Recovery...

For almost three months I’ve been confined to our spare bedroom following my discharge from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital a.k.a. the Death Star, a foreboding construction that owes little to the study of architecture.

The reason for my admission was as random as it was prosaic – a fall caused by slipping on algae-slicked paving in my back garden. It wasn’t the fall however but the landing that did for me, having torn every ligament in my right knee, an injury that according to my surgeon, Mr. Rooney was rare enough to draw spectators to the second of my two operations.

~ continue

...

Online/nonline...

Recently on Twitter I posed the question – should I create a new account for my latest film? Already I juggle three accounts @MayMilesThomas, @deilsplantin and @VoyageuseFilm so a fourth is probably overdoing it. The jury’s verdict – stick to my main account – seems only logical so in future I’ll restrict myself to posting here – and linking there.

This, I realise, could easily turn into a full-time job but it’s a necessary one when so much of one’s life and identity is paraded on the conveyor belt of social media. Long before revelations of mass data harvesting, fake posts and dodgy algorithms, the wisdom accrued from years of posting on Facebook (deleted) LinkedIn (inactive) and Instagram (lapsed temporarily) led me to limit my exposure. Thankfully I never strayed into Friends Again or MySpace and so far I’ve avoided WhatsApp, Snapchat and their derivatives. However I admit to having YouTube, Vimeo Pro and IMDB accounts though I’ve failed to exploit them.

~ continue

...

Voyageuse...

When my mother-in-law, Erica Thomas, died in 2004 she left behind a lifetime’s worth of ‘stuff’, yet little of what she possessed showed who she truly was. What began as a familial duty morphed into obsession as I sifted through her belongings, piecing together fragments to create a portrait of a woman’s life far removed from my own experience.

One particular object stopped me in my tracks – a cellophane bag containing four old lipsticks and a plaintive handwritten note that read:

I have no idea when I stopped using lipstick

Tantalising clues found in photographs, letters and family films revealed a very different Erica from the retiring ex-academic I came to know. As a child refugee fleeing Hungary on the eve of war, she was traumatised by family conflicts, separation from her beloved father and the great events of the 20th century.

At her funeral, a very private affair, I had wondered: who would tell Erica’s story? From the outside her life appeared ordinary, destined to pass unremarked. Yet, when seen from inside, her experience was extraordinary. In the years following, Voyageuse became my passion project, made from little but scraps of paper, fading pictures and memories.

~ see more at voyageuse.co.uk

Voyageuse poster

...

The Devil’s Plantation...

In The Kid Stays in the Picture Robert Evans observes:

There are three sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth.

Years ago, while exploring the abandoned Leverndale Psychiatric Hospital, I discovered in a file of case notes labelled ‘Visits After Discharge’ the record of a former patient, Mary Ross. Her habit of taking long, seemingly arbitrary walks around Glasgow caught my attention. When I then chanced upon Harry Bell’s self-published Glasgow’s Secret Geometry I realised I had the makings of a film about my home city.

Harry’s quest, detailed in his book, was to rediscover the trackways by which ancient peoples had navigated. Of the many ‘prehistoric communication lines’ he identified, two passed right through my childhood homes in the city’s southside. This, and my own connection to the many places visited by Harry and Mary, expressed the chance ways in which our lives are contingent and circumstantial, of how we shape the landscape, and how the landscape shapes us.

For two years I travelled over 4000 miles, exploring Glasgow’s edgelands, its schemes, abandoned streets and historic landmarks, re-tracing Harry’s and Mary’s footsteps. Here I encountered my own past, travelling in time to find myself back where I once lived, studied or worked, places now gone or irretrievably altered.

~ see more at devilsplantation.co.uk

The Devil's Plantation poster

...

Internet Explorer is no longer supported (links are disabled). Choose a modern browser here.
  • Chrome

  • Firefox

  • Opera

  • Edge