Saturday, 31 July 2010

Crossings of the River Thames 32: The Woolwich Free Ferry

I am very wary of landmarks. Why? Because one day, you might actually reach them...



Charles Michel Duke


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Woolwich is blessed with two crossings. The Woolwich Ferry and the Woolwich Foot Tunnel (three if you want to include the Docklands Light Railway, which transports you faster than either of the other two under the River).



While it would have been lovely to have ended this series on the landmark Ferry, the actual fact is that the Foot Tunnel is just a few yards downstream and so the Woolwich Free Ferry is now the crossing for this month, and also, the penultimate River Crossing on this long series down London's great waterway. Since 2007, I have reported from the riverside, taking in a London Crossing point and seeing a little bit more of London. Exploring the Capital, both for this blog and most importantly for myself.

But this fine journey is coming to an end, and so I take you to one of London's most famous landmarks. The Woolwich Free Ferry.

Now the ferries that I have so far been on in London (and they are few and far between) are no bigger than this:



They also cost money to board.

The Woolwich Ferry is different. It is HUGE! Come on it carries juggernauts across the river. And the Woolwich Ferry looks something like this:



Plus, and most importantly, it is free. The only free ferry crossing on the River Thames, and it is free for both pedestrians and vehicles. This is quite important if you are driving, as this is the final road crossing in London. That is it. There is nothing, until you head out towards Dartford, which is beyond the London borders. Not only that, it is pretty easy for a lorry or a bus to get on board (trust me on this). You try squeezing a large load into the notorious Blackwall Tunnel...

Anyway, let us go to the Ferry itself. This grand crossing has one thing in common with a cousin far to the west. This is where the South Circular meets the river. The South Circular is a crap road, but out of the two Inner Ringway Roads of London, it is the South Circular, not its more famous cousin to the north that actually touches the River. Once at Kew Bridge in the West of London and here, at the Wolwich Free Ferry.



And one more thing, right up to the pier itself, the route is patrolled by TfL itself. The Woolwich Ferry might not run 24 hours a day, but it is definitely a lynchpin in the transport network of this part of London. Oh yes, the queues are long if you need to drive over the Thames at this point. Why oh why, was the East London Crossing cancelled!


(Queues for the ferry - normality for Woolwich).

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Many cities of the world have ferries that connect their waterways. In this country, the Mersey Ferry of Liverpool is possibly the most famous of the lot, being immortalised in song.

Meanwhile, across the world, the ferry can be a tourist attraction in itself. The Staten Island Ferry is New York's greatest tour ride, taking in the views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as well as transporting you from one borough to another for free! Hong Kong has the Star Ferry, a sight that is spectacular day or night as you cross the harbour between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

In London, the Woolwich Ferry has not reached these lofty heights. The ferry links the two not so glamorous suburbs of Silvertown in the north with Woolwich in the south. They are a part of London far away from the centre of town. Not a part of London tainted by glamour. This is working London, the real London, the place where ordinary people like me actually live. But do not think that there are no views from the ferry. Being at the Eastern End of London, you get to see the panorama of the city. Canary Wharf, the Dome and the Woolwich Barrier are some of the sights that can be seen, even on a cloudy day, from the decks of the ferry itself.



While looking to the east, the vast estuary of the Thames awaits. Inviting you to the North Sea and the remaining suburbs of London...



And what a world to step into. As you cross the threshold, from the pier onto the ferry, you come into a world from the 1960's itself. A time, when to be frank, these waterways were far busier. Workers would have commuted daily across the river, to work on the dockyards and wharves that were once bustling at this point of the Thames. The Ferry was built to cope with that. Below decks, is a huge area for passengers to sit in relative comfort for the few minutes that it takes to cross the river. Three ferries are in operation today, two at any one time cross the Thames while the third sits as a spare. Named after politicians, that reflect London's political ties with the establishment of workers' rights, the ferry is a symbol of political will in itself. At a time when the rather posh parts of West London were getting their bridges made toll free, why not the ferry in the poor parts of East London? And so, even today, the Woolwich Ferry remains toll free. And, to be honest, an entertaining way to cross the river.



