Archived entries for hinterland + countryside

robinson in ruins : patrick keiller

Excited by the trailer, although on first listen not keen at all on Vanessa Redgrave’s workwomanlike narrative voice… sounds like a first take, read on a day when she would rather be somewhere else… not convincing at all – really hammy. However there must surely be merit in the choice of Redgrave slipping on the shoes of the deceased Paul Scofield, once the full film is seen.

Visually looks wonderful though. No real impression of where the film is going from the trailer, which is just fine. More when I’ve had a chance to see it… Commented here at the Brian Dillon article/overview.

An intelligent review at Reverseshot.


Saturday 6 Nov, stotting about the back streets of Blundell Sands courtesy of a co-incidence with reasons I won’t bore you with, but close to Antony Gormley’s Another Place at Crosby Beach (Sinclair and Petit did a silly commercial roadmovie and came here) – got dropped off at Lime street and had 90 mins to discover Liverpool centre around chinatown again. By this time it was raining but didn’t matter. Took my time and well worth getting wet.

Love to hear from anyone from Merseyside who’s reading this. Now reading Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier. I will be back – lovely people those Livers though, aren’t they though.

Mark Melia couture school lane liverpool

BBC4 : Rosslyn + Norman MacCaig

Rosslyn Chapel: A Treasure in Stone is narrated by the academic Helen Rosslyn – well she should know this one. Looks like she’s also doing a series on the Normans which makes sense as there is a strong connection with the french in the rosslyn/St Clar family. BBC4 60min film here

I’ll be doing something about the Glasgow Cathedral connection she mentions shortly – impressed by a new visit recently, with a quick recce round the Necropolis for auld time’s sake. (person who dropped the Fuji Neopan Acros 35mm film canister near the John Knox column – contact me here)

Norman MacCaig is the subject of a Billy Connolly biopic, upcoming soon on BBC4. I usually bypass these filet-o-cunningham “macho pertyck guys with sandy bell beer paunches wi’ fiddles an’ greying ponytails” big-up their mates, but this one might be OK seeing as it’s about the normal for a scottish poet MacCaig – the presenters go in search of Norm’s not-quite-hemingway marlin-del-scota in a wester-coaster shangri-la lochan in a hanging valley.

image below bbc4 screen shot : Rosslyn chapel roof couple

robinson in ruins

Soon to be released by the BFI is Patrick Keiller’s new film, Robinson in Ruins, which now has narrator Vanessa Redgrave, reprising Paul Scofield, picking up the story of Robinson’s investigations after London / Robinson in Space.

Synopsis from the BFI site :

Patrick Keiller’s latest sees his shadowy, somewhat eccentric titular researcher embark on another tour of ‘sites of scientific and historical interest’ in and around Oxford.

A decade after his earlier trips around London and England, film cans and writings are discovered suggesting that Robinson – though is that his real name? – resumed his investigations upon release from prison. Keen to cure the world of ‘a great malady’ (symptoms include the banking crisis, global warming, war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the transfer of British land to obscure owners), Robinson sought – or so we’re told by an ex-lover (Vanessa Redgrave) of the now deceased narrator of the first two films – to communicate with ‘non-human intelligences’ determined to preserve life on Earth… Keiller’s witty, revealing script weaves together philosophy, the arts, history, politics, economics, science, agriculture, architecture and much else, even as surreal, mysterious and beautiful images, imbued with a deep love of the natural world, remind us of what’s at risk. Timely indeed.
- Geoff Andrew

Although I definately don’t agree with a couple of things she stands for, read more about the much-respected actor/activist Vanessa Redgrave
Read an excellent interview with Patrick Keiller at 3AM magazine

edinburgh trams + tesco linwood

This is a tale of two present-day powers in so-called Scotland – one political and one commercial.

Edinburgh’s other Disgrace – The Trams
Enter stage left Council leader Jenny Dawe and “The Right Honourable” George Grubb, “Lord Lieutenant” and “Lord Provost” of Edinburgh. They may not have much to do with the day-to-day management of the project but as leaders they are ultimately responsible. If you are not a resident of Edinburgh, of course you’ll never have heard of them. Let’s just say… they’re not exactly full of intelligent ideas and nous, right up there arguing coherently with Norman Foster. Just worthies doing their best, but with zero vision or engagement, by all the evidence.

