The Fantastic Four
By Jason Reed
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You’d be forgiven for thinking with a header such as ‘The Fantastic Four’ that a self-imposed, twee nickname was given to Adam Scorgie, Brett Harvey, Stephen Green, and I as we gallivanted around the UK, styling and profiling like the essence of Ric Flair.
The reality is far more subdued, and the title of this blog post merely refers to Adam Scorgie’s geographical reference points. I quickly gathered that Adam’s unadulterated worship of film is unparalleled; Adam is so far under the influence of movies that his basis of cultural knowledge revolves around the silver screen. For example: the first time Adam saw the London Eye, it was described as ‘the thing that The Thing hung from’ – this explains the Fantastic Four motif to this blog post.
It was around this point that I feared a language barrier with my Canadian brothers. The Houses of Parliament became Hogwarts, and unless I’m not very much mistaken, I think the Westminster Abbey was just some generic magical place where all the wizards decided to hang out. I later found out that this was a quote from Joe Rogan.
In sincerity, Adam Scorgie is actually one of the most worldly and knowledgeable people you can meet. Although just barely out of his 20s, Adam has lived on more continents, seen more things, and experienced as many brass-tacks of real-life than I’ve seen movies. This, I guess, is why Adam is such a good filmmaker. His perspective of realism is simply magnificent; a hundred life-stories packaged up in the regalia of one young producer. His passion for life, and the inevitable tales that go with it, is positively effervescent.
The Culture High UK filming had already seen the likes of Dr Julian Huppert MP and Howard Marks lend their voices to the issue of global drug policy, so it was now time to seek the perspective of a leading criminologist; none other than Professor Alex Stevens from the University of Kent.
Professor Stevens is renowned for his work on Portugal and the outcomes of their on-going decriminalisation model. An early morning once again, but this time we headed for the British Seaside. Unfortunately, we were met by a rather angry and bemused pirate who promptly ejected us from his beach. I wish this was fabrication on my part, but alas… Director Brett Harvey was but one spurious moment away from walking the plank and the Culture High project would have been forever halted by Captain Pugwash.
Professor Alex Stevens gave the most wonderful and evidenced interview one could hope for. Alex is the go-to man on anything to do with criminology and drug policy. The interview lasted a long time so as to milk all the information possible, but also to allow the Great British Seagull to have their say since they were so damn vocal on the subject. We wrapped for the day, had fish and chips by the sea, and made our way back to base.
After one day off (well, the crew still worked on research, tech issues, planning and a whole host of other unglorified parts of filmmaking that never get mentioned) it was time for a B-roll day. This is one of those technical terms for ‘pretty shots’ as I like to refer to them. A full day’s traipse across London, lugging gear on our backs, (I’m fairly sure I can put in a ‘no win no fee’ style lawsuit) and seeking out the pearls of London’s beauty. A cynical person would say we were sightseeing, but I would repudiate such a claim as I still have the blisters and RSI to show for it. This is all in a day’s work for the film crew though.
Preparations began for the next interview, the interview that came in as the most requested from the UK supporters: Professor David Nutt was to sit down with The Culture High and give his side of what is now an infamous tale. It was another early morning’s drive through London, another morning of bleary eyes, little sleep, and a mental rundown of all the things to ask the good professor. David Nutt and his team were marvellous in accommodating us; a whole working hospital department bent around our needs. Professor Nutt, ever the media powerhouse, once again did not fail to invigorate, stimulate and bestow his knowledge. He even challenged us all to pronounce Neuropsychopharmacologist for a small prize.
Professor David Nutt’s office had been dismantled, but the team are professionals and put the place back together perfectly. If all else fails, the Culture High crew can look forward to a world in removals, or cat burglary – they are that talented at putting things back together after completely decimating a residence. It’s a special gift.
Despite fitting in a month’s worth of work in a week, The Culture High was only halfway through the UK filming. The tolls were beginning to show. The crew could barely find time to eat. Sleep, ironically, was the stuff of dreams. But, there was more work to be done. More roads to travel, and certainly a lot more questions to ask.
Jason Reed is a journalist and activist with LEAP. He is Associate Producer for The Culture High. You can follow Jason on Twitter @JasonTron
Follow The Culture High on Twitter: @theculturehigh