Friday, 26 August 2005

Thank You Ahoj

I had a meeting for a project I am working on with Slightly Lost so I only got home around 8.45pm. As I was closing the front door, I notice a thin parcel waiting for me on the mail rack. From Amazon. I first thought it was one of the CDs or DVDs I have ordered recently but then I misread the inscriptions on the packaging and started to think the parcel was from France and therefore from my parents or my godmother who, although she is over 70, recently got herself a computer. It seemed rather impressive that she had already found her way to online shopping. As I started to open the package, I was wondering what sort of moralising crap... sorry... book she had found to send me.

Still in the frame of mind that this was a present coming from France, I was not surprised to find that the content of the parcel had been wrapped and came with a short note saying:
[Zefrog] SALUT. BONNE ANNIVERSAIRE, (en retard). Ahoj
Which means: [Zefrog] HI. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, (late). Ahoj. Those of you who read this blog from time to time might know that my birthday was on 25th July so no real surprise here. What proved more intriguing however was the signature. To my shame, I am not always very good with names but I am pretty sure that I do not know anyone name Ahoj and certainly not well enough for them to send me a present. I was rather perplexed as I started to unwrap what turned out to be a copy of The Singing Apes and Other Songs of Love and War by Orphei Drängar. This is the original and only other recording of a piece of contemprorary music I performed and recorded with the Chorus last summer. It was composed by Jan Sandstrom. The full title of the piece is The Singing Apes of Khoa Yai, the inspiration for which comes from a tv programme on the gibbons of the Thai jungle.

This helps solve some of the mystery. The CD is (was) part of my Amazon Wish List. I therefore concluded that someone, who presumably reads this blog or has knowledge of my website, has find his way to the list and ordered the CD. This much is clear (the CD is not on the Wish List any longer). What remains a mystery is the identity of my well wisher.

Whoever you are Ahoj: thank you very much for this very nice surprised.

And to the rest of you out there: you know where to find my Wish List... ;O)


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Thursday, 25 August 2005

10blogs

Via this post, here is my selection of ten blogs I like and would like to recommend. Not surprisingly, they are in my blogroll already... They also fall roughly into two categories.

Personal blogs:
Horizontal Lives
Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven
Joe.My.God.
Post Secret
Slightly Lost in the World

Issue driven blogs:
That Coloured Fella's Blog
Republic of T
Ex-Gay Watch
AmericaBlog
Positive Liberty



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Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Mac Attack

In my quests for new interesting blogs and thanks to StumbleUpon.com, I recently started to read Gaping Void. I usually subscribe to new blogs through Bloglines and keep them private for a while to see if I find them interesting enough to add to my blogroll.

A couple of days ago, I read this post on Gaping Void which explains why the author does not like Apple and would rather use his Dell computer, running windows. From there I followed a link to this post where the author tells about an encounter he had with Steve Jobs, Apple's boss.

I myself am a keen computer user. I have been for almost ten years now. This actually put me in a rather advanced position compared to the other members of my generation at the time. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC 6128. To be honest that was rather limited and eventhough I started to learn basic Basic, I gave up after a couple of years.

I went back to computers at the end of the 1990's when the Internet made things really interesting (so many sleepless night spent on ICQ). I taught myself how to use a PC running Windows and how to use Words and other Office programmes. I found this a very instinctive learning process and can even do some minor troubleshooting. I am now in a situation where, while far from being a computer nerd, I am, I think, more computer literate then most people. I even dabble with HTML and webdesign.

A few years ago, in one of my previous professional lives, I got to use an iMac for a few months. Although I tried, I could not get my head around it. I could use the programmes all right but I could not figure out where to go to tweack things and settings as I was used to do with a PC. My experience of Apple is therefore very limited. What I retain of this is that I needed to be shown what the concept behing a Mac was and that the mac version of the softwares I was used to use were usually much more basic than the Windows version.

This to give some background on where I come from.

