Thursday, 18 June 2009

Another day of self harming...

Self sufficiency...
I know it is not very PC these days to make a mockery of a particular disadvantaged group, so I will apologise now as no malice is intended, but you'll get the picture by the end of the blog post I promise... and before I am targeted by the Blogspot police, otherwise known as the marketing guys, with spam mail about self harm support groups wedged somewhere between my perfect matchmaker or are you happy with the size of your Todger, I may well have to change the title of this blog post.

This blog post I guess, is about several things, having a go, hunting and gathering, aspiration on a budget, yes that is aspiration not inspiration, although sometimes the inspiration is Bon Marche too..  Now before you think I am going to have a moan about the credit crunch, or complain I can't afford my Jimmy Choo's in these hard times, I think you ought to understand I have inherited many of my father's traits, one of which is, if you can build it yourself why pay to have someone build it for you.  The trouble is both of us were and are somewhat limited in the self build department, which of course can leave you open to merciless bouts of ridicule and considerable expense putting everything right you did wrong in the first place, if that makes sense.

It is not that either of us was (my dear old Dad finally got to do his last bit of DIY pre 1990 when the only way he could get out of it was to die - bit extreme I know and I miss him every day that goes by and I know it is a bit of black humour, but he would have absolutely approved at this take on it all), and to get back to my original point, neither of us could ever be accused of being mean.  But it is clearly the hunter gatherer that emerges from our Celtic roots and takes over at the mere mention of DIY and power tools, but as I say, a little knowledge and a total lack of talent in the construction department is a dangerous thing.  Neither of us were daft enough to knock walls down, unless of course it wasn't attached to anything, after all we knew/know our limits on account of not being THAT stupid, but  the lure of being able to say 'I did that' and the desire to watch everyone gasp in amazement, has always proved too strong.

Let me paint the picture and enlighten you on one such escapade embarked upon by my dear old Dad...  Back in the 50's when my father had arrived at middle management, my mother decided that to go with our newly acquired family status and to match our semi detached double plot in (here it goes downhill) Essex - commuter belt of Leigh-on-Sea and handy for London, she would like a garden seat.  'No problem' says my Dad who hadn't done woodwork since school; I cannot call it carpentry, I'll leave that association to Jesus.  During one weekend, he set about turning our three folding wooden chairs, you know the type you shut your fingers in every time you use them, constructed with wooden planks that mark your BTM if you sit on them long enough, yep, those will be the ones.. out came hammer, hand drill and nails - yes nails, and a monkey wrench, why we'll never know, furthermore when he finally died he took the secret with him, so like the Holy Grail it will forever remain an unsolved mystery. My mother had spent the entire weekend hovering nervously and covering my ears every time his hammer found flesh.  She had every right to feel nervous, as the last time he had been left in charge of a hammer, she had to call a plumber.

I ought to explain that actually my mother was and still is the construction worker and builder in the family, yet just now and again the need to try and steal the title from her draws us like a moth to a flame.  She has ripped out fireplaces, knocked down walls, which continued to remain attached to something, built a double garage, put in RSJ's mixed cement, decorated, scrubbed up to princess standards in floaty frocks, permed hair and lipstick, and still got a casserole in the oven before dusk.  Lilian always said it kept her off the drink and off the streets on the long lonely nights when my father was busy building his career, so they both built stuff, just different types of stuff.  But not wanting to totally emasculate him, she left him the small tasks around the house which wouldn't result in death or electrocution or both. 

Eventually he presented the bench to us and apart from the fact that you couldn't sit on it for fear of crucifixion, impalement or body piercing in the most unlikeliest of places, it did what it said on the can.  The only other drawback was that you couldn't take a magnet within 100 yards without fear of finding a bench attached to it.  So... working around to my original thread of MY DIY, you can see which school of 'Method' building I went to.  Avante Garde and a bit kitch not to mention Heath Robinson.

