Friday, 30 November 2007

Music and Movies 2 - Caution Wet Paint

Following on from our first docu/vlog, Nick and I take a look at the second in the series of how we put music and film together.







In this episode we concentrate on the music behind Caution Wet Paint. What we are trying to illustrate is some of the creative and technical processes behind putting an original scoored soundtrack to a film, in this case a series of shorts.

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Caution Wet Paint - December 9th, the Inn on the Green (3 Thorpe Close, W10 - Ladbroke Grove Tube) as part of the London Film Makers' Convention

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Advice?

Blagging, it is what I do best. Or so I believe. But it feels really daunting when people think that you're a pro. Okay, there is a LITTLE bit of ego involved, but overall, it still feels quite daunting. Hey, you look upto me for advice. NO, NO, NO, do exactly the oposite of what I have done and you will do just fine.

I supppose the first time I noticed this was in my travelling days. Even now, my travels are pretty extgensive ad it really does not bother me living on floor of a bus for a few days. I have crossed some of the busier borders of the world such as Tijuana/San Diego or Singapore/Johor. I have also visited some far flung posts such as the KKH or the Musandam Peninsula.

But border crossings aside, I have picked up experiences in a few other areas. It does feel weird when someone comes to me for advice. So I blag, a little but I always keep it to the truth. You see, in this litigous society...

The best advice I can give is to do what you want. From my own personal experiences, it seems that when someone tells me something, I tend to do the opposite anyways...

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Radio Charlie!

With the upcoming film convention, I have been busy trying to promote the films and that has meant approaching as many newspapers and publications as possible in order to get some coverage. And this time, I have also approached radio stations. And wow, today was my first radio interview.

I must admit, as I entered the studio I was a bit nervous. After all, I had passed this place so many times, but to be actually allowed into its studios and to be able to chat about films - wow, wow, wow!!!

Really, you get to sit in a booth. You are offered a drink (it would have been so cliché if I was in the booth with a cup of coffee) and the questioning is quick fired and rapid. Thankfully, it was pre-recorded. And the guys at the station were really nice to me (they could see I was a freshie).

So from today, 'Caution Wet Paint' would have been featured on the internet, the cinema, in the newspapers and now on the RADIO!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

sssh!

do not tell anyone, i am applying for a new job. a career if you will.

I WANT TO FIGHT FOR THE MOTHERLAND!

shut up charles, don't you want this job!

I reallly want it, but have to keep quiet. It is a secret.

SSSH!

okay, okay, i am online. i look around. no there is no one there, wait. did something flick behind the curtains.

(gets out rusty penknife)

no, no, it is okay, just the wind-

Creeeek-

What they fuck was that?

sssh, keep the noise down, it was just the floorboards creeking, get back to your application.

Okay, m-i-6 dot gov dot uk and, I'm in!

(hehehe, i'm 007, chicks and far flung holidays here i come with a martini and an cocky joke)

ooh, LOOK!

sssh!

(sorry)

Look. I can play BOND!

Wahaha!

i will show you all that travelling round the woorld with a grubby bag was worthwhile (even though i mustn't tell 'anyone' i am a s-p-y).

---

what do you mean not good enough.

(wankers)

SSSH!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Internet Cafes

I am sitting in an internet cafe and I feel so cool. To think about it, this is the first time in well over a year that I am actually in one. Usually, I have had to use them when I have been abroad. And everyone that you enter has a different feel. Some have a very corporate image and feel. 'Easy' to the touch and with no staff, they are filled with rows upon rows of young, hip things. But more usually they are an independent bunch, staffed by very knowledgeable people with computers that creek under their age. These net cafes are the places to be, a collision of nationalities and offering 'other services' that confuse the Western punter but are familiar to a child of migrants including remittances, Internet Dialing and phone cards to 'Call Mama'...

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Music and Movies!

Nick and I made some videos at the end of October about how we put the music and movies together. The videos have been divided into five parts. Part one, which you can watch below is a short introduction to the man known as 'El Maestro' as well as a little intro to the use of digital for maiking films together.







Parts 2, 3 and 4 will concentrate on our separate projects, 'Caution Wet Paint', 'An East End Tale' and 'Two Glasses'. These videos actually time quite nicely with the London Film Makers' Convention and you will be able to see 'Two Glasses' and the full version of 'The Bus Stop' on December 11th.

And up until Christmas, I will be releasing a vlog a week to chronicle the musical/film making collaboration between Nick and myself.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

An eventful week

It has been an uneventful week in terms of the blog. I dedicated a whole week to London Overground, but behind the scenes I have been acting with a rocket up my butt. I am now back into editing videos. Yesterday's post was evidence that Jay and Kay are well and truly alive in my mind. The reason they have been off the screen was so I could write a feature length for them both. What, a feature length Jay and Kay? Uh-huh, I managed to make ninety minutes of fun from the two of them and I absolutely loved it.

