Film Director Tony Scott dies....

Julian Bray writes: Very sad news as I hear that Film Director Tony Scott, best known for the films “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” died in an apparent suicide on Sunday when he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, an official with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed earlier today.

Tony Scott, 68, according to reports jumped from the bridge at about 12:30 p.m., The bridge spans the Los Angeles Harbor, connecting San Pedro and Terminal Island.  A passerby who saw Scott jump from the bridge called 911, according to a statement released by the coroner’s office late Sunday. The L.A. Port Police later recovered the body from the water,

The coroner’s office declined to comment or confirm a Los Angeles Times report that Scott left a suicide note in his car, which was found parked on the bridge.

Born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944, Tony — as he was known — got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott’s film “Boy and Bicycle.”  This led elder brother Ridley to start up Ridley Scott Productions directing commercials for film and TV. As Hollywood beckoned Ridley, so Tony Scott effortlessly became the lead director for RSA in the UK as it became known, and in the early days many clients thought they were getting Ridley, rather than his talented younger brother Tony.

I worked with Tony Scott many times during the late 1970's on commercials. All were excellent sets  to work on as Tony like his brother before him, employed all the cinematic magic  skills of a large production in order to get the look and feel even on a simple product based commercial shoot.

The award winning series of 1970's Guinness commercials particularly the one shot at Kenton cricket club, the batsmen are just walking towards the pavilion at the end of the game anticipating a pint of Guinness on a warm Summers day, no one would realise from the finished commercial, that it was shot mid-Winter  in February, and the snow had to be cleared from the pitch before they could shoot, and the actors playing the cricketers had to hold their breath as they ambled off the frozen pitch bathed in artificial summer sunlight.

Or a later shoot for the same product in a pub at Kew. At high tide the basement bar would flood, flood doors would be shut but the water would still seep in. Rather than lose a day, Tony shot the actors -all with trousers rolled up and shoes off,  from the waist up and mounted the cameras and track on top of empty beer crates.

He would work the same magic for Robinsons Lemon Barley Water, recreating the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for a day on the hallowed centre court lawn, but in March?

It worked. In 1995, the two brothers were reunited in Hollywood,  forming the production company, Scott Free Productions. Nothing could stop them now....

So having left a highly successful career directing TV commercials behind and in the process stepping out from his elder Brothers shadow in the UK, Tony Scott just a few years later  became a household name in 1986 as director of  “Top Gun,” starring Tom Cruise. Then in a complete change followed with the Eddie Murphy action movie, “Beverly Hills Cop II” in 1987. There was no stopping the talent.  In the 1990s, Scott embraced  big-budget action films with “Revenge” starring Kevin Costner and “Days of Thunder” with Tom Cruise. In 1998 he directed “Enemy of the State” with Will Smith and Gene Hackman.

My own memory of Tony Scott will be his gentle but confident way of getting his adoring film crew to do the impossible. He always had time for everyone, from the most junior runner upwards, and when he gave advice it was listened too, as he did have a solution for just about every difficult filmatic situation, you could find yourself in, a legacy from his years filming commercials, many of those techniques he'd employ on a daily basis on the feature film sound stage. Producers liked it, as Tony could wring extra production value out of every scene and in the process stretch the budget. Rest well dear friend, you work is done.    

Contributor: Media, Cruise Line , Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 017 33 55 53 19) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

Canaries Ablaze: Tenerife and La Gomera forest fires "out of control" ABTA wrong to minimise the dangers...

La Gomera Fire Situation at 11.00h Sunday 5 Aug 2012

Holidaymakers heading to the Canary Islands should be aware that forest fires in several areas of Tenerife and the small island of La Gomera, are set to accelerate at an alarming rate due to very high winds fanning the flames. Advice released by an ABTA spokesman earlier today (Monday)  that "the inconvenience for holidaymakers is confined to a few excursions" is not only wrong but highly dangerous and misleading writes  Travel Expert Julian Bray [01733 345581].

To add to the situation holidaymakers who try and cancel their all inclusive holiday bookings will find that until a full state of emergency is declared, they will be financially liable for the overall holiday contract to both the holiday company and possibly may face a secondary claim by the local hotelier. The advice is to numerous pictures and videos, maintain detailed diary and keep all paperwork, as claims could well be made against insurance, and or the travel company at a later date.

The further advice is to take cash in addition to credit cards, as the fires are already impacting on electrical and telecommunications installations on the islands and impacting on ATM's and banking systems.

The two Forest Fires which have been burning  on the island of La Gomera, part of the cluster of Canary Islands since the weekend are rapidly heading for the Garajonay National Park, and are in danger of joining up as strong winds have fanned the forest fire into the stgart of a firestorm already consuming some 2,600 hectares of land.

