I read this article this morning, and it made me think…
July 24th 2010. I can’t really remember what I was doing – probably something mundane, on a train from Brighton to London, shopping, drinking coffee, seeing friends, possibly working in fact. I know that exactly a month before that I was coming to the end of a 20-hour bus journey from Mancora to Lima. It was hot, I was exhausted, and I was on the third of four legs of a journey that was directing me home to the UK (where I wasn’t too keen to go). A month the other way, I was returning from an altogether different trip, still overheated and overtired – this time from an experience in and through the hottest summer Israel had seen in decades – and quite looking forward to getting home.
So if film directors Kevin Macdonald and Ridley Scott had asked me to document my life as it was on July 24th, for their project Life in a Day, by describing the things I love/ the things I fear/ what was in my pockets at that exact moment in time, I think I would have been a bit dismayed. The proud (and somewhat competitive) adventurer in me would have far preferred to show my life a month earlier or later, than display what I would consider the mundanities of daily life. I’d want to be able to say I:
(June) almost everything about South America: the people, the cultures, the history, the food and drink, the attitude…
(August) air con and ice-cold surfaces, plus my skin’s travel tan and all the stories of outdoor life and adventure behind it.
(June) the vague possibility of being abducted by the big friendly Colombian giant sitting next to me on the bus, who is berating me (in Spanish) for my failure to visit his country.
(August) the prospect of another grilling by El-Al security because the picture in my nine-year-old passport no longer looks like me (funny, that).
have in my pocket
(June) my well-stamped passport, a few Soles, my mood-enhancing/sleep-aiding iPod, and probably a small packet of wet-wipes (essential for long journeys in hot countries).
(August) the same things as June, but switch out the Soles for Shekels.
But the point is, this isn’t everyday life for me (usually, although I was lucky enough for it to be for a little while) or most other people. In fact, what we might consider to be the boring elements of our lives could, for someone experiencing an utterly different existence on the other side of the world, prove fascinating (or worthy of ridicule – one or the other). Especially if it was woven together with narratives by other people, in all sorts of far-flung global locations, to form a snapshot of an average 24 hours on earth.
Which is exactly what Kevin Macdonald’s 90-minute film, produced by Ridley Scott, sets out to do. It takes the best of 81,000 video submissions from individuals all over the world, and melds them together to form a beautiful patchwork of human experience – of a Life in a Day. I genuinely can’t wait to see it. I’m thinking it could be armchair travel at its best. Wonder if there will be a sequel? Quick! Plan something awesome for July 24th 2011! Or just start living in a way you would be happy to document…