Writing is my passion and when I get a script finished, I am on top of the world.

Next is the London Film Makers' Convention. I do not know what to expect from it, but I know there will be a plethora of great films. Get down there and watch the best in new British Cinema.

I am also busy editing a series of vlogs involving Nick and myself. This has been a project for quite sometime that we have both wanted to do. As Nick, like me embraces both a number of styles into his music as well as being a pro with digital, it is a joy as a director to work with him. It is something I want to share with the rest of the world, so keep your eyes peeled.

Friday, 23 November 2007

The London Film Makers' Convention

Jay! Where are you!

I miss you, I want you so much. Where did you go? Jay? Jay! It is so lonely, dancing all by myself. I want my friend. Jay! Where are you!!!



---

I will tell Kay where to find his friend. It is oh so simple! Just take a trip down to the London Film Makers' Convention in West London, this December.

There, you will find Jay. Smiling and waving and meeting all the other people from West London.

So join Kay on a pilgrimage to the future of independent film.

Tuesday, Dec 11th, 6pm onwards at the Inn on the Green, W10 (nearest tube Ladbroke Grove)

For more details visit the website of the Portobello Film Festival, the organisers behind the London Film Makers' Convention.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Going Overground - London Overground 4: Clapham Junction



So onto our final station South of the Thames on the London Overground network, and the busiest in Europe - Clapham Junction.



And yet again, there is not much re-branding going on here. We in fact have very little sign on the outside that anything has changed in this particular corner of South London.



But there is one major event to trumpet. It is the very first time that Clapham Junction has actually apeared on the tube map. And yes, this is a big wow. Suddenly, those who are completely lost around London (the tourists) can now head to the heart of South London and watch the trains go to every destination possible. Unfortunately for the tourists, the London Overground does not specify the service frequency on the branch to Clapham Junction.

It is a bit weird to think that the most inconvinient way to get to a commuter hub such as Clapham has actually been highlighted on one of London's more iconic symbols. Oh well, I suppose there are worse icons to loose.



And so goodbye Silverlink. You were absolutely shit and for ten years we had to put up with what was nothing more than a piss-take. You've made your profits so bye-bye. And so hello London Overground. It is going to be an interesting few years but life certainly looks far more optimistic. But one thing, please increase the frequency of your services. A train every half an hour to Clapham J. is simply dire!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Going Overground - London Overground 3: Kew Gardens



And so onward to Kew Gardens, our second stop South of the River and somewhere very pleasant. For close by, in this part of South London, the London Overground serves two points of national interest. The Kew Retail Park and the South Circular. I will soon be visitng this fascinating part of London, come January. But for now, I was only briefly here to witness the dawn of London Overground.



And my oh my, TFL have been busy here. Only one stop away from Richmond, but in a whole different world. While it may seem that it is business as normal on the inside everything has changed. New staff, actually, there are staff. New penalty fares and on the inside, the transfer to London Underground.



But wait a minute, this is meant to be the London Overground? Yes, I know. But Kew also happens to be one of the few tube stations south of the river. As there are far more tube trains than overground trains running through Kew, it probably makes sense that Kew is staffed by Tube workers (and so more strike prone) than Overground workers. Those new 'Underground' stickers will probably mean much more to the average traveller at this station than 'Overground' due to the frequency of tube trains coming through.



All right, we are going to have a geek moment. Here goes. The station and track running through Kew Gardens is owned and maintained by Network Rail although the majority of services running on this particular piece of track is actually the District Line which is a part of the tube. The 'concession' to run services over the North London Railway that are mostly within Greater London was transferred by the DFT from Silvershit to TFL. This includes the piece of line through Kew Gardens station. The concession can be taken away at anytime as London Overground comes under the laws governing the rail network, not the tube network and so no new legislation is needed by the government. As a result of this, National Rail will answer all your queries to London Overground even though no Train Operating Company runs on this piece of track through Kew Gardens station. Although TFL now set the fares/timetables/service levels and staffing levels for the route, it is operated by a private company on the behalf of TFL. This includes the piece of track through Kew Gardens.

In other words, there are four different bodies responsible for the services at Kew Gardens station. Network Rail, MTRLaing, the DFT and of course, our friend TFL. This is meant to save the taxpayer money and this is what 'Intergrated Transport' is all about.

But you know what, despite all of this, London Overground is probably better than Silvercrap.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Trust me, I'm a Civil Servant

25 million people have had their Bank details, NI Numbers, names and addresses misplaced by the taxman

So one guy may well have access to over one third of the country's personal details.

Thankfully I do not have children

Here's another piece of incompetence to be introduced by HM Government. It would be funny if it didn't actually involve me.

