Me and My Dog

my new dog. Cheaper to feed than a real one...

my new dog. Cheaper to feed than a real one…

Cycle campaigning takes you to some unexpected places – like the head of a huge crowd of cyclists in the heart of Edinburgh and meetings with ministers albeit not yet meetings of minds. But perhaps the most unexpected was when I found myself crouching on the floor of an artist’s studio (fortunately I had just been to yoga so was feeling extra bendy) painstakingly inching a wee paper dog along a paper pavement frame by frame by frame…

It all started with a throwaway idea that Pedal on Parliament should do a little animation to try and reach out beyond our core audience of people who already think cycling is the answer and what was the question? That lasted until I found out how much a short animation might cost (anywhere between ‘how much!?’ and ‘couldn’t you just build a cycle path for that and have done with it’). Clearly POP, funded as it is on t-shirt sales and home baking, wasn’t in that league. But then we got the opportunity to apply for some grassroots funding via the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, just as my pal and co-conspirator in other literary and artistic matters, Hugh Bryden, mentioned he was interested in developing his animation skills.

The cast of the PoP movie relaxing behind the scenes

The cast of the PoP movie relaxing behind the scenes

Cut a long story short, and after some back and forth with designs and storyboards and messing around with coloured paper, the basic animation was done and I went to see the first rough cuts. It all looked amazing, but there was one tiny flaw. The crucial thing that really gets people cycling, when all is said and done, is proper space for cycling, separated from the traffic by something more substantial than a line of white paint and the fond hope that drivers won’t cross it and squash any cyclists who might happen to be on the other side. Unfortunately Hugh had based one scene on a standard UK cycle lane: white paint, fond hope and all. One whole scene needed to be re-shot.

Oh no, where's the cycle track?

Oh no, where’s the cycle track?

Which was where I came in. Hugh had created all the characters and set up the studio, but his animation assistant had gone back to New York. I had to step into the breach and spend a whole afternoon helping to recreate a few short seconds of footage. Watch very carefully what follows, because if you blink you will miss it. And keep an eye on that wee dog.

(I think you’ll agree that Hugh’s goal of getting to grips with animation has been pretty comprehensively met)

Anyway, please do me a favour. I know many of you only put up with the cycling stuff in return for posts about rural life and my rubbish gardening exploits, but please do pass this on to anyone you know who you think might be interested, cyclists or not. In fact especially the not. We’re not trying to force everyone to cycle, willy nilly, just because we think it’s a good thing (although it is). We’re simply trying to build the sort of Scotland where people can cycle if they want to, because we think that makes life better for everyone. Even those who don’t ride a bike and never will…


5 Responses to Me and My Dog

  1. Autolycus says:

    Nicely done dog. And did someone manage to slip in a well-behaved buzzard as well?

  2. charles says:

    You will never get any response from parliament. No men in kilts, no Saltires, excellent dog though (but the cat population will be up in arms.)

  3. disgruntled says:

    Autolycus – I *think* it’s supposed to be a seagull, but you never know
    @Charles – men in kilts will have to be for the sequel

  4. charles says:

    I do not know if the link will work but it would appear that right of way issues are taken very seriously by some cyclists

  5. john gibson says:

    You have a lot of cyclists there.

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