Archive for July, 2014

July 27th 2014

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Filmwise: Taking a break from writing.

“Excuse me!”

“Yes, there will be loads of kids, but adults will be in abundance too,” a friend had explained, anticipating any potential excuse I may have for not turning up.

Despite the flirting of the heavens with a few dark clouds, and a short burst of showers, the dry spell was in sway for the whole of Saturday.

I arrived on the scene somewhat late, with the said kids and adults having gone through many rounds of food, sweets, fizzy drinks and football.

“I am going to the big school,” announced the five-year old girl who, after some deliberation, had decided that the one next to me was the best  out of all the empty deck chairs brought by the family.

“My school now is small.”

Her mother explained that the little one is going from Nursery to Reception.

With most of the men in our midst succumbing to the joys of kicking a ball around in the background, I found myself offered up for selection by the self-designated captains. One was seven and the other may have been his dad.

“Kids against adults,” declared the seven-year old.

I was at the apex of a strike force of a team consisting of a father, a mother, and a couple.

Rather than give the little ones a break, we unashamedly exploited our longer strides and height.

I scored with a header while the opposing team members watched what must have been an air display of a ball and the head of a middle-aged man connecting.

Pangs of guilt and remorse were abound by the time we were 3-1 up.

“OK, I am joining the kids team. I will be the goalkeeper,” I said aloud in an attempt to even things out.

“Excuse me,” ventured the youngest player in my new team.

“Can I play in the adults team, please!”

Peace and love,

Ja’far

July 20th 2014

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Filmwise: Revisions of the ninth draft of the little girl in Baghdad story are complete.

With the office taking over the working week, predictably all things creative are assigned to the weekend – along with the laundry, and the sorting of those books that have been hogging the kitchen floor ever since they had to be moved from the staircase to allow for the building of a bookcase. The latter is now in place. It needs the books to complete its raison d’être.

This Saturday, no creative assignments could be referenced in order to escape the said books.

And so, like every self-respecting Londoner on the happier of the two days off, with a whole 48 hours of freedom stretching before one’s eyes all the way to, what one optimistically believes will be, a ticked off list of many many achievements over the weekend, I made myself a cup of coffee.

The hot beverage found me picking up an old copy of a book  of poetry from the 1960s. Three poems read aloud later, I was looking up more poets and anthologies in the pile of books.

Then there was an Arabic translation of the memoirs of an anti-Fascists fighter which drew me into its colourful depiction of the unfolding Spanish civil war.

And just like that, it was 18:00.

Next stop, the local picture house.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Dir. Matt Reeves, 2014) was good, with solid performances from the men and women beneath the CGI suits, but the most rewarding element in the production was the soundtrack by Michael Giacchion.

Won’t bore you with Sunday; suffice to say, the books continue their kitchen occupation, and I am x number of pages more read than Friday evening.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

July 13th 2014

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Filmwise: Draft nine of the little girl in Baghdad continues to evolve.

“Does he work here?”

This weekend, I was in the company of two friends, in the Arab Quarter of the West End. It’s the Breaking of Fast meal that we have together every Ramadan.

With sunset being at such a late hour, we thought we’d meet early to catch up and decide on the venue for the meal – there are so many new restaurants opening in the area, we felt we should expand the range of our taste buds.

Deep in conversation, and keen to learn more about my friends’ respective families back in Iraq and how they are at the moment, I suggested we throw caution to the wind and sample the very first new establishment we wandered past.

The Eastern-style tiles were gleaming, the bread oven and the selection of fresh herbs and salad, and the food on the menu were all too enticing.

The one issue that crept on us quite unceremoniously was our sudden inability to hear one another.

Looking around us, we found ourselves surrounded by rowdy children, a whole classroom’s worth of decibels.

With the only waitress being too busy with the said kids and their parents to take our order, we politely replaced the seats back into their neat order under the table, and we slipped out.

Right across the street, another Middle Eastern restaurant was all too happy to have our custom.

Half-way through the meal, a gentleman approached us and said hello to one of my friends.

“Hello Sami, how are you?”, said my friend.

Sami left, and we ate to sounds of Arabic music, the gurgle of Nargilah smoking pipes, and the commentary on the ensuing World Cup match between Brazil and the Netherlands.

As we were walking out, my friend asked the owner, “does Sami work with you? You know the guy who said hello to me.”

“No, he runs the new restaurant across the street!”

Peace and love,

Ja’far

July 6th 2014

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Filmwise: Work continues on the ninth draft of the little girl in Baghdad script.

“Clumsy”

Despite my best efforts, my departure from the office on Friday evening was way too late for a 9 to 5 job.

Going past a nice little pub, which several layers of city planning had made it bestride two cul-de-sacs, I found myself walking behind three ladies. From their choice of attire, mostly dark and formal, I gathered they were fellow office workers.

With my mind racing through a new twist in one of the scripts I am developing, I found myself in the process of overtaking the ladies’ high heels speed. One of them tripped and practically flew across the hard concrete pavement. Her attempt to be brave about the clearly painful fall was admirable. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. So clumsy.” Her friends smiled to me, assuring me she’s fine.

At the other end of the Tube line, heading to the local supermarket, I was startled away from the very twist in the script by the the sight of a middle-aged woman slipping and hitting the floor right before me. Fortunately, the fall was broken by the garments, or such like, that were in a shopping bag she was carrying.

I began to wonder whether I should start a new story about an imagined world giving way to the unfolding reality. All en route home.

Peace and love,

Ja’far