Going Overground - London Overground (2): Richmond



Our first stop South of the river, Richmond last week had quite clearly been left in the past. The new dawn of London Overground had not made any impact on the signage of the station. For the average commuter, last Monday was no change if you were attempting to take the train to Acton, Camden or Stratford.



At this point, the only real improvement has been the ability to use the Oyster on an extra rail service. I duly obliged, hey man, there's nothing like touching in and touching out. Jaunted off to the platform and found my carriage awaiting. Another improvement - the service was actually running! Wow, had the switchover to TFL already brought such dramatic changes?

One of the main differences the passenger would notice would be the rebranding and cleaning of the stations. Richmond is already one of the better maintained stations on the rail network (that doesn't actually mean much) and already staffed by South West Trains (again, not much) so changes to this station are not even cosmetic.



But on the train, there was one big piece of difference. A new map showing London Overground in all its glory. Suddenly you could see the vast amount of rail that actually transferred to TFL - well over 50 stations now had its service and would be staffed full time. The shocking thing is that for a decade, a huge number of passengers were left to squirm under Silverlink. Thankfully, you do not hear that much about 'opportunities for investors' coming out of TFL's mouthpiece.



You can see that I was never a big fan of Silverlink. Out of all the rail companies in London, the service it offered (never delivered) was simply shit. Dilapidated trains, no staff or ticket machines and trains that simply never ran. Silverlink was a wasted opportunity for the passenger. Good riddance to those greedy, overpriced buggers who were just blatantly sitting with the subsidy bowl for the last few years. As incompetent as TFL can be, you know that their first aim is actually for the passenger rather for than their own pocket. I suppose that sickly feeling at the back of your throat will not be as great if you are standing on the platform for an hour, waiting...

So join me and my fellow passengers on a new adventure around South London aboard the London Overground. Next stop, Kew.



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(I seem to have visited Richmond a lot in the past couple of months)

Monday, 19 November 2007

Going Overground - London Overground (1)

(P.S. - A note to all visitors. Surprisingly this is the most popular blog post I have made. Sorry for the complete lack of content, but there are a lot more blogs out there with far more details on the London Overground than this one. This was just a one off, for the novelty factor! If you want something interesting from this blog, try watching this:)

'Routine' from Charles Michel Duke on Vimeo.



And so to the rest of the blog post!

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Last week, TFL launched their new train service - London Overground amongst a blaze of publicity that would have surprised anyone from outside London and probably many people in London. Wow, a whole new tube line stretching across the whole of North London. Hey, and look at that line going all the way to Gospel Oak from East London. Suddenly, life does not seem that bad with the London Overground.

However, it would have quickly dawned on many Londoners that this tangle of orange across the tube map was not much more than the service formerly known as Silverlink. And so that brief sense of hope that came to our minds suddenly vanished.



However, I am an optimist. And so as a result of the first day of TFL's new venture into chaos and mayhem, last week I visited the three stations of the new London Overground that lie South of the River, also travelling by our new/old rail service. Choo-choo, all aboard the London Overgound!





(not one of my better photos, but deal with it)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Sunday Service

I still do not understand how London as a whole gets by on Sunday service. Anyone who has the misfortune to attempt to use public transport on a Sunday will find that it is a mixture of hourly services, rail replacement buses and for anyone wanting to travel before 8am, good luck!

And so in honour of Sunday services, I am-

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Writer's Block

Writer's block - It is the time that all writers dread. When suddenly you are looking at the computer screen or at the piece of paper and nothing comes out. You could be there sitting for an hour, just staring blankly at the screen or doodling in the corner of the page. What you have already written is there and you know in your head where you want the story to go. But there is nothing coming out. A few words, an unfinished sentence. But overall, nothing is actually being added.

It is really frustrating as normally I do not approach the writing of a script in the same way as a blog or an article, I know roughly, where I want the story to go. But sometimes, no matter how hard you think, you cannot overcome the dreaded block.

Thankfully, writer's block is a rare thing for me, but it does happen. The sequence of events leading up to a block are completely random and there really is no explanation for it. Sometimes the mind just does not want to do this.

And I become absolutely miserable when it happens. For me, writer's block puts me in one foul mood. I do not care about the world or what is going on, all I can think of is my own personal frustration.

A lot of you may say, why be upset, it is only writing. Well, let me tell you it is crippling not to be able to write. Similar to an athlete who has been injured. You can tell that athlete to rest, but that person wants to get back on his/her feet as quickly as possible. Likewise for me, I want to get writing as quickly as possible. It is not as if I am out of ideas.

If I knew a method in which to cure writer's block, I would bottle it and sell it for a fiver, and that would be a way to riches. Unfortunately, I don't. I have to ride it out. Most of the time, it only lasts a couple of weeks, but at times it has lasted for a couple of months. These events are uncontrollable. And unfair - I hate it when the block comes on, but I got to lump it and continue doing other things.

