scribbles tagged ‘TV’

House family watch THE boat race

Thursday, April 4th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

After Dinner CoffeeEaster Sunday, sated on a tender lamb roast with the trimmings including a cheeky little mint sauce. We indulge in a favoured family tradition, settling down to watch the Boat race. We all support Oxford for reasons long since lost in the Ethernet. Mum suspects it’s because they used to loose a lot when she was a gal and we should support the underdog.

Coffee PercolatorThe ‘House’ style for watching THE boat race is diverse. I was the only person who did it with open eyes despite the thick, percolated, coffee supplied by mumsie from one of her 20 or so prized percolators. I’ll call her  ‘Grandmum’ because we are in the presence of her grandchildren.

Father and daughter watch boat raceBros 62 assumes the horizontal position for viewing enhancement. Pointing his beard between his distant toes.

Niece 92 ensures the blood-flow to her head by placing her legs on the footstool mumsie has procured for her comfort.  At first I though that niece 92 forgot to put a skirt on over her pantyhose when she left home this morning. Apparently this is a style feature.  She is proud of consecutive years of not wearing shorts or a skirt to keep her bum warm. She’s receiving as-it-happens updates from her friends though her much-prized iphone. She’s a tall and creative genius who demonstrates it in many pleasing ways.

Sleeping over Maths A level revisionNiece 94 is multitasking, she’s a formal thinking high-flyer.  Revising for her maths A level while watching the boat race, drinking evil coffee and possibly simulating sleep. What is she doing under that hair? A woman of infinite mystery at just 17.

Watching the boat raceWhile sister-in-law has resisted the black attire favoured by her hubby and daughters, she can’t resist the sleep inducing effect of grandmum’s classic 1960’s Parker Knoll rocker.

Synchronised snoring with the cats

Normality temporarily resumed

House family watch THE boat race
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through the magic door

Friday, December 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Costume HireColourful costumes adorn the window of ‘Event Junction’. C3PO, Marilyn Monroe and more.

I walk by several times a day. It always brings a smile to my face. Cemetery junction is a lively community hub and a traffic nightmare. This store compliments the diversity of the area and starts you dreaming of possibilities and happy events.

It reminds me of the 70’s children TV program “Mr Benn“. It’s a pleasant diversion from the other local, numerous, convenience and fast food stores.

At the moment I’m trying to pluck up the courage to go in and try on the costumes… find my own adventure.

Just seeing the shop makes my day.

through the magic door
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Vermeer composition Forbrydelsen cinematography (part 2)

Thursday, December 15th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Adjacent room

Vermeer's painting of the 'Love letter'The viewer of a Vermeer painting is often placed at a distance where they can see the people in the scene and something of the surroundings

This can be in an adjacent room. In the ‘Love letter’ we can see a dull wall in the foreground to the left and linens on the shelves to the right – as if we, the viewers, are in the servants closet wathcing the mistress of the house pass a letter to a servant

The main action is in the centre of the painting, a well dressed lady taking a moment from playing her lute to pass a letter to a less well dressed lady, pressumably a servant. Both women are sunlit from the left hand side. Even though they are looking at each-other Vermeer has contrived a natural pose that bathes both their faces in sunlight

Viewer lying on the floor of the hallway The Killing II regularly uses this technique. A mother and child talk while the viewer watches from floor level in the hallway. Nearly half the frame is taken-up by the plain dark hallway wall on the right

Unlike Vermeer paintings, the light source is in view. It is low and to the left of the frame. Like Vermeer the reflection adds brightness and focus to the picture. The reflected light on the floor traces a line to us, the viewers

To get to this view the camera has slowly moved along the hallway until it revealed the doorway, the people, then the light source. Unlike Vermeer, cinematographers have the additional dimension of time (movement) to play with. The Killing II cinematographers appear to have carefully considered how we move from one place to another, how people, place and meaning are unravelled and intertwined visually

Voyeurs, not participants

Viewer outside the roomThe same technique is used in this mortuary scene. We, the viewer, are in the adjacent room. We can see the door in the forground to the left.  Comparing with high quality programmes like CSI and NCIS, tradtional cinematography – their approaches focus on the faces of the people in the room. We watch the reactions of the people in the room, watch them ask questions, see close-ups of relevant body parts. These traditional approaches place the viewer in the room – a participant in the post-mortem