When my daughter was around 7/8 years old after a miserable period in our lives, I weakened in a moment of marshmallow and allowed her to buy a rabbit.  A tiny Watership Down kind of bunny rabbit with a toffee patch on the back of his neck.  He was cute and cuddly and absolutely divine and we took him away from the safety and security of a well equipped garden, clearly set up for breeding, to... nothing.  No straw, no food, no hay and more importantly no hutch.  I could hear my father's words ringing in my ears... 'No problem', so I set about reclaiming copious amounts of scattered rotting wood, chopping up and sawing an old red display unit from Laura Ashley's window, a whole bag of 6 inch nails and a hammer.  So whilst Jo nursed the traumatised rabbit who can surely have only just been weaned, I set about building Colditz to withstand attack by foxes, keep out the elements, and allow the rabbit to have a room with a view through the tiny chicken wire window.  No drawings, no plans, lots of imagination and a gung ho attitude meant I ended up with... my father's bench!  Well not literally, but if I had put the poor little mite in it, he could easily have been converted into a bunny kebab.  It is so humiliating when one's child is rolling around the garden trying to conceal laughter whilst Mummy is trying to demonstrate the ten easy steps in DIY self sufficiency.  Clearly B & Q will not be a new career choice in my New Age of Silver Years (I cannot bring myself to say New Era)!

At the party last week, I did make a bit of a gaff.  I had been self harming on and off for much of the week, taking down pelmets, pulling out staples and nails, so the back of my hands were full of evidential traits of my activities.  I noticed one of the doctors staring intently at them I assumed he wasn't looking for a wedding ring, so in an attempt to break the ice, I said 'I self harm...' he looked aghast, I had his attention, so I hit him with the punch line 'Well B & Q call it DIY' at which point the bat flew in, the lights were cut and when they came up again he had moved away!  

And the moral of this story?  Always work to a plan... and drawings, however rough.  Whether you are building a rabbit hutch, a bench or laying down the foundations for your story... always work to a plan... it saves a lot of unnecessary time and expense later...
Love and Peace... xxx R

Monday, 15 June 2009

It would be easy to run out of steam...

Hold the faith...

Why is it that I seem to be permanently chasing deadlines?  I am trying to manage several important projects in the one remaining week before a final, final cut off date; and anyway whatever happened to that floaty notion that I would sit in my summerhouse or in a villa in the south of France or a beachside shack on some remote Caribbean Island and do nothing but write THE novel or screenplay that would define my generation?  Tch..  Fat chance, currently I am not even sure if I have any talent for writing, but I guess I will die trying to discover if I do.

Saturday night found me at a friend's 40th birthday party, having a bit of a boogie, in my killer heels and, by way of a change, a skirt; before you ask... yes I was wearing a top.  Every inch of space was filled with learned people, mainly from the medical profession, skilled in wielding the knife; and is it just me or are consultants getting younger?  I engaged in a truly interesting conversation about the removal of limbs and all the decisions that surround it; thankfully not something I think about every day, but nonetheless very thought provoking.  Simply put, the conversation went something along the lines of  'if it is a limb or life, life wins every time'... put like this it sounds straightforward.  The surgeon in question cut his teeth, or rather his scalpel, on five years in the army some of it in field surgery.

I watched several of them slicing their meat; it soon became easy to spot the surgeons from the GP's; 
Surgeons: precision cuts, fat trimmed to within a whisper of flesh... GP's: rough cuts with a bit of everything else on the fork; note to self for use at a later date - believable visual characterisation...  

However, the entertainment of the evening (well for us anyway not for the poor creature concerned) was in the form of a bat who flew in through some opening somewhere, who flapped and swooped around the massive open plan kitchen looking for a way out.  The shrieks were deafening and I prayed to god that bats are deaf, if terror did not sear through it at its initial plight, then the throwing of coats, shawls and flailing limbs would surely have been enough to permanently traumatise it.  Eventually it was caught by a GP armed with a fishing net, upon which it instantly surrendered and played dead.  Roars of hero worship erupted to which he responded 'It is all in the wrist action'.   Lesson in life?  Not sure...

