Week 50 – Agatha Christie

I’ve always loved a good old classic detective story. You know the kind where the reader is presented a set of suspects, follows a detective and gets the same clues. Eventually, the detective gathers the suspect to reveal how the murder was done. At that point, if you’re as smart as the detective, you should know who’s the killer.

Agatha Christie’s stories are probably the best example of such stories.

While I’ve actually read only one of her novels, I’ve seen plenty of adaptations of her stories on TV. In particular, I’ve always been a fan of the ones with Hercule Poirot.

For this week, I would really have loved to take a photo inspired by my favorite Hercule Poirot story, Death on the Nile… But that’s not really an option in Northern Finland at the start of winter. (And I’ve already done the Egyptian Elves in the Snow.)

So instead I decided to go with probably the most famous one, Murder on the Orient Express. The snowy environment being much more fit. To get some inspiration for this week, I decided to (re-)watch a couple of the film adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work.

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Week 49 – Walt Disney

I doubt there is much need to introduce Walt Disney. Loved or hated, it is hard to deny the cultural impact of his company when most currently living generations (at least in the Western world) have grown up surrounded by Disney animation movies.

For this week, I decided to pay tribute to Disney by making a series of photos rather than a single one. (A bit like I did for J.K. Rowling.) I mixed and matched my collection of Elves and Disney minidolls. Practically, that mostly meant making elvenized versions of Disney princesses.

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Week 48 – Ada Lovelace

This week, our human being of #SiPgoes52 is no one else than Ada Lovelace. Daughter of Lord Byron (a key figure of Romanticism and one of the first modern celebrities), she is known as the first programmer… A century before the construction of the first computer.

Raised by her mother who encouraged her to pursue her interest in mathematics, she got into contact with scientists and intellectuals from the 19th Century including Faraday and Dickens. Because of her keen mathematical sense, she collaborated closely with Charles Babbage who had invented a machine similar in essence to modern computers.

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Week 47 – Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan, in his original Portuguese form Fernão de Magalhães, was the man who led the first circumnavigation around the world. This week is all about the age of discovery and the great explorers from the 15 to 17th century.

Christopher Columbus is the most well-known explorers, yet we picked Magellan as a less obvious choice.

I’ve always been fascinated by Magellan. It’s with certainty to discover a route South of America that he led his expedition to success. Moreover, we now know that Columbus wasn’t the first European to set foot in America. While I don’t want to reduce the significance of the (re-)discovery of America by Columbus, I find that circumnavigating the world is one of the most important milestones towards a globally connected world.

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Week 46 – Edith Piaf

One of my favorite things about not living in a French-speaking country anymore is that I don’t have to put up with French music on a daily basis. I truly dislike (or should I even say despise?) most music sung in French. There are a few exceptions though. French punk. French and Breton folk music. And Edith Piaf.

Edith Piaf is one of the most famous French singers from the mid-20th century. This is due to her incredible voice. I’ve always been stunned by how powerful, unique and so hard to imitate her voice was.

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Week 45 – Ingrid Bergman

This week’s human being is no one else than Ingrid Bergman, one of the most famous Hollywood actresses of all time. To be honest, I don’t who picked her to be on our list, and even less why. (Besides being one of the most famous actresses of all time…)

Personally, I know Ingrid Bergman for three roles: as the co-star in Casablanca, for starring in Gaslight and for her supporting role in Murder on the Orient Express. Out of those three, my favorite is Gaslight, and thus the one I chose this week for inspiration. (That said, we might revisit Murder on the Orient Express in a few weeks…)

Like The Birds, Gaslight is one of those classic movies I watched as a teenager thanks to Arte. While it’s nothing like The Birds, the movie has some truly beautiful film noir cinematography and Ingrid Bergman’s performance is at its best. (I also can’t resist mentioning the appearance of a 19 years old Angela Lansbury.)

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Week 44 – Newton

This week, our human being is Newton. Isaac the physicist and mathematician, not Helmut the photographer. Although I’m the one responsible for putting him on our list, I’ve got to admit I regret it.

Newton is one of those famous people we put on our list as “an easy human being” that anyone knows. However, I wish I had chosen one a bit less obvious, like Galileo or Copernicus.

