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Rory's Auntie Kate
With thanks to Rory's Mum!

Technology - brings out the best in People?

A million thanks to Miles Tudor who spent his Friday lunch time patiently going through every menu on his Panasonic HVX200 with me ... this camera is truly amazing, a sort of computer/camera hybrid where you don't record onto tape and can play back instantly what you've recorded, including beautiful slow motion etc.
Sadly the cards it currently takes only record 8 mins onto each and at a shocking 1K each you can't afford to have many spares to hand. It doesn't look like the right camera for our next shoot but it does look like the future of filming for somewhere! Miles hires his out (with him as operator) if anyone else wants to give it a whirl I can put you in touch.

Onto a more basic technology we're trying to make a ***?? (what the hell are these seaside follies called!) for the WW II Fete at Kentwell next weekend and I am experiencing some level of frustration with my rather rusty making skills. The technology of paint is not bringing out the best in me. The project has flushed out some fantastic images from my friend Rory though - of his Aunt Kate & chums ... See the Sometime Later Blog for others.

Also do see 'We Make Money Not Art" for a great interview with Rory stretching right back to our days at the Bartlett together when Somewhere (and many other London-based-digital-art-groups) operated out of my office and one of London's first Internet connections that came with it!

Somewhere the work deluge!
Photo: Nina Pope

Old project, new 'evidence' ...

Obviously I'd rather do anything than make my mind up about what HD (or not HD!) format to shoot our film with the Tudors on ... and today my displacement activity has been finishing off up-loading the documentation for Anecdotal Evidence - with some nice new scans of folk out on the water at the launch.

It's a perverse fact that the more busy-with-interesting-things you are, the less time you have to Blog about them, at the moment this is certainly true for Somewhere ... as each day starts I haul myself into a seemingly endless list of tasks that comprise the headlong fall towards our 3 week shoot at Kentwell.

This week the list was punctuated by my usual day at the RCA and an unusual evening 'gig' at the BFI on a panel discussion ... entitled 'Educating the Next Generation - Film' ... I felt like a bit of a fake taking part as I've never even stepped inside a film school. However, there's nothing like feeling you have at last acquired some transferable skills, and the more the monster that is the advent of digital cinema moves forward the more I recognise of the beast from our background in the world of 'new' media. For once there was someone on the panel who new more about Digital distribution than me (and critically more than the audience - often not the case!) as well as Karen and I's favourite film motivational guru ... Mr Jobson.

Island postcard: the nightclub & caravan park
Image: Pope & Guthrie

Postcards from our Island

I've just been adding some nice photographs of our Island to the Artists' Impression section of the site. We've recently been revisiting the project (motivated partly by the approaching need to re-house the model), & I must say it's always a pleasure to see the place again ... especially when you don't actually have to get the huge sections of the model out of their crates to do so! I even had a quick walk around the game yesterday ... no one on the pier but there had been a few tourists off the boat of late.

Shop & Search

After much effort (and some 'paypal integration frustration!') for poor Dorian, you can now shop right here for Somewhere's past and present catalogue virtually without leaving the site and certainly without leaving your seat.

I've enjoyed taking the rather barmy set of photos it entailed, utilising friends children and my parents bird-table, I have not enjoyed the visits to my local Hackney post office to enquire about world-wide postage. Until very recently I would have said the staff there deserved an award for the most erratic and unfriendly service inside the M25 if not the UK ... however, I recently took a pledge not to rise to the rage I feel on even approaching the door and to greet each knock back not just with grace but positivity and warmth ... this may have backfired as the owner has now taken an unprecedented (and slightly inappropriate?) interest in the contents of my post ... and has, it seems, a passion for film. I might have to give him a copy of our DVD next time I'm in as it may well flip into reverse his increasing curve of interest and the extra time I am spending at the counter. When he discovers it's not a) about Hackney b) a Hollywood block buster, surely short, sharp, surly, service can resume ...

Sorry I don't know WHAT brought that on ... anyway to come back to the title, if you don't know what you want from Somewhere's shop you can always now search the site to see if we cover your desired theme/little-known home town/art peccadillo.

I'm also experimenting with our profile on Technorati to supplement Dorian's other welcome new feature - comments ... go on you know you want to ... especially if you've been in our post office!

Removing the camera at Nene Valley Railway

End of an era ...

