Abroad Again

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Arts, Culture, History Documentary narrated by Jonathan Meades and published by BBC in 1990 - English narration

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Image: Abroad-Again-Cover.jpg

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We make places. And places make us. We respond to what we have created. But how does this compact between mankind and its greatest artifices work?

In Jonathan Meades : Abroad Again this question is addressed in a multitude of ways: visually, comically, rhetorically, obliquely, argumentatively and whilst swimming fully clothed.

And also passionately. For these programmes are the expression of an obsessional preoccupation with places and with the properties they reflect: fantasy and necessity, escape and expectation, individual assertion and collective fear.

[edit] Father to the Man

Meades revisits the places his father took him to as a child in the hope that they may shed some light on the very obsession they fomented. The father sold biscuits, fished fanatically, shot anything that moved. The son did none of these. But he came to love the places where these disparate activities took place - the Hampshire Avon’s watermeadows and the New Forest’s heaths, the villages and towns of south Wiltshire and north Dorset. He learned to distinguish clunch and stockbroker’s Tudor, developed a taste for random exploration and shacklands, was thrilled by the refineries and cranescapes of Southampton Water. Nostalgic? Certainly. And literally too - in that it evinces a longing for a lost home. Sentimental? Hardly.

Director: Tim Niel

[edit] On the Brandwagon

Liverpool had its garden festival - which gave us the word regeneration if not much else. Fifteen years later Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim opened in Bilbao, a three dimensional logo which made that rustbucket city famous throughout the world for something other than ETA and pinxos. Liverpool and Bilbao combined to create a fashion. Every city wanted a slice of regeneration and now every city knew how to get it. “Landmark” buildings and self-proclaiming “icons” sprung up everywhere: the same landmarks, the same icons. Titanium panels and mannerist bridges, synthetic-modern towers and minimalist bars. There’s no longer such thing as a builder. They’re all urban regenerators now. Meades travels to Liverpool, Bilbao and Manchester to scrutinise, in appropriately aspirant language, the new millenium’s most expensive craze and ponders the probable longterm effects of supposedly regenerated inner cities.

Director: Colin Murray

[edit] The Case of the Disappearing Architect

The short and lustrous career of the most mysterious of High Victorian architects is dissected to show the effects of landscape, Francophilia and adultery on his gigantic buildings. At the age of thirty Cuthbert Brodrick was unknown, supported by his shipowner father, earning infrequent minor commissions in the flatlands around his native Hull. By the time he was forty-five his career was over. Yet during those fifteen years he was, briefly, the most celebrated architect in Britain and designed three tours de force that are the finest secular buildings of their age - the Town Hall and Corn Exchange in Leeds and The Grand Hotel at Scarborough. And after that: nothing save almost half a century of apparently willed obscurity in a Parisian suburb.

Director: Francis Hanly

[edit] Heaven - Folkwoven in England

Britain is the most overcrowed of European nations: the same population as France with a third of the land mass. Yet, to an extent otherwise unknown on this contient, the British, throughout the twentieth century, shunned urbanism. They fled, in search of rural utopias called garden cities of which Letchworth was the first. It was a social experiemnt on a par with the Welfare State, a social experiment that affected us all and still does. Its legacy is Britain’s ubiquitous, banal sprawl. Yet it all started so charmingly with naked dew-bathers, vegetarian mystics, toga’d theosophists and sandal-makers roaming through Hertforshire clay fields.

Director: Tim Niel

[edit] Stowe - Reading a Garden

The Whigs preached liberty yet behaved, when they could afford to, like absolute monarchs. Stowe is the greatest of Enlightenment landscapes, an enclosed world of the utmost pomp. Gardens, lakes, woods and, above all, follies that far from being mere caprices and eye-catchers are symbolic objects, to be interpreted by those with a grasp of the classics to which they allude. It is a physcial creation which requires both literary key and a knowledge of picturesque theory. It is also an antholgy of works by the greatest names of the eighteenth century: Vanbrugh, Gibbs, Kent, Adam, Soane.

Director: Robert Payton

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • File Name ........... : BBC.Jonathan.Meades.Abroad.Again.1of5.Father.to.the.Man.XviD-UKNova.avi
  • Total Size (MB) ... : 499.58 MB
  • Duration .............. : 00:48:48
  • Video Codec ....... : XviD MPEG-4 codec
  • Resolution .......... : 720 x 416
  • Aspect Ratio ....... : 1.73:1
  • Video Bitrate ...... : 1303 KB/s
  • Framerate .......... : 25 FPS
  • Quality Factor ..... : 0.174 B/px
  • Audio Codec ....... : MPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3)
  • Audio Bitrate ...... : 128 KB/s
  • Channels ............ : 2 Ch
  • Sampling Rate .... : 48000 Hz
  • Ripped by ........... : Unknown UKNova capper, thank you for excellent programming.

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