Friday, 29 October 2010

London Diary 34

One thing I can never get over when I touch a corpse is the temperature. The skin is dry and pale, the body is stiff and cumbersome, but the overwhelming sensation is one of cold. There is no life, no breath, no feeling, and the cold touch of the body is the link between this world and the next.

It has been a couple of hours since he's died. His blood is all over the place, and any residual life has vanished from his corpse. I put the heating off in the house. The room was hot as I rifled through his belongings, trying to get something back from him. The dead do not pay back their debts, but more importantly, they do not take their Earthly wealth into the next. So I will take that wealth from them.

I did not kill him. But I have to act quick. Soon other people will come to the house and then it will be curtains for me. I find some cash. All right, I find a lot of cash. And some jewellery, some that has been left behind in the mad panic after the shooting. More importantly, I have covered the debt to my pocket, but to myself...

I touch his body, one last time. I am hot, sweating from the foraging. His, is not the first dead body I have touched, but even now, the feeling of cold shocks me. Shivers down my spine. A reminder that one day, my body will lie like this, cold and lifeless.

I scan the room for clues of my being here. Police forecsics will have a field day with my DNA cropping up everywhere, but this guy had a lot of visitors. Then I have an idea. I pick up the bag of loot, once his, now mine and head into the kitchen. At the cooker, I switch on the heating and set the timer before turning on all the gas taps. It will take half an hour, but once the boiler turns on, all evidence of my being here, along with the house and the body will be up in smoke.

One last look at the body. Thanks - for nothing you little bastard. Then I head out of the house. Slowly. No attention from peeping neighbours. Everything must look normal to the outside world.

I walk down the road, over to the bus stop. And wait. I look up at the Dot Matrix, three minutes until the next bus arrives, to take me back to my life...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Back from the 'Motherland' and other details...

Laughably known as the motherland, Sri Lanka, my seventh time to my father's country and the first time since forever that there is a semblance of peace and normality over the island. Compared to before. There are still checkpoints, army officers and over zelous security concerns, but this has been, far and away, my most enjoyable visit to the country, simply because I was able to visit the whole island at will.



Yes, that means I could visit Jaffna freely. Well, relatively freely. As a foreigner, I still needed clearance to head north of Vavuniya city, a relatively painless process, but still a process.

It was a good holiday, but far too quick. And no real time to see any sights. Everyday was spent traveling to see a member of my family, which is now in a boom phase as new babies are being born. Thankfully, the next few years should see more baptisms than funerals!

I also went to Sri Lanka to pick up my Aunt and Uncle who are spending the Xmas period in the UK with my family in London. They are now here, getting used to the cold. Of course this means that I will have to take them sightseeing, which could actually make this blog a rather interesting place to be over the next couple of months as I scour London for 'fun' things to do...

So this is the plan (ha, I love plans). Over the next few days will be blogs from Sri Lanka. Next will be blogs about the filming, then about London and a pattern may start to emerge in these writings.

Lifestyle, things will also slightly change. I have been saving up long and hard to give my Aunt and Uncle a good holiday this year. But I have done the saving, which means McJob can take a back seat while I actually live a life. So, I will return to my basic four nights a week McJob, as scheduled, one FULL day will be dedicated towards the filming (although my spare time is always spent on filming, a full day is always good for pure work). One full day will be for going out into London and one other day in the week for whatever crops up.

Oh yes, the holiday in London may have ended, but my London vacation is about to begin...

Monday, 18 October 2010

London Diary 33

We meet. Not in love. But in hate. I hate her. Everything about her makes me sick to the back teeth. Her smile, a voice, her eyes, her lust. And mine too. When we meet, it is not the human, but pure animal that takes over. I want to bite her, scratch her, hurt her. And does the same. Blood, bruises and pain is what passes through our senses on meeting. I want to tear parts of her off, defile her, make her scream out to stop, to beg for mercy. And she wants the same from me, my hate, my vitriol, my disgust. There are no thoughts of desire, but a virulent strain of nastiness that comes oozing from me.

Then we stop.

Breathe.

Lie awake next to each other.

Silent. Exhausted.

A moment to recover from ourselves and our motions.

To realise who we are.

What we are.

But not why we are.

I turn my head, I see her. She ignores me. So I ignore her, and look up at the ceiling.

I think of her. I'm not uncomfortable, nor am I filled with that hate, but instead with pity. Pity for her, for me and for us. How come we are like this when come together, knowing that everytime we meet, we are unsatisfied with each other. But still we meet, all the time, wanting more, not less. But what are we trying to create. It is not love, it is not joy.

