Tuesday, 31 December 2019

A decade of local films on The Barnet Eye

For Christmas back in 2009,  Mrs T (the missus not the former Prime Minister), bought me a video camera and has been regretting it ever since. Until then, video making and photography wasn't something I'd had too much interest in. I think my nearest and dearest imagined happy videos of the dogs and the kids. Sure, there have been a few, but it opened up a door for me. I started experimenting with editing, making sort films and using the content for my blog. After some early experiments, I realised what a poweeful tool it was. I picked one video a year (apart from a couple of special exceptions).

Here is a chronicle of the film making exploits of the Barnet Eye, by year.

2010 - The first 'proper video' I made was this. I drove to Watford and back on the M1 and shot a few other clips and decided to edit into a video, using a song by my band The False Dots. I chose Paul's Song, a monumental guitar rock instrumental. I really only intended it as an exercise in learning to use a video editor, but it attracted a cult following! The images have a hypnotic effect that works well with the incredible guitar work of Fil Ross on the track. When Paul Hircombe, who wrote the song, died in 2012 it added a touch of poignancy that I hadn't anticipated. Not a bad start relly

2011 - In 2011, Barnet Council shut Church Farmhouse museum in Hendon. I made this video to commemorate this, whilst having a beer with former curator Gerrard Roots. This may well be the video I'm proudest of. It is sad watching it and recalling what our community lost.

In 2011, I also made history. Discovering that Barnet Council had no legal right to prevent people from filming council meetings, and no legal way of stopping people, I filmed at a council meeting. I chose a committee chaired by Hugh Rayner, as I now Hugh is a decent man and would be pragmatic. I now wish I'd chosen another committee as it was a bit uinfair on Hugh, who didn't really deserve this, but the point had to be made and I didn't want someone who'd try and get my camera confiscated. It isn't great, quality, I just wanted to prove the world wouldn't end. The day after the council voted to formally allow residents to video meetings. Hugh said to me after "You know I could have had you arrested", I replied "Actually you couldn't, I'd checked". Sometimes you have to take a risk for democracy.

2012 - In 2012, I collaborated with US film maker Charlie Honderick to make "A Tale of Two Barnets". It was an education working with someone who knew what they were doing and could edit something properly. This is well worth another look. The intro is by Ken Loach. This was covered by both ITV and BBC news and was a high point for community activism locally.

2013 - In 2013, Stan Davison, a contribuitor to A Tale of Two Barnets passed away. I decided to publish the whole interview that Charles Honderick did with him. It is well worth a look. It is lovely to be able to preserve such memories

2014 - In 2014, I decided to make a follow up to A Tale of Two Barnets. We got a bunch of activists to film the theme tune and did a few interviews. Sadly, I couldn't get the backing needed to do the job properly, so I edited up a couple of snippets and the plan was to simply release it as a series of Youtube short films. After the Conservatives won the Council election in 2014, it seemed to me that many local activists lost the energy to fight. Sadly the whole thing fizzled out, but I think the videos we did publish prove we were right, in light of the catastrophic failure of One Barnet.

2015 - In 2015, I put together a video of my band, The False Dots performing my favourite Dots track "Winter in your heart". I think that compositionally this is our best song. It was filmed on my then new ipad, and like many was one I used to teach myself new techniques and really published as an afterthought. It has recvieved a great response, with over 500 views.

2016 - In 2016, we saw the culmination of the Hillsborough enquiry. I felt moved to say what I thought of The Sun newspaper. The band wrote a football anthem, Saturday and I used this as an opportunity to say my piece, as a football supporter and as a human being. Sorry for any naughty words. Not exactly Martin Scorcese but had to be said

2017 - This video sparked an uproar. I noticed a train in some newly installed sidings in Cricklewood. I was intrigued. I had a look at the Barnet Council website and found that the new aggregate depot had no planning permission. So I got the train back, filmed this and then wrote blog. As a result there was uproar and the Council forced DB rail to do the job properly with decent dust and noise suppression in place. I support the concept of moving freight onto rail, so I thought long and hard, but at the end of the day, private companies have to be mindful of the neighbours. This is a great example of what you can do simply by recording something that doesn't look right to you. I'm pleased to say that the depot will be opening soon with proper planning permission

2018 - This was made to help publicise Colindale Foodbank (the Barnet Eye charity of the year). We have supported them for many years and it is vital to spread the word. We also launched the Kick Out Capita campaign, I couldn't decide which was more important, so here are both!

 2019 - So on to 2019. I'll finish with our most recent video. I made this with BBC Radio London Industrial Historian Mark Amies. I think it is a great example of local., low budget, decent quality film making. Interesting and informative.

You can check out all of my videos here. I've enjoyed putting them together. I don't have any pretensions to be a great video maker, but I think they've all achieved something valuable.
https://www.youtube.com/user/RogTex/videos  -That's all folks!

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