The Solitary Rambler

PADDY OF PORTISHEAD
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Filmed 30th May 2017
Post-production completed 2nd July 2017

Running time 19 minutes
Synopsis
 
I take a look around the coastal town of Portishead in North Somerset , not far from Bristol . My day includes a visit to the pretty Lake Grounds and a walk along a little of the coast path, where I come across a couple of small old lighthouses. More importantly, perhaps, is that Portishead contains personal memories for me as I spent the last three years of my childhood here .....
Locations

Filmed in Portishead in the county of Somerset . Locations include the Lake Grounds, Battery Point , Black Nore Point and Redcliffe Bay .
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Background and production details
 
By 2017 I had become conscious that I wasn’t seeing my mother as often as I’d like, mainly due to the fact that she lived in Somerset , about 170 miles from my home in Derbyshire. I also had a lot of close friends in Bristol that I hardly saw due to the distance from me. Therefore, I decided to plan making films in the south west of England for most of 2017. This meant I could spend more time with Mum in Somerset at the same time and visit my Bristol friends too. I hadn’t really planned to make films in the south west, so it would be a real change as most of my films of late tended to be set very much in the north.

I worked out a list of places in the south west I decided I would like to shoot in 2017, and although not my first choices to make films, I thought it would be nice to feature the towns where I lived before I moved to Derbyshire. One of these places was Portishead , where I lived for three years from 1981 to 1984. Filming in Portishead also meant that I could perhaps add a little more story to the film by talking about some of my memories during my time there. So, I arranged to travel to Somerset to stay with Mum for a week at the end of May 2017 and make a film in Portishead on one day during my stay.

On Tuesday 30th May 2017 I drove from Mum’s and made my way towards Portishead. My first stop was Naish Hill, from where I thought I would be able to capture a great wide shot of Portishead, which I did. Driving on into the town I parked near Somerset Hall and took a few shots along the High Street. I then drove onto the Lake Grounds where I left the car for the majority of the day whilst filming. Taking many shots around here I walked over to Battery Point capturing the lighthouse. From here I walked along Beach Road to follow a little of the coast path, which I walked as far as Black Nore Lighthouse and the old Nautical School nearby.

Retracing my steps to the Lake Grounds I drove along Nore Road, took a couple of shots here, then on to my old comprehensive school, Gordano School . I shot a few scenes outside the school grounds then decided to go over to the marina . I wasn’t planning on filming here originally as it is an area that developed well after I lived in Portishead, but I decided it might be quite nice to film as I could talk about my memories of the old docks before the marina. Afterwards I drove to Redcliffe Bay to shoot some more coastal scenes. The final shot was taken just off Nore Road above Beach Hill Allotment from where I captured a wide shot of the Lake Grounds and Battery Point. 

Playing back the footage proved to me how windy the day had been. Some of the scenes where I am talking in front of the camera were unusable because of the wind affecting the sound. For the Redcliffe Bay shots I had to edit two different takes together because my voice was completely drowned out by the wind in several places. I would also be using some old photographs that were taken during the time I lived in Portishead, so I inserted some of these over the Redcliffe Bay shots, later dubbing on some commentary to replace the windy soundtrack. Other photos I used during post-production included the demolition of one of the old power station chimneys that I had taken from my bedroom window at that time.

Composing the musical soundtrack was fairly easy for me. Just before I moved to Portishead back in 1981 I composed a song called “The Show of My Hometown”, which represented the town for me just after I had made a visit there before we actually moved house there. Therefore, I recorded some instrumental excerpts of this song and kept part of the tune to sound similar to the way I originally performed it in 1981 by using various organ voices from my keyboard.

It didn’t take me long to come up with the alliterative title for this film of “The Solitary Rambler” as my old nickname began with the same initial as the town, so “Paddy of Portishead” it was!


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