The Eyeborg

340 - The Eyeborg

Canadian documentary-maker Rob Spence is known as "The Eyeborg." Here he explains why:

Rob Spence (Canadian accent)

I was nine years old and I took a gun to shoot a pile of cow shit! I hit it: there was an explosion of shit. Unfortunately, I also damaged my eye very badly, so I didn’t lose the eye then, but… I did lose the eye six years ago because the eye just got worse and worse. So, by the time I lost the eye, I was a documentary film maker. So that, combined with the fact that I have a Six Million Dollar Man doll – action figure, not a doll – from when I was a kid… with… where you can look through the back of his head to his right eye. So I was like, “I might as well make an eye camera.” I called engineers, who have been very kind… to me, and it’s the kind of project a lot of engineers enjoy; it’s a little bit science fiction, and we… about a year-and-a-half ago, we got Time magazine’s “One of the best inventions of the year.” As you can imagine, after I got a camera eye made , I became very interested in cyborgs and all things cybernetic, so one day, when I was on Twitter, twittering about cyborgs, I got a call from Square Enix (the video game makers), and they were like, “Would you be interested in becoming a spokesborg for Deus Ex: Human Revolution?” And I said, “Well, you know, I make documentaries. Why don’t you let me make a documentary about what I’m on Twitter about every day… it’s… it’s a documentary I’d like to do, I’d like to do it with my camera eye. Just let me go around the world and talk to some of the most advanced cyborgs now.” And obviously the footage that these guys came up with is amazing, as a film maker, of course I want to cut to the future, excellent, you know, Adam Jensen style. So they were really great, they just gave me complete freedom to go out and film whatever I wanted, but I think we were so on the same page that, you know, it just… it just worked out really well. I met some people that are absolutely incredible. The first guy I interviewed, he’s completely blind, but at one point he had a chip on his retina so that he could read 4-centimetre text, he could recognise objects, and that is the combination of his bionic eye and my bionic eye is… is getting into the future, what… what this guy (he points to the poster of Deus Ex: Human Revoluton hero Adam Jensen) has in his head. (He puts the camera in his eye). Children love this. My… my niece… I have two nieces, they just go (he imitates a child’s facial expression of total amazement).

Don’t Forget Who You Are

340 - Don’t Forget Who You Are

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Miles Kane talks about his latest album, Don’t Forget Who You Are, which was released on the Columbia label:

Miles Kane (Standard British/Liverpool accent)

I guess for the... the whole inspiration for this record, for me, was to... I wanted to make a Saturday night album, you know, and I wanted to make a record that made you feel up and... and it was something that if you had friends round for a few drinks before going out in town, it was the record that you put on, in a way like those old Motown records, or (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis, or something in the spirit of that thing, you know. And... and... and that was... that was the blueprint, really, and then when I sat down with Ian Broudie, who produced it, and we had that... this conversation, we ended up writing this song called “Taking Over,” which is a real sort of glam stomping sort of rock’n’roll tune with a great Mersey beat chorus, and... and once we... and then we recorded that track and once that was recorded it was like, “Wow, this is exactly what it... we’re describing, really, so let’s just do an album of that. And there was a lot of songs written and he helped me finetune a lot of the songs, and pick out the best bits and get rid of stuff that wasn’t up to scratch, and... and he had a massive part of it as well, Ian Broudie, you know, and... and I’ll never forget that, and he’s a top feller as well, you know, and, yeah, and... and that was it, and it was a very fun record to make, and a lot of high energy and even when I was doing the vocals, I didn’t want to do more than three takes, and ‘cause when we play live I... I love to give it a “Raahh!” or a “Yeah!” you know, a scream, and... and I think on modern day records there isn’t enough of that, it’s all so pre... precise, but the sense of pop music is things to just be in the moment and... and to feel good and... and so all those little moments on the record where it’s... we’ve got big choruses, but then there’ll be an occasional “Oh, yeah!” or scream, you know, we left them in ‘cause it’s real, and, yeah, it’s just a very exciting record that I’m very proud of.

(Miles Kane was talking to Mark Worden)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

340 - Recommended Reading - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

David Dickens (Standard British accent)

The book I’d like to recommend is a book called – it’s quite famous now – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It’s quite a strange title. I loved it personally because it’s a very particular story about… well, the story is actually written from the perspective of a 14-year-old autistic boy and it follows the events that this boy goes through in a particular story – it’s a particular story – and the things that happen to him. It’s… it’s… it’s a lovely book, I think it’s written brilliantly because it’s… it’s done from this autistic viewpoint, so I think it’s a bit of… it’s quite genius from that point of view, and the book is… is a little bit bittersweet, it’s funny but at the same time it’s very, very serious because this is an autistic person going through autistic problems. Quite often students of ours at Gain English, they ask us, you know: “I want to read a book,” you know, “is… is it useful to read a book to improve my English? If so, which… which book do you recommend?” Firstly, yes, it is useful, especially from a vocabulary point of view, but it’s very important, I think, if a student wants to read a book in order to improve their English, it has to be (1) at the right level, otherwise it’s… it’s… it’s… you’ll just get bored and fed up and frustrated and (2) it… it has to be interesting, it has to… it really has to be something that a person wants to read, so a… a general… this is the book that I generally recommend to students because (1) I think it’s a great book and (2) because it’s written from the point of view of a 14-year-old autistic boy, the level of the English is actually, you know, it’s quite low in… in the sense that it’s not written like for English-speaking adults, it’s actually a lower level of English, far more understandable but challenging at the same time. And so I think that’s a great book for… for Italian people to… for any student to read.

(David Dickens was talking to Mark Worden)

Shake, Rattle and Stir!

339 - London gin tours: Shake, Rattle and Stir!

Leon Dalloway (Standard British/mild Midlands accent)

My name’s Leon, Leon Dalloway, I am head honcho at Shake, Rattle and Stir, and I have a few booze tours around London. My gin tour I kicked off with was the Gin Journey, which is basically a voyage into the world of gin, an exploration into all that’s amazing about gin, you learn about the history of gin, about production of gin, you’re chauffeur-driven around town, in a gin carriage to five different gin-inspired venues, including one working gin distillery in East London, you try five different gins throughout the evening with a lot of tasting techniques along the way, you have five different gin cocktails, and generally you just have a lovely time, that is the main idea!

(Leon Dalloway was talking to Mark Worden)