One year ago today, 15.04.27, cinematographer Andrew Lesnie died. I didn’t know of this until I got the extended cut of Battle of the Five Armies for Christmas, and watched all the behind the scenes stuff. There was a tribute to him at the end. He was 59. So sad.

I have loved the detailed insights into the making of the Tolkien films and I often rewatch them. They really knocked themselves out to make these films that entertain us so and I admire how well they all worked together. Christopher Lee, who we also lost last year, made his own tribute to Andrew Lesnie by saying that he was right up there with the great cinematographers, and that is praise indeed from one who worked wioth so many camera men in a lifetime of film. But the work stands for itself and will, for as long as there is cinema and people to watch it — a testament to the, often invisible, man behind the lens. Lesnie’s cheerful demeanour on set is recorded for all to see, thanks to the generosity of the entire team in allowing themselves to be filmed at work — doing what they do. The upshot of these documentaries is that one gets to feel some connection with the people who made these films — films made by all of them for all of us. Consequently so the loss of such a talent is more keenly felt and more sorely missed and that is no bad thing.

Time moves on. The digital world is changing everything. Peter Jackson has, in a way gone back to being able to hold the camera himself — in a digital world. The future for film making is going to be truly fascinating. I for one would love to see holographic productions — it’s unlikely at my age but they will come. Nonetheless I think I will always love the old fashioned film and the greats, as I love hand copied cartoons, vinyl records, paper books. It’s comforting — like soda bread hot off a griddle! But it’s not just that — as with all things, quality is about craftsmanship and there will always be people who care about doing what they do, well.

I have been inspired by many people to put pen to paper. Earlier this year I wrote a poem inspired by Andrew Lesnie which I am not going to share with you here — you’ll have to buy my collection when it comes out later this year — and I hope you will — because I care about what I do too and I want it survive me. For now:

Thank you Andrew Lesnie for lending us your vision.

I will share this one:

A Voice Beloved

In middle earth and in our ears
a voice is silenced.
The screen he silvered for years
is darkened.
Our screams die and cry.

But the wound, but the wound
of the depth of his tone
echoes a sound
in silent moments when alone
will haunt aloud.

Forever undead he
in our mind’s eye
is yet animate. His name we
say with reverence and awe.
Christoher Lee.

It seems so many famous people have died in the past few months — Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Prince, that Facebook is in constant mourning. But every death brings personal tragedy — famous or not, from The Hillsborough Disaster to the last refugee to someone homeless.

“The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

Well it’s been summer and winter and discontent 😉 (that’s my wee reference Shakespreare’s 400th anniversary — I really enjoyed the Beeb’s production) and happiness here this week.



and that is typical April though we haven’t had a typical April in years and I know that sounds very confusing but picnics and sleet are life’s contrasts.

Marie Fitzpatrick is putting the finishing touches to our latest issue of The Linnet’s Wings and I’ll have news of that soon. We are still accepting work for our Christmas Canzonet too. If you have a poem awaiting my attention please be patient. I am in the happy position of having lots of good poems in the pipeline just now 🙂

On to May.