The Stackmeister, like many before him, has observed that the harder you work at something the luckier you become.  Yet at the moment I have to overcome my feeling of guilt at a series of half completed interior DIY projects that I don't seem to have time to shake a paintbrush at.  I say that, but yesterday afternoon did find me chilling out on a layout bed in the garden for three hours with a glassful or two of bubbles.  Does this mean I am not serious about what I need to achieve, or was I just yeilding to the lure of the great outdoors and a bottle?  If I am a true, serious writer would I have used the time to better effect; to cram more words on paper? So many questions, so much angst...

Holding the faith I guess, means just never giving up and whilst I feel as though I am currently gnawing my way through an elephant with someone Else's teeth, my only saving grace is I hold the knowledge that by the end of the week, all being well, I will have achieved all I set out to do. The dining room will be painted throughout, the china will be finally loaded into units instead of littering the hall in boxes,  the guest bedroom will have the pelmet sewn and hung and the radiator covers will be finally placed to conceal the ugliness of their metal casings AND all the marketing material for Sequel to Cannes 2009 the Independent Film Industry Networking Party, will be done and dusted as the tickets finally go on sale.  It has been easier this year as I have recruited help on several fronts; in the composition of the marketing material and the Press releases, my trusty volunteers are in place for the night of the event and I am confident the venue will prove to be a fresh and perfect marine setting to generate plenty of effective networking; all the agencies advertised have now confirmed their attendance.  I am still hoping to persuade the BBC Writers' Room, The Directors' Guild, Skillset and Sunseekers to come along, but for now at least I know I have some excellent support in place.  

But boy will I be delighted when I finish eating the elephant and life can return to a proper writing routine... 

Be good to each other and carry on gnawing away at the elephants... 
love and hugs
Rosie xxxxx

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Life in the fast lane...

And another day dawns...
Just a quick update this morning.  Firstly, I had a delightful dream which involved Adam - non-sexual damn it and probably too much information for my readers, but for a lady in Lavender you can imagine it will lighten my step as I set forth into the onslaught of what the day brings.  

A dreamy, dream is a bit like a good breakfast, it sets you up for the day ahead.

I have to go to the accountants to sign my accounts and try and understand them, poor man attempting to make it all clear for me.  I know I complain when I write out his cheque, it is because you cannot see anything for the money you spend; it is not tangible, I can't wear it or sell it on if I no longer use it... It's .... fluff... but essential.  So between him and the tax man at least it keeps me legal!

Then on to more pleasurable things. A late lunch or early afternoon tea with Monique from 1stwrites, my new PR person for all the Sequel to Cannes press releases, my third eye for editing and re-writing and all time good friend.  Monique and her partner Nick have been supporters of my film networking event since day one and I could not do without either of them, like Paul Lott and Ted Elms they have stuck with me all the way through this mad journey.  Last year Ellie Douglas also joined in the support, so the band of brothers and sisters continues to grow annually; it means I am able to rely more and more on capable, committed individuals who know how to make the event run smoothly, who can trouble shoot and take some of the weight from my shoulders.

Then both Monique and I will be at the premier screening of a community film project by Level Films from the Fourish, Beachcoming project.  There is something about seeing a piece of work from recruitment through to finished product; I was the supporting consultant for the Arts Development Unit on the process of recruitment to find the right type of production company to head this project - they are a funky young team who make damn good film.  Check out Level Film in Somerset.

There will be another evening of looking at flyers and promo material as the tickets for Sequel to Cannes go on sale next Wednesday, hopefully... and the VIP invites need to go out next week at the latest.

The Script judging panel so far is... this year's patron Jeremy Paul, Producer Paul Sarony Of Mrs. Brown fame (plus of course many, many others), Writer Danny Stack, Director and Producer James Dean and I have yet to ask two others, so I won't disclose who they are yet.