Last weekend Tim and I headed over to Nene Valley Railway for the very last data 'harvest' from our time-lapse camera there - attached to their station awning as part of our Almanac project. You can see Tim up the ladder here disconnecting the external camera as a train comes in. Each of the five cameras are placed at film location sites in East Anglia ... there's a wide choice of both TV series and films shot at NVR, from 'Jim'll fix it' to 'Octopussy' and 'Peter's Friends'.

Many thanks to all the staff at the Railway for their patience with the project - especially to Gary who has had to live with the computer end of the system in his flat for the last year! Originally due to be installed for one calendar year this one was actually in place for 2 years by the time we took it down. In that time half of the station platform area has actually been rebuilt and the 500 images captured each day show every detail of the changes from blooming flower beds, to the 'turntable' for trains (I'm sure that's not the technical term) coming to life.

Somewhere- the shield
Don't ask what those segments mean

Somewhere - the shield of export!

Plans to launch a Czech / English subtitled version of our film Bata-ville next month are taking us down some bizarre alleyways. Last week I sold a bit (more) of my soul for some funding, by attending an 'Export' course to encourage me to see our new 'product' as financially viable.....

For an artist, being on a Department of Trade & Industry course and pumped with business & management speak for two days is actually rather exotic and fascinating. Judging from my blase classmates though, for the average business person it's a bit of a busman's holiday. Nevertheless, we had a laugh arranging the 49 steps of 'market entry' for any new export product (ours was 'golf holidays for European visitors" - incredibly relevant for my projected DVD sales), and I even managed to get a business man to the point of giving up his deskjob by simply describing my average working week attractively. Lunch was pretty lavish considering, so I really couldn't complain.

The most complicated exercise was coming up with a 'shield of export' for your proposed product and company. The pressure was on for me, what with my profile within the group as the 'arty one'. As it was, the only distinguishing factor of my effort was the sight '3D' effect of my drawing. The men that were launching shower enclosures in Dubai and the man that was marketing steam-boat trips (I'm not making this up) did rather well, though a globe in the shields' centres became a shortcut to articulating 'world domination' as ones ultimate ambition in life. I thought 'world domination' was a given in any business scenario, so had downscaled my own ambition (having been coached for 15 hours on realism - not my specialism usually) to getting Bata-ville in to cinemas, TVs and into the media.
I'll leave you to decipher the rest!

A Local Mayor AND Bata-ville star ...
Photo: Tim Olden

Uncle Mike, the Mayor and Me ...

Many thanks to (Uncle) Mike Ostler for organising and introducing the Grays Bata-ville screening on Monday night. Despite the spooky Thurrock jinx screening glitch and unplanned interlude, I had a wonderful time. There was an excellent local turn out, Mike did a great job on the introductions, the cinema is lovely, the Mayor (who's also in the film) came along, the B.R & R.C put on a special display, I sold some DVDs, AND I got given our T.O.S.C.A award ... what more can a girl ask for of a night out in Grays.

Actually I almost forgot the fish & chips I had during the screening was also excellent!

Check out our T.O.S.C.A

Hey Karen take a look at our T.O.S.C.A (AKA Thurrock's Own Special Cinema Award) presented to me by international man of mystery Mike Ostler (Bata-ville passenger and cinema fanatic) on Monday night. I'm going to place it next to our certificate from the four "Worlds Biggest Liars" in the Somewhere trophy cabinet!

Coming soon ... Somewhere the Shop!

Many thanks to Joanna Clark & Ellie Clark for their assistance with the compulsory photo shoot! Seen here modelling the two remaining TV swansong kids T-shirts ...

Wild man of Orford ... & Unknown White Male!

Just wanted to quickly flag up quite an interesting "Long View" programme on Radio 4 this morning & repeated tonight at 9.30 (or of course on listen again) abut the Wild Man of Orford and contemp. docs on "extraordinary people with extraordinary bodies"!

Anyway it's always nice to hear about Orford our favourite Almanac site and Oysterage ... not to mention the link across to the amazing Orfordness ...

Enough links in one posting, I'm also hoping this picture will encourage the arrival of spring.

Actually I have one more and it's not even related! I just missed the opening night of Unknown White Male a doc. I want to see ... having realised I missed the launch I looked at their film site blog and forum. If (like us) you are distributing your own film the highs and lows they are experiencing will be very familiar! Right I better get on with organising our next screening ...