Having a passing interest in computers, I have of course been aware of the Big Divide between Mac and PC users. The two systems use to be completely incompatible, thankfully they are not any more. Slighty Lost, as a designer, uses Apple and is of course completely sold to the cause and he has tried to convert me. He only got me to use iTunes though (with a few of buying an iPod someday, perhaps). The major arguments I have heard in favour of using Apple is that their computer were more stable than those running Windows (didn't crash), are faster, more powerful than PCs and do not go down with viruses.

I think it is fair to say that Windows has improved a lot in stability in the past few years, certainly with Windows 2000, ME and XP. I now run XP and find that my laptop just doesn't crash. As for viruses, I have been trawling the Internet for nigh on 10 years now and have never caught a virus or spy-ware that I am aware of (Touching wood, of course). I don't even use an anti-virus; I am just careful.

Ok, Apple computers are more powerful than PCs (Apple apparently give out Super Computer licences with their new G4) but what I do with a computer does not warrant it being a Super Computer by any stretch of the imagination.

All this on the whole made me think foolishly that the Big Divide mentioned earlier had disappeared. It seems I was quite wrong. Reading the comments posted with both blog entries listed above, I was actually rather shocked. Why so much... well hatred? Why are Mac fans so vicious in their comments? Even comments for extremists Christians I come across on blogs I read do not seem that nasty.

Considering that Macs are much more expensive than PCs and since I am used to using PCs and more confortable with them, I don't see the need for me to switch to Apple. I don't however go around insulting Mac users because they think differently. After all this is only about computers. Nothing serisou. As long as they get the job done, what does it matter if one uses one rather than the other?

This type of reactions, this people's very own behaviour, make me think that Gaping Void might have a point after all and that buying Apple is more about the image than the machines. This type of secular fondamentalism is as spiteful to me as religious intolerance. I do hope this is only a small viciferous part of the Mac users who behave like this and that these people will come to their senses soon. Unfortunately I have a sinking feeling I should probably brace myself for the next attack.

Sad.




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Friday, 19 August 2005

Mo Mowlam (1949 - 2005)

Thursday, 18 August 2005

That Stranger in the Bookshop

While I was trying not to well up in the window of Pret, Slightly Lost was thinking about his knickers. In the aftermath of Saturday's exertions, I was looking forward to a quiet day on Sunday but it wasn't to be so.

After the monthly meeting of my reading group where we discussed Avoidance by Michael Lowenthal, I had coincidentally arranged to meet Slightly Lost to go and see Mysterious Skin (based on the book by Lowenthal's boyfriend, Scott Heim) at the Prince Charles'. An interesting (and dare I say, enjoyable) film about the same controversial issue as Avoidance. Both are well worth checking out.

Since the film was at 9pm, we had plenty of time to kill. Again we indulged in a session of talent spotting at a terrace in Old Compton Street, the only worthwhile reason for the existence of which is precisely that: to see and to be seen. We then wandered about and ended up (surprise, surprise!) in a bookshop. Blackwells on Charing Cross Road, to be precise.

I think it would be fair to say that in my desperation I have turned into something of a human radar; my eyes constantly searching my surroundings for a nice piece of manhood to ogle. Despite its ideal situation right at the end Old Compton Street, Blackwells does not usually reach the fullness of its potential in that department. What this says about the members of the gay scene, doesn't bare thinking of.

I had a look around at the new books and after a while, I joined Slightly Lost in another part of the shop where he had wandered. Always the one to go for highbrow, he was checking out a book which had caught his eyes. There was no price on it however, so I suggested he should go and ask someone. He went to do just that and I followed. And that is when I saw them.

Two guys. They were standing on the route to the information desk, chatting rather than looking at the books. One of them had that gay look about him: low cut baggy jeans, tight t-shirt highlighting his nascent belly and a haircut courtesy of Edward Scissorhands! Nothing worth looking at. The other one had a more unusual look and at first I did not really pay much attention to him. After a second take however, I was hit with the full force of the blow.

Not very tall and of medium build, he was wearing flip flops, baggy jeans with a white shirt open low and showing a few trinkets hanging on his tanned and lightly hairy chest. Probably in his early to mid thirties, he had the straight nose and strong masculine features of an antique statue. The most striking trait about him however were his longish curly brown hair, which, in their unruliness and helped in this by a trimmed beard, were hiding most of his face. The colour of his eyes, I can not tell. First I thought they were brown, then taking another look, they seemed green and then again brown.

