And So She Went: Laura Kay Rudat, Filmmaker

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Laura Kay Rudat, filmmaker, is full of surprises and is an incredible story-teller. Her brief yet fascinating filmmaking career has taken her to some of the most unlikely places on earth. In India she filmed the documentary A House for … Continue reading

Watch This Space: Review of Gungor’s New Book

It is with delight that I announce that I’ve been picked to be a recipient of one of 50 pre-release manuscripts of Michael Gungor’s forthcoming book “The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse”.

This means I get an advanced look at the material and will be publishing a pre-release review of the book. I will be scouring this piece of literature and enjoying, analyzing, and reflecting on what Michael has to say about the arts and all else contained in life (if indeed, there is). I’ll have a review completed for release by October 9 (the official book release date).

For those who are not familiar, Michael Gungor is the lead instrumentalist and vocalist of the musical collective Gungor, an innovative and motley crew of jazz-trained musicians and  friends. Gungor was nominated for a Grammy for their last album, Ghosts Upon The Earth, described as follows:

Produced by the group’s namesake, Michael Gungor, Ghosts Upon the Earth was primarily written by Michael and his wife Lisa who is also a featured vocalist in this musical collective. Recorded in numerous locations, including the Gungor’s home, the album also includes seventeen players, four additional vocalists, a six-person string ensemble and a boy’s choir. Inspiration for the album was orchestrated from Gungor’s weeklong meditation in Assisi where he was inspired by the Saint’s view of the world, as well as from the birth of their daughter last year. (Source: M News)

The book comes out of Michael’s wrestling match with the “Christian music” establishment as a person whose musical was first “too trite” and then “too different” to succeed in that genre category. Michael has a lot to say about faith and the arts and last year gave a Q&A prior to each tour concert.

I will not be releasing any details about the manuscript until I release the review. For more information, visit Gungor’s site.

For my prior posts on Gungor, click these:

Gungor – Ghosts Upon The Earth Tour – Langley

Ghosts Upon The Earth (Album)

Gungor – Beautiful Things Tour – Langley

Beautiful Things (Album) (Published in Options Magazine)

First Run

I began running again. I wanted to try to capture some of the quirks that went through my mind on the first run of the season.

I begin. The sky burns an intense pink, as if the world were on fire. But I am cold.

Becoming conscious of it, I thank God for breath, and regulate. Nose, mouth, repeat.

Leaves carpeting the ground already? August, you betray me. Summer seems shortest always.

I hop the fence to my alma mater, like a child breaking in to their parents’ house. The greenery of this place is breathtaking and life-giving. The track approaches.

What are you doing? Right ear asks. You’re a fool.

Sprint the straights and slow on the curves.

Take it easy on yourself, right ear says.

You never take it easy on yourself, left ear replies. You’re in training now.

I run, feeling conscious of my limits.

I look up into a sky blueing vividly. A dove hovers above me in the form of a cloud. I will run with angels.

Final lap. I sprint the first straight to exhaustion and decelerate. The slow curve is kind to me. Everything is subdued. Still many steps ahead for recovery time before the very final straight.

I burn. The sky is cold.

Do you really want to run the final straight? Right ear asks.

You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t, left ear chides.

The dove is still there. My legs do slave labour. I finish.

I feel dead; I feel alive.

Man-Made Cycles

Obsolescence (noun)

This is the word you are looking for if you want to describe a very real phenomenon you’ve observed about our world: the tendency for products to break down over a certain, almost determined, period of time.

Obsolescence, you see, is not just a coincidence. It’s intentional- a sly manufacturing policy so common that there is a term for it: planned obsolescence. It means designing a product with a limited useful life. Examples abound, as this trend is clearly visible in today’s manufacturing, whether cars, computers, batteries, or shoes. For industry, planned obsolescence encourages purchasers to buy again and buy sooner if they want to retain a functioning product.

Obsolescence doesn’t stop with actual physical breakdowns. Consumers are further manipulated by schemes run by everyone from Apple to Wal*Mart to Gucci to Ford Motors in which perceived obsolescence (older products being deemed less desirable [uncool] and in need of replacing with newer, cooler ones) rules advertising. Old is taboo, laughable. NEW is required, reasonable. NEW is the hook that draws the fish in. It’s why tens of thousands line up for hours to get the new iPhone on the day it comes out, as if they had been waiting on this moment all their life, desperate to find their long-gone fulfilment, to climb another makeshift step on the social ladder.

If you see through obsolescence it will probably piss you off. If you’ve identified it for what it really is, a grand marketing ploy that manipulates the beliefs and emotions of society to deepen the pockets of manufacturers and sellers, you’re not alone. You may no longer necessarily want to replace everything in your house from your phone to your car to your TV to your fridge. You may think yourself embarrassingly old fashioned to wonder if could just find something that lasts? Something that’s dependable?

Some manufacturers shun obsolescence more than others. One good example is this: It seems so archaic, today, but Moulton Bicycle Company still creates its bicycles by hand. I don’t know what the average life of one of their bicycles is, but the fact that they spend some 30 hours producing an average bicycle hints to me that obsolescence isn’t the name of their game. In true old English fashion, their pride lies in the quality and durability of their product. Some of their employees have been creating and assembling bicycles for decades. Working alongside them would be pretty inspiring, like apprenticing, alongside a master blacksmith, which is the image that came to mind when I watched this film. The film speaks for itself, and demonstrates the pride and love that can go into the creating of something another person is going to use, and for a long time, at that. Does it make a difference to you?

MOULTON BICYCLE COMPANY – MADE IN ENGLAND from WellPlastic Films on Vimeo.