Sunday, 29 June 2008

The great ball of fire....

It startes up at me from the sky, and it breathes down on my. Glistening away, telling me strange things, this fire....It scares me and awakens me, what can I do to avoid it...ooh! It's gone, there's a cloud and another, oh, some rain. Summer's here!

Here's a Video!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Power!

I absolutely love this video and in fact, I am a big fan of this channel on Youtube.



The power of the internet, but for how long.

Now admittedly, I do not subscribe to every conspiracy theory out there. But, I always believe, there is more to life than meets the eye.

Friday, 27 June 2008

WANDSWORTH = FUN?

Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day in Wandsworth. Not the world's greatest place, but believe it or not, there are some pretty parts to the town centre itself. It may not seem obvious if you are racing through South London's most notorious one-way system, but get beyond the death trap that is road rage, and it can seem like almost a pleasant place to live...

Ah, but more to be revealed next month...

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Going back to the Seychelles - Documentary

While I was in Seychelles, I did not just flirt around with a second passport but i also looked at the more serious business of film making. My mission while in Seychelles was a concert on Country and Western music. Now I want to hang myself. This is going to take a long time, mainly due to Festival Rights that are required to screen this film.

Anyway, on the bright side, here is a trailer I cut!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Our Future - A Londoner's Point of View

Futurology is a dangerous game to play and predictions from the past seem ridiculous today. Fully clad in slinky shiny one-piece suits, hovercars and homes on the moon did not seem so ridiculous fifty years ago. However, today’s predictions of the future do not take on the same hue of the optimism of half a century previously. They take a far more gloomy look at the world of tomorrow.

So in the first of a series of articles for OhmyNews, I am taking a look at four big issues facing humanity, as it would affect me, a Londoner.



Article Here.

Intro Vlog.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Friends Reunited

For me it is ten years since I have finished school, and by some amazing fluke of dossing in my early twenties, five years since I have left university. Can I just say that if I was smarter, I would have left full time education at sixteen.

Anyways, there is a 'ten year' reunion next month in my patch of South London in order to commemorate the event of leaving school. This blog is not about how the last ten years have been life changing/dull/exciting/orgasmic/a waste of time/eh but more along the lines of, 'should I go?'

Being a a complete agnostic to the Facebook system, I have RSVP'd a 'Maybe' which invariably will turn out to be a 'no'. After all, hang ups of hang ups, why would I want to see a bunch of acquaintances whom I normally would not give the time of day. And to be honest, I really have not changed that much. Or have I?

I was never too cool for school or even to geeky for geeks. I was in the middle, in an uncomfortable way. Probably as I lost my father during my final years at school, I was left alone by a lot of people, and thank goodness I was. But, as rude as it sounds, I do not really want to see anyone from my old school that I do not already keep in contact with. After all, if I really limed them, I would already be in proper contact with them.

But it would be nice to see what people are up to. After all, two things drive school reunions. Ego. If you are doing well, then you want to Lord it over the guy who punched you in. And curiosity. Mainly the first one, to be honest.

But as I am not in a position to Lord it over anyone, I think I might not be attending this particular function. In another ten years, perhaps?

Monday, 23 June 2008

memories from yesteryear

Was on the DLR visiting the Thanes Barrier yesterday and saw a little piece of graffiti that has all but been erased from the tube system:



Okay, the one at Caning Town is the '03 version, but it was in 2002 that 'Tox' started his campaign to tag the whole of the TfL system. And yes, he was eventually caught. And eventually 2004 passed with less and less TOX. Still, his presence is hard to completely erase...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Summer Rain!

People whop know me best, know that I love the Summer. Okay, so Hay Fever kicks in, but once I get to leave this country on some far flung 'adventure', then it is perfect. Hot weather, infinite amounts of sunshine and all round good food, always puts a spring in my step.

So it is a shame that I will be spending summer here in the UK. Why? Well, today being the longest day of the year, it is depressingly rainy. I saw the sun rise, I will see it set, but in fact, I saw no sun on this solstice, just a lot of cloud and a bit of drizzle. And so the day has continued...

But at least there will be no droughts this year...

