Cine update

So I have had a successful couple of weeks on the cine front. After my previous blog entry I spotted a lovely looking camera on ebay which I wasn’t going to buy at first but when I discovered that it did single frame shooting I decided to go for it. It was a Bauer C107XL super 8 camera and I managed to buy it for the grand sum of £3.20! It was near where I worked too so I could go and pick it up.

Bauer C107XL

I also managed to buy a Eumig projector from a lady in Maidstone for £5 which was useful as I had £5 on my Paypal account as a credit from an earlier purchase. The best result came when I bought a Prinz Cine editor from a man in Cliffe who was selling it for his mum who live in Strood. Not only did I not have to go all the way to Cliffe to get it but when I got there his mum wouldn’t accept the 99p I won it for and let me have it for nothing!

cine editor

So I had a camera, an editor and a projector and all I had to pull out of my pocket was £3.20! But wait it gets better yet.  I’d also put  an advert on Freecycle which I started to get replies from. First I got a message from someone else in Maidstone who said he had a wind up camera, he said it was Super 8 but I doubted that. When I collected it I was proved right as it was a standard 8 camera – a Rondo Cinematic Zoom 8 camera, very similar to the one my Dad had given me that used to belong to my Uncle George.

I was also contacted by a lady who said her in-laws had some equipment they no longer wanted but as yet that has come to nothing. Then I was contacted by a lady who told me she had some stuff that used to belong to her father but she wanted me to reassure her that I wanted it for my own use. So I told her all about my plans and she said I could have it. She lived up near where my garage is so I popped up there one evening to collect it.

Magnon 800 ZSR

When I got there I couldn’t believe my luck. She gave me a camera, an Ilford Elmo 8-CZ standard 8 camera complete with a handgrip and a home made leather case. There was another projector that, given everything else was standard 8, I assume would be the same. There was also an 8 mm editor and a splicer but best of all there was a box of films. In the box there was a couple of movies – Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy plus about 8 reels of vintage home movie films that her Dad had taken on holiday in Europe in the mid 60’s. He had even made his own soundtracks for them which were also in the box as was the reel to reel tape player.

The only problem there was was that the lead for the projector had perished and needed to be replaced. It wasn’t a standard kettle type plug but looked like it may have been a predecessor of one. So I took a standard IEC mains lead and cut the end off it. I undid the plug on the old one and found I needed to get my soldering iron out! Once it was all put together I plugged it in and……nothing! I got my meter out and discover the fuse had blown in the plug so I replaced it and plugged it back in – the projector sprang to life. I grabbed a film and…

The movie turned out to be a Laurel & hardy movie in black and white

Laurel and Hardy

I was keen to project another film so I found one on a small reel – on threading it I discover that it was a super 8 film and that the projector was, despite my previous thought, capable of playing both formats. I looked into the history of the projector and it dated from the early 70’s whereas everything else was from the mid 60’s so I’m guessing that it may have been a replacement projector that he bought at a later date. I then dug out one of the home movie reels and projected that – the results can be seen below (sorry about the poor quality but it was shot on my cameraphone.

I’ve now also bought a film for the Bauer camera, it’s a Kodak Ektachrome 64T Super 8  reversal film which I shall use as a test film to see what the camera is like. I suspect it may come to the Isle of Wight when we go away on holiday in a couple of weeks.


Sometimes even I think I’m weird!

Yesterday I ended up staying late at work and while I was working I was listening to music. Some of the stuff I was listening to was quite weird by most peoples standards! I started listening to a download from the Avant Garde Project of some music by pioneering composer of electronic music Morton Subotnik.

In the middle of the cacophony of sound that was pouring forth from the speakers I suddenly looked at the clock and realised the time. I paused the music and switched on the radio just in time for the Archers!

Remembered Books

I don’t know why but two books from my childhood suddenly popped into my head this morning. I remembered being read them when I was at school and I’m pretty sure I used to have copies of them as well.

