Monthly Archives: August 2011

London and SitC

A trip to London and SitC 2011.

Went down to London for a week recently. Got down there at the tail end of that period of rioting. However all I saw was Londoners (and tourists) all just getting on with life. The reason for heading down from Glasgow; to attend the three days of Summer in the City YouTube Gathering (SitC) and also have a few days in London of just being a tourist.

SitC was good. I don’t know how many attended over the week-end, perhaps six or seven hundred. A bit of Hyde Park, a bit of Regent’s Park and a bit of Jubilee Gardens; and in the evenings some music sessions. Nice to see some familiar faces and nice to make some new contacts. For a few people this is the only time throughout the year that they get the chance of face to face meetings with their internet social contacts, especially when these people are located in different countries.

One area that seem to have become a surrogate home for many YouTubers is Camden. An interesting area of shops and markets, lots of food places and the canal going through the middle. Walking around there the day after SitC had ended and I was bumping into many I knew, all just winding down. Although not really my style of clothing, heading off into The Stables market area and a wander around CyberDog is always fun. A few years ago if someone had asked me if I’d like to live in London I’d probably have said ‘no’, however I’ve going down there to Gatherings over the last three years my attitude to the city has changed, and if I could afford a property there, then I would happily move there now.

Back to SitC – an amazingly friendly get together. Yes, with that number there there will be personality clashes and the like, on the other hand it is so large it’s easy enough to avoid those you may not wish to see. No barrier to gender or age, many there in their early teens, others there retired. Spread across Friday – Saturday – Sunday some just turned up for one day, but what did surprise me was the numbers there at the start on Friday lunchtime. Walking into Hyde Park and seeing in the distance this huge crowd of people was just amazing. I’d expected (and we got) large Saturday numbers, but to see so many there so early at the start was great.

This was the third SitC and at least this time YouTube bothered to send some representatives which was nice. Provisional dates for 2012 are for the 17th – 19th of August. I hope to go.

Arrietty

Just seen the film Arrietty, a Japanese anime film from Studio Ghibli.

Ever since seeing Spirited Away in the cinema some years ago and being totally blown away at the quality and drawing style of the art work I’ve been a fan of Ghibli. Don’t expect anything too dramatic or shocking from their films, they are not ‘action films’ in the way of a typical Hollywood blockbuster (though many of the films do involve violence and war), but are more films that make you stop and think – and you’re still thinking days after watching!

Arrietty is a Japanese take on The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Enjoyed the film and though
I’ve not read the books this has certainly encouraged me to look out for them the next time I’m book shop browsing. (One thing Harry Potter has done for me is to alert me to the fact that may books classed as for children are perfectly adult compatible.)

The showing of the film was in English, and this is one thing that I felt let the film down. Usually I’ve been quite happy with the English language versions of the Studio Ghibli productions, sometimes watching the DVDs I have in English, sometimes in Japanese but with subtitles. However I think in this case they got things wrong, they made to too English. It may be based on an English story, but like it or not this is a Japanese film, the principle building has an oriental feel to it, the characters may have a western style of dress, but they are still oriental characters, the whole visual style of the film is of a Japanese Studio Ghibli film, you know you are in the East. Yet they’ve given the characters such extreme and so stereotypical English accents that it’s totally out of place with the rest of the atmosphere and of the setting, and made it a bit disjointing to watch.

In all the other Ghibli films I’ve seen the English language version may not have been perfect, but it has never distracted me from the film. This time I really did find it failed to blend in, but sat separate / on top of the visual storyline. A shame, I’m sure I’ll see this film again and will get the DVD, but will definitely be going for the Japanese language version with English subtitles.