Friday, 20 June 2008

Just a quickie

El Director is busily editing away today - that documentary is going to take some serious time out of me. So just for fun, I did some googling on the net.

Basically, it is kind of a show. Type in your name (in this case, Caution Wet Paint) and another word, so creating a phrase, for example:

caution wet paint dies

And see what the top result is. That brilliant piece of procrastination can be found here.



Of course, I wish I had come up with such a brilliant idea for procrastinating, but it is a video reply to bobblog89.

(That fantastic piece of music in the video, will be 'utilised' by next week).

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Plans?

Okay, yesterday was a bad day in the life of 'El Director'. Today, I am a litte more focused and better for it. Also, as a drummer once said, just play damn thing.

Caution Wet Paint has been the focus of my life recently, and yes, it as become a huge focus point for my film making. The fact is that the internet holds a great adventure for something that is Caution Wet Paint and to be honest, it is something that is so satisfying. Instantaneously, the videos are up and are free to be viewed. So take a look at the fun and frollicks and click on:

www.cautionwetpaintmovie.com to see the kinky fun.

Caution Wet Paint is multi-platform and the internet gives us an extra edge to be exposed and see. And we are loving it, so check us out, click, rate and subscribe!

---

But I have not completely abandoned the film festivals. There is a little thing known as a documentary which I am currently hacking away at. It is on the phenomenon of Country Music in the Seychelles.

Unlikely for a subject, but yes, there is a lot of footage for the subject. And I got to get editing.

Viva!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

fuck the dream

I came back from Cannes on May 24th and was rubbing my hands in glee. I was looking forward to the challenges that laid ahead and for me, the world was my oyster. Skip forward one month and the stuffing has been knocked out of me. I have never been so reflective as today and today is the one day that I really want to pack everything in. The whole caboodle, all of the film making, just to jack it in and try to restructure my life.

What has caused this sudden change? Death. Quite simply. I am a very private person, but as few actually read this, then I will rant as much as I want to. So here goes, honesty, and a peek into wht I am really thinking.

Death, well, that's the start of it. The day after I arrived back from Cannes, I turned 28. A moment to pause and think. For yes, I am that much closer to the big 3-0 , but more importantly, I have been for ten years, 'fully legal'. In other words, I have had full responsibility for myself for over ten years. And what have I to show for it. A lifetime filled with memories, and there have been some good ones, but nothing in the palm of my hand. Many may ask why I am judging my life by material gains, but that IS the way that you judge your life. And in this way, I have completely failed.

So yes, not only am I closer to death and now well into the second 'third' of my life (think about it, in less than ten years, I am over the halfway point), but three relatives died on me in the past three weeks. My Aunt, my Uncle and yesterday, my cousin. This has warped my mind, beyond comprehension, particularly the death of my Aunt which leaves only one surviving sibling of my father left on this planet and so for me, the last link to my dad. That's it. Once he goes, I have no direct link to my father except through my own memories. And that is a horrible thought for me to contend with. I will try to do everything I can to bring my Uncle, the last sibling of my father to the UK next year, so he can see us and the rest of the family that have settled here. But I am running out of time and of course, I need a huge amount of cash to carry out such an undertaking.

And so three deaths have knocked me out But it has been a culmination of many things. The fact that my equipment is knackered and to be honest, to get into film festivals in the future, I need better cameras and I need to look to hiring professionals. But then, there lies the rub. Everyone else is doing it. So to try something different, but how do you market yourself to get noticed? Catch 22, and I do not know how to answer that question. But for the moment, the 'traditional route' to film making is shut off. Everything needs to be in HD and I am in poorly defined SD. There is nothing left expect the internet, but I am competing with tits and ass from people cuter and younger than me. Again, the feeling of missing the boat.

And I look around and I see my contemporaries who have made a success of their lives. They are the same people who advised me again and again to get a proper job, for me to stop chasing a pipe dream, for me to quit while I am ahead. I saw one of them the other night, while driving the Night Bus - and yes, that is the shitty job that earns my bread and butter. And I just felt of pissed off at his smug lifestyle. But not just that. He has everything he needs and security and for the rest of his days, he is sorted. But I, taking the chance, have fucked up every single step of the way and have been left with nothing. And yes, I hated it, when he rubbed that fact in my face.

