Archive for October, 2012

October 28th 2012

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Filmwise: Have put work on the Cannes documentary on hold for the moment. Need some time to mull over the new structure. All good.

“It’s his lunch!”

As the morning begins to give way to noon, the perennial question for us office works rears its head – “What’s for lunch today?”

Often, the answer is quite predictable – the meal deal from the local supermarket. Though one has been known to give in to the allure of the “Temptations alley” of sweets and all manner of unhealthy items cleverly positioned by the tills.

With the components of the meal deal laid on a bench at the small park near the office, I began munching away.

Twenty feet away, a woman was walking her dog. Intermittently, they seemed to go through a well-rehearsed ritual – he would stop to inspect and ponder a spot in the grass, before taking a good sniff, and she deciding that he’s taking longer than he ought to, and so pulling him away.

By the second encore of the ritual, I was half way through my cheese and Ploughman’s sub. As the dog and owner went past me, I tried to look ahead and guess the spot at which the dog would stop.

Out of the blue, the dog came to a sudden halt and turned in my direction. He knelt down and started to cover me with pleading eyes.

The owner looked down at him warning, “No, it’s not your lunch!”

I couldn’t resist expressing my surprise. “I thought he took a liking to me!”

“Wagging his tail, licking his lips; he is eyeing the food”, the lady explained.

As she pulled him away, she added, “typical Labrador!”

Peace and love,

Ja‘far


October 21st 2012

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Filmwise: I think I may have had a breakthrough on the Cannes documentary edit. After posting the blog last Sunday, I found myself immersed in the world of La Croisette, Le Palais Du Festival and the queues for film screenings. I feel a new and more vibrant cut is emerging. Brilliant.

“Musical”

The BFI London Film Festival was in town again this past week. Last Sunday, I attended the screening of For Love’s Sake (Dir. Takashi Miike, Japan 2012). Not sure if the sum of the film’s production design, cinematography, performance and music parts was as great as it could’ve been.

After the screening, I was back home watching Avanti! (Dir. Billy Wilder, USA 1972). This was a romantic and comedic story undiluted by the pressures of post-everything. A boy meets a girl, with an unusual meet-cute set-up. Wendell Armbruster JR (Jack Lemmon) is the head of an American conglomerate  – how unlikely is that – arriving at a small town on the Amalfi coast to collect Armbruster Senior’s body. He had died in a car accident.

En route, he keeps bumping into Pamela Piggott (Julie Mills), whom he finds most annoying.

He is particularly disconcerted when she also checks-in at his hotel.

It is only outside the morgue that it dawns on him that his father and her mother were in the same car when the accident happened.

So, as Junior is trying to explain to Pamela the repercussions of such news on his business, and his mother, offering Ms. Piggot a generous sum to keep quiet about the affair – “though you should appreciate that Armbruster Enterprises has had a bad week in the stock market! – the coroner arrives on his scooter.

As the coroner begins to express his condolences to the couple in Italian, with Junior inspecting him impatiently, Pamela listens with dreamy eyes to the incomprehensible Italian language and sings, “musical!”

A few days later, I was walking to the supermarket in my lunch hour, and as I crossed the road, a young woman – dark short hair, dressed in fun colours – stopped me.

“Sorry, do you know if there are any clothes shops in this road?”

She was on a working holiday from Italy, looking for work, dropping her CV at stores all over town. As she related to me the shopping areas she’d been to in her melodic Italian accent, I had to stop myself from singing, “Musical!”

Peace and love,

Ja‘far



October 14th 2012

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Filmwise: Not much progress on the Cannes documentary. Must do better.

“It’s England!”

One of the byproducts of having a 9 to 5 job is the sense of utter release that surges like a wave across offices up and down the land every Friday afternoon, carrying office workers away from the past week’s routine, forms, orders, emails.. all momentarily left behind.

Therefore, when offered a number of dates for a catch-up with a dear friend, the choice was obvious. And so, I was en route from the office to the West End. The Friday night crowd mingled amicably with tourists deep in the belly of Covent Garden tube station. Under the watchful eye of a dozen CCTV cameras, we queued for the lifts.

As we existed the station onto Long Acre, going past the expectant faces waiting for people outside,  I realised that it had escaped me to look up the exact location of the restaurant. In bygone days, I would have searched for the nearest wall map at the station. On this occasion, the smart phone was the first port of call. The website of the establishment offered a map, directions from the station and their telephone number. Somehow, walking around glancing up at street signs and inspecting the small map on the mobile seemed too much work for that sense of on-a-surf-board-gliding into the happy land of an office worker’s weekend. So, I called the placed.

“Go past XYZ store and turn right,” said the friendly male voice at the other end of the line.

My friend was queuing inside the restaurant for a table.

Our waiter was, to put it in his laid-back style, cool.

En route to Charing Cross station, my friend took me through an alley that I had only traversed once in the past – with her.

This was so narrow, that it was barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. A few yards a head of us, a couple came to a gentle halt to inspect the sign of a door overlooking the alley.

A passer-by coming from the opposite direction stopped to offer help.

“It’s closed!”

“What time does it close?”, asked the man in a European accent.

“Eleven O’clock; it’s England!”

As the couple walked away, possibly, deciding whether the local was being self-deprecating or chauvinistic,  I looked at the sign:

“The Lamb and Flag”, it said.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

October 7th 2012

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Filmwise: Made more progress on the Cannes documentary this week.

“A shoe!”

Being an avid follower of the BBC series Episodes, the prospect of watching its star Tamsin Greig on stage was too enticing to miss. So, on Thursday evening I managed to just about leave work on time to race through the evening rush hour to make it to the Duke of York Theatre, opposite the London Coliseum, by 7:30.

The lady at the box office warned me, “restricted view!”, as she handed me the ticket. I was glad to be there, nonetheless.

As I was climbing the stairs to the “Royal Circle”, three young ladies in evening dress were struggling to remain elegant, faced with the steps, the curtain bell and their high heels. So much so in fact that a shoe slipped off the foot of one of them.

I tried to do a Colin Firth and Meryl Streep at the Bafta’s gesture by handing the shoe back to its owner. She was, however, quite swift in picking and wearing the footwear item without anyone, except moi, noticing. We exchanged a smile.

Once I’d found my seat, right at the edge of the balcony, I began to relax and indulge in the long-held theatre custom of people-watching. This was a predominantly female audience, and a cross section of age groups.

The play, “Jumpy”, was superb. Ms Greig was most enchanting as she seamlessly moved between middle-age induced wariness, and the love, care and anxiety of parenthood. To this budding director, her performance came from the heart.

As I left the theatre, heading to Leicester Square tube station, a couple of young ladies were enthusing about the show: “I wish if I could write something like that!”, cried one.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far