Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Is That A Cake, Or A Meringue? No, It Is A Cake.

I’ve been finishing a lot of books lately. I had some sleep problems last night, so I finished two while waiting to drop off. I wrapped up “Hoot,” a gift from Christmas. It was very good young reader’s book, and I see they’re making a movie out of it featuring my husband, Luke Wilson. No, this will not be a forum to debate which Wilson brother is better looking, because there’s no debate, it’s Luke. Note I write “best looking,” not “most talented.”

I also finished “How To Walk In High Heels; A Girl’s Guide To Everything,” also a Christmas gift. Mother Effer, this was quite the tome. It was ok, but a lot of the time, it was just reading common sense stuff, like how not to flash people getting out of a car in a miniskirt. It also had stuff like, “How to change a tyre” (yeah, it’s British) and how to dance the tango. I read so much British fiction, it was actually strange to read Hoot, which is set in Florida.

Last week, I finished the best book I’d read in a while. It was called “Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Around The World.” It was written by Ewan McGregor and his best friend, Charley Boorman. Both avid motorcyclists, for years they fantasized about driving their bikes all the way around the world. It usually takes at least a year to plan that kind of trip, but with Ewan’s busy acting schedule, they didn’t have a lot of time to mess with. They also wanted a video record of the trip, and help in case they got in trouble. They decided the best way to get everything done was to try to make it into a television show. They hired a staff of about 8-10 people, got sponsors, all the paperwork, jabs, training and 2 heavy BMW bikes, and in about 4 months, they left London for a trip east to New York, the long way round. Over 30,000 kilometers, 12 countries, in 4 months.

The two men drove with their cameraman, Claudio Von Planta, on their own. One day behind them was their support crew in SUVs, which included two producers, a doctor, another cameraman, and sometimes interpreters and fixers.

The TV part was made into a 10-part series that aired here in Canada on the Outdoor Life Network. I saw a few of the episodes when it was on, but when I saw the DVD was on for just over $20, I knew I was about to immerse myself even further. (Down and down I go, round and round I go, in a spin…)

I read ahead in the book, and then watched the episodes as I went. The book gave a lot more detail than the TV series, which edited out fights, shrinking penises, and depressive episodes.

In the end, I was extremely satisfied. No, it’s not just because I want to make babies with Ewan McGregor. (In fact, now, knowing how moody he can be, his wife can keep him.) He and Charley were incredibly likable in this series, and the cameraman, Claudio (who failed his motorbike driver’s license on the day before they left and had to meet them in Prague.) did a fantastic job of capturing the adventure. There were mobsters with Kalashnikovs in Ukraine, Ewan splashed gas in his eyes (twice!), Charley tore muscles in his shoulder, one of the SUVs rolled over in Mongolia, and impassible cataracts of melting snow in Siberia. Watch this video of both Ewan and Charley for a taste of the adventure.

If anyone wants a lend of the DVD, or any of the books mentioned, let me know. Form an orderly queue.


Krista Sparkles said...

I wish you were still in town I would totally be borrowing those books/dvds from you.

Have you seen "The Motorcyle Diaries"? its romantic tale of two young men travelling across South America on a bike might be an interesting contrast to the above mentioned testosterone-fueled adventure.

Catherine said...

K, it can definitely be arranged.