That is just one person, and it is not his fault, he bis right and I should be angry at myself. I stepped into film making too lightly, of my own free will and I never thought about it. I always took my headstrong nature and flair with fortune as a good thing. And yes, it served me well in my early twenties. But as life progressed, I have come to the realisation that living the dream is nothing but a pile a pile of w**k.

I would love to say that, do not believe me and hang on, but the reality is that I am probably not going to make it as a film maker. The sad thing is that am I too stubborn to realise it. And that is the problem. I am now too scared to quit. For what is the reality open to me. A lifetime of driving a bus though London. Always seeing others with crap ideas get ahead because they are 'cool'.

If you are ever going to follow your dream then heed this. Think very carefully about it. Really careful. When you start off, it is great and yes, you are the greatest person in the world. But when the rejections start to hit, then it becomes tough. Most people give up by then, but I was too f**king stupid to do so and so kept going. Then I got titbits of success, a piece, or a morsel flung to me. And instead of satisfying my hunger, I became more ravenous. Thats the thing, you never become happy by following a dream, just more frustrated and the reality of making so little headway.

Wisdom dictates that I should delete this post and instead write about something positive. After all, my cast will read this and think 'oh shit, is he giving up?' No, I am not, as I have already mentioned, I am too stupid and to be honest, too scared to give up and face reality, although, that would be the brave decision to do. I would love to take my own advice and quit, but it is not through courage that I continue with this pipe dream. No, it is because I am too scared to admit to myself that I have wasted the best years of my life on trying to fulfill a fantasy and everything, this blog, the videos, the interviews, the film and the festivals have all meant nothing in the end. Ultimately that I am not good enough, not lucky enough and not wanted as a film maker. I cling onto a false hope that I will make it and can justify my life.

This is my life so far. To this time, for last ten years, I have chosen my path. I have no one else to blame but myself. And it has been a complete f-up. I can already see their faces, there is a ten year reunion of 'old classmates' happening next month in Kingston. And I see happy people, who have made a success. Some are married, a coupe will have kids. Yes, I would love to do that, but with a crappy job as a Night Bus driver, get real! And then what, my adventures in my younger days. Well instead of continuing with those, I brought it to a halt and started film making, the second big mistake. I was onto something good with my travels, and they were honestly the last time I was happy and free. Even now, I want to pack it all in and head abroad somewhere to live out my life. My problems may follow me, but who cares.

Ultimately, that drive, that spirit inside of me telling to to go on has vanished. It has been getting dimmer over the years, but it petered out over the last month. Maybe it can be reignited, but the reality is that I am continuing not out of hope for the future, but through the fear of my past. And I am now ashamed to hold my head up high. For the reality is that no matter how many times I go to Cannes, or how many hits on the internet I can get, the fact is that I am earning nothing from my film making. I cannot monetise my passion and that has left me as a failure. Do you really think I could attend that or any other reunion in my current state. Hell no! In fact, I just want to leave it all behind.

When I click the publish button, this post goes live. The first (and only) people to see it will be the Caution Wet Paint guys. They may ask me why I am thinking this way, especially as I am the one putting on a brave front. And if I do think this way then why do I continue. It is quite simple. At this moment in time, I have nothing else better to offer, to myself or to anyone else. The path I have chosen has led me here. Sensibly, I should turn around and give up. But I won't, again, not because I am brave, but because I fear a life that is ordinary. I don't cling to hope, but I just flee from fear. I am not giving up. But if anyone else has any sense, then quit while you are ahead. Following the dream, to put it simply, is bulls**t.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Introducing - Smokey Redtop!

It is a very experimental video and the 'real version' will be up this week. But I just wanted to get started on stop motion and so introducing the latest addition to the Caution Wet Paint Universe, here is the one and only, Smokey Redtop!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Life as the DJ

It seems quite surreal to me, but being a DJ every Sunday seems like a very normal part of life. Shocking as I have been in the role for less than six months.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a radio DJ. Not a club DJ spinning decks, but a radio DJ, on the radio, presenting a show, playing tunes and chatting. Now every week I am on the radio and I am loving it! Man, its great. I get to chat about movies and music (great topics), play whatever I like (just no swearing, and it was close on yesterday's show), and generally chill out on air. Hey man, it feels cool and smooth and to be honest I am revelling in my role as a DJ.