The foul mood continues

Friday, 16 November 2007

Burger King? Gone. KFC - Real Chicken?

Where have all the Burger Kings in London gone to? Recently, having travelled through Kingston, Clapham, Hounslow and Heathrow, the Whopper seemed to be no more. All the eateries have shut down and now we are left with the choice of 'Dallas' or the Golden Arches.

Oh, and while I am demonsing fast food, does KFC actually serve real chickens anymore? Is that the reason why it changed its name from 'fried chicken'. Its interesting as if you look at the menus, they do not actually specify chicken, but they state '1pc', '2pc', 'Hot Wing', 'Zinger', but the word chicken is often unused. I don't know, and certainly, I am not one to start (or resatart) and internet rumour.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

What Twickenham Bridge?

Oi, where did all my photos for Twickenham Bridge go? I posted them up quite happily to blogger, but they seem to have disapeared into the black hole of, well, of something. Over the past 48 hours, one by one, the photos have disintergrated off the internet. So here is a re-posting of the best of Twickenham Bridge:

Cycling down the Thames, we come to Twickenham, Bridge, the first inclination of London's 1930's car boom:



And one for the water rats, to tell them exactly where they are:



And yes, this really is a 40 mph briddge - a rarity in London. Feel the need for speed...



Standing on Twickenham bridge, I look upstream. I can see in front of me, Richmond Railway Bridge and a little further on, Richmond Bridge itself:



And looking downstream, we see Richmond Lock Footbridge, the third bridge over the river to be named after Richmond:



But back to the task in hand. Wonderful 1930's engineering. The bridge self adjusts for a heavy load or the heat and was an innovation at the time:



And one for those bloody cyclists who zip in and out of traffic as if they own the road. Wankers:



And to all my readers, this blog will be getting more geeky next week...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Crossings of the River Thames 7 - Twickenham Bridge

Just a short distance downstream from Richmond Bridge, we come to one of the river's newer crossings. And one of the fastest. You can legally zip your motor over this bridge at a funky 40mph, one of two bridges in London that actually allow this. The fast and the furious has arrived in South West London with a vengeance! But the cyclists should not worry as we are safe and sound with cycle lanes provided on the pavement, away from the tyranny of petrol head.



Take a look at the future, and smile with joy, for in the 1930's, this was the way forward in London. Long, gently curving arterial roads, joining up the towns and villages across the countries with gentle gradients and dual carriageways. Your Morris' and Austin's would whizz from work to home and everywhere else in between as the beginnings of semi-detached delights and suburban sprawl began.





The greenbelt brought that all to a halt and subsequent road building in London has been patchy at best. As mentioned earlier, London was heading down the same road that Los Angeles is at today. Ugly and car based. As much as I despise what the greenbelt symbolises, it has actually forced the developers and planers of the city to build up rather than out. However, we still live with the hopes and dreams of yesteryear and that means we occasionally get very fast roads such as the A316 (which eventually takes you all the way to Southampton).

Twickenham Bridge was opened on the same day as Hampton Court and Chiswick Bridge (more to come on that crossing) in 1933. This time, the Great Chertsey Road was the mission of the planners and the desire to have a quick and fairly straight route out of London from the west. Twickenham Bridge handily bypasses Richmond town centre and crosses the river over some nice parkland (Deer Park) on the southern side and some suburban housing (St Margarets) on the north bank.

Wow, someone actually wants to go to Chertsey?



Apart from the types of cars, this bridge has not changed much in over 70 years.



Twickenham Bridge is a driver's dream. Fast, with two lanes in either direction, cyclists off the road, no weight/width restrictions and most importantly, no traffic lights on either side. Also, for the eagle eyed, this is one of only two bridges in London where there is no scheduled public transport crossing the river. That's right, no bus actually uses this bridge in service and so actually getting to the bridge can be a little bit tricky for those without their own wheels.

And this is why I am quite glad that the likes of Twickenham Bridge was stopped by the Greenbelt. For those outside London, you have to realise that the car is quite sinmply a pain in the backside. You have got to pay for petrol, which is mostly burnt while sitting stationary in traffic. You have got to pay for parking, even outside your own front door. And usually, some annoying cyclist will overtake you and beat you back home, especially in the rush hour.



And I like a city where it is unnatural to drive. Sure, the AA and the RAC will bite my head off and proclaim that it is their right to drive where they please. But hey, for all of its crabby ways, it is a little bit more relaxing letting someone else do the driving for once. And also, there are times I enjoy pedalling faster than a Porsche. Also, there is something much more human about a city where people have to get walking. Richmond Town Centre may not be the prettiest place on Earth, but you won't get spooked out in the same way as walking over Twickenham Bridge, all alone with cars zipping to and fro. In 'space', no one can hear you...

