Sunday, 13 January 2013

Elementary School


Over the weekend, H.I. and me watched the entire series of 'Sherlock' from a boxed DVD set lent to me by S.D. Everything about it is bloody wonderful, from the visuals to the music to the acting and the script, and it almost made me wish I had gone into a career in film, as my 8 year-old self wanted to. What a brilliant bloke Mark Gatiss is, and hats off to BBC Wales for the commission.

I went to such a nasty and useless school, with 99% of the teachers being sadistic misanthropes who should never have been let loose anywhere near children, but in those days most teachers took the job because of previous failure in their chosen field.

When it became obvious that maths was never going to be my strongpoint, the teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. 'A film cameraman' was my answer.

"You will never be a cameraman without a degree in mathematics - all camera angles are worked out using maths, so you don't stand a chance", he lied.

What a nasty way of putting a child off both mathematics and his ambitions for his chosen vocation in life. At that point I gave up on both, because I believed him, and knew I had a real mental block with numbers. I got zero points for my Maths 'O' Level.

I bumped into my friend S yesterday, and we stood chatting in the freezing rain for as long as it took for him to decide what cut of meat he was going to buy from the butcher whose window we were staring through.

S is a very successful cinematographer (as they are now called) and is coming round to dinner next week with his lovely missus (who also works in film) plus a couple of others. You will have seen a lot of S's work on screen, from pop-videos to features.

I bumped into him a while ago, having just watched the first series of Sherlock, and was so fired up with it that I told him he simply had to get a job on it. Then he told me that he already had, and on the extras disc of the first series last night, I caught sight of him looking over the director's shoulder at some fresh footage outside 221B Baker Street. Phew.

The job does have it's down-side though. A few years ago he came back to Bath absolutely shattered from a week in London, all of which he had spent in the company of the Spice Girls. He raised his eyebrows and I tried to look sympathetic.


16 comments:

  1. I used to dream of owning one of those Film Directors view finder thingies that they had hanging around their necks. But all I ever got was a piece of cardboard with a rectangular hole cut into it.

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    1. I made a TV camera out of a large cardboard box when I was a kid - Blue Peter style.

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  2. The best thing to coeout of Wales since, Tom jones......Shirley basses,..... Dylan Thomas.........Mary Hopkins........welsh water......the A55......oh and me

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  3. Dear Tom,
    I am an absolute fan of "Sherlock", even joined a group on Google + (I have an (real) excuse: I have to write about him :-). Though I estimate Jeremy Brett well, there lie worlds between the two TV adaptions.
    Vicious teachers - we had some of them. I was (that might surprise you) born quite a few years after the World War (and, surprise, surprise, I am speaking of World War II :-) - Some of them 'DDCs' (Deliberate Dream Crushers, I called them). Do you remember Tom Crabtree in Cosmopolitan? He wrote: "When I was at school I got a poke in the back from the art master. (...) "You", said the art master. "Woodwork." (...) It dawned on me me fairly quickly that (a) what I was doing was no good and (b) I shouldn't have been here in the first place. I mean, I liked art, and I'm certainly didn't come to school just to be insulted. (...)"
    Let's hope there are more teachers nowadays who are there because they like the profession (and ARE paid for good work).
    "Elementary", you might say.

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  4. I was RUBBISH at Maths ......... saw the carreers officer once ( in the stock cupboard ( I think he was the carreers officer !!) ) and I told him that I wanted to do prosthetic make-up for films and TV and he told me not to be so stupid !!!! Sherlock was BRILLIANT and, there is to be another series.
    Freddie Young, English Oscar winning cinematographer who shot ' Goodbye Mr. Chips', ' Dr. Zhivago' and Lawrence of Arabia', amongst many, many other films, was one of our patients and was a lovely and very interesting man. XXXX

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    1. It could have been the broom cupboard, I suppose. I went to see Jack Cardiff before he died, and my friend S was also in the audience - a good sign.

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  5. I also think Sherlock is brilliant. Just a shame there isn't twice as much of it.

    I too was rubbish at maths. It blocked off the possibility of doing physics A-level, which I still think was a shame.

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    1. I'm really hoping for Series 3. (3? Did I get that right? My maths is so crap).

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  6. When I asked my maths teacher how I could ever Use the algebra he was trying to teach me, he said it was useful for building rocket ships. I gave up after that. Years later I used to watch my partner work out equations with a stick in the sand, so he could get curves right in brick paving.

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    1. It isn't rocket-science... well, maybe it is.

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  7. You are talking about the Cummerbatch/ Freeman series, aren't you?

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  8. That Sherlock IS brillant, although i also loved the Jeremy Brett version, too.

    Another poor maths student here (or as we say across the Pond, "math student"). Funnily enough, i use a lot of algebra and some calculus in my current job and have had to explain it to others who had more of a science bent. Go figure.

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