London is a wonderful city which provides many opportunities to enjoy the sight of some very nice looking men indeed. Opportunities that I rarely fail to grasp. And yet no chance meeting that I can recall has ever made me feel like the way I felt in that bookshop. When looking at this hirsute and sexy man, I suddenly found myself tingling all over, inside; like I was electrified. The strangest thing is that he did not even meet the characteristics of my usual types. Slightly Lost was himself not impressed, saying incredulously that there was nothing of interest in this guy and not realising how moved I actually was.

Slightly Lost went and paid for a book he had picked up and dragged me away from the shop. I grew very quiet and despondent, sporadically fighting back tears which I would probably have let overcome me had I been alone somewhere. Slightly Lost noticed fairly quickly. We wondered aimlessly for a while. This is how we ended up in the window of Pret-a-Manger at the top of St Martin's Lane and why, presumably in a attempt to cheer me up, Slightly Lost mentioned his knickers. Eventually I was asked to explain what was happening to me. I was not sure myself and even now I can only repeat what I said then: that walking away from the bookshop was like doing the opposite of what I wanted to do and what I felt I should be doing.

Slightly Lost, I think, misunderstood me slightly and seemed to think that I had grown sad because of another missed opportunity. It was more than that however. My guess is that it was something akin to what people call "love at first sight", although it seems to me fairer to call it "lust at first sight". How can you love someone whose personality you know nothing about?

As I said, I do not know what happened to me there. The guy does not really fit in with what usually attracts me, yet produced a far stronger reaction than the men who attract me ever do. There was no sign of reciprocal interest in him which could have added to the frisson and to be honest I am not even sure he is gay. The sensations have now thankfully subsided even though my radar has slightly altered its target and I find myself half-heartedly scanning the crowds for "him" as well as for attractive guys to ogle.

In what was most certainly another attempt on his part at comforting me, Slightly Lost, letting loose his spiritual mind, tried to conjure up the thought that this encounter was possibly only a teaser (quite literally) for another, more fruitful one, should our destinies be bent that way. Part of me (the prepubescent teenage girl part of me) wants to hope that this will happen but I know that as time passes, this will just flounder into the depths of my memory as another quirky but barren episode...





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Scary Thoughts

Go through these quotes from the American Talibans, read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and be scared.. Be very scared!


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Monday, 15 August 2005

Choral Meals

It was a rather unusual week-end for me. A very social one.

On friday evening, I found myslef at Lorelei with a Chorus member for what turned out to be a date. The guy had already asked me for a drink sometime ago. I had gone along thinking he just wanted to be friends. It quickly transpired however that he was looking for more. I kickly let him know that I was not interested and I did not hear from him until last week when he offered dinner. Considering what had happened earlier, I, again, naively, thought that he wanted to explore a friendship. During the evening however, he starting to explain how he had been in a very long relationship and had never really had a chance to date anyone but that that was what he now wanted to do, dropping some other, less subtle hints along the way. The conversation would probably have quickly died away if it had not been highjacked by our neighbour, an oldish australian guy visiting his daughter, who started telling us about the cultural dearth where he lives, especially when compared to London. My "date" and I said good bye not long after that, not without my agreeing to another dinner during the coming week, however. To be honest, I am rather surprised that he should want to persue anything at all. In addition to the fact that I turned him down once already, I don't feel that we have that much in common. The conversation was laboured and did not seem to be going anywhere. How can someone expect to build a relationship on such shaky ground?

I walked home after that and felt rather dispondent over the whole business. All these little near misses with normal social interactions most of the time only serve to remind me of what lonesome a life I lead. While most of the time I can lull myself into forgetting about it, these half-hearted meetings where no real connection happens only throws into relief the emptyness of my social and affective lives, making me crave for more meaningful and deeper interactions.

Saturday was again a very social day. I went to Mildred's for lunch with another Chorus member. I don't think that was a date this time, although I never seem to really know with these things. Having not seen each for quite a while, we basically caught up on our lives. He seems to have reach the seven year itch with his boyfriend and is enjoying himself and his new freedom at the moment, perhaps slightly more than he thought he would. Good for him, I say!

