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Hello Alternate Universe

Hello Alternate Universe

I’ve arrived in Scotland for 18 hours of detoxing at the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport before catching a bus to the Bridge of Orchy, to meet Tilda Swinton, a giant double decker bus, and 30 some odd others as we begin out 8 1/2 day journey into the Scottish Highlands, towing a giant mobile movie theater and stopping thrice daily to screen films about journeys. I don’t believe I’ve ever been so curious of the near future. This was the final e-mail they sent out to the folks partipating:

Dear Fellow Travellers-explorers-cinephiles-albaphiles,

Are yis nutters?

That’s what some of our pals are saying to us as A Pilgrimage approaches. Not pulling as in pulling? On the roads? Yes and yes, we say. As we go to bed we try to imagine what early August will be like, and when we wake up we think about it too, and the main feeling is of a kid waiting for Christmas. We’re excited. We’re THRILLED that we will all be carrying this little movie torch together.

Before we start, we wanted to send you some last minute info.

On Sat 1st we’ll meet you off the 2.45pm train at Bridge of Orchy (please book a ticket in advance!). From the station, walk down the hill, cross the main road and we’ll be outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel – can’t miss it. If you are planning to join us elsewhere, please let us know in advance.

If you haven’t booked yir sleeping arrangements, please do so before you arrive! Let us know if you’re struggling to find somewhere.

Each day will look something like this: Have breakfast wherever you are staying/morning swim in the warm Mediterranean water of a local loch/ etc, then there’s the first film. Then we have to make the Screen Machine road worthy – please help if you can, nae worry if you just want to sit and watch us work up a sweat. Then we’ll grab lunch (in most places there are a variety of basic food options – buy sandwiches for later if you like), then the lovely Routemaster bus will drive us a little way, let us out, the Screen Machine will arrive, the stop-go traffic system will be set up, and we’ll haul! We will prob do this for about an hour each day (one or two miles) – any longer and we wouldn’t get to our next village in time. Remember midgy stuff! Our website says to wear sensible shoes but we think stilettos and miniskirts (boys, at the least) or kilts or spiderman outfits would be much more eye-catching. We will have placards to carry and, we hope, there will be music as we pull. Nae prizes for guessing that that musical masterpiece by Cliff R, Summer Holiday, will make an appearance.

Then it’ll be back on the bus and drive to the next town. When we arrive there, check in to your accommodation or set up yir tent as we set up the cinema, grab some food (we recommend the Canalside chippy in Fort Augustus!) then two movies. Then maybe a wee swally before sleepytime.

It’s very important that whatever you do whilst you’re with us, you document it in photos, wee films, scrawled thoughts on postcards, sound recordings, paintings, mathematical equations, whatever you like – because we will be filling our website with sights and sounds as we go. Just remember vaguely where you did what you did when you did it, and pass it on to us when (if!) we have a breather.

Oh, and we suggest you take a look at this, if only to reassure yourselves that it won’t be anything like as hard as this… maybe: www.tug-of-war.net/training.htm

That’s all for now. Any questions, do ask. Just a few days to go. It could piss with rain. It could be exhausting. We might feel that we are doing something meaningless and without affect. But then consider these little exhortations from Robert Bresson in his book Notes on Cinematography:

“An old thing becomes new if you detach it from what usually surrounds it.”

“Things are made visible not by more light, but by the fresh angle at which I see them.”

“Catch instants, spontaneity, freshness.”

“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.”

“Be as ignorant of what you are going to catch as is a fisherman of what is at the end of his fishing rod.”

Maybe carry these thoughts on our placards?

Cannae wait,

Mark, Tilda and Matt

I assume I’ll be offline the entire time. But apparently, as noted above, this website will be updated over the course of the trip, with “photos, wee films, scrawled thoughts on postcards, sound recordings, paintings, mathematical equations…” So check in if your curious, and I’ll leave it at that.

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