Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

No Wonder Jamaica is so Green!

27th January

Once again I woke up a little early to the noise of the lashing rain. It had eased a bit by the time I got up and Yiljan and I had gone to reception to meet Adrian our Tourist Board friend for the short drive to the hotel next door. He’s a tall hadsome guy with a thin well cropped beard and as my mother might say a twinlke in his eye. He seemed to be on very friendly terms with every attractive woman of girl we saw. There was a lot of body language going on!

Adrian "The Man"

Breezes is much bigger with a nicer beach for filmng. Derrick arrived at the same time as us followed a short time later by a very wet and exhausted Sandra his wife. She had run to us and about 2ks away got caught in one of the numerous really heavy showers.

The hotel had organised for me to us their PA system for Mr M’s workout. After waiting for a lull in the weather with the help of a couple of the hotel staff we lugged the amp, mixing desk and speaker out on to the beach. I rigged all my cables and made sure it was all working. I went back to put the mic’on Mr M. I noticed that three large guys from the hotel entertainment staff were taking the equipment off the beach. I was just about to ask what was going on when I overheard one them  rather angrily say to the PR girl who was looking after us that taking the gear in when the rain started was too late. He said pointedly with more than a hint of exaspiration that you have to look for the weather not wait to feel it. He then pointed out to sea where there was a huge grey black cloud in the distance. Within a few moments it was right over us tipping out a huge quantity of rain. The rest of the morning was like that. We would see a break in the clouds, rush out with all the equipment only to rush back in with it before I shot a frame. Prior to a pretty horrible lunch of cold chicken from one of the hotel’s restaurants all we managed to get done were two short workouts.

In the afternoon the weather got a little better. Well at least it stopped raining. However, the sky was still really cloudy. The wind had picked up, that helped break up the clouds but, on the other hand it was a pain for sound. There were just enough little windows of sun for us to get quite a lot done on the afternoon without any major mishap. There was one really annoying thing. When we were sheltering from the rain suddenly a spectacular full rainbow appeared in the sky over the sea. Immediatly grabbing the camera and tripod I ran to the edge of the beach to get an unobstructed shot. I had a quick look in the viewfinder and pressed record. Derrick had come behind me and after giving a few seconds for me to get a clean shot he stepped in front of camera and delivered a line with reference to the rainbow. As he finished I noticed to my total horror that there was a big sploge of water on the lens. I wiped it off but the colours of the rainbow were fading fast. The rain must have hit the lens as I ran down to get the shot. It totally ruined what would otherwise have been a terrific image. 


Back at our hotel I prepared to feed. None of the feeds had been straight forward and this one was no exeption. Firstly, the computer froze when I was putting the first bit of footage in to it. Then at one particular it just kept stopping. After I tried about four times and the same thing happened and the same point each time I investigated a little further and noticed a tiny glitch on the tape but it was enough to make it stop the computer. I was glad that that bit was not needed ‘til after the tape would be back in London. It would be possile to sort out the little fault. Once I did get the stuff away I relaxed.

Adrian suggested we go out to eat that evening. We were more than happy to leave the confines of our fully inclusive hotel. He took us to a great restaurant above Ocho Rios called Evita’s. It is run by a small round jolly woman called Eva. She was there in all her slightly over the top red outfit complete with wide brimmed red hat. She greeted us warmly and recommended a couple of dishes. I took her up on one of them, Runaway Shrimp. It was superb, shrimp with spaghetti in a coconut sauce. It might not sound great but it was really good.

As well as the owner with the larger than life personality the restaurant has a great view looking down on Ocho Rios and a wall with photos of the rich and famous that have eaten there.

The drive back was a little more relaxed than the drive there because the traffic had quietened down. The prime time for a Jamaican driver to overtake is when there is a line of traffic coming the other way and the gap between is marginaly wider than the space a bicycle courier in London would think twice about squeezing through. At one point Adrian said in a slow Jamaican drawl, “Here comes another madman.”

As he was saying it our car lurched over to the side just staying on tarmac as a small car with a big noise and a blue glow round the registration plate roared past us and several of the cars in front. It was forced back into the left hand side by a combimation of a fairly tight bend and a huge American tuck bearing down on it. There was no flashing of lights, hooting of horns or gestures made. That is just the way they drive here. Adrian was saying how mad the driving was and how you really have to have your wits about you and he spent as much time looking for the nutters in the rear view mirror as out to the front. He did drive in a kind of sensible manner. Although, every time we started off the tyres skreached as we left a quantity of rubber on the road.  In the couple of days we’ve been here and the short drives we’ve been on I have seen at least four cars in various states of near total destruction in ditches at the side of the road. Oh and surprisingly two or three Police speed traps.

So by the time we got to the restaurant, what with the journey and Adrian’s stories about his time working at Hedonism II, and the antics of the guests Yiljan and I were slightly less chilled out than we would have liked. 

No comments:

Post a Comment