Anyone who has visited any of the car sprawling US or Chinese cities knows how unpleasant their environments are. You either sacrifice the comfort of the car, or the environment of the city. As most of the drivers on the A316 probably do not live anywhere near London, you can see whose side I am on.

Richmond town centre is well served by crossings. There are four bridges over the river that are in or are a very short walking distance from it. We have already been to Richmond. A little further upstream from Twickenham Bridge lies Richmond Railway Bridge, which unfortunately cannot be crossed by foot unless you are a railway worker.



And just downstream of Twickenham Bridge lies Richmond Lock, the third crossing bearing the name 'Richmond', but that is next month's treat...



How to get there. Tricky. The 65 is the closest bus to the Southbank while the H37 is the closest bus to the Northbank. Both are still a fair walk from the bridge itself. It is probably easier to walk alongside the river from Richmond Town Centre. Nearest Tube/Rail - Richmond.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Modern Man

I am a modern man. Born towards the end of the twentieth century, I am the epitome of the refinement of the education system, the surroundings of a first world city and a supposed dream maker. Wow.

So why can I do nothing useful with my life.

Let me explain. The other day, I decided to replace a tap. It had gone for a couple of months and so I bought the tap and the tap spanner and proceeded to replace. After a bit of time and a little water, success seemed to be had and my tap was replaced. I released the stop cock and lo and behold, water flowed. All over the bathroom floor and through the roof to my kitchen.

Ugh.


I had to dispose of a bed frame as we had glued it together. Being too big to get down the stairs, I attacked it with a saw. There went one blade, and another until finally my sister showed me up with a ‘wood hacksaw’.

Damn.

And finally, replacing the brake light to my car. A simple operation, take one light insert....half an hour later, discovered that you needed a six-point screwdriver (?!?!) to loosen the bolt. Did these things exist? Only on my car.

Three days later...

And so, I am a modern man. DIY, practicalities or just plain car maintenance are beyond me But apparently, I can cook a mean plov...

Sunday, 11 November 2007

London Overground

Yesterday marked the final day of the Silverlink network. And good riddance to it. Out of all the services operating in London, Silverlink was probably the worst of the lot. You can pour all the statistics that you want, but frankly, it was crap. You can say a lot of good and bad about rail privatisation, but there was only bad when it came too Silverlink. No new trains, no increase in services, no staff on their platforms. Instead overcharging, overcrowding and over-the-top profits were the order of the franchise. End of story and good riddance to the lot of them.

So today, we are now in the glossy TfL era of London Overground. I must admit, I am not holding my breath for dramatic improvements. After all, this is the much loathed London Transport and we all know how crap the tube is. But for the first time, we are hearing phrases such as increased capacity, oyster fares (meaning lower prices for those with the smartcard) and staff to be hired at stations. In particular for the increase in capacity, it will take some time to deliver. But it does make a refreshing change to hear something new from a train company other than the sound of hogs at the trough. One thing that has come through since the GLA's formation has been a commitment to improving the transport network. It will take sometime, but anything is better than what we have been putting up with over the last 10 years.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Yo, yo, yo, look at the snow

Why is there no snow? I want snow! I love the crisp little flakes of white falling through the sky. I like my snow, it is fun! All over the Earth, covering the ground with a blanket of white goodnness.

Snow makes the winter fun! Wheee! All around I go, slipping and sliding. I throw pellets of ice at people I do not like. I eat the snow, except for the stuff that is yellow. Snow is fun, I like it so much!

But there is no snow...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Re:Those lying bastards - The Metropolitan Police Force

A week ago, I took my blog in a different direction to what I intended it to be and for the first time I actually took a viewpoint on a current affair. Anyone that sees my public/internet profiles does not know anything for definite of my political/religious/sexual beliefs. I only offer inference and until then have kept my viewpoints to myself.

Before I continue, I wish to point out that in no way am I writing on the De Menezes case for publicity purposes. The views expressed here are my own and I have decided to use this blog as a point of expression, not publicity. In other words it was a rant, but something I still feel passionately about and have yet to be convinced otherwise, that the police are to blame for the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Okay, that’s the big words over and done with.

---

Surprisingly I received one comment from an ‘Anonymous’, my first on this blog, who stated that he/she was a former police officer. That commentator made some points that I will address.

Firstly it was suggested that I said that ‘the police should be human shields’. Maybe I was unclear about this point. I do not believe that the police ‘should be’ human shields. All I am stating is the reality of their job. Policing is a dangerous business and they are put into front line situations. If someone is waving a gun in the air or stabbing kids with a machete, the police are called upon to stop them. I make an extreme point, but this is where I use the term as ‘Human Shield’ as merely being a fact of life as the role of a police officer.

Similarly, I do not believe an army soldier deserves to die, but that is what they have been paid to do in the most extreme case of their job. Policing can be a grisly task, they are paid to deal with ALL aspects of society. But the recruits know full well what they have signed up for. Let me once again state that no one likes to see anyone killed in whatever job they carry out whether it is as a construction worker, police officer or an army soldier.

