Thursday, September 28, 2006
Inevitably, names such as Prick van Wily will be funnier to an English reader than to a Dutchman. Here are a few others I have selected for your delectation:-
Bert de Cock
Roger A Destroyer
More to follow.
What is doubly galling for me is the fact that even with American monies, my previous film adaptation, ‘Operation South Downs’ starring Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp and Jane Horrocks, has been ‘shelved indefinitely’ by the backers, mainly of American persuasion, at the forceful request of one Mr. Hopkins, who has decided, via his legal team, that the film – and I quote, ‘shall not see the light of day while I am still alive.’
You have to realise the deference towards Hopkins in as much as is he is referred to, over the water, as ‘President Hopkins’ and is in fact a full blown US citizen!
What is triply galling for me, is the news of a further re-make of a particular favourite of mine, starring the late and great Leonard Rossiter. The wonderful ‘Le Petomane’ (1979).
But of course, the Americans are calling it by some other title, citing various inexplicable reasons for doing so. Well let me suggest those reasons, based on previous experience.
Remember ‘The Madness of King George?’ Originally entitled ‘The Madness of King George the Third.’
Of course the American reaction to the original film title was one of, ‘Well I aint seen the first two, aint gonna waste ma time tryin’ to pick up the storyline.’
Of course, with some forceful persuasion, the film’s title was altered in favour of the American preferered version.
Well let’s look at the reasons for a change of title in the case of ‘Le Petomane.’
Firstly, it was cited:-
‘Hell it’s in French. Aint nobody gonna understand what the hell it’s all about!’
Secondly it was stated, ‘It got subtitles, gonna sink like a dog.’
Thirdly it was stated that, ‘We give it a Frenchie name, nobody gonna wanna go see it!’
It is well known what the yanks think of the frogs. They have made their feelings very clear in their usage of rouge et blanc as cleaning fluid and drain unblocker. Have you seen some of the humorous quips that our obese cousins over the big pond have been saying about our garlic loving cousins over the little pond?
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."--General Norman Schwartzkopf
"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."--Jacques Chirac, President of France"
As far as France is concerned, you're right."--Rush Limbaugh
"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us."--Alan Kent"
Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day --the description was, 'Never shot. Dropped once.'"--Rep. Roy Blunt, MO
'The French Government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at Euro Disney. The decision comes the day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists.'
Anyway, getting back to the plot, I believe that George Clooney has agreed to play the starring role of Joseph Pujol in the ’soon to be filmed’ American film version of ‘Le Petomane’ and has tentatively refused a stunt double. I have it on good authority that he is holed up in some villa overlooking Lake Garda in Italy, practicing his technique.
I hope he has adequate insurance cover, as in the case of one Simon Tup, affectionately known as ‘The Farting Blacksmith’, through uncommon exertion while accompanying the song ‘Blow High, Blow Low,’ unfortunately broke a blood vessel of which he instantly died.
More of this story later.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
This, in retrospect, was not one of my better ideas, being likened by one later, to my “dousing the flames with gasolene.” But the beauty of the medium of modern filmmaking is the ability to edit, enhance, computer generate and generally tell a story that bares no relation to the actual reality of events that occurred on that fateful day in Lewes.
I’m sure when the documentary reaches the television screens of the western world, both Depp and Hopkins will appear only as they should, completely captivating and completely sober, and that’s not to mention that Horrocks! But more of her later.
The reality of the situation, as previously inferred, is somewhat different and will form one of the many contradictions that will become obvious between the “official” documentary and my own “unofficial” personal diaries. I shall not gild the truth or indeed hide it from the public. In fact I shall expose all, presenting in its ghastly and very human glory the whole and very sordid truth. That will include some very embarrassing revelations regarding my own behaviour in Lewes on that fateful day. Hopefully it will make for interesting reading.
So there we were, 8:00am that morning, the whole of the first class carriage to ourselves, full English breakfasts all round, the veritable works, and all washed down by the finest champagne.
Just enough time to eat, drink one glass of bubbly and have a short nap before arriving in Lewes. Anyway, that was the plan. We failed to allow for the notorious service that is British Rail. Three hours and twenty bottles of champagne later, we arrived in Lewes.
It was lucky that the platform was empty, apart from one unfortunate person, as young Depp fairly managed to project the contents of his stomach a fair old distance. I was just glad that his chaperone managed to get him to the window on time.
Not that his chaperone would get any thanks from me, given his obnoxious behaviour towards Horrocks. Not a good start to their on-screen romance (more of that later), were his rude comments as to the extent of her facial hair.
The Horrocks “beard” is well known within the industry but for it to be referred to as a “pensioner’s muff” was much too much for her to bear. Under normal circumstances she most probably would have left the carriage in disgust, but due to her being slightly squiffy herself, she somewhat lashed out, catching Hoppy squarely across the jaw and knocking him completely unconscious.
This was to prove very unfortunate for all those of us remaining conscious. You see, the ability to consume large amounts of champagne is something that Hoppy does with great aplomb, equalling his skills as seen on the big screen. In fact, his continued consciousness would have ensured that most of the twenty bottles were in fact consumed by him, to minimal effect, whereas his early removal from the drinking pool was to contribute severely to the sordid events of that day.
He in fact, only regained consciousness as we were pulling into the platform at Lewes, just in time to help young Depp to the window for a spot of projectile vomiting. By then it was too late, everyone else was by then completely inebriated, including myself.
That solitary person on the platform, now covered head to toe in champagne breakfast, via Depp’s gut, was in fact the Marketing Director of Harvey’s Brewery, who was there to greet us.
I have to say that the cameraman has captured the barfing moment most beautifully.
It’s just a crying shame that it will never be seen by the viewing public due to the very real threat of court action by Harvey’s.
More important a consideration has been their very real threat to withdraw funding on the project due to the further sordid actions that followed that day.
We did manage to placate the Marketing Director somewhat by offering him a free choice of replacement apparel from the entire M&S range, all completely without cost to him, or us of course. These things have a habit of working themselves out eh?
April 4th 2001:
It is only now, over two weeks after that fated research trip to the brewery in Lewes, that I can bring myself to put pen to paper in admission of the further despicable goings on of certain individuals who shall not here remain nameless.
It was as a direct result of their atrocious behaviour that saw myself drowning my frustration and sorrow in too copious an amount of Harvey’s most wonderful product, and as a result almost drowned in a large vat of Armada ale.
Health and Safety regulations stipulated that the entire contents of the vat had to be disposed of as undrinkable due to my partaking of a “swim” within.
I, of course, agreed to pay all costs incurred in that respect but I make it known here that in no way did I agree to pay for all other damages that were incurred on that day.
Certain “celebrity” actors involved, with more money than you can shake a stick at, agreed afterwards to cough up the required amount as calculated by Harvey’s accountants.
Anyway, after having alighted on the platform of Lewes station, and having apologised most profusely to our host for the day, we bundled young Depp into the limousine with instructions that he be cleaned up ready for the official tour of the brewery. This duty was bestowed upon Hopkins. After all, his participation in the sordid events on the train were partly responsible for young Depp’s condition.
Understandably, this was a big day for Harvey’s, with the arrival of Hollywood legend Hopkins and up and coming young star Depp to their illustrious premises. It hadn’t got off to a wonderful start, but with god’s help, it could yet prove to be a glorious day.
Horrocks and myself had decided to walk from the station with the intention of regaining our sobriety and composure on the short walk down the hill.
After having caught Hoppy across the chin with a fine outswinger, Horrocks had unfortunately decided to drown her grief at Hopkin’s insult, in further amounts of free champagne. She was now in quite an extreme state of drunkenness and it required all my skills to keep her on her feet and walking in a straightish line towards our goal.