After lunch we ambled to Old Compton Street and sat on a terrace to indulge into a bit of talent spotting, a favorite activity of mine (and of my friend too, it seems). After a while we were joined by one of his new friends and a couple of hours passed agreably, chatting away of little nothings and enjoying the sights... and the rain.

In the evening I went to a dinner party at a third Chorus member's house. He had been promising to organise this party and to invite me for months now and it was certainly worth the wait. A lovely flat, some lovely food and lovely company made for a very fulfilling evening. Amongst the guests were a gay couple with whom I turned out to have an american friend in common. A small world indeed!

The host went to Paris with the Chorus in early May and found himself a boyfriend there. Since the guy was between accomodations, he moved back to London with his new man. A rather bold move (though not unheard of in the gay "community") which seems to have been a good one so far. Fingers crossed. The French boyfriend is, I think, finding it quite difficult though, due to the painfully poor quality of his English. He didn't say much during the evening. Although my English was much better than his (I have, after all, a degree in English and had studied it for years in France), this reminded me very much of my situation when I first arrived in London. I had to watch Eastenders with subtitles to get a chance to understand anything of what went on "in the Square". Social gatherings, unfortunately, do not offer the assistance of subtitles and I found myself even more of a wallflower than my social awkwardness usually makes me.

This time however, I am glad to say that I was able to make a reasonable contribution to the general conversation. A welcome sign of how far I have move on but also a reminder that much work has to be done still.


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Thursday, 11 August 2005

Is This REALLY Happening In France?

On the day where demonstrations will be taking place around the world against the recent execution of to Iranian teenagers, most probably, because they were gay, comes a horrific story.

As sad and wrong as that sounds, one is not really suprised when stories such as the one of the execution in Iran appear. We know that some countries are intolerant of homosexuals and have forceful ways of showing it. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Sudan, Nigeria (northern states), Yemen, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates are all countries where people know they can be killed by the state for who they love.

More disconcerting however is when homophobia rears its head closer to home. The so-called "Land of the Free" is not doing too well in that respect. Even closer, some serious incidents are taking place in Northern Ireland (as I have mentioned before) and only last year, a gay man got killed on the South Bank in London.

Every cloud has its silver lining, we are told and perhaps the fact that these attacts take place AND reach our ears might be seen as encouraging signs. Signs that gay people feel more at ease about showing themselves (pushing homophobes to react even more strongly than before) and signs that they are not afraid anymore of reporting the attacks to the police. I, myself, can see more and more gay couples holding hands in public and this rather far away from the safe haven represented by Soho and its gay scene.

In 1999, France was one of the fist countries in Europe to offer a civil partnership for same-sex couple (PACS). There are currently calls for the outright introduction of marriage with a controversial ceremony taking place last summer.

Despite this apparently progressive approach, France, which calls itself the country of Human Rights, has unfortunately not escaped the recent increase in homophobic attacks manifest in western countries. Last year (January 2004), a man was attacked and burned to the 3rd degree because he was gay, provoking strong reactions all over the country and as high up as from the President de la République. Several other attacks have taken place across the country in the past year of so (near Reims in the East, and in several cities in the South).

It seems rather ironic however that on July 14th, on the day where France celebrates its core republican values of Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité such a violent and unjustified attack should take place.

After being kicked out of a bar in Rambouillet (near Paris), two broke into a house around four in the morning for a simple burglary. Soon however, they find a same-sex couple in bed. With cries of :
"F*ck! Those are faggots. We're going to burn them, we're going to do them in."
, the nighmare begins. One of the victim's testimony speaks for itself (my translation from the article):
"They terrorized us and threatened to cut our dog's throat. They switched on the iron and burned the dog with it," explains Sébastien. "they tied up with the electric wires and we got beaten repeatedly. They burned us several times with the iron. We had to tell them where our cash cards were and give them our pin numbers", explains Sébastien. "And then, while one of them went out to get some money, the other forced my boyfriend and I to have sex. This is when the police intervened and arrested one of our aggressors. We identified the other who already had a record. He has not been arrested yet."


