Monday, October 20, 2008

Talking about festivals

You might possibly remember that I was on a panel at Glimmer in April, talking about film festivals - why go to them, what to do at them, and so on, along with Rose Chamberlain, Editor of Film and Festivals Magazine and Laurence Boyce, Artistic Director of Hull Film and Glimmer. Well, at last, the film of the panel is available here. Scroll down to "F&F TV" and click on "Glimmer" and you can listen to Rose, me and Laurence chatting about festivals and stuff.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Twinned with Mars

Meant to add this earlier - we walked past this last night, on the stroll from film to dinner; it's in the Winter Gardens, theatre end. I had to point it out to M from outside because the Gardens themselves were shut by the time we were walking by - he hadn't seen it, or the Winter Gardens before. I took this photo from inside, on a previous occasion, just because it's such a lovely poem. Sheffield, twinned with Mars indeed.

On sight

Celebrated my birthday last night by going to Sheffield to the premiere of On Sight, a fantastic new climbing film from Alistair Lee of Posing Productions. It's about a very pure approach to climbing - on sight means no abseiling to check the route, no pre-placing of gear, no practising - so in a way it's a very old-fashioned way of climbing, only these guys are on-sighting E7s and E8s (i.e. really hard climbs), grades that hadn't even been invented when I started climbing. It's a fabulously well made film, with lovely photography in some of the most beautiful parts of the UK (and an excursion to Iceland), great music that complemented what was on screen, and some very real, raw, scary moments along with quite a bit of humour - often black-edged humour, but so often that's the way with people who either dice with death or deal with those who do.

One of the thrills for us was when M spotted Ron Fawcett sitting across the aisle from us - he's in the film, talking mainly, and one of his iconic routes, Strawberries at Llanberis, is featured. Ah, to watch a climbing film with a climbing hero only feet away!

It was also interesting to hear climbers talk about why they do it, and much of what they said is very close to the things M and I want to say with our film, although not the same, happily - we have ideas we want to play with that are quite different to "On Sight" because we're trying to do something a bit different ... and I typed the title of our film there but then deleted it, because it rather gives it away ... I think I want to keep something up my sleeve for a little while longer, at least until we are firmly on track to make this thing.

The "On Sight" trailer is here, if you want to get an idea of the film. We agreed over dinner that it is very much a film for climbers, or at least that's the way it felt to us, as a current and an ex climber. I'd be interested to know what non-climbers thought about it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back at the ranch

Am back home, via fabulous weekend in London. Proper reviews to follow in due course, but in short, saw "Waste" at the Almeida Theatre on Friday, then saw "Ivanov" at Wyndham's on Saturday, part of the Donmar in the West End season. A review some years ago, when Michael Grandage directed Kenneth Branagh at the Crucible in Sheffield in Richard III, said something like "if you want to see Shakespeare done properly, go to Sheffield" - well, if you want to see classic theatre done properly, go and see anything that Michael Grandage directs. He's a theatrical genius, and in combination with Kenneth Branagh, is unbeatable.

Ivanov last night was moving, funny, tragic, and totally absorbing. Wonderful, marvellous theatre and I want to go again.
And here's KB at a post-play Q+A for a small group of us. Top bloke.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Home time

This was yesterday, part way along the trail to Peyto Lake and Bow Summit; this morning when I went out at 9am, the temperature according to the thermometer in the car was -7.

Today, I drove out to Lake Minnewanka which is only a few miles from Banff. It was one of those crisp, clear winter days when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the snowy mountains look stark and impressive. After a short walk and a few photos, I drove back into Banff, had lunch at the "other" conference (Applied Qualitative Research, as opposed to Qualitative Health Research), did some shopping and am now waiting for the bus to Calgary Airport.

It has been an excellent trip, well worth it from the conference/networking point of view, and the social/having a holiday point of view. Next year's conference is in Vancouver, and 2010 may be a bit closer to home; hopefully I'll be back next year.

More photos will be on here on flickr in due course

Time flies!

I set off for home tomorrow - where did the week go?

The conference was very good; my paper went well and I talked to quite a few people afterwards who were interested in the work, and plenty of people who are interested in keeping in touch - so, a positive outcome!

The day after the conference, I hung out with Aileen, a PhD student from Dundee who knows Rose, my PhD supervisor-as-was. We went up to Sulphur Mountain and took the cable car to the top, from where there are great views over Banff and surrounding mountains. Unfortunately Blogger isn't letting me post photos, so I'll start a new album in flickr and post the link later.

The last couple of days, Aileen, Rose and I have had a hire car so we've seen quite a lot; yesterday we drove up to the Columbia Icefield and walked to the Athabasca Glacier which was fantastic. The road there, the Icefield Parkway, is supposed to be one of the top ten drives in the world, and it is amazing - so many mountains and stupendous views of stunning blue lakes. It snowed yesterday, and again last night, so the mountains have gradually been getting more of a covering, which makes them even more dramatic. Unfortunately my camera battery packed up at the start of the day, so I'll have to wait to get photos from Aileen before I can post any.

Today, Aileen and I went to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Bow Summit. It had snowed overnight, noot just high in the mountains but here in Banff, so everywhere is looking very wintery and dramatic. Again, photos on Flickr in due course.

And now I have to write a research proposal, because deadlines only actually count when they're close enough to punch you on the nose.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hello from Canada

More precisely, Banff in the Rocky Mountains. I'm at a conference at the Banff Centre for the Arts, which is a great place just outside the town of Banff itself. The conference (International Qualitative Health Research) has been interesting so far; a great workshop on Friday on writing proposals, some good papers yesterday followed by a reception which was fun. On Friday after the workshop, I did the Tunnel Mountain Trail, which starts behind the Centre and climbs 1000 feet in about a mile to give great views over the Bow River and the town of Banff. The Centre has fabulous sports facilities, so I've been swimming every day before breakfast (I always wake up early in North America) and have a session on the climbing wall booked for tomorrow.

I'm giving my paper at 9:30 this morning, and after that, I can relax! Not sure what we'll do for dinner tonight; last night I went out with a couple of Australians, a Canadian and someone from Manchester - it's a very international conference which is part of the appeal.

Then from Monday onwards I'm on holiday, hoorah!

A couple of photos:

From 36,000 feet over Greenland

The view from the dining room at the Banff Centre.
More will follow!