As I previously alluded to, the young lass has an acclaimed reputation as a fine chanteuse. This she demonstrated clearly in a recent, quite successful film, taking on the voices of Bassey, Munroe and Minnelli among others.
Unfortunately, when afflicted by the over-consumption of alcohol, her singing voice
assumes all the best qualities of a Mel Blanc voiced cartoon creation - How so sweet a voice can be so changed in such a few short hours should warn anyone as to the damaging powers of alcohol.
Anyway, she was proving that fact ever so loudly as we swaggered down towards the brewery premises. By this time I’d had to place an arm around her to keep her reasonably upright. You see, as she “sang,” her legs suddenly stopped working in any sort of co-ordinated fashion, but as soon as she stopped “singing” they magically regained their powers of propulsion. She obviously had only enough unaddled brain power left to perform one task at a time.
I begged her to “shove a sock in it” so to speak, with no obvious success, as she continued from one crooner classic to another.
By now, my arm was becoming weaker in its efforts to support her, even though she’s actually a tiny slip of a thing, and I’d had to move her over to my left arm to avoid a nasty accident.
Further pleas for her to cease were falling upon stony ground. By now it was not just my arm that was pained but my senses too!
And obviously not just mine; a number of persons passing had asked for her to “shut the f**k up” but without any success, so I decided drastic action was required to avoid a major incident in Lewes.
Just to explain:
It is only fair, if I’m willing to expose others’ misdemeanours in the fullest technicolor, for my own shameful actions to be so exposed also.
A few days after the particular incident to which I’m about to refer, Horrocks was back in the city filming a second series of a successful TV sit-com.
Rumours on set were abounding as to a possible rift in her “marriage;” rumours brought on by the large bruise on her cheek combined with a story circulating about her “involvement” with her leading man on the set of Operation South Downs.
The fact that Hopkins had a bloody great bruise on his chin also, only helped to etch deeper in peoples’ minds the story that her partner had caught them together “inflagrante” and had given each of them a “bunch of fives.”
The truth of the matter I am now going to relate, and only hope that the persons therein involved will see the funny side of it. I did it for the right reasons and in the long run believe it can only add to the growing worldwide interest in our great British production.
The “drastic” action to which I earlier referred, in relation to Horrock’s continued awful whining, disguised as singing, involved a small “slap” to her cheek by way of “helping “her out of her “trance” and hopefully putting an end to her “crooning.”
That I “slapped” her with more force than was necessary is debatable, but it certainly did the trick, as her “singing” ceased immediately.
Anyway, I picked her off the ground and sat her down on a nearby park bench,
and while I waited for her to rouse, I dabbed at my bloodied knuckles with a hankie, hoping that some good may yet come of the day’s events.
And there it was, just before she regained full consciousness, I came up with the plan to circulate a rumour as to the possible “involvement” of our leading man with our leading lady, by way of taking advantage of their respective facial abrasions and also to heighten interest in our great production. The success of this plan is not yet confirmed but as far as I was concerned, on that day, all news regarding our great production was good news.
That there is no truth in the rumour of their “involvement” is patently obvious to all those involved on set. The “pensioners’ muff” incident has seriously diminished the “chemistry” between them and will have to be rectified as soon as Horrocks returns on set from her city stint. I shall have to use all my cunning on that one to help build a bridge between them. But that’s for later. Back to that day in Lewes.
Horrocks quickly regained consciousness, smiled warmly towards me and then puked all over my nice new M&S suit.
This was a difficult situation. The suit itself didn’t matter as I had over one hundred M&S suits back in London, but at this particular moment in Lewes, the one that I was adorned in, was the only one I had on my person. I’d just have to buy another one here in Lewes before finally partaking of the arranged visit to the brewery.
So off to the shops then, Horrocks in tow.
What a stroke of luck, an M&S in the sleepy little town of Lewes. I dragged
young Horrocks across the road in its direction and entered their fine establishment.
I fatefully left Horrocks browsing in the ladies section while I searched the suit racks for an identical suit to the one I was wearing, minus, of course, vegetable broth decoration.
And it seemed that the tide was beginning to turn in my favour. I found an identical suit in my size and walked over to the pay point.
I off course did not have enough cash on my person and had left all credit cards in London. After all, the day was to be a freebie, with no need to part with any monies at all, at any point during the day. It was unfortunate that I hadn’t allowed for this unlikely occurrence and would live to regret it later.
Eventually the store manager made an appearance. By now I was getting impatient and admit I may have used a few choice words in my explanation of the situation.
In any case, the store manager obviously had no desire in retaining his position of seniority, as I made it clear to him the grave mistake he was making in refusing to let me have the suit I’d selected.
I scoffed at his confirming that this was a £250.00 suit and asked that I pay for it.
I told him squarely that I don’t pay for M&S goods and it’s unlikely that I will ever have to again when this great picture of ours takes the world by storm next year! In fact, M&S will be begging me to take whatever I want!
He wouldn’t listen to me so I told him quite plainly to kiss goodbye to his job.
What a complete arse!!
Anyway, not to be beaten by some two-penny yokel, I raised myself up, tilted my head at him with a haughty demeanour and made a gracious exit.
I’d quickly decided that when reaching Harvey’s the vegetable broth decoration would no doubt have dried out somewhat anyway and could be lightly brushed off with no apparent ill effects. After all, it did say on the label “supremely stain resistant.”
I then made a search of the store for the lightly bruised Miss Horrocks.
Nowhere to be seen. Damnation!!
I ventured outside and debated whether or not I should abandon her to her fate and make my way to the brewery alone – I was by now gagging for a pint.
But no, being the gentleman that I am, I decided to locate her person and gallantly accompany her to our official engagement with that fine establishment of Harvey’s.
Her location made itself known forthwith:-
A small commotion was occurring immediately outside Tescos; a supermarket that will be forever associated with the erstwhile delightful Miss Horrocks. I could only assume that she’d stopped to say hello. After all, they were almost family to her. But I was wrong. Whatever she’d said or done had not been received warmly, and when I approached, I found her being pinned against the wall by two security guards.
I immediately demanded they unhand her or face the direst of consequences for their actions.
My obvious authority had cleared a space for me – it was like the parting of the red sea as I approached and the crowd magically parted in front of me.
Unfortunately Horrocks started “singing” again which only re-affirmed the crowd’s non-believing in her true identity. It is true, the bruising and swelling on her cheek had somewhat temporarily altered her features, and that, combined with the awful din that spewed forth from her mouth convinced all that she was not who she said she was.
I did my best to try and convince them of her star status but to the eternal shame of the Lewes populous, they tossed us both aside like some human detritus.
It has been that one sole incident that has convinced and decided for me, not to have the world premiere of our great film in Lewes, as was previously concurred upon.
This will no doubt prove to be a great loss to the town of Lewes but one they will have to accept given the circumstances surrounding my decision.
So now you know!
On our eventual arrival at the wonderful Harvey’s brewery, I excused myself in order to somewhat remove as much of the Horrocks breakfast splash as possible.
By then I’d gotten used to the smell, though it was obvious from the comments of others in our group that their nostrils were not also suitably accustomed.
I was eventually convinced to don a white overall in place of my M&S apparel, and in so doing, was somewhat likened to the Harvey’s Marketing Director who like me had had an unfortunate accident with a celebrity and had also donned same.
Unlike me however, he had decided not to have his suit dry-cleaned, but instead intended to keep it in the freezer until such time as it could be sold at auction for a substantial sum of money to some rich Depp fan.
Everyone laughed when I said “maybe I should do the same with mine!” And that was how I ended up at the receiving end of a Horrock’s outswinger which sent me flying into a vat of Harvey’s Armada ale!
After a welcome lunch, which absorbency factor was desirable in relation to the continued consumption of various of Harvey’s products; our tour of the premises and production facility resumed.