And ever since the establishment of the modern ferry service in the 19th century (with references to a ferry at Woolwich as far back as the 14th century), there have been plans to either supplement it or replace the service in itself. This showreel is pure gold in not only showing the possibilities of replacement, but also the traffic jams that have long plagued this river crossing. Next came the idea of a huge motorway, to the east of Woolwich town centre, but that went tits up. Finally came the Thames Gateway Bridge, but that also was chucked out. And so despite the obvious short comings, the Wooliwch Ferry survives, providing locals and not-so-locals a chance to cross the River Thames, by car, by bike, by lorry or by foot. The only other supplements to the Ferry are the Docklands Light Railway and the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, but that crossing, is another tale for later on...



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Getting there and away:

Woolwich town centre, on the South Bank is served by a plethora of bus services which include the 51, 53 (24 hour), 54, 96, 99, 122, 161, 177, 178, 180, 244, 291, 380, 386, 422, 469, 472 (24 hour) and night bus N1. They either stop by the pier or in the town which is a short walk away from the riverside. The nearest station is Woolwich Arsenal (National Rail/DLR).

On the north bank in Silvertown, routes 473 and 474 (24 hour) serves the ferry pier. King George V (DLR) is a few minutes walk from the ferry terminal, and there is a handy pointer if coming from this station to direct you to the boats:

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (3)

My baby is officially mine!



Now the DVLA has me on their radar, every speeding ticket, every jumped red light and every illegal maneuver that I make in the name of progression can be traced back to me!

I feel so responsible...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Popcorn Tales

I was at the movies yesterday...

A good film, enjoyed it thoroughly, and the hype justified the movie.

But anyway, my friend suggested sweet and salty popcorn.

Wait a minute.

We in the UK (Like many movie things) do not do cinema snacks properly.

Go to the USA. They have hot popcorn, with lashings of butter. Chunky and cheesy nachos. Big, chunky hot dogs.

Or go to India. A diabetic's fantasy, with sweets and nibbles to fulfill any man's desire.

---

Back in the UK we have snacks that can cost more than the cinema ticket. And those snacks are awful. Dry and stale popcorn. Packet sweets that have no bearing on childhood memories. And awful post mix soft drinks. The whole thing makes you sick.

But the film was good...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Irfan 'Post' 7

Pictures speak louder than words:



Plus tomorrow I am going to dub Safirah (who plays Saira) and I am behind on the edit, so this is very much a short post! Essentially, the last seven minutes of the film is finished cut wise, and onto the rest!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

UK Film Council - RIP?

(I rarely do TWO blog posts in a day, but as a film director, this seemed appropriate)

The UK Film Council is no more.

Now, on one hand, I, as a struggling film director should be worried. As a lover of films, I should also pause to think. But on the other hand, I have to ask, is it really a bad thing? After all, in the ten years of their existence, has there been any classic films produced by the UK? Something that you will look back on and think, WOW?

The reaction in the media has been predictable. Almost political. Here is an interesting look at the Film Council's work over the past few years, something that is at odds with the seemingly rosy picture painted by the organisation.

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But what do I think?

Good question.

Firstly, my initial reaction was and?

You see, for the small time film maker such as myself, the UK Film Council was an inaccessible place which promised cash and distribution help, but was a labyrinth to navigate. In fact the only time I managed to access the Film Council's help, was while I went to the Cannes Short Film Market. I had to bark at the front desk to remind them that I am British, I am in Cannes and I want the help of the UK Film Council, to which my taxes pay for. Then I got to meet up with a couple of execs and advisers, who gave me some pointers, but nothing else. Like now, I was just small fry.

But in the UK, I have never received any help from the UK Film Council.

And now it is gone.

On one hand, a funding pot for films has been removed, but realistically, was I ever going to access those funds for myself - that was always going to be questionable.

Now you can see why my first reaction was so.

It was interesting, as a film maker to see ordinary people's comments at the end of news articles relating to the demise of the film council. But the most telling one came from the Gaurdian's website, where the user Vraak posted this:

Gritty' gets 12 mentions out of 50 odd posts now. It must be the thing.

"And America still manages to produce interesting, non-commercial cinema."

Ahh - but are they gritty? And does it rain an awful lot? Are they about unemployed miners or millworkers?

I find this constant diet of a lot of UK produced 'twee', where everyone is loaded, or 'grit' a bit bleak and tough to bear. Can't we have more joyful, uplifting films for a change? People want to escape from time to time, not to have reality rammed down out throats.


Vraak has a point. Films are there to entertain. We film makers have to be entertainers. Have the last ten years of British film making been entertaining?

