Posts Tagged ‘arts’

The GoPro is marketed as the world’s most versatile camera.

It’s certainly led me to put five words together in a sentence that, until today, had never occurred to me could possibly belong together: man attaches camera to trombone.

Go on. Take a look.

And I want one, please. A GoPro, that is. Not a trombone. Not that I have the foggiest idea what I would do with it.

Attach it to the cat and see where he disappears to in the day? Now there’s an idea…


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I’ve long been a gamer, ever since I first laid my sticky mitts on a ZX81 and dived into Mazogs:

My favourite games these days are MMOs, usually fantasy-based, like EQ and EQ2. I have also had a sneaking fondness for FPS games, like Unreal Tournament. The game I am playing most at the moment is Battlefield 3. Up to 32 players on each side, from across the world, play as either US or Russian forces in various forms of battle on various maps, small and large. My liking for this sort of thing is probably a throwback to watching films like Where Eagles Dare as a kid, though there is also a real and peculiar sense of camaraderie when four of you are locked down in the same squad, all communicating by Team Speak, buildings blowing up around you and ammo running low. It is also remarkably cathartic after a frustrating day.

We are so used to seeing computer graphics in films these days, like the magnificent CGI tiger in Life Of Pi, that we can barely distinguish them from the real thing. Conversely, the graphics in many modern games, like BF3, are so realistic, and the models so controllable, that artistic sorts around the world are creating films using exclusively in-game footage.

This effort from Fierce Eagles, a team of gamers in Pakistan, and ultra-violent as it is being based on BF3, is quite something else.

Take a look at Mazogs above.

And then check out the video below to see how scarily gaming technology has advanced in the thirty years since Mazogs was published by Bug Byte in 1982. (Warning: there is a lot of shooting and killing.)

Where will full-immersion 3D, more powerful processors and even higher definitions take us in the next thirty years?

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Can’t beat a bit of LEGO® stop motion. There’s some truly brilliant stuff around, some of the best knocked up by the Brotherhood Workshop. Here are four of my recent favourites, two from the aforementioned creative team.

This has a great Lord Of The Rings riff on a box (Legolas trying to help Gimli see over the parapets):

Gollum singing the Justin Bieber classic “Baby”:

A lovingly created Indiana Jones pastiche from kd2apoof called “Indiana Jones and the Mystical Gemstone”:

A full-length French thriller, by Maxime Marion and Studio Sepsilon, complete with subtitles (!):



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Wherever you are in the world, whatever you do, music seems to have an incredible capacity to lift the spirits and create a sense of purpose and community. Here are two very different examples of that inspirational power in action.

The first is a musical flashmob that was sponsored by Spain’s fifth largest bank, Som Sabadell, to celebrate its 130th year of operations. Flashmobs have a wonderful way of startling people with their incongruity whilst at the same time generating a sense of fun and bystander participation in something quite special.

The second is the amazing story of Paraguay’s Landfill Harmonic, where children and young adults have made their instruments exclusively from rubbish reclaimed from the tip in Catuera. Built on top of a landfill that is still active, receiving 1,500 tonnes of waste a day, and where the water is regularly polluted, the story of this little band is nothing short of miraculous. Director of the orchestra, Favo Chavez has created something very special, using music to help the local youngsters aspire to rise above the danger and misery of their lives.

A film is in production about their stunning achievements.

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“Heed now the tale of Rapunzel and Thyme,

Tick tock tick tock,

Whose lives were bound by a pocketwatch,

Tick tock tick tock…”

Effervescent Theatre have a new production opening in Plymouth on 13th February. It’s called The Fish Hearted Bride and is a dark and twisted story that mixes in elements of well-known fairy tales to create a show for all the family.

As part of the promo, my ultra-cool future brother-in-law was asked to star in their promotional film trailer. Check it out below and tell me he shouldn’t be in the next Tolkien movie, swinging a bloody great sword!

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Automata are non-electronic moving machines that, in ancient times, were used either as toys, or idols or to demonstrate basic scientific principles.

Art and design website Colossal carries images and a video of Dutch artist Levi van Veluw’s newest creation, in wood (originally sourced from Faith Is Torment). There is something fascinating and beautiful about the intricacy of its mechanical design and I can only marvel at the skill of people with the talent and patience to make things such as this.

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I often spend my Sunday evenings soaked in wine and good conversation, some beautiful opera or song playing as the fire crackles and the chatter fades away to a more melancholic reflection. Such moments reveal the beauty and versatility of the human voice. It’s an instrument you can take anywhere to entertain and enthrall. Whether it is using their vocal chords to imitate a musical instrument, an electronic drum kit or merely another voice, the Internet reveals plenty of examples out there of incredible vocal talent, not all as obvious as you might first imagine.

Here are some of my favourites that celebrate our most portable and personal of instruments.

Queens of the Night

Mozart’s Aria, Der Hölle Rache, is one of the most notoriously demanding for a female soprano, hitting the high F two octaves above middle C – very rare for opera. Here are four of my favourite performances – from one regarded as near perfect (Diana Damrau) to arguably the worst recording ever – Florence Foster Jenkins, all via two extraordinary impromptu performances from youngsters.

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The human beat-boxes

These four take having a sense of rhythm to a whole new level. The range of sounds and noises they produce is quite extraordinary.

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The impressionists

Every since I was a kid I have been fascinated with impersonating other voices. I have had a stab at it myself and can manage a fairly credible Iain Paisley and, after a whisky or three, a fairly menacing Clint. These four, though, are something else, impersonating everything from cartoon characters and singers to zebras and car engines.

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The instrument impersonators

After a few beers I do quite a good guitar solo impression from Stairway to Heaven. I also do a pretty mean trumpet impression, especially if it’s a brass band take on Abide With Me. My guitar and trumpet impressions are nothing compared to these two, though.

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The singers

And so, full circle, to singing and the simple joy of making a beautiful sound. From two Asian unknowns to Callas and Pavarotti, the world has been privileged to enjoy some truly beautiful voices, from all walks of life.

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