Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap Day

Many people ask for one more day in their lives to make it better. One more day, so we can fit in that extra piece of work or utilise it for some greater good. Well, every four years we obtain that extra day. So for instance, if you have a deadline for March 1st, suddenly we have an extra day in February to accomplish it.

But what do most of us do with that extra day? Do we ue it for something better. Do we head off to the pub (after all, it is a Friday) or do we use that day to sit back and think.

Or maybe, we don't even realise that we have an extra day. So busy are our lives, that we are enntangled in. The days and weeks blur into one another...

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bodytalk

The problem with getting the late night munchies is that the following morning you wake up feeling like crap.

I like to sleep on an empty stomach. Don't ask me why, but I sleep soundly when I have eaten nothing beforehand.

However, whenever I eat before bed, I get up feeling like crap. Not just in the stomach, but my whole body aches. It feels like I have done a work out in bed. Also I get up really lathargic and unable to do anything productive.

It's a funny thing, the body...

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Going back to the Seychelles...

Yes! I am off to Seychelles next month. Fantastic, after two and a half years, I am back to the most beautiful country in the world. Yes, yes, yes! But, unlike most people, I am only speding 9 days there. Yep, a ridiculously short amount of time, but that is enough for me.

It is interesting as before I started down the path of film making, I was known for my legendary holidays abroad. 3, 4, 5 months was pretty much the norm for me and at least once a year I would leave this country to travel and see far flung parts of the world. I got to immerse myself in the local areas and ate wild pieces of food. The chicks were hot too.

So it is more surprising that I am now going for such short holidays. And at March, it is the longest I have spent in this country in a decade - 14 months!

Oh well, put my feet up and relax...

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Crossings of the River Thames 10 - Chiswick Bridge

There were many reasons why I started my series of river crossings over the Thames. Partly it was a great way to see the city I live in. Also, as a film maker, it was great to discover potential locations to film at. But the main reason was to make me get off the computer and get away from the film making. Most, hey, all of my spare time is spent making films. By exploring the river once a month I would have to tear myself away from the lonely art of film making and out to get some fresh air. At least once a month.

This month, it has been a real pain to actually explore the river. Yep, for any regular readers, you may have noticed the blog output being exceedingly thin on the ground. And that is simply due to the lack of time that I have had. So making my way to the river and back just to take a few photos was not that high up on my list of priorities.

Nevertheless, I had made a pledge to myself and to this blog. Once a month I would explore each of London's river crossings.



Chiswick was opened on the same day as Hampton Court and Twickenham Bridge and like both of those bridges was built as a result of the car boom of the 1930's. This grand structure of reinforced concrete clad with portland stone is a simple but elegant way to cross the river. And at 40mph, it ties with Twickenham Bridge as one of the fastest ways that you can legally hop over the Thames.



I have crossed Chiswick many times by car, but this was the first time I had ever attempted a foot crossing. Not surprising, it is on a bend in the river, surrounded by parkland. In other words, great for driving on, but lousy to walk across. Even the Thames cycle route ignores it, preferring the crossings of Kew and Barnes:



Chiswick represents a borderline in London's development, reflecting the technology available and the aspirations of the time. West of Chiswick is suburban London. These are the parts of London that expanded in the inter-war years. Driven by suburban developments and the increasing mobility provided by the internal combustion engine.

However, to the east of Chiswick Bridge lies the London of the Victorian era. Driven by iron, steel and brick rather than concrete. Where the bicycle and the train ruled rather than the tram and the car. From here we get to see the 'Classical London' along with gas lit lamps and pea-soupers. This is the London of Dickens, of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The London that tourists want to see and the London that is familiar to bumpkins. So while we leave behind our suburban delights, we get to take a look at a more densely packed out city. A city, slowly becoming more 24 hour, a lot more cosmopolitan and a lot more fun.



Getting there and away: Only one bus crosses the river at Chiswick and that is the 190 running between Richmond and West Brompton. Routes 419, R68 and the N22 also pass close to the south bank of the bridge. Other than that, it is a serene 3/4 mile walk upstream from Barnes Bridge (National Rail).

Monday, 25 February 2008

Day off...

Get up.
Drink Tea.
Switch on computer.
Book holiday.
Tackle the taxman.
Fulfil a monthly obligation.
Phone people. Lots of people, especially family to notify them of my trip.
Eat. Only meal of the day.
Get birth certificate sorted out.
Upload films to computer.
Edit.
Tackle burgeoning e-mail inbox.

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It's been a busy one.

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Once again, I would like to thank Mariel Grande and Mary Jackson Li for appearing on last night's NuTalent spot on the Movies and Music show. It was fantastic to have you guys on, and I hope you will both return later in the year with news on the progress of both your artistic endeavours.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Snob Factor

Yesterday, I was in a swankier part of London as part of my 'McJob'. I had tracked down the address of this 'new development of luxury flats' and went to the concierge to confirm the location of the building within this complex that I needed to go to.

And what a reception. Wow, Mr. Concierge. Sir!