---

Anyway, I am out of here. Just some words to reflect on. And while, I rarely engage in dancing over someone's grave, the fact is, as a tax payer, sod the lot of them. They've done nothing for me, so don't expect me to shed a tear. For films in general - I'm sure they will survive as they always do...

London Diary (28)

The top deck of a bus.

Looking down on the city. He looked, saddened.

He wanted to cry, but boys don't cry. That was what he was told by his mum. He was six at the time and fell over as he was walking back from school. There was blood everywhere and he could not help but cry then. But his mother picked him up and dusted him down. Told him everything was okay, and it was nothing to cry about.

'Boys aren't meant to cry, silly,' she said to him.

And all of a sudden, he stopped crying. He did not want to look foolish. His younger sister was in the pushchair asleep through all the commotion. His older sister was still at her school. It was the big school, in a different part of London. Unlike him, she had to take the bus to school, to the 'big school'.

But back on that bus, he looked on. Upset was an understatement. It was many years later. This time he had just finished 'big school'. His exams were over and he had the summer ahead of him. But he still wanted to cry. It had just rained and now the sun was shining, the temperature was rising and sitting in the stifling heat of the bus, he was uncomfortable. The people around him, the claustrophobia or the seat he was squashed into.

It had been less than a year since the funeral. Some of his friends had come from his school. But things had changed after that. People avoided him in the corridor, or pointed at him and whispered as he walked along. But now that summer was here, he had left that school behind. He was going to see some friends, but he phoned them and told him he couldn't make it He just didn't feel like it. He wanted to do something else, anything else, but most of all he wanted to be alone. On the top deck of that bus. And more than anything, he wanted to cry. But he remembered that boys don't cry...

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (2)

My baby, in all its glory!



Getting on a bike in the UK is not that hard, but also needs a little bit of planing. In terms of cash, it is not as expensive as a car (relative to earnings) and the running costs are very low.

First of all, I got to get road legal. That means a CBT. Tricky, but thank goodness it exists. Then finding a bike, getting it insured, making sure it is taxed and MOT'd before finally, riding the roads. A helmet is essential (as well as legal) as well as peripherals such as gloves and jackets.

All in all, you can get kitted out with a second hand bike for less than £1,000 (for me, it was a lot less). If you want to go brand new, it will cost you £2,000. This is a manual bike. Remember, if choosing a scooter, it is a lot cheaper (and easier to ride), but I wanted a proper 125 as eventually, when I go for the test, I want to be able to ride any motorbike.

So, watch this space, for my latest adventures on two wheels!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (1)

And this is the reason why I have been working like a donkey these past couple of months:



Fully insured, taxed, and ready to go, this is my mid-life crisis.

To be blunt, this is more fun than any video game...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

I have a little surprise for you...

I have been working quite hard for a while, but there is a reason for it.

I am so excited by it all!

Like a little kid!

I like toys, and this is quite a nice one to play with!

Will be reavealing all tomorrow!

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Pitch

The Pitch. The Director's version of the dreaded audition. Oh yes, the film world is filled with hoops to jump through, and even El Director has to do a lot of jumping to get through them

Let me be blunt, pitching is not fun, but it is part of the reality of film making. And as I had never pitched before, it was a good opportunity to get this kind of thing out of my system.

Yes, it was scary, but it was a fun event, and I got to learn a lot about pitching. What made a good pitch what didn't and a hell of a lot of lessons to take home. Until the next time...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Irfan 'Post' 6



A quickie this week. Got the voice of Brenda dubbed (playd by Marie Claire) and so half-way through the voice over process.

Next week, will report more on the editing itself. Toodles!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

London Diary (27)

She let her face receive the first kick. Sometimes it was easier to go down to ground rather than resist. Depending on his mood. If he was tired then he would leave it at one smack. However if he was tanked up, then the beating would go on for a lot longer.

She went to ground. And received another kick in the ribs. It looked like he had the energy to go all night long.

The funny thing about receiving a beating was that it was not the immediate pain. In fact she felt nothing as she received blow after blow, covering her head, trying to protect her face. But this man didn't care, he kept on at it, as if she was nothing more than a sack of potatoes.

And then the blows suddenly stopped. She waited, daring not to breathe. Ironically she could here him panting heavily from the physical exertion he put into beating her.

