Butterfly Decal is our band’s name, and the members are Niall Keohane, in Birmingham, UK, and Paul Pacifico in Sai Gon, Vietnam although we are hoping to have a guest vocalist soon.
Here’s a new demo, guitar and clip track only, of a new track with the working title ‘Roses for Daisy, daisies for Rosie.’
The demo was recorded on Apple’s Garageband app, on an iPhone 7, so it’s very low-fi.
The purpose of a demo is to show other band members a possible song structure, and to allow the lyricist to fit words to the chords, and create a melody.
Once the song has been written, we arrange the instrumentation, and Niall makes a professional production in his home studio.
Niall also has an online radio show, ‘Flatwound Sounds.’ In his most recent broadcast, he played a track by Butterfly Decal, and I introduced the concept behind the band. The broadcast may be accessed here:
Niall, my musical partner in Butterfly Decal, will be hosting a radio show in the UK, and playing some of our music. He asked me to write a short introduction, so here is a brief history of Butterfly Decal.
Hello, I’m Paul. Niall and I are in a band called Butterfly Decal. Only, this band is a little different because we live several thousand miles apart; Niall’s in the UK and I’m based in Sai Gon, Viet Nam.
Thanks to modern technology, we are able to make music, create videos and upload online.
Niall and I met in the 80s, played in a few bands, played a few gigs and made a few demos but neither fame nor fortune came knocking.
However, Niall kept playing, I kept moving around yet we always stayed in touch. And we always said that one day, we would play together again. And now we are.
So the band’s name … this is a bit of an in-joke; I love jangly Rickenbackers, and I once made Niall watch ‘The One I Love’ video by R.E.M. over and over, just to see and hear the guitar, so we took the name from an R.E.M. song.
Musically, we both love Jazz and Blues, Classic 60s bands, Bowie and 80s Indie music, but we’re also looking to do something a little different, Post-Rock and Maths Rock … yes, we’re British, we call it Maths Rock. We like playing around with different time signatures, using non-traditional song structures … and mixing spoken word with music, making a musical collage.
We hope you like the track Niall’s going to play … now, I’ll say tạm biệt from Sai Gon.
A very basic, low-fi demo of a future Butterfly Decal song, recorded at home on an iPhone 7, using the Garageband app.
The acoustic guitar is a cheap model I picked up for 1 million VND (35 GBP or 42 USD). At first I played it through a processed Chorus Shimmer amp, using the default settings. In the second track, I used a clean Cool Jazz Combo amp setting, with extra reverb and mids and bass.
I got to use my new custom-made electric guitar on two tracks, both through a Fifties Rock & Roll amp.
Remember, this is merely a demo. The tempo is possibly too slow, and it desperately needs Niall’s magic touch on bass, drums and keys, not to mention making a proper audio mix.
If you like the track, feel free to forward it to your friends. Niall (my partner in Butterfly Decal) and I would really appreciate if you click the ‘Like’ button.
I previously linked two tracks, ‘Red Ribbon: A Short Story‘ & ‘Miles et Juliette.’ Today I have the YouTube links for the two remaining instrumental tracks. The full EP listing:
1) Red Ribbon: A Short Story
2) Red Ribbon Suite
3) Swing, Princess, Swing
4) Miles et Juliette
First, track 2, ‘Red Ribbon Suite’ a piece in three distinct movements:
Photography by Niall Keohane & Paul Pacifico
Track 3 is based around a simple guitar pattern, with Niall adding piano, strings and harmonies:
All music written by Keohane & Pacifico.
Production by Niall Keohane.
Copyright ⓒ 2022
Thank you for visiting this blog page. If you like the music, we would really appreciate it if you could give us a ‘Like’, and pass on to your friends. The ‘visits’ and ‘likes’ really help new bands to get attention.
Here’s a sneak preview of our forthcoming piece, the ‘Berlin Suite’, which will feature keyboards, electronics and experimental sounds, a departure from our previous material.
The suite is an audio representation of this unique and iconic city. The music will feature orchestral effects, reflecting the classical aspect of Berlin, as well as some techno-inspired dance tracks for which Berlin is famous.
The following piece was composed with theKaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche in mind, a church that was partly destroyed in World War II and today is kept as a memorial against war.
Both Niall and I would be very grateful if you could ‘Like’, share and Subscribe as it really helps with the channel. Thank you so much.