However, the main point of contention from ‘Anonymous’ was that De Menezes looked like Hussein Osman. You have to have eye sight that is worse than mine not to spot the difference between an Ethiopian and a Brazilian. I was accused of tarring the police officers with racism. But if they could not tell the difference between two people separated by a continent and an ocean, then the police officers must have thought only one thing when entering Stockwell station - ‘Black is Black’.

This is London, not Dorset, and they are officers of the Metropolitan Police Force. They are there to police and protect the people of London, not the countryside. In other words they are policing people from around the world and they should have a basic knowledge of the various nationalities that coexist in this city. And as council tax payers in London, we are paying a lot of money for them - the MET do not come cheap. If the best marksmen in the UK (and arguably in Europe) cannot tell the difference between an African and a South American, they do not deserve to be paid out of our taxes.

It has also been stated by ‘Anonymous’ and the MET, that the police officers on that day were ‘jittery’ and under pressure from the goings on of that July. I can understand that many ordinary rank and file officers were under a lot of strain during that time, and as a Londoner, I have to commend the way that in the first two weeks from 7/7, the MET acted with great dignity and diligence in trying to keep London running. And they did have the whole city behind them in trying to stop the suicide bombers. Every person in London supported the police, and that was because they showed true professionalism during that difficult time.

On 22/7/05, that changed. Suddenly the police force decided to play ‘Doom’ and shoot a man in a tube carriage in front of other members of the public. As I have stated before, guns (thankfully) are not routine issue to police officers in the UK. To be a police marksman, you have to be the best of the best. They are given high precision weapons and essentially (trying hard not to sound dramatic) have a licence to kill.

Killing Jean Charles up close and personal may be considered a case of the jitters and even for these highly trained officers (who freely filled out the application forms to their well paid posts), they are ultimately human. But shooting a man SEVEN times in the head is nothing better than trigger happy policing. The officers that shot De Menezes were either poorly trained or did not have the character to hold such a weapon. If it was only one shot, the police officers involved would have probably got away with just an internal investigation. Seven bullets to the head (plus four more) left his body ‘unrecognisable’ and was probably the main reason why the issue came to court as a laughable ‘Health and Safety’ case.

BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG.

Does anyone have an excuse for 11 bullets, fired by the best police officers in the UK, into the body of one man? Just one excuse? Anyone?

---

Anonymous did have the graciousness to point out that the police did cover up the shooting and fed lies to the public. Again, this unacceptable and I hope that anyone still reading this post can recognise that this was unacceptable, but unsurprising behaviour. Face up to the facts. And why cover-up if, you believe you are in the right?

Jean Charles de Menezes was an ordinary guy who went to work and got on with his life. He paid his taxes like everyone else, and like all inhabitants of London expected the MET to protect him. On 22nd July 2005, the police not only failed miserably, but all those involved should have been fired as quite clearly such incompetence should not be allowed at the highest level of the nation’s top police service (remember: guns = highly trained officers).

What was worse than the shooting were the cover ups and support for the police. How about the life of a 27 year old man who had nothing to do with the bombings? And I state this again, the death of de Menezes probably saved the lives of countless Londoners from trigger happy policing. It was probably the reason why the July 21st bombers were actually caught, tried and sentenced rather than shot in their flats.

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Let me state that I am not a hater of the police. I have not (yet) been subject to their harassment. And as a former bus driver, I have had to deal with the police on many occasions. They are all right people, just doing their job. The rank and file officers are actually quite nice and you can have a laugh with them. And while my life has never been threatened, who else am I going to call if the need arises - the Ghostbusters?

This rant is really aimed at those police officers at the top who have squirmed and wriggled out of their responsibility, despite being paid to hold such responsibilities. It is aimed at those police officers who destroyed the trust and hope that a city pinned on them, due in no small part to the reassurance and the professionalism shown by ordinary rank and file officers during the aftermath of the incidents in July 2005. Unfortunately, it is those same ordinary ‘bobbies on the beat’ that are the public face of the MET and so have to put up with the vitriol that many Londoners feel towards the organisation as a result of 11 bullets.

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Jean Charles de Menezes. Born in Minas Gerais 7/1/78. Killed in London 22/7/05 aged only 27. Rest in Peace.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

St Pancras International

On Tuesday, HMQ had a very busy day. First was the opening of Parliament and second was the opening of St Pancras. So yesterday I jaunted off to the new home of the term 'International' only to find this:



Just to inform you all that the 'real opening' is next week but for now, enjoy the last of Waterloo, south of the river:





Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Not one for the children

We men are always befuddled by the language of women. When they want some help, they tell us otherwise. When they are happy they weep and when they are upset, they get on with life as if normal. Women are a complete enigma to men and so perhaps it is why we usually wallow in the self-pity of the internet.

