I seem to have developed a rather strange way of deciding on a travel itinerary. I cycled (nearly) to Mt Everest, which was amazing, but I never had the longing some have to visit it.
I went because an unexpected opportunity to visit an amazing place coincided with a great bunch of people to travel with. That I got to visit a unique part of the world, long connected with New Zealand (thanks to pioneering adventurers and more recent adventure travellers) was just a bonus.
One memorable part of the journey was listening to some music, part of my lifelong ‘playlist’, on location. Although he wrote it without ever visiting China, let alone Tibet, hearing Vangelis’ China, particularly “The Tao of Love” & “Himalaya” tracks, staring at the milky way on a clear cold night on the Himalayan Tibetan Plateau was memorable. Something the 80’s kid who first heard them, on LP!, never imagined.
And now it has happened again
I’m planning to visit another place Vangelis has not but, again, captured perfectly in his music. I first saw Koreyoshi Kurahara's film "Antarctica" when it was released back in the 1980s. it was based on a real 1958 ill-fated Japanese scientific expedition to the South Pole and the fate of the fifteen Huskies they were forced to abandon there. The ambience and subtilty of the Japanese original was somewhat diminished by a terrible American accent overdub but the soundtrack survived this assault and lives on as one of my favourites.
I don’t remember when I first heard Karl Kruszelnicki (Dr Karl) (probably mid-2000’s) but first saw him speak at The Amaz!ng Meeting Australia 2010 (Sydney) #TAMOz. This Taxi Driver, Physicist, Medical GP & Surgeon, and science communicator extraordinaire is one of my favourite podcasters. Karl has degrees in Physics and Maths, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery and has worked as a physicist, tutor, film-maker, car mechanic, labourer, and as a medical doctor at the Kids’ Hospital in Sydney. Dr Karl is currently the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at Sydney University, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits.
Although he has a great drkarl.com website his main communication is by radio/podcast (on the ABC in Aussie, and BBC), his many books, media appearances, and public speaking. He also offers free 45 minute Skype sessions to any school, bookable here. I have had a few attempts to get him to speak at the NZ Skeptics Conference over the years, and was impressed how willing he is to do this if possible, but so far the timing around his (manic) schedule hasn’t worked out.
So, all going well, in late November 2019 I will be with Doctor Karl and listening to another Vangelis soundtrack in the location it was composed for!
"Theme from Antarctica". From the original score of Koreyoshi Kurahara's film "Antarctica". Composed in 1983 by Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (Vangelis).
Oh, and maybe another soundtrack location to follow
It costs quite a lot to fly to South America so I wanted to add some other destinations to help justify the ‘investment’. After a fortnight in the frozen South I decided it had to be somewhere, hopefully, warm(er). Thought about a cycle trip, but seems it is the wrong season for that so some time in Buenos Aires is the mostly likely option.
While looking at some travels from there another favourite, also lessor known, film soundtrack came to mind. Roland Joffe’s film The Mission, about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th-century South America, featured Ennio Morricone’s original score and memorable scenes shot around the Iguazu Falls.
I have always loved the soundtrack, first heard on a CD borrowed from Auckland library, and some time there seems like a good idea. I have plenty of time to refine this part of the itinerary but, for now, travel by soundtrack seems just fine.
Found this HBO documentary about Gianni Agnelli on Sky NZ while grazing the Soho schedule a couple of weeks ago. Recorded it, just got around to watching it, and so glad I did. While the Agnelli FIAT connection got my attention this was very much about the man, the family, their impact on Italy and its place in the world, rather than a dry profile of a business man or car company history.
Beautifully shot, a mixture of modern interviews and archive family footage, in stunning locations (many their homes!) it is a wonderful, and honest, portrayal. They didn't skip over his failings, dubious dealings (both within the family and business/politics), or the terrorist/political problems they lived with. In the 1970s FIAT management, along with Italian Politicians/Justice figures, were literally being assassinated in the street by ‘the Red Brigade’. The documentary is broken into ‘chapters’, the "Years of Lead" being one.
It seemed, from what I know of the family, fairly presented. They lived a privileged life but also paid a high price for it. I don't know if Sky will repeat it, no sign in the current schedule, but if you have access to HBO it’s well worth a watch
Tradition prepared him. Passion defined him.Considered by many to be “the prince” of Italy, legendary industrialist and jet-setter Gianni Agnelli was a cultural icon who embodied strength, calm and prosperity in the aftermath of World War II and into the new millennium. An intimate portrait of the man who became a symbol of Italy’s post-war renaissance, Agnelliis directed by Nick Hooker, and executive produced Graydon Carter (HBO’s Public Speaking, His Way, Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted).
Chronicling the dramatic life of the charismatic head of FIAT, this compelling portrait features intimate interviews with nearly 40 family members, friends, professional confidantes and rivals, including: his sisters and other relatives; former lovers; current and former FIAT employees and executives; his butler and cook; and journalists, historians and friends, among them Henry Kissinger, Valentino, Jackie Rogers, Sally Bedell Smith, Roger Cohen, Jas Gawronski, Lee Radziwill and his niece, Diane von Furstenberg.
Agnelli features newly discovered Super 8 footage shot by Benno Graziani and iconic portraits by Richard Avedon and Ugo Mulas, along with a wealth of archival video and personal photos that help paint a complex portrait of the FIAT leader, who was an urbane, well-spoken international figure of intrigue and a politically powerful, restless jet-setter who valued family, but had failings as a father.
Agnelli had its world premiere at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, and is executive produced by Graydon Carter; produced by Matt Parker, Carly Hugo and Annabelle Dunne; directed by Nick Hooker; edited by Chad Beck; directors of photography, Sofian El Fani and Wyatt Garfield; music by Paul Cantelon.
Nick Hooker: Gianni was a huge political power, not just in Italy but also in representing Italy on the world stage. We had this challenge to somehow zoom in in a very intimate way, in terms of his family and way he lived his life, and then to zoom out and see him operate on a bigger stage…