I’m not going to lie, it’s been a while. Too long in fact. I find it difficult to get the time to sit down now and write, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is a time factor, I’d say that accounts for 40% of it, more a lack of creativity which is very unlike me and something which is mentally hard to deal with. I’m looking at this post as a way of hopefully clearing my head and allowing me to do a massive push for 2012. Better late than never so lets look at 2011.
2011 was extremely strange by all accounts and, I think that is the only way which I can describe it is that I have found myself being pulled in some amazing directions and given some great opportunities while also being overlooked, let down and screwed over. I think this is what comes with working in the media full time and due to working in a variety of different areas I get to experience it from all angles (no pun intended). You get to experience great work, great people, fantastic organisation. See places in the world you wouldn’t normally see and experience things you wouldn’t normally get to experience. But you also get to experience the flip side, piss poor organisation, time wasters and dreamers and being screwed over.
“I think the best way to tell the story is by starting at the end, briefly, then going back to the beginning, and then periodically returning to the end, maybe giving different characters’ perspectives throughout. Just to give it a bit of dynamism, otherwise it’s just sort of a linear story.” – The Other Guys, 2010. Only kidding. Well, maybe. That works but not here (I’m a massive film fan if you can’t tell).
When I first got a camera I got it for one reason, to take pictures of my car to go on car forums. The reason and my love for looking at life through a lens has changed dramatically since then and this year has been the year which has done that.
At the start of the year I was just recovering a discovering a few things. Apart from realising the winter was going to be a total mare’ with massive amounts of snow and the almost non existent support from the roads department to keep the country moving successfully, I realised from a business perspective that if the end of 2010 was anything to go by then doing business in 2011 was, A – going to be difficult and, B – be a total minefield. It’s difficult to bring in a new year when you realise you have just been screwed out of £1600 odd by Niall Gunn due to the total disaster zone that was UAE Drift, and stupidly wasn’t going to be the last time I had to deal with that sort of situation.
Chin up though as you have to get on with things and soon after this I got my first real great opportunity of the year which was working with a BAFTA award winning director to create a rip-o-matic for a feature film to star Jeremy Irons and James Cosmo, two big screen names who have been in such films and TV series as Die Hard : With a Vengence (Jeremy Irons, film) and The Borgias (Jeremy Irons, TV) and Braveheart, Troy and Narnia (James Cosmo, films). There was nothing quite as surreal in my position when your setting up lights and backgrounds in Jeremy Irons muse house in London when he asks you to sit down while he makes you a cup of tea. Weird situation but totally amazing at the same time.
February saw a massive shift and a great opportunity for me as my site, Stile-Auto, which is now just for my work, merged with Fitted Life. I think we can all agree this site does it a little differently. Michael has some amazing vision which is not short sighted but he can see the bigger picture. It’s not all about the cars, it a way of living and promoting a lifestyle which is great because it allows us to post on more than just cars which is where it all started. I still find it amazing how love of automobiles can bring people together all across the world via the internet.
March comes along and with it it brought Andy Robertson’s DC2 import Integra Type R in all its glory. Andy’s car is one of the cleanest in it’s class and has been truly tastefully modified. It also helps when it is maintained by one of Glasgow’s best, Andrew Baird.
Apart from it being my birth month which is good as birthdays bring gifts, it also normally brings the start of slightly better weather and thus a lot of the great cars and fresh builds come out of hiding. Not one to shy away though over winter was Viney Chan with his previous car, a blinding Evo 6 TM Edition.
It was also a great month as I headed along to the annual Monster Unit track night held at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland. For those of you that don’t know, Monster Unit is a group of hardcore enthusiasts with easily the best single collection of modified and high end cars in the UK from a club/group perspective.
I also thought that April was going to be the start of something fantastic which myself and Josh Allen had been working on. We were supposed to start filming the Drift Allstars Europe (JDM Allstars) series at the first round held at the Teesside Autodrome. However, as usual, we were fed a massive amount of bad information from the organisers which led to Josh wasting ludicrous amounts of time and me being asked at 10am, well into the start of the one day event, to make an online video. Finishing the video a few days after the event to make the desired release date I was then told that it was “shit” and that I should re-do the whole thing. After a long drawn out discussion which ended up being an argument I pulled an all night shift and recut the whole thing from the ground up. Of course I’m not a complete idiot and didn’t release the video on the date they wanted as I still hadn’t seen a penny for the work I that I was promised and was still down after the UAE Drift shenanigans. Eventually some two weeks after the event the bill, but not all of it, was paid (apparently) and the video was released only to then be told that after all the first video was good. I’ll give you both of them below and let you decide. The joy and endless shite continued as I was made aware shortly before round 2 of the series that my footage from Teesside and my footage from two of the rounds from 2010 had been lifted, along with footage from Josh Allen and Al Clark, given to an editor in Malta and was cut into and advert which aired on Maltese TV. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but this is totally illegal. Well what do you do in this situation? Well quite rightly you want paid for your work, so I confronted Niall Gunn and Ove Harlem about the situation at round 2 and then by email, only to be told that if I pursued them for money they would sink the company so I don’t get anything except a big bill from my lawyer. I’m not made of money so thus couldn’t pursue it. Hey ho…
Being down in Newcastle before round 2 gave me the opportunity to shoot some great cars thanks to the hospitality of the brilliant Anthony Scott. Again one of the best weeks of my year, excluding all the bull surrounding Allstars itself.
And some shots from the event.
May was also a good month as I started to film a documentary for STV(ITV) on Charlie Allen, leader of the Clanranald Trust. Charlie and his clan do some of the most amazing and interesting work that I have seen and working with them throughout the year was brilliant but also eye opening.
June is always a busy month on the calendar as the motorsport season is well and truly underway and there are always plenty of social events to be attended as well. Continuing my work with 1A Productions and Charlie Allen I got a unique opportunity to work with Russell Crowe who came over to Scotland to visit the fort that Charlie and his clan are building by hand. After all the stories you hear in the press and from people about Russell, I can 100% say that it’s all bullshit. It was surreal as we ended up chatting for a good half hour about cars as to my surprise he is a total petrol head so being able to share my love of Australian V8′s with him was superb.
Along with the motorsport season being underway so is the majority of horse shows in the UK which I get dragged to (yay…) with the other half. I can’t lie. I do love horses as I grew up with them so it’s still good to get out and see some of the best. Just before Amy’s birthday she took me to see a stallion which she wanted to put her mare to which was just outside Perth. The horse really was stunning and I think the picture says it all really.
On Amy’s birthday we went out for a family meal to the Butchershop Bar & Grill in the West End of Glasgow where we enjoyed a great meal and got to enjoy a cocktail making masterclass which was brilliant fun.
After this we have our local country show which you cannot avoid when you live in the middle of the country side. It’s always a good laugh with the beer flowing and quality fresh food. One of the highlights for me though is the old classic mint condition tractors some of the local bring down. It’s like all the tractors I used to get as toys as a child. Ace.
The last event for me in June which I always enjoy, if for no other reason that the awesome quantities of great food is the Royal Highland Show held at Ingliston Royal Highland Centre just outside Edinburgh. This is literally a massive country show essentially with everything there from show jumping to £150k + farm equipment. It’s always a good day out provided the weather hold out.
Annoyingly, I couldn’t find any Arabs under the saddle.
Check in later for part two.
Enjoy your day.