Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Adventure Game - A Cameraman's Tales from Films at the Edge a talk by Keith Partridge at Aboyne Community Centre 14 November 2015

 

Eilidh Scobie, the driving force behind Aboyne Stravaigers (and much else that goes on in Aboyne) had arranged for Adventure Cameraman Keith Partridge to give a talk about his career at the Aboyne community centre last Saturday. Shamelessly I invited myself to stay the night with Martin McGregor so we could attend and also enjoy a post-match drink.

Martin is a fine cook and he provided Keith and several others of us with dinner before Keith’s talk so it was nice to meet the ‘star’ (who proved to be a very fine dinner companion) before the show. The Adventure Game, Keith explained was to be called ‘Going to the Office’ but with a new book out he thought the title needed changing. Having said that, it clearly came across that Keith thinks himself extremely fortunate that his ‘Office’ is truly the Great Outdoors.

Keith is best known for filming Joe Simpson’s epic tale ‘Touching the Void’ buthis talk, to an audience of around 150, took us through how, as a lad with no A levels growing up in the not particularly renowned mountaineering area of Norfolk he came to be one of a small band of film Cameramen to have carried a camera to the summit of Everest. His talk, supported by Slides and videa, was in 2 parts each of around an hour. The 1st half covered how he had got into filming and Mountaineering and his BBC apprenticeship before becoming a freelance. Expeditions covered here included Caving in PNG, climbing and searching for poisonous wildlife in the Amazon and most spectacularly the filming of Humpback Whales rising up amongst Kayaks off Northern Canada.

The second part of the talk built to a crescendo from the foundations set in part 1. Taking us through the epic filming of a 16 yr old hunting foxes in Mongolia with his personally trained Golden Eagle we moved onto the filming of ‘Touching the Void’ and to me the even more impressive filming shown from ‘The Beckoning Silence’ that recalled the 1936 Eiger north face Disaster resulted in the death of five climbers who were avalanched whilst crossing the Hinterstossier Traverse. This looked like a particularly challenging piece of filming, though Keith would explain a couple of the tricks of the trade to me after the show. The climax of the talk was Keith’s 2012 filming of Kenton Cool’s Everest summit expedition to place a 1924 Olympic gold medal (presented to the 1922 Everest team) on the summit. Keith’s story of the expedition was gripping and I can only say that the filming from the summit at 0530 in the morning was stunning.

After the talk it was great to talk to Keith in more detail about his adventures and tricks of the trade. For this opportunity I must thank Jacqui and Duncan who invited us all back to their house for grub and a beer (or two) and Eilidh for bringing Keith along. Of course particular thanks to Martin for providing a free B&B service and to Keith for being a great sport and staying up late to chat with us mere mortals. Keith you are a gentleman

Needless to say I bought Keith’s book for more info see:

http://sandstonepress.com/books/the-adventure-game