Yeah, the funny thing about the beating was not the immediate pain. Her adrenaline kicked in, and she knew that what was happening to her would not hurt immediately. It was what was going to come afterwards. When she finally got home. When she would see her bruised body and bloodied face in the mirror. As always it would take a long time for the wounds to heal, if they would ever heal. And after an hour or too, the pain would begin. A dull throbbing that would last for days.

He was cunning, he never put in enough force to break any bones, as that would mean a trip to the hospital and come-back for him. But he would hurt her enough that she was out of action for a few days, unable to earn money and eventually in his debts as he lined her up with a score or two.

She slowly crawled away and received another kick to stomach. She went to ground again. It was obvious that he wanted her to listen to him. Some wise words of his that was supposed to make her think again.

'You're too sick now. Don't come back. I don't want you scaring off the punters!'

She hated that cross-dressing freak, but there was nothing she could do. She was sick. And he was right. She was no longer welcome.

Slowly she crawled away, into the alleyway. She could feel his eyes on her as she managed to get away from that place. She turned the corner and waited. A puddle was on the ground. She sniffed it, it smelt clean. The rain had only stopped a few minutes ago. She washed her face in the muddy water and put a few drops to her now cracked lips.

She got to her feet. It was going to be a long journey home. And she did not feel like taking the bus. All those staring faces, but averting eyes was not something she could put up with. But as the bus pulled in, she staggered on board, straight past the driver without paying and slumped on the seat.

The bus pulled off. Good, this driver just wanted to get home. He didn't care about her or her bus fare. She squinted out of the window, the interior lights of the bus hurting her eyes and looked at the city pass by. Puddles and people littered the streets. All of those outside nursing their own wounds...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Patterns in the Sand (3)

Life.

Oh yeah, that old chestnut.

Get up. Scrub face, brush teeth. Drink cup of water, nibble on some fruit. Toilet. Tea. Breakfast. Listen to radio, head to work. Commute. Get to work, laugh and giggle with colleagues while despising the life you lead and wondering how you got there.

Lunch. Chicken salad or ham and tomato sandwich? Flush down with more tea.

Rest of the working day, try to shirk off work.

Finish. Wave goodbye to colleagues. Commute, back home.

Shower, TV, argue with partner, sex with partner (3 times a week) and bed, to sleep.

Repeat the next day. For forty odd years. Then retire and die.

---

Sounds familiar? Well, there is one life for all of us. If the above makes you happy (and it does not make me smile), then we can all change it.

For the last six weeks, I have toiled hard, but for good reason. However, there is a little more free time coming up, and I am going to take advantage of it. Stay posted for more news later in the week on how Summer 2010 is going to get 'funky'...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Patterns in the Sand (2)

This blog also has a pattern. Just like a the adverts of the telly or on billboards, I also have a pattern to these ramblings. On Sunday, like today, I am usually too morose to do anything. A lack of sleep usually kills me and my blog posts. Next comes Monday, a new week and fresh as a bird. Tuesday is my London Diary series. Wednesday is news about filming. After all, I am 'el director'. Thursday is usually a randomly good day, but it can occasionally contain my Crossing of the Thames a journey that is now rapidly coming to an end. Friday can be a rush, just because I try to pack in a lot that day while Saturdays is me just being humorous. Like I was yesterday...

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Patterns in the Sand (1) - Advertising

It is always the same. Come New Year's we have the Post-Xmas guilt trips about dieting and giving up cigarettes kicks in while the government sponsors courses on 'drink awareness'.

Next is Valentine's day. Spend like crazy, or your loved one will hate you. Fact. There will be a romantic movie in the cinema which you are obliged to see even though it is filled with vomit.

Of course Easter follows. Ah yes, book your holiday in the sunshine. That most important event of the year. Two weeks where you can booze like crazy while you lock up the kids in a play pen for the day. The joys of family life!

Oh, but now summer is here. Time for you to look in shape. That means eat breakfast cereal!

Then in six weeks time comes the Christmas period! Oh yes, a quarter of a year devoted to the most 'wonderful time' of the year. We do it for the kids, is the normal excuse, but really we do it for the credit card companies.

And come January, we need to lose a bit of weight from the Christmas period...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Fruity!



It's summer, and that means one thing, and one thing only - Fruits!

Here in the UK, we do not really grow much. But come summer, we are blessed with all the berries that you can gorge. Plus due to the fact that we have half a dozen airports serving London, fresh fruit from around the world is air freighted into the country all the time and sold in such delightful places, such as Tooting.

