Monday, October 11, 2010

back to school




















This is more of a catch up post really, as it's been a busy week all 'round and I've not had a chance to write up any of the things I was intending to. Plus, I've been happily watching my dear other architects post go a bit viral, attracting, it has to be said, a surprising amount of vitriol along the way. Each time I mentally start drafting a post by way of 'reply', I fall into one of the rhetorical traps outlined here, and start again...

So, Autumn term began this week and I excitedly filled up my new tutor's pencil case and headed to Canterbury. I'm taking a bit of a teaching detour this year, not so much in the subject matter - ports, transport, infrastructure, national borders - as the technique, which involves making movies. Initially these will be of the journey from Dover to Calais, but we'll also be generally learning from Learning From Las Vegas and using the camera as a proper research tool. 

In order to get things started we were lucky enough to have artist Andrew Cross come in and talk about both his work and films in general. These included C'├ętait un Rendezvous, possibly the most macho (in a peculiarly French way) eight minutes of film every directed and one which reputedly involved director Claude Lelouch being arrested on its opening night. More to come on this extreme piece of POV filmaking in due course.....















Personally, I was in clover all day watching a series of creaky old British Transport Films, one of which was a promo for the Hoverspeed service from Dover. This 1980 production had shades of the appalling north sea ferry based soap opera Triangle and used a crude mix of sexual innuendo and mildly xenophobic jokes in an attempt to drum up a sense of inter-continental glamour. All of which, as Will Wiles pointed out in a comment on my previous post, was a desperately long way from the reality of travelling by hovercraft, which, even in the film, seemed bizarrely uncomfortable. 

A call to my parents this week confirmed that the only time I went on one of these machines was from Pegwell Bay, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I finally managed to get there too, where I took the photographs accompanying this post. It's now part of a nature reserve and is really very beautiful in a bleak and gloomy kind of way. Grey plovers, oyster catchers and all manner of aquatic bird life potter around the sand banks, while the shoreline is covered by a spectacular number of cockle shells. In the background looms the derelict concrete cooling towers of Richborough Power Station, a legacy of the defunct Kent coal industry. Nearby, on the sandy marshes outside the landlocked harbour of Sandwich is the mighty Pfizer factory, a sort of priapic joke about the nature of the local economy.

 













I was there at low tide when the sand banks were clearly visible, small grass topped kidney shaped islands sitting like inverted golf bunkers in the mud. The concrete apron of the former hoverport has become covered by a slightly lurid green algae and, at the waters edge, provides the perfect launch pad for wading birds. While I was there a group of teenage kids were hurtling around on a very loud and very smoky motorbike which, as someone brought up in the thrill free charms of rural Essex during the glory days of the  Yamaha fs1 e, I can entirely understand.

2 comments:

Kosmograd said...

What the hell were they thinking when they made Triangle? Watch Episode 1

Charles Holland said...

apart from the pathetic lechery and the fact that its clearly freezing on the deck of that rusty decked ferry the best bit is the logo....terrific all round.