Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Twitter ye not

I baulk at the arrogance of announcing ones departure really
but in light of someone doing just that a wee while ago....I'm having
a little smile to myself about doing so.

I love Twitter,I do.It has changed my life for the better a millionfold.
Almost everyone I genuinely treasure(as opposed to tolerate out of politeness because time/society/blood dictates I have to) I found through there and it's kept my sanity intact through many long lonely dark nights of the soul for almost 2 years (It's the Social media equivalent of Dog Man Star) But the communications that led to my naffing off were from folk who clearly would better find a better outlet for their intensely passionate man love here....

Peace out,Love on X

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Here's summat that rocked my world earlier

Last night being a zombie saved my life..

Have you ever wondered what would become of your mind if you removed all the pop culture points of reference?I've this lingering suspicion that if that were to happen to me there'd be nothing left.

I've spent the last few years adrift in the terrifying world of the fellow mums(ok,that's a bit harsh..they're not all bad,but there's the inescapable fact that had we not kids of the same age we'd have fuck all in common)and opportunities to indulge my brain in some 100% sans child stimuli have been few and far between,until April 30th 08 when a kind soul forwarded me this...

"..Ever fancied being a zombie?you have?Good.Because this is a once- in- a- deathtime chance to be part of a terrifying undead army of the damned.."

Whilst it's not my favourite genre,there's a big space in my heart for some horror
movies so I wouldve jumped at the chance anyway but better yet,this was for a production written by Charlie Brooker.
Much cooler folk than me have been enamoured of his work for years but I spotted him on BBC4 last year casually referencing wanking and IRA hunger strikers within the space of 2 minutes and (as anyone who knows me personally can confirm)such remarks are just the sort to make me come over all Leslie Phillips.
Anyway,ten days and one glorious afternoon with two toddlers stomping mud all over my favourite khaki green sack of a frock later,I was off to be a zombie...

..As any keen viewer of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe will tell you,the onscreen appearances of the production team are a key part of the programme's charm.
(I think it's marvellous but wondered when I first discovered it was it really made for viewers or to dazzle their media peers;that they will all willingly look daft onscreen from time to time tips my view towards it being the former)so it was very exciting at the outset to see two familiar faces shepherding us would be zombies onto the buses to the location.

Two uncomfortably sticky hours through London rush hour traffic and one nascent friendship later,we were disembarking at the location preparing to get all zombied up.I ducked to the back of a line immediately as despite the great conversation on the bus I still felt a tad foolish;like I had no right to be with the 'cool kids'.It's not a self esteem issue on my part you understand,more a post traumatic stress secondary school flashback that I have whenever I'm around loads of people.

The make up people doused us with fake blood,enjoying a conspiratorial giggle as they went,about the prospect of us freaking out pillheads after being dropped back in Trafalgar square at 4am after the shoot.
I marvelled at the zombie incarnation of the miniature Alpha female that had been on the same bus as me as she looked very much like Sherilyn Fenn during her fleeting appearance as an RTA victim in Wild At Heart and when they got to me I suspect I enjoyed it a little too much.

"...Ooh yes.." I thought,feeling it dribble down me and stick several layers of clothing together,"Carmilla from The Vampire Lovers eat your heart out"
I'm wishing! I'm wishing! (alas I looked rather more Sissy Spacek in Carrie)there,now I've dispensed with my Snow White impersonation I'll divulge what happened next.

Anyone reading remember the Giant in Twin Peaks?(he appears to Agent Cooper at key moments and most eerily,as Laura Palmer's murderer is striking again)I thought he was the tallest man I'd ever seen for some years and then I saw Charlie Brooker.(From toe to the tip of his Tin Tin quiff he must be 6ft 7)
The befittingly towering one marched up to us barking in German and beckoning for us to follow him round to where they were filming....

So then,loads of volunteer zombies looking like they'd been given facials by Bella Donna et al at 'the wrong time of the month' and one fine figure of a writer looking terribly important with his armful of papers...

Around the set we go to where a scene is in progress,we're asked to crouch down and stay silent and watching this makes me immediately feel like my 5 year old self,having my mind blown by discovering that you can take a picture and watch it pop out of the camera and develop before your very eyes.
Then...time for us simpering bitches to make ourselves useful.

We were taking our directions from two people so very good looking I laugh to this day about them working behind the camera.The male AD was well,not far off the leading man from Prison Break and the blonde lady(I forget if she was an AD also,I presume so)was all understated elegance in the way you imagine someone like Anna Wintour might be but her voice....
(I am as tediously heterosexual as they come but it made me all of a flutter)
Like the cadbury Caramel bunny,but even sexier if that's possible?
hilariously,my enduring memory of those mellifluous tones is
The next chancer that fancies a crack at recording something comparable with Je t'aime or French kiss could do no better than sampling it in my opinion.

Shot completed,we line up to be photographed and then disperse to chat and guzzle water before Prison Break style pretty boy AD dismisses us for an hour or so.It was at this point I think that I received one of the biggest surprises of the night.A fellow zombie had aggravated their asthma during the scene we'd just
filmed and concerned,I thrust my inhaler at them which they used and then bemoaned how unglamorous it was...although I didnt say it I thought,
...Fuck you,die of breathlessness next time then....

Onto what pretty boy AD termed the Prison bus and people are comparing notes about the shocking tv they watch at times.I was so embarrassed fessing up to my guilty pleasures I havent watched any of them since,but I dont miss them at all I have to say.I muttered something to a pair of delightful Charlie Brooker worshipping 19 year old boys about having brought a book to get signed,but that it was too naff and uncool a thing to do and they insisted it wasnt.