So excuse me if I get distracted, but I feel like something sweet and juicy this morning...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mangoes and Other Magic

Last night was not a good night.

Oh hell, whenever is a rainy night in London good for the soul?

But last night was particularly bad.

My guts turned inside out. I was fatigued. To the limit.

Why oh why? What mistakes have led me to this?

No, this is not a diary entry but you can see how much of those entries are close to reality.

Yeah, I do not do sick very well. Even if I am not really that ill. You see, that is the problem with me. I am normally so active that when something does happen to me, I go down like a brick.

(Someone is spying on me as I type...)

Anyway, I am off to get some mangoes - as if that will help my guts! Oh, the pain...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Irfan 'Post' 5



And the next dub, on Monday will be of Brenda, played by Marie Claire.

Shockingly, this is not a bad edit so far. If I am good (and I rarely am), I may well finish the edit before I head off to Budapest in September. But I got to be good ;)

After that will come the fun of clean up. My crucifix burns...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

London Diary (26)

He should have never answered the phone to her, but he did. And that was that. They met, the chatted. She told him about her problems, her worries, her angst. While he sat there and listened. Listened to the fact that she had been hard done, life was difficult. The struggles that she went through yesterday. And he sat, listening, thinking, 'who give a shit?'

But he smiled, throughout that meeting. Nodding his head, empathising. Understanding. And watching the clock. Itching to get out of there. It was quite clear that there was no hope of rekindling this relationship. They had split up, for whatever reason, but it was clear that it was a final split. He wanted to see her again, the longing, the passion, the memories of what had been was still alive in his mind. But on meeting her, he did not see that vivacious young thing. He knew this beforehand, before the meeting, but the matters of the heart, the mind cannot dictate.

And it was the same today. His heart had ruled his mind. But three o'clock came, and he made his excuses to leave. It was over.

They parted, a gentle kiss on the cheeks, and that was that. He left the shop, erased her number from his phone and hopped onto the bus. Swiping his oyster card, he was about to go onto the top deck, but his ears caught a lively debate on the lower deck. So he decided to sit down as he saw an old Greybeard and a feisty young Church Goer arguing over love.

'I married twice and divorced once. They were virgins, both times! Yes, I had two virgins!'

The Church Goer's mouth dropped. She had just come from mass, as she was still in her Sunday best.

'I cannot believe you are telling me this, in front of my mother?'
'This is life! It cannot be helped, you must know this now! A man can never satisfy a woman!'

The Greybeard's long suffering wife was quietly sitting next to him, while the Greybeard, a little worse for the drink, continued.

'Anyway, I must find myself a new wife. I need to have another wife!'
'What, you are telling me that you cannot satisfy one woman, and yet you want another. And what about this woman sitting next to you? Are you telling me that she is happy with this?'
'She will do as I say!'
'She is not a happy woman. Look at her! She is not happy with this!'
'She will understand. She must!'
'Take it from me, no woman wants to share her husband!'

He looked out of the window, momentarily distracted by two junkies at the traffic lights. She had just kicked him in the nuts. He was keeled over on the pavement. She then rubbed his forehead and kissed him. Before kicking him, again.

'Have you asked your wife?'

The Church Goer's demand brought him back to the reality of what was happening on the bus.

The Greybeard looked lovingly at his wife.

'How could I marry someone else? She is my everything!'
'I hope you were only joking! Because your wife would be very unhappy if you got a second wife!'

The Greybeard chuckled and took another swig of whiskey.

It was time for him to go. He rang the bell and the bus dropped him at the next stop. No matter where you're from, or what you do, people, always need love. And that included him. The matters of the heart, cannot be dictated by the mind...

Monday, 12 July 2010

Greasy pasties and other foibles

I am shattered.

Greasy pasties and instant coffee kept me awake though the bleary dawn. But my body is spent. Not enough sleep, too many hours awake, but even those waking hours just merge into senselessness.

Since May, I have been working like a donkey. Actually, to be honest, since I came back from India last year I have been working like a donkey.

Cash has been slipping through my hands at an astonishing rate. I have been packing money away, but over the past three months, nothing has been saved. Filming, cars and now a motorcycle is going to take or has taken everything out of my hands.

But then again, I suppose this is what happens if you want but do not want debt.