In The Killing II we are a viewer at a distance. We watch everyone’s body language, listen to the conversation while staying slightly outside… a voyeur…

The few occassions when they break this general theme, and the actor looks directly at the viewer, become more personally impactful moments:
Actor talks directly to viewer

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Vermeer lighting Forbrydelsen cinematography (part 1)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The cinematography for the original Danish TV drama  ‘Forbrydelsen II’ (‘The Killing II’) is wonderfully atmospheric. The imagery reminds me of paintings by the 17th century Dutch master artists Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch. This is the first of several scribbles exploring the masters’ possible influence

Viewers eyeline

The viewer of Vermeer’s paintings often has the eyeline of a person crouching, 10 or so feet from the main subject. Thier eyes are about 3 foot above floor.  ‘The Killing II’ often places the viewer in the same position, especially when the main players are seated.  This positioning of the viewer was unusual in 17 century paintings and it’s unusual in 21st century TV cinematography. I find the effect pleasing and engaging, as-if I am in the room but not so close to intrude on the main conversation

Viewer At Table     A lady writing a letter - painting by Johannes Vermeer

Lightsource out of frame, left

The use of reflected light, above on the table, is also striking and atmospheric

In Johannes Vermeer’s ‘A lady writing a letter’ the light source is outside the painting to the left, the primary light within the painting comes from reflected light on her face, dress and forearms

viewer at the tableVermeer’s paintings are typically lit from a source outside of view, to the left of the painting. ‘The Killing II’ shows a similar preference for low light from the left hand side. Light within the frame is balanced by using reflection of walls, faces and objects. In this still from ‘The Killing II’ the room is lightened by reflection from a white table, water bottles, drinking glasses and the face of the woman who looks towards the light source

I wonder who had the insight to set this visual direction and stick with it – Producer? Cinematographer, a collaboration? Sadly, the BBC4 website for ‘The Killing II’ doesn’t provide this kind of background information


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teen pop songs save Detriot from baby boom

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

The upcoming cartoon  “Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge” is about “a Strawberry Shortcake pop princess that lives in a candy wonderland just outside of Detroit. She comes into Detroit and helps solve problems of racism and teen pregnancy with the power of love and teen pop songs“.   The lead cartoon character lip-synch’s to sing the pop songs because the actress is a country and western singing star,   not a pop singing star.  

What a fantastic cartoon idea.   I love it when the Americans self-parody like this.   They are self-parodying aren’t they?

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I’m one of them

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

shingle, shingle, shingle, I hear  footsteps on the Wendyhouse approach as I walk to the gate to put my handful of weeds into the garden waste recycle bin.   The gate opens

Sky Rep:   Oh my,   you’re not supposed to come to the gate to meet me

Wendy: coincidence (waving my hand of groundsel, grass and dandelions before placing them in the bin)

Sky rep: I’m from Sky,   do you have freeview or anything like that?

Wendy: I have freesat

Sky rep: OOOO,   Baby sky!   Would you be interested in more channels?

Wendy: I’m very happy with the free service, I rarely watch the channels that I have…

Sky rep:   OH,   you’re one of THEM

He closes gate and shingles aways while I wonder what ‘one of them’ means….

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no intended disrespect

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

after putting on the kettle for my morning cup of tea,   much as I always do, I turned the TV on to the BBC Breakfast news,   much as I always  do.   The words below are approximate   just the gist because I don’t remember the details:

  • someone on TV:     This will be moment that you will remember vividly for a long time
  • someone-else on TV   Like the day Lady Diana died

My attention is grabbed,   Indeed Lady Diana’s death was memorable for me:

8am Sunday morning,   tent taken down and packed in the boot of the car,  tired and sad,   I started driving from the Yorkshire Dales to Portsmouth via London  with only a radio for company.   All the BBC radio channels played a short loop of music and provided no other news than a regular announcement of Lady Diana’s death.   After a couple of hours, hoping the loop would stop, I turned the radio off and drove through the mist and rain accompanied only by the noise of my own sad thoughts.     The BBC TV followed a similar format:

With no intended disrespect,   I suspect that I’ll forget all the uniqueness of the moment that I head Michael Jackson had died.