Elvis appears. He goes over to the TV’s and repeats his movements from Act One, but without any enthusiasm. Finally, he goes to a chair and slumps down. On a table he sees an old pizza box, with some left-overs. He picks one piece and eats, but mechanically, his jaws moving in a uniform rhythm, also without enthusiasm or pleasure. There is more debris in the room and rubbish on the floor. After his food, Elvis just sits staring vacantly into space.
Enter Colonel, slowly, with a sideways glance, a look of pity and confusion rather than disgust.
Col: Well, I’m still here. I was re-instated in my post. For the sake of peace and quiet, I apologised and promised not to do it again, a promise I have every intention of keeping, I might add … my back was aching for days afterwards. I left my girlfriend or at least tried to … she wanted to break up with me. Something about me not being so much fun anymore, no sense of adventure. Work’s the same. I no longer bother to speak about what’s going on in my life … I merely listen to others drone on. I’ve developed a whole series of gestures and non-committal phrases like these …
(demonstrates various movements of head and body to match his words)
You don’t say; no, really ? Well, whatdoyaknow ? How do YOU feel about that ? What do YOU want to happen …Thanks for coming, hope to see you again, real soon … When I come home … it’s this. The work has dried up and so has he. No-one seems to want an Elvis, anymore. I felt in some way responsible for his depression. I tried to cheer him up by doing things like this …
Hey, Elvis, I put some flyers around town and some adds in papers, how about leaving Graceland for a while and going back on the road ? You know your public needs you.
we got a little response … we were put on a short list for a walk-on part in a TV add … Elvis likes TV, but they chose to go with a George Michael look- a-like in the end.
Elv: Won’t they get a surprise when they go to the can !
Col: Right ! Who needs it ? Walk-on parts ! Opening shops selling any old tack.
Elv: You know, I think you’re right there, boy. I shouldn’t be limiting myself to small commerce. I have a higher calling. Doggone right, you know, I’ve got it, I know what I have to do … call the Limo, Colonel, we’re off to … the Reichtstag ! (1)
Col: Say what ?
Elv: Yeah, I’m gonna offer my services to the state, hell knows they could use them. What do those politicians know about real life ? C’mon let’s go see ol’ man … er, who’s the big boss man, these days ? Is that big mother still there ? (2)
Col: No, there’s a new kid on the block. And that kid’s a woman.
Elv: Hilary ? Man, she’s cute. Love that hair-band thing.
Col: No, not Hilary. Not cute, either.
Elv: But a woman ?
Col: More or less. Give or take, though you’d probably want to take more than give. Name’s Merkel.
Elv: “Urkel” ? Oh, well, I be damned if I’ll go then. Wait till they get a President worth clambaking … can’t have a man like me wasting photo-ops with a two-bit cow-faced in-bred hillbilly.
Col: (To audience) Then I had an idea and bear in mind that I’m getting increasingly desperate. This is something I tried a few weeks back.
Hey, Elvis, Paul McCartney’s outside, he wants so much to meet you. Can you find the time to give him an audience ?
(A mere nod fromElvis. Colonel goes off stage and returns presently, dressed as a Beatle, dark suit and Beatle wig. Throughout, he speaks with an exaggerated Liverpool accent.)
Col: All right there, Mister Presley, honour to meet ya, like, it really is, fab, gear and groovy. Me and the lads got all your records, we really love you, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, like every time we write a song, we think, “how would it sound if Elvis sang it ?”
Col: Hey, you could be right there, Cock.
Elv: Bet your arse I’m right.
Col: So, which one of us is your favorite … everyone has a favorite Beatle ? Is it me ?
Elv: None of you.
Col: Oh, ‘ey, ain’t you a one, hey, a right Bobby Dazzler. Is it me ? It’s normally me. All the girls like me.
Elv: Boy, you sure as hell look like a girl. Whoa … I like the drummer … Bongo. He’s all right. ‘Course, he’s not the best drummer in the world.
Col: “In the world” ? He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles. Ta-da ! An oldie but goldie. But can I ask you, where does your talent come from. People ask me all the time to …
Elv: Stop talking ?
Col: Oh, you do like a laugh, oh, ‘ey, fab, like, gear, WWHHHHOOOOOHHHHHHHHH
Elv : No, boy, I mean … stop talking ! You can get a signed photo on your way out. It’s my time to commune with the higher power now. An’ if you wanna know where my gift comes from, well, I suggest you get your skinny, white arse down to the local Baptist church. Randy Scouse git !