However, it may surprise some men to discover that women are often completely confused by what men say. Sometimes they do not seem to understand our motives and our own feelings. And so, in the spirit of kindness, I have decided to lend a helping hand and I have deciphered the key phrases which seem to confuse women the most:



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Actually, we are the ones that need help. For you see women think about the sensible things like turning on the heat, putting food on the table and practicalities such as cleaning up. Guys just get hungry. And when full, just think about sex. Just think how backward we would be as a civilisation if men did not have the guiding hand of women dangling the carrot of gratification in front of us.

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We need some serious help.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Temporary Disruption to Transmission

Beep.

Apologies to all our viewers here from 'charlesmichelduke'. At the moment we are experiencing difficulties with the main transmitter of our output. Subsequently for the next few days, transmissions of certain programmes will be subject to interference. However, as a responsible 'blogger', we have already made alternative arrangements for your viewing pleasure.

Beep.

For those wishing to re-count on a little bit of London's riverside history, then please direct yourself here. You will then be able to view the crossings of the river Thames within London, and look forward to this month's instalment (once transmission is restored).

Beep.

Or maybe you would wish to relive one of our more popular shows, the Charlie D. Show. In this episode, we get to see what really happened to summer this year and find out that nothing is as you expect.

Beep.

Anyone wishing for a bit more background on charlesmichelduke is advised to direct themselves to the aforementioned link. There you can satisfy your curiosity on what made this particular blogger.

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And for those actually interested in the moving picture, why a quick saunter here will give you all that you want for laughs. Hilarious, fresh and milky and straight to your door, Jay and Kay will while away the hours while we make repairs to our main transmitter.

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We will be back on Friday.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Sleep?

I have to admit that at the moment by body clock is all over the place. Just check out the timings of my blog postings over the past two weeks. But I have always had a bit of a problem with sleeping. I am not an insomniac in the traditional sense. Once my head hits the pillow, I am asleep within a few minutes, so thankfully I do not toss and turn all night. No, my problem comes in lying in. After about five hours, my body will get up. For me, six hours is a good night's rest. Today was phenomenal as I actually broke the eight hour mark for the first time in four weeks, and that will not be happening again for a while.

Don't ask me why or how this happens. But as soon as I get up, I lie awake in bed thinking of, well, anything, I have a wild imagination, And that's it, I cannot get back to bed.

Well, I cannot moan, at least I can get more things done during the day.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

My East End Rally

I love the East End and it shows to anyone that watches my films or knows me just a little bit. Although I was born in South London, the East End is probably my favourite place in which to be as well as containing some of the best locations in London. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

In December, I plan to do a few more special shorts in association with East End Life. It will be a busy month to organise that. But for now, enjoy a taster as well as a bit of fun that a friend and me had at the end of October.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

The coming of winter

Bleep-bleep-bloop-bloop, my mind just feels like swiss cheese at 3am. The clocks have gone back and it is time for me to get up. Yuck, five more months of winter (unless you're down under) - man, there are people outside, coming back home from a night out!

Not good, not good, but must wake up! Got to be good for the custom. Got to love the custom.

Look man, unlike NY, we don't have the 'fun' of winter. Where's our snow, I demand it! Some guys are lucky, they live in a great city for the winter, pretty, funky and with just the right amount of 'cool' in the temperature to give them fun. Just look at the Londoon skyline, look at it and weep! Waaa!

Ok, coming up to 4am. Must work! No...

Friday, 2 November 2007

Those lying bastards - The Metropolitan Police Force

You lying bastards, all of you, especially you, Sir Ian Blair. And today, you were all found guilty in a court of law. Anyone else would have been sent to jail, instead you were given a slap on a wrist and told to get on your way. You shot an innocent man seven times in the head. You then lied and covered up your tracks. Your politician puppet masters supported you, despite the fact you murdered an ordinary man on his way to work.

Normally I do not get involved with politics. In any interviews I have given, I have been completely neutral. In all my blogs and articles that I have written and on any internet site where my profile is stuck up, I am completely neutral. But not today.

To those top dogs in the Metropolitan Police. You betrayed out trust! As an ordinary person living in this city, I have this to state: You bastards killed, in cold blood, an innocent man. And then instead of admitting fault have squirmed and wriggled yourself away from him. Well, it does not work like that. And please, we are not from Shropshire, treat us with a little intelligence. You should have at least had the decency to admit that you made a mistake.

No other police force has fucked up as much as the MET. After 7/7 and 21/7, the police had all the goodwill of the city behind them. Londoners from all walks of life wanted to catch the terrorists. No one wanted to see such carnage again and after the failings of 21/7, we all thanked the heavens for a lucky escape.