Better dash the shower calls, although why I am bothering I don't know as the sky tells me I'm in for a drenching anyway...
Love and hugs
Rosie xx

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Big Smoke...

I am back from a fabulous two days in London, made so by two of the Gathering Nuts in May; firstly Kristen and her truly exceptional family who tended to my every need and embraced me as one of their own - a privilege indeed and secondly by Caro with her vast knowledge of London culture and shops.  

Usually my visits to London are more than rushed and turned around in a day, due to other responsibilities and deadlines that require my attention in Dorset.  However, I gave myself another two days off, something I seem to be doing more of lately, and indulged myself with a reward of two days of friendship and culture due to a kind invitation to stay the night with Kristen.  Not forgetting the real purpose of the visit, which was to pick up my UnLtd Award for 'Sequel to Cannes', the summer film networking party for film industry professionals.

The Award ceremony and workshops took place over in EC4 and again a star must be beaming down on me, as I met some fabulous colourful individuals who are totally driven and passionate about their excellent projects.  The range was endless and worthy, from digital photography workshops taken into primary schools, to a gay online helpline for support groups in Brighton, to crazy dance classes for the 50 - 75 age group by a dancer who had a personality larger than life itself; I would sign up for them if I qualified for that category - but of course I do not...   ;)

After a quick fix in Harrods on my way to Kristen's, I travelled on a bus with Miss Marple, Geraldine M, who held as much intrigue and presence as the character she has played.  Elegant poise and precise simplicity.  From Hammersmith bus station I didn't trust myself to find their home, so I flagged down a taxi and within no time at all arrived at their door.  A ring on the bell and they all sprang forward to welcome me with open arms and huge smiles; how could I not feel at home.  Excited chatter, talks of meals, drinks and awards were interspersed between a tour of their lovely home, which is exactly how I imagined it to be, impeccable taste.  A marriage of new with traditional, as well as a cook's kitchen to die for in the hub of the home.  Beyond, a wall of glass looked out onto the delightful garden with its exotic plants.  I was fed the most delicious red pepper soup with creamy herb drizzle, followed by strips of the finest cuts of sirloin and duck, lovingly hand trimmed by Kristen, that I gently turned on the hot stone under the perfect tuition of John and Avery.  At some point we were entertained by a flurry of cats with views of their 'persona' made possible through an overhead sheet of glass; an angle of feline derriere that I have never before witnessed... which reminds me, I must sharpen my pencil... The Frederickson's (or the other name which I dare not reveal) are fabulous natural hosts...  I slept in a magic bed that swiftly brought sleep and ensured I didn't wake until morning.

Then on to spend a whole afternoon with Caro, whose knowledge of London along with every culinary emporium and exceptional tucked away restaurant, in every nook and cranny, is faultless.  I wish I had sufficient money to just sit in the Wolseley every day and write... the characters, the gorgeous Russian waiters who were busy eyeing up Caro through their smouldering looks... and the food wasn't bad either... but the conversation was excellent.  On to the Royal Academy and a glass of Pimms.  Viewings on buyers day... I fell in love with a masterpiece on linen, and sadly having spent £8K on lunch meant I could not stretch to the £8K price tag from the piece - I think it was called 'Quiet Reflection', although I was too mesmerised to absorb the title as well -  one day that painting will be mine... trust me I am determined, it was haunting...  Then Caro accompanied me back to Victoria and frogmarched me to the Coach station just in time to be one of the last on the coach, not a moment of friendship time wasted.  All too brief and definitely a promise of either another visit soon to town, or a visit to Dorset from Caro, where she can stay awhile.  She is an exceptional character, full of knowledge on EVERYTHING, a razor sharp mind and wit, with a gentle kindness of spirit.  My mission is to locate a man worthy of her talents; I shall work on it.

