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August 30th 2015

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

The lift doors slid to be together, just before the man with briefcase could sneak a foot between them.

 ”Hello,” whispered the twenty-something girl with the unkempt shoulder-length hair that made her even more attractive.

 The object of her attention was a young man, overflowing with benign energy and a great smile to boot; he was busy tapping into his phone.

 The older gentleman toyed with his briefcase, uncertain if the chap had registered the greeting, for he was now standing next to him awaiting the lift.

 The girl hid in the blatantly made-up topic she was probing with her friend. Both young ladies were surreptitiously eyeing this Adonis descendent.

 As the lift doors parted, and the handsome one stepped in, the grey hair and suit couldn’t help but cough to draw the younger man’s eyes to the girls standing behind.

 Alas, he was too engrossed in his mobile screen to look up.

 The doors slid together.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

November 30th 2014

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Filmwise: Writing and researching.

Like those muffins that have three quarters of their portion of chocolate chips concentrated in one tiny edge, leaving a vast expanse of naked cake, the nearest train carriage to me had the usual poor distribution of passengers, with the isles almost empty, while the landings by the doors were packed with eyes struggling to find the newspapers, Kindles and iPhones that the hands had attempted to stretch out.

The young woman with an orange supermarket plastic bag standing ahead of me in the queue cut through the web of reading materials and landed herself an enviable square foot in the isles. I followed her.

Looking at the steamed over glass panes, she proceeded to pull open a window. Everyone appeared to be grateful to her, though she and I seemed to wonder, “why didn’t they open it themselves?”

As the train neared her destination, she began to get ready to weave her way through the blockage by the door, only for her shopping bag to get tangled in some sharp object, perhaps a fellow passenger’s umbrella, and for the contents to slide onto the floor.

With her face going slightly red by the effort of picking the items, for I couldn’t help out in view of the crowded carriage, she managed to collect all her shopping bar a particularly large cucumber. “That’ll be full of liquid and not much taste,” I thought to myself.

With no more space in her handbag, like a book or a cane that teachers used to carry, she placed the vegetable under her arm and stepped out at her stop.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

November 23rd 2014

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Filmwise: writing.

“At least open the window and say something to me; it’s ‘expletive’ to get me all the way down here and do this!” He shouted from the street.

The lad was in his late twenties, in a well-worn dark tracksuit, ginger hair, unshaven, and somewhat too convincing in his anger.

The raised voice and distressed body language appeared more for the benefit of us passers-by rather than the occupants of the  flats above. For soon he was stopping members of the public and asking for money.

“Well, he’s clearly delusional,” decided the lady in the soups and tinned food isle. “I am not going to say anything, and just let him be there until someone can spare the time to travel to the country,” she continued on the phone.

I opted for the 3 for 2 offer.

At the check-out, the young lady blinged me a gold-tooth smile. “We close at nine; not long to go!”

My small shopping basket seemed a welcome sight, and our conversation on evening and night shifts, on which we compared notes from our respective experiences, could’ve been one of the more memorable chats I had that day, had a customer not rocked up with two members of staff and a giant trolley in tow.

“105 of the Russian stuff, and 155 of the _ (spirits brand).”

The gentleman was clearly not epically parched to account for this lake of Russian and Scottish intoxication. Going by his sensible and modest attire, manner of speaking and good energy, I saw him more of a moderate drinker – one who would enjoy a glass or two on special occasions.

I wished if I could break the unwritten rule for check-out queues and ask the question now engraved on our four faces.

Back by the apartment block, there was no sign of the lad and his indignation at the shut window.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

June 19th 2011; week 132 of post-prodcution

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Filmwise: I am preparing the five reels of the film in time for the two sessions agreed with our sound designer. JD and I are meeting at the start of the second week of July. My task in the intervening weeks is to generate the film reels that have evolved as a result of all the re-writes and changes I have brought to the script in the past few months.

So far, I have completed two reels; three to go.

Poirot..
Over the past few weeks, I have been corresponding via email with Alice, a filmmaker and producer who is a member of the Mesocafé family. Alice is working on a documentary and needed someone with bilingual skills to help guide an interviewee from my land of birth through 40 or so questions about a historic event that took place in 1941.

Queuing for tickets at Waterloo station, I couldn’t help searching with my eyes for those parts of this great facade that haven’t changed since John Schlesinger made Terminus in 1961. Rather than being fascinated by any columns or the steelwork propping up the roof over this vast space, I was distracted by the number of women walking around beneath a dazzling array of hats. It was only when the PA system announced the destination of the next train that I realized that the crowd were heading to Ascot.

At the entrance to Surbiton railway station, I had to force myself to stop gazing at the Art Deco-inspired station building in order to head to our interviewee’s home. Wonder whether any Poirot episodes have been filmed here?

The shoot went well, and Alice took me out to lunch afterwards at a cavernous pub that turned out to have been a cinema before being converted into a public house.

Couldn’t resist snapping away with my mobile.
Former cinema Surbiton 18-6-11 2

Peace and love,

Ja’far

December 26th 2010; week 107 of post-production

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Filmwise: JD and I are trying to align our calendars so that I can head his way to have a full day’s viewing and listening session of the five reels of our film. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet towards the middle of January.

I have spent the greater part of the week off work – I was on holiday until Thursday morning. On Friday evening, I left work at a record time to make it to a friend’s place of work in Queensway. We made some last minute grocery shopping in the area – rice, chicken, spices, Baklawa, dates, crisps and other pre-requisites for a couple of days in watching DVDs and videos.

So far this weekend, we have clocked five films, a couple of TV programmes, and endless hours of me talking and describing how I will go about making my next feature film. My friend is a very patient and good listener:-)

Earlier in the week, I had headed to the BFI to watch for the first time The Shop Around The Corner (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1940). Being a huge fan of the work Nora Ephron has done in You’ve Got Mail (1998), which is based on the play on which The Shop Around the Corner movie is also based, I was keen to see how Mr Lubitsch had gone about adapting the work to the screen.

The film lived up to my expectations.

On my return home that night from the South Bank, I couldn’t help but continue my evening with black and white romantic classics. Roman Holiday was a real joy to watch again, especially for this yummy line:
“I’ve never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on; with the dress off, it’s most unusual!” – Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (Dir. William Wyler, 1953)

Peace and love,

Ja’far

About

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Greetings,

The blog will continue to chronicle my  journey in the company of our super 16mm feature film MESOCAFÉ as it makes its way towards completion and distribution.

Thank you for your continued support and belief in our project.

Peace and love,

Ja’far ‘Abd al-Hamid