The magic of the temples of Angkor are almost beyond imagination.
I met many people on my travels who have claimed to be “templed out” – tired of seeing one similar […]
After watching LOTR for the first time I started a long journey of the heart. The first steps were the reading of the book itself, now and forever with the […]
I know I know, its a year late… but, finally my film of Tier 1 Military Simulation’s Operation Sandstorm is complete and released for immediate digital download.
(I did a write up of […]
Just fresh off the render machine is our latest production for Tier 1; Operation Orchid Dawn.
In aid of the charity ORCHID – Fighting Male Cancer, Warrior (UKAZ) […]
Certain cities in the world are instantly recognisable from hundreds of classic movies that have been set there. No one could mistake Paris, New York or London on film, but for me the most recognisable city of them all is the great bay of Hong Kong. I grew up on a strict diet of Hong Kong movies: from Jackie Chan cop thrillers to John Woo gangster flicks. The Hong Kong cinema actor Chow Yun Fat was considered by my friends and I as the coolest guy in the universe, bar none, thanks to his incredible performances as Ken Gor and The God of Gamblers. With these memories, I felt like I knew the city off by heart even before I visited there. I had a mental map already in my head that included combinations of scenes from Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon and the, unintentionally, hilarious Jean Claude Van Dam 90’s action fest Double Impact. It was no doubt the sort of distorted mental map that everyone has when they have watched too many movies: all warped distances and colours. Larger than life could ever be.
I knew, of course, that reality would bring me down with a bump. Surely, no city could be exactly as it is portrayed in the movies?
I prepared to be disappointed.
When Cesca first showed me the drawing plans for the UCS garden at RHS Malvern, I knew that it was going to be special. But nothing could prepare me for the final result. More a large scale high-art installation than a garden; it is playful, fun and definitely sending a message that we can all understand.
I have been reading a book recently, called “The World Without Us ,” in it the author, Alan Weisman, writes of how nature – that pervasive force – would take over after we are gone. Concrete would fall down, buildings would crumble under vines and the remains of humanity would disappear; and quicker than you would imagine. Of course, for us Daoists we don’t see the human and so called “natural” worlds as different at all. They are all parts of the same thing; and it is only human arrogance that distinguishes us and our achievements. When we see metal and we think that it is not a “natural” substance, we forget that we stand upon a 50 trillion ton ball of the same stuff. Given the size of the Universe, our small scratches on that metal ball amount to a glint of light in a million years of sunshine, but we don’t see it that way. We still think we are in control. As Weisman shows in his book – that is the ultimate illusion.
And so it is with the UCS garden, losing control leads to organic growth and non-human cycles of birth and decay taking back the ground. Returning to the rhythm all of its own. It wont be rushed, it is like the blowing playful wind, and as gardeners we might conduct this orchestra briefly, but we hardly could claim control of it.
We work with it.
The most common question I have been asked by people after returning home is, “which was your favourite country to visit?” For Cesca and I it has to be the majestic New Zealand. Not because it is terribly exotic. as everything is familiar (especially the road names), but rather because it is so much like you wish England could be. The lakes, the mountains, the rivers, the beaches. New Zealand has everything. The people have a real “get up and go” attitude that is infectious. They love their country, they also appear to know who they are and what they want. Living in such a culture is, and I hesitate to write this, idyllic.
Shame I don’t live there then!
Cesca and I have written many articles on the subject of New Zealand and also made a “love letter” of a short-film celebrating the country (found under “films” in the navigation bar). However, I have always wanted to do more to speak of our time driving around these islands.
Well, our wish has come true.
About a two weeks ago I was approached by a company working for Air New Zealand. They wanted to license all our content on New Zealand for use in the official Air New Zealand iPhone app!