So while the days and nights slip into one endless stream of adventures in South London, it becomes a bit shocking when I cannot recall exactly when events took place. For instance, it is shocking for me to think that it has been less than a month since I wrappped up filming on my short film Irfan. Since then I have had success and dismay from my beloved Caution Wet Paint, but thankfully, I am at last off to a festival in September.

But yes, as the caffeine from 5am this morning begins to wear off, I will try to snatch a few hours sleep, before the process begins again later on this evening.

That pasty was rough by the way, but it kept me alive...

Sunday, 11 July 2010

What the hell...

...did I write yesterday? Utterly incoherent shite!

But I is very knackered. As will be revealed later this week!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Trek Season Finale - DS9 Season 2 - The Jem'Hadar

Ah, what the hell - Let me do another Star Trek post!

--

Season finales of Trek shows are always important events. They set the tone for the next series, sum up the best bits of the preceding episodes.

Often they can be cliff hangers. A good way to keep the audience hooked. They are filled with special effects and twists and turns. But for me, one of the best season finales came at the end of Deep Space Nine's second season.

Let me get this straight, most of DS9 before Season 3 was pretty unwatchable. There were gems, but you could safely skip through a lot of the bumpf that was broadcast. A lot of crossovers and campiness meant that it was awful.

There were gems in the first two seasons of this Trek incarnation that showed promise. Battle Lines, the magnificent Duet, In the Hands of the Prophet. The beginning of Season 2 was captivating along wih the return to the mirror universe.

But let me get back to Season 2's finale. For me, this is when you could say that Deep Space Nine really kicked off. It found the confidence to stand up on its own and to eventually kick ass. Let us look at the subtext here, this was when the Enterprise (okay, a clone of one, but still) was destroyed. Hello! One obvious message - Kirk or Picard would have been flattened but not The Sisko!

And this was the episode where The Dominion was really introduced. The remaining five seaaons were influenced by the events in this episode, and without it, we would not have had the whole Dominion War nor the host of characters and stories that accompanied it.



It may be overlooked in terms of greatness, but the influence of this season finale reaches far beyond the stars...

Friday, 9 July 2010

Savages

We humans are savage. But so is life itself. Let us be honest, you have all seen those wildlife programes. Forget about the lions and wilderbeasts, simple plants will kill too!

The moral on planet Earth is that if you don't eat it, then it will eat you.

So when a cuddly toy-like animal looks at you with mournful eyes, just remember, it too has a bigger brother waiting round the corner waiting to snap you up.

I'm hungry, what's cooking?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

7/7 - Five Years on

It is weird to think that five years ago London was paralysed as the tube and a bus was blown up. The memories of that day are fresh in my mind, and the subsequent events are also surprisingly easy to recall that culminated in he death of De Menezes.

To be blunt it was an almighty F-up. And a tragedy. All of the events during that time. But still, the city moved on, and despite the chaos of that day, London still got on with what it does best. Making money.

Ten years will pass, then twenty, and the memories of this event will fade into a distant memory. There will probably be other terror attacks that will strike the city. London is a target, and a damn good one if you want publicity. But we will get on with it, we will survive and like everything else in life, we will adapt...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Irfan 'Post' 4



Has been a very busy week. As always, but managed to get Cristian's dulcet tones recorded ready for dubbing as his character - Vasile. Next will be Marie Claire (who plays Brenda), and hopefully Safirah (who plays Saira) after that. It gives me a weird way of editing. Instead of starting at my favourite scene and working around that, I am editing according to sound needs, and unusually, the dialogue bits. But the dubs should all be finished by July and so onto the edit proper to finish (what I hope) to be before scheduled. And now that I am off to East Europe for the film festival, I really want to finish the initial editing as quickly as possible!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

London Diary (25)

The baby was crying. Again. She looked at her child, her daughter, the one she had carried for nine months. All that time, she had felt it grow inside of her, had nurtured and cared for her, felt emotions that gave her a new insight into her own life. But all that was in the past. Her daughter was crying. And all that she wanted to do was to blot out that noise, by any means possible.

--

It was all so different. He was around, still. And for a while, she was happy. Who was she kidding, it was the greatest time of her life. They cared for each other worked together to build a better future. They, loved each other. As her body grew bigger, with the new life inside of her, for the first time, there was something a lot more in this world than choosing Coke or Pepsi for lunch. Something which could not be bought or sold, more than the instant gratifications that she had been used to. This was slow, consuming, yet, a miracle. in itself. A slow revelation, that everything else in life did not matter. There was something far more important than that dress, this pop star or even her own hopes and desires.