In early december last year, the Assemblé Nationale passed in first reading a bill creating a authoritative body to fight discriminations and promote equalities (HALDE). The bill included articles banning homophobic speech. The text was finally made law on 22 December. During the debates, a deputy of the ring wing presidential majority (Christian Vanneste) called the "homosexual behaviour [...] a threat to the survival of the human race". A few days earlier, an official body advising on human rights (la commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme) had called for the bill to be dropped as (amongst other things) going against the principal of free speech. The right wing member of parliament were of course against the bill saying that if nothing else it was not needed.

Obviously not!

-------------------------------------

Having trawled the Internet to find material in English to link to about what I refer too in this post, I had to come to the sad conclusion that these attacks do not get really reported in the English speaking world. Let's hope this post will help change this situation.



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I *heart* the Elephant and Castle

Slightly Lost advised me to do it as a surprisingly good way of attracting the crowds to one's blog. Unashamedly, here is therefore my version of the "the area where I live" post. I am not really holding my breath but I hope that those of you who make it will enjoy the post and find it interesting.

FromMyWindow02
The view from my window, London - October 2003.

If I mention to someone that I live near Elephant and Castle, they usually wrinkle their nose and mumble something about a pink shopping centre. The area, after being the victim of the Blitz, had to suffer under the assaults of the developers and still hasn't recovered. Metro Central Heights and the facade of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Church, which survived the flames twice, are possibly the only two buildings of interest there. The southern part of the Elephant, composed of ugly and unwelcoming estates, together with the infamous shopping center has been mercifully earmarked for regeneration by the council.

Going a few hundred meters north of the round-about, towards Waterloo Station, you will find some fine (although not always in good repair) Georgian terraces forming a conservation area around the lonely St George's Circus and its no less lonesome obelisk.

Although what is now the City of London was for a very long time the main settlement, the southern bank of the Thames seem to have been inhabited, however sparcely, since prehistory. Due to the lower position of the ground level (14m lower than the northern bank), the area was regularly flooded if not altogether part of the then wider bed of the River. The explains the lack of prehistorical remains found in the area.

During the Roman period, however the area finds itself above the average high water of the Thames, leaving space for more permanent, if still sparce, settlements. Its attraction is re-enforced by the convergence of two major roads (from Dover and from Chichester) both bound for London Bridge; then, and for many centuries, the only bridge to cross the River. Many Roman vestiges have been found close by (especially in Borough).

The river levels rose again in the medieval period and the open area known as Southwark Fields would have been periodically flooded. As a result, much of the area was considered unsuitable for permanent settlement and remained undeveloped until the late 18th century. The marshy area, used for pasture, changed name from Southwark Fields to St George's Fields. Habitations were however concentrated around the bridge. The Doomsday Book of 1086 describes a dozen houses, a dock, a trading shore, a herring fishery and a Minster. There was a further settlement called Newington, south of the Fields. Slowly the population increased and the Fields diminished in proportion and started to be used for the disposal of rubbish and sewage while the army used them for manoeuvering. Southwark became a disreputable place, hosting the brothels and other dives rejected by the City's bourgeoisie.

During the Civil War of 1642-9, a fort was built near what would later become the Circus and the defenses of London were extended to this area. After the Great Fire, the Fields became the refuge of the poor people who had lost their accomodations. In the 1760's Blackfriars Bridge was build, necessitating the creation of new roads to access it. St George's Circus was laid in 1770. The area slowly developed during the 19th century together with the Circus. Most of its buildings (with the exception of the Duke of Clarence pub, today slowly mouldering to oblivion) were destroyed during World War II, probably because of the strong industrial character of the area at the time. Although within easy reach of Central London, the area is still suffering from its position in the industrious "sarf ovda rivva" and the unhappy urbanistic choices made after the war.

Compared to what Brockley can boast, we don't have celebrities here, except perhaps Kevin Spacey who can't be living very far (wasn't he recently walking his dog at 4 am in a nearby park?) and (if he can be called a celebrity, that is) Peter Tatchell. That doesn't take much from the area though.

