Learning from The Floyd, singing for the soul and a pocket full of Rye

January 25, 2010 at 2:16 am (Uncategorized)

“I suddenly realised then, that year, that life was already happening.  I think it was because my mother was so obsessed with education and the idea that childhood and adolescence and well, everything, was about preparing for a life that was going to start later and I suddenly realised that well, life wasn’t going to start later, it starts at year dot and it happens all the time, and then at any point, you can grasp the reigns and start guiding your own destiny.  That was a big revelation to me.  I mean, it came as quite a shock”.  – Roger Waters

Brothers and sisters.  I have grasped the reigns.  Life is happening now and it is good.

This weekend has been full of song.  Gospel song.  Rye song.  Mahalia Jackson song.  Miles Davis trumpet-song.  Pink Floyd lunatic song.  Lotus Mason song.  Jack Kerouac poetry-song.  Mumford song.  Heartbeat song.  I grapsed the reigns and sang.

2010 has been wonderful so far.  My resolutions have served me well – against the ‘resolutions odds’.  I’ve been more organised (a day-to-a-page diary is a wonderous thing), prioritised my creative endeavours (see singing, above / the Simone de Beauvoir project, more to follow / finally going to a drop-in acting class / writing every day, uh… pretty much / keeping my blog, uh…), no alcohol in January (it’s been really great but… roll on February), and, finally – well, I haven’t been quite so late, so that’s a step in the right direction.

OK.  So what’s all this about grasping the reigns?

So, this year, something’s changed.  I think I realised that life was happening and I was still thinking of everything I was doing as ‘the planning phase’.  So, I made some decisions (resolutions, above) and became myself.

As an example, I suppose this weekend is a sort of microcosm of the year so far, so rather than bore you with a daily breakdown of why things are so up, here is a wee insight.

Filming, eating, drinking, singing…

Friday was a great day, filming with Sangeeta.  We actually got everything done (woohoo!), and Sangeeta was fabulous.  We hightailed it back into London with time to spare and met some friends at Chinese Eat and Drink for food and really really bad Karaoke, with visuals created by someone with some kind of inherent understanding of what might appeal to the strange assortment of wrecked city boys, pseudo gangsters and us that crushed affectionately into each other in the small bar and bonded over ‘Your Song/Angels/Wonderwall’ etc.  Sadly, jasmine tea didn’t quite paint the same picture for me, but I had a good time in a voyeuristic kind of a way.  Saturday a.m. I was up with the lark and off to Turnham Green to visit Sarah, Andrew and their gorgeous baby Ava.  Babies are well small. I had a quick go at holding her, playing with her floppy legs, hypnotising her – you know.  Then I had to rush off to sing Gospel music with JS.

God Almighty’s Gonna Cut you down

Yes he is.  According to the first song learned at singing club.  I didn’t really have to rush to singing club, I wanted to.  And I didn’t really even know why.  I hadn’t really even articulated to myself the kind of experience I might have singing Gospel songs with a group of people, most of whom I didn’t know.  But it was the right thing to do, hallelujah!  I have been utterly high ever since.  7 voices raised up and singing for the joy is soul-filling, body tingling fun.  Thank you JS for organising.

A belly full of food and a pocket full of Rye

Gospel singing was followed by a massively impressive three course meal with Gail, V and Emma at Dana’s.  Dana is amazing.  I would definitely cheat if I had to make a three course meal, but she made the whole lot.  She even chilled mousse in the fridge and everything.  Today, beautiful Blair and Liz came over for lunch and a walk before 2 become 3.  And, Guy joined us so he and I could rehearse and he could eat dinner.  We raised up our voices again Rye-style and I felt proud of our songs and proud of our friends, and grateful and joyful and glad.  Then I stuffed my face with dinner, popped a white rose in my pocket and a red rose in Ronny’s, and we went off to Tom Green’s 30th party as ‘The War of the Roses.’

Assorted aborted/postponed trains of thought

When I was thinking about this blog on the train earlier, there was a lot more I wanted to talk about.  iPhone apps (Play Ligeti was voted number 5 in the Guardian Top 30 cultural apps list) and business plans (I’m officially working with Electric Ears), inspirational talks I attended, talks I gave, the screenplay I’m trying to write (the Simone de Beauvoir project), ideas for the Joan Didion project (so many.  I love her.), articles I’ve read that, so carefully, articulated feeling-thoughts that I’ve had but not voiced properly.  And I haven’t even started about John Lennon.