(To audience, as he removes his Beatle garb)
I gave it my best shot, what do you expect ? It got to the point where I was past caring, I thought I’d just let him rot, what’s it to me ? If he couldn’t pay his rent, I’d sling his fat arse out of the joint. ‘Course, I might need some help, someone with a JCB, maybe, but then … something happened. I was at work, drying glasses, when this guy comes in. He orders a beer and we strike up a conversation, you know, I’m thinking about the tips, well, this guy, he’s talking about his house and he’s got some light switch, which, I dunno, either it worked, or only sometimes, doesn’t matter … this guy’s talking to me … about light switches ! I don’t know the guy and he’s not drunk, he just goes on and on and on, he presses the switch one way, on comes the light, then when he tries it the opposite way, the light stays on, that kinda thing … and I’m LISTENING TO HIM ! I’m trying to follow him, see where he’s going with this … then it struck me … OK, the Ku’Damm (3) is hardly the road to Damascus, but this night, could I honestly say that my flatmate was any crazier than this guy, Mr Off-Switch ? Or any of the others in that sad and sorry place ? The guy playing video games all day long ? The girl who puts all her hope in computer-dating ? Anyone who’s ever gone to a Karaoke bar ? Maybe he had the answer … he felt that his life simply wasn’t good enough so he did something about it … little extreme for some tastes, I grant you, but … he did something. He was happy … was … so who was I to judge ? He made people laugh and, for a time, forget their own lives, their own problems. You know, I think people envied him. Really. He had the balls to be what they wanted to be. HE’S NOT ELVIS … he knows that. Did I have any better solutions, any answers, any … thing ? The next day, a letter arrived which gave me an idea. It was actually a bill for 46 Euro that’s 45 for the pizza and 1 for the stamp. I phoned and put a little proposition to them. They could have Elvis eat there every night for a week. I got him a booking …
Elv: What’s that you say, boy ?
Col: Elvis, you listen and listen good.
(Speaks in a heavy, Southern accent)
I’m an old army man and I’m used to discipline. Now I’ve been good to you, almost too good, lettin’ you enjoy the fruits of your labour, an’ all. But heavens to Murgatroyd, they want you ! Your public’s crying out … they’ll be banging on the doors… Elvis, you’ve got to throw a little bone once in a while. I’ve got you booked into a week’s residency and by golly, you’re gonna do it.
Elv: A gig ?
Col: You betcha a gig.
Elv: Enough to keep us here, safe in Graceland ?
Col: More pizza than even you can imagine … but ya gotta get back into shape, son, back into motion.
Elv: Yeah, I have to … warm up a bit, that’s all. Why I can hear the crowd now … faint but expectant … murmuring. I can feel the excitement mounting … the lights, the make-up people running around, the choir doing their scales, musicians tuning. I gather my children around me for a little prayer, the audience getting louder and louder, sweat beginning to pour. I’m calm, gotta keep my people under control, but my heart’s pounding. I owe so much. People living their humble, God-fearing lives, have this one night to get a taste of, a glimpse of … something … higher. They need me … they need me to show them the way, to give them hope, belief, happiness … they need my love … they deserve … my love.
(Colonelslowly exits during Elvis’ speech. As Elvis reaches the end, ‘If I Can Dream’ comes on so that he can go immediately into his routine. He mimes along to the entire song. There should be no parody in the performance. Elvis can give out towels or flowers to women and as the music ends, the play finishes and lights go down.)
(1) Reichtstag – the German Parliament building.
(2) A reference to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
It is seventeen weeks later. The room is even more tacky, with junk food wrappers and various Americana and kitsch items strewn around. As the Act begins, both are sitting on the chairs. Colonel tries to read but is put off by noises and mumblings coming from Elvis. He stares at Elvis, who seems oblivious. After some moments ofsilence :
Col: So then … what’s your favourite Elvis song ?
Elv: All of them.
Col: What’s your schedule this week ? I said …oh, what’s the use ? Think I’ll go and see Cordelia.
Elv: (suddenly appearing animated ) Oh yeah, the little lady. You take good care of that sweet lil’ bundle of honey – loving.
Col: What would you suggest ? Man of your experience.
Elv: (deep in thought) Uh … women. Boy. Whewww.
(Elvis doesn’t seems as if he’s going to add anymore.)
Col: Thank you, that was very helpful.
Col: Excuse me ?
Elv: Yeah, shoes. They love shoes. Buying shoes, trying shoes, choosing shoes, they never wear them. Then take them out. A show, something that women like.
Col: Such as ?
Elv: That play they’re all clucking about … what’s it called ? Something … The Monotonous Vagina, that’s it.