One example of this lazy thinking is the still to be installed gantrys that will carry the power lines for the new trams. These are big, tall, ugly objects and there’s going to be lots of them – and guess what, they will thoroughly pollute the view to the royal mile from Princes street. Thoughtless stewardship and care, when alternatives to a glaringly obvious and crucial issue should have been sought and sorted right from the start – Bordeaux, for instance, has the power in the ground. If any city should reduce its street furniture quota, it’s Edinburgh. The technical difficulties of this power system are minor when you relate it to the unreal amount of money being spent overall – they’re not employing NASA to launch the Scott Monument on a five-year mission to Venus after all – it’s just some trams.

You’ll know who your city’s sockpuppets are too. For Edinburgh, this ill-conceived and wholly unnecessary Tram project has been an utter logistical disaster (um… familiar… how quickly they’ve all forgotten the parliament messups) and will result in the city remaining in yet more serious debt for decades. The contractors Bilfinger Berger are not to blame – they’re the only professionals here – and must be appalled at the mess this over-politicised and underperforming world heritage site has got them into.

Previous post on Leith Waterfront and the Tram terminus at Newhaven here Also an article and googlemap on the Gogar hinterland I did last year.

TescoTown Linwood*
In the west the rules are broken by Wendy Alexander; mouthy MSP to the beyond-rundown Paisley North constituency. I have to grudgingly say that she is one of the very few political individuals in Scotland (Margo Macdonald is the other) who seem to have a care… and so from trams to tesco.

Tesco Linwood, in Paisley North, is a proposed tescotown, close to Paisley (a once-proud victorian powerhouse south-west of Glasgow). Let’s set the parameters right from the start – there is a large Morrisons at Johnstone and a large Asda at Phoenix park both less than 5 mins away from Linwood – Tesco desperately want a piece of their competitors, not being content with their own supersized Tesco Extra at Port Glasgow, 15 minutes away, or their Paisley Love St fiasco 2 mins away, or their midsize at Kilbirnie 15 mins away (which has completely devastated the local retail community in that small town).

So, what’s a poor megaopoly to do…

Stage One: set up an untransparent Tesco front company – in this case, Balmore Properties – who act as mafia-style landlord to the dwindling retail businesses in the nasty mall you want to flatten and re-develop. Balmore act sluggardly and earn the ire of the business community as well as concerned locals.

Bingo – you have your fall guy.

Stage Two: Oh that’s terrible, we’ll utterly renew the crumbling graffiti-and-crime-infested-nastiness that is Linwood’s centre (Balmore – boo!) and make it all nice and cuddly again. Here’s a really naff website that has been designed to make us seem part of the solution… – yay, see those hillman imps, makes yer proud dun’t'it.

Stage Three: the public beg you to save them from, er, Balmore. You accept that challenge. Another crap store, a sprinkling of architecturally substandard “affordable flats” and a couple of football pitches should shut them up. Much more importantly – a black eye for asda and morrisons.


And now for the bill (stupidity and corruption always costs)

1 Removal of local business economy (re-instatement of some like hairdressers – as Tesco tenants, naturally – trebles all round)
2 Wage-slave economy – x number of part-time shelfstacker jobs at minimum wage – woo hoo.
3 Planning acceptance must-haves – schools, houses, all to LCD standards and with zero morals – this is not a benevolent, semi-intelligent Bournville Village exercise.
4 Another peg down the national self-respect indicator board.
5 Several pegs down the distinctive local flavour indicator board.
6 More proof that Scotland PLC is run by aesthetics-and-morals-free politicos with big mouths and small brains.
7 Oh and the profits? They fly south.

Is this what you want? Because that’s what you’ll get.

*Source: Marcus Leroux : retail correspondent : The Times : 31 August 2010

Photo below taken from a bus on west maitland street Edinburgh – Copymade printshop. I think John H might approve of the paraphrase, subject to changing the colour of the additions and the font… not quite right but we get the emotion

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

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