Famous silent film rediscovery


This video is a clip from an old British film. It is called Betty Balfour sings us a song.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Film museum discovers masterpiece

Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 18:07

A top discovery at the Eye Cinema Museum in Amsterdam. In six old cans a copy of a lost film turned out to be from 1923: Love, Life and Laughter by director George Pearson, as the British Film Institute (BFI) announced. The film is on the 75 Most Wanted, a list of films which the BFI does not have in their archives.

The cans were already since November 2012 at Eye in the closet. A journalist from Hattem then gifted them to the museum. He saved the film from the old local cinema Theatre De Vries, because that would be demolished. Which film was in the cans, the journalist did not know. He hoped for images from before World War II and brought them to Eye.

Betty Balfour

Only eighteen months later the staff of Eye had time to watch the contents of the cans. They found the masterpiece of the famous filmmaker Pearson, a silent film that was considered lost by the Britons. Only one other movie by this film maker has been preserved. In Love, Life and Laughter, among others people can see the famous actress Betty Balfour. Balfour was the most successful British actress in the 1920s.

The BFI curator speaks of a very important discovery. “The audience looked at Life , Love and Laughter as one of the most beautiful creations of British cinema. It is fantastic to be able to see now if it really is.”

A video about this rediscovery is here.

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To the wildlife in Costa Rica, 13 March


This music video from the USA is called Dionne WarwickDo You Know The Way To San Jose?

However, this blog post is about a different San Jose; the capital of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is only 0,04% of the surface of planet Earth. However, 5% of all wildlife species can be seen there.

So, I went there on 13 March 2014.

Our plane departed; first, to Panama.

At the international airport of Panama, I saw my first Central American birds. Great-tailed grackles flying around.

This video is about a great-tailed grackle singing near an airport in California, USA.

Further away at Panama airport, birds of prey circling. Too far away to see what species exactly.

There, we transferred to Costa Rica.

This video is called Bird Photography Workshop – Costa Rica (With Wildlife Photographer Glenn Bartley).

Costa Rica 2014 presidential elections: here.

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William Blake poems set to music


This video from Britain says about itself:

Mike Westbrook ‘Glad Day’ – London Song, Let the Slave

Glad Day – settings of the poetry of William Blake by Mike Westbrook.

Texts arranged by Adrian Mitchell and Kate Westbrook.

Two extracts – ‘London Song’ and ‘Let the Slave’ (incorporating ‘The Price of Experience’) – from the Westbrook/Blake masterpiece ‘Glad Day’.

Concert presented by the Simon Community, a charity for the homeless, at London’s St Giles-in-the-Fields on February 8th, 2014.

Mike Westbrook: piano, speech
Kate Westbrook: voice
Phil Minton: voice
Karen Street: accordion
Billy Thompson: violin
Steve Berry: bass
with the Queldryk Choral Ensemble directed by Paul Ayres.

By Karl Dallas in Britain:

Music: Glad Day Live: The Poetry Of William Blake

Wednesday 26th February 2014

Gloriously glad day for William Blake

Glad Day Live: The Poetry Of William Blake

(Westbrook Records, £12)

5 Stars

That innovative and many-faceted British composer and musician Mike Westbrook – someone who shouldn’t be shoehorned into the limitation of being seen as just a jazzman – has been setting the poems of William Blake to music for nearly 50 years.

Some of these settings were originally commissioned by the National Theatre for the 1971 production of Adrian Mitchell‘s Tyger and the Blake. [These] settings, sung by Kate Westbrook and Phil Minton, were an integral part of the repertoire of the Mike Westbrook Brass Band from its formation in 1973.

Bright As Fire, a programme entirely devoted to Blake’s poetry, was first performed in 1980 and toured widely since throughout Britain, Europe, New York and Australia.

This truly marvellous revisiting of 10 of Blake’s verses was recorded by a small band consisting of four musicians and two vocalists, with a wonderful choral part conducted by Paul Ayres.

Westbrook has always supplemented his own musical brilliance with remarkable musicians, and this recording is no exception, from the gypsy violin of Billy Thompson to the accordion of Karen Street, who sounds like a bal-musette on acid.

Former trumpeter turned vocalist Phil Minton and Westbrook’s wife Kate, who’ve worked with him for the past half-century, are on top form here.

But the most powerful track is Westbrook’s recitation of The Price Of Experience as the choir echoes Minton’s earlier declaration that “everything that lives is holy.”

