Friday, July 7, 2006

Pipe Dream Speakers

Porto, Portugal

July, 2006

Flying into Portugal is an incredible sight; miles of sandy Atlantic coastline, lush green hillsides and clay-orange roof tops. We where blessed with a GPS system in our rental car…so necessary! Portugal is cluttered with one way windy cobblestone streets that are absolutely impossible to navigate through without the help of a guide or a GPS. We finally make it to our hotel on top of a huge hill that looks over the whole city, perfect view!

We met with our subject Jorge, he picked us up in one of his 3 matching silver BMWs. Jorge is a true audio file, and he loves to drive VERY FAST!!! Shortly after meeting him he said his passions in life are good food and drink, cars, women and audio! Jorge, a dentist by day, is an incredible wealth of the science of audio. He and a friend build high end tube amps in their spare time. I instantly took a great liking towards Jorge, his passions where so present whenever he opened his mouth, you can see the love and interest in his eyes when he talked about his passions.

Jorge was very excited that our visit to him had coincided with another visitor, David and his wife from London. David also is an audiophile and found out that Jorge owned a pair of the legendary Pipe Dream speakers by High Emotion Audio. Andrew filmed the High Emotion Audio factory a few days earlier. David was so curious to hear these speakers that he and his wife flew down specifically for 2 days to hang out with George and his speakers, and I was happy to get David to do an interview for the show. David is a movie sound engineer. His last 2 films where Spielberg’s “Munich” and Harry Potter. David certainly added weight to our episode all things considered. Speaking of Munich, we had an hour stop over at their airport at which time Germany won the match of football. We witnessed this as I sipped on my fav. Belgian beer Hoegaarden. We all went to east sushi and drink wine at Jorge’s friends’ new sushi restaurant on the sea shore…AND PORTUGAL WON THE FOOTBALL MATCH!!! Something weird is happening here!

The next day was a great day of filming, listening to jazz and sipping on Port and Scotch. These speakers are truly incredible. The company is called High Emotion for a reason…your emotions are truly lifted when hearing such perfect audio. These speakers are the closest thing to a live concert that I have ever heard. Jorge sent us away with a bottle of port each and a spindle of his favorite jazz cd’s after a great tour of historical Porto. Al and I enjoyed the rest of the night at the city’s carnival held on the waterfront.

Rolls Royce

Goodwood, England

July, 2006

Back to Heathrow, into yet another car rental and into another adventure of trying to drive on the left side of the road. We had to drive to the southern coast of England to the new Rolls Royce factory. The road to get there where incredible, very narrow and windy, lush old growth that covered the road so much that it was like we where driving through a tunnel for miles at end. These roads have been here since the Roman days, sunken with stone walls that could tell thousands of years of stories I’m sure. The Goodwood area was filled with organizers, traffic police and car enthusiasts preparing for the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed to bring in 150,000 people on the weekend. We had a truly incredible shoot all day at the Rolls Royce factory. The Phantom was the car we focused on, what a beauty. This car, like all Rolls Royce cars, is completely built by hand. Mark Brooks, owner of the superbike in Phoenix also had a Phantom. This is the car that people like Snoop Dogg and the Sheiks of Dubai will purchase and not touch afterwards. It is such a class of a car that no one would dare to “soup it up” from its classical bespoke factory delivery. Unfortunately we where unable to take one for a spin, but we certainly got the idea!

Blancpin Watches

Switzerland – France

July, 2006

We flew from London over the beautiful Alps to land in rainy Geneva Switzerland. This was the first time in almost three weeks that it rained. We rented the car and set the GPS for the mountain village of La Brasses located in the famous Valley de Jeux. The GPS however led us up a trail that I’m sure looked quicker in its opinion, but was a bit off the beaten path. No complaints for me though, the drive through the Swiss Alps was amazing…and it was all uphill! Small one lane hairpins along with the forceful thunder storm made the driving even more exciting. After driving a good hour into the altitudes we enter civilization of small French towns with rock walled homes and thatched roofs…French??? We must have taken a wrong turn! We where in France now!!! The borders between these 2 countries are un manned most of the time, and we drove right in without having to stop. So here’s where it gets weird, we drive through this small village of maybe 20 homes, as we pass the local pub French flags and screams of celebration poured out into the streets…you guessed it, France won the Match against Portugal…of course today we where hard core France fans…AND IT IS CONFIRMED…Alistair and I are going to start charging countries to fly us into their borders so they will win the football match! We finally re entered Switzerland and had an incredible local meal at a mountain peak lodge. The Swiss where all very happy that France won, and the celebrations continued all night with horns blowing and people cheering outside our hotel windows.

The next day was spent filming at the Blancpin watch factory. This place was amazing, such fine detail goes into the Blancpin, I now know why they are so expensive. Every piece they make was built completely by hand by one master watch maker. The Famed 1735 Blancpin sells for a million dollars and takes one watch maker up to a year to build. It really blew my mind how these watches worked so efficiently with mechanical gears only, no quartz, no electronics…just the old time tested tradition of geared mechanics. The Blancpin crew where so accommodating and helpful and I would have to say I leaned more at this stop than at any other. My greatest satisfaction of this job is having the opportunities every 2 days to learn something new…this is the ultimate education.

London and Home

July 2006

Al and I raced through the mountains to get back to Geneva to catch our flight back to England. After checking into our hotel we hit the tube to head downtown. One year ago this day marks the one year anniversary of the London Bombings in the tubes. Of course CNN was there in their full glory waiting for something dramatic to happen, leave it to the corporate media to bring back all the horrific pictures and stir up horrible memories, but whatever sells advertising I guess.

Of course one of my passions is travel and that is another reason I love this job. Before Christmas I shot a documentary all over China for 2 weeks. After that stint I packed it down to Singapore to have some meetings with the producers of “Eco 4 the World”, a show that I’ve been trying to co produce with them for Canada. After our meetings I hopped on a ferry and backpacked to the Indonesian island of Bantam where I met a very interesting guy named Stuart Wood ( Stuart lives and works in London for CafĂ© Direct, the largest Fair Trade Coffee Company in Europe. We have kept in touch since and I had the pleasure of meeting up with him and Heather tufts again to celebrate our “wrap party” for this latest leg of Planet Luxury. A few Mohitos and a Trinidad cigar later we parted ways and now I am flying over the St Laurence River enroute back to Saint John for a heavy leg of editing.

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