But yet we cannot resist meeting up, seeing each other, being together. Are we trying to achieve a promise that cannot be realised by two such wretched souls. Or are we just two very lonely people, lost in the city. In despair, with the knowledge, that maybe, this is it for both of us. A life not of love, but an exitence, punctuated during the mad rush with a hatred that is now a substitute for our hearts, minds and souls...

Irfan Post and Other things

Firstly an update on Irfan's Post Production. So far so good, the sound editing is going ahead, but I am (in my estimation) a week behind, mainly due to the fact that I lost (but through genius managed to recover in full) the edit. I do not want to go through that traumatic experience again, but let me say in brief that while budget film making is crap, budget post-production makes me want to weep.

I estimate a finish on all the sound by the weekend on November 7th (a week past my personal target) but still with enough time to clear the colour correction. While there should not be as much work needed to grade the film as in my previous efforts due to the higher quality of photography, this will still take time as rendering is an all night thing. Yeah, read the link on rendering, it makes sobering news.

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Now for life itself. I am on holiday itself! Well, from this evening, I fly out to Sri Lanka for what will be a very quick waltz around this island. Ten days of fun, family and food. And sleep! Most of the time, when I am abroad I do not rest. My sister wrily commented that it is due to the mischief that I get up to. Partly ;)

But mostly, it is because I am always exploring. Whenever I go abroad, it is a new range of stimuli. I am not the kind of guy to sit on a beach and sun bathe with a pina colada in my hand - it just does not even enter my head. That is a kind of torture for me. Usually, I am getting up to, well, mischief ;)

But in Sri Lanka and Seychelles it is different. Family takes precedence, and so knowing this, I take things easy. Slowly - after all, there is plenty of time to see everyone. Plus, I have visited both these places so many times, that for me there is not that much I have left to explore on the budget that I have. So it is also a time for me to sleep. Seeing that I am coming off the back of another record braking low week for rest, I am glad of this break!

See you in a couple of weeks, I am off to see family!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Belay that Order!

Now I am the boss!

Of what, I do not yet know.

But one thing is for certain, responsibility is overhyped. Overpriced and over anything.

Being a sheep is one thing, being a boss is another but how about bypassing the whole leader/pleb thing altogether.

Wouldn't that be great - freedom? Something completely frivolous.

So how about working from home for $11,379 per month!

Sounds great, huh!

Imagine that all the freedom of the world in the palm of your hand. All you got to do is jack off online!

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Answers to life will not come from this blog, that person or any other 'inspirational sources. We have all the answers, all the time. The knowledge is within us. If anyone keeps us in the system, it is ourselves!

Friday, 15 October 2010

I am drunk...

...because I blog.

Yes.

I rant and rave.

I am also socially inadequate and slightly seedy.

And what is reason behind my latest confession?

Well, I blog.

Ah yes, Andrew Marr, the obscure, state paid political pundit decided to unleash him mighty wrath against the online community.

Here it is. In full. Andy's rant.

I take particular offence to Andrew Marr. I am not drunk, but s**t faced! I don't just rant and rave but go loony at the slightest provocation. Oh and (other than being three days too late to enjoy this particular flash in the pan) I am sooo inadequately endowed that I need to be seedy to get any action!

There, I have set the record straight. Now where's the crack...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Bicycle Diaries (Autumn - again!)

And so it is back, the chill is in the air and I can no longer pedal along in two wheels in a skimpy T-shirt and hope for body heat to make up for lack of coverage. That is it, our three month summer has definitely disappeared, the year is now a write-off and I have nine months of bitter cold to look forward too.

I have been neglecting my legs on the bicycle recently. The addition of a motorcycle to my traveling repertoire has meant that my loyalties have been split somewhat. But over the past two weeks, I have been pedaling furiously with and against the flow of London's traffic and I have been loving it. Sure it is not as fast as a motorbike, but it is free, plus I can indulge in eating that little bit more, safe in the knowledge that I will be burning off the calories as soon as I jump in the saddle.

Still the same a**eholes on the streets, thinking that they are fast (including one huge 7.5T truck that decided to squeeze in between me and a traffic island yesterday) but overall, it is fun to go riding across the city on two wheels, and it is always better than sitting in traffic listening to Awful Pop FM on the radio. Autumn may be back again, but I am certainly not reducing my cycling intensity anytime soon...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Emergency on Planet Irfan (now solved) + the Original Soundtrack

(First the geekery)

I recently got a new external hard drive. Not much of a biggie you might say, but now I am running on 5tb (1TB on the main computer, a 1TB hard drive, a new 2TB hard drive (both connected via firewire) and two back up USB drives totaling 1TB (backing up only the really important stuff). A good bog standard laptop runs off 250-500 GB, and I am using up to 5,000 Gigs.

Damn movie editing.

