On 19th Feb I went along to The Story – a lovely day-long ‘celebration of everything that is wonderful, inspiring and awesome about stories’. It felt incredibly indulgent, spending the day listening to different people tell their stories in different ways, but it was definitely a day well spent. The Story ‘was a very selfish event’ organised by Matt Locke ‘because I wanted to go to an event like this’. Fortunately what Matt wants struck a chord with everyone there, who thoroughly enjoyed the day. I really hope we’ll see more of the same next year.
The real highlight for me was experiencing the genius that is Tim Etchells. I don’t think I’ve known what it is to sob with laughter before hearing him describe a man showing someone a picture of his children by drawing stick figures on a napkin. You had to be there. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to chat to him over the mid-morning break. Unfortunately, I was far too awe-struck to say anything much beyond, “That were great.” Sorry Tim.
I decided to make a London weekend of things so stayed over in a teeny, tiny EasyHotel pod. On Saturday I made my way to Kings Cross for the Shoot Experience Capture Kings Cross event, which explored the variety of themes and influences from the British Library’s Points of View exhibition. It was kind of a photography treasure hunt – participating teams were given a sheet of clues to Kings Cross locations and handed in their camera’s memory card of photographed answers at the end of the afternoon. My friend Jennie and I had a great day running around Kings Cross trying to find answers and inspiration and snapping away. Above is the slideshow of images we submitted in response to these clues – can you match them up?:
A. Once number eight of nine, a gas provider in its prime, now standing alone awaiting renewal.
B. This place of worship has proved Hardy against advancing development since AD 313.
C. This basin has long since washed its hands of ice and is now a cultural Place ft for a King.
D. For an aerial view of the Regeneration around, head to this old House – follow York and onto the Wharf.
E. From Industrial coal yard to a Natural revolution this Park is an ornately gated hidden gem.
F. Cut from the same brick as its neighbourly station, this tower of text houses the photographic history to inspire your journey today.
G. The Camera Never Lies
H. Making Tracks
I’d love to see Shoot Experience do something in Birmingham. Although their events are mainly London ones it seems they do sometimes venture North, and there’s definitely enough people in Birmingham up for having a fun day out with their cameras to warrant it.
On Sunday I just fancied chilling by watching a film so headed to The Renoir Cinema in Russell Square to catch a screening of Michael Heneke’s astonishing The White Ribbon. The 3-hour film (which doesn’t feel like it) tells the story of ‘A village in protestant northern Germany. 1913-1914. On the eve of World War I.’
On the face of it village life is ordered and harmonious, with the villagers happy with their place within the pecking order of the traditional feudal system. But strange things start happening – ‘Who tied the wire to trip the Doctor? Who set fire to the barn? Did you ever wonder who tortured Karli?’ The local schoolteacher takes it upon himself to investigate and discovers the seemingly idyllic society is, under the surface, rotten to the core, with those who should be righting the wrongs too fearful to face up to them and preferring to turn the other way.
Of course a lot of reviewers took this as a precursory tale to the horrors of Nazi Germany: ‘Did these events contain the germs of the tragedies that followed?’ What it screamed to me was just how contagiously toxic bad elements within communities often are, and how harmful smoothing over the cracks can be.