Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Parkland Walk and the Northern Heights (1)

Most people's images of the Northern Line stem from being stuck at Tooting Broadway station, or waiting on the Charing + Branch for a train past Kennington, or the swapped tunnels at Bank. But the Northern Line can be also surprisingly beautiful, in parts.

I make no secret that the Northern Line (which is also the busiest on the tube) happens to be my favourite way to get round London, when it is working. But it also happens to pass by some of the funkiest areas in the city. The brilliance of Belsize Park, the cool of Camden, happy Hampstead and moronic Morden (well that last bit may not be that good).

The Northern Line, if the planners of the 1930's had their way, would have been a complex beast stretching from Sutton to Potters Bar. All right, maybe not that far, but pretty far enough. And they would have called at every point in London including Finsbury Park, the Ally Pally and Crouch End. But as always, something got in the way, and like the Dollis Brook Viaduct that I earlier blogged about, nothing came to fruition.

So instead of utilising the land for the railways, in typical London style, the old railway route of the proposed Northern Line extensions of the 1930's (termed the Northern Heights) was taken over as a ramblers paradise through urban North London – the Parkland Walk.



Now, there are people and web pages out there who have far more detail on the Parkland Walk and the propositions known as the Northern Heights. Read those links, fascinating stuff.

But, as I was on holiday and had an hour or so to spare, I decided to take a quick stroll from Stroud Green 'station' to Finsbury Park.



Before we begin, let me just say that this was my first time in Crouch End, and I was impressed by what I saw. These North Londoners know how to live well. A dainty urban park threading through their own neighbourhoods. So yes, I walked over to Stroud Green and found the entrance to Parkland Walk, as well as the only remnants of the station that now exists, a rickety set of steps up to the railway bed itself.





Off I went, onward to Finsbury Park. I would not call it a grand hike, but it was definitely something a little less ordinary. To be honest, if I was regularly commuting towards the Park, this would be quite a painless way to do it. It is hard to think of something similar that exists on this side of the Thames. And a bit freaky to think that once upon a time steam trains ran along here and there were plans for the tube to be here. What do you reckon, if they converted the bit between, say, Richmond to Turnham Green into a walk, what great views could be had from the elevated trackbed there? But this is the view from North London, looking above the great houses over here.



And you are walking on a trackbed itself. It shows as you are trundling alongside embankment overlooking North London. Just about wide enough for two Underground trains to pass each other. But this is North London and while we are walking through some of the nicer parts of Haringey, we are still in this wonderful borough itself (except for a little bit at the end in Islington). Here's a message of support for the G20 guys this week:



Now I will actually come back to the Parkland Walk one day, as this is a fascinating part of London. A nature reserve that threads above the rooftops of London and one that encompasses a huge amount of local history. From ground level it looks strange. An assortment of bridges that cross overhead with far too much growth pouring over the sides of the brickwork.



And this is not a massively maintained site, very few plantations have actually taken place and the only clearing has been to keep a minimal path open. What you see here, is the result of 50 odd years of random growth scattered on the wind or in the guts of various mammals that scurry around here. In other words, if London was left to its own devices in a generation it would look like much of the Parland Walk does today, except without the nice neat path that lies in the middle of it...



So onwards I went until I came to Finsbury Park. The Parkland Walk now heads straight into the park and it is a great way to end (or begin) the journey along this unconstructed bit of the Northern Line. I will come back to Parkland one day, hopefully this summer and eventually I would like to take in the whole stretch from the Ally Pally, through Highgate and onto Finsbury Park. And when I do that, I promise to do my research in order to give a full rundown of the history, etc...



How I got there and away:

As this is not a comprehensive guide to the Parkland Walk, the info here is just about my journey. I ventured here on the Goblin Line (London Overground) and jumped off at Crouch Hill station. From there, the site of Stroud Green was a five minute wander away.

My wanderings to the Dollis Brook Viaduct, also a part of the Northern Heights works.

Monday, 30 March 2009

The Blog of El Director

I may talk about a lot of things, in fact this blog is quite soothing as my own min-rant against te world. But I rarely talk about the title of the blog, or my filming. That's partly due to the fact that I use the CWP Blog to discuss such things. But I felt that today's blog would be an appropriate tim to write about directing, and the direction of my own films.

The reality is that I should really name myself 'El Writer' or something along those lines. After all, I write a prodigious amount and despite my awful spelling and dodgy grammar I seem to write stuff which makes some people smile...but most importantly, I write in a fashion which seems to suit a visual medium. And that is why I direct, to portray on screen as close to what is in my mind's eye, when I write on the page.

Caution Wet Paint is one such story, big script, a musical comedy. It takes in the best of East London, has a bunch of crazy characters and includes a mad ride on a scooter, a dance on a rooftop and a song about milk. More importantly it takes a look at love, a love that works for some and a love that fails for others. And it is a story the follows the love lives of two characters Jay and Kay.

For the past two and a half years, I have been screening a bunch of webisodes with Jay and Kay doing various things. At first, they may seem random, even farcical, but there is a plan. Each of those webisodes refer to a particular point in the main film itself. They may happen between Jay and Kay during the course of the film, they may only involve main characters or they may involve characters from the movie other than Jay and Kay. In otherwords, I have been road testing out bits of the script that I saw in my mind, but did not know if they would work in reality. Most of them had, although there are a few raspberries to look out for.