This necessitated a lot of files needing to be transferred off various hard drives onto new ones. I then got back to editing 'Irfan' and found out that I had lost half the movie. Damn.

So after panicking like crazy yesterday, I opened up an older version or 'Irfan' and carefully reconnected my files. A painstaking one, but this time I made sure the whole movie was intact.

Success!

Now I am back to cleaning up the sound. I will have quite a job to do to get the sound clean up done before October ends, as I am off to Sri Lanka next week. But it will be done. It MUST be done, as color correction comes next. Ugh...

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(Now the not so geeky part)

I have been working with Nick Peck, my musician for a very long time. We have collaborated on many projects together, and I do say the word collaboration, as for me, as a director, the music, more than the acting of the picture quality counts in making a good movie, brilliant. And I have been lucky to work with a musician whom I get along with, not just personally, but professionally. Before I even think of doing a new project, I pass it by Nick.

For good reason too. In a film, I am trying to tell a story, but I am also trying to build an atmosphere. Nick allows me to create an atmosphere. And we have done a lot of projects together, from the serious to the ridiculous. And in each case, we have managed to create a great vibe to the film, more due to Nick's music than to my own directing skills!

Nick has written a great blog post on the creation of the OST for 'Irfan'. Do take a look, it is far more eloquent than anything I could say. But more importantly, you can see how we are both looking for the same result. We both wanted to make sure that Irfan's grief for his wife, which borders on insanity, does not fall flat.

This takes skill in making sure the actors and the crew create a picture that is visually appealing through acting and cinematography. But for me as a film maker, it also needs the most important sense of all, the ears to complete the circle. The sound is often ignored by many film makers. We try to fill the void with speech or SFX. But a movie like Irfan needs a lot of silence, something that is just as important as a grand speech. A moment, a beat to allow the audience to register the magic of the film.

And with this sound track, well, as I already said to Nick, I have one word to describe it. Beautiful.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Bugger Off

Yeah, you.

Mind your own business.

It is called private life FOR A REASON.

If I chose to keep quiet, it is because that is exactly it - my choice!

But still, some people like to butt in.

Butt out!

Shoo!

Go away.

There, I've said it.

Blah!

(tomorrow - serious blog about 'Irfan')

Sunday, 10 October 2010

10

Well, a few numbers, strung in a row, makes this improbable date very funky to see.

Of course, being a Sunday, who would actually be up at 10:10, on the 10/10/10?

Couldn't the calender be more malleable and decide on a time and date which was more convenient for the general population to witness?

Say, 20:20 on the 20/20/20?

Oh, sorry, the 20th month does not exist...

So, before this all goes, you have two more years to enjoy these calenderic diversions. after December 2012, that is it, the numbers become boring again...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

London Diary 32

I see her, sipping her coffee at the bus stop, every night. Usually at 3am. Old, withered, come rain or shine (ha, as summer is now gone it should really read rain or dry) she wears the same coat, blue in colour, with a cardigan underneath to keep in the warmth.

Who is she? What else has she seen? Why does she choose to live her nights at a bus shelter instead of at home? Who else notices her, lone, unloved, unwanted at the bus stop at 3am?

There she sits at the bus shelter, watching the many Night Buses go by on their way into town, carrying in the multitude of low wage workers. Or watching the buses coming out of town, bringing the revelers back home from a night filled with drinks and laughter.

Who is she? What else has she seen? Why does she choose to live her nights at a bus shelter instead of at home. Who else notices her, lone, unloved, unwanted at the bus stop at 3am. Did she once travel into town, a worker, lowly paid, unappreciated and a cog in the system. Knowing that every single day of drudge was not her choice, but a dictation of rules and requirements in order to survive?

Or was she a party animal, a socialite, the centre of attention, the most important person in the room, loved and wanted. Knowing that her destiny was in her hands, for her to shape as she could please?

Who knows, as maybe I am the only person who notices her, other than the shop clerk of the 24 hour mart who sells her the coffee in a polystyrene cup. Night after night, the same freeze dried beans, having started their journey on a farm somewhere in East Africa, ends up here at a London Bus Stop, sipped by an old lady who looks at the world pass her by. Or has she passed the world by and is no longer bothered by the rush? Comfortable with her cup of coffee she sees the madness that surrounds her. The fighting youths, the wailing sirens, the kissing couples, the road sweepers or the cocaine fueled bankers in sports cars. She no longer partakes in the madness of the city. Or is she a lonely soul, looking over her cup of coffee with bitterness and despair at the life that passed her by. Not knowing when her time will end, but safe in the knowledge that it will be sooner rather than later.

One day, as I drive past, I will see the same old bus shelter, but it will be empty, save for an empty polystyrene cup on the ground beside it...

Friday, 8 October 2010

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Rumble in the Jungle...