The end.

But now it’s ten to two in the morning and I’m very tired from doing all of the things I wanted to write about.  I guess that’s the right way round.  Halleljuah!

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The light of learning, the pre-human roots of laughter, Jane Fonda (bizarrely) and Saturn returning

June 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm (Uncategorized)

Jane Fonda

Yes – the person I’d really like to be is Jane Fonda.  I don’t think it’s much to ask.  I just watched a programme about her on the Biography channel (ah – the wonder of living with parents who have Sky).  I slightly loved her.  Actually, massively loved her.  Vivacious, beautiful, natural, passionate, a campaigner, humble when she realised she was wrong, fierce when she knows she is right, independent – the list goes on.  Oh to be like Jane.  I immediately started looking up acting classes online once the programme finished (more Saturn returning searching), and decided to be more active and vocal about the things I believe in.  Sometimes I feel a bit scared that I might be wrong, that I don’t know enough information to justify an opinion worthy of expressing, but Jane would have none of that.  I might have to change my top heroines list and demote Diane from Cheers to number two position.  I love her too.

The End of the Line – some good news and some bad news

I was reading about Sarah Brown’s Twittering habits the other day (there is a link, bear with me) and I learned that, not only was she growing baby strawberries successfully in the Number 10 garden and some other innane stuff, but that she’d been to see a preview of The End Of The Line. This reminded me of the imminent release of this important film, distributed by my friend Oli’s excellet company Dogwoof.  Jane would approve of Dogwoof – they distributed The Age of Stupid, Black Gold, and The Devil Came on Horseback. So, the good news is that this film is coming out highlighting the deeply problematic effects of over fishing.  And the bad news is, well, the over fishing.  I mentioned it to my mum today before she went to the shops to get a week’s supply, which would invariably include some breaded cod.  She’d never heard that over-fishing was a threat (too much Biography channel, not enough Discovery).  Hopefully, this film will remind mums and shoppers everywhere that we should think twice before buying fish without looking at how and where it is caught and if there are alternatives.

The pre-human roots of language

In happier news, check out this job.  This guy gets to tickle apes for a living.  Tee hee.

And in other news

Amber, Nisha and I screened our film Welcome to the Big Top privately to a select industry audience at the BFI.  It went pretty well, and we’ve got another screening coming up at the Victoria on the 4 July.

Guy’s back in town (yay!), so more music is on the agenda.

Ronny and I are moving – to Leytonstone – to this house (hopefully, if the survey is ok)  (but we’re not paying that much for it – phew).

And Rouge and Tripoli is up and running – recovering from a bit of a sprint actually.  The beginning of this year saw a ridiculous onslaught of work which, whilst wonderful, was exhausting.  More on this to follow.  But in a much calmer fashion.

Oh – and finally, check this out: Jim-Haynes.com Yup – what a dude.  Ronny, our friend Rach, and I are all going to dinner at his house in Paris at the end of June.  Eeeeeee!

Bye now. x

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Goodbye to Rosie, queen of Corona…

November 4, 2008 at 1:53 am (General News) (, , , , , , , )

I was going to start this post with a quote from a Paul Simon song that wittily tied the way I’m feeling now with the presidential race in the USA, but I’m being distracted by a programme about atoms that Ronny is watching which just claimed that a human being is actually hotter than the sun: basically, if there was a piece of sun the same size as me, I’d be hotter. This has no relevance to anything – but I like it. The rest of the programme is kind of freaky. I’m not a big fan of thinking too much about space. It hurts my brain.

So back to where I almost started… ‘I’m on my way, I don’t know where I’m going, I’m on my way, I’m taking my time and I don’t know where…’ This is how I feel at the moment. I do feel like I’m on my way – I’m finally feeling brave enough to try a few of my own creative endeavours. These include…

a) making a film with my friends Amber and Nisha (of Broken Hearts fame), now funded by the New Pathways film fund. We had a meeting about it on Saturday morning at Hackney City Farm (see below). We seem to have been drinking about 25 cups of coffee between us… But we got a lot done and it all seems very do-able and exciting…

b) making music with my friend Guy. I’m uploading a few snippets now – just snapshots of our haphazard rehearsals but you get the idea. We might get round to gigging one of these days if we can ever think of a better name than Castell and Hobbs which makes us sound like a slightly rubbish (possibly seaside resort based) 70s comedy duo.