Col: OK. Actually, I’m gonna break up with her. I don’t think it’s working out.
Elv: Attaboy ! Send her back to the farmyard where she belongs. Then when you come back we’ll go cruising on beaver patrol. I’ll show you why they call me ‘The Pelvis’. This rooster’s gonna rustle a few feathers, t’nite !
(He gets upand rubs his back, making slight moaning sounds)
Hold that thought, boy, not sure the King’s back could take it. Couldn’t you just pick up a pair of cuteys ? Use my name. That’ll work.
Col: Well I wasn’t planning on going down Hackershe Mackt (1) way. Listen, why don’t you use those phone numbers … satisfaction guaranteed, all for local rates.
Elv: And they’ll come here ?
Col: No !
Elv: Then …. ?
Col: You know … you know.
Elv: Yeah … what ? I dunno … what ? Oh….OH ! No, listen, I’ve been meaning to have a little chat with you … now seems a good time, what with you breaking up with Corolla.
Elv: See ! There you go, again. You always have to disagree with me … anything for an argument. When I think of what I gave, what I give to you, shucks, I don’t like to say, but doggone it, people would be falling over themselves to have your job. I don’t ask much, I’m just a simple country boy at heart, don’t let these luxury surroundings tell you otherwise. You have to admit, your work isn’t backbreaking, twenty-four hour a day hard manual labor. Hell, boy, it ain’t hardly work at all. I thought you liked looking after me … me who, well, me who gives so much pleasure to millions … don’t you think …
Col: Whoa, there, Tiger, time-out, time bloody out ! Enough is enough … what was the first record you bought ? What were the names of your pets ? What’s the ingredients of your favorite peanut-butter and banana sandwich ? I have to say that your knowledge of trivia is disarmingly poor. I’m ashamed of you ! What happened last week ? Opening that dry cleaners ?
Elv: “Star Cleaners … feel like a star.”
Col: And that little kid comes up, asking where you were born… and you said “Dortmund”.
Elv: Well it was that Monroe look-a-like … she put me off … I couldn’t concentrate.
Col: So you may have been looking at the stars, but your mind was in the gutter.
Elv: Hey, there’ s a pal, get her number could you ? Tell her I’ve got a seven year itch she’s welcome to scratch. You know, I didn’t like the way Charlie Chaplin was looking at her. No values that man. Ah, she’s too old for him. He liked them young, barely out of their school uniforms …
Col: It’s no good knowing trivia about others … why don’t you read up ?
Elv: Why don’t you shut up, boy ? You can’t speak to me like that ! I made you what you are ! I took you out of that bar and gave you a firm foundation in life, set you up, away from that bedrock of sin and vice and nurtured you in an atmosphere of warmth and love and spiritual guidance. Now ! Get me Monroe’s number … I can’t get her tits out of my mind !
(Elvis gets up and prances around, fiddling with the TV’s, looking restless and generally lost as Colonel speaks. Halfway through the monologue, he sits down)
Col: I don’t know what to do with him. It was a joke at first, went on a bit long, but there was a line. As you can see, said line has been crossed, yes sir, and the truck is gonna keep on a-truckin’. He now refuses to believe that he’s not Elvis. He sits around all day, in the costume, same costume, watching TV’s, eatin’ junk and shouting out, “My boy, my boy.” Maybe it’s like a sleepwalker, you know, you’re not supposed to wake them. Imagine the shock he’d get when he realizes that he thought he was Elvis all these months. On the other hand, what if Elvis, his Elvis that is, suddenly realizes that’s he’s not who he thought he was, but he’s actually a bloke from Dortmund. You see where I’m going with this ? There’s one for the deconstructionists in the audience. Oh, I still work in that bar, for the time being. The boss told me to stop speaking to the customers about living with an Elvis impersonator. Apparently it’s depressing them and I have to survive on the tips. But why do all Elvis impersonators have to choose the 70’s Elvis ? Surely, if you’re gonna impersonate someone, you’d want to capture them at their best ? Why does no-one go with … the … ahhh … I have an idea. I won’t lie to you…it’s not without risk. There is, as you see, no safety net. Anything can happen and I cannot be held responsible. But I think it’s the only choice. You have been warned !
Elv: Where you off to, boy ? Too ashamed by your behavior ? Well, I don’t hold grudges. You’ll be out of the ol’ doghouse soon and we’ll carry on as …
(Opening melody of ‘Are you lonesome tonight’ is heard, played by a toy xylophone. Elvis looks down at the landline phone and picks it up, slowly, with trepidation.)