In recent months, my stomach is not at all well. Not bad by anyone's definition, but by no means good.

(First of all, let me state that the human body really needs a body clock. For various reasons, I do not have one)

I am never satisfied anymore in terms of what I nibble. Whether it is the lingering of a stomach ulcer, or just eating at wrong times of the day, I find myself getting aggravated. Not exactly indigestion, but nothing really healthy either.

Maybe I should sit down and eat, but I just love food on the go!

Mmm, just started writing about it and my stomach has calmed down. I wonder why?

(talk about live blogging here - just check out the time I am writing this baby!)

All right then, I did have something alluding to a funky stomach, but it has gone now.

So what's for breakfast...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pet Likes

People have pet hates, and seem to spout them off Ad nauseam. But how about Pet Likes, you know the complete antithesis of pet hates, the little things that make you smile and perk up your day. Here are a few of my personal little things that make me smile...


Little text messages. Beep-beep, and something comes across the airwaves from a special someone. Maybe it is the romantic in me, but yeah (giggle moment).

Fresh fruit. There is nothing like biting into a ripe piece of fruit. Maybe it is the Australopithecus in me, but yeah (nibble moment).

Autumn. All the season, bar winter are funky times, but Autumn is special. I love all of it, the leaves falling down, the sharp wind, the changeability in weather, the fact that I can sleep in a blanket without feeling like a freak. Maybe it is the Brit in me, but yeah (conversation moment).

Morden Station. Don't ask me me why, but the fact that this far south of the Thames, you can still feel a part of the metropolis makes me awestruck. Even with the reliability of the Northern Line, this has to be one of the city's more unusual termini points, but yeah (London moment).

Biros. The most convenient tool a left hander could ever get a hold of, my graduation from secondary school meant goodbye to lousy ink based fountain pens and hello to the real world. Easily disposed once finished with, this little piece of plastic has been invaluable to my life to this point. If only I was allowed to use it sooner, but yeah (writer's moment).

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

This blog and blogging

This blog has been going on for quite sometime. Since March 2007, longer if you count my now deleted gimpspace profile, I have been blogging, almost daily over here. But the past month has been a mixed bag of blogging. Apart from my adventures to film festivals, it has been all quiet on the blogging front. Why?

Well, firstly, life has been busy. Film editing, McJob plus the film festivals themselves have taken a lot of time from me.

Secondly, I have finished my Crossing Points of the River, which, for the past few years, has been an immense driver of this blog. I am looking for something just as epic, but still nothing has come to my mind for a monthly trip around London town. But that need to blog at least on a semi regular basis has gone.

Thirdly, this blog has been attaining something of a formula, which really does not enthrall me. Tuesdays was London Diary day, Wednesdays was the day to tell the world about my adventures in Post Production. Anyone who knows me well (or even slightly) knows just how much I hate routine and time keeping (outside the film set). This was making my blog formulaic, too predictable, and if there is one thing I do not do, it is predictability.

So what next for this blog. Do I give it up. Well, not quite yet. You see, I do enjoy writing and blogging is a big part of that, but at the moment, fatigue has set in. I am missing a lot of that outdoor stimulation at the moment, with my nose buried to the ground with work, and this reflects in my blogging output. Things will lift after the end of the year, and I do promise myself one big trip somewhere at the beginning of next year. I am not sure where to, but I do fancy doing something f**king crazy. And non film related. Why? Well, it will be a good time to catch up on the writing, always something that I love doing, and the impetus for all my filming. I have some funky ideas planned for 2011-12, but I got to make sure that there is a solid base to utilise, hence the need for a hard working 2010...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Irfan Post 13 - A Teaser

At the moment my Hard Drives are full.

Normally, this would be catastrophic.

And it is.

So instead of editing, I am now waiting for the nice guys at **insert name of big online retailer HERE** to deliver me my new 2TB hard drive.

I am waiting...to colour correct...hurry up!

So while I am waiting, I did a little bit of tinkering to the website - and oh yes, here is a little web page dedicated to 'Irfan' itself. While I wait for the hard drive to arrive, I will probably get down to the dullest job a director can do and that is write an enthusiastic sounding press pack for the film.

(It is needed for the festivals - and they really do need it)

It is not so much the writing, but the graphic design you have to do for it. For Caution Wet Paint, it was really easy, as I could do it in the style of a comic strip. But for 'Irfan', I got to do something a wee bit more serious...

I also cut a Teaser, nothing much, but a small titbit highlighting some of the moments from the film. I must admit, a trailer is going to be hard to cut for 'Irfan' - how can I cut that without giving too much away?

Questions, questions, and more...

Oh well - click here for 'Irfan's' webpage on Babarouge.com.

And click here for the Teaser (note this is not the trailer).