Posts Tagged With: Travel
The Best of The Vibes: Part 2
Postcard From Bishop’s Stortford
It’s funny going back to your place of birth, secretly hoping that it still looks like the place you left behind, and your house hasn’t been replaced by a Tesco or Starbucks. I was relieved to see that nothing much had changed when I returned to Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire after more than thirty years. Give or take the odd PVC window frame, and a rash of Ground Forced gardens, it was exactly how I remembered it. I have a lot of happy, hazy memories of growing up here, and we moved away ‘up north’ when I was eight. Relocating to Cheshire was like a cold shower compared to this sleepy, sunny market town in the Home Counties. We went from Cider With Rosie to Wuthering Heights on a one-way ticket. This short film is a tour of my childhood…
Press Quality for HD and watch in fullscreen.
The video features the track Since I left You by The Avalanches, my all time favourite song, which samples old soul band The Main Attraction and Rose Royce, amongst others. It’s a burst of sunshine, and makes me happy every time I hear it.
Gaudi Wonderland – Park Güell, Barcelona
‘A fool or a genius, time will tell,’ said Antoni Gaudi’s tutors as they handed him his degree. Spain’s greatest architect is famous for his gothic psychedelic style which predates the colourful extravagance of the sixties by decades. Park Güell, so named because it was based on the English Garden City Movement, was definitely a work of genius: an undulating pleasure garden of vibrant colour and form.
We stayed in Sitges on the coast, just outside Barcelona, and ventured into the city for a Gaudi expedition and shopping at Desigual. You have to take two escalators up a mountainside until you reach the summit which boasts sweeping views of the city, with the Sagrada Familia just a toy on the horizon.
Speaking of toys, Park Güell is like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. A panorama of spiritual symbolism and gingerbread houses create the ideal environment to relax and enjoy the view. I listened to a busking violin as craftsmen repaired broken tiles, which betrayed the real age of the place.
After the tourists have gone and the sun starts to set, the park starts to feel magical, and you can almost see through Gaudi’s eyes. Influenced by Moorish architecture, Gaudi was a visionary, a Modernista with perhaps a penchant for mushroom tea…
I was fascinated to see how Gaudi recycled unwanted ceramics, or trencadis amongst his mosaics and made something beautiful out of damaged and discarded materials. It’s incredible to think this place is a century old.
Gaudi actually lived here in the park in this house which was intended to be a show home: Park Güell was originally supposed to be a housing development for rich aristocrats! I wonder if their names were Dougal, Florence and Zebedee?
To see Gaudi’s work first hand is to be immersed in the colour of Spanish culture, joyful, flamboyant and bursting with energy.
Up next: Barcelona – The Sagrada Familia.
The Doctor Who Experience
It’s amazing that The Vibes is nearly one year old, and yet you’ve all been spared one of my great obsessions. I just got back from London, where Panos and I went to The Doctor Who Experience, part thrill-ride, part exhibition. It’s the nearest you can get to actually being in the fifty-year-old BBC sic-fi show. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the world of the Tardis, Doctor Who is the perfect story: an infinite format which can be applied to just about anything that’s happened, and everything that hasn’t. It’s all about an alien with a stolen time/spacecraft, roaming the universe in search of trouble, saving lives and planets and fighting evil.
This is a short film of our trip to space, which includes a remix of Delia Derbyshire’s ground-breaking electronic theme, which is widely regarded as the earliest example of techno. She recorded it in 1962. Read it and weep, Detroit.
Watch in high definition and full screen…
“All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?” as the Doctor says to his companion. When it comes to travel, he’s universally free range. The sheer scope of this format means that the show keeps regenerating, much like the Time Lord himself. It never gets boring and big hitters like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are eyeing the film rights as the Doctor’s profile continues to grow. For the madman with a box, this is going to be a great year. There, that was painless, wasn’t it?
The remix from the video can be listened to here,
Or download here (right click)
I decided to remix Delia Derbyshire’s iconic and pioneering version of the Doctor Who theme to get me out of copyright wrangles when I posted the above video on YouTube. I took three samples, a ‘seething’ sound which was a kind of slithering hiss, the Tardis wheezing and a single bass note, which sounds a bit like a drum. It turned into an epic project and I stalled halfway through. Rather than go insane, I re-recorded the complete half of the track in reverse, and stuck it on the end of the first half, effectively doubling the length of the track and making it sound like I’d done twice the work. George Martin would love me. Delia, however would probably not join me on the dance floor as I threw shapes to the funked up version of her tune. And rightly so: her thundering realisation of Ron Grainer’s theme was the very first example of electronic dance music and about 20 years ahead of it’s time. It’s definitive and unique. No other piece of music has sounded like it before or since, and like a siren it excites and unsettles. It’s interesting to note that this version has never been successfully improved upon, in 50 years of Doctor Who.
Other Doctor Who posts: Art Deco Dalek, Doctor WhoTube and Who Tune Remixed
Christmas in Amsterdam – Interactive!
The second part of my trip to Amsterdam.