The new way to watch TV

I don’t watch a great deal of TV. I occasionally get to see the C4 news when I get home. There’s not much else on TV?


But I do like ‘box sets’ – which tend to be American. Breaking Bad was addictive over Xmas (I watched all 5 series!).

I have just finished watching the first two series of House of Cards. It’s the story of power and corruption in The Whitehouse and stars Kevin Spacey. Again, it was fairly addictive – I was delighted to eland at the weekend that they are shortly to film the third series.

It is, of course based on a short UK series of the same name filmed in the 1990′s but there the similarity ends. That was 4 episodes, Spacey has filmed 26 – so far!

What makes this series stand out is that it was commissioned by the Internet streaming service Netflix. They paid for it and premiered it. They also apparently gave Spacey a series to go at – whereas most networks tend to operate on a piiot and then the possibility of further shows.

Perhaps this is the way forward – our traditional views and ideas about TV and film have been challenged by Netflix with great acclaim. And I can’t wait for the next series. I wonder if I need to pay the TV Licence any more – a bit like Noel Edmonds?

Digital Connections? The Future

You will know that in the Grimsey Review much was made of the digital revolution. The change that we have seen in the last 50 years and the likely pace of change in the the next 50 (or even 5!)


At the weekend I had need to go into my loft – a ‘job’ at the low end of the relish scale. In there there are thousands of photographs. It’s great looking at them – tiny little 5″x3″ prints. Some a little bigger when I could afford to have them printed at 10″x8″.

Today printing seems old hat. We take digital pictures and have them on our laptops or iPads. Of course you can get a digital book printed easily through Apple or Blurb. This was unheard of 20 years ago!

Then I look around the house – we have music streamed via a SONOS system (superb) – nearly all of my music is digitised – well over 55,000 tracks of music. Apple TV shows photographs on TV.

And in the last week I have a ChromeCast from America. This £24 device plugs into your TV and ‘sits’ on your wireless network – I can stream YouTube to it – or Netflix. The list of features is growing.

There is no doubt that this digital world is the way forward. It won’t be long, hopefully, when it is all compatible with everything else.

And this is how our Cities need to be.

When I was in Canada and New York recently you begin to realise how much we rely on ‘wifi’. My son, Jak, would have generally established in a restaurant or coffee shop if there was free wifi within seconds. Free wifi at decent download speed is going to be critical if we are to make out Cities truly connected in the future.

There is one analogue thing I cling onto – my vinyl records. I bought two in New York – The Foals album Holy Fire and a repressing of Aztec Cameras debut album High Land Hard Rain- including the superb ‘Oblivious’. But even these albums come with a free digital download!

It’s a small world?

I’m across the big pond as I write this. I have been in New York but now have hit a bitingly cold Toronto. I’m here on holiday for a few days with my son Jak. We’re back in New York on Wednesday and then back in the UK next weekend.


I couldn’t help but reflect on my travels in the last week. It’s not been great for the planet. Nor for my body clock!

I jotted down that in the last 7 days, so far I have travelled just over 3,400 miles…

214 miles from Nottingham to Hunstanton and back
113 miles to Watford
36 miles from Watford to central London and back
113 miles from Watford to Nottingham
128 miles from Nottingham to Heathrow
3,391 miles (approximately) from Nottingham to JFK in New York
347 miles from New York to Toronto

And as you read this my day is about to start with a 2 hour drive to Niagra Falls – and then back to Oshawa tonight for a Barenaked Ladies concert! The miles keep piling up!

I couldn’t help but wonder today what people would have thought about this 100 years ago? To give some contact to the world over 100 years ago – in Nottingham it is worth a few minutes of you time to watch this amazing video – of life in front of a tram (trolley-cars?). They would surely think that this pace of life was mad!

This week may be a bit sporadic in terms of posts – I’ll post if I find interesting things that I can add to the Nottingham plan – but otherwise, life will return to normal next week with some more great stuff about Nottingham – and the business plan….

Bowie – never afraid to push the boundaries

So the second single from the new album is out – and I prefer it to the first.

But, as is now necessary, you need a video to promote the song. But being Bowie, not just any video. This is a mini film. Beautifully shot, slightly off the wall but memorable. I love it!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged David Bowie, , The Stars are out tonight, Tilda Swinson,

Happy Birthday Nottingham Contemporary

Despite my request that all birthday parties should (by law) have jelly and ice cream my request went unheeded. Although the chocolate cake was rather good. It was the Contemporary’s 3rd birthday this week!

If you have dropped here before you will know that I am a big supporter of Nottingham Contemporary – I think it gives Nottingham a USP. It has also exceeded all expectations in visitor numbers – 700,000 – 50% more than they thought at the outset. And it is estimated that the gallery has added £23m to the local economy since opening.

170 artists later – which has included Giacometti, Hockney and Arbus – more is to come. I know from speaking to Alex the Gallery Director in the past that exhibitions can be planned up to a year in advance. In some cases they are bidding for some huge shows… Hopefully great news on that front soon! In the next session though we’ll be getting JMW Turner and Peter Doig.

