Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Fathers Day to my wonderful father.

Thank you for making me feel adored and special.  Thank you for showing me the importance of a good work ethic.  Thank you for teaching me to treat everyone the same no matter what their status.  Thank you for passing on your curiosity and vigour for life.

I miss you.      

Monday, 10 June 2013

Phew! What a week that was!

Last week was tough!  I had 7.30am starts with 11 hour days followed by a slightly later start on Saturday but going on to an overnight job.  As you can see, it's hard to turn down work as a freelancer because you never know when the next job will turn up.  People who think I have a glamorous showbiz job don't understand just how much hard work it can be.  *Sighs*

As a consequence, come Sunday I was somewhat tired.  I spent most of the day in bed only getting out of my pyjamas at about 4!  I slept, ate some nice food, watched a few things on catch up and generally vegged out.  It was absolute bliss.  We did venture out to our local for a couple of drinks later but I was in bed early.  

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Ladies - let's just be nice to each other!

I was gobsmacked to read recently that Gwyneth Paltrow was voted the most hated celebrity of 2013.  Gwyneth? What on earth has she done to be on the receiving end of such vitriol?  The woman beating Chris Brown only crept in at number 20 whilst murderers like Robert Mugabe didn't even make the list. When I thought about it however, a few things started to fall into place.  I'm taking a punt here but I'm guessing it was mainly women voting.

Before you jump down my neck, let me present my case. First there is this post by the lovely Samantha Hadadi about how she's receiving a lot of judgmental comments from women for deciding not to return to work after having her first  child. Then of course was the infamous Samantha Brick article where she stated that 'other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks' and received a barrage of comments ridiculing her appearance - again, mainly from women.  Lastly is this fantastically empowering response by the actress, Ashley Judd to media criticism - largely from women - of her appearance. 

All very different but the common theme was how judgmental and critical women are of each other.  Many of the responses to Samantha Brick said that women don't hate beautiful women, they just don't like arrogant women. Mmm...  I used to know a stunningly beautiful girl called Jody who was also one of the sweetest, kindest people I've known.  She never ever used her looks to get anywhere.  It was depressingly common for us to be in a pub or something and groups of women who she'd never met would stand in front of her & talk loudly to each other about her calling her a 'slag' or say that she was 'just an stuck-up ugly cow who needed to be taught a lesson'.  In one notable incident she was attacked by a group of girls in the toilet of an upmarket bar 'for thinking she was better than them'.  

In my younger days when I was... er, in the bloom of youth, I'd know when I was looking good by the filthy looks I'd get from other women.  On more than one occasion, when I was on a crowded tube I had women murmur in my ear, 'You really think you're something special, don't you?  Well, you're not.'  Just for the record, when I was young, I didn't need anyone to tell me how I wasn't special - no one knew that more than me.

Now there's no way I could be considered beautiful when I'm at work.  Unless motor oil on the face, birds nest hair and a spanner hanging out of the back pocket is now considered attractive, in which case I'm well in there. 

Anyway, I digress...  

What saddens me is how so many women regard each other as the enemy.  It strikes me quite strongly that we hate in each other is a projection of what we feel bad about in ourselves.  Hating Gwyneth for saying things like "Sometimes Harvey Weinstein will let me use the Miramax jet if I'm opening a supermarket for him"?  All that says to me is that you wish you had a big shot film producer lending you a jet.  The girls who pillory the beautiful girl?  Actually they're just pissed off because they don't think they're that attractive themselves.

Now I'm certainly no saint.  I'll admit that there have definitely been times when I've looked at the so-called perfect woman with her great wardrobe, immaculate hair, handsome husband & all round enviable life and thought 'Bitch!' but I've learnt not to vocalise it.  It's doesn't make my life any better by trashing hers.  It's just going to make me look jealous and unconfident which are highly unpleasant traits.

I'm going to put something out there.  Let's just be nice to each other.  Really. The odds are stacked against us as women so let's not add to the burden by trashing each other.  Just because someone is beautiful and successful doesn't mean that you're not.  I'm not advocating schmaltzy gushing, just common courtesy and respect.  It'll make all of our lives better in the long run.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sunday afternoon

Yesterday really was wonderful.  One of those perfect days that really sets you up for the coming week.

We started off by going up to Hampstead to see 'The Stars that play with Laughing Sam's Dice' by Robert Calvert (from Hawkwind) at the Pentameters Theatre.

I knew it was going to be special the moment we walked in. Pentameters is a fringe theatre above a gastro pub in Hampstead. Audience seating was wooden chairs with a selection of mismatched, old cushions.  A joss stick was burning in the corner and the back wall was covered with pictures from previous shows.

The lights didn't just dim before the show started, the founder of Pentameters actually came on stage and chatted to us about the show.  She'd met Robert Calvert whilst she was visiting a friend in a mental home back in the 70's and had encouraged him to write this script!  It was so interesting to hear the personal aspect to the production.  She also told us a little bit about everyone involved in the production, even down to the technician.