Now, I admit, I am not the smartest person on the face of the earth, but I carry out a dirty job. However, I am in a uniform (of sorts) and so it is quite clear that I am not some geezer trying to break into their precious block of flats, but someone who has been paid to attend their location. I also have paperwork.

I can understand one of the residents acting in a snobby way but usually they are quite nice. However, another working person, like myself, putting on his airs and graces was, well, comical.

He's a concierge. It isn't as if he has some grand job. He is also on shit wages. What is the maximum he is earning for dressing up in a monkey suit? £8, £9 an hour. £10 if he is lucky, but no more. His wages are probably closer to £6-7 an hour. His job is not skilled and he is easily replaceable. And yet, he looked like he had a cock in his mouth, such was reaction to my presence in his 'suite'.

Anyways, maybe it is a class war, maybe not.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Day 366...

There's a plan to the day. Get up, sneeze out the hay fever. Make tea, I need tea. Upload footage to computer. Watch computer crash (Macs fucking crash!!!). Make lunch. More hayfever. Fill in foorms. Off to McJob. Ugh. Life quickly goes downhill. Spend an hour mooching at work, a hangover from the mornings thrills. Do McJob, get back home, late. Overtime without overtime rates. Eat. Maybe. Sleep. Repeat.

Is this as good as it gets?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

El Director strikes Music!

Becoming a radio presenter on NuSound was probably one of the crazier decisions that I made last year. Many people ask, what has that got to do with film making. Good question.

But, since I was a kid, I always wanted to be on the radio. These were the days when Capital Radio was actually a decent station and also illicitly flicking from pirate band to pirate band in order to find the best new music. Now, most radio stations are filled with an impenetrable wall of sound.

But still (wait a minute, two paragraphs starting with 'but') the fanatasy of being on the radio remained. And it is something that I have always wanted to do. And finally, I started presenting my own show.

And (ugh, another bad way to begin a paragraph) it has been a rollercoaster ride. Thanks to the suggestion of one very talented designer, suddenly life has got busier. The phone keeps ringing, and I get to meet new people everyday as a result of the radio show.

The power of radio is far from over, and I seek to take full advantage of it!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Suited and Booted

It is not very often I dress up in a suit. To be honest, the whole thing of 'looking good freaks me out. I like to be comfortable in the clothes that I wear and I pretty much wear the same old things, over and over again.

To be honest, I look like a tramp.

But I am comfortable.

Anyways, was suited and booted today. Looked fairly smart. And hell yeah, I was getting checked out left, right and centre. And by some pretty cute beanies.

Yeah baby.

I was thinking, hey, it must be the sun, but I am hot stuff.

Then I realised. Oh, I am in a suit.

So this is what all the 'City Guys' get. Lavacious looks from 'City Chicks'.

I'm in the wrong job as I never get checked out that often.

But I am still the same guy, whether I am in a suit or whether I am working shit hours to pay the bills.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Shy guy...

One of the things that I have realised is that shyness and modesty do not pay.

Believe it or not, I am an incredibly shy person. I do have a public persona, and it is what virtually 99% of the world sees. Charlie the brash, the confident, the enthusiastic. 'El Director', and all that pap.

But the honest truth is that I am very, very shy. I really hate being the centre of attention, in a bad way. Speeches, getting up in front of people are really cringing events for me, if I have to do it as myself. But once I go into 'persona mode', everything flows.

Essentially, I am one very quiet (and moody) idiot with a penchant fr pessimism. One of my friends recently got to see the 'darker' side of my life and even he admitted how shocked he was.

I wonder if there are people like me who have two such diffeent personas. Ad when do you reveal that 'personal' side of your life to the wider world. Outside my family, most people do not realise how shy I am and how I really lack confidence in myself, my abilities and my own achievements. That's because I put on a good act and always wear a smile.

Interesting though, I wonder how many other people do what I do.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

On tonight's NuSound....

Live tonight on the Movies and Music show we have Sarah Scott of Urban Minds who is coming into the studio to talk a little about herself and her film night which takes place every month in Lewisham showcasing the best and brightest new cinematic talent that London has to offer.

Movies and Music - 5-7pm every Sunday live on air.

Also I will be playing the hits from Nayagan and Sholay.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A frustrating weekend.

The last two days have been shockingly frustrating. I have managed to cobble together some French subtitles for a short film of mine so I can (hopefully) reach a wider audience. Of course, as my French is non-existent, I have had to rely on the internet (a marvelous tool) plus a Kreol speaking mother to help with the wobbly bits. For a five minute film with relatively dialogue it is a pain, a full time two day job. So it will be fiun when I have to do that for other projects.

Next, my computer is on its last swansong. As everyone knows, Macs are as shit as PC's. They crash, slow down and generally pick up bugs like any other computer. The only difference is that they smile while doing so. And so, my DVD drive (or 'Superdrive) the inbuilt slot into my Powerbook has conked out. If I want my computer to read or write any disc, I have to wobble my Mac. Yep, that's right, I have to shake and tap my computer before it kicks in. And the whirring sond it makes is, well, unnerving.

Finally, it maybe a result of the shit tapes that I have bought, but each time I export to video, the film 'scratches'.

I am fed up. Back to shit job today.

