Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I believe I can fly

Stop press.  I have been offered a new job working on the 'til at a charity shop in Margate. More to follow...

Monday, 12 January 2015


There is this view of football...

And I can see where he's coming from. I take his point that football is really just a ball being kicked about a field and if you were to stand in a pub and listen to a conversation week in week out month in month out year in year out most of it would sound the same.  There is an aspect of it being like the same record played over and over and I can certainly take it or leave it. But still there is an interesting metaphor in football that has attracted me of late.  In football the performance of a human being (and a team) is scrutinized far more than mine is or- chances are- yours.  Every pass, every tackle, every assist, every goal and in a manner of speaking, every blade of grass covered: as work rate is measured too.  And footballers are given every chance to improve.  They have coaches and physios and dietary specialists and probably psychologists too.  Every possible method of getting an extra inch out of a team simply to beat another team that is trying to beat them.  Surely the team that wins is not the important thing.  It's being the best you can be.  Ultimately, you play against yourself.  This whole football thing has got me thinking.  What if I lived my life like a footballer?  What if I ate the right food, achieved peak fitness, had an Alex Ferguson equivalent motivating me, scolding me, guiding me in my career.  What might I achieve?  In some senses footballers get something that ordinary individuals don't get.  They get a level of focus that can turn someone not using their time wisely or to best effect into the best version of themselves.  Some children get that from their parents.  Most don't.  But still, in football we are reminded that every little helps.  And I'm toying with the idea of preparing for the launch of a new James.  James 2.0 when I am 40.  He doesn't take drugs, he exercises, he flosses, he uses to do lists, keeps accounts, takes vitamins, goes to bed early, gets up early...Sounds like a midlife crisis?  Manning up?  Typical 40 year old behaviour?

I was supposed to be writing about Man U vs Southampton watched at the Barnacles pub but I wrote this instead.    

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Hohhot Shock Glasgow Film Shoot

Shortly before I left Glasgow and its charms behind Dave asked me if I got what I wanted from the trip, filming wise.  Yes and no.  The main thing is I have footage, courtesy of actors giving me their time for nothing.  But the very nature of this amateur project has imposed severe limitations on its production values.  Limitations that seem to threaten the viability of the film, as well as enhance its creativity.  Here are some examples.  First, it's been shot predominantly on mobile phones with no lighting or film crew.  Second, the actors mostly didn't have time to learn their lines or rehearse. Third, many scenes were filmed in a big hurry, some not even completed.  In many cases, the actor says their line after it's just been told to them off camera.  Not ideal.  And also, funny stuff has happened like the lead supporting actor dropping out, me having to leave China, the lead female not wanting to show her face.  Sounds romantic but the footage and the hastily recorded ADR (sometimes one take, incomplete) is a dog's breakfast and has not been all that enjoyable.  It's just that I keep telling myself that I can fix it all in editing and post production.   And seeing that happen will be fun.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sent from the outskirts of London

Another brief message on the fly, as I'm on a National Express to Scotland. Day was mainly consumed getting ready for said trip. Also critted a story about a horse on Fiverr and rushed to the Post Office parcel office to pick up one of Dave's hilarious presents. Packing was still to the wire, tho.  I'm annoyed at myself for leaving fresh celery behind. Twas ever thus with me and celery...Anyway the next 3 days are going to be busy. That will make writing a challenge but one I shall not shirk.  Not for all the Nessies in Loch Ness .

Friday, 2 January 2015

I would like to say something but...

My Internet is down and i'm typing this on my phone. Another chilled day. 2 t-shirts from Cats in Crisis, dancing on my own to music I like and hand washing. Plus a lot of daydreaming.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

So this is 2015

I started 2015 determined to honour my resolutions (MAKE THE DAY COUNT) and jumped out of bed as soon as the dulcet tones of my S5 alarm tune sounded.  But in no time at all I was engaged in a typical wild goose chase/tangent.  This time wasting hours studying the anatomy of a Glasgow accent on Youtube; a tangent which in itself contained another of me just watching Glasgow comedy and short films.  (I liked ‘Voices’, with Sean Biggerstaff. ) I won’t be needing an accent for the filming I’m doing in Glasgow, which is standing in for Hohhot, anyway. I just thought it would be nice to impress my Canadian friend with wry observations in the local brogue, like:

“It’s nae Shakespeare country 'round here, it’s Robert Burns all the waaaay.”  (I’m not sure if Robert has any connection with Glasgow).

A Canadian friend who, incidentally, has been to a little city called Hailar.  And that brings me on to some news, which I actually started the day with.  My story ’Tears in Hailar' has been shortlisted for the Oxygen short story prize.  My first thought was mild disappointment because that incarnation of it is already ancient history; it has some niggling flaws in it that I’ve since fixed.  But that’s showbiz folks.  Overall it will be good- I think?- because after a few months of entering competitions it seems I’ve hit my stride and the plan to get into writing first through winning or being short listed in a competition is now on track.  I just to have keep laying more track, with the help of competitions like this.  I’m quite sincere when I say I think it will be placed 10th because I’m sure the judges are awarding the overall merit of the story but will have spotted it lacks finesse.  A cliché here, an inconsistency there, lacking in description.  I know, I know.  What I’m saying is, I’m already getting my coat…

I should mention this blog whole entry is really written-not because of a desire to gloat about modest success with a story but out of acknowledgment that self-promotion is a side of the game that I may need to play.    I’ve been asked for photograph, biography and my website address and confirmation that my mum’s Chihuahua didn’t help me with a few lines of the story.  And there I have a problem.  I don’t have a website.  I don't have a properly managed blog.  I have 4 half awake ones that I occasionally post to- the main one being my China blog, which is now gathering dust- and this is one of them.

And that reminded me that if I'm serious about this writing malarkey I've got to write to promote my writing.   It's now one of my New Year’s resolutions is to post every day.  I’m going to write a Margate blog about stuff I overhear or have something to say about going on there and I’m going to talk to myself on here.  Thanks so much to Tracey and Simon West.