By this time I was now necessarily completely attired in Harvey’s product, from the embroidered logo sweatshirt to the equally adorned, rather tasteless baseball cap.
Their Marketing Director was in now in full flow, describing the ale brewing process,
whilst also responding to various questions from his “esteamed” guests, when I sidled up to Horrocks and whispered a few choice words in her ear as to the origins of the brewery’s name.
I immediately took rear-guard action, beating a most hasty retreat, as Horrocks raised her voice with an informed question directed towards the Marketing Director.
He replied with a smile, “No, the brewery was not named after an imaginary over-sized rabbit from a Jimmy Stewart film.”
All hell broke loose after that!
To be continued
Gloria from the costume department, myself and Depp are standing by the side of a quiet stretch of the Thames, when I remove his “puffer” from the boot of my car. He is naturally pleased at its return and doesn’t notice the modifications to its construction. Anyway, he puts the jacket on and smiles contentedly. I suggest he pulls up the zipper to its full extent, to which he of course complies.
He is in the process of igniting a cheroot when I manfully toss him into the Thames. Unfortunately, the previously quilted and ribbed panels of the puffer jacket had been filled with too much air and young Depp floated too high in the water for it to be reasonably acceptable.
So there I was, racing down the footpath, trying to keep level with Depp, screaming at him not to be such a cissy when our previously concealed divers manage to catch him and drag him up and on to the bank.
I quickly remove the jacket from his shivering body and instruct Gloria as to its further modification.
A few hours later and Gloria enters the public house to inform us of the completion of said modifications. So we finish the game of darts we are on and help a slightly inebriated Depp into his further modified jacket.
Luckily, the bar we’d selected for our luncheon lay directly on the banks of the Thames.
There was a small drop from the bar’s pleasant balcony, but only a slight splash was heard as Depp hit the water once more.
This time it worked perfectly. Just the right amount of air and his bobbing, flailing body floated at just the right height out of the water.
We returned to the bar and ordered their finest champagne by way of celebrating our success. We, of course, saved a glass for young Depp who returned shortly afterwards but was unfortunately refused entry due to his dripping persona.
We joined him on the balcony where we spent a most pleasant afternoon quoffing champagne.
March 6th 2001:
We carried out more tests on the modified jacket until young Depp was suitably relaxed in his now buoyant “puffer.” In fact, he achieved such a state of relaxation as he was swept down the Thames that on his final session he could be seen puffing on a cheroot as he swept by us.
My stroke of genius had worked a treat!
It was during these eventful happenings by the Thames that, purely by coincidence, the chief buyer for Marks and Spencers was walking his dog along the footpath and stopped to watch in wonder at these strange proceedings before him.
On inquiring as to the madness of it all, I duly explained to him the situation.
As a consequence of this conversation, a new range of “puffer” jackets are to be launched at M&S, Oxford Street, to coincide with the UK launch of “Operation South Downs” in summer 2002.
In a unique marketing tie-up, a limited edition range of jackets will be produced, nicely embroidered with the “Operation South Downs” logo and the “Prepare to be swept away” log-line, and thereafter the standard “buoyant puffer” will be available to the general public.
As well as being a “must have” fashion accessory for 2002, these jackets could well save hundreds, if not thousands of lives worldwide due to their air filled buoyant pockets. And all because young Depp was a poor swimmer! It’s strange the way these things work out isn’t it?
March 14th 2001:
I fully realise a flagrant and certain disregard of mine for the mounting interest in the soon-to-be-filmed “Operation South Downs” in my not having kept my diaries up to date with its progress.
Unfortunately one’s time is not one’s own when so heavily involved in the writing of draft number six of the screenplay.
It’s a fact that I hadn’t fully understood; the commitment and sheer workload involved on a project of this size and importance.
I’m beginning to wonder if I’m cut out for this type of stressful vocation.
No matter, apologise I must, most profusely. And by way of making suitable amends I will hereby elucidate, as fully as contractual constraints will allow, and hope that the following “titbits” will maintain your interest.
One of the main problems over the last few weeks has been the continuing volatility in the money markets which has led directly to a number of major backers withdrawing funding in the project.
One is, of course, very pleased at Gordon Brown’s continuance of preferential tax breaks to those wishing to invest in the British film industry, and indeed there has been a pronounced increase in interest shown since the budget, by small investors particularly, and a few major players too!
Specifically, I am very pleased to announce the involvement of Marks and Sparks as a major investor. Given their recent, well publicised difficulties, this is a very brave and welcome addition to the coffers on their part.
You may remember their agreed involvement in the production of the much lauded Operation South Downs “puffer” jacket – an air filled buoyant fashion statement and combined lifejacket that is destined to take the world by storm in the summer of 2002 - The further involvement of this major retailer, in a much needed injection of funds, has guaranteed the future of the project at very small cost to the purity of the concept.
Yes it’s true that the entire cast will be required to wear, exclusively, the products of this great retail outlet to the exclusion of all others, but their range of apparel is so extensive and all encompassing that one is not in the least concerned. (Unfortunately, Gloria from the Costume Department who assisted me so admirably on the production of the prototype “puffer,” has tendered her resignation in direct response to the M&S involvement on such a scale. I shall miss her sorely!)
Funding and sponsorship has also been forthcoming from one of Britain’s oldest brewers.
Harvey’s, situated in Lewes, know only too well the heartache and great drama that occurred in the great floods of year 2000, having been one of its many victims.
And before criticism mounts and is voiced as to the placement of their product within the film; it is wholly acceptable and to be expected that their superior product should be so drunk by the stars of the film as it was at the time of the floods and still drunk by the locals today.
In fact, it should have been one of the more pleasant aspects of my involvement in the film that saw myself, Hopkins, Horrocks and young Depp, among others, being invited to take a tour of their premises by way of necessary research and also, it is admitted here, by way of a well earned “jolly” to sample their wares.
March 20th 2001:
Our visit to Harvey’s Brewery was to be cloaked in secrecy. You have to understand that the publicity machine, in its official capacity on the film, is not due to kick into gear until March 2002. We did, however, have a small camera crew with us, to record the highlights of the day.
Though still in its infancy, the idea had been broached as to the possibility of a documentary to further heighten public interest in the project. Funding has yet to be agreed to cover costs in their entirety.
Under separate cover, I also hope to agree terms in the near future with a view to publishing my own “unofficial” diaries, charting the whole project from initial inception to world premiere in the summer of 2002. More of that later.
to be continued.
I have been caught out before, on being informed by one of my ‘contacts’ of some ‘exclusive’ news item, only to find out later, that said news item has been fabricated solely for the purpose of making me out to be some kind of ignorant buffoon.
Given this fact, a ‘pinch of salt’ is applied to all such ‘exclusives’ passed in my direction and the necessary due diligence performed by me personally, to verify such ‘news items’ as being 100% kosher.
In relation to the following exclusive, I can assure you that all the details, which I herewith reveal to you, have been verified by my own intervention and as a consequence, I am now able to say, with all confidence, that the following ‘news item’ is stamped with my own personal seal of approval as being fact.
You are no doubt aware of ‘Pick Your Own’ in relation to acquiring certain types of fruits and vegetables, though I am sure that being aware of same, does in no way assume that you have ever ‘picked your own’ - at least not in reference to fruits or vegetables.
I am sure you are probably in agreement that this mode of fruit and vegetable acquisition is a successful business model in persuading persons of a certain bent, to get out into the country and to get in touch with the reality of food production. In our modern age, the supermarket removes us from this ‘connection’ with the everyday items we put on our plates.
With this is mind, a certain group of business minded individuals have applied extrapolation to this successful business model in marketing their new company ‘Kill Your Own.’