The first was Stig of the Dump which was the story of a little boy called Barney who discovers a caveman called Stig living in a dump near his Grandmother’s house. Although they can’t speak to each other they have many adventures including catching burglars breaking into the Grandmother’s house and being transported back to Stig’s time to help his tribe build  a monolith.

The other book was the Otterbury incident which was written by Cecil Day Lewis which was set in post war Britain. the action takes place in the provincial town of Otterbury which has largely escaped the war except for one bomb which landed in the middle of town – now known as the incident. The main character Nick accidentally kicks a ball through the school window and is ordered to pay for it by the Headmaster.

The other boys feel responsible and decide to help raise the money by busking and show shining but just as they have reached their target the money mysteriously disappears and the boys suspect the local spiv and set out to find evidence to prove it.

I suspect that both books are somewhat dated now although Stig of the dump was made into a TV series in 1981.

Nice one Mr FedEx

white van man

I’m on my way to work but I need some diesel so I pull in to a service station on the busy Maidstone road in Chatham during the morning rush. When I come to leave I find this idiot has parked his van on the pavement between the two entrances to the garage. This means that I can’t see up the road and therefore can’t see if there are any cars coming.

I can’t even go to the other exit because there I won’t be able to see the cars coming from the opposite direction. So I have to slowly inch my way forward and I am almost hit by a car that suddenly appears from behind the van.

What annoys me is that as you can see from the photograph there is a side road just behind where he has parked with no parking restrictions where he could have parked safely and walked to the garage to buy his copy of the Sun or his fags or whatever he so desperately needed.

People like this shouldn’t be allowed to drive vans!

Photobooth 1975-1985

Photobooth 1975-1985

I found a box of negatives in one of the packing boxes stored in the garage and in amongst all the packets was one with a load of pictures of me taken in photobooths between approximately 1975 and 1985. So I arranged them in roughly chronological order from top left to bottom right.

I think the first one was taken while I was still at school so it would have been before 1978. The next one has a stamp of Monkwearmouth CFE on it so it would have been during my A levels. The third one has a stamp dated 13 October 1990 so it would have been just after starting University. The fourth, the first with short hair was during my second year at Salford and has the Student Union stamp on it.

The colour one was obviously taken after I finished university as the beard has reappeared and I grew that while on holiday in Greece in the summer of 1983. The next one has a Newcastle Polytechnic stamp on it so that would have been 1984. The final one must have been when I came down to London to start work in 1985.

Brain the Size of a Planet

I went to give blood this evening and while I was waiting I was flicking through a science magazine when I became interested in an article about a project in Switzerland to “create” a brain by using computers to recreate the processes which the brain uses to function. According to the article they are ahving some success but are limited the the current speed of the fastest supercomputers.

The project leader has said that hopefully within 10 years assuming that current advances in computing technology, and more importantly funding, continues then they should be able to recreate a brain that could think, reason, speak and show emotions.

Science fiction has long used the computer that can talk and think for itself as a basic ingredient of their stories, HAL for example in 2001: A Space Odyssey or Eddie the Shipboard computer and Deep Thought, the second greatest computer in the Universe of Time and Space from the Hitch Hikers guide to the Galaxy.

The thing that all those examples show is that a computer that can think for itself may not think the way you want it to do! This seems to have been overlooked by the team. Further more I guess there is the question of ethics, it you create a computer that that think, reason etc is it alive and should you want to switch it off would that be akin to murder?

Anyway the article was so interesting I had to hang on to the magazine as I went from area to area and finally finished it as I was having my cup of coffee and a biscuit!

Facts of Life

Over the past 25 years I have stayed and worked in a very large number of hotels including some of the biggest and best hotels in the world. In that time I have made two very important observations which I will share with you now.

Firstly no hotel, no matter how many stars it has, is capable of serving a decent cup of coffee in a conference situation. And secondly and even more importantly, no matter how close the kitchen is to the banqueting room none of them, not even the 5 star ones, can manage to get a bacon sandwich to you while it’s still warm!