Tuesday, July 30, 2013

London and Norwich

Some more photos from the UK visit.  A meeting of The City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society for a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Blue Amberol cylinder's introduction to the UK.  DJ MAC from WFMU's "Antique Phonograph Music Program" was traveling with me and made a recording of the presentation -- you can listen to it here.

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Shot some film making the trip out to Kingston upon Thames to the site of the grave of Nipper, the "His Master's Voice" dog.  Or rather, the place where the grave once was, before a bank was built there. In the lobby of the bank is the plaque: "At the rear of Lloyds Bank is the last known resting place of Nipper the famous HMV dog.  This commemorative plaque was unveiled by Mr D. F. Johnson, Chairman of HMV Shops Limited on the 15th August 1984."

Every bit as underwhelming as I anticipated. The plaque might as well say "Nipper is not here."

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A visit to Norwich to interview DJ78.  The shoot was terribly delayed by a guy in Ipswich who decided to climb onto the roof of the train station.  Ended up taking a little over ten hours to make the two hour journey from London to Norwich: waiting for hours at the station since the overhead lines that power the trains had been shut off, waiting in a long queue for a bus to drive all the passengers around the problem area, boarding a diesel train they brought in only to disembark before it even left the station when the police decided not to let any trains through, taking a bus to another train station where there was service, and then having to take two different trains to finally make it to Norwich.  Was such a welcoming sight for MAC and I to see DJ78 after so many hours of transportation limbo.

But despite these transportation woes, did get to film a lovely sequence punting on the river with portable gramophones.  What a splendid experience to be punting with the gramophone playing!  Indeed, listening to 78s on a boat seems to nicely illustrate one of the benefits of these acoustic and spring-driven devices free from the constraints of some form of power supply.

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A sad event just prior to the UK visit; the passing of DJ El Nino, who I'd been in touch with in order to interview and film at a wonderful London vintage event called The Black Cotton Club.  Did shoot some footage of The Black Cotton Club.  Did get to briefly meet DJ Lady Kamikaze, the co-host of The Black Cotton Club and widow of El Nino.  Throughout the trip got to experience how greatly El Nino is missed by the many people who knew him.  He had been one of the central facilitators in energizing the vintage scene with the events he helped create, and through his participation as a 78 record spinner.  He was far too young, but cancer is a cruel and unforgiving thing.

"That's all."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The end of June marked the moving past half-way point in the shooting of "78rpm."  Took a visit up to Victrola Repair Service in Vermont.  Was very nice to see the place after years of sending motors up there to be worked on and springs to be replaced.  Some other enjoyable shoots included bellydancing and music on 78 record with Kaoru and MAC at Bizarre in Bushwick; an interview with Denny Daniel of the Museum of Interesting Things; roving with the camera amid the shelves of 78s at the Rogers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound; and a fun time creating a Georges Melies inspired sequence with Professor Adam Smasher!

A good feeling to be more than half done with the shooting on the film.  Several more shoots planned out for August and September in the New York area, but July is mostly devoted to doing interviews and gathering footage in the UK.

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A fascinating vintage culture scene here in London and elsewhere in the UK.  On Sunday was doing some shooting of the Shellac Sisters at the Henley Festival, spinning 78s on portable gramophones.

Picked up some records at the flea market, and also at the Tony Tunes record shop.  Was looking for examples of the "local flavor" of the place -- English music hall examples and such (found a few nice ones) -- but also interesting to see how much the American cultural influence spread itself to the rest of the world: with stacks and stacks of Bing Crosby and the like.  Passed on those.  But did pick up a little Mickey Katz, and British pressings of the California Ramblers, and Louis Armstrong, just because I couldn't resist.

Visited The City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society, where a presentation on the Blue Amberol cylinder took place.

Coming up, shooting some film at The Black Cotton Club and a visit to DJ78 in Norwich.  You can read this very nice interview with him here.

"That's all."