To enable them to expand their business, they took the bold step of applying to present their company and business model on the successful television programme ‘Dragon’s Den. This they did on the last series, which I believe has just completed its television run.
Now you are probably thinking ‘I don’t remember that one?!’
And you’d be correct in your assumption. It never actually made the light of day. The reasons for this I can now relate to you, though I accept no responsibility for the consequences of my revealing this to you here now.
In this respect, you are free to read no further, the details which I am about to reveal to you. I hope I make myself clear on this matter?
If you have just one ounce of imagination – which I’m sure you probably have - you will have no doubt already applied extrapolation to those three little words ‘Kill Your Own.’ And you’d be right!
The presentation to the five dragons went extremely well, to such an extent that two of the dragons offered their combined services and the full amount of £250,000, for a 50% share of the company. So far so good.
Unfortunately, the assistant sound engineer attending set on that day, was and is a member of the ‘ALF’ (Animal Liberation Front) and is also a long standing vegetarian, as you’d expect. Also, I have had it suggested that he is an active Animal Rights Activist, though I have not been able to personally verify this statement, so will remain ‘on the fence’ in reference to that fact.
To cut a long story short, the two persons who presented to the ‘Dragon’s Den’ and who also head the company ‘Kill Your Own’ - together with the two ‘dragons’ who offered their services and financing for a 50% steak in the company, have been the subject of numerous death threats by individuals unknown.
It is for this reason that the BBC decided to ‘edit’ that particular episode of Dragon’s Den, for fear of retribution by ‘animal terrorists.’
It is possible and altogether probable that you have already caught a whiff of this story, given your standing at the BBC; no doubt being informed by the DG no less, that the story will remain ‘under wraps’ or at least hidden away until it is well past its ‘sell by date.’
If this be true then I am absolutely appalled! Especially as you are a big fan of snorkers – something that you have made public on many an occasion.
Ask any child if they would like a snorker and 9 out of 10 will say ‘yes please.’
Now ask those same children if they know where snorkers come from and you will probably get one of the following answers. ‘The fridge.’ or ‘Sainsburys.’ or answers to that effect.
Of course you and I both know that snorkers come from the butchers. But then we are both of a certain age where we are more in touch with reality.
‘Kill Your Own’ offers our children the chance of ‘connecting’ with the real world of food production. We owe them at least that.
It is to this end that I ask of you to please use all your powers to see that this story receives the exposure it deserves.
What he needs is a couple of weeks in the Caribbean or The Seychelles. That’ll cheer him up no end.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Your show just perpetuates the perceptions of the masses in their right wing extremes of thought and deed, in your continued insistence of including a ‘religious slot’ in your programme. I realise the deft delicacy of its presentation is designed not to offend any particular religion; especially so in these modern times where religious extremists would use any means of interpretation to twist the words in such a fashion as to appear to have an opposing meaning.
However, in your perceived ‘softly softly’ approach in likewise twisting words around into various wholesome shapes, you have omitted to be inclusive in your supposed all encompassing presentation.
I will have you know that The Devil himself listens in to your show every day, but woe betide Hell’s Controller of Radio Transmissions if she should fail to switch off at the appropriate time, when your appointed ‘preachers of all things good slot’ is aired.
I have known The Devil now for 104 years, having sold him my soul in exchange for a life of eternity, and I can tell you here that he is a very reasonable entity and fair in all decisions of Hellish importance.
But when you air your supposed ‘all encompassing religious slot’ he fumes more than is normal for him.
As a big fan of Radio 2 and specifically The Wogan show, he can’t understand why this exclusion?! 10 years ago he would not have batted any of his eyelids at this affront, but in these times of ‘add all ingredients to the recipe to make sure we include all tastes and flavours’ he feels especially affronted.
I’ll have you know that The Devil is an entity of some no small taste and culture; fully realising that if you mix all the colours of the rainbow together you get ‘brown.’ Similarly, if you mix all the world’s ingredients together you will only create the culinary equivalent of ‘brown.’ (Incidentally he uses this analogy when getting off on one of his political diatribes. Only replace lower case ‘b’ with capital ‘B’ in the word ‘brown.’) BUT even so, fully aware of the ‘all-things-to-all-men’ resultant recipe and its vomit inducing creation, he WILL NOT tolerate being left out of the list of ingredients.
It is to this end that he has asked me to write to you in order for you to flex your muscles in exerting pressure on the powers that be within the BBC.
His gratitude will be in the form of granting you five more years as a mortal upon this earth. I’d say that was a bloody good deal, especially given your advanced years and poor health.
He’s wicked isn’t he? But I suppose that’s what makes him so good.
As a good friend of actor John Hannah, it’s been a difficult few months trying to pull him out of his depression, since his being ousted in the role of Ian Rankin’s rogue policeman Inspector Rebus.
His replacement is that fat bloke Ken Stott, who plays himself, playing Rebus as some manic cartoon creation who would be more at home as the painted baddie in the next Batman movie.
Luckily I am not alone in my desire to see the role of Rebus once more played by John (Hannah) and it is to this end that myself and a number of senior TV executives have formed a production company to make this a reality.
Up until now we have kept our plans pretty much ‘under wraps’ as the yanks would say, but we have now decided to go public on our campaign due to a letter received last week from the creator of Rebus, Ian Rankin.
He has made it very clear that our campaign ‘is doomed from the start’ and will exercise legal proceedings to ensure the integrity of his creation and the continuance of Stott in the starring role.
This is not something we are going to give up so easily on, especially as we don’t respond well to threats from the likes of Rankin and his cohort Stott.
We feel that John (Hannah) was the right man for the job. Just look at the viewing figures when he was in the starring role – nine million at its peak!
Stott’s creation is such a grotesque presentation of a policeman and totally unbelievable in his portrayal to such a degree that the producers have managed to create a character so far removed from a real police inspector to such an extent that it would be more appropriate to have ‘Rebus’ as a cartoon series, voiced by Mel Blanc, if he were still alive to provide such a service.
What I find most offensive is the portrayal of Rebus as an out-and-out alcoholic. The producers have been very cynical in making a point of enhancing this aspect of his character in a cruel dig at John Hannah’s personal real-life struggle to combat the demon drink, since being unceremoniously tossed aside like some human detritus.
It is no laughing matter to see a good friend lying in the gutter, covered in his own vomit and faeces, when he has done nothing wrong and in fact, it could be argued that he has done everything right!
We fully accept that the character of Rebus was created by Ian Rankin. We do not dispute that fact. We also accept that all rights to Rebus and its television adaptation have already been granted.
However, armed with these facts, we have decided to proceed with our own independent production, with John Hannah in the starring role; filming to start in January 2007.
As you are no doubt aware, John has been admitted to The Priory for a course of intensive treatment. But we are wholly confident that he will be fully fit and ready to ‘grasp the mettle’ when filming starts early next year.
We liken this unusual scenario to a similar situation a few years back when we had two ‘Bonds’ - Roger Moore and Sean Connery playing the same character in two ‘Bond’ films released at the very same time. Both films were a success and generally accepted by the viewing public.
We say, in similar circumstances, ‘let the public decide.’
Obviously, due to threats of legal action By Mr. Rankin, Stott and other nameless goons, we have had to make a few changes to the character of Rebus to avoid ‘confusion’ with the original creation and the subsequent televisual representation of the character in the flabby shape of Stott.
This has now been achieved and agreed, in the almost completed screenplay for the pilot episode of ‘Trebus’ which has been penned by myself – successful creator of ‘Operation South Downs’ and ‘Quigley Cuts Down.’
Edmund Trebus, Polish émigré and resident of Haringey in North London, is a police inspector on the edge. Chain smoking his trademark ‘roll ups’ he is a thorn in the side of his employers, who frown upon his unorthodox methods of crime fighting but generally give him a free reign, as his methods prove successful in reducing crime in the borough of Haringey and its environs.
