Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wolves Revisited

Wolves Witches and Giants was written by Ed Welch and narrated by Spike Milligan. It ran on ITV between 1995 and 1999 and went on to be shown in around 100 territories and won the Best Children's Entertainment award at the Royal Television Society. Today, the programme is still shown on the CiTV channel in the UK. Since making that series, Sara Bor and I have co-produced and directed eight series of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids based on the books by Jamie Rix.

So how would I tackle the story of Little Red Riding Hood in 2013?

This is how: here's an extract from my short story,  Bad Mr Wolfe.

‘Is there something wrong Mrs Hood?’ I had unloaded the ivy-clad logs into to the lean-to shed and was returning to the pick-up to fish out the invoice.
    ‘It’s Ginger. She took some cake over to Mom’s house this afternoon. She should have been back by now.’
    ‘Have you phoned your Mother?’
    ‘That’s what’s so weird, she’s not picking up. Would you mind dropping in Cubby? It’ll be dark soon, Ginger ought to stay the night with Mom.’

A crow would have taken five minutes to get to her mother’s house, but the metalled track snaked through the woods that encircled the razor-wired grounds of the Loup Hall Asylum.
    It was dark by the time my tyres crunched the gravel outside old Mrs Hood’s cottage. There was something wrong. By now her fire should have been lit and the light in her kitchen should have illuminated the cottage garden.
    A blood-curdling scream filled the night air.
    I rushed to the front door, smashing the lock with the butt of my chainsaw. As I ran down the hall, there were sounds of a struggle coming from the kitchen. I forced opened the door. There in front of me was the shape of Mrs Hood, grappling with the door of the old larder.

You can read rest of the short story HERE or visit and go to the Fiction page.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Coat and the City of Glass

I was with an artist friend of mine, eating fish and chips in Falmouth.  He turned to me and asked me where I had got my coat from.

Despite my wife and kids telling me I look like a tramp in it, readers of this blog will know how attached I am to my coat, so I was pleased with the interest.

However, my friend went on to say that he was looking for a beat up old brown coat for reference in a series of paintings. 

Later, in Ashley Hanson's Bodmin studio, he talked through the ideas behind his latest, impressive, painting in his City of Glass series, as well as taking some reference shots of the coat. He tells the story behind these painting in his blog:

Informed by the writings of Paul Auster, the series takes it's name from  the first book in his The New York Trilogy.


Edward (Teddy) Bor 1921-2013

My father's funeral was held on the 18th January 2013. This is my eulogy from the service. 

My father was a man who lived and breathed music. He thought music, often giving the impression of being vague to the outside world.

Although music was at the heart of family life in the Bor household, popular music was frowned upon. Dad did buy us a copy of “She Loves You”, as Andrew (my brother) and I were Beatle mad, but soon even the fab four were not to be encouraged. Dad recorded with The Bath Festival Orchestra at Abbey Road and was horrified to find that the group of screaming girls outside were waiting for Paul and John rather than Yuhudi Menuhin. The world had gone mad as far as he was concerned.

Music was a serious business to Dad, but he had a comic alter-ego, Professor Teddy Bor. Based on violinist Max Rostal, who taught both my parents, Dad would put on a thick European accent and play on his “exploding” violin, an old saleroom bargain he had unglued and reassembled with pins. One tug and the whole thing fell to bits in front of his audience. Two of his jokey compositions were published, and these are played all over the world. Violinist Gidon Kremer included them on several CD and DVD releases and sent these words of condolence on hearing the news of Dad’s passing.

“It was a real privilege for many years to feel connected to Teddy Bor via many music pieces I had performed myself and as well with my orchestra. All of us, along with our audiences around the globe, have enjoyed his masterfully written witty scores. So many times they served us as brilliant encores on tours and I am sure these beautiful compositions will accompany us further.”

Dad’s courage, during his final decade of ill health, was inspirational. He continued teaching violin until his late eighties and edited the book that celebrated the centenary of his older sister Hilda Bor.

A video by Teddy's grandson, Fred Burns, to promote his book.

Bob Godfrey 1921 -2013

Bob Godfrey, drawn by Simon Bor 1977

I chose to study Graphic Design at St Martins School of Art in 1975 mainly because it was claimed that Bob Godfrey was a lecturer there. Unfortunately, it turned out that he no longer visited the art school. As things worked out, I was to be taught by Bob for the final two years of college life, when I transferred to Farnham's Animation course.

It was Bob's maverick approach to animation that had attracted me to the subject. Roobarb and Custard being the bravest children's series on BBC at the time and his Do it yourself Animation Show making it all seem so assessable.

His guidance on the animation course was invaluable. After leaving college I made a children's film and set out to look for work. Bob was one of the first people to see this. The same day he had watched a film by another Farnham student. Bob told me how easy that person would find work in the animation industry, a student that could walk into any studio as an animator. He told me that I would find it a lot more difficult. He wouldn't be able to give me any work because I was looking for HIS job. He thought I should use the film to get my own series off the ground.

I never did work for Bob, other than helping out a freelance animator who was doing a small job for him, but I did go on to set up a studio with my wife and produce over twenty animated series.

It was so sad to hear that Bob had passed away. Only two weeks younger than my own father, Bob Godfrey out lived him by just over a month.

Out of my head

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