In those past years I have worked with Ari and Kuldip as Jay and Kay and with Nick as my musician. It has been one hell of a past two and a half years, and we have all had our ups and downs. But no matter what we have said and done, we have acted like professionals when it has come to getting the job done and despite the lack of time, money or resources have managed to come very far from our first offering to film festivals.

We have all changed in those past two and a half years, and the glitz of youth have slowly faded as we all begin to leave the world of ideals behind and hurtle into the world known as reality. Despite what all of us go through in our own daily lives, we have managed to come together on a regular basis to make Caution Wet Paint. I wrote the characters of Jay and Kay with Ari and Kuldip in my mind, but these two actors have taken those characters and evolved it into something far more than I first imagined.

This weekend saw the final shoot of a Caution Wet Paint short, 'Jay and Kay Save the World'. It is not the end of the Paint, but more like a beginning. For me, my next aim is the movie, the big one. Now, the likelihood of succeeding is miniscule and by this time next year, I will be in all likelihood trying to make features by hook or crook rather than actually getting paid to make them. But it is a calculated leap. Not a leap of desperation, but one of evolution. I feel now is the right time to take 'Caution Wet Paint' to the next level, to the level of a feature film. Yes, there will be plenty of webisodes, vlogs and other sort videos coming out, but my main project for the next few months will be a short made for film festivals and this short is 'Jay and Kay Save the World'. A showreel for the Paint and hopefully fun-filled entertainment for cinemagoers at festivals huge, large and small; famous, elite and general, worldwide in the next year.

I have worked with a brilliant number of people over the years, and I have only come this far due to the help and assistance of many brilliant people around me. I hope to work productively with these and many more in the months and years to come. To all of you, thank you.

What I am trying to achieve is a tough aim, and I know my path is about to get a lot more interesting. But what the hell, fortune favours the bold...

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Panic on the Streets of London!

So London is about to enter a siege week. Coinciding with the a gathering of the great and good of humanity in London, we also have twenty of the most corrupt people on the planet meeting in the East End for a right old knees up. To keep the great and good from switching off a few lights, we have mobilised the largest gathering of coffee and doughnuts since the Notting Hill Carnival, but as there are no darkies at this even (except for the president of the USA), we can keep a few officers off the beat and in the office to ensure loose some more documents.

So how about it. Next week we will have a massive peaceful protest that will be ignored by all, but when three windows get smashed up in Canary Wharf, expect the 'usual suspects' to be blaming immigrants for all this trouble and the looney left for stirring up anarchy on the mild streets of Britain. Thank goodness for the police to save the day and my energy saving light bulb.

(To be honest, the looney left looks increasingly sophisticated against the background of bank bail outs)

The police have already done their press offensive to protect themselves when the predictable photos begin pouring in from the street that will allow many people to compare London to Lhasa on serf emancipation day.

(I think the comparison between Mao and Lincoln is hilarious)

So get ready for a week that in the end will not make much difference, such is the wonderful thing about Western Capitalist Democracy. When 2010 rolls in, we will get a new bunch of muppets to continue exactly where we left off. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and everyone else in between will be taxed until they are a spent carcass on the heap known as society. Real change boils down to the individual, not the government. Do not expect to be helped by anyone but yourselves. And remember, life always seems to get worse, but the honest truth is that it has always been this bad...

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Back to Nights

Next week I return to work after three fantastic weeks where I adjusted to seeing daylight in vast quantities. Night shifts are not for everyone, in fact many people cannot function without regular rest and sleeping patterns. Thankfully, I am able to readily adapt my body clock to the needs of my pocket and the lack of money contained within. Hence, the bulk of my working life has not been spent at a 9-5, but at shifts which usually see the more unusual side of the city. I have seen in three New Years Eve's while driving a bus, and it looks like I will see in 2010 while driving those great hulking beasts around London. But hopefully, I will not be stuck in Croydon this time around...

I must admit, I have felt utterly spoilt at the fact that I have been able to slumber at night and wake up at 6am rather than go to sleep at that time. In fact, it would be fairly easy to change back to day shifts, but the monetary rewards of working at nights, plus the fact that the upper echelons of my employers do not know exactly who I am, means that I would rather stay on nights and out of sight!

There are advantages and disadvantages to leading a normal life or switching yourself on during the witching hours.

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Nights – Disadvantages:

Screws-up body clock, no social life, eat at funny times, always tired, poor complexion, SAD.

Nights – Advantages:

(Usually) paid more, very little 'senior staff' looking over your shoulder, relatively peaceful, the surrounding public are also relatively chilled out, fellow colleagues have an interesting sense of humour, can shop at a time that is very quiet.

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In other words, if you can stand the hacking that your health will take, working/living at nights has a lot of advantages that tie-up with it. Night shifts are not a lifestyle choice that I would permanently choose, but for now, it certainly suits me. However, these last couple of weeks off have shown me how much 'day life' I have missed out on! Oh well, no point in looking back, I got to get a film done tomorrow!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Acting

Yesterday, I did a bit of acting for a corporate video. And to be honest, it was the easiest day in my life. Compared with directing, acting is a doss. A director has to handle a bunch of people with different and various interests, put up with egos and backchat, has to think about time, lighting, sound, safety, the public as well as what is being said on screen. He/She has to think about people when they are hungry/thirsty or has to feed them up as (most) actors will not eat unless forced to and hence go all sleepy on set (that goes for the bulk of actors/actresses that I have worked with). The director has to put up wth people who have not memorised their lines, people turning up late, incompetence and the sound of barking dogs in the background. At the end of it all, we are not even the ones on the magazine covers!