Living alone in a large dilapidated house, he collects and collates evidence and crime samples, storing them throughout his abode, to such a degree that his home has become an unofficial extension of the police forensics lab.
Trebus is a big Elvis Presley fan and as such, the new series will feature some of Elvis’s most famous recordings as an accompaniment to the opening titles, the closing titles and to accompany the dramatic police chases featured in the opening pilot and also proposed for future episodes.
We didn’t want the character of Trebus to come across as a complete ‘hard man’ especially as we have him as living alone; his family having deserted him years previously due to his dedication to fighting crime. So we have decided that he will have a pet rat called ‘Peelie’, which will be the sole subject of his affection in the first series of ‘Trebus.’ We hope to introduce a ‘love interest’ in the second series, should the first series prove popular with the viewing public. More of that later.
We are already having successful talks with an American TV network. (my influential contacts across the water pulling strings on our behalf).
And we are hopeful in having a deal signed in the next few weeks, after approval of the screenplay.
One American television executive said it all when he stated, and I quote:
‘John Hannah?!! Loved the guy in Four Weddings. If I was queer, he’d be the guy inside my pants! Stole the show in The Mummy. And Acted the pants off Fraser in The Mummy Returns! So who the f**k’s this guy Stoat?!!’
Much like that successful police series ‘Kojak’ with the catchphrase ‘Who loves ya baby!’ Or the equally successful series ‘Hawaii Five-O’ with its catchphrase ‘Book him Danno, murder one.’ We have been asked by our American counterparts to come up with a similar catchy catchphrase for Trebus.
This was a tricky one. I mulled over its inception for a number of days; being directed in its creation solely by the nature of Trebus’s character.
I felt that the catchphrase should only be used when Trebus is in confrontational mode with either one of his fellow police officers or one of the hardened criminals he meets in the course of his crime fighting duties.
To this end, the catchphrase is a ‘put-me-down’ and will form the final ‘punch’ to the end of a scene or be placed just before a ‘cut-to’ instruction within the screenplay.
The words of the catchphrase will be ‘spat out’ by Trebus and will be preceded by him extracting the roll-up from the corner of his mouth before spitting out the words – ‘You couldn’t even get in Dad’s Army!!’
Make a note in your diary NOT TO MISS the opening pilot episode of ‘TREBUS’ pencilled in for its world television premiere late autumn 2007.
Monday, September 25, 2006
This has blatantly been developed ‘on the back’ of a previously successful television series called ’10 Years Younger’ presented by ‘style guru’ Nicky Hambleton-Jones.
The premise of the original series was to present a prematurely aged member of the public to a high street audience, who would guess at his or her age. This was followed by an intense schedule of treatments on this unfortunate person, including laser eye surgery, facial skin removal, botox injections, hair dyeing, facial hair removal, a new wardrobe of clothes and even plastic surgery!
They were then re-presented back on the streets for a further ‘guess-my-age’ session by members of the public, where undoubtedly their mean age would now be ’10 Years Younger’ and inevitably was.
The idea for the new series ’10 Years Older’ came from a 22 year old girl, who had written in to Channel 4 on a separate matter, complaining that she was always challenged when trying to get served alcohol at a public house.
Her problem is that she looks much younger than her years and wished that she could look ‘more mature.’
She was chosen as the ‘guinea pig’ for the pilot episode of ‘10 Years Older.’
I must say that she is bloody gorgeous, with the most perfect skin and a beautiful smile. A real natural beauty. Or at least she was.
On the first part of the programme, the public guessed her age at a mean 16 years old. One person actually thought she was just 14! The highest guess was all of 19.
The next part of the programme, which formed the bulk, was quite shocking.
I don’t believe I am doing a disservice here in revealing the content of the pilot, as it is unlikely to be commissioned by Channel 4.
(I have since heard that it may be taken up by one of the lesser satellite channels but in a heavily edited format.)
We found out that our young ‘guinea pig’ who I will call Claire, was regularly challenged in the pub when she tried to get served alcohol. She doesn’t actually drink alcohol herself, and on these occasions the alcoholic drinks were for her friends.
This was where our presenter, Paul Reynard-Grosse, concentrated his efforts initially.
He explained to young Claire the wonderfully beneficial benefits of alcohol in ‘maturing’ the interior as well as, crucially, the exterior features of one’s body.
Lager, in half pint measures over the first and second days, followed by pint measures on subsequent days, were consumed by Claire with much crying and no small amount of accompanying vomiting. But one could see the ‘beneficial’ effects quite noticeably on her features. Her complexion became flat and colourless and her hair, dank and lifeless. Even her previously sparkling eyes had lost most of their sparkle. Fantastic stuff!!
When she had reached a stage of being able to consume four pints every single day, Paul then added in another element to the recipe.
I liken Paul to an orchestral conductor, whereby the symphonic harmonies are built up slowly, instrument by instrument. In this case the first ‘instrument’ was the 'alcohol' followed then by the ‘crisps’ and then the ‘peanuts.’
Paul is a fantastic presenter and I’m sure he will ‘rise up’ in some other reality programme in the very near future. He has those necessary qualities of quiet manipulation and feigned sincerity that are a ‘must’ for any modern day presenter to acquire if they are to progress in this great industry of ours. Just look at Davina MacColl.
Claire, god bless her, actually gorged herself on multiple packets of hula-hoops and dry roasted peanuts with little complaint, as they naturally form a perfect accompaniment to beer or lager.
But there is one other ‘perfect accompaniment’ to the delights of alcohol that Paul kept up his sleeve until he deemed Claire was ready to accept it.
He needn’t have worried, she took to cigarettes like a duck to water.
Initially she was getting through maybe twenty Silk Cut Ultras a day, but soon moved up to Marlboro Lights and then amazingly Marlboro full strength or Camels, hitting a record thirty-three smoked in just one day. Pretty good going for someone who only started smoking just over two weeks ago.
But don’t think they spent all their time filming in public houses. They also visited MacDonalds and Burger King.
This should have been the easy part, but it just so turned out that Claire was also a vegetarian. This shouldn’t have been a problem as both burger outlets also stock a small number of vegetarian options; lettuce leaves and such. But Paul was having none of it! He insisted that she eat the ‘full monty’ – double cheeseburger twice with accompanying fries.
She couldn’t manage it and the wails of protest and tears were scaring off the regular punters. They were eventually ordered out of MacDonalds. The very same thing happened in Burger King.
So off they went, back to the pub to ‘soften’ her up with alcohol, prior to a further visit to each burger outlet.
Eventually it worked. (Now this was the bit that I found distasteful.)
Claire had consumed so much alcohol (you have to understand that she’d moved onto vodka and red bull with the occasional dark rum and coke) that she had collapsed in a heap, face down in her own vomit.
She was cleaned up somewhat before they all returned to MacDonalds.
Paul sat her down – he sat close by her side and the assistant cameraman sat on her other side. (to stop her falling over you see) This didn’t stop her falling forwards however, face down on the table, so they had someone called George kneel behind her pulling on her shirt, but out of view of the camera mostly.
This had the desired effect and she was then force fed the required items, in both burger outlets (some advertising tie up or agreement here I imagine) before they decanted back to the public house for further refreshment.
I’m sure you’re getting the picture by now. Very much more of the same.
Claire had been a regular gym member and visited usually three or four times a week. This was of course banned during the filming period. Claire eventually put on almost two stone in weight over the six weeks they took to film the pilot. I have to say it didn't sit well on her, but I suppose this could be considered a success.
