsing the internet for photos of Eyal Sivan, I came across this picture below. I took a double take at first. Much as this might prove to be the pinnacle of my career as a photographer so far, to have a photo I took on the front cover of a magazine, since I had no idea that it was going to be used, I wasn’t sure that this photo could be mine.

However,  yep, there again were those annoying little light flashes on his forehead which confirmed that this was indeed one and the same photo.


I sought some advice about what to do because this was completely foreign territory for me, copyright, image rights, blah, blah, blah… but crucially, for me, as a non-professional, I have to say that ultimately I was very flattered that another Film Festival chose my image to put on the front of their brochure.

We came to a very satisfactory compromise. As well as profound apologies for the oversight in failing to credit the image to me, I got the fantastic bonus of free passes to the Thessaloniki Film Festival earlier in November and spent a totally brilliant 5 days, watching 3 films a day, escaping the cold and wet of the UK for the glorious sunshine, fine food and great films that Thessaloniki had to offer.

The highlights, for me, were the Aki Kaurismaki series, Constantina Voulagis’ ‘A.C.A.B. All Cats are brilliant’, and Lore by Cate Shortland. The programme was excellent and female film directors featured quite prominently which was great and having gone to the Festival with my lovely friend Esther, who is herself a very talented director, it was all in all a perfect few days.

Picture 6

(c) Esther Richardson

(and in keeping with the spirit of the post, I just stole this photo off Esther’s Flickr stream :-))