The actor has to do three things. Turn up on time, learn the lines and obey the director. Simple. Having a brain is an optional extra. Being friendly to the public helps but is not needed. And to be honest, compared to being behind the camera, it is a relaxing gig!

All right, I was not exactly spouting Shakespeare, but it was not too bad. It was so easy to switch off and just obey the director in what he wanted. For once, I did not have to worry about the failing light, people walking in the background or the lack of time. It was not up to me. All I had to do was obey. Plus I just chatted with the curious passers-by when the director was changing angles, what an easy day!

So, the next time an actor/actress tells you about the trials and tribulations of the set, tell them to buzz off! They got nothing on the director...



(The view from the other side of the lens...)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Twitter – my new obsession?

Okay, so I 'spectacularly' gave up Facebook at the beginning of February and have not looked back since. My social life has not changed. In fact, I have got a little more sociable, but that is probably due to Spring finally kicking in on this weather forsaken isle. However, it is not as if I was completely alone from everyone while surfing the web. Yes, that is right, Twitter has taken over my online obsession. In fact during March, my Twitter updates shot through the roof (but that could also be due to the fact that there are other people twittering through the same account). And unlike many, I jumped on this bandwagon last year, before any of this celebrity nonsense hit twitter!



Interestingly (from a tech P.O.V.), not all my tweet posts come through twitter itself. As you can see from the pic, there are updates via various tools including the TwitterBar, TwitterFox and TwitterFeed as well as regularly signing in and saying something quite useless via my twitter homepage. And that little Twitterfeed links into both my blog, the CWP Blog and CWP's video feed. In other words, it does my updating without me even having to lift a finger, or copy and paste, ideally allowing me to procrastinate even more!

Twitter is this year's facebook. We will laugh with it, spend far too much time admiring it and pimping up our twitter statuses, only to flee when the next big thing that comes along. We will pretend to love the people we follow, while actually ignoring what they say, only to revel in our own self importance. Whether or not I will reluctantly hold onto it like I do with myspace, enjoy it like I do with my blog or just come to regard it as a menace like Gimpbook, is something for the seers to predict...

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Joys of Duck/Gaffer Tape!

As a film director, there are certain tools that are necessary on the set, and that go beyond the obvious of a camera and a computer. And one of those tools is Gaffer Tape!

Now, Gaffer Tape (or Duck Tape) can be used in a variety of way, but most of all, it is just useful to have around most breakages or emergencies can be fixed by the stuff, but if not, it is just good to have it lying about somewhere near. It is almost inspiring in its presence...

So go on, take a look at my new video detailing the joys of Gaffer Tape:

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Where are you?

Don't worry regular readers (all three of you) I have not disappeared off the face of the Earth, nor have I entirely switched my loyalties to the other side, I have just been busily wriggling away with my editing suite, oh the joy of it all, plus filming like crazy. Make hay while the sun shines and it is certainly something that I am doing now! So do not worry, I am still here. My 'official' break takes place a little later on in the year...

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The Original...

Two and a half years ago, a few people went to a bus stop in East London to shoot a short sketch...

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Real Deal

Tomorrow is when the first day of shooting will occur. That's a big one. Three days of fun in total where the future of Caution Wet Paint in its current guise is viable or not. It is something which I am gunning for and something that along with the rest of the cast and the crew, I have been preparing for and planning for a long time.



But a picture is worth a thousand words and a video a heck of a lot more, so take a click to see the prep work behind the scenes.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I do like to be beside the seaside...

Just before I go into today's blogging fun, do you remember a few months back, I talked about sex with robots. Well, ugh, just take a look at this article and you'll see that we are going to get there...

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Right, yesterday I was by the seaside and what better way to spend time by the seaside then to go to the beach. I was with Dom (you can check his blog in the sidebar, or click on his youtube channel here).

Anyways, we went to the seaside, chatted and chilled and generally had a nice relaxing day. Shocking!



Click to watch - Enjoy!

It was actually really good to get out of the smoke and it was a lot of fun to see Dom, being about six months since I last caught up with him I also got to meet his great family! Dom, you have some very cool children!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

One picture, a thousand lives....

I love taking photos. Bad habit of mine, but there is a perverse enjoyment in just snapping happily away at whatever I please. Some of my favourite shots have been quite obvious accidents, but they look good, so I will not be telling anyone about them. I almost never use a tripod (unless I am filming), so they are subject to the juddering motions of my unsteady hands.

My travels have also led to an impressive number of photos from around the world. Some on film, a lot on my hard drive and far too many for a normal person to identify. But looking back on them, I feel the emotions I had when I took those pictures. What was going through my tiny little mind and what I wanted to achieve with that shot. Sometimes it was as simple as 'that's pretty' and sometimes it was a lot more profound and inspiring. But all the time, wanted to share the experience with as many people as possible. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so my blogs could be a lot more concise if I took that piece of wisdom to heart.

Is there one picture that sums up my experience of life to date? Is there a picture which I took that could sum up the small number of years I have sent on this planet. Could it express the multitude of emotions within me, good and bad, inspirational and petty? Could it express my joys and anguish? Could it express both the simplicity and complexity of my life so far? And would it be an accurate description for what I believe life to be? Oh well, have a look. One picture to express a multitude of thoughts...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Living in the Shadows...