I agree that E&C is not the nicest area in London; however I can't think of any better one to live in (considering my present financial situation, anyway). There are so many buses coming and going from there, that I have given up using the tube months ago. Their is simply no need for it. I can walk home from the West End in about 40 min, crossing the River on the Hungerford/ Golden Jubilee Footbridge and gorging on the view. I have a tiny little room on the third floor of one of the afore-mentioned Georgian terraces with a view on one the Bakerloo Line garages where the trains come to bed late at night with heavy, weary sighs. Although I can not quite see Big Ben (it is hidden by another spire), I can hear it when the wind is right. How much more "in London" can you be?

With thanks to MoLAS.




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Monday, 8 August 2005

Ch...Ch...Changes...

A slight change in the name of this blog. From Aimless Ramblings of the Mind, it has now become Aimless Ramblings of Zefrog. This is to celebrate the fact that I am now the proud owner of my own domain name to which this blog is attached. I would love to be able to fiddle with the template to integrate the look of the blog more closely to that of the site but my technical expertise is unfortunately way too limited in this respect...

Please feel free to have a look at www.zefrog.co.uk

I am also giving tags a try... To see what they can do for me and if they are not more trouble than anything else.
Read more on the tag phenomenun here.
See also del.icio.us.


Friday, 5 August 2005

Part Three - On Set

Read Part One and Part Two.

It was an early start on Monday morning: 6.30 am. A full hour and a half earlier than for work! What one has to do for one's art, really!

From my past experience, I knew there was going to be a lot of waiting and I was not disappointed. Getting to the bar where the scenes I would be in were going to be shot for 8.30, we only started shooting at about 11.

I was not the only one from the Chorus, who had reply to the invite, GM, our General Manager was there too. For the same reason that I was there: get away from work and do something different. Slowly other extras starting to trickle in. One girl and half a dozen poofs. The first scene was going to be a gay club scene.

It turns out that the guy who sent the email is also the lead. Looks like it is going to be a very small budget affair. Soon we are introduced to Dean's flatmate, errr Dean, who has been roped in to be an extra too. He looks taller then he is, lean, toned and tanned. The sort of guy I would say I like the idea of but not the execution. The most striking thing about him though, is, I think, his energy. He keeps on talking. Talking nonsense that is, always on the verge of not being funny. He is that sort of annoying person you sort of like but is also always slightly going on your nerves. As the day progresses, I get a feeling the man might actually be fancying me... Perhaps from the fact that he keeps coming back to talk to me (something people usually don't do) and that he "rubbed" himself against me (standing very close in front of me with his back to me) a couple of times when there was no call for it... not sure... I am crap at reading that sort of signals.

The most notable thing on the set is how nice everybody is. This seems slightly unatural but at the same time it doesn't seem forced so we go with the flow. Soon the wardrobe woman (Vanessa) comes and introduces herself and start transforming us into her own vision of what punters of an "alternative" gay club look like. I end up wearing an bright orange low-cut V-neck T-shirt (just me!) with bracelets, a golden brooch with pendents and, on the back of my head, a black Agnes B leatherette hat with what looks like home made paintings in white and what can only be described as traces of Tchernobyl pigeon diarhea (bright green). One of my sleaves gets rolled up and cut-offs cut from someone's stockings become an armring around my bicep. The rest of the "cast" get the same sort of makeshift treatment. We got made up and signed our release forms.

Finally we are all set and shooting can beginning. We are led to the area of the bar where the scene will take place, asked to spread ourselves. The two main characters are sitting at the bar, talking. After a while they move to the dance floor where they join a woman and dirty dance with her. This is more or less all the action of the scene. The background music starts (a "specially commissioned" mix called Romeo Rodeo!!!) and then fades away again until we are left dancing in silence to allow for the recording of the dialogue... Slightly sureal experience. The scene is reshot several times and under different angles. After a good two hours, the thirty seconds of film are in the can. Time for lunch. While we are being fed with as you wait sandwiches, another scene is being shot in the toilets where no extras are required.