I found when I first got into his stuff that a lot of online fans are insufferably superior if you havent been there for years so it was a delight and a shock to find that in person there's virtually none of this.

Indeed I did get my book signed too.I'd had a dilemma over which of the two currently available books to bring but had opted for Screen Burn in the end as my daughter was not quite 3 at the time it first came into my house and she saw every adult in her life convulse with laughter at this book within the space of 6 weeks,so went through an adorable phase of fetching this book and bringing it to me when she'd been naughty thinking the book that makes everyone happy would be just the bollocking evading tactic she needed.

The book signing was great fun,in fact I was particularly fascinated to see the dedications that had been written in the books not by CB.
my favourite being...fuck your book..in a copy of Stalingrad.

The en masse photographing was another matter.Just prior to the kick off of the Charlie love in I'd been explaining to 2 of the Screenwipe production team about the insane number of groups devoted to the programme and how the one whose existence amused me most had a great name but never seemed to see any action in terms of posts or uploads so one of the lovely ladies offered to take a pic of me with their director(more recognisable to viewers as TV lucifer Barry Shitpeas)
cue excruciating embarrassment on my part,and near preposterous levels of patience and kindness on theirs.I am now however,the toast and envy of all my young student mates

Whenever I see multiple camera flashes I cant help but think of a Jodie Foster interview wherein she described how being photographed felt in the wake of
John Hinckley's atempted assassination of Ronald Regan.
I'm sure it was me projecting my own discomfort onto the situation as CB was most gentlemanly and accommodating of those wanting pics with him,but it just seemed a bit invasive to me.It's easy for me to be such a lofty cunt with a shit camera phone though eh?I hope not but I supspect I'd have been just as bad had I had a snazzy squillion mega pixel camera.

People were all just so thrilled to be there.At one point one of the stars(an ace comic actor with a very impressive back catalogue)walked onto the set in front of 30 or so of us and was greeted by a unanimous collective gasp of delight.
His reaction suggested to me that he seemed to think it was odd as I recall but we were all genuinely in awe;waiting until he was out of earshot to impersonate our favourite performances of his to each other.

At this point we had just been divided up into dead bodies and runners and along came the fabulous male and female AD's again to position us.I was paired with another she zombie and was told I was to take 2nd go at concrete lovin' so was waved off to do nowt for a bit by groovy boy AD.
Another no 2 body(Olly) headed away from the set with me but when we got back we had a panic to the effect of...Oh dear,why are we the only 2 that have come back?..so we returned to watch the filming.

It was at this point in the night that I thought of Extras and how for me,musical numbers ala Dennis Potter's work wouldve heightened my enjoyment of it considerably.Olly and I were entertaining ourselves with suggestions as to what would be an amusing song for a bunch of Zombies to burst into...
(I know,I know...
Thriller or Monster Mash..but theyre way too obvious!
we were thinking 60's girl group style..The Happening or Give him a
great big kiss.Something as incongruous as the Old warhorses in Lipstick On Your Collar doing Little Bitty Pretty One?)

After a few minutes of gawping and nattering,a delightful crew member came over to chat;we explained our enthusiasm,and the fun we'd had speculating to each other about who the cast might be so he filled in a few blanks for us and when one cast member's name had us both baffled our lovely informant waved his hand dismissively and told us
...bunch of wannabes really..

I warmed to this chap immediately, as of all the tv folk he seemed to genuinely understand how exciting it is for a geek to see a tv programme being made.

I couldnt get over how genuinely pleasant they seemed to be actually.I wasnt really expecting expecting a coked up cliche,but I wasnt particularly expecting any warmth either.In my field of expertise you'd hope warmth and concern were prerequisites but alas they are largely scumbags with agendas that couldnt be more glaringly apparent were they written in monstrous great neon.

What was I expecting of people that work in tv? harrassed?terse perhaps?
snivelling arselicker types in the mid ranks?(I notice they seem to occupy the mid ranks of every industry)My eldest brother dreamt of writing for tv and was taught
at uni by Andrew D
avies yet never got so much as an runner job or internship with his1st from Warwick so for the last 20 years or so my perception has been that its an esoteric industry to get into,far more about luck and forging the right friendships.Easy to assume then that they'd all be prize tools with ego problems isnt it?

During both stints(the 2nd of which I was not a zombie but the rather splendid dame of my profile pic,I wish I could report that I really do look like that) I only encountered one person who seemed to be a bit of a prick.The extras nicknamed him Rik from The Young Ones as his rhetoric when talking down to the technical staff could have been lifted from a script .Maybe it was coke,or him being too young and cocky to know how to treat people.Maybe he's actually lovely and was just a hectoring tossbag on that occasion,who knows?

I cant begin to articulate what a profound lesson extradom was for me.
I owe more to the experience than I could ever have imagined and every second of the thirteen hours between boarding a bus to the location and bidding my new friends farewell at dawn as we went off to catch our trains out of London is etched into my soul.
I remember 3 of us sat on a bench on the south bank watching the sun rise;in a tangle of earphone wires comparing notes about the music we loved and converting each other to a few beloved tunes.

Tweety ass ho

."You Tweet?" asks my incredulous best friend.
"but...I thought you hated the idea of being seen to be that self regarding?"

"That was in September Gary my love,now I'm 30 I finally feel I've earned my meglomania.."

Part of me does wince a tad at the extent to which I've developed a twitter fixation and yet,it's the best thing to happen to my world and fellow man view in years. I have met people I may never have otherwise met,people who make me feel far more interesting than the sink estate single mum statistic I am.

I know...boo hoo.Poor me but wait,begone violins! my bio no longer holds no interest for your underscoring services,I am interested,inspired by something other than the nurture and guidance of my child once again