Such is the vitriol displayed by the voting public in the UK, that it is unlikely that a migration amnesty will ever come into effect in the UK. We are not the only country to propose such a law. The US, the Bush administration proposed such a policy but it was quietly dropped while Yankees in deck chairs guarded the US/Mexican border with rifles. I can easily see the British equivalent massing at the Kent ports with knitting needles, flasks of tea and cricket bats along with a couple of bulldogs.

It is a sad thing to see mickey mouse tests (go on, how many of those can you answer?) or people getting nicked for working in Argos (who wants to work in that zoo - the man should be commended!). After all, just to jump through hoops designed to appease the shires, makes common sense decisions invalid. But then again, when was common sense ever made by those in power?

Quite simply, we are a nation that does not work. We now have less people under sixteen than we have at pensionable age. Simply, we are not producing a sustainable population, let alone a population that can support itself financially. All those pensions and NHS appointments have to get paid, and it will be us that are of taxable age that are going to bear the brunt of this - remember, those oldies are the ones that actually vote. The only reason we have not yet faced a Japanese style population implosion is due to the level of migration into the UK.

If anyone reads this, many will think that my comments are self serving. Hell yeah, as I mentioned previously, I would not be on this planet if it was not for migration. Nor would Uncle Boris Johnson, most of the Royal Family or Churchill to name a few others. Go on, take some time out, watch this video. A lot of you may have no feeling for these guys, but what Berzo said at the end of the video is very true. 'People are staying at home watching TV...not interested...they always say "human rights"...where are the human rights for asylum seekers?' Whether through work, friendship or through just knowing, I meet people who do not have the same red passport that I have. I am one of the lucky ones, I was born at a time when birth meant automatic citizenship (as well as naturalised parents). Today, someone in my position would not be so lucky...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Final Dress Rehearsal

Today was one of those days when...oooh, the nerves jangle the director. It is the final dress rehearsal for Caution Wet Paint. Now for my poor actors, they have to put up with things such as last minute changes in scripts, tantrums and of course the inevitable demands of a director's ego. You can see the frustration of Ari (Jay from CWP) by clicking here. Ahh, the poor actor...ha!



Seriously, today was a superb dress rehearsal. I was really happy to see an improvement by everyone this week over last. However come Saturday we have the main shoot beginning and this is going to be a session in style. Or so I hope. It will be a difficult shoot, partly as this version of the Paint has to go further than anything else previously. It is the point whether I have to prove whether I am a man or just a boyhood director. And it will be a new way in which to make films. Whether or not there is a possibility of getting a film up and onto the big screen. Well, there is only one way to find out...roll on next week!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Body Clock, Body Talk?

From tomorrow I will have three weeks off work from everything. This is my first time off in around ten months and to say that I am looking forward to it is an understatement. I need the break. And I also need to wrench my body clock back to normality. Being a night worker means going against the grain and missing out on the best parts of the day - daylight - in order to stay in sync. With my light sleeping mode that has always been my blessing/curse, it means that actually getting sleep has always been tricky for me. (the falling asleep bit is easy, just that I wake up a lot)

Why I took the time off, to film. Now, normally when I wake up and faff about, most of the day has gone. You need good amounts of light to film, to enrich the colours in the picture as well as giving myself enough tie in which to accomplish the shots. Being stop motion animation also means that I need a lot of time in order to carry out my work. More daylight, more time! Or so the theory goes.

So from next week, for a brief time, I will be joining the real world! Hello world, it has been a while!

Friday, 13 March 2009

A Migration Amnesty for the UK?

Is it time for a migration amnesty?

Living in London, it isn't hard to see why all the mayoral candidates from the 2008 election supported an amnesty for illegal migrants, the unregistered and failed asylum seekers nationwide. What is more surprising is that Boris still believes in this. That it was not just a soundbite to galvanise the ethnic vote. And it is not the first time that I find myself surprisingly agreeing with our fair mayor. And you know what, I never thought I might hear myself say this, but with Boris actually going out in public, giving interview on the topic, I might begin to like him. Forget about all that tat involving the MET Police, Bendy Buses or booze, this is REAL politics, something that is actually important, and worthwhile! Then again, I better hold myself, after all, he is a politician...

Let me put it simply, probably about half the people I know in this city are not born in the UK. If you up that to people whose parents or grandparents came from other countries, that increases to the vast majority of people I know, including myself. So firstly, before any debate is started, if it was not for migration, not only would I not be in this country, but I would not have had a chance to exist in human form, such was the meeting of my parents. In fact, if migration full stop did not exist, then all of my family alive today would not be around, such is the drifting nature of the ancestors that I know of. The movement of people is as hold as humanity itself. So, if you want one big reason for why I favour migration, it is for my own existence.

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Tonight I will be driving the Nightbus before heading off for a three week break (I am owed plenty of holiday from last year). I was once asked who I carry and the passengers can be divided into three categories. The Wasted, the Weirdos and the Workers. Now, being a Friday night, there will be far more wasted people than anyone else on the bus. In addition, there will be the normal amount of weirdos on the bus, who for the most part are fairly harmless. Then there are the workers, and depending on the time of the night, the bus can be packed full of people off to a job. I can quite safely say that under 5% of these workers are English. So who is off to work at this time of the morning, and what jobs are they doing. Obviously jobs that pay poorly and that do not have the native population of London running after them, despite the credit crunch. And one more thing, take a look at the person driving your Nightbus. Odds on if you are in London, that the driver was not born in this country.