But just for the moment – there’s a great film – if you have a few minutes it’s a great advertisement for the Gallery.

It’s also a film we’ll be taking to MIPIM next year to show off the assets of the city.


The Cartier Advert

Wow – this is some advertisement. It reminded me of the Guinness cinematic experiences of old. It apparently took two years to create and cost 4 million euros. I love the feel of this movie, it stopped me in my tracks.

It was shot with real panthers – and the musical score was recorded at Abbey Road studios.

Well done Cartier! Just need to save up now for some of the gear.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged Abbey Road, advertisement, Cartier, , musical score, panthers

This Is England ’88 -out now!

Last night saw the first of the three part drama, This is England ’88. Channel 4 bagged this Shane Meadows vignette – following the success of This Is England ’86. We have moved on though – it’s now 23 December 1988…

The brilliant Thomas Turgoose!

I thought it was great – and am looking forward to the second and third parts tonight and tomorrow. I love the gritty filming techniques and the retro feel. It is very authentic – but a reminder of a different age. The clothes and the hairstyles give away an era that feels like yesterday to me. Eastenders with Dirty Den and Nasty Nick was funny. You can almost touch 1988 – or is that my age? Rick Astley was awful then – and isn’t much better now? I try to forget Stock Aitkin Waterman…

It’s adult themed stuff, but lurches from tragedy to humour by the scene. Woody, Lol and Shane are superb.

But the real story about this drama is that the soundtrack was edited in Nottingham. I saw a tiny bit of it being done when I visited a couple of months ago – and I’m sure they won’t mind me telling you it was still being finalised last week! This is amazing news for Nottingham – and Antenna, where it was done. We have a best kept secret – one of a handful of Dolby Studios outside of Soho in London. It is a ‘proper’ studio, with big leather chairs and a green room. I hope they didn’t notice my eyes light up when I fist saw it!

The original film was shot mostly in Nottingham – but the sequels, including this latest offering, was shot mainly in Sheffield. What I hadn’t realised was the lengths gone to to de-construct the sound-track – I blogged about it here before.

Another positive news story for Nottingham!

Re-discovering Tin Tin

I have to confess that Tin Tin was not on a par with The Beano in my little world, although I did quite like the clean drawings (apparently a ligne claire style). I thought Tin Tin might have been a bit too clean cut for me; I was more a Dennis the Menace (still am – some of my Partners might say!)

The new Spielberg film has obviously dragged up some old TV – and an excellent new series with Frank Gardner – who tells of his inspiration to become a Journalist from the Herge drawn character.

I guess the part I missed was the Political astuteness with which the stories were drawn. This was bitingly sharp social commentary – often satirical and slightly subversive. This is now starting to appeal much more…

But I am late to this party – books in 80 languages around the world and 350 million copies sold. Georges Rémi – the real Herges died in 1983, but his legacy lives on.

The images remain strangely timeless – the quiff made a comeback in the 1980′s. Some of the clothes are a little Boy Scout-ish but as a picture of how the world was seen in the 1930′s it is insightful. As such I think they are important historically.

So, I think I’m off to see the film first and then I might go in search of some of the books…

Waterstone’s last weekend issued some specific instructions to staff about one particular book – Tin Tin in the Congo – which must not be sold into the “wrong hands”. This is one I give a miss to as it seems to be the only one which could cause offence – some of the storyline for our uber-politically world might be pushing the boundaries too far? The rest are apparently well balanced seeking out the injustices of the world nearly a Century ago?

I must have been influenced somehow, because my first Goldfish (when I was 6?) was called “Snowy“…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged Cartoon, , Herge, reporter, Spielberg, subversive, Tin Tin

Into The Wind – part 2

I have just been told that Into the Wind is being released on DVD at the end of November. You might remember that I blogged about this film here before.

You can pre-order the film on the films website. I have ordered mine today – and can’t wait to see it at the end of November! It looks fantastic…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged Electric Egg, , Into the wind

Apes or boys?

It was a big decision – a night out with Planet of the Apes or, as the saying goes, knee deep in Clunge. The Clunge won -so Friday night at the movies meant the new Inbetweeners film!

I have been a huge fan of the badly behaved boys since they first popped up onto the depths of TV (it’s not exactly post News at Six stuff). It’s a short film – just an hour and a half long. But that’s quite long enough of you gasping and feigning horror! And laughing. Out loud. And crying…

It is a familiar story of Will, Simon, Jay and Neil as they search for sun, sex, sea, sex, booze, sex and sex. They go to Crete and you know exactly what is going to happen. Well, almost! Obviously I won’t spoil it for you. However, the Neil moment when he comforts Will is brilliant as he explains why he had stopped worrying about God. The reason – it’s just Dog backwards! You perhaps had to be there.

This is the funniest film I have ever seen. 10/10.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged Arts, Crete, , Inbetweeners, movie, Planet of the Apes, Sex, Television