Here is me singing from a while ago. I’m trying to upload some ‘Castell and Hobbs’ but it’s not letting me so that can be for the next blog.

c) initiating the greatest ‘great initiative’ yet with the help and support of my friend Oli, with additional support from Alis, Emma, Jesse, Damjan, Zeina, Dominic and Jamie.

Watch this space for the fruits of our endeavours.

In other news, I ignored Halloween in favour of a night in front of our new massive TV watching Lawrence of Arabia which I had never seen. It is overwhelmingly cinematic in ways that I forget cinema can be. Teresa from my work told me that you can go to Dorset and see T.E. Lawrence’s actual house and where he crashed his motorbike and that he didn’t have a kitchen.

I also spent an evening in the company of my friend Jimmy who was turning 21. Hilariously, my brother suggested that all the youthful guests of such a party would turn to me for wise counsel about such mature things as ‘taxes’, which, being a woman of a certain age, I would undoubtedly know about. Instead, I danced around to any and all music, got a bit tipsy, made everyone go to Costcutter at 2am to buy snacks, cooked pizza and pasta in the middle of the night and got home around 4am. Ah yes, I’m glad I showed those whipper snappers a good example of being a grown up.

Tomorrow, I shall entertain much more adult thoughts such as the future of America, whose fate will be being decided. Just like me, America is going somewhere. I hope…

Good night x

Oh – also made my bro a very basic website for his show Barbershopera – check it out and come and see them at Theatre503 in Battersea later this month!

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Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

August 18, 2008 at 10:21 pm (Uncategorized)

Good evening.

And welcome to my blog.  Tonight I will be discussing the joys of DJing, more successes, the great spider plant giveaway and my grandma.  I won’t do it in this order just to keep you guessing and liven things up a bit.  Crazy – that’s me.

My Grandma.

My grandma is 94 and two months ago she had a stroke.  This was very sad and worrysome – particularly because until that point she’d been pretty unstoppable.  Really, knowing my grandma who’s motto is ‘just get on with it mate’, I needn’t have been anxious.  She is now back home, enjoying her regular 8 cups of tea a day and doing laps of her living room with her trolly.  On Friday, having walked all around her garden, torn up a big cardboard box and done some leg exercises she was frustrated at being ‘a bit tired’.  I love my grandma.

Sometimes, when I feel a bit annoyed by something probably quite small, or feel a bit hard done by, I think about grandma and feel a bit ashamed.  She sprayed torpedos with lead during the war and everything and I’m probably thinking ‘bloody hell, the internet’s a bit slow today’.

We cracked up when I asked her about her friend Peggy’s husband.  Grandma said “he wasn’t alive when I knew him” and then we both laughed.  Getting on with it, tea and being able to laugh at yourself – keys to successful living.

Revolving it with the Broken Hearts

On Saturday night I went to the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club to see my friend Amber who was DJing.  Amber-Jane is one half of the gorgeous and fantabulous Broken Hearts.  They also have their own radio show on Q radio.  It is called The Broken Hearts Mystery Hour and features themed songs and fantastic facts.  They would have liked my fact about whales with legs.  On Saturday, Nisha (the other half) was away, so Amber taught me how to ‘revolve it’.  This was very fun but also a bit scary in case you put something on and everyone stops dancing.  It gave me new-found respect for the psychology of DJing – you have to know your crowd.  Amber and Nisha definitely know their crowds – they go all over the place DJing which I suppose also makes them pop-psychologists.  They do it so well that they were voted 16th on a list of 50 people to watch by the Observer Magazine.  I think they were next to Gok Wang and he’s well famous

More amazing Barbershopera news!

Not to keep going on or anything… but my brother’s show, Barbershopera has been voted for three, yes THREE musical theatre matters awards.  That is all.