They also tried her on some mild substance abuse, but her personality changed so drastically that they had to stop it. She couldn’t stop saying the word ‘c**t’ – which was bleeped out of course. I understand that there were so many instances of it, that it sounded like they’d been faked – a bit like on that Jeremy Beadle programme from a few years back. (funnily enough, Jeremy was in the invited audience, two rows in front of me)
The pilot show was an hour long, with an agreement that it would be cut down to half an hour in its regular format.
Anyway, when they eventually got back out onto the streets to ask the general public what they thought Claire’s age was, the end result was a foregone conclusion.
I have to add that the desired ageing of Claire was not all down to Paul and his team’s clever tactics. Near the end of the six weeks of filming, Claire was rushed to hospital with alcohol poisoning and had to have emergency surgery. She had only been out of hospital two days when she was ‘persuaded’ by Paul to complete the programme with the ‘guess my age’ spot in some anonymous shopping centre resembling Milton Keynes. (they all resemble Milton Keynes of course, as it was the model for all subsequent shopping centres built throughout the UK. But that’s another matter).
The result of her operation had a two fold effect. Yes, she’d managed to lose almost a stone of the weight she had put on over the filming period. But crucially, it had aged her features by at least another four years I would guess.
So when the mean age was revealed, as Paul and Claire drank coffee in some chic coffee bar, I felt a little cheated.
The mean age was revealed as 36 years. Though, as I said, I personally believe the hospitalisation and operation had added four years to Claire’s age. Therefore, if she hadn’t been hospitalised and we had been judging it purely on the work of Paul and his team, then the mean age would have been just 32 years – co-incidently ’10 Years Older’ than her real age.
Strange the way these things work out.
The end result is that Claire no longer has to worry about being challenged in public houses.
In the two months since the end of filming, she has managed to retain her looks and figure and, in fact, it could be argued that she has aged even more since then.
The latest from the “casting couch” has a certain young Mr. Depp “pencilled in” to play the archetypical American tourist, accidentally caught up in events far from home. (no “damp handshake” here I may add!).
I shall have to remain unofficial in my statements regarding his involvement until signatures have been exchanged.
His part wasn’t “officially” written within the first five drafts of the screenplay but it was expressed by the financiers that American interest in the project would be enhanced by the inclusion of a major American born, box office draw. Unfortunately, Depp was the only one they could muster.
No matter, I shan’t take these liberties with my script to heart. It is the industry norm when one is dealing with big money. And big money is what we need to recreate the floods of last year.
February 24th 2001:
So far we’ve managed to persuade a large number of the Lewes populous to allow their homes to be flooded again this summer for the sake of art. They were quite happy to accept large sums of money in exchange for the inconvenience; monies which will go towards the eventual renovation of their properties, most of which still remain in dire need of repair. I’m just so very glad we can be of help.
Of course if the precipitation proves to be as plentiful as last year then we may not need to recompense. We just turn up and start filming. Well here’s hoping!
February 25th 2001:
Young Depp came over from France to chat through the project. (he tried to write himself a bigger part of course!)
He has this annoying habit of speaking “frog” which has me all of a fluster given my grasping of only the tiniest smattering of “Franglais.” Didn’t get our relationship off on the steadiest of footings I don’t mind saying.
Anyway, thought I’d knock him down a peg or two.
You see, he fancies himself as a bit of a tennis player. (that much I picked up from his “frog” talk.) So I challenged him to a game right there on the spot!
So off we went. I said …”three sets?” He said ..”five.”… “No, you don’t understand.” I said with a wry smile. “It’ll only take three!” That wiped the smile off his face I can tell you.
Anyway, we had quite an audience. Lots of pretty young things had come to watch me thrash him soundly.
And they were definitely on my side too, the way they tried to put him off by staring at him so intently and sitting there with legs held apart, akimbo fashion.
So anyway, there we were, three sets later and I’d somewhat softened towards him. Decided to do the very British thing and let him win. I didn’t realise at the time that I’d decided on that particular course of action but it came to me later that, subconsciously, I’d obviously made that decision without my being aware of it. It’s a wonderful thing the human brain isn’t it?
So there I am, serving, two sets down, one five down in the third set, and at fifteen thirty. Cracking serve it was too, hit the frame of his racket at lightening speed and due to the ferocity of the serve, had enough momentum to come back over the net for a fluke point to him.
He shouts out “love deuce” and with that, all the pretty young things, clamp their legs together in unison. He couldn’t quite get the hang of the scoring system you see. Anyway, he won the next point to win the match.
I was full of admiration for the hordes of young British girls who flocked around him afterwards. I could see they were upset at my losing, yet they did the very British thing in congratulating him warmly – one more warmly than the others if rumours are to be believed.
March 2nd 2001:
Many kind wishes and congratulations have been received and have been warmly welcomed under the difficult circumstances that have constituted the past few weeks. I shan’t elucidate here as to specifics due to the legal ramifications surrounding the various rumours that have abounded and that will eventually be proved to be completely untrue.
Should you be aware of said rumours then you will surely realise their untrue nature. And should you NOT be aware of same, then I shall not waste my time and yours, repeating them here.
But please be assured that everything is running completely on schedule. I run a very tight ship!
March 3rd 2001:
One piece of good news regarding that Depp chap. Due, no doubt, to the cunning shown by my own disregard for glory in having let him beat me at tennis; I can now officially declare that his signature was forthcoming this very morning and he is now completely and officially a member of the “dream team.”
And so it is that finds me spending tonight holed up in a quite adequate suite at the Dorchester in London, having foregone my usual lodgings at my favourite club, in order to entertain our young Mr.Depp.
Having attired myself in apparel suitable for the occasion - smoking jacket and velvet smoking cap, complete with tassel - I was most pleasantly interrupted by a ringing telephone informing me that Depp was equally attired and awaiting my presence in the bar downstairs.
Being initially of a miffed demeanour at his inclusion in ‘my’ production at the insistence of the film’s financiers, I was beginning to have a change of heart, especially so in the knowledge that he was suitably presentable for an evenings jolly in the pleasant surroundings of the Dorchester.
In the circumstances I thought it appropriate to select a number of my finest cigars from the humidor and decant to the bar forthwith.
Yes, it is possible that he’s a quite decent sort of chap after all. He’d obviously gone to the trouble of hiring himself a suitable smoking jacket and cap for the evening, purely out of a mark of respect to my good self. This had the promise of being a very pleasant evening indeed.
Many admiring glances were focused in my direction as I entered the bar in all my finery and made my way over to the lone figure of young Depp perched on a bar stool.
I have to say, my initial reaction was one of disappointment at his choice of apparel; no doubt the American version of a very British tradition, his jacket more resembled a dark gothic version of a duvet quilt than the British tradition to which I was accustomed.
No matter, I tried to look impressed and commented favourably on his choice of evening attire, enquiring as to its providence.
He informed me that he had in fact purchased the same in New York. (they call it a “puffer” jacket over there).
So anyway, we took our positions at a secluded table to avoid prying eyes, and I offered him one of my cigars to “puff” on, while I “smoked” on mine.
The reason I’m telling you all this directly relates to the film, so please bear with me.
You see, young Depp is unfortunate in not being a very strong swimmer, which was proving to be problematic in respect of a vital scene in the film, whereby it is necessary for him to be swept forcibly down the Ouse. Witness the scene in the film “Chocolat” where young Depp was required to swim across the river to the burning boat. It is very clear that his head has been computer spliced onto a stunt double which, for me, completely ruins the film, not that it was a very good film anyway.
Of course a stunt double could be utilised for those critical scenes in Operation South Downs, but this was something I wasn’t prepared to consider given the need for a few crucial close ups.
This was something I wished to discuss with him within the relaxed and pleasant surroundings of the Dorchester. (only after a few gins you understand, by way of making him feel more relaxed. I could see that he was initially somewhat tense in my esteemed company.)