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There is something known as the miracle of Saturday Morning that I wish to share with you all. We all go out on a Friday Night. We get drunk, grab a kebab or a shag. We piss on the roadside, chuck our cigarettes and left ovber chips on the roadside. Hail a minicab, vomit somewhere on the pavement, leave our smashed glasses on the pavement and slowly slink of home. Some may go via A&E others via a Nightbus to the wrong side of London. However, come Saturday morning, we stumble out into the sunshine, and on the way to the pub for a quick Brunchtime pint, the streets are clean, joggers are out in the park, the stench of booze has been lifted and we are ready to repeat the action later that night. Some parts of London have a Jekyl and Hyde character to them, such is the transformation. But who are the people behind this transformation from war zone to kiddies zone?

They are the same people you ignore when someone comes round your office to tidy your desk and clear your bins. They are the same people you ignore when you pass an internet cafe. They are the same people in the barber shops, in the kitchens beneath the restaurants you frequent. They are the ones at the back of a bus, catching five minutes kip. The ones who actually use money transfer services, who only use Halal butchers (and sod it, the ones who work there too). They are ones who buy pirate DVD's of films, but they are normally sold to the rest of the world as 'repertory cinema'. And a lot of these people are not here legally. They are most definitely not working legally, either over their allotted hours, or just cash in hand. Many of them are no better than the indentured labourers who were my forefathers of a century ago. Many of these people do not even exist, living in a limbo that is slowly destroys the essence of the humanity within them. If they died tomorrow, the police would not even know how to identify them, unless someone came forward (unlikely). It is a climate of fear that has perpetuated throughout the very people who do the s**t jobs that the bulk of people reading this blog are not going to ever do.

And for what reason? All to assure the voters in those 100 or so marginal seats in the shires that they will not have to see anything darker on people's skins than a tan after two weeks in Spain.

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If the figures of 750,000 people are an accurate estimate of the number of illegals within Britain, then what is going to be the answer? Do not forget, this will also extend to children born and bred in this country, as citizenship is no longer granted 'jus soli', as well as to people who may have spent decades here. Is the answer to cart everyone on a plane and ship them off to their individual countries? The cost, as well as the social upheaval that would be required for such a task would be immense. Likewise, the cost in terms of goods and services would shoot up as the labour pool decreases. However, the biggest cost would be the moral. It is morally wrong to take away someone's home. A mass deportation would be exactly that, taking away the home that someone has tried and struggled to build up, despite the adversities facing them in this unforgiving land. We will be judged as a society by how we treat our most vulnerable.

But, amnesty is not going to happen (check the comments in the link). The black economy will continue to flourish, people will continue to be exploited and be put in danger to pocket a few quid. The illusion that we are on an island overrun with lazy dark skinned fellas will continue to comfort suburbia behind their filching net curtains. And most importantly, a system of migration that accurately reflects the reality of the modern world will never be implemented. Instead, fudge, argument and political scaremongering will dominate the lives of ordinary people, who day in, day out, are always listening for the door to be smashed in...

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Tonight I will be driving the Nightbus through the streets of London. While the legals will party away, cause chaos and steadily sink into debt, it will be the illegals that silently pick up the pieces. I will be carrying all and sundry though the streets of London, whether on their way home or to work. But no matter where they are from or what they are doing, they all snore the same...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Philosophy of the Movie?

A mere ten days ago, I commented that it can be quite a dull thing to blog/talk about, especially if the reader/listener is not involved in making films. But sod it, I love talking about films, and that is because I am in the middle of making one!



Now while that is a pure pice of geekery, it does provide me with an enjoyable piece of escapism. And that is one of the big reasons why I am exercising my right to futility.

I am probably about a third of the way through my life, give or take, and assuming I live to the average British male lifespan. That's it, one third of all my days on this Earth are gone, finished, never to return. And for what? Bills dropping though my letterbox, a job that neither is secure nor makes me fulfilled (not saying it is bad, but it is just a job), a life spent in debt so I can own my own two bedroom box only to end up selling it so I can spend my final days pi**ing in a cot looking up at the clouds wondering, what if? Maybe I look too much into life, maybe I read too deeply and should accept what people usually term as fate. But that is a hard thing for me to do, and also a depressing one. To believe that the best days are over and all I have left are an endless spew of commitments that won't a make a difference to anyone and that instead of living, I am surviving, death by a thousand paper cuts instead of going out in a blaze of glory. Being paid enough so I can pay off what I owe. Seeing the world turn, and I myself powerless to stop it. What is the point of all this intelligence we have as humans, if we do not utilise it for more than just mediocre?

When you see the free spirited, the squatters, the hippies and all those other tree huggers, I can see why the general public, including myself, deride them. They are free from all the material bulls**t that we trap ourselves with. And while they do not have much, there is a happiness in having very little. In all my travels around the world and within this country, it is the people with the least that always give the most. It is the people who cannot afford to loose any more money that are easier with it. While the ones for whom it would not really make a difference are the people who are never any happier within the fortresses they have built themselves.

