Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
I wasn’t expecting to get to Cannes this year. I had decided that
funds were too tight, and I’d be better trying to just sort out my
overdraft. Then we found out that Duty Calls had been put forward by North West Vision and Media into Short Film Corner, which changed everything.
Paul had already arranged accreditation for Cannes just in case, but
it turned out he was accepted on an artists exchange, so he’s in
Romania for the duration. I asked NWVM if they could accredit me for
Cannes instead, but I didn’t hear for ages, so I thought that was that.
On Friday, however, I received an email telling me that it was all
sorted. After all their efforts I couldn’t very well leave it, so since
yesterday morning I’ve been rushing around in a state of semi-panic,
trying to organise the trip. Most of the events I’d wanted to attend
are already closed to applications, so I’ve added myself to immense
waiting lists in the hope that lots of people forget to turn up. At
least I have the flights and hotel sorted, which I was expecting to be
impossible or cost prohibitive. Now I just need to find a tux…
I've been flitting around like a septic moth all day. This morning I was collected by the director to go to a location half an hour's drive away, and his Sat Nav decided to take the scenic route.Of course, we get there and it hasn't been scouted. The scene calls for an office washroom, in which the villain of the piece preens in front of a mirror before accidentally punching a wall. The location we arrived at was a toilet smaller than the one in my own home. Useless. The director strutted and fretted for a while, until I once more suggested the location I had originally suggested eight weeks ago. We set off back, practically to where we first started, and looked at the location. It was great, except that there was no mirror. We looked at other toilets in the building, to no avail, until I spied a dusty old mirror in the corner. We took it upstairs and shot the scene. It looked OK, especially seeing as there was no time for lighting it properly. I salvage a cock-up once again.
Afterwards I drove my pal back to his home town, and he introduced me to a friend of his. We talked movies for a couple of hours, then I popped back, stopping in on some old friends on the way. I made some vegetable broth when I got in, and it worked pretty well:
Mix of peas, lentils, barley, that kind of thing
Herbs and spices
Pinch of salt
Chucked it all in the pan and boiled it up for an hour. It was lovely. To celebrate I played around with Twitter for a bit and changed the layout. It's a wild and crazy life I lead...
The more I visit the town centre, the more depressed I get. It's not because I live up north, but because I moved into a shopping mall without realising.
Every time I walk down the main street, I see a new shop announcing a closing down sale, an empty carcass where another stood, and a new Costa. Things aren't going well for the town I've been visiting for the last five years, which I surmise from the four types of store that predominate:
Pound shops. Everything in my town can be bought for a single pound, it would seem. The interiors are like Aladdin's Cave, with all kinds of cheap tat, from tea-towels to DVDs, to coffee, to toys, all for the price of a loaf of bread. There are a few super-pound shops, where items are more expensive, but the general thrust is that of cheapness.
Coffee shops. It wasn't that long ago that there was one coffee house, and that was inside a bank. Now there are eight, and a new Costa Coffee opened last week (there's another Costa inside the Waterstones). Everyone is no doubt completely wired.
Charity shops. Perhaps this is indicative of the disposable society we live in, but there is a cornucopia of charity shops brimming with second-hand clothes and book, with new ones opening all the time. There's a new YMCA shop across the road from my bank, and it was from here that I bought a comic book of Transformers: The Movie (1985) and The Crucible script for less than a pint of milk. Two of the stores are large enough to house furniture, and I bought an armchair from one of them.
Bakers. It's nigh on impossible to stand anywhere in the town where a Greggs, Hampsons, or Greenhalghs can't be seen. The proximity to Wigan, home of the World Pie-Eating Championships, is palpable. I don't know what amazes me more, that they don't go out of business, or that everyone I see isn't morbidly obese.
I can see the future, and in it the human race has become totally sedentary, recognisable by old clothes, bloodshot eyes, and cheap DVDs.
People die all the time. I discovered this at a relatively early age, I think, when my grandfather passed away, and I have vague recollections of the funeral. In some ways it's a shame I don't really remember the service, but on the other hand, I have some wonderful misty memories of spending time with him. He taught me how to draw ships in perspective. My uncle died a lot later. He was a very like my dad, and I can see some of myself in what I remember of him, particularly his interest in politics. And there was my gran, who died on her 80th birthday. It was from her that I inherited my unusual fondness for martini.
