Surprise Me!

Gareth Redd & Earl Grey "The Rodent Ultimatum"

2010-05-03 3 508 Vimeo

When I was about 13 there was a four day weekend imposed by a nationwide fuel strike. It was probably something to do with the French, I can't remember. What I do remember is that on that fateful weekend, stranded in my remote Midland village almost three miles from the nearest town, I was bored. Terribly, awfully, horribly bored. Barely 36 hours in to this four day petrol exile I had completed all my games for the Amiga 500, read all the Roald Dahl books that had ever published and my poor pre-pubic eyes had grown weary of angling the clunky Gameboy to the fading light. I found myself staring at a huge chasm of time, two and a half days. I contemplated the sheer scale and blackness of it all. Then I had a biscuit. If the weekend was going to pass painlessly I knew that biscuit eating alone wouldn't be enough to see me through. I had to find something to do in order to defeat time itself. I'd already devoted my summer to learning how to finger-whistle and I comforted myself for a while by thinking about how it had vastly improved my life. There is after all, a premium attached to such gauche abilities in the cut throat world of the playground and my status among the feral children of the village rose accordingly. Alas, that comforting thought only filled three minutes and twenty seven seconds. The time chasm was winning. What followed all happened rather quickly. First, my extraordinary mind free-wheeled from this acorn of an idea and stumbled across a conceit of oak-like proportions. I felt my strategy congeal and before I even knew what it was I was galvanised by it's exhilarating promise. It's hope. My scheme was thus: the law of averages told me there had to be a skill in the world that I didn't already have, perhaps even more than one. A skill comparable to finger-whistling that had playground cache but which also demanded great swathes of blind focus to learn. The kind of focus that when correctly applied, actually speeds up the passage of time. Second, it hit me. Juggling! I thought it a quirky skill and therefore one well suited to my iconoclastic pre-teen persona. Also, the hand eye coordination required would surely have me rapt with the kind of vigorous concentration that only 13 year old boys can truly muster, the kind that actually speeds up time itself. Time wouldn't stand a chance, the cunt! Moreover, my stock had risen as a result of the finger-whistling so surely an added ability to juggle would turn me in to some kind of of playground Zeus figure. The two and a half days now felt meagre and insignificant, I had work to do and it began at once. And so it was that on that weekend of French trucker tantrums I taught myself to juggle. Rather inevitably, I felt myself grow from mere boy to boy-God. The greatest gift I gave myself that weekend was not deification though, nor was it the ability to wow the playground mouth-breathers by lobbing armfuls of satsumas at the floor. It was the gift of a weekend well spent, a new skill learned and another of life's mysteries demystified. I've never looked back. Long weekends (and/or protracted periods of demoralising unemployment) I now see only as opportunities. This bank holiday, back in the Midlands once more and with juggling and finger-whistling long since learned, I've turned my attention to demystifying another of life's murky unknowns - After Effects cameras. I thought those pesky squirrels would make good subject matter for my 3D self-tutorial and I'm uploading the result so that up to 56 people can watch it on vimeo. Enjoy. Come to think of it, there are two bank holiday weekends in May. Next time, fire eating...

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