Newton is said to have completed, with his “Principia” published in 1687, the scientific revolution that started a century earlier with Copernicus. These early discoveries are what laid the ground for modern science and made possible most of today’s technology.

For this week, rather than focusing on Newton, I wanted to go back to the root of the scientific revolution: astronomy, observing the celestial objects, and trying to explain their movements.

Without any doubt, all advancements in physics started with Copernicus and all the way to Newton wouldn’t have happened without advancements in optics which led to the invention of the telescope.

Pippilotta Rollgardinia Victualia Peppermint Longstocking

Pippilotta

This week’s person in the spotlight of our SiP goes 53 series is the creative storyteller behind the rebellious Pippilotta. Pippilotta Rollgardinia Victualia Peppermint Longstocking to be precise. Pippi in short is the red-haired, freckled, unconventional and superhumanly strong kid that lives in Villa Villekulla and embarks on amazing adventures with her horse and Herr Nilsson. And she has a suitcase filled with gold.
You must have heard about her.

Pippilotta was also the name of a red-haired adventurer I accidentally bumped into in a little village called Sparkle. It was in the middle of the nineties. The sun was shining and I just returned from an encounter with Lars.
She smiled at me and gave this newbie more silver coins than I could carry.
I must have made an hilarious impression while I thanked her blushing profusely and ran back and forth to the guild to level up my skills to kill rats in the docks.

Sparkle

If you start to wonder where Sparkle is located, you can find it in the old school text based mud game called genesis.
A (text-based) world of its own.
Full of fantasy and lore.
And fate made me bump again into this mysterious adventurer with green eyes and red-haired ponytails in the docks of Sparkle and she asked me to join her.
I took her up on the offer, and we set out to bash some some orcs and hobbits, wandered the lands and eventually got married.
And then we decided to meet up IRL in Paris.

The rest is history.

That Sparkle (tongue in cheek) turned into a real live adventure.
We fell in love.
We got married.
And we decided to name our firstborn after a character out of another book of this amazing storyteller from the North. Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter.
Don’t worry, our second got named after one of Walt’s classics.

Astrid Lindgren is her name.

The amazing storyteller of books like Pippi Longstocking, Emil i Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, and The Brothers Lionheart has left a lasting impression on me with her stories and her characters.
And if you have not read any of her books, I can warmly recommend them.
They are for all ages…

Astrid Lindgren is our SiPgoes53 person of this week.

Week 42 – Alfred Hitchcock

Many consider Alfred Hitchcock among the best and most influential filmmakers in history. If you’d ask me, I’d say he was the best. And it all boils down to one movie: The Birds.

The Scariest Movie of all Time

I haven’t seen a lot of Hitchcock’s films. Only the most famous ones: Vertigo, Psycho, Read Window, The Birds, and potentially North by Northwest. (I’m not really sure about the last one). I saw The Birds for the first time around 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve considered it as the scariest movie of all time.

As a kid, I’ve been used to watch horror movies from a quite young age, thanks to a father who has always been obsessed with horror. Contrarily to my brother, I never caught that same horror movie obsession. Maybe this is because I’ve been exposed from a young age to the horror genre and been explained I shouldn’t be afraid because it’s not real. Thus, I find most well-known horror movies to be frankly quite boring, very cliché, predictable and mostly… NOT scary. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare.

Why I think that Hitchcock and The Birds are the Best

The Birds is one of those exceptions. Watching the movie itself is not really scary. In many ways, the movie hasn’t aged well. One could easily argue that it’s a relatively slow and boring movie, with outdated visual effects, uninteresting characters and a scenario filled with plot holes. But there’s one thing that “The Birds” does better than any other movie I’ve ever seen: it builds tension to a point where it leaves you with a fear of birds.

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Week 41 – Jane Goodall

For this week of SiPgoes53, our human being is Jane Goodall. She’s probably the most famous primatologist.

She is most well-known for observing the social and family life of chimpanzees and noticing that like human beings, they are able to have individual personalities and emotions. As SiPgoes53 is about humanity, Jane Goodall is an important reminder that what we consider as human behavior can also be found among other animals. In particular with chimpanzees, she also found out that they were able to make tools. This was revolutionary as at that time, the ability to produce tools was used as a separation between humans and animals.

For this week, my little Elves are playing dragonologists. Or is it the dragon playing Elvologist?