--

The crying would not stop. Although her baby was in another room, the sound came through the walls. Piercing the air, dulled by the plasterboard between them, but still reverberating in her ears. Her daughter, distressed, wailing, weeping. And there was nothing she could do to stop it.

--

The birth had been difficult. But she had survived, and so had her daughter. Nothing else meant more to her than this small, tiny thing that looked up at her. At them. Her daughter depended on her for life, and she depended on him for more than life.

It was a good time, nay, a great time to be alive. She smiled at the memories, so many of them. When she first tried to feed her child some milk, when she first took her child back home. It was not much of a home. The wall paper was peeling off the wall, and there was a small patch of damp in the bathroom, but it was their place. Their home. And when her baby slept, she looked at her, wondering what she dreamt about. Her baby did not have to worry about money problems, health or even what she was doing with her life. Her baby had everything in front of her, and she wanted to give her child everything she did not have in her life. And he was there too, supporting her, supporting their child, loving them both. It was a time of great happiness.

--

She went back into the next room and took a look at her child. She checked the nappies, they were clean. She had just been fed. But still she was crying. Why? All that her child did was eat, sleep, shit and cry! Just do something different! Anything! Talk! Tell me what it is! What is the matter!

She picked up her baby, angrily and held her against her shoulder. She whispered to her daughter, telling her it was all right, mummy was here. Soon her child quietened down. The crying had stopped. Eventually her baby went to sleep, on her shoulder. Now what to do? She was sleeping, so there was no point in putting her in a different position, in case she woke up again. So she kept her there, on her shoulder. She looked round her home. The wall paper was really bad, a lot of it had come off. The damp had spread from the bathroom and now there was mould al across the ceiling always, the smell in her place was one of sickness. But she could not open the windows, she could not afford to. Winter was raging on outside. The gas bill, already high, had to be saved. It was cheaper for her to put on her coat, then set the boiler on. But this meant no air circulated in the home as she kept the draft out by keeping those windows firmly locked.

--

They met for the last time in an subway, under the dual carriageway. They stood apart. She was next to the pram which held her baby. Their baby. He looked down, not making eye contact. He said some things, she could not recall everything in detail. Something about another girl, he needed space, the pressure of life.

It was daytime, still summer. Their baby was still very young., young enough that she needed blankets to keep her warm, despite the summer sun. But in that subway beneath the main road, there was no warmth. Just more damp that trickled from the gutters. The clicketty-clack of cars and lorries on the road above their head, punctured the conversation. She was crying, while he remained sullen. For once, the baby was quiet, asleep, unaware that her father was leaving them for good. She cried, and felt stupid, like a love-sick teenager. In a way, she was justified. They weren't that much older than twenty.

Wow, twenty. When she passed that milestone a few weeks ago, she felt ready to take on the world. But here, in the fluorescent lit subway, with a draft coming in off the main road, she felt more child-like than before. He was leaving her, alone with a baby, their baby. In a city that although they had both grown up in, was unkind to the vulnerable, the weak and the dispossessed. Her tears came freely to her, partly through distress, but also through fear. The knowledge that she alone had responsibility for their child.

A cyclist came through the alleyway. He stopped as he saw them in the way. She moved her pram aside and the cyclist passed them, on his way to wherever it was. He would have no idea why she was crying or, what she felt at that moment. Pain, fear and betrayal. All mixed in with love. For despite everything that her baby's father had told her, she still loved him. And more than anything, wanted him to return to them.

--

She woke up on the bed, her child still resting beside her. She gazed down at her baby, now asleep and at peace with herself. She got up and went to the toilet. After she finished, she washed her hands and looked at herself in the mirror. Staring at her reflection, she looked into her own eyes.

At first, she did not recognise the person staring at her. She looked like an old woman. But that was her, now a very different person from those happy times when they first moved in to this home. She wanted to cry again, for the girl that had been lost in the past year. But she couldn't. That girl had gone, and the tears of that girl no longer came freely to her. Instead, she looked around her bathroom, he damp on the ceiling, now spread to the walls. Slowly eating away at the walls of her home, and of her own life...

Monday, 5 July 2010

Grotty, really grotty

My tea tastes like slop, the biscuits are stale and my head is sore. No, I have not been drinking, but as ever, life feels unclean and tiresome. Welcome to the world of the new busy.

