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...Robert Burns, Bard of Ayrshire, 251 years young today! In Scotland, mere mention of "the Bard" refers foremost to him, not William Shakespeare as is common elsewhere.

Yet further proof of the barbarism that hangs heavy over this land of my current residence, I cannot yet enjoy a proper Burns supper. Scottish haggis is banned in the US owing BSE fears. Yet, whisky, which carries far greater health risks, flows freely. So it's a liquid lunch for me today in his honour! I'm sure Burns himself would well appreciate the irony.
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I recall being shown this film at primary school at about age six. As a budding maths geek, it positively captivated me.

still frames )

The film was made in 1956 by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart for Canada's National Film Board. McLaren, a Scottish-born Canadian, pioneered the use of stop-motion animation of abstract shapes synchronised with sound, using the same technique adopted 25 years later by Rod Lord for his seminal work in producing the animated book sequences in The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy BBC Television series.

In early 2001, I purchased from the NFB a copy of Rythmetic on videotape. However, it was not until this month that I had dug out my VCR and transcoded the video to digital form. The result of this encoding is below. Given that the original is a publicly-owned work, I see no reason it should not be made available.

video )

Update: This is the high-quality encoding. It is much superior.

The official page on this video contains interesting information, including production photographs showing Mr McLaren creating the animation.


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June 2010

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