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Schaerlaeckens - Reviews

DVD Review - Schaerlaeckens
By Mike Lakin
British Homing World

This film is Jim Jenner's eighth work on a subject very close to his heart -- racing pigeons. Many of his films that are still available, Marathon in the Sky, Oldest Feathered Friends and Share the Blue Sky are not only masterpieces to the pigeon fancier, but are filmed so well that they also appeal to non-fanciers. I should know because even my wife, she is not really interested in pigeons, has commented how interesting they are! Surely a testimonial there, as my Sue only normally watches the soaps and good films. Seriously, Jim has the knack of making the pigeon sport and pigeons in general of great interest to the public at large. When I first watched Share the Blue Sky, which is a compilation of short films, I said that the RPRA should send it out to schools, as I'm sure it would win over many converts; if not to get them to take up our wonderful hobby, to at least have an insight into the amazing "bird of peace," as Jim wonderfully describes the pigeon.

In his DVD, Schaerlaeckens, filmmaker Jenner has used a different approach. Basically he has allowed Ad Schaerlaeckens to "have his head." Ad, as most will know, is a fantastic pigeon author and writer. His style is no-nonsense and blunt, and he doesn't like any "BS," as he refers to a lot of the things that many pigeon people believe in. In truth Ad is not only a superb writer who I personally admire greatly, but he has the medals to prove it, with not one but three National victories from Orleans, which was a massive young bird event for many years. Ad has earned the title "King of Orleans." 

Despite his high profile as a celebrity fancier and journalist, Schaerlaeckens is really a very private person who shuns the publicity that his successes in both fields have earned him. That is why this piece of film is a must for all serious pigeon fanatics, be they old hands or novices. As usual, in his quiet way and calm manner, Ad shoots from the hip. Talking in plain commonsense, he discusses medicines and so many topics of pigeon racing. I don't wish to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the film, but to put it simply he judges a pigeon on one thing and one thing only -- results. 

If the results are super, the birds can stay. No excuses, pigeon racing is a results game and Schaerlaeckens knows it. He says, "I get rid of the rubbish; sell or give the good ones to friends, and keep the supers myself!" Excellent advice. Hear about Ad's opinions on pedigrees, feeding loft design and so many other subjects, which all fanciers will find of great interest. 

Jim filmed with Ad over a three-day period, asking him the questions that both you and I would like to know Schaerlaeckens' opinions on. His pairing-up system will, I am sure, be of interest to many fanciers; but as you get to know the King of Orleans as the film runs on, it is really no great surprise. Quite simply, as well as this title, which he has earned with his birds' performance, Ad Schaerlaeckens is also the "King of Commonsense." Watching this intimate DVD is just like bringing this Dutch Master into your own front room, and when you see it I am sure that he will prove to be a very welcome visitor. 

"Well done" to Jim Jenner - yet another feather in Jim's cap.

Mike Lakin