A frustrating weekend.

The last two days have been shockingly frustrating. I have managed to cobble together some French subtitles for a short film of mine so I can (hopefully) reach a wider audience. Of course, as my French is non-existent, I have had to rely on the internet (a marvelous tool) plus a Kreol speaking mother to help with the wobbly bits. For a five minute film with relatively dialogue it is a pain, a full time two day job. So it will be fiun when I have to do that for other projects.

Next, my computer is on its last swansong. As everyone knows, Macs are as shit as PC's. They crash, slow down and generally pick up bugs like any other computer. The only difference is that they smile while doing so. And so, my DVD drive (or 'Superdrive) the inbuilt slot into my Powerbook has conked out. If I want my computer to read or write any disc, I have to wobble my Mac. Yep, that's right, I have to shake and tap my computer before it kicks in. And the whirring sond it makes is, well, unnerving.

Finally, it maybe a result of the shit tapes that I have bought, but each time I export to video, the film 'scratches'.

I am fed up. Back to shit job today.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine's?

All right, this is the honest truth. I completely forgot about Valentine's until someone commented on one of my blog feeds that yesterday's blog post was a thought about Valentine's. It wasn't, in fact it was the furthest thing from my mind annd yesterday's blog was about the direction my life was taking. Where it was going and whether or not it is worth all the crap that I am putting up with.

Basically, my life has ended up at a conflict zone. I have chucked away everything to pursue the dream of making films. The reality of this is poor earnings, and a lot of rejection. Yeah, yeah, I know that you have to expect rejection in this industry, but that does not mean that it feels right or I can just shrug it off. Worse still, there are monetary pressures which could be solved by giving it all up.

Now, what would you do? Take the money or stick it out to grind a life of poverty from film.

Oh, and that's the reason why Valentine's was the furthest thing from my mind...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Philisophy of the Workday

You have to think of the directions you are going in. You have to look back at the decisions you made and think, were they right. You have to think about what you're doing right now and think, mmm...

Okay, this isn't imaginative and many people will ask, so what, get over it. But for me, that's just it. I'm nnot happy to stay still and be satisfied with a little bit.

But when will I get it all?

Monday, 11 February 2008

Oh My, the News!

Great news, made the front page of OhmyNews today, this time talking about the 'Great Fire of Camden'.

Somehow, I have managed to get onto the front page twice in a fortnight. Yey!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Crappy Blog Update

Wow, I know I have been lame. The blogs have noot been as good and s**t, I have only 19 days to get to Chiswick bridge. Thankfully, this month has a leap day! Don't worry, I'll be getting there.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

NuTalent 1

On tomorrow's Movies and Music show, we have live and exclusive, the legendary Nick Peck, the first of our guests on the NuTalent spot.

Movies and Music - 5-7pm, every Sunday with me, Charles Michel Duke live on NuSound 92 FM.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Follow the trail...

It is interesting how sometimes, you follow a trail and it blows hot and cold. For instance, take this video I saw on youtube to someone I subscribe to:



So I followed the breadcrumbs...



And originally I thought it was a Japanese song. But no, I am mistaken. It is a Polish remix (I think) of a bit of Finnish gibberish



So there you go. That's the internet for you.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Hay Fever

And so it has begun. Three months of misery and of me sneezing. It started brewing for the last two weeks but yesterday was my first full blown day of the affliction. I am dying here!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Film dreams...

Regular readers of this blog knw that I love movies a hell of a lot. Recently, with the radio show, I have been able to further explore the world of film, especially Indian film, a culture whose cinematic output is both vast and rich in its density of hits and artistic merit. And yes, I have been enjoying it. Come on, let's think about it. I get to watch the films I like. Every Sunday, I then get to play the music from those films and chat abot them. How cool a gig is that!

I have got to turn this whole film thing into a long term prospect though. The dream is beginning...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Monday, 4 February 2008

NuTalent on NuSound

Wow, it has been a busy week, and it is about to get busier. Starting soon, on NuSound Radio is London's first and only show seeking out new, unsigned musical talent to showcase their work live on air.

Yep, that's right. Every Sunday, during my Movies and Music show, I will showcase an up and coming artist and their song.

We are looking for all genres, and all styles of music. All we are asking is to keep the lyrics clean and more importantly, your ability to come onto the show for an interview. We are not just interested in the song, but also in you as a musician.

So what are you waiting for. Visit the NuTalent website and get cracking. Remember, airtime is limited...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

In the News...

Well, it's a Sunday, so I wrote an analytical piece to get published. Quite a serious one todayy, it is about Honour Killings in the UK.

I do not think it will generate the same contraversy as my previous works, but nonetheless, it is an important topic to consider.

Enjoy, carefully...

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Off

It felt good, yesterday. Taking a complete break from the computer. It was great. Just peaceful, no withdrawal symptoms and overall, a pretty beautiful day. Wow. You have to try it. Switch off, for a day or two. No internet, no e-mails, no editing suite which keeps on crashing because your computer is a pile of shit that is obsolete. No, just taking a break, watching a couple of movies and generally chilling out.

Those days are few and far between.

I do need a holiday.