Ugh, when will I learn that my body can no longer take this abuse!

So I need rest and relaxation, but I cannot seem to do that successfully. I am always up and about but somehow always morose. Yesterday was the perfect example of my degenerative state. And yet, why does sleep elude me so much. It is not the getting to bed bit that is a problem, it is the getting up. I can never enjoy a lie in. My temperament will not allow it.

Sigh.

Must try harder. Or should that read, must try less? How do you achieve the pleasure of a simple lie-in, just rolling around in the bed sheets, allowing life to pass you by? I can get very envious of some people who can seemingly achieve this with such ease.

Feeling less grotty, tea consumed, but bloody tired, still.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Wicked vs Catty

I like wicked people.

Not bad people. Wicked. Someone with a sense of mischief. Like a person who likes his or her food and does not give a hoot about what is being consumed.

What I do not like is cattiness. Bitchiness. Usually because someone is forcing a diet on themselves.

A sense of humour is always attached to wicked peoople.

Bad people just brood and plot.

A sense of spontaneity exists with wickedness. No such thing comes from bad. Wicked comes from impulse, reflex. While cattiness is planned with intricate detail and executed to maximise pain.

For example, when you see an advert on the television that states, fancy a break without children (then cue film footage of coffin dodgers who want free healthcare on the NHS). That is catty. While something like kids are good with ketchup is wicked. Funny, smart and witty. Naughty, but implies a love of life.

Anyhow, enough philosophy of the human kind. Time I went out to enjoy the summer sun...

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Good News Everyone!



Jay and Kay Save the World has got into a film festival! And this is my first international one, in Hungary, at the Budapest Short Film Festival. Originally I was planning a quick trip to India this September, but that has now been superseded. And seeing that I have never visited Hungary in my life, I think now is as good a time as any to pop the cherry and head to this magnificent city to have fun, love The Paint and generally frolic around!

It has been one hell of a battle to get into the festivals this year, so I am ecstatic that we are premiering CWP in such a beautiful location. Budapest is truly one of the more magnificent parts of Europe and as I have never been to this part of the world before it give the traveler in me a great chance to explore a new part of the world...

BUSHO - from the 1st-5th September.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Words from the Wise?

Wisdom comes in all shapes and forms. I would like to think that I am a little wiser than say five years ago. Probably not, but unlike five years ago, I now realise I have a lot more to learn even though I have experienced a few things in my brief stay on Planet London.

We are all scheming beings, that is in our nature. Rambling along, trying to get the most out of life for the least effort put in (So we can spend our spare time whacking off on the internet). But for all our plots and plans, things still stay the same.

Madness takes over the heart when you catch the glimpse of someone's eye. Junkies will spit at each other on the street. And traffic will always abound throughout the city. So goes the saying, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

So, as the year passes, time to give a quick glance behind and see where the madness of life has taken me so far. I have not beaten up half the city to get a friend out of jail, I have not gone bungee jumping nor have I had an interlude which could lead to something more than just a fling. Disappointing I know, but on the plus side, the paltry earnings that I make is actually quite rosy. I have been both spending and saving like a drunkard, and why not. I deserve it...

Funny though, how cash came at the bottom of the list of 'priorities' to measure myself by. Of course money is important to live, but you never remember a great bank statement or the last time you went shoe shopping. I guess those things rarely makes anyone happy. Life seemed to matter more. The life that we lead, the life to lead and the life we are leading...

People come, people go, people remain. Usually, I am the one dong the to-ing and fro-ing, but sometimes, you realise that you will miss a few people. While there is always a hope that you may meet again, such is life in this metropolis, in this lifetime, that we rarely see each other again. Old friends fall by the wayside, enemies become entrenched, and the journey that we had no choice in beginning, still pulls us through to the ultimate destination.

Oh well, will go on and see what the world has to offer. Must also think about getting a holiday planned somewhere soon. I think you all know where that could be...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

6 months down, 6 to go...

Today's July 1st.

That means we are halfway through the year.

Remember New Year's? The parties, the resolution, the bloody snow as soon as it struck midnight.

I do. I remember the whole of that night as I was working my nuts off.

But now, we are in the height of summer.

Lovely, all is good and joyful.

Those resolutions lost in a haze of drunken stupor.

And it will be interesting to see where I am am at the end of this year...