I need to eat, I need to put food on the table. Pretty much everything else is gravy, especially now that spring has left me without the need for central heating (I use a blanket at night). The path that I have chosen is rocky at best, and downright frustrating most of the time. And the likelihood of success is minute. But the hope of something better is an emotion I cling onto. To give up now would cause a fundamental change in the very being I call 'myself'. I am holding onto the last vestiges of childhood and I know that eventually I must join the masses. But there must be something beyond that rock I am clinging onto...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

P**s Off Taxman!

Taxes, taxes, taxes - this greedy f**king country and its obsession with taxes disguised as a need for paperwork. WHat f**king use am I to them, if I have to pay any taxes, I probably cost more in coming after me than in what I owe. The company returns for Babarouge have to be sent off by the end of the month and I have not traded in anything over the past year. So why the f**k do I have to fill out a form that telling this. What a bloody waste of my time. So they can tick a few boxes and jerk off happily that I am a sodding looser in the world of business. I just do not get this exercise in futility. I do not like paperwork, I despise taxes and yet this year, I already have to put myself out twice in order to innovate. If I was just happy to remain in the PAYE system, then all I would have to do is grin happily while the government sucks out a third of my wages to prop up sh**ty companies. These f**king pigs do not get hunted down for not returning cash into the system. No, it is the small business, the ones who are at the edge of the economy that are hounded by the pack wolves of the UK until they have been beaten into paperwork submission!

So there you have it. If you want to try and be original, innovative, and risky, do not stick around in the UK. You will be spending more of your time buried under a mountain of paperwork and bo**ocks in order to attempt to earn anything. It is probably better to be a f**king thief. Well, it has worked for those w**kers!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Rehearsals

In yesterday's vlog, you saw what I hope was an entertaining video that looked at the rehearsal for Jay and Kay Save the World. However, there is a lot to the rehearsal process. You can debate whether it is a part of production or pre-production, but it is a vital part f the film making process.

Normally, I do not rehearse. Which, to be honest is bloody hard on the actors. At the best of times I am imbecilic enough in my own directing to hope that the actors can read my mind. And so shooting days can become quite a trying time, especially with the looming 'time's up' that is always lurking in the background.

Now there are advantages to not rehearsing. Spontaneity being one of them. But generally, having a rehearsal is good practice, if only to iron out the difficulties that will occur in the production.

I have had two rehearsals this week. The first was a rehearsal with just Ari and Kuldip.



A tricky video to edit, as I do not want to give away too much of the plotline. However, I think it gives a comical look into what happened. In fact, I was pretty pleased with the rehearsal, considering it has been six months since the last webisode shoot, and two and a half years since the first incarnation of CWP! One thing I have to say about both Ari and Kuldip, they know their characters very well and that makes it a lot smoother during the shoot.

But yesterday was the second rehearsal. And the first time I have ever done this - a crew rehearsal. Now that meant dragging Dean in for a bit of logistical hassle. There are a few points in the script that needed ironing out. And of course, if the cast get a rehearsal, why not go through with the crew. Now along with ironing out logistics (flour, flags and fools), I also made use of a lot of Duct Tape.

There are three tools a film maker needs. A Camera, a computer and a supply of Duct Tape. Any one of those components missing, and the production comes to a halt.

The crew rehearsal, while taking a long time, did iron out a lot of the hassles to expect on the day. This is not going to be an easy shoot, in fact there are a lot more logistical issues here than on anything I have done previously (or maybe I have just realised them). I am glad that I have done a rehearsal with both the cast and the crew. For now that gives me a secure base from which to go to next week's 'Dress Rehearsal'. A more formal matter altogether...

Monday, 9 March 2009

Right now...

This is going to be a busy month. I normally flap about like some headless chicken, but this is going to be a lot worse than normal. Filming and all that malarky. Plus, as it is a the first Caution Wet Paint short film (that is not a webisode) since 2006, I am all the more nervous. Officially, it is also the first true sequel that I have shot...

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Five minutes...

I have set myself the target of writing a blog in five minutes. So what shall I talk about? Something Londonesque and exciting such as a new circle line? Or should I talk about something newsworthy such as the blatant assassination in a part of Southern Africa or yet another government bailout? (we are f**ked as a country) Should I talk about my projects and what I am upto? Or should I look towards the heavens for inspiration?

Sometimes it is very easy to write a blog in five minutes, when I am inspired to do so, when life is grand and full of surprises. Sometimes I am not, when life is dull and filled with travesties, when I have blatantly been loosing sleep due to shifts. On some days, posts appear out of the blue, on some days they are inspired by by what I veiw online and on some days are intricately planed out with meticulous detail.

I'm sorry, but our five minutes are up...

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Weird...

'Viewers' of this site know that I love East Asian cinema.

You have the wirework of Hong Kong, the funkiness of Japan, Taiwan's endless soul searching, Thai flair and Korea's pure awesomeness!

Korea holds an interesting statistic (for now). It is one of three countries in the world where its domestic films make more money than foreign ones. The other two are the USA and India. This is partly due to the quota system but also due to the fact that Korea mixes its relaxed censorship laws with its own past and a strong nationalistic sense of self. And one main thing. Korean films are flipping amazing. For a tiny country of only 40 million people, Korean cinema packs a punch way above its weight that puts other countries of a similar size to shame and of course, completely overshadows China (outside of Hong Kong).