More waiting. Everything in the bar is reshuffled to allow for the next scene. A day time bar scene. We all become cliche straight people. Wearing horrible UNCOORDINATED clothes. Arrrrrgh!!!

Another two hours of shooting go like a flash, lip talking and that is two more scenes in the can (one of which I sat out). Soon it is time to pack up for the day. The crew has to relinquish the venue by 4.30. Before going we are asked if we will come again the next day and we get instructions on what sort of clothes to bring. We are taking part in a media party (the launch of a film called Beat Commando). The colour scheme is "bright acidic unnatural colours" (read: dayglow) with a "beckhamy" sort of look. I coudn't wait!

Not wanting to renew the previous day's exploit of having to get up at 6.30 and baring in mind the amount of time we spent waiting in the morning, I decided to ignore the 8.30 call time and to get up at my usual time. I got to the set by 9, nothing having started yet. The day was actually more or less a repeat of the day before: getting dressed in nonsensical garbs, waiting and shoot. The different this time is that they seemed to be taking much more time and we had to reshoot several times. So far I had been very impressed by how fast they had been working compared to what I had seen on Gay Guys. This was probably due to the even tighter budget and perhaps to the fact that they were using digital cameras. This scene however took the whole day to shoot and was very tedious. Dean, contrary to what he had said, did not reappear that day, so we didn't have much entertainment.

I was paired up with a (gay) member of the crew who had been volunteered to make up numbers. We got chatting (which is what we were supposed to do anyway), exchanging our coming out stories and the usual "when did you know" one. It turned out he was trained as a photographer so I introduced him to GM who is a professional photographer as well as the Chorus' General Manager. The guy also experessed an interest in joining the Chorus (he finds it hard to meet gay people in London) so I will probably seen him again in September with our new intake.

Finally, around 4, the shoot finished. And I was not sorry to leave. Tuesday was a bit of let down compared to Monday to be honest. On the whole I rather enjoyed the experience though.

Looking forward to to spotting myself on the silver screen in about six month (so I am told)....



Thursday, 4 August 2005

Part Two - Plans of Man

Read Part One

Here is the text of the email that was sent out asking for extras for the film shoot I went to earlier this week.
We are looking for people to come along and help on our film, we have several scenes over two days where we need background. We are filming at the Warwick Bar (45 essex rd, N1 - Angel tube) over two days, 1st and 2nd August from 8.30am - 4pm. We desperately need people for the morning sessions as we are shooting a gay club scene on Monday and a Media Party scene on the Tuesday. We have make up and stylists who have assisted on films such as Moulin Rouge and Star Wars. It is going to look great!

If anyone can help us we would be hugely appreciative. We are a group of young professionals and we have put all our own resources into this project. We can promise a fun day, and a drink!! With out the backing of huge budget we are pulling all our resources, we are not going to wait to make this film, it could never happen.... We want this film to be the best it can be. Here is our pitch!

Human flower
films - are a group of skilled professionals who work within the film and TV industry (BBC), pulling resources to take British film in an exciting new direction. We are working with a tiny budget and need all the help we can get. We have everything in place for shooting mid July onwards.

THE FILM
‘The Plans of Man’ is a reinterpretation of the story of Adam and Eve set in the paradise of modern day London. PR guy Adam’s perfectly planned life goes to hell when his fiancé leaves him for a big job in New York City. When he meets Evie, personal assistant to Hollywood’s biggest star, Adam has to decide whether Paradise on earth lies in London, the Big Apple or his own heart. Adams best friend Dan is gay and wants to tell his mother, but due to her renaissance with a young greek student she is hardly ready to listen!


We understand that product placement is only of use to you in high profile projects, we are hoping to kick off great careers by producing and distributing good work. BBC films have agreed to see the final film with regards to distribution.

Plans of Man is a groundbreaking British film with an international cast and crew. Shooting in London and New York, Plans of Man is the first of a slew of Micro Budget feature films by Out of Vision intended for distribution through the British Film Council’s Digital Screen Network. DVD distribution is intended after a theatrical release with extensive internet marketing and an innovative seminar program in addition to conventional promotion.