But I want more. Man, I am never satisfied, but I definitely want more...

Movies and Music - every Sunday from 5-7pm.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Borrowed from the Other Blog...

Please bare with us, we are experiencing some minor technical difficulties whilst we try to unglue el Director from the cereal bowl... In the meantime, here is some music...


In memorandum, Jimmy McGriff, April 3, 1936 -- May 24, 2008

-El Maestro


Saturday, 14 June 2008

The recession bites...

I was wandering through the streets of West London the other evening with a friend discussing, as always, Life, the Universe and Everything over Kebabs and Mint Tea. Wow, I almost felt like a student again, to have so much free time on my hands and to utilise it in the exercise of thoughts rather than the exercise of mind numbing futility.

One thing that did strike us however, was the sheer emptiness of the streets of the Capital. After all, this is Sunny Kensington, and even in the paltry summer weather that we are currently experiencing, there is usually a lot more people in the bars.

Even me, as a night worker, has noticed the numbers of people actually going out has steadily decreased as the year has progressed. Usually the only busy weeken of the month is the last weekend - payday! The rest of the nights are empoty, as was last night. Absolutely dead.

We're all broke and suddenly we all have to grow up a little in terms of our expenses...

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Trust

I am the least trustworthy man on the face of the planet. If someone is in the grave, then I will be chatting up their wife at the funeral. No joke, I will pounce at any opportunity, after all, this is showbusiness baby!

---

Okay, maybe that is a bit callous, but filming is an industry filled with suspicion. What is that person doing? Will he walk off? Do another project with someone else? Will she hire me for her feature? How about these musicians? Will they actually turn up to record the gig? Can I get permission to use this archive footage? For people who entertain we spend more time worrying about what life might be and are always thinking the worse of our fellow colleagues. No wonder film makers looked mashed up.

But sometimes a lot of fears are unfounded. People carry the baggage from a previous experience to the next project and believe the same thing will happen. I am no different, I am terrified that an actor will walk out saying, 'tough, I'm getting paid more by this person', and it has happened to me in the past. Many people also fear that I will fire them at the drop of a pin. After all, I have a legendary temper on set. It is not for nothing that I am known as El Bastardo!

That is the nature of film making as a whole. You take risks and you realise that everything is about business.

But there are also a few things that keep the humanity together in a film project. The mutual struggle to get a screening. The taste of sharing that first film festival. Coming together to give interviews, watching the feedback from the audience and most importantly getting to know the fans. After all, we are actually achieving something when that starts to happen - we are Entertaining!

A lot of people have helped out on Caution Wet Paint. But in particular, four other people have been instrumental in bringing the project this far, nearly two years after we started shooting one very cold day at an East End bus stop. It has been a journey to hell and back but in a very strange way we have all come together during the good times and the bad. There is still a long way to go, but without these other four people, Caution Wet Paint would not be the entity that it is today. There is a lot more work to do before we can even begin to enjoy the fruits of what we have. But if we stick it out together, then nothing can stop us. And to those four people, thank you. And trust me, there is a plan.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Thanks and New Website

First things first. Caution Wet Paint is live! I have never been so excited in all my life. Nor have I lost so much hair in the last 72 hours, but here it is the official Caution Wet Paint website:

www.cautionwetpaintmovie.com

Secondly, a VLog!



It has been a while since I have done one of them.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

El Maestro's Gift - Part 3

I woke up in a panic attack this morning. I thought that the latest Caution Wet Paint episode, 'The Gift', was garbage and everything in my life felt bad, as in wrist slittingly bad. And then, El Maestro reassured me...

Oh, and yes, El M. is correct - I am bloody tight on the sound. Also on the pay, conditions...there is a reason for my nickname on set, 'El Bastardo!'