But on 22nd July 2005, the police ripped that to shreds. By killing Jean Charles de Menezes, they took all the trust and faith that Londoners had in them and defecated all over the city. So sad, that even after Steven Lawrence, it is quite clear that de Menezes was shot because he was not white, pure and simple. And with that one act (or seven, as that was the amount of bullets pumped into his head) the MET Police reverted to its usual position of ‘Working for a Safer London’.

The reason why I am so angry is that the police force in this country have the ultimate power over you and me. If a policeman stops you, there is nothing you can do. It maybe cliché, but with that power comes a huge responsibility. On July 22nd, 2005, the police abused that power and had the responsibility of a group of thugs. The UK condemns countries such as Zimbabwe, Iran and North Korea for their human rights abuses, but shooting a man on his way to work is a fundamental abuse of anyone’s right to simply live.

The saddest thing is that the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes actually saved the lives of many Londoners. People, like myself would have become legitimate targets for the police. For instead of adopting an investigative approach to the attacks on our public transport, the police decided to employ tactics akin to the Wild West. I really feel bad for saying this, but the slaughter at Stockwell has actually made London a safer place. It is sad to say that if de Menezes had come from a place other than Brazil, the outcry would not have been the same. Could you imagine a case in the High Court if an innocent man from Pakistan was shot?

The simple thing is this. If a terrorist has a bomb you can run. It may not be very far, but you have a fighting chance. If a police marksman holds a gun to your head, you are at his mercy. The issuing of guns to the police is something that is still uncommon in the UK. Police marksman are paid a phenomenal amount as they are trained to control themselves and to concentrate on the powerful tool in their hands, rather than on their mortgage repayments. And the people that gave those orders should hang their heads in shame for not even having the decency to own up. Instead you have squirmed like a pack of worms. It is disgusting that this is how crime fighting is carried out in the capital.

Many people may argue that the police have a right to shoot in order to protect themselves. I do not buy that argument. Like an army soldier, the police are, in effect, paid to be a human shield. Like a soldier, no one wants to see someone from the police force die in the line of duty. But that is precisely what they signed up for. Being a policeman is a dangerous job, which is why they are given such powers in order to protect themselves, as well as the rest of us. They must exercise that power with care and diligence. That did not happen at Stockwell.

It is disgusting that not one person will even face a manslaughter charge after this, and for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, their pain will never cease. My thoughts and prayers are with them today. It is only a small chink that they have made in the armour of the police force. I do not know what will happen next. But unfortunately, I do not think the result will be better policing for Londoners and their city.

Jean Charles de Menezes. Born in Minas Gerais 7/1/78. Killed in London 22/7/05 aged only 27. Rest in Peace.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Writing good, mostly

To all regular viewers of my youtube accounts, it is only recently that I have started putting up videos again, and only of the vlog variety. In fact, there has been no new 'fictional' stuff since the CWFF. And there has been a very good reason for this. I have been writing like a madman. Three scripts fully finished and furnished for the outside world to read.

That's the tricky bit. Getting the script ready for other people to read. The rejections and the criticisms of 'it's crap' are the first amongst many hurdles to face, but believe it or not, it is the easiest thing to get over and done with. I have been slagged off far too many times, that unless something original is said, I've just learnt to ignore the negative vibes.

No, the trickiest bits are the following. Re-editing the script, writing a treatment and writing a synopsis.

Re-editing your script is about as fun as peeling wallpaper. A pain in the backside, you strain your eyes to look for any missed bits and in the end, there is always something you have actually missed out. To do it well takes time. For someone with my impatience this is a real struggle. Just sitting and reading. And then realising on the reprint that on P62, I have missed a full stop. Because I find the process so tedious, I actually rewrite the script again, which means editing for me always takes longer.

Writing a treatment is probably the most annoying thing about writing. The 'people' have a lower attention span than I do. Often they cannot be bothered to read a ninety page script and so they demand a treatment - a summary of your film in short story format, roughly totalling 10-20 pages of prose, with no dialogue. Often, 'people' will base their opinions on whether or not to greenlight a film based on the treatment, without reading the actual script (hence the amount of pulp that is produced). Many people actually write a treatment first and then the script. I cannot actually do that as I usually just blast my way into he script and let the story develop. So especially for me, a treatment is a particularly painful process.

And finally the synopsis of your story. Try to summarise your beautiful story in three or four paragraphs. When you submit your idea to 'people' they want a 'hook', e.g.: 'Gee, what's the hook?' (they really do talk like that) and so the synopsis has to grab them by the balls. But the audience in the cinema lets the film open up and surprise them, allows the story to be told. Again, writing a synopsis has the appeal of something akin to sluicing nappies (to my fourth reader - I told you to be careful about what you said in front of me, I will write it up somewhere).

I love writing. I love being part of that original idea and watching it grow from a thought in my head onto words on a paper. Writing for me is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of the film making process. It's just the accessorising that bugs me.