Having decided to avoid missing yet another day of work, rather than travel on my more traditional Friday slot, instead I managed to catch the early morning Saturday flight to Seattle from London Heathrow. Knowing that I had lots of work to do on the plane, I decided that an upgrade to Business Class was in order so upon boarding settled back for that more pampered experience. The flight itself was fairly uneventful and despite spending a couple of hours trying to go through presentation content, I could not resist the lure of the in-flight film system.
First up on the schedule was Amy, the biography of troubled singer Amy Whinehouse detailing her rise to stardom and tragic and ultimate downfall. One thing that stands out in this film is the sheer volume of private video footage that was used, providing a very revealing, compelling and disturbing insight into her state of mind. I had never been particularly compassionate towards her plight having listened to the ongoing media circus that surrounded her (without really understanding the reality), and usually struggle with people who follow self-destructive paths when many people in the world do not have the luxury of choice in their physical well-being but I confess that I found the film quite moving. From what I saw, it was clear to me that her troubles stemmed primarily from her childhood, poor parenting, exploitative father and drug addicted troubled boyfriend. The paradox (like we see with so many talents) was that the further she travelled towards her downward spiral of destruction, the more creative she became, resulting in her undeniable masterpiece Back in Black.
Sadly, I only partially managed to finish my second film of the flight since it was cut off for landing, but for some reason I found Hiphoperation a really emotional film, and found myself drying the odd tear or two (I put it down to my tiredness or sand in my eye!). Its a film about a New Zealand island community of senior citizens who form a Hip-Hop dance troupe to compete in the Las Vegas Hip Hop International championships. I found the film very moving for many different reasons and could only marvel at their inspirational troupe leader and choreographer, the 44 year old Billie Jordon, who was seemingly devoted to each and every one of them. In contrast to the other film, was a prime example of how to leave your mark in the world without having to destroy yourself (something perhaps we all are trying to do), and without her, the rather amazing adventure that community went on -which would otherwise not have happened.
Upon landing at Seattle, I was picked up by Régis Baccaro (web|twitter) and Kenneth Nielsen (web|twitter) and we travelled towards the mountains where we first spent most of the afternoon walking through a river-side forest. Later in the afternoon we travelled to hike nearby Mount Rainier (something I have wanted to do ever since I have been to Seattle). We had a great time, and despite frequent jogger Régis thinking that running up a hill at an impossible pace was a great idea, I managed to slow the group pace to one that would not kill me.
Arriving back in Seattle at approximately 10 p.m, we proceeded to have some food and hit the town for a few drinks. Despite being Saturday, the bars seemed spookily empty, and with the Pike Place market setting to help with the atmosphere, I couldn’t help but compare it to the old black and white horror film Carnival of Souls. Despite the rather disappointing end to the night, it was a great start to this years PASS Summit and look forward to tomorrow!