Anyway, after our fifth G&T I took it upon myself to raise the subject of this crucial scene.
Three G&T’s later and he was still adamant that a double would suffice (stunt double, that is, not a G&T double,)
That’s when it hit me; another one of my flashes of genius at the most opportune of moments. Let me explain:-
Young Depp was slightly squiffy by the end of the evening when I suggested he loan me his “puffer” for a couple of days. He naturally complied at my continued insistence, with wild animal gesticulations, before falling off his chair. He was carried up to his room, minus “puffer.”
March 4th 2001:
The morning after the night before, I take young Depp’s jacket to our costume department with very precise instructions as to its modification.
March 5th 2001:
Gloria from the costume department, myself and Depp are standing by the side of a quiet stretch of the Thames, when I remove his “puffer” from the boot of my car.
He is naturally pleased at its return and doesn’t notice the modifications to its construction.
Anyway, he puts the jacket on and smiles contentedly. I suggest he pulls up the zipper to its full extent, to which he of course complies.
He is in the process of igniting a cheroot when I manfully toss him into the Thames.
to be continued...........
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
It's unlikely I'll have the time or the inclination to log-in to my blog whilst there, so here it is - Part Two of Operation South Downs.
December 13th 2000:
Things are certainly moving apace; numerous personal recollections documenting the direct and indirect effects on the lives of those involved in the great floods are coming together in a coherent structure which will form the backbone of my documentary.
The day to day grind of everyday existence of those affected has been disrupted to an obviously extreme degree by the power wielded by mother nature in all her awesome glory. That one can utilise that same material as the basis for a blockbuster screenplay of the natural disaster genre, is most welcome.
I envisage its premise as being very similar to ‘Twister’ but without the cows swirling across the sky – though having said that, if one could provide proof that this has in fact occurred as a direct or indirect result of the adverse conditions, then I should surely include it.
December 21st / 22nd 2000:
A very welcome visit by (name deleted) from the U.S. has only confirmed my thoughts and ideas on the particular matter of a great British production.
Certainly, monies will no doubt have to be forthcoming to a greater degree from our American cousins if the project can be gotten successfully off the ground.
I was assured the following morning that belief in the project was solid and all-encompassing. I’m now extremely confident that a British made production is a distinct possibility and has the potential to rival anything that Hollywood can throw at us.
January 19th 2001:
This has been a glorious day, wonderfully capped off by the signing up of Wales’ most famous son, Anthony ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, for the leading male role.
My meeting with him in person was our first encounter but was destined not to be our last. Now it is down to me to put to him my proposal.
I shouldn’t have been so nervous, for he was extremely gushing when I presented to him the briefest of synopsi, and in fact nearly fell off his bar stool with the excitement of it all.
On the strength of his involvement our hopes have been greatly enlivened.
It is now our belief that we will be able to gather together the cream of British film talent for a rollercoaster ride through the East Sussex countryside.
January 26th – February 2nd 2001:
It is unfortunate, but rumours of Jones and Douglas being involved in our film project, was sadly only that…. a rumour. They did, however, profess their disappointment at not being able to participate due to a previous engagement.
It is true, however, that Julia Roberts has expressed an interest in playing the Hopkin’s love interest.
It is with extreme regret that we had to turn her down due to her not being able to convince with an East Sussex brogue. Very disappointing given that she’s an absolute corker, and more so in real life I can tell you! The upside is, is that we’ve managed to save a few million squid on fees.
(It was pointed out to me that Miss Roberts is very much a major box office draw, and yes, she was willing to work for a substantially reduced fee for the privilege of working with Hopkins.
Jane Horrocks, had even been tentatively signed up to dub Julia’s voiceover, but alas, it was not to be.
February 6th 2001:
Some major re-writing required on what is now my fifth draft of the screenplay.
It is now a joint effort with (name deleted). Can't say that I get on particulary well with the fellow!
Sixteen hour days are beginning to take their toll.
Also, a full realisation that there will be a requirement for a few hundred extras over the summer of 2001, now definitely agreed as to be filmed on location in East Sussex.
A few conditions have been drafted up specifying the necessity of each film extra to be a certificated swimmer, for those scenes where a large number of persons are forcibly swept down the River Ouse. Wet suits will of course be provided. We would have preferred the dry suit variety but found that the very nature of their construction causes them to be visible under everyday clothing.
February 8th 2001:
In respect of the requirement for extras; we need to draw up a disclaimer due to the real health risks involved (other than drowning). This is due to the very real but very small risk of serious infection by the natural contamination caused by raw sewage in the floodwaters.
Should be a wonderful experience fro them, something they can tell their grandchildren about and certainly it will be a better organised experience than those equivalent scenes experienced by extras, during the filming of “Titanic” where a number of extras, and more importantly, Winslet and Capriot, nearly drowned.
February 12th 2001:
I previously enlightened you as to the involvement of Hoppy in the starring role, where, in fact I should have stated that his involvement at that stage wasn’t officially “official” as per the “official” meaning of the word “official.”
I had my knuckles severely rapped on that one, I can tell you!
Seems that the gentleman’s agreement of a gob of spit skilfully directed at the palm of one’s hand and slapped into the hand of another, equally enhanced by a gob of same, is not sufficient to “ do the deal.”
To say I was extremely miffed at this revelation is an understatement! As far as I was concerned, the ”damp handshake” was a legally binding agreement! Fortunately, Hoppy, being the gentleman that he is, thought the same as I and signed on the dotted line the very next day.
As to his starring role, he’ll play the part of Parsons Linklater, ex-lifeboat captain, “retired” to the sleepy little town of Lewes, these past number of years. Through the gradual telling of his story in Act One, all will be revealed as to his very last operation as lifeboat captain, where a fatal drowning “accident” occurred; he being implicated in its great and awful tragedy.
Of course, our hero is completely exonerated in the ensuing court case, but not before it has left the indelible imprint of failure, etched on his brain.
And so there we find him, prematurely retired, trying to put the past behind him when his skills are once more called to the fore in the devastating floods that land literally on his very doorstep. Will he “bottle it” or will he come to the rescus and save the day? You’ll need to see the film to find out.
February 16th 2001:
A number of persons have expressed their dismay at our turning down Julia Roberts in the female lead. Wholly understandable given her acting credentials and her special place in the hearts of the British audience. As I have stated elsewhere, her abilities to play a character other than that of the American persuasion, sadly proved her eventual downfall.
Further to that, I’ve been inundated with bouquets of flowers and numerous phone calls from the very sweet Miss Horrocks, who you may remember had been “pencilled in” to dub the voiceover for Miss Roberts. It seems she has friends in high places. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve been “persuaded” as to her suitability for the leading lady, namely Parson’s Linklater’s love interest, and the phone calls and bunches of flowers have now thankfully ceased.
I have to say my wife is now sadly talking to me again, having been sorely convinced of my involvement with the said Miss Horrocks. Words were exchanged which could not be printed here for fear of causing offence.
As to Miss Horrocks, she may be a wonderful character actress and an accomplished chanteuse - thankfully her vocal prowess is not required on this occasion – but her fissog leaves a lot to be desired in terms of capturing the desires of the male cinema going public. This has entailed additional expense in terms of the make-up budget and computer generated enhancements (CGI) in order for her to be transformed into an acceptable leading lady.
You have to understand that her first scene with Hopkins is when he drags her “bloated corpse” from the Ouse and instinctively performs the kiss of life upon her cold blue lips. This is a vital scene in their introduction, when she coughs up a gob of brown Ouse water, opens her eyes and seeing her saviour, immediately falls in love with him, and he likewise with her.
As you can imagine, she needs to look completely captivating even though she’s just been swept down river and swallowed a whole bucketful of rancid Ouse. This has called for a hefty appliance of superior quality foundation cream, not to mention the extra-firm hair gel to keep her “bob” in place.