Returning to Dorset and leaving London, I felt the dream floating away, yet once we hit the New Forest it was like a love affair rekindled.  For as much as I find London as exciting and as raw as I did when I first went to work in Harrods at the age of 18 in the 1960's, I fear a week would potentially wear me out these days.  Dorset is calm, serene, reflective, spiritual and soothing, it is where I am in my life now, where I need to be and I am reminded about the conversation I had with Kristen where she said that she couldn't imagine herself living anywhere else outside of New York except in London, it suits her/them, they are cosmopolitan, trendy and totally at one with the city and whilst I envy her the advantage of being able to shop in some of the loveliest food markets and shops in the UK and mingle with colourful characters, I know I would soon yearn for the sea and the freedom, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the area I live in... I would miss watching the sun set over a vast expanse of water, or the squally grey skies as a storm is about to break at sea, or the blinding summer glare as it bounces off the vast plateau of water as clear and smooth as glass... 
It is official I am a water sign through and through... but taking in the Big smoke has jiggled the imagination, shaken up the grey cells, reminded me there is another dimension to life.
R xx

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Little bit of what you fancy does you good

WOW... that came around quickly... 

I'm in London for the rest of the week picking up my UnLtd award and visiting new friends. Kristen and family, bless their hearts, have kindly invited me to stay for one night so I can't wait to meet the most important people in her life and spend time talking about food and life.  

Then on Thursday I will be meeting Caro for a good gawp at the Royal Academy's artworks sale and Pimms in the courtyard  (weather permitting of course).

For anyone who doesn't know about the funding for social entrepreneurs, check out the UnLtd website and read their terms and conditions and see if you could benefit from strong support as well as some much needed cash to kick start your project.  So far, UnLtd are proving to be easy to work with and I assume as the project deadline draws nearer, they will have a stronger presence.

Sequel to Cannes is starting to take over my life and I am thankful that this year I have the lovely Monique to help me with all the Press releases, tag lines, case studies and written text, which I hope to get into several national/regional publications.  Interest in the event has started already and the printing design is nearly ready to rock and roll.  Tickets will go on sale at Lighthouse from mid June and all the film support agencies are stepping up with their presence.  This Film networking party promises to be entertaining, fun and informative and if we are blessed with good weather on the night, everyone will be able to spill out onto the private terrace for drinks and lengthy conversations about the industry and their own projects. The short script competition and the £500 1st prize, sponsored by Creative Dorset, will also mean that the winner will buy themselves some extra freelance time to write.  Full details of the Script Prize will be launched on the night, but for anyone who writes for the screen, or in fact anyone who wants to have a crack at writing a short film, this is a perfect incentive to kick start the enthusiasm.  Location Poole, will be giving a live demonstration of their new website which helps to promote local independent film professionals as well as the wonderful locations we have scattered around the area.  Poole and the surrounding area is a rich, thick soup of spectacular landmarks and scenery and the maritime link just increases the appeal.

For anyone who would like further information about the event, they can call Lighthouse, Poole after the 17th June on 08700 668 701, for further details about the networking party. South West Screen, Location Poole, Creative Dorset, UK Trade and Investment along with Wessex Media Group and Poole Arts Development Unit, and not forgetting a representative from UnLtd, who helped make this event possible, will be there to offer their assistance and listen to individual project ideas.  Every agency is keen to see how they can help by lending their support to independent film artists, film crew and production companies as well as the screenwriters, who play such a vital part in the storytelling process.  All these agencies want to see filmmakers projects come to fruition and blossom.  

It is fair to say I am excited about this years programme of events planned, especially the live demonstration of the Sea Survival Tank, along with the special sound and lighting effects, that can be hired out to production companies.

Meanwhile, I shall soak up the friendship and enjoy the mini break from fretting about completing the painting the dining room and kitchen and making the pelmets for two upstairs bedrooms, before the next onslaught of DIY and Interior design commences again.

I'm off to pack my Mary Poppins bag and just hope that I can pack as much into it as she did.
xxx R