Monday, June 19, 2006

pictures and voices

This is a simple idea, but somehow beautiful. Lost, anonymous photos, given life and space to capture new imaginations. One of those nice moments you sometimes find on the web, amongst all the clutter and MySpace badness.

Speaking of beautiful, saw Bic Runga this weekend. She looked like a little doll, with a lolly-pink dress, stylish bob and silver sandals. Last time we saw her it was an acoustic set at the Reid Hall. This time there was a band, plus Annika Moa and Anna Coddington on backing vocals. She did a fantastic version of the Jacques Brel song, Ne Me Quitte Pas, but for me Bursting Through, just Bic's voice and guitar, pure and haunting, was the highlight.

All the festival programmes are out now, so lots of poring over listings to do, important choices to make...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Not-quite midnight sun

But 10pm and still bright enough in Edinburgh. The nights are short, the birds getting louder and earlier every day (3.30 this morning). It's a nice time of year. The weekends, in sharp contrast to last year, have been properly hot and sunny. Not wearing a jumper socks and shoes sunny, but shorts, singlet, sandals sunny. Lying on the back lawn with the newspaper and a cool drink sunny. Heck, even going to the beach sunny.

So, like everyone else in Edinburgh, we went to the beach last Sunday...froze our ankles paddling in the north sea, inhaled a lot of burnt sausage fumes, fought for a car park. Despite all that, and all the people (on what is supposed to be one of the quietest nearby beaches), it was wonderful to lie on the beach in the sun!

We also lunched with the Reeves (Snr) this weekend, and found a not-too-rowdy pub in which to watch the very boring second half of the England match. Always nice to see kiwis in town.

Land of the midnight sun

This in Tromso, in northern Norway, at around midnight. As dark as it gets. Makes going to bed, never mind sleep, challenging. I know, you're thinking "blackout curtains, no problem". Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you, in a place that doesn't get dark.

Apart from the lack of sleep, it was a fantastic place to have the opportunity to visit. I went on a work trip - our film was screening at a media festival up there, and I had to give an introduction. And collect our prize - we topped the TV & video category, much to my surprise, beating broadcasters to win a nice vase and 20,000 euro!

A bit of a frontier town - stuffed polar bears on the street, half-finished pavements, some grim-looking drinking dens. At the reception on the first evening, reindeer heart, reindeer fillet, seal and whale were served! But it's a university town too, so there are nice cafes.

Spectacular scenery abounds - snow covered alps close to midsummer, and serene, isolated fjords. The odd patch of shoreline settlement that makes you wonder what it would be like to live there, so far north and so far away. Maybe it would be worth it for the light - like this in summer, and the Northern Lights in winter.