The great spider plant giveaway

Um… does anyone want any spider plants?  We have a massively over-procreative spider plant and have planted about 30 tiny baby spider plants which you can have if you promise to take care of them.  They are very easy to look after and may too reward you with millions of offspring.

I think that’s it.

Bye now.x

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This could be the beginning of…

August 9, 2008 at 11:46 pm (General News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Well there must be something in the water / stars / tea leaves / lines of our hands / you get the idea, because this week sees not only the beginning of this blog (finally!), but of a whole host of other good news which I will attempt to share with you in a brief (ha! I’ll try, I’ll try), witty and yes, informative way.

Here’s a quick breakdown for the impatient (hmm – good title for an album?!)

  • Barbershopera gets 5*s
  • Baby humans
  • Baby fish
  • We get OnToIt

Barbershopera – the launch of new musical theatre legends

For the first beginning (?), let me tell you of my brother Rob, his friends Tom, Mark, Lara and Sarah and their show ‘Barbershopera’. For those of you unfamiliar with this fantastic new musical, I won’t risk gushing at you in proud sisterly fashion. Instead, I shall leave it up to the pros who, so far, have said…

“This is an accomplished and original production, which lightly splashes de rigueur pop culture touchstones (a particular highlight is the montage of famous film montages) with more esoteric references, such as The Marriage of Figaro. But it’s rooted in the traditions of Barbershop music, and is a delight to hear and see in such an intimate environment.” 5*s! Continued here

“Musically inventive, cleverly choreographed and overwhelmingly funny, Barbershopera expands not just the vocabulary of English, but the capacity of musical theatre to offer genuine entertainment. Of the hundreds of a cappella Rocky montages I’ve witnessed, none come even close to that of Toni & the Guys.” 4*s Continued here

If you or anyone you know are going to Edinburgh, please help spread the Barbershopera love. They are on (almost) every night at The Pleasance Beside and you can book tickets here.

Baby Humans

Yup… it’s begun. Procreation. And it’s being done by our friends. I’m struck by wonder and fear.

Love to little Violet Vee Human who was born in July. Check out her dad’s wunderband A Human. And to the Turnbull-Pamment bump which has me all of a dither and suddenly inspired to turn my hand to a spot of aunty-type knitting. I’m very excited!!

Baby Fish

This week, my flatmate and ‘brutha’ Rian P Haynes’ fish gave birth… to babies. Not eggs. Babies – live ones.

Apparently, some fish do this. Who knew?

Also, in additional trivia from my friend Jen this week – sometimes whales are born with legs. Brilliant.

We Get OnToIt

I’m finally working on our website http://www.ontoitproductions.com. You can’t see it yet. There’s not a huge amount of point in my posting this as ‘news’. But it’s another beginning, and soon we shall take over the world. That is all. See how I tease you?

And, in other news…

I’m scheduled to speak at The Media Festival in November. Check out the slightly scarily accomplished line-up and my very posy photo here. I’m hoping the photo makes up for the slight gap between me and oh, you know, the Chief Executive of the UK Film Council, Nokia’s Head of Multimedia, the BBC’s Head of Vision… Um…

We will be up in Edinburgh from 21-25 August filming Rob. So if you’re there and fancy hanging out and sharing a battered mars bar, let me know. Oh, and – GO SEE ROB’S SHOW!

My film recommendation of the week is Man on Wire. It’s not the most brilliantly made film of all time, but it’s the most thrilling, inspiring, bewildering story that made an impact on my spirit like no film has done for a while. It’s a reminder that sometimes, you just have to go for it or as Cosmo Landesman put it in his review “Today, if someone tried a similar stunt, he or she would be condemned by health experts, psychologists and parents’ groups for setting a dangerous example.  We need this film to remind us that there are things worth dying for – and dancing on the rooftop of the world is one of them”. I even wrote a song about it.

Oh yes – that’s my final beginning. Or re-beginning. I’m singing again with my friend Guy. We haven’t recorded anything properly yet, but I made a little reverbnation site in advance with some of my old music on there and some more posy photos. (I’m planning to dress Guy up, pop on some manscara, switch on the fan and get him to make love to the camera soon too so it’s more fair). We’re planning to play live somewhere in September so I’ll keep you posted.

See you soon.

Rachx

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