Still, when most people die it isn't deemed particularly newsworthy unless it's notably tragic or unwarranted. Unless they're famous. Celebrity changes people's perception of strangers;someone you've never met dies and it's especially tragic because they've been on television or in films, or graced the pages of tabloids.
So far this year there have been three "big" celebrity deaths reported in the UK, each as tragic as the other, but as inevitable as any other death. Heath Ledger's death was surrounded by a furore of unnecessary speculation - was it suicide? did the masseuse make non-emergency calls? When reporting Jeremy Beadle's passing, the headlines read "King of Pranks" on the same newspapers who once reported him as the most hated man in Britain. Roy Scheider died on Sunday, and most reports condense his lustrous film career into "the man from Jaws." It seems that the assorted media resort to the lowest common denominator in their attempts to sensationalise stories, as they've always done. At the end of the day, one man died accidentally and two men died of protracted illnesses.
It's a terrible shame that they died before they could bring more to the world, but we would better serve their memories by enjoying what they did bring. I for one will probably have a martini tonight.
It's the end of 2007. In some ways I'll be glad to see the back of it, but mostly I look back over the past 12 months with wistful affection. I graduated with a lower degree than I hoped for, but I've still managed to gain industry respect. I've injured my knee, but it gave me the opportunity to carry on with my film making without being badgered by the government to earn money. Although I've had three girlfriends this year (something of a record for me), they've all enriched my life in one way or another. I've also had some very promising things happening in my professional life, so watch this space.
In all, 2007 was fairly good, but I'm looking forward to an even better 2008. Happy New Year!
I met up with the old friend, and as a result, I'm no longer single. I suppose I can be a charmer; when backed into a corner, I charm with the best. I saw her again on Tuesday and we watched a few films at mine. It's worth mentioning her prodigious knowledge of films; her favourite director is Wong Kar Wai. Things are proceeding nicely, but unfortunately she's only in the area for one day now before the new year, so I'll have to make the most of that day. Ah, well.
The screenings were OK, although I would have liked to see more people there. My older friend, Guillaume, arrived on Wednesday evening, and we embarked on an odyssey worthy of Homer. We scoured the countryside looking for our oldest friend Bob, and were confounded at every turn. Defeated, we returned and I took him to La Salsa, a nice tapas restaurant where my friend works. Naturally, it was her day off! On Thursday, Guillaume came to see Milky Thursday, and he tells me he enjoyed it, although I should have added subtitles for his benefit, really. I introduced him to the delights of the nearest chinese buffet, and returned to the cinema. I grumpily watched the winners in Best of The Fest, and we could have gone to congratulate them in the bar, but by then my sour grapes had killed my enthusiasm for a couple of free Corona, so we called it a night. It's not as bad as that, really, I mean, getting nominated in Best Of The North West isn't that bad. Besides, I did enjoy the sight of a tramp dressed as Father Christmas, who played a flute for the car park patrons queueing for ticket validation.
The day of the road trip we finally tracked down Bob's current street, but had no idea which number he lives at. We made an educated guess, and proceeded to leave a note. Just then their neighbour arrived home, so we pressed her for information, and after much cajoling finally discovered that we were standing at the wrong house, and needed to be four doors down. Thankfully we were able to retrieve the note, and recommenced our leafleting campaign through the correct letterbox. Elated, we set off on our road trip, and it took an age, mainly because of the horrific accidents in our path, and partly because Guillaume's Tom-Tom tried to guide us down people's driveways and through hedges. All told, the 250 mile journey took nine hours, so we had little time for more than a meal before we had to retire. Michel, Guillaume, Gemma and I decided upon Bella Italia, and the food was delectable. We ate, drank and generally caroused until closing time, and Guillaume journeyed back to his plush hotel while I prepared for a night on a strange mattress in Gemma's spare room. Of course, Gemma and I had to watch the feature I'd edited for her, so we slumped on the sofa and picked it apart until around 2AM. She didn't like the cut, which wasn't a huge surprise, as no-one likes the first cut of their own film. Hopefully it'll be in better shape the next time she sees it.
