London in Stop Motion

Moving images like no others.

Stop Motion is an animation technique which consists in collating still images to recreate a movement, frame by frame, until you achieve 24 or so images per second. Unlike video which captures an actual movement, stop motion fakes it. This technique used in animation-like films like Wallace & Gromit has become more and more appealing in the recent years, exploring new territory of expression like advertising (read here for the Sony Bravia ad "Bunny" shot in stop motion in NY streets) or music clips.

Framing London.

I recently came across the video below... A night portrait of London by multi-talented Canadian David Hubert whose background is a mix of graphic design, photography, video editing, music and animation. Working in Dreamworks Animation as a 3D animator during the day, he "explores the open space of artistic possibilities at night". I really enjoyed his recent exhilirating clip which strolls the London streets on a soundtrack by French electro-stars Daft Punk. Enjoy.

London (harder, better, faster, stronger) from David Hubert on Vimeo.


Japanese pictures

As promised earlier, here are a few pictures of my journey in Japan. Clearly a different country, at every levels:

White men can't jump

But they can make fun of themselves...

Some time ago I landed, a little bit by chance I dare say, on Canadian Christian Lander's website, a blog having, in his author's own words, "a scientific approach to highlight and explain stuff white people like". It is obviously controversial, but extremly witty and highly ironic.

Obviously, as someone interested in cultural differences, I had a go at "Stuff White People Like", going through some of the 100+ posts which highlights the clichés and absurd sides of life of the average white guys. Interesting also to go through the thousands of comments and rants that any entry generates... Just as if white men have no ability to take a step back and mock themselves.

This Blog reminded me of what a wise man told me one day:

Happy are people who can make fun of themselves, because they are not about to get bored.

Here are some of the recent entries of what White People seem to like:

#115 Promising to Learn a New Language

#108 Appearing to Enjoy Classical Music

#105 Unpaid Internships

#102 Children’s Games as Adults

#100 Bumper Stickers

#95 Rugby

Have also a go at the conference the author gave to Google on July 14th 2008 (on Bastille Day...) on how he went from an anonymous student to a viral icon. A bit long, but extremely insightful. Enjoy!


On your stoves, get set, ready?

M.O.T. for Mouthful Of Treats

A few months back, I wrote an article about a splendid restaurant in London called l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, literally Joel Robuchon's Workshop, named after the Michelin Star chef. This is a fantastic place where you eat seated on stools around the kitchen so you can appreciate your courses being prepared under your bemused eyes. A symphony of pans and knives, and trust me, not a single quote from UK favourite kitchen philosopher, Gordon Ramsay!
Nice, tidy, prestigious, quiet, delicious... And my latest encounter with the restaurant chain, back in Tokyo, did not undermine the reputation. I had had my lot of noodles, rice and noodles with rice, so for my last night in the Country of The Rising Sun, I decided to treat myself when I bumped into the local venture by accident (or chance my stomach might argue). Just to give you a flair of the menu, I shot this picture of the dessert: foamed and caramelised pear with bergamote ice cream on chocolate cookie. Delightful.

Hands on.

Well, as it happens, beyond Robuchon's, there is another French "Atelier" in London, and it is also a culinary workshop. This is called L'Atelier des Chefs. The France-originated concept is related to the above-mentioned, in the sense that it shifts cuisine from the secluded circles of French inns. But it goes one step further. You are no longer a close-up spectator, this time you are an active participant.

At L'Atelier des Chefs, Charly might make the cook, but then it's your turn to cook along. The resident chef demonstrates the recipe of the day, shares with you some tricks from the trade, showcases some of the kitchen utensils which happen to be for sale in the front of the shop... And off you go. Your turn to put your hands in the dough, to scramble the eggs, to scalp the radishes, etc. And guess what, you'd better get it right as you end up the session by eating what you baked minutes before. All that in less than an hour if you opt for the lunchtime "Cook, eat & run" session or a little more if you come later in the day.

Fight of the Chefs.

Now you may think that you don't need the classes, that your spaghetti à la Tesco Sauce are the best ever. And you may be right. However, the best way to verify your talent is to test it against other wannabe cooks... That's what L'Atelier des Chefs is offering you to materialise by organising Cuisine Cup, the European Cup of amateur cooks. You simply have to register on their site by sending one of your favourite recipe, based around salmon this year, and if you are shortlisted, you will be invited to cook your recipe on premise to be evaluated against the other London contenders. At the same time, in Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Bordeaux, the qualification round are also taking place for a place in the semi in Paris. Fancy the challenge? Hurry up as the sign-up was due to close soon...
Cuisine Cup - Atelier des Chefs London
Alternatively you can always follow the competition online or pay a visit to the shop in Wigmore Street if you happen to be around on November 23rd. On your mark, get set, tuck in!!!


Back in the office.

Just came back from a three-week break in Japan, so expect a few upcoming posts about cultural differences in the coming weeks. That country is simply the paramount of cultural differences... More to come soon.

In the meanwhile I was sent this article from the BBC and thought that it was not only brilliantly suited for this blog, but also particularly time-sensitive... The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated." The joy of auto-reply and foreign languages!