Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Sky II

Photography in Scotland is complex. I very rarely use the flash, and this is good for capturing the rich colours of the skies and the plants, even giving them a mournful intensity. Yet it seems to give inorganic objects a very metallic look. I am not certain how it is that the film technology captured these with mattes. But then, maybe everything is too shiny these days. It certainly seems an odd trend. As Don Quixote said, 'all that glitters is not gold'. And that was before acrylic was invented.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The greatest pride I've felt for British Public Transport...

...is when I've heard that London buses will carry Russian Orthodox Church posters to counter balance the 'new atheist' bus slogans.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Cromarty Photos

The most picturesque sewage works on earth, the town spire, mea culpa (bilingual pun)

Serpents in the Flowering Cave

Today was very beautiful. I went for a walk to Cromarty. The scenery there was stunning in the sunny haze. From a sociological viewpoint Cromarty itself is something of a shithole: a microcosm of modern Britain. There is a largely unemployable class of natives and a gruesome middle class stasi that spies on its neighbours. Someone was fined £50 for feeding a seagull. I asked my friend Bogdan if the communist Romanians would have done such a thing. He said that not even they were that creepy.

Bogdan made another very good (and important point) that in communist Romania sneaking on your neighbours was regarded as the lowest, creepiest thing to do. Yet in modern Britain it is regarded as virtuous behaviour.

That is the strange paradox of modern Britain. Whilst the New Labour government is justly fiercely criticised for the power it has on people's lives, the British people seem to thirst for an even more authoritarian government.

I do hope that Britain will rediscover Christianity and realise that love is not the feeble, marketable word that they now think of it as. Love is not the word scrawled in pink icing sugar, or film of actors/ actresses speaking other people's words that they've rehearsed to a camera, but means showing respect for one's fellows and realising that they have the right to privacy. However, with the appalling state of Britain's churches, I have no real hope that Christian ethics will replace the Big Brother morality of our current society.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Que la Bete Meure

Just finished watching an excellent Claude Chabrol film, translated as 'This Man Must Die'.

Chabrol was (in my opinion) the greatest of the New Wave directors. QLBM is the type of film that is no longer made, or so it seems. An intelligent, well-paced, well-acted, subtly-written film that does not try to be clever. It had a superbly witty performance by Jean Yanne as a genuinely obnoxious character.

Sadly, the most recent French film I saw was the wretched 'Brotherhood of the Wolf'. This film tried being an American film. But trying to make American films is probably the best way of making a modern British film. 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' seemed just that through its use of anachronistic music, mugging to replace irony and vivid special effects to replace atmosphere.

Still, France seems to have retained a lot of its culture and their film industry is still comparatively good.

Incidentally, Brittany (where most of QLBM was filmed) was much like Scotland. Yet I think our scenery needs the 1960s technicolour to draw out the rich colours and contrasts. I fear that even if we did have a film industry to speak of, it would depend on the most recent technology, rather than the technology most apt for capturing our scenery.

Sky I

Friday, 24 April 2009

Box Buster

I took this photograph in Edinburgh. The poster is for a film that is supposed to be one of the lamest and unfunniest comedies in ages. It is interesting as a montage because the derelict phone-box demonstrates that the selfish and infantile values that such films instill will in the end turn to bite the capitalist system that creates such films.

I think in some ways the Orthodox Church has been blessed by its distance from power, and its lack of a 'self-righteous' religious right. To make prudish criticisms of posters such as this would probably be counterproductive. I certainly do not see myself as less of a sinner than the people involved in this poster. But can't they ask themselves if they are really engendering the values they claim to be promoting (love, humour, open-ness) or if they are really creating a lonely, fierce, bigoted and atomised society. Mocking Christian symbolism is so commonplace, I do not even know if the poster makers were aware of it.

Being interested in Russia, I also have an interest in the USSR. This scene reminded me of a description of the 'militant godless carnival', full of forced merriment and forced companionship.

Yet people in the USSR could believe that these values were the result of their appalling leaders. Do we Brits have such an excuse?

Deformable Mirror

Christos Anesti!

I used this blog name because I hope to write about how the British media constantly misleads the country into seeing itself in a particular way. Through skewed facts, feeble logic and pure mendacity Britain's media feeds the nation with a view of the outside world and foreign cultures that is harmful to us as a country.

Being a Russophile, I find it especially interesting how Russia has become a Jungian archetype of everything Britain opposes, whilst in some regards it has come closer to some supposedly British ideals than the modern British governments are. Still, I always welcome disagreement. I even like disagreeing with myself.

Could Britain achieve the self-congratulation that follows cowardice were it not for the warped reflection of Russia it shows to its people? Who knows? But Britain is not a secular country. Atheist yes, but its media and politicians believe in a certain creed and ignore all evidence to the contrary. These are articles of faith in modern Britain:

1) You are a supporter of Capitalism and Freedom if you support the free market. That this means buying vast goods at credit from a communist dictatorship is beside the point

2) A few centuries ago some British landowners wrote Magna Carta. We privatised most industries. Thus Britain is free and liberal. Any facts to the contrary are to be ignored.

3) CCTV cameras reduce crime.

4) Privatised transport is the best in the world.

5) Russia is a dictatorship under the perennial grasp of Vlad 'the bad' Putin.

6) We have a two party democracy.

7) There is a 'special relationship' between Britain and the USA.

8) The Russians are 'jealous' of the Brits. This is obvious because a Russian crook was poisoned.

9) If you disagree with the received wisdom concerning the 'Hitler' of the moment, then you are 'Chamberlain'.

10) Faith is only valid if it is in atheist ideologies (which of course have had such a perfect record).