~ Experiences, Projects & Jottings of Painter Jan Clizer, Specialist Painter of Scottish & Celtic Music Subject Matter ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Calling Scotland........

I painted the Pennan callbox today! A small thing, I know, but to many of us, Scots or no, it’s a callbox of some significance!

Pennan was a sleepy village and well kept Scottish secret until writer Bill Forsyth wrote and directed 1983 film Local Hero starring Burt Lancaster, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson, Peter Reigert, Rikki Fulton, Jenny Seagrove and Jennifer Black. Lovely theme music is by one of my fav’s, Mark Knopfler (remember Princess Bride?) Local Hero told the story of an oil tycoon with a penchant for astronomy who sends a representative to Pennan to buy up property for an oil refinery. The usual ‘big money talks’ scenario doesn’t work with ALL the locals, specifically a curmudgeonly character living on the beach, & plans, minds & hearts are altered as the spell of the village & it’s stunning surroundings does it’s work. The ’08 Glasgow Film Festival held a special screening marking Local Hero’s 25th anniversary.

Details of Pennan lent much character to the film, particularly the traditional red BT call box which Mac the rep used each night to phone oil baron Happer with his report. The Pennan Inn, one of the smallest bars in Scotland, was also a highlight! There was no workable phone box before the film was shot. Pennan’s first box was a movable prop placed to appear nearer the pier! Visitors, movie buffs and locals campaigned successfully to BT to install a genuine functional red call box. It is the most called box in Scotland. BT have traced these back to tourists phoning a relative and asking them to ring back! Now a listed building, the box sports paint specially designed for oil rigs, providing protection for metal work from the harsh North Sea and winds.

That said, maybe I can get on with the painting – a 4’ landscape of the village – a bit of a challenge for one who revels in myopic studies of rust…hmmm…..wonder what the callbox would look like if they hadn’t used that industrial strength paint…….???

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