Friday, September 5, 2008

Wednesday, we had a night out. We went to the Proms to see the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle. In other words – one of the best combinations you can get. It was my parents’ birthday present to Lisa.

It was a full house, and we had great seats – and the response to the performers was about the same as you’d have got if the Stones had been performing. I’ve never seen a flutist whooped and cheered – and judging by his reaction, neither had the flutist.

The concert was probably the best I’ve been to – but listening to classical music isn’t like other forms of live entertainment. It’s sort of a background rather than an intense experience – Watch a good film or a rock concert and you’re transported to another place, but that place is decided on by the author. With classical music, the place you’re transported to is your own. It allows your mind to wander rather than taking it somewhere specific.

I started to wonder about making a feature length animation… a story of a train making a journey across a huge fictional country. Every so often, the train would stop to pick up a passenger. Each passenger would be an outcast – for some reason unable to live in the town the train stopped at, but presented with a ticket out by a mysterious conductor. So the film would begin as a series of short stories – all about the various things that isolate and disconnect people in a modern world… but as the train travelled on, the group of passengers bonded… there’s more, but I’ll develop that a little further before I decide whether and where I’m going with it.

By the end of the performance, I have a style in mind too – I want it to be very slow moving, very gentle, and the images to be like oil paintings fading one into the next – so not a traditional style of animation, but more a series of still lifes slightly and slowly moving. I also had the strange idea that the film should be subtitled on the rare occasions when words are needed – with a spoken voice heard, but not in any real language…

Hmm… another idea I don’t have time to pursue….probably.

In Casualty
Woke up on Thursday morning to a call from Sam – she’d been taken ill, but also left the key in the door of her flat, so nobody could get in to help her. Sam is usually pretty able, but there’s the occasional day when her arthritis flares up and she can’t get out of bed. This time it was accompanied by a virus, so doubly bad.

We eventually managed to contact her flatmate, Claudia (the geography of her flat is such that Claudia would have left without knowing that Sam was incapacitated in the living room) and I was able to get in. By the time I got there, Claudia had called an ambulance.

I dropped George off at nursery and joined Sam in Casualty. Casulty is an awful place – not for the reasons you’d think but just because it’s so grotty. It’s like a bus stop or a job centre. Full of people queuing for no reason and sitting around for hours waiting for something to happen. When something does happen it’s usually due to the social ineptitude of one of the waiting public – on this occasion it was a guy who decided the receptionist was a racist and went on to add that she worshipped the devil before being thrown out by security.

Anyway, Sam managed to get out pretty quickly into a ward of her own where various tests confirmed that the chest pains she had were not due to a blood clot or anything else serious and that this was simply a virus which would pass in a day or so.

Lisa returned home early from work and took over while I got home and managed to do a little work. Sam stayed over with us, but is much better today.

3d stuff
today I spent the morning at an Autodesk press event. Taking time out to go to these things is always worthwhile, but I could have done without it today – with the pre-holiday rush and the fact that I got very little done yesterday.

I really must make an effort to get some writing work about the 3d packages – otherwise my position as a journalist writing about 3d is going to drift… Don’t quite know where I’ll find the time, but it’s well worth doing.

Anyway, one thing worth noting is that even though the company is absolutely right at the cutting edge of technology, they still couldn’t get either their coffee machine or their TV to work… it’s not just me, then.

A weight off my mind
Back at my parents’, Mum and Dad seem to have got things going. After a frustrating set of delays, Mum has now been able to order a chair that she can sit in without putting her hip out of joint and she has got on the waiting list for another operation. They’ve also, got a quote in for fitting a shower for her and hopefully building work will start soon. Getting the shower fitted is now very urgent and despite her assurances that I shouldn’t worry, I feel that every day she’s without it is damaging.

Grace and Igor have now moved to another home – hopefully one which treats them better and allows them to get on better together. It’s down in Bognor close to Carol and Roy, my uncle and aunt. Dad is a bit worried about driving that distance to see them, but I hope he’ll try.

They certainly seem to be enjoying the place a lot better – and we plan to drop in on them on the way back from holiday (we’re leaving tomorrow for a week in Bude).

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