---

For those of you who have managed to stay awake during the last two installments, here is the final scintillating part of my documentary on "the Gift"...

Its a very brief overview of the recording, sequencing and mixing process. Sorry if its a bit garbled, I had a lot to try and fit in!


I'm afraid my work on this will have to be put on hold for a few days as I have a recording coming up with my "real" jazz ensemble, but hopefully we'll have a finished movie for you in a week or so...

PS. The VST synth you see in the video is WIVI, produced by Wallander Instruments and comes with el Maestro's recommendations. The woodwind and brass modules are v. expressive with lots of scope for nuance.

El Maestro

Monday, 9 June 2008

el d. woke up stunned to find that,

suddenly a ridiculous amount of people have viewed this video.

So I clicked onto youtube and discovered why.

We are on the front page of youtube India.

Yes - I am now exposed to the world's biggest cinematic audience and the land of half a billion beanies!

(el d.)

El Maestro strikes back!

Most of you all are not with it on a Monday morning. But for those with the geek aspect (Me, me and me) then watch how El Maestro is putting the heart into Caution Wet Paint (el d.):

---

In this part, we get into a bit more detail with the music itself.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Summer Mornings...

London is not the prettiest city in the world but in summer I really do love the place. Yes, the fact that we suddenly have seventeen odd hours of daylight is infectious and you know what, it actually makes the city seem brighter. It is wonderful to see flowers, trees, wildlife (including the infestation) proliferating in the metropolis. Most of all, I just love the colour green which seems to take over from the usual grey that accustoms London’s facade.

One of the times I really enjoy London is early morning. Yes, I am a Night Owl by nature and so summer is a really god time for someone like me as I can see the sun rise at some insane time of the morning and work half of my shift in the daytime. It is also really wonderful to actually see the city get up from its slumber. Socially it is a fascinating study while just from pure observational point, it is compelling just to watch how the different pieces of the puzzle ft together.

The bulk of London’s eight million inhabitants are blissfully unaware of what happens in the wee hours. If anyone is out and about it is ususally inebriated on my Night Bus and so they are unable to watch the city unfold. But for the other workers, such as myself at that time in the morning, the new dawn presents a fresh look at the city. Cycling home to catch the milkman is always something I try to do, while postmen, cleaners and medical workers are shuttling through the city on their way to opening it up.

The three months of summer provides a respite from the cold of the other nine months. Also, going to work in the light makes the day seem a little less daunting. Shift work is not for everyone and nor should it be romanticised - it is shit work. But, at least for summer, there are a few positives from working odd hours.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

El Maestro Reveals All!

(Taken from the Caution Wet Paint Blog)







As ever, if you have any questions, leave us a comment and we'll get back to you.

- El Maestro

Friday, 6 June 2008

Grub Haiku

Grease stained covered lips,
My tummy filled with wonder.
Now will leave good tips.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

bling, bling

i got to have it! i jut saw it yesterday, and it has to be mine, all mine! yes, give it to me baby, i want it now. if you are good to me, then i am god to you...you know it makes sense, we'll all be happier for it, oh yes baby! i like it too, it's got o be mine, all mine and yo darling, it is what i like not just now but i will cherish forever and ever, like a vhs tape or something more gratifying, like this. oh please, i have the money for it, can i have it, like now!

---

three years later, it will be in the back of a wardrobe somewhere.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

an english sumer

I love summer. The days get longer, the nghts are almost non-existent, especially for the night shift workers over here ;-)

The tops get lower, the skirts higher, and more importantly, there is a skip in the air of happiness and flirtation. This is the time when peeps get frisky and winks actually mean something.

Well, it would be if there was any sunshine around.


It is June and it is freezing. I am still wearing a jacket. Ugh, 2008 may suck for one reason, a lack of sunshine. Seriously, us Londoners still have not got over our winter's worth of SAD, so please, heavens above, jet stream and global warming - do your thing, before I call in El Nino.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Tooting's MEAT

I was not in a good mood yesterday. I didn't click on air, my filming earlier on in the day produced poor results and having only one hour's sleep was not good to my little pea pod.

