Films The Film

Highly Embarrassing Outtakes/Bloopers From Janapar

If you’ve enjoyed the Janapar deleted scenes series I’ve been running over the last couple of weeks (here’s the first one, in which I faceplant into some concrete), I’ve got a little bonus for you — a comedy “outtakes reel” of the most embarassing footage I wish I’d never given to the editor in the first place.

(Oh, the humiliation!)

Now! Next week is going to be rather exciting, as I’ll be publishing the first in a series of articles I’ve been working on for almost a full year.

If I’m right, it’s going to cause a bit of a stir, and so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes down. As a clue, it’ll be of extra special interest to anyone procrastinating over a bike trip — or any kind of adventure, really — because of the cost of getting started.

With Google Reader permamently going offline as of next Monday, the easiest way to keep in the loop with new articles will be to join my email list. You can get new articles in your inbox every weekend, or just a quick monthly round-up of the best bits.

Films Middle East & Africa 2009 The Film

From The Cutting Room Floor #4: Cycling from Aswan, Egypt, to Wadi Halfa, Sudan

This scene recounts all the chaos of a classic experience which all who head down Africa’s east route will negotiate: the weekly ferry crossing of Lake Nasser, from Aswan (of Dam fame) in the south of Egypt to the tiny port of Wadi Halfa in northern Sudan.

Deep within the historic region of Nubia, this is the only overland route between the two nations, who are still unable to agree on who actually owns the inhospitable tract of empty desert in between.

The ferry sails just once a week, and tickets can only be procured by visiting the agency in Aswan in person with the valid Sudanese visa you obtained from the embassy in Cairo. To ensure that I wouldn’t be waiting around in Aswan for days on end, I hopped on a train from further up the Nile, bought my ticket and was back with my bike the same day, in order to continue enjoying the fantastic experience of cycling the Nile Valley.

Some who’ve seen the full film might recognise segments from this final deleted scene in the series (here’s #1, #2 and #3). A deleted scene isn’t wasted if it reveals material that works better elsewhere!

I’ve heard that the route south from Wadi Halfa has been fully paved since I crossed it in 2009, transforming northern Sudan into some of the easiest riding in East Africa.

And that’s the thing about travel — no matter how far you go, all you’ll ever see are cross-sections of places as they existed for one brief moment.

Films The Caucasus & Iran 2008 The Film

From The Cutting Room Floor #3: Life On The Road (in 01:52) [VIDEO]


The funny thing about this, the third in the series of deleted scenes (#1 and #2), is that it encapsulates better than anything else the day-to-day camaraderie that occurs between bicycle travellers and the people with whom they come into contact. Demonstrating this today is the inimitable Andy and a group of Georgian fishermen selling their wares on the roadside.

Europe & The Near East 2007 Films The Film

From The Cutting Room Floor #2: Quite Interesting Sleeping Arrangements

The second in this series of Janapar bonus video clips will raise a smile with many cycle-tourists. For some of the best two-wheeled travel tales derive from overnighting under the most unlikely of circumstances.

On this particular evening, Andy and I found ourselves kindly gifted the use of a small-town football field changing room somewhere in rural Turkey, in which I had the chance to demonstrate my highly sophisticated sleeping system to the camera.

This scene didn’t make the final cut for a similar reason to the first clip: there was a limited opportunity to encapsulate the six months for which Andy and I rode together before the film’s attention had to return to why we went our separate ways and the story that unfolded as a result.

Many short scenes of our journey between England to Armenia were assembled in order to do this, including the cashpoint incident, the Stambouli musicians, and the spontaneous roadside party you’ll see in the full-length feature. This clip (as well as next week’s) is an example of a perfectly good scene that couldn’t make the cut.

Janapar: Love on a Bike is available instantly as an iTunes-compatible HD digital download from There’s also a handful of first-batch DVDs still available (purchases of which now include a free digital download too).

Alternatively, you may find that one of the public screenings I’m hosting this summer happens to be in your area.

Europe & The Near East 2007 Films The Film

From The Cutting Room Floor #1: The One Where Tom Puts A Hole In His Face

One of the tragedies of art is how much perfectly decent stuff is chucked away. The 300 hours of footage I shot for Janapar is a case in point. The finished film is 79 minutes long, so for every minute of footage I shot, another four hours were binned. (Admittedly, plenty of it was shite, but a lot of it wasn’t.)

Beginning today, then, I’ll be bringing the best of this extra material back to life. For those who’ve seen Janapar, these clips will explain a few things glossed over in the main feature. For those who haven’t seen it, they’ll be entertaining glimpses of life on the road in their own right.

The first clip answers the question of why Tom appears to be exhibiting the remains of a black eye in some of the Armenian winter shots.

This dramatic scene was included in the main feature until quite a late stage in the edit, but it needed to be quite lengthy to make sense, and so it stalled the momentum of the story, which at that point was resolving the earlier question of how Tom & Andy came to be separated.

We found that we could ‘hide’ the injury in later scenes and explain the conflict more concisely and poetically through Andy’s parallel love interest, and so it had to go. (This particular tale is fully recounted in the book, as it did become a significant turning point.)

As always, your questions and comments are very much welcomed. Next week’s clip will bring a touch of comedy in some rather unusual sleeping arrangements.