Monday, June 27

Here We Are Then


Arrived Azores at lunchtime, it is damp and it is a bank holiday here. Shops shut. Luggage still in Lisbon.

We hear that our giant cable, housed in a crate the size of a small apartment and the major component of our filming kit – the one that was freighted two weeks ago - has not arrived.

Seven of us are occupying two adjacent holiday homes, most of us are sleeping in the upper house, the lower house has become the camera-cable-computer-nerve-centre. The upper house has a wood oven and I have ordered wood which can’t be delivered until Monday.


Starts misty, gets rainy … then torrential

Mosquitos don’t like being out in the rain, the island’s entire population of biting insects appear in our house looking for food and shelter. At breakfast time the youngest Camera Boy, fed up with the attention, took his can of man perfume, pointed it at 'flying stuff’ and pushed his finger down on the sprayer until the can was empty.

Someone called with the information that they spoke to a man who is almost certain that our cable is in his cargo-collecting place on our island – he will check first thing Monday when the cargo place opens.


The sun is out, steam-drying the landscape - colours are supersaturated

A veteran cameraman-oceanographer is part of our team, charming, handsome and fishy – it’s like we have found a synthesis of Clark Gable and Jacques Cousteau. He goes out to sea in a kayak that he pedals rather than paddles. When he sees something interesting he gets in the water and films it. Today he filmed a baby whale playing near the surface of the ocean, the footage is very beautiful.


No-one has any idea where our cable is until lunchtime when it is tracked down in Lisbon.

The man with wood for the wood stove is called to find out the time of his delivery, he tells us that he has not had time to go out and chop down any trees yet.

Thursday, June 23

Praying To Edna

Miss Whiplash and Girl Wonder have organised our squid-hunting trip. Without them there would be no expedition.

I have talked about Whiplash in previous posts, she is very tall and good at sums and when she is not in trouble with the police she runs our film company with a rod of iron. Miss Whiplash also sings in a band. This weekend she is off to play at Glastonbury and somewhere between handing me the call sheet for the trip and telling me that she had ten packets of Betty Crocker mix at home which had to be turned into hash cakes by the morning she advised me to pray to Goddess Edna, I misheard this before I looked it up, so forever in my mind we will be asking Edna's help in our quest to find a Giant Squid before the end of July.

Accounts of Edna's life vary, she was an Inuit with an abusive father who was desperate to marry her off to the highest bidder. In some accounts, having realised that he'd married her to a 'bird creature' Edna's father tries to rescue her, this involves throwing her into the sea. Other versions have it that the father is so enraged by Edna's refusal to obey him that he throws her into the sea. Either way Edna always tries to rescue herself by climbing into her father's kayak and he chops off her frozen fingers. Edna falls to the depths of the ocean turning into a sea animal as she plummets. Edna's fingers grow into seals and whales and polar bears and Edna becomes the ruler of sea monsters.

the image is one made by my new favourite artist Ningeokuluk Teevee


There is so much graffiti going on where I live that the shopkeepers have decided that, rather than fight it, they will go with the flow and many have asked the graffiteurs to artify their shop signs and shop fronts. I am filled with the urge to go out at night with my own cans to add to the decoration.

Does anyone else think that my plan to transform the 'Massage Club' front would make it more amusing?

This is all work displacement daydreaming, I pass the 'Sausage Club' twice daily but my waking hours are taken up with getting ready to go on a filming trip in the Azores which is why I have no time to blog let alone paint.

I'm off at midnight and will try to post from my far away island when I'm not busy trying to catch a giant squid

Friday, June 10

Man and Lady In Garden With Cat

Twenty years ago I bought an old Super 8 camera in a flea market and filmed everything that moved until I ran out of film. These masterpieces then languished in a drawer for years.

I made two attempts to get the reels digitised but neither time was the job done well. Bits of my footage have survived the process though and earlier this year I used them to practice using a video editing programe.

This first epic shows my parents playing in the garden

Thursday, June 9

Some Azorean Culture

I have a new bff in the Azores, keen to educate me in the culture of the islands she has sent me this link featuring Azorean singer Zeca Medeiros. I love it.

Tuesday, June 7

Getting a Reputation

Bristol gets in the news now and again it’s always interesting to see which bits of information stick.

Miss Whiplash stayed late in the office last night, waiting for one of our cameras to be returned by a French company who had been using it to film bats in Nicaragua.

The camera was delivered by a handsome and underemployed young artist who was delighted to be in Bristol - our city was a holy place for him.

Where can I see ze Banksys?

Whiplash gave him a map and pointed out some of the places where the young man could see some of the artist’s best work. But the man looked concerned

Are zese in any of the bad places?

Whipash was puzzled - what do you mean by bad places?

for example, St Pauls I ‘ear it is full of how you say? ... toxicos

is there anywhere else you’ve been warned about?

yes Southmead are you telling me to go anywhere near Southmead?*

Whats wrong with Southmead?

The Nazis are living there

*The only reason that we know of Southmead is because of its hospital which has an excellent neurosurgery unit.

Monday, June 6

Whale Meat Again

I have just returned from the Azores, this was a recce for a forthcoming filming expedition which was arranged and executed with tremendous haste. I’ve spent the last four days meeting skippers and making lists, measuring things, making drawings and drinking a lot of strong coffee. The main things that have stayed in my head from the trip are these:

a) Portuguese as a written language clearly has similarities with Spanish, but when spoken it is full of soft szjujj-ey noises which makes it sound like a language being played backwards

b) There are a lot of sausages on the Azores, I didn’t get a chance to sample them all, but I can recommend Azorean black pudding.

c) The Azores is Whale World; former whale-processing stations line the roads to the harbours, bars are full of little whales carved out of their own bones, snack bars operate from whale-shaped huts and whales are woven into the in the pavements.

I saw 'whale’ on a restaurant menu but I didn’t find out if it really was from that animal, it might have turned out to be just a whale-shaped sausage.
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