Ahhhh … er, yeah, what, say, hello ? Yes, you are speaking to … The King … yes, say what, boy ? Burger Bar ? Yeah, I think it’s my God-given duty to open your Burger Bar … I’m a great patron of the arts. My fee …? er, well, hold the line … Colonel … COLONEL … Colonel ? Ah, heck, right, I’ll take 40,000 dollars cash and a bucket of burgers for the … hello ? Hello ? Damn Yankees ! Where’s the Colonel ? How dare he leave me before I sacked him. Kick his arse for sure. Skinny runt. Thinks he can talk like that to me … me ! The King …THE KING !
(attempts some moves but has to stop and rub his back)
Ohh, maybe it’s time I eased into my ballad period. Get the Colonel to hire some doo-wop backing chicks … short skirts, religious like. Oh, the …What in tarnation … ?
(The Colonel appears dressed in tight jeans with quiffed hair and carrying a guitar around his neck. He goes into a routine, singing and playing ‘Hound Dog’. The routineshould start off quite serious and impressive until Colonel gets self conscious or loses his confidence and it becomes more of a parody. During this performance, Elvis gets increasingly irritated. First he is perplexed, then offended and finally angry. He tries to obstruct the Colonel, who is too nimble and quick. For the first time Elvis appears at least aware that there is an audience, as he tries to block the view and stop them seeing the‘upstart’. Colonel then exits, singing and playing as he leaves. He gives one final turn and performs a series of pelvic-thrusts, then blows kisses. Elvis remains standing, breathing hard and heavy and mumbling to himself, though a few words may be intoned clearly. He seems to come to, breathes more calmly, then storms off stage. There are muffled sounds of Elvis screaming and cursing then some banging and thumping. Elvis reappears, dragging Colonel by the ear.)
Elv: I have never … never …
Col: (A la Gilbert & Sullivan) What never ? Or hardly ever ? Arrgghhh !
Elv: Ever seen such a hootenannying display of vulgarity. Boy ! My stomach is a turning over. I’m sick, sick, that a man could … and me … and … and… there’s nothing else for it. I’ve been carrying you for too long and this is how you say thank you, King. To think I was ever you ! The army didn’t come a moment too soon, doing my duty to God, serving in this fair country, comforting those little frauleins, all in the spirit of brotherhood and … and why weren’t you here ? Burger … burger … or whatever phoned … they had a gig for me … I don’t know how to speak to money people … my message is to the hearts, not the wallets. I only asked for 40,000 …see, they knew it’s too little, they must have thought they’d got hold of a crank. I HAD A GIG ! WHERE WERE YOU ? All this has cost me work … not to mention the insult, the … I’m trying, Lord, but … I can’t … I can’t. Some things are unforgivable. You have 24 hours to leave Graceland … and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Col: OK, so maybe I overdid it. I didn’t know he’d take it so hard. Disgraced in Graceland. Run out of town. Been given the boot. I’m no longer the pretend manager of a pretend Elvis. Maybe I could get a job as pretend Brian Epstein and pretend to manage pretend Beatles. What am I saying ? It’s getting to me … I have to leave, get back to normal people, have normal conversations, return to reality. Somebody around here has to. I don’t think it’s going to be him.
END OF ACT TWO
(1) Hackershe Mackt an area in central Berlin where ladies of the night ply their trade.
In the early 1990s, I inherited an 8mm Bell & Howell cine camera and, with my flatmate Martin O’Shea as actor, began making short films in the East End of London.
We had a two-bedroom flat near Mile End Tube Station (which we could somehow afford on a student grant), walking distance to Bethnal Green, Brick Lane and Limehouse, areas synonymous with names such as Hawksmoore (the architect), The Kray Twins (local crime lords) and Jack the Ripper (local ripper).
The area is incredibly historic, and well worth a walk for local historians, psychogeographists, or anyone with a passing interest in this less salubrious quarter of London.
Walk is what we did, one Saturday night, up to Victoria Park, down to the street markets of Brick Lane and back home via the city farm at Stepney and a visit to St Dunstan and All Saints Church, where we had a lovely chat with the vicar. He was in his working outfit, white, pressed and clean … us, none of the above.
This was where we decided to film what was, I believe, our first film together, ‘A Day Well Spent’, and I think this would be Spring 1992.
Now the technical side. 8mm film lasted four minutes in total. The film had to be thread, in a figure 8 shape, in the camera, then reversed after 2 minutes. This meant keeping careful time, and not shooting anything vital in the dying seconds before the film ran out.
