Starling Flight Dance Out-Dazzles Christmas Lights

I have been sorting through some family archives while at home in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Below is a clip of footage taken by my Dad (Jim Patchett, a retired BBC News Cameraman) of a flight of starlings outshining the Christmas lights on Aberdeen’s Union Street in Dec 1999.

He took the footage for an art project that my sister never got round to making at art school and I thought it would make the perfect Experimental Geography in Practice Christmas card… so Merry Christmas and enjoy!

(keep your eyes trained on the sky!)

The day after I first made this post my dad sadly passed away. For the memorial service that we held to celebrate his life on the 28th of December I set his film of the starlings to the song he requested be played at this event: “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” by Sandy Denny.

This entry was posted in Creativity in the City, Experimental Geographies, Experimental Historiography, Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Starling Flight Dance Out-Dazzles Christmas Lights

  1. Perdy says:

    Hey merle merry xmas to you! that was great to see. it reminds me of The Flocking Party by Chris Landau

  2. Great footage, hypnotic and strangely beautiful. Something sublime and almost extra-terrestrial about the patterns of movement, the bloom and movement in the air; new birds joining the flock continually, against the prosaic noise and city traffic.

    Happy New Year

  3. Brian Rosa says:

    That video you made for the memorial service is really touching, Merle. It’s incredible how well it suits the song, and how suitable the song must have been.

  4. Sam Thom says:

    Hey, just found this post about Jim’s starling footage.
    Nice one.
    He once filmed me wearing women’s high-heeled shoes (I’m a man, by the way) in Beechgrove Terrace for a Landward feature back in 2003-ish. The director wanted shots of me walking clumsily. Jim never let me forget that I actually found it quite easy!
    Ha ha

    Sam Thom (BBC Aberdeen)

    • Merle says:

      Hi Sam,

      thanks for your comment! My dad loved working for the BBC and people he worked with.

      He would often tell us stories of the strange things you often got up to for a shoot… I hadn’t heard the high-heeled shoe story but glad to hear it now.



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