Guillaume picked me up at 10 am and we set off back, but by Birmingham it was clear that we would struggle even to make his plane, never mind drop me off first. I left him at departures with minutes to spare and made my way home. I can't remember having had a more fun time in so long, perhaps I'd gone stale like the bread in my kitchen cupboard. Back home, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed over to Glen's where we were catching the Taxi to the airport at 6AM. We watched another rough edit, of a different film - Sweet Snogs. It went down considerably better, mainly because it's intended as a knockabout comedy, rather than a bittersweet lighthearted melodrama. This time there were beers, and after three hours sleep, I roused everyone just in time for the taxi.
I love Dublin. Despite its status as a European capital city, it feels small and cosy. We wandered the south bank of the Liffey searching for our hotel, but in vain, as they had claimed it to be near Temple Bar and Trinity College, when it was on the wrong side of the river. In their defence, though, I should point out that Dublin is quite small, and nowhere is really far away, even for someone hobbling around with a cane. I won't go into much detail at this point about the Dublin meeting, as it will all come out in due course. Let it suffice to say that the meeting went exceptionally well, and we spent the rest of the day drinking and making fun of each other, heading over to the South Bank and the ridiculously expensive delights of Temple Bar. After hardly any sleep we retired for the night, and the next morning we wandered around the north bank of the Liffey. We stumbled upon an unveiling ceremony that day. In 1975, three members of The Miami Show Band were murdered because their music promoted peace and unity amongst the Irish. The Taoiseach (I believe it's pronounced "Teashock"), Bertie Aherne, made a poignant speech about the Troubles, and the whole event was moving. Two priests, Catholic and Protestant, jointly read the lord's prayer, and everyone in the crowd held hands as a symbol of togetherness. A stranger offered his hand, and I felt awkward. I decided not to offend him, and concentrated instead on the message of humanity in the words. I turned to see my colleagues stifling laughter; like characters in an old comedy film, they'd all taken a step back when the hand-holding was announced. I can expect a lot more ribbing for the next few weeks. Ah, well.
It was a busy week last week, and not just because of the wild legal events. My friend runs an acting school, and every four months they hold a showcase; a series of monologues and sketches. It was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, and I went along to show support. All of the actors gave an excellent account of themselves, it was just a shame that attendance wasn't better. Naturally, the bar needed help, so I obliged by drinking a couple of pints. On the Wednesday I took it upon myself to walk to the venue. It was much further from the town centre than in the taxi the night before. And it was raining. I got rather wet. Still, it was worth it for the slight sense of smug achievement. Friday night was an after-showcase party, and a few of the actors turned up to the pub. We drank a little, told a few jokes, sang some karaoke (I do a mean Mack The Knife), and eventually made our respective ways home. I chatted to Drew quite a bit. He spilt up with his girlfriend a few weeks ago, and if anything he's hornier than I am. It's a truth universally accepted that a man in possession of no partner is incredibly horny. However, I must admit I thought it was odd when he offered me the use of his ex. I didn't things worked like that. Saturday was another adventure in the land of insobriety. My house-mate's ex was having her 21st in Manchester, and I was invited along. Without aforementioned house-mate. I suspect that would have made things pretty awkward, seeing as her other ex was there, and they clearly had unresolved sexual tension going on. Still, it was an entertaining night, and a nice opportunity to see the fully operational Students' Union at MMU.
And so to this week, when things don't show any signs of letting up. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with an old friend for drinks, after hopefully finishing the edit of a feature film. Wednesday I'm attending the Best of the North West screening of my film, and possibly meeting up with an older friend to hunt for a positively ancient friend! Well, maybe not, but that's the general plan. Thursday I have another screening, followed by drinks aplenty at the Best Of The Fest get-together, and hopefully they'll be celebratory drinks. Friday I'll be taking a road trip down to Southend. I'm really looking forward to it, as it's been an awfully long time since I did anything of that nature. If memory serves, it was Glastonbury in 91, and what a weekend that was! Hmmm... those events may come out in the fullness of time, but not today. We return on Saturday, and Sunday I'm heading over to Ireland for an important film-making meeting, returning on the Monday.
By then I suspect I'll be planning nothing but a nap.