The film was silent and the camera, I believe, had no zoom and no auto-aperture; the light had to be set manually. Basically, it was a ‘point and shoot’ affair. Close-ups had to be physically close, long-shots, far away.
So, we had four minutes to tell a story, beginning, middle and end. Martin plays a tramp, a happy-go-lucky, Chaplinesque character. He awakes, on a rubbish heap, scratches himself, looks around and gets up. He wanders through the City farm at Stepney
Naturally, he’s hungry and seeing the chickens gives him an idea; he has to ‘procure’ an egg for breakfast, without being detected or suffering an avian assault. With his cunning and agility, he is successful, and celebrates his victory by holding his prize aloft as he runs past St Dunstan’s.
However, when he searches his pockets, he only has a fork with twisted prongs … not a suitable implement to eat his breakfast. Disappointed, he throws the egg away, and decides to go back to sleep.
We also had a recurring event, namely a visit from the rozzers (London slang for police). One burly boy in blue was curious what we ne’re-do-wells were up to in his manor. To see a young guy, in trenchcoat, asleep on a rubbish tip alerted his instincts. And we had a recurring escape, namely I showed my camera and all became clear … “Oh, they’re making art,” heavy irony on the pronunciation of ‘art’, and that sarcasm has repeated through the years.
Or maybe, like most people of my generation, he would have seen some short compilation films on BBC1 after 5.30 pm and before the 6.00 pm News. This was how so many of my friends were introduced to the world of Harold Lloyd.
Everyone knew Chaplin, most people had heard of Buster Keaton, but Mr Harold Lloyd was totally unknown. That all changed with a series of 20-minute programs featuring scenes from his silent films … and all my school-friends were knocked out by them. You would even hear people shout out as they left school, “Don’t forget to watch Harold Lloyd.”
Harold Lloyd, referred to as ‘The Third Genius’ was, and remains, a major influence, especially in how to tell a story by images alone and how comedy works. This photo from ‘Safety Last’ (1924) is iconic … and even more amazing when you know that Lloyd lost a thumb and finger in an accident on a film set.
His films and many clips are available on YouTube. I used to show them during break time to my Kindergarten class, and they loved him … I was able to silence 15 hyper-active kids with a silent movie star.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Shea is busy in Berlin with a massive project: to put all our 8mm and Super 8 films onto computer, add commentaries and upload them on social media. Wish him luck, and take some time to watch Harold Lloyd … you won’t be disappointed
‘Shadow Sonata’ was my first film shot in London since the early 1990s, and how things have changed. I started with a Bell & Howell 8mm cine camera, splicing film by hand and playing back on a projector; now I was working on a pocket digital camera and cutting on computer.
The title is a reference to the short story collection ‘Shadows of a Sound’ by the Korean writer Hwang Sun-woo, an author mentioned in the Korean film ‘My Sassy Girl,’ and the book plays a key part in the film. The influence of Asia and Asian culture should be discernible throughout.
‘Shadow Sonata’ is a non-linear story of a man living in London, obsessed by an old love affair, while dreaming his way out of his depression. The topography of London helps the viewer place the action in the past, the present, and what could be the future, or pure imagination.
The Man starts by meeting his blonde girlfriend by an old museum in Walthamstow, north-east London. From the sunny exterior we move to the inside of his small London bedsit, decorated with Asian posters, and full of books by Asian writers.
He walks around London, alone, the city appearing grey, cold, emotionless. He keeps seeing a beautiful Asian lady and feels very attracted to her … if only he could meet her.
I shot this film over two days on my Samsung W200, a camera that cost me around 80 UKP. It lasted until 2017 when it just died on me but anyway, mobile phones now have better cameras (I currently use an iPhone 6s).
Furthermore, I was very lucky with the weather; I had bright sun for the flashback sequence and dull wet grey rain for the present.
The was for the old love affair was played on an instrument I encountered in Sweden, a nyckleharpa:
The dream or future sequence uses ‘Oriental’ from Granados’ ‘Spanish Dances’, while the melancholic ending is a late String Quartet by Beethoven. These small scale pieces fascinate me, especially considering they followed the epic 9th Symphony … but that is possibly a theme for another blog or film.
As always, thanks so much to the actors who gave their time for free:
Mr Martin O’Shea, Ms Michelene P. Heine, Mr Stephen Grey, Mr Alex Loveridge, Ms Angie and introducing Ms Emily Yue.