Lorne Blair in Bali
 
During and after the making of the series 'into the Ring of Fire', film maker Lorne Blair lived in Pengosekan, a small village south of Ubud in the kingdom of Gianyar in Bali until his tragic death in 1995, just 3 weeks before his 50th birthday.

Lorne Blair, English, born Michael Lorne Blair, was a very modest, intelligent and witty person with a British sense of humor and a very eccentric personality.

I was in the special position to spend several years with Lorne Blair, build an all teak house with him, be a production assistant to his film 'Cycles of the Soul', 1992, and have his daughter, in 1993. The photograph below was taken on his daughter's 2nd birthday, 3 weeks before Lorne died.

At the time of his death he was doing research for a new travel guide on Bali, by Editions Didier Millet. He had an extensive library with all books on Bali, from Alfred Russel Wallace to old Dutch recounts of the invasion and 'puputan' in Bali in 1906, which he asked me to translate.

The house was a unique stilt-construction out of old Javanese teak houses, fully ornamented and put together in quite an original fashion. Lorne derived building techniques and and ideas for his house from several books on traditional building in Malaysia and Borneo, from architects and, of course, from the skilled craftsmen whom he employed.

At the very top of the grass roofed house was a pentagon shaped look-out bedroom open to all five sides. A tray-lift would enable coffee to be pulled up from the kitchen to this tiny master bedroom in the morning.

One air-conditioned/dehumidified unit was sealed as his film editing studio, but in air connection with the book cases in the library so the books would not mould in the very humid climate. Secret panels hid his stereo equipment and his liquor stack.

The house was ornamented with wood carvings and was a compilation of traditional Javanese Joglo constructions. A staircase in the middle of the house led to the several rooms by a few steps each time, resulting in an intricate puzzle of rooms above each other while interlocking everywhere.

Lorne Blair was, perhaps, as complicated and ingenious as the house he built. He did not expect anyone to understand his meticulous drawings, but I worked through them with great pleasure and made him a small model before we started building so that he could explain his intentions to the Balinese workers.

During the time I spend with him, I started to realize his fame throughout the world. People would recognize him in the streets, they come around the house for a signature and we would have famous guests at home like ministers of Indonesia, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. They were old friends of his from the time he was living in London. Ringo Starr (the Beatles) was one of the investors to the film series 'Into the Ring of Fire'.

Lorne was always fun to be with and friendly to his admirers but refused to get a telephone, for he was afraid life would get too busy.

He liked to read a book and his siŽsta after lunch, drank lots of coffee throughout the day and smoked heavily until he decided to stop shortly after our daughter was born.

He died in hospital, two days after having broken his leg by falling in a hole on the sideway in Legian. Possibly it was emboli or else, a heart attack. It is probably a sacrilege not to mention his older brother Lawrence, with whom he had a troublesome relationship but was in business during the production of the Ring of Fire series. These series were incredible in it's quality and documentation of long gone cultures.

However, equally important in Lorne's career were the collaborations with other film makers and artists, like film maker John Darling in 'Lempad of Bali' and with his best friend and photographer Rio Helmi with whom he made 'River of Gems', a travel log about a journey through Borneo.

This is a photograph of Lorne Blair's daughter Xenia(16). She is 18 years old now.

Anyone who would like to make a contribution to this page, by sending photographs, personal stories about Lorne, is requested to mail this to sophia.anastasia@gmail.com

I will make pages with your contributions, thank you.

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