Well, I watched The Good, The Bad and The Weird last night (this week I have already seen three films at the pictures) and yeah, it's f**king amazing. I have been trailing this film for sometime, it having made a spalsh on the festival circuit last year. And yeah, just wow. Like anything from Korea, simply amazing. This film has it all, action, guns, more action, comedy, a steam train, horses, the Japanese army, Chinese raiders, a liberation struggle, opium, more action, a treasure map, a brothel, some more guns, a thin plot and more action. No forced romances, no moments of self pity, this is pure adrenalin from the word go! This is the first time I have ever seen a Korean Western (is this Korea's first western?) and it is bloody amazing! Plus the music just suits the film great.

Go on, watch the trailer:



And thanks to the power of the internet, you can watch the coolest part of the film here (until the lawyers come along). Or do yourself a favour and watch it at the cinema NOW!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Lethal Weapon...

I'm getting too old for this s**t...

And so started the greatest 'buddy-buddy' partnership in film history when Mel Gibson's 'Riggs' tussled with Danny Glover's 'Murtaugh'. And the whole cinema leaped into applause. Whooping and cheering was shouted throughout the film as one luners, tear jerkers and pure comedy leapt from the screen onto an audience that was well up for a night of fun!

It is not often you get an Indian style crowd in a London cinema. But that was exactly what happened on Monday night as a well patroned Prince Charles Cinema screened a Double Bill of Lethal Weapon and Die Hard in one night. I stayed for the 'Lethal' and yeah, like the rest of the crowd, I cracked up at the early mobile phones, blatant politics and the one liners of the series. Most of that audience would have either been too young to legally see that film when it first came out or maybe were not even born. But thanks to TV and an early finish from work, the audience was up for a night of high octane, pure eighties fun.

And fun it was. I wanted to experience the film on the big screen ad for me, this was the moment I have been looking forward to a month. It is hard to forget just how revolutionary Lethal Weapon was. Blowing up the middle of urban areas and having chilled out talk at the same time. It was an unsophisticated Bond, but packed with laughs, humanity and bare torture. Sadistic yet supple, this was a film that has been enjoyed for over twenty years and will be continued to be enjoyed for many years to come...

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Crossings of the River Thames number 21: Westminster Bridge



Vlog on the Bridge!

So far on this journey through London, I have crossed the Thames at the following places, by foot:

Hampton Ferry
Hampton Court Bridge
Kingston Bridge
Teddington Lock
Ham Ferry
Richmond Bridge
Twickenham Bridge
Richmond Lock
Kew Bridge
Chiswick Bridge
Barnes Railway Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge
Putney Bridge
Fulham Railway Bridge
Wandsworth Bridge
Battersea Bridge
Albert Bridge
Chelsea Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge
Lambeth Bridge

And still to come are the following crossings:

Hungerford Bridge
Waterloo Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge
Millennium Bridge
Southwark Bridge
London Bridge
Tower Bridge
Rotherhithe Tunnel
Canary Wharf-Rotherhithe Ferry
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Woolwich Ferry
Woolwich Foot Tunnel

But today comes number 21 Westminster Bridge. And before we get to the bridge itself, here are the money shots:



And one more...



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Up until the 18th Century there were two crossing points over the Thames in the area we know as Greater London. The grand London Bridge and the not so grand and rickety Kingston Bridge. Then in 1726, Putney Bridge was constructed and the River Thames started gaining crossings like a cabbage patch in spring. Westminster Bridge came a few years later and the River Thames became less of a barrier to North Londoners wanting to escape 'down south'. Interestingly enough, Westminster Bridge also marks the beginning of the road to Brighton. Head down south from this bridge and eventually you will end up at the seaside!



The history not only of this bridge is impressive, but also the history of its surroundings is what catches the eye. After all, this is the seat of filth, I'm sorry, power, as well as being an ecclesiastical setting and why not add in the politics of the locals to spice things up. Oh yes, if you want to see the history of Britain, then it can be pretty much summed up in this bridge. Let us start with the Queen herself...



Yes, it was this lady who chased out the Romans, burnt the original Londinium and then herself got captured by those legions who butchered her. Charming, but she is immortalised on this bridge due to her deeds! Well, she was the original Essex Girl...

And then we head onto a little bit of poetry...



Now, out of all the bridges I have crossed, this is the only one with a poem enameled onto the railings. One may hope that before suicide, one may gain some inspiration...

Before finally taking in one of the pinnacles of London's health service...



Maybe it is the cynic in me, but when the hospital closures of the 90's were taking place, the MP's kept the hospital open that they were nearest too...

On a logistical scale, Westminster is a grand, wide boulevard, a couple of bus lanes, cycle lanes and pavements that house characters from a Dickensian tale. Food vendors, card sharks and mime artists. All with one eye on the police and the other on the pickpockets that roam freely across the river at this point. It was also recently refurbished, giving itself a little facelift and keeping itself green in order to distinguish it from its red cousin further west as well as showing the common touch.



This is of course no ordinary bridge, hence why this blog post is a hell of a lot longer than the normal ramblings of the crossings over the river. This is high architecture surrounded by even higher history. Intrigues and strife are what surrounds this well touristed attraction. As a Londoner, I sometimes do not appreciate London enough, but coming here to this crossing, to actually see it through the eyes of a tourist...yes, it can see like a theme park, but it is a damn pretty one.



With seven arches spaning the Thames, no other bridge conflicts with the river as much as Westminster. Life is abound in the river at this point and while upstream from here, the Thames only belonged to the barges, from here on in, there is a lot more traffic on the waters below as well as on the tarmac above...



