Monday, May 19, 2008


IMG Media called me to work in France for a weekend to film the last match of the French season at Valenciennes' home ground against Nice. We interviewed Abdeslam Ouaddou, the team captain. It was for The Arab Football Show, a series which concentrated on players with Arabic routes, although he was more French than his native Moroccan name suggested. The producer Alex and I filmed the town, interviewed the coach and watched the fans line up outside the stadium gates. It was to be the first ever football match I had ever attended, and I was nervous.

During the entire game my adrenaline was flowing. It was not an easy task to follow the ball with my camera, especially since I had to zoom in very close and therefore move the camera a lot to follow the ball. This was not as difficult as actually anticipating (the essence of all good camerawork) where the ball was going to go, so I quickly realised I needed to use both eyes. My left eye is usually closed when I look through the viewfinder with my right so I can concentrate on the image I'm recording. But for football I needed to use my left eye to see which players expected to receive the ball and where they were running to. I found I had periods of intense concentration where I was totally successful in my anticipation, and highly satisfied, and other times I was tired and would miss the game entirely, my filming being nothing more than a blurred green swishing left and right with no decent image at all.

Whilst Alex was watching the game with me he would direct me sometimes with where the ball was going. Before half-time he said 'Nice are attacking' - I quickly framed wider and panned to the goal to see their first goal go in. Brilliant, I captured it! Both sides fought more aggressively after that, and Nice were a much stronger team. It was almost like predictable clockwork filming Nice's attacking style, they always played the same tactics and I knew where each three strikers were going to go, as if I had seen Nice play football a thousand times. Valenciennes on the other hand were angry and weak, they defended most of the time. Then Nice scored their second goal and I had been filming the coach sitting on the bench so I missed it. I felt terrible.

After half time the red team were trying harder, but I could see Uaddou getting more irritated in defence. Then suddenly their striker charged up the right wing and the whole stadium went crazy. I could barely hold the camera on the tripod for all the excitement. He didn't score but was fouled and the popular striker Savidan took a penalty and scored. I knew where he was shooting so it wasn't hard for me, and after catching two goals out of three I didn't feel so bad. And that was the first match I had ever been to.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I had the pleasure of working in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of May, where I think I can safely say I had one the best restaurant experiences ever. Upon arrival we were seated at a round table and admired all the paraphernalia on the walls (like old china plates, a pirate's treasure chest, giant sea shells). One of my colleagues came back from the bathroom and told us all we MUST have a look. I later went myself and was amazed to see the floor covered in stones, and tubs of ice to urinate in.

Two beers and three oysters later there was a tremendous crash on the floor and everybody cheered - a waiter had obviously dropped a plate by mistake and couldn't hide the fact. Then another plate dropped, and the customers reacted again, but not so loud. Then a third and fourth time, and the customers had stopped cheering for fear that the chef was perhaps arguing with the owner infront of everyone. But the plates kept crashing, so much that shards of china would spread to our table! After a while I asked a waiter why this was happening, and he told me it was a form of celebration, similar to the Greeks, when they do good business. A few minutes passed and the same waiter approached me again, this time asking me to follow him. Naturally curious I got up from my seat and he took me round the corner to where all the waiters passed through. There before me were loads of broken wine bottles littered all over the floor. He took a bottle from the floor that only had a chip at the top and said, 'Here, break it!' So I did. Then I picked up another, and another. It was a fantastic stress reliever!

I enthusiastically returned to our table and called everybody to come have a look and everyone had a go. Then my friend Dave said 'Hey Ric, look at these!' and to our right were around twenty old military helmets displayed on shelves. So I promptly picked up a knight's lancing helmet whilst two others did, and we returned to the table together.

When we got back to the hotel we met a guy who we were working with on the same event and told him all about it. He asked us what the restaurant was called, and when we said Marius he said 'But we went there this evening and saw nothing like this! Where were you guys!?' That was the funniest thing of all. Who said curiousity killed the cat?