Thankfully, developments in make-up technology have progressed enormously in the last few years, thanks mainly to “Titanic.” - witness the remarkable way that Miss Winslet remains a complete dish even after being submerged in the icy cold water, and all thanks to the make-up department. I know it will be an even harder task with Horrocks, but I’m convinced we can do it and that our make-up team will be “up there” when the nominations are announced.
Part Three to follow next week.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
My answer? For one good reason.......I need to make money. I have had a few lean years after the disaster that was 'Operation South Downs.' I had mortgaged myself to the hilt and overspent in all areas of my life, having assumed the great financial success of the film, only to have it all fall in on me when I was kicked out of the profession - not officially, but to all intents and purposes.
'Quigley Cuts Down' is my first film venture in 4 years. That's 4 years with very little money coming in and plenty going out. And don't imagine that I am being paid a fortune on this project. Its budget is lower than the belly of a snake.
Internetgamble.org has contributed, in a small way, to my financial survival.
Hopefully I can sell it on at a later date, but until I am financially secure again, it shall remain active and a contributory factor to my survival.
For your information - 'Operation South Downs - Part Two' will be added here next week.
I haven't worked out how many 'parts' there will be in total yet, but somewhere around 30 or 40 parts, I imagine. (or until I get shut down for legal reasons)
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I DO KNOW who you are Mr Pilchard, though I have decided that I will NOT reveal your identity on this blog, unless you choose to do the same in relation to mine. We both have a great deal to lose, so it is in neither of our interest to cause hurt and pain to the other by so doing.
In relation to your recent emails I have been ‘persuaded’ to talk about a particular period of my life in some detail. In conclusion, it is my intention to reveal certain events, during the course of the next few weeks. I hope that I do not live to regret this.
Here is the first part.
You may or may not remember what was then to be a major cinematic release in the summer of 2002. It was to be Britain’s answer to the American disaster movie “blockbuster” in the shape of a film based on actual events that had occurred at the latter part of year 2000 in the UK.
It may all seem like a long time ago, but the experiences surrounding both the actual events and the dramatising of those events on film, still bear heavily on my psyche.
What I am about to impart is actually a record of events in the shape of my own personal diaries recording the making of the film in which I was writer and director.
It was my first major film project after 15 years in the business and until ‘Quigley Cuts Down’ (see previous blog entries), it was my only major film project.
The whole thing began with the great floods that decimated the countryside around the area of Lewes in the southern part of England in year 2000. This was a major event in many peoples’ lives and achieved much media attention across the whole of the UK. There was even a book of photographs published, just after the events, full of dramatic images recording those events.
To cut a long story short, I had the idea for a UK based film project, dramatising the events of the floods – a film to rival anything Hollywood could throw at us. After all, we had the technology, the people and the real events as a basis for a screenplay.
I’m being brief here and cutting out a lot of facts, as I want to get to the main body of the text which are my own personal diaries recording the making of the film. A film which has not yet seen the light of day, either as a cinematic release or on video/DVD.
Anyway, I ended up co-scripting the film, based on my original idea. I was also the assistant director on the project. Incidentally, the director was very ill during the weeks and months of location shoots, which gave me the opportunity to take the reigns and make my mark.
We finished filming in February 2002 – ready for a summer release that year. Unfortunately, as I have stated, the film never made the cinema screens or even made it to video/DVD! I have to add that this has nothing to do with the standard or quality of the final product.
At the very worst, the special effects were truly amazing and in my own personal opinion the film had “success” written all over it. The reason for its never having yet seen the light of day is purely down to a few individuals (who will remain nameless here) exercising specific clauses in their contracts.
For it ever to be seen by the British public will require certain individuals to “pass away” or lighten up in their response to certain occurrences they were directly involved in but don’t want ever to be exposed for fear of ridicule.
It was always intended that I would publish a film diary, including many of my own photographs. It was my own little pet project, but was seen by the backers as purely a marketing ploy to increase public interest in the film. I didn’t mind this aspect, as I was given a pretty free reign as to its content. The only trouble, as it turned out, was that the diaries were contractually to be launched precisely two weeks after the American release of the film. As the film was never released in America or anywhere else for that matter, my diaries were shelved and even now, four years later, I am still not permitted to seek publication.
I am not even allowed to mention, anywhere in writing, the title of the film.
I will call it here “Operation South Downs.” After all this was my original name for the film but was changed at the behest of one of the American backers.
I will, however, mention the log-line that was to be used in all the film posters, marketing and media advertising.
It came to me, straight off the cuff, at an early meeting :–
“PREPARE TO BE SWEPT AWAY.”
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was used as the log-line in a subsequent film. Not that I received any credit for its inception.
Not long after the film was completed and during the protracted and stressful dealings with lawyers etc, I suffered a breakdown. At this point in my life I felt ashamed and a complete and utter failure! This was the lowest point of my life experience to date. It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve been able to face up to it all and actually talk about that period in my life. What helps immensely, is that I am very happy with the progress of my latest venture ‘Quigley Cuts Down’ which is currently in production and due for release in summer 2007. (Of course this title is my own concoction. The real title I cannot reveal for fear of revealing my true identity)
One good thing – I have checked with my legal council and due to the nature of this website and the fact that submitting material here does not constitute “publication” in the legal and contractual sense of the word, I am able to let you read some excerpts from my diaries.
I hope, one day, to actually publish them in book form, complete with photographs, but until then, this will have to suffice.
Looking at my writing with hindsight, I realise that some of it is too deliberate and contrived. I was possibly too aware of it being written for publication and have probably tried too hard to be interesting or funny. I have been tempted to re-write it armed with the knowledge and experience of the last couple of painful years of my life. But being a bit of a purest, I have decided to leave alone.
Some of the names have been deleted/changed for legal reasons, otherwise most are of actual persons involved. I certainly hope you enjoy. Please do feel free to leave your comments or questions.
Monday, September 04, 2006
A public school teacher was arrested today at Gatwick Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Home Secretary John Reid said he believes the man is a member of the notorious "Al-gebra" movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the Met Police with carrying weapons of math's instruction.
"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Reid said."They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute values. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with co-ordinates in every country.
As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle".
When asked to comment on the arrest, Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Math's Instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."
More terror in the air, this time in the skies over Canada when a man on an internal flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg was seen trying forcibly to open the door to the cockpit. The passengers' fears, however , were not immediately calmed when they found out he was the pilot. An airline spokeswoman said the pilot had left his position to use the toilet only to find the door back into the cockpit had jammed and would not open. Eventually the crew managed to remove the door from its hinges to let him back in. The spokeswoman admitted the incident had been "a bit dramatic" but insisted that at no time were the passengers in any danger.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Here’s the NFL schedule to give you a glimpse of the exciting matches that will be sure to cause frenzied betting.
National Football League (NFL) - Week One schedule:
Thursday, Sept. 7
Miami at Pittsburgh - 8:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Sept. 10
Atlanta at Carolina - 1:00 p.m. ET
Baltimore at Tampa Bay - 1:00 p.m. ET
Buffalo at New England - 1:00 p.m. ET
Cincinnati at Kansas City - 1:00 p.m. ET
Denver at St. Louis - 1:00 p.m. ET
New Orleans at Cleveland - 1:00 p.m. ET
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee - 1:00 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at Houston - 1:00 p.m. ET
Seattle at Detroit - 1:00 p.m. ET
Chicago at Green Bay - 4:15 p.m. ET
Dallas at Green Bay - 4:15 p.m. ET
San Francisco at Arizona - 4:15 p.m. ET
Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants - 8:15 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 11
Minnesota at Washington - 7:00 p.m. ET
San Diego at Oakland - 10:15 p.m. ET
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