I drive far too often over this bridge, and usually do not appreciate it for what it is worth. However, Westminster marks one of the few times that I have actually witnessed a dawn in London. At one point in my short life, I lived round the corner in Lambeth. And one day, I just felt like seeing the dawn. So my flatmate and I hiked up to Westminster Bridge and we sat down on the railings and watched the sun rise up before turning home and getting some sleep. There are moments which cannot be bought, spontaneous that may seem crazy at the time, but will stick in the mind far longer than the hip young things that I (and continue to) do. If there is a bridge that I have a fondness for, it is this one. And all for that one memory.



Getting there and Away: Nearest Tube is Westminster, or alternatively, the railhead at Waterloo is a short walk away.

Numerous buses either cross the bridge or drive up on either side including 24 hour routes 12, 24, 53, 88, 148 & 453; Day routes 3, 11, 77, 87, 159, 211, 381, 507, & C10 and Night routes N2, N3, N11, N44, N52, N87, N136, N155, N159 & N381

Ha, and although I have not included them so far, there are a lot of boats around the river at this point...



Come on, this is still London!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Philosophy of the Canteen and a little bit of me...

Last night, while at work I was chewing the cud with one of the other drivers in the canteen. Thankfully, our topic was not related to the realms of public transport, but took on the wider world and included the Harappan Civilisation, Nelson Mandela and the commonality in human culture of a Great Flood.

Who says that bus drivers are boring?

Anyhow, we were also talking abut diets and food. Fat, thin, fasting, vegetarianism, the lot. The advantages and disadvantages of everything.

For example, was the human body designed to actually eat three square meals a day? Is cancer caused by all the toxins in processed food? Are you prepared to kill your own meat? (just for the record - that is no problem for me, past or present)

Not everyone I know enjoys what I would call 'high fluted' banter. Chatting, not just about life and films, but bout matters that look deeper into the murky depths of what we collectively call humanity. Is the out of Out of Africa theory codswallop or scientific fact (I personally have been convinced by the theory), are the Americas still reeling from the clash of civilisations half a millennia ago, and how long can the human body last - 50, 100, 200 years?

Although this blog does wax lyrical about the 'joys' of film making, I also vent alot of that (along wth various cast and crew members) on the CWP blog. Sometimes film making means that I loose track of the other bits of bumpf that litter the human spectrum. However, it is good to get talking again. Talk may not change the world, but thoughts reverberate into infinity...

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Let us be honest. Unless you are actually involved in film making, it is a pretty dull industry to be in. There is so much faffing, so much shuffling about that it surprises many, including myself, when anything gets done. One of the great things about knowing people who are not connected to or trying to get connected to the film industry, is that you realise the life beyond the fridge.

I am an archaeologist by training. Now in reality, that means jack, especially as I was not a very good (or sociable) archaeologist. I mainly did it for the traveling. In hindsight, I should not have bothered wth it, or at least have turned my attention to film making sooner than I did. However, archaeology encouraged me to read like crazy and more importantly discover a whole new world out there. Now, whether it is archaeology, biology or maths, the result is the same. Expansion of the mind. Too often, we as individuals (myself included) look to gain goals. You know, the house, the wife, the mistress, the two cars, the large house, the 1.8 children, pets, two holidays a year, a fridge full of white wine, a cellar filled with red, you know, the suburban nightmare, it is all part of the British Dream (if Americans have one, so can we - shame it's a bit lame). However, no matter how much we surround ourselves in things, we forget that the world is far more interesting, nay, fascinating by its inhabitants. The history and culture of this planet is rich in the extreme. Although our conversation may have seemed long (we both had a long break), time seemed to fly, and far too quickly I was back on the road transporting the great and good of South London to and from bars, home or work.

One thing we touched upon last night was also the death of my father (for the record that happened when I was 16). Now, it was via a long winded way that we touched upon the subject and we did not go into it in any depth, but it also made me think of the intervening years since that. It is interesting to note that I do not lead a conventional life. I mean, I am the last person who is chasing the British Dream...but while I have been going through a lot of self doubt about what I am doing and how I am pursuing it, I also thought about the life I have lead since then.

To this day, the death of my father remains the most important event in my life. It is the single event that has shaped my life and for me there is a clear dividing line of my life when my dad was alive and everything since then. Really, it is akin to a fault line across my memories and a lot of what I do today stems from that event. How I lead my life, what I get upto and my general lack of care for the world. That pretty much is a recoil from that day.

Well, this post is long enough. And, looking back on it, quite a random chunk of my thoughts. It is not often that I open myself upto public viewing. I am notoriously closed up about my thoughts and feelings. Much of what I portray to the world is bravado, a flourish, a whim. And that does reflect an aspect of me which is very true. But there is also a lot more to my what I do than what meets the eye. Caution Wet Paint is not just milk bottles and fun, there is a little bit more to it. For those that read these random words, you may have seen a little bit deeper into the murky pool of my mind...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Choose your crew carefully...

As a film maker, it is important to have a great crew beside you when sooting your projects.

Hence the reason why I am extremely fortunate to be working alongside some very talented people on CWP.

Check them out on the CWP Blog for far more entertaining posts than what I can produce.

Oh and definitely check out Debra's second post - a great make up lady whom I have worked with for five years. And I absoulutely love her posts - flattery works wth this director!