The play was about a meeting between a young, black, American paratrooper called James Marshall Hendrix and a staff sergeant back in the 60's.  The paratrooper went on to become Jimi Hendrix.  It's very much of its time, which believe me, isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned.  There was premonitions and talk of pacifism and a bit of psychodelia.  The only problem I had was with the casting of the sergeant.  He was obviously younger than the guy playing Hendrix and that didn't really ring true with me.  Still, it was a minor quibble.

It's such a shame that yesterday was the last performance otherwise I'd be urging everyone to go and see it.


After the show, we decided to go for a walk as it was such a gorgeous evening.  We didn't have any particular destination in mind other than following our noses down interesting looking streets.

We ended up walking through the leafy streets of Hampstead, dreaming of living there one day,

through Swiss Cottage and into Regents Park.

We came across a flying trapeze school but sadly they weren't practising.

After dismissing the tourist trap that is Baker Street, we ended up in The Real Greek just off Marylebone High Street.  Good fresh food was the perfect end to the day.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Why I'm deleting my Facebook account

Ah Facebook...  It seems like such a good idea.  A place where you can catch up with long lost friends!  Somewhere for you to really express yourself - post about things that interest you!

I'll admit, I was a real addict when I joined about six (eek!) years ago.  I was touring with a theatre show and it became a great way to keep in contact with friends from outside the business.  And yes, I was one of those annoying people who updated their status with the most boring minutiae - what I'd eaten for lunch; the fact that I was going shopping, etc.  Mea culpa.

Image via

Then things started changing and more people started friending me. People who I worked with.  I know, I didn't have to accept their friend requests but I thought it might cause problems if I didn't.  Don't get me wrong, they're great but the whole point was to use it to get away from work.  My work is in the entertainment business and can involve long, hard days -15 hours is not uncommon.  Believe me, it's easy to get lost in showbiz.

I was also beginning to find that it brought out a side in me that I didn't really like.  Yup, I'm talking about stalking here.  It wasn't an issue when I was just friends with folks I knew well but when it's people who I only know through work, I don't really need to know that they enjoyed their lunch with Aunty Ethel or that they're having trouble potty-training their kid.  It's about boundaries and it's too easy to over step them on Facebook.

Things started to get really interesting when old school and university friends cropped up.  Without going into too much personal detail, the political situation in my country of birth meant that anyone who can has left the country and we're scattered all over the globe.  At the time (1980's) there wasn't email etc so it was a lot harder to keep in touch.

I'd lost touch with all my old friends so it was absolutely riveting browsing through their profiles when they cropped up on Facebook.  Firstly there was the girl who, for years, I'd thought had killed herself.  Seriously, how do you approach that subject?  I still don't know what happened or how that rumour started.  I'm too afraid to ask.

Then the girls who'd bullied me quite badly at school turned up.  I'm not sure why they friend requested me or even why I accepted but there you go.  There was a strange moment when I realised that two of them were grandmothers.  Grandmothers!  Can you imagine?

Strangest of all was the realisation that most of my old school friends' lives had followed a very similar pattern - marry a man who's either a farmer or owns a computer business; if not living on the farm, move to a small town; have two children, the oldest of whom is a boy who loves rugby.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting at all that there's anything wrong with that lifestyle, I'm just surprised how few people deviated from it.

I think ultimately though the main problem I have with Facebook is the sheer pointlessness of it.  I'm already in contact with the people I want to be in contact with.  We call, we text, we meet up and have actual conversations.  Those crappy, affirmational statuses that people are so fond of - 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade' etc are utterly meaningless.  People displaying their asinine political views are not going to make me change my view points, they're just going to confirm that my own ideas are correct.

My pet hate though is those awful statuses that say 'Share if you're against child abuse/animal cruelty/cancer etc.  If you don't share, you don't care' usually accompanied by a graphic picture.  Study after study has shown that sharing those things actually makes things worse!  Fifteen years ago, people would have dropped their spare change into the Cancer Research collection box.  Nowadays people don't donate money because they feel they've done their bit by sharing those statuses.

Most importantly of all Facebook is stopping me from writing.  I've got a TV script on the go.  I've been told that it's good and I should finish it but this is how my writing routine goes...  Wake up early. Decide to do an hour's writing. Tell myself I'll just have a 'quick look' at Facebook before I start.  Emerge an hour and a half later with the beginning of a headache and tired red eyes having achieved nothing bar reading meaningless rubbish.   Take a break.  Do the laundry.  Do the housework.  

I also want to write more on this blog.  I started it for a reason, ie a creative outlet.

I've just checked my Facebook, (purely for the reasons of research, y'know).  These are how peoples statuses went.  I've edited nothing;

  Inboxed dislikess (sic)

  B*** earned an achievement in aviator

  In the paper today..hope i get to see my Sofia again...

  B*** played 2 words in Words with Friends

  Ministers who misuse statistics to mislead voters must pay the price | Peter Wilby

I rest my case.

I'm in the process of saving my photos then I'm gone.  


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