Thanks goodness, therefore, for the delights of Tooting, still my favourite place in all of London. Was meeting up with a friend in this wonderful South London suburb for food. And where else to go than Pakistani.

For all those unfamiliar with Pakistani cuisine, let me just say one word to describe it. 'Meaty'. Vegetarians are not welcome and if any of you have the pleasure of traveling to Pakistan, let me give you two pieces of advice. Do not touch the water and definitely enjoy the meat.

Supper was going to be simple. Mixed Grill, followed by Meat Biryani accompanied by a meat curry. My friend look horrified as I calmly stated that this was the best combination of food. He insisted on a vegetarian sauce for the biryani, but I was not to be deterred. After all, I am used to the wild ways of dining in Tooting. Even the waiter looked alarmed and tried to point out that the biryani contained meat. With virtually no sleep, my mind only registered one thing against both my friend and the waiter's pleas - MEAT!

Food arrived and of course, I duly finished the meal off, mixed grill, meat biryani and meat curry. My friend was stunned at this devouring, not realising that I was trained in the art of 'Tooting' and of course leaving much of his food behind. Pah, what is wrong with the men of this world these days. Have we become so emancipated that we can no longer enjoy the delights of a whole sheep? Yes, we probably had a couple of pounds of flesh served up to us, but man it was good.

So strolling home last night from Tooting, it was a satisfying end to what was otherwise a mashed up day.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Crossings of the River Thames 14 - Fulham Railway Bridge

Skip a little downstream and we come to crossing number 14, Fulham Railway Bridge. What's this, a railway bridge that you can cross by foot! Of course, why else would it be on this blog? To those who are not in the know, hop on a District line train from Putney Bridge going south. Look out to your left and attached to the bridge is a narrow footpath that will take you across the Thames for free.



And yes, this bridge, like the road bridge next to it represents London's ever increasing sprawl. For this piece of rail engineering is one of the few times that the Underground crosses the river. And like so many things in London, what happens in South London is infinitely inferior to what happens north of the Thames.



Seriously though, I do like this bridge. In fact, it is probably the funkiest thing in Putney, precisely as it is so weird. Firstly, it is the only bridge in London that curves, ever so slightly, but it is there. Secondly, on the South side you are deposited in a residential area. In fact, it feels like the middle of nowhere and it could be any part of London. Thirdly, it is a bit of a hidden secret. Compared to nearby Putney Bridge, almost no one uses it (although my unsubstantiated observations could be due to the fact that it was bucketing down that day).



One interesting aspect of Fulham Railway Bridge. It does not feel like you are in Fulham at all. Now, maybe this is the bias of a South Londoner but Fulham as in centered around the Fulham Broadway shopping centre is a mission from its own railway crossing. Again, the north side of the river, if not for the tube station, also feels like the middle of nowhere significant. Maybe, this is one of those 'special' crossings. Made for the many (the tube) and for the few (the footbridge). Also, it provides a pleasant alternative to the hustle and bustle of nearby Putney.



Putney and Fulham, two strangely affluent twins staring at each other from across the river. Interesting how in the past twenty years, both these places have changed beyond recognition. In the early eighties, they both had a seedy air to them. Hey, on a personal note, my own father used to live in Putney. But the gentrification of London has transformed booth areas beyond recognition. Today, smart terraced houses can easily reach £500,000 and the 'villages' of Putney and Fulham are now associated with sophisticated living rather than poverty. However, both towns are as boring as f**k. Like much of gentrified areas London, they are very pleasant and safe places to live, but there is no life. They are dull. There are no funky spots to eat out in, no eclectic performance venues, chain cinemas and the chicks only come out after their weekly 'Hen Night'. Before hand, each of the crossings had something unusual or unique about them. The obscurity of the Hampton Ferry or the history behind Kew. But what exactly is there in either Putney or Fulham that makes it quirky and Londonesque? I am not too sure...

Getting there and away by tube:



Getting there and away by bus:

14 (24hr), 22, 39, 74, 85 (24hr), 93 (24hr), 220 (24hr), 265, 270, 414 (Northbank only), 424, 430, 485 (Southbank only), N10, N22, N74