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the new ‘no TV’

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Young Adult #1:   I have 3 friends that live together who don’t have a computer in their home, one is a librarian, one is a shoe-shop assistant and the other works for the council.     They don’t even  have facebook accounts.

Young Adult #2 : No FACEBOOK?!

Young Adult #1:  ‘No computer’ is the new ‘no TV’

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Lionel Bart of the 70’s

Monday, January 26th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

In 1978 Peter Cook acting as a ballroom manager remotely compares the unmissable Revolver series where he introduces Ian Dury as the   Lionel Bart of the 70’s. Ian Dury was often stylishly sporting hats and wearing gloves. Clearly a man with both literary and wardrobe talent. New Boots and Panties! walked with me from the childhood suburbs to an adult world of adventures..

Ian Dury played What a waste
(warning: this video includes Sax)

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public service advertisements

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

why I love England #5: public service advertisements

The most recent series of public service advertisements are aimed at tackling ‘binge drinking’ culture that is painfully obvious on the Streets of British cities and by the behaviour of British holiday makers.

They are very direct and witty: Metro webpage with embedded media files of TV abverts.

My first memory of this striking style of advertisement was the 1986 anti-Aids campaign that leveraged John Hurt as voice-over and Nicolas Roeg’s directorial talent.

public service advertisements
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looky likey #1: Jane Tennison

Saturday, June 16th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Lookey Likey is an  English colloquial phrase that means look like or resemble.   I believe it gained popular use through appearing in a French and Saunders sketch (I couldn’t find online) subsequently used as the title of a TV show.   This post is the first in  an unpredictable, excitingly sporadic, series of posts describing where and how  people have compared me to famous characters or celebritries

colleague:   I’m watching the Prime Suspect series.   It’s excellent.   Jane Tennison REALLY reminds me of you (describes how Jane’s people management skills style aligns with mine)

wendy: yes.   I…

colleague: …has anyone else ever pointed out the similarity?

wendy: yes.

My Jane Tennison-esque lack of conformity to the patriarchially prescribed presentation of the feminine didn’t quite  make it into this charicature produced by another colleague.     Using this picture as evidence you might suspect that I’m a twinset and pearls sort of a gal.

You, I, and my colleague know this is not the case…   …unlike the charicature artiste….

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Sons and Daughters

Monday, April 3rd, 2006 | tags:  |

the US ABC TV sitcom ‘Sons and Daughters’ uses the Gary Glitter song “Rock and Roll (part 2)” as the sound track for their sitcom trailer.   Hearing it  I spontaneously  think ‘convicted Peadophilic sex tourist‘.    Is a  show called ‘Sons and Daughters  using a convicted peadophile’s music  a lamentable  merging  of themes?   Feels like it to me.  

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Swing your pants

Friday, February 3rd, 2006 | tags:  |

or,   if you’re Jennifer ‘Sling your pants’.  

The image of slinging pants reminded me of the UK Saturday Morning TV comedy genius of ‘Trev and Simon’ in the Donavanesque surreal ‘boy  band’ ‘Swing your pants’  captured in Real Video clips at:

W invested-in-new-pants-for-slwinging

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Fanny Cradock

Monday, March 28th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

UK TV cooks #1:  1950’s thru 1970s

Fanny wore ball-gowns in the kitchen, she barked orders at her meek husband Jonny and sheepish assistant Sarah.   In the same breath she would  turn to the camera and smile as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.   Fanny’s fake eyelashes looked like they would support the nest of a small bird.    Her lipstick and eye shadow were applied with the same firm dramatic hand.   One website suggests that she looked, sounded and behaved more like a man in drag than a man in drag.   Her comments often offended people.

As a child I remember that people either really appreciated Fanny or they couldn’t stand her.   I was not interested in the art of cooking.    I thought that she looked like a pantomime dame.   Her offensive comments made me giggle.   That made her programs worth watching.   Several plays have been written about her.   I’ve not been lucky enough to see any of them.   If you know, or find, some interesting stories about Fanny let me know!

Meanwhile Wikipedia publishes Fanny’s story.


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