As well as my work in journalism and proofreading, I also now have two YouTube channels – Narrowboat Zero Gravity, which charts an upcoming life adventure I’m soon embarking on, and Tris and Sax’s Excellent (Video) Adventures, which acts as a repository for some of my teenage video projects from the pre-Internet analogue days of the early 1990s.
In 2014, my partner Emma and I made a big decision – we were going to find a way of buying a narrowboat in order to fit it out, live on it, and travel the waterways of Britain. You can read my detailed blog about the decision here, and from June of last year, we started documenting the process on the channel Narrowboat Zero Gravity. We’ve done regular updates since then, and have gained a lot more subscribers than we ever expected, and we’re planning to continue for the forseeable future, charting the ups and downs of the fit-out process and the changes our lives are going to go through once we’re on the boat.
Six Days on a Narrowboat
Our first narrowboat video, this was shot over our six-day holiday in June 2015 that was also our first proper experience of piloting a narrowboat. It’s shot on a basic, non-HD camera so the picture quality isn’t sensational, and I’ve learned a lot about editing and filming since then, but hopefully this is still a fun portrait of what we went through on our first proper narrowboat experiences.
Once we were back from the holiday, we started experimenting with doing little video diaries that would follow the journey towards finally buying our boat, and it’s ended up a 15-part series that ends with the epic ‘Launch Week’ adventures and our first major journey in our newly-bought boat. (While we started off shooting the videos on my phone, we soon graduated to a GoPro, and have been working on improving the quality of our videos since then).
After getting the boat, we’ve been heavily involved in the process of fitting out the boat, and we’ve also tried to make our new series of videos a little sharper and more to-the-point. Each episode of The Fit-Out concentrates on one part of the process, and we’ll be continuing the series for quite a while to come…
During my late teenage years in the early 1990s, myself and my best friend Tristan Barratt teamed up for a variety of wild and bizarre video projects, most of which were shot on VHS camcorders. I’ve assembled all our joint projects in the oddball YouTube channel Tris and Sax’s Excellent (Video) Adventures, along with two short films from my University days, and other examples of strangeness.
Return of the Crimson Avenger
Made in 1994 as the ‘Minor’ project in the final year of my BA Hons Media Production degree, this is a short superhero-themed monologue. The theme we were given to work with on the project was ‘Colour’ – and that resulted in me doing a piece about memory, faded dreams and superheroics. (I was also helped massively on this by Pat Peiro, a fellow student who saved my proverbial bacon by stepping in at the last minute to play the lead role, and did a brilliant job.)
(A note: I didn’t know at the time, but there is a little-known genuine DC superhero character called the Crimson Avenger, who’s had several incarnations over the years (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson…). This film is not connected to or inspired by that character in any way.)
Suicide Is Painless
Shot in 1995, this was my final project for my BA Hons Media Production degree, a ten-minute short fantasy drama shot on BetaCam video. It’s an ambitious idea that I’m still proud of (even if some aspects definitely worked better than others), and features a sound/music mix that took two 5pm–7am overnights to get right. (This is also the second time that the inestimable Pat Peiro came to my rescue by playing the lead role.)
The New Airwolf – The Next Generation: A 1980s Action Fan Film Parody Epic!
It wasn’t quite the strangest thing I ever did in my life, but running around the Cornish countryside pretending to be Ernest Borgnine was a pretty peculiar experience. It was all part of Tristan’s magnum opus, a combined spoof/love-letter to the 1980s action series Airwolf, and this version is an enhanced edit with spruced-up original show footage, plus improved sound.
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You’ll find other lo-fi video strangeness (including some lurid music videos) over on the YouTube channel, and I hope you enjoy the experience!