Hey it's a blog, I'm blogging. All this talk about fluids.has brought on a nasty head cold. Up at 6am searching for the Lemsip (a horrid lemon flavoured drink with decongestant) and watching "Dogfights" on DVD.
The History Channel series "Dogfights" prompted the next three to four hours of viewing since I realised just how bad it really was from the simpleton "Top Trumps" presentations to the seemingly good idea at the time computer graphics. To be fair I did learn something new every episode but given the subject and use of 'state of the art' CGI to tell the tale of classic air-wars why did it come over as really dull? Maybe current affairs news programs are to blame, their overuse of 3D graphics to portray everything from the invasion of Iraq to Tiger Woods getting kicked out of his house for a case of the "not-wife" has dulled the senses to the point where I really don't care about news any-more. It no longer gets read, watched or listened to. My mornings are happier and stress free since I'm no longer aware of what the children are up to in Westminster. The media seem to be outraged for me, it's one less thing to worry about.
The downside of forgoing traditional media is a sense of isolation. Feeling I might have been missing out on the recent Battle of Britain events I decide to check out what the BBC have been up to for the 70th anniversary.
*pause to drink my Lemsip - yuck*
Horray. The BBC declared war on boredom as the Battle of Britain Weekend has given us a season of themed documentaries, dramas and ...er...entertainments. The first and one I recommend to everyone to catch is a fascinating film based on the book "First Light" by RAF pilot Geoffrey Wellum, at just 18, he was among the youngest pilots who saw combat and subsequently wrote his memoirs which I must read after watching this erm, docu-dramatainment film. It charts the slide into "VoidComp" (no compassion, the first of two Blade Runner references in this blog post), loosing your humanity and identity through combat on a daily basis.
Geoffrey Wellum was also in the BBC's "The Battle of Britain" documentarytainment 1hr 30min special in which Colin and Ewan McGregor try to ... I'm not sure what. Trace the steps of those pilots? Train up for a once in a lifetime joyride at the controls of a Spitfire? Establish the significance of the events of August/September 1940? I'm not clear what it was about but features lovely photography of Duxford and classic aircraft. Colin is like what Ewan would be if he grows up (and I mean that in a good way). The look on Colin McGregor's face after his flight at the controls of the Spit was priceless. And a great 3 point landing with no bouncing down the airfield.
Not much more to add, except a plee to all documentary makers.
If you're going to raid photo archives for genuine images, is it really necessary to add that off-putting 3D panning effect to EVERY SINGLE BLOODY ONE? You're not making Blade Runner, clearly they weren't using Holographic technology in WWII, photographs only move if you're attending school at Hogwarts, so please lay off the effects that draw attention to your software and not the subject. There's no replicant hiding behind Winston Churchill, Hugh Dowding or Sir Douglas Bader.
I should know, I was just seven years old and in short trousers when I met Douglas Bader, I vaguely knew who he was from my fathers stories. My father was not a pilot, but he was in the RAF doing what he did best, build things, repair planes, make do, valuable skills for the war in North Africa. While posted somewhere in England when Duggie needed some change for the pub phone, my father was there to loan him that sixpence. Which was never returned I should add. Not that this reflected badly on his character, Duggie was often legless in or even out of the pub (as he would be the first to joke). Both have since passed away. But bless the BBC for letting us remember those who have passed on in such a way that celebrates the present.
Through the experiences of those before might we learn something about ourselves, if we care to listen. Watching "Dogfights" you'd be forgiven for thinking that all you needed to win was be a great pilot. It's a blinkered armchair general point of view that lacks any basis in reality. In "First Light", Mr Wellum reflects that it didn't matter if you were a good pilot or a great pilot, you just had to be lucky.
Never a truer word was said.