Wednesday 27 July 2011

Finding Norman

Staying on the subject of Norman McLaren. I just remembered about a Student Radio Broadcast project which my colleagues and friends Karl Magee and Sarah Neely had been part of whilst I was at Stirling, called 'Finding Norman'.  You can listen to the broadcast on the Stirling Film, Media and Journalism YouTube page. The narrator, a student at Stirling Uni is talking about 'Norman' a show I was lucky enough to see at the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling - I wrote a wee preview of the show here

Karl Magee gives some background about Norman McLaren and does a bit of promotion for the archive!  There is an excerpt of Norman McLaren talking in the radio broadcast and he says that 'if all his films had to be destroyed except one I would choose Neighbours'.  Of course, I wouldn't want any of his films to be destroyed but I think it's interesting he chose Neighbours.  It's a superb film and the anti-war message is put across so brilliantly - maybe they should show this film to world leaders who are all too eager to start fights and wars with each other!

Watch Me Move

This is me playing a bit of catch up again but I was thinking about it this morning when I woke up so thought it was time to post about 'Watch me Move: the Animation Show' - an exhibition currently showing at the Barbican in London. It's on until the 11th September and I'm really hoping I'll have time to go back and see it again as I found out after that there were things I missed, and lots I'd like to see again.

Although the first section downstairs was maybe a bit too busy in terms of the number and proximity of the screens at the same time I think it was necessary to give an overview of the development of animation over time.  As a few of the reviews mentioned, I too liked that equal space was given to many of the early pioneers as to the biggies like Pixar, Studio Ghibli, Steven Spielberg etc.  Then upstairs, oh wow, upstairs is just a complete treat for the senses! So many amazing artists are represented - one's that stick out in my memory were: -
  • Chuck Jones Duck Amuck, 1953 - this was so funny! Everyone in the room watching it when I was there were laughing the whole way through, it left you with a nice warm fuzzy feeling.  It also reminded me of the anticipation as a small child of watching the Disney show at the weekends, or knowing that when we went to stay over at our Gran's house she would have compilations tapes of cartoons for us to watch, which we would watch and laugh at, over and over again.
  • Len Lye (I can't remember which one it was sorry)
  • Tim Burton - a fantastic short called 'Vincent' which I watched through twice, it was so good
  • Stan Brakhage The Dante Quartet, 1987 - shown on 16mm - always a treat in itself to see!
  • And last, but by no means least, Neighbours by Normal McLaren.  I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to look through his archive when I was working at Stirling University Archive.  To see his paintings and print work and his beautiful handwritten and sometimes hand illustrated letters home to his parents was a real treat.  I know I could watch Neighbours on YouTube whenever I want but it doesn't compare to seeing it for real, even when it is shown on a scereen in the corridor, as it was here.
There was a Harry Smith film too but I managed to miss that somehow - definetly need to try and squeeze in another visit to this before it finishes!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Sunday morning reading

Sunday morning and I'm not reading the Sunday papers yet, no siree, I'm reading my newly arrived (yesterday) copy of ARC. ARC is the monthly magazine published by the Archives and Records Association in the UK. Although I love archives I wouldn't usually be reading this on a Sunday morning, honest!

The July issue is a Film, Sound and Photography Special, edited by my last boss, David Lee, Archivist and Manager of the Wessex Film and Sound Archive. I'd have been really interested in reading it anyway but even more so because yours truly has an article in it - woop! The article is a joint one written by me and Zoe about our experience of cataloguing the films for the Revitalising the Regions project. We concentrated on two of the film-makers, well three really - Frank and Nancy Bealing and Eda Moore. Nancy Bealing and Eda Moore just really captured both our imaginations and we were very privileged to get the chance to go and speak to Nancy Bealing about the films which her husband made, the one which we made, and the ways she helped with his filmmaking.  I wrote a bit about a visit we paid to Salisbury to do some research about Eda Moore here.

Nancy Bealing in the nursery owned by her & her husband, Frank ©Wessex Film & Sound Archive

The current issue of ARC is not available digitally on the website yet, and even when it is it's only available to members so at the moment I can only give you these images off my camera.

Right, now I'm off to read all the other interesting articles in the magazine!

I had to call up the ARA Office to request another copy be sent out, and an extra for Zoe, as mine hadn't arrived (first time I've had anything published in it and first time it's never arrived!)

Eda Moore with her bolex camera in Salisbury ©Wessex Film & Sound Archive

You can watch some clips from Frank Bealing's and Eda Moore's films on the WFSA Flickr.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Exciting new blog from Stirling University Archives

Well hello there! Sorry this blog's been a bit quiet since last month. it's not that I haven't been thinking about archives and film - I've just been working, and playing hard, and not had much time to write things up!

On Monday night last I was at my first Archives & Records Management London region meeting (I still can't get used to not calling it the Society of Archivists). It was lovely to meet more archivists in London and I have now signed up to be the web officer for the London region website - so now I need to figure out how to do that!

I've been on two sewing courses - both so much fun and I learned a lot from both. I've also been away in Castle Douglas last weekend where I had so much fun catching up with Zoe from McGill Duncan Gallery. Amazingly I managed to come away without buying anything from the gallery - which is a real feat as there are so many beautiful works of art!

Well, last night I had a lazy night home along, enjoying watching a silly romcom, drinking some tasty Fleurie, and also checking out the new blog from Stirling University Archives.

All those who read this blog will know already but for anyone new here I used to work at Stirling University Archives. I worked there for 3 years on a project to catalogue the Lindsay Anderson Collection. Of course I absolutely loved it and it's an amazing collection but it's really nice for me to see on this new blog the other collections in the Archive, particularly the new ones which arrived after, or as, I was leaving. So far there's talk of the Musicians Union Archive - oh how I'd have loved the chance to work on that! - and also the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games Collection. The latest post talks about another film collection held at Stirling, the Archive of John Grierson.  It's so exciting to see them in blogland - welcome Stirling University Archives!!