Most of the DVD tracks are duplicated on the CD where the mix, to my battered ears, sounded clearer than the video versions, although two of the CD tracks are of entirely different performances.

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Scottish scenery, video


The National Trust for Scotland writes on this video:

Kintail & Morvich The Five Sisters of Kintail form one of Scotland’s finest and most famous views when seen from Ratagan on the shores of Loch Duich, and have been under the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1944. Our rangers lead guided walks over the five peaks (which also form one of the country’s finest one day hillwalks) so who better to make this short video showing the unmatched beauty of this unique part of Scotland? Assistance in video editing was provided by Rob Birdsey, a volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland. …

 

The music for several of the Kintail and West Affric videos has been provided by Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (The National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music) located at Plockton High School. The music school is for secondary school aged students, and provides a centre for talented young traditional musicians from across Scotland to develop their skills to the full.  You can help support the school and the young musicians helping to keep Scotland’s rich heritage of traditional music alive: visit www.musicplockton.org/ for more information.

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Blind mice blind no more?


This music video is called 3D Animation: Three Blind Mice, English Nursery Rhyme for children, with lyrics.

From the New Scientist:

Blind mice see the light after simple drug therapy

19 February 2014 by Colin Barras

If it’s beyond repair, you find something else to do its job. This could soon apply to rods and cones, the light-sensitive cells in our eyes that can wither with age, causing blindness. A drug has been found that coaxes neighbours of ailing cells to do their work for them.

In 2012, Richard Kramer at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that injecting a certain chemical into the eyes of blind mice made normally light-insensitive ganglion cells respond to light. These cells ferry optical signals from the rods and cones to the brain, so the mice regained some ability to see light.

But it only worked with ultraviolet light. Now, Kramer’s team has found a different drug that does the same with visible light. Just 6 hours after they were injected, blind mice could learn to respond to light in the same way as sighted mice – although Kramer says he doesn’t know whether they regained vision or just light sensitivity.

Selective effect

When the researchers studied the drug’s impact on retinal cells in more detail, they realised it had had no effect on healthy cells. “That’s what’s particularly remarkable and hopeful about this,” says Kramer. “It’s possible that if you put this drug in a partially damaged eye it would restore vision to the damaged regions and leave the healthy areas unaffected – although we haven’t done the experiments to test that.”

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World War One in London musical


This music video is called We need recruits! – “Oh! What a lovely war!

The lyrics of the songs of this musical are here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Theatre: Oh What A Lovely War

Tuesday 18th February 2014

The revival of a classic play on WWI is a must-see, says JOHN GREEN

Oh What A Lovely War

Theatre Royal, London E15

5 Stars

How well has Oh What A Lovely War, that iconic collaboration between Charles Chilton, Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles, survived the ravages of half a century since its first production in 1963?

The answer is that it is as hale and hearty as ever and remains one of the most powerful anti-war dramas ever. This improbable collision of form and content still sends out an unexpected explosion of dramatic intensity.

At its opening, we’re greeted by a troupe of pierrots who banter and play lightheartedly and engagingly with us before we’re transported to the first world war front and immersed in the horrors of that conflict.

Simply by donning helmets and jackets over their pierrot costumes, they present us with Tommies, Germans or French soldiers, generals and businessmen. Making full use of creative lighting techniques and the sounds of gunshot and detonations, we are in the trenches with the troops on the Somme, at Ypres and Verdun.

The story of the war is told in short, snappy episodes, interrupted by the songs of the time – full of pathos, earthy humour and irony – and jolly cabaret routines. Even Michael Gove makes a fleeting photographic appearance as a donkey at the beginning.

In true Brechtian style, and despite tearful and poignant moments, we are not allowed to wallow in sentiment but forced to confront the harsh realities of an incompetent ruling class indifferent to human misery and mass slaughter.

On a moor in Scotland we see businessmen having a pop at grouse while discussing their war profits and expressing their fears of an early peace.

An army chaplain tells the troops that God is on their side and, despite mounting losses, the generals order the troops forward regardless.

In the background above the stage, rolling text on a panel gives the unbelievable numbers of dead as the weeks and months pass.

There is not a minute of boredom with this excellent ensemble in which there are no stars or main roles. They keep us transfixed with their bursting energy and enthusiasm, easy banter, dancing and singing.

The leader of the troupe at the end brings us back to the present by reminding us that this war game has continued since that century-old conflict and is still being played today.

A really must-see drama. It can’t be recommended strongly enough.

Runs until March 15. Box office: (020) 8534-0310.

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