"The fire is now officially out of control in the Barranco de Benchijigua, this area is virtually impossible to deal with on land. With regard to the position at Chipude, this area is now stabilized and the population centres are “relatively safe ” said the Canary Government minister, Javier Gonz├ílez Ortiz.

The Kamov helicopter based in Tenerife and the Canary Islands Government helicopter based in El Hierro have moved to La Gomera, the fire that started in Alajer├│ has reached the heights of Garajonay, within the National Park, and has cut off the road between San Sebastian de La Gomera  and Valle Gran Rey in the south of the island.

Overnight precautionary emergency evacuations have taken place in the villages of Chipude and San Sebastian de La Gomera county.

Meanwhile in Tenerife local sources report that a fire that is thouyght to have started in hilly parts of Tenerife over the weekend  has affected at least eight towns in the north and west of the island, and could spread to parts of the south by Tuesday.

The lethal combination of scorching temperatures, very low humidity and relentless strong winds have combined to turn the forests at the foot of the volcanic Mt Teide into a virtual tinder box, local firefighters say the slightest spark from the hot ash blown from the established forest fires all over the area are rapidly starting new fires, which has now destroyed several thousand hectares of pines which are easily to ignite. Firefighters backed by helicopters and a water scoop aircraft are tackling flames from Los Realejos to Santiago del Teide, confirmed the local  Department of the Environment.

Contributor: Media, Cruise Line , Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 017 33 55 53 19) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

World's Oldest Shipping Company , Stephenson Clarke in Liquidation

The world’s oldest shipping company disposed of its last vessel and has now gone out of business, according to liquidator Tait Walker.

Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd., started in 1730, has been placed in liquidation. The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK - based shipper, in its final days employed just nine people, sold off its final vessel in July.

As an indicator as to how bad trading conditions are,  The Baltic Dry Index, an indicator of rates for transporting dry-bulk commodities including grains and coal by sea, is down 55 percent this year. The current slump is “one of the worst experienced for many years,” the shipping company liquidators said in the statement.

“News of the closing of Stephenson Clarke clearly shows how challenging the current economic climate is for shipping,” commented the U.K. Chamber of Shipping, “Stephenson Clarke was an historic company and longstanding member until recently and we were very sorry to hear this news.”

The U.K. shipping industry created  £12.6 billion pounds of revenue in 2010, according to the most recent published data of the chamber, which includes members from P&O Ferries Ltd. to container carrier CMA CGM SA.

Stephenson Clarke owned dry-bulk carriers for short-sea voyages. It was the world’s oldest shipping company, according to industry newspaper Lloyd’s List,  Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd was clearly the oldest British shipping company. King George II had been on the throne of England for three years, when  brothers Ralph and Robert Clarke purchased an interest in a 300-ton sailing vessel. The year was 1730.

Sons of the Reverend Ralph Clarke, a vicar of Long Benton, near North Shields, the two brothers took up seafaring and become master mariners. They began buying shares in ships, establishing themselves as Ship Owners, although they also continued to serve at sea for some time.

Robert Clarke had two sons, John and Ralph. The former married Jane Stephenson, of North Shields, in 1775 and moved to London , where he was later joined by his brother to carry on the business of Ship Owning and coal factors. Until 2011,  the firm operated a fleet of modern single deck bulk Carriers, ranging in size from 1100 dwt tonnes to 12000 dwt tonnes. They also operated several small self load/unloading vessels of between 1250 dwt - 2800 dwt. The final vessel in the fleet was sold off in July this year.

Contributor: Media, Cruise Line , Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 017 33 55 53 19) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

Tory Party Donations slump says the Electoral Commission

Data released by the Electoral Commission data shows a dramatic slump in Tory donations and virtually a  50 per cent hole in the Tory Piggy bank: the Party received £23.7m in 2011 compared to £43.1m in 2010. .

The 2010 figure represents election war chest donations but the 2011 £23.7m figure is, proportionately, a bigger slump than Labour's 2011 income flow (down from£36.3m in 2010 to £31.3m in 2011).

The Lib Dems income has dropped by 35.4%, from £9.6m to £6.2m. UKIP saw 2011 income drop from £1.34m to £1.06m.

North of the border, income for the Scottish National Party raced ahead  from £1.8m in 2010 to more than £5m in 2011, mainly by two £1m donations. Plaid Cymru saw revenues drop  from £667,114 in 2010 to £624,987 in 2011.

"It seems even the prospect of kitchen suppers with David Cameron in the Downing Street flat can't stop the slump in Tory donations," said Labour MP Simon Danczuk.

"With donors now losing faith with David Cameron in the wake of the cash-for-access scandal and George Osborne's disastrous Budget, the news that donations have already halved since the General Election will be causing panic in Tory HQ."

Contributor: Media, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 017 33 55 53 19) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK



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