Plans of Man will be shot on multi-camera HDV for digital projection – the first film of it’s kind in the UK and possibly the World. There are other innovations being introduced via this film of interest to the film-making community, such as Cold Cathode technology used in our lighting systems and an all-digital audio path to compliment the HD digital video recording.

An original sound track has been commissioned from recording artists around the world. Music from the film will be available as a separate album to accompany the movie.


We have skill, passion and enthusiasm for this wonderful project but we would appreciate your help.

We already have support from Paul Smith, Diesel, Agnes B, Top Shop and Virgin.

We have been working on developing this project for a year and the budget is £200,000.
£150,000
of that is peoples free time that we have included in the budget for when this makes profit.

We are all so proud of the dedication we have attracted.

We would like your help.

If you need any other information please don't hesitate to contact me.

Dean Loxton
Assistant Producer
www.human-flower.com
www.outofvision.com

To be continued...



Brief Encounters 2

Is it the warm weather? Celebs are out and about in Soho at the moment (bit like me really!). Last night it was dishy Jeremy Sheffield's turn to be spotted by my eagle eyes, reading a film script at a terrace. Not the first time I see him in Soho either (but then again, that is no real surprise....). God, this blog is turning into an online version of Hello...

Later on, on the way home, I met up with my former manager... And thankfully, guys' eyes are still meeting mine more often then usual...


Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Brief Encounters

I am just back from an evening in Soho with MFD (whom I will be calling Slightly from now one). It was a strange day with a series of unexpected encounters.

First of all several guys meet my eyes (if nothing else). It is usually quite an event when even one to notice me. Immediately after meeting Slightly in Charing Cross, we bumped into RS (a Chrous member of whom I have talked recently). We all decided to go to Bar Aquda where I had the lovely surprise of finding DB working behind the bar. DB, a cute, very nice west indian young man, is one of my exes and is not very good at keeping in touch. I am very fond of him. I hope we manage to keep in contact better in the future.

Finally, Slightly and I saw Keanu Reeves (with two beards: one on his face and one on his arm). We first noticed him in one of the Original Soho Bookshops in Brewer Street before he moved to the next, looking for some book or other.



Monday, 1 August 2005

Part One - Nine Dead Gay Guys

July 5th was the fifth anniversary of my moving to London. A date I feel much more inclined to celebrate than my birthday to be honest.

In those five years I have come to do things I would never have had the chance to do in a lifetime, had I stayed in Haute-Marne. With the Chorus, I have sung in several very prestigious venues around the world and my name appears in two of their CDs (there is a third one in preparation for Christmas). I have appeared in Court... on the prosecution side, representing the Council I work for. I am the moderator of a gay reading group for which I have designed the website. Although I have never met him, I have an open invitation from David Bowie to come and check out his collection of first editions the next (read: first) time I am in New York.... (don't ask!)

Just a few months after I arrived in London, I saw an advert in the Pink Paper asking for volunteers to take part as extras in a club scene for a small budget film. As was no working yet and had therefore plenty of time on my hands, I decided to go along and see what it was like. We went through the casting process in building just off Carnaby Street. The crew took pictures of us and all that. Some time later, I got contacted by them and they asked me if I didn't mind growing a beard. I was not going to be part of the gay club scene after all but I would walk back and forth on a street in a couple of scene for the film... as an orthodox jew!

We spent the whole day to shoot only a few seconds of the film and that was it. I didn't hear anything else for a couple of years, until the film finally got shown at the Cannes Festival and then was released in UK. I saw the film and although it didn't do to badly, I wasn't particularly impressed. A failed attempt at doing something different, is how I would describe it. The strange thing is that a friend of mine, who did not know I was in it, saw the film and actually recognised me... They made a DVD out of it of which I bought a copy I never watched (for my archives).

When I saw the film, I was quite surprised to see that I had actually been listed in the credits at the end. I was no less surprised some time later to discover that I now had a filmography and a profile on the reputed Internet Movie Database.

A few days ago. I got an email through the Chorus from someone asking for extras in a few club scenes. I booked two days off work and contacted the guy, saying I would be there. The shooting was taking place today and will carry on tomorrow.

To be continued....