Thursday, August 24, 2006

Catching up

At last, I am online at the flat - or at least, in the one room in the block that has internet access. But it's better than internet cafes, even if they do give you your money back when you kick off about how uselesss their system is.

It's a gorgeous sunny morning, the diggers are busy doing their thing, and I'm going to try to catch up with the last few days because we have more shows and films to see today. Yesterday was the first day in ten that I didn't see a film - I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!

A arrived on Monday, and we had a fairly quiet day poking about in all the vintage clothes shops around Grassmarket - and at last, thanks to Armstrong's (an amazing emporium) I have a pair of jeans that fit, for only a tenner- hoorah! We went out to Cineworld for "Colour Me Kubrick" that night, a film about a conman called Alan Conway who impersonated Stanley Kubrick for several years, despite looking nothing like Kubrick or even liking his films. John Malkovich was excellent as the rather repellent Conway, and it's a good film in many ways. I would have been interested to know more about why Conway did what he did, and the film doesn't really explain that at all, but perhaps no-one really knows. There was a Q+A afterwards with the director and writer, who had both worked with Kubrick (a point they made many, many times), but the more surprising attendee was Jim Davidson, who played a very camp singer in the film. I never thought I would voluntarily spend time in the same room as Jim Davidson - it won't happen again. What was interesting was that he admitted to haveing been taken in by the real Conway posing as Kubrick, and he made some very interesting remarks about the celebrity egos, and how desperate some people are to get close to fame and celebrity, which is one of the reasons Conway managed to do what he did.

On Tuesday we went to the Book Festival; I saw Ian Wilmut, of Dolly the sheep fame, give a talk on cloning and the ethics of science which was fascinating - now I have to read his book. Later in the afternoon we went to the session on songwriting by Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand. They talked about how they worked together, and gave demonstrations on piano and guitar of how they built a song. The audience was mostly teenagers, and I imagine any aspiring songwriters amongst them would have emerged inspired to go out and write down "the extraordinary in the every day" in the notebooks Alex said they should always carry (so perhaps all forms of writing have something in common, from songs to novels). To round off the session they did an acoustic version of "Fallen", and left to rapturous applause.

Then to the Cameo, a lovely old-fashioned cinema, to see a British film, "Someone Else", written and directed by Col Spector, his first feature. I hesitate to call it romantic comedy, because although it's romantic and funny, it's not in the typical Britflick style of "floppy haired hero bumbles about pretty London and gets the girl" - it's more interesting than that, and definitely bitter sweet, while having some sharp points to make about the difficult decisions made in relationships. Stephen Mangan and Susan Lynch are very good as the two leads; well worth seeing. And then a documentary/road movie, "Loud QUIET Loud", about the band The Pixies getting back together - a great mix of concert footage and interviews, the sort of film about music where the live tracks are so good you want to get up and cheer when the crowd does.

Wednesday was an early start, for "Shakespeare for Breakfast", a long running Edinburgh Fringe show where you get coffee and a croissant as part of the entry price. Part of the fun of going is watching to see who doesn't realise until the end that there was a croissant on their seat, but no-one yesterday stood up with one stuck to their bum, sadly (yes I know my sense of humour is infantile at times, but croissants stuck to bums is funny at 10am). This year's show is "Taming of the Shrew: The Panto" - it was funny, and the shows are always very clever in the way they play around with Shakespeare, but it wasn't quite up to the standard of previous years. Still well worth getting up for though.

Then we saw "Luke Wright: Poet Laureate", a very funny performance poet doing a show about why he should be poet Laureate (apparently Andrew Motion's daughter was in the audience the other day, which must have been interesting). Then back down to the Book Festival to see Simon Armitage (shock horror, two poets in one day, that's more poetry than I usually can cope with in a year). He read some poems from his new collection, and a segment from his new piece on the Odyssey (is that how it's spelled?), and talked about his work, and being inspired as a teenager by Ted Hughes. My favourite audience question yet came in this session - "The only poem of yours I've read is the Millenium one - why didn't you read it tonight?" Answer - "I didn't know you were coming"! Nice one, Simon.

I stayed at the Book Festival to listen to Jenny Colgan and Pauline McGlynn talk about their new books (both very funny speakers, the show was recorded for Radio Scotland and will be broadcast in the autumn so if I remember I'll put in a link when it goes online) while A went out to Cineworld to see a German film, "Three Degrees Colder", which she said was good.

Phew, up to date on reviews. I'm feeling guilty because while I'm here doing all this stuff, Darren's back home working his socks off to get "Echoes" up and running. I spoke to our DoP, Joe, and our lead actress, Dania - it's getting pretty exciting and very real now. I've been doing the "please give me money/please help us" thing up here, with minimal success. At an industry networking breakfast for short film-makers the other day, I was told "get UK Film Council support, your film will go further" - but the regional screen agencies and the UK Film Council have pretty much tied up all the funding so there is only one point of access, via the regional agency, so if you're rejected by them, you don't have UKFC support - so if you're lucky enough to get financial support, you'll then get lots more help; if you struggle on, raising private finance and doing it yourselves (as we are), then no-one seems to be interested in giving you a little bit of a hand. The agency people are all terribly nice and friendly, as are the Industry Office people here, but I'm sure there must be better ways of giving more people a bit of help to get started.

Must be breakfast time by now - I think the time has gone wrong on my posts again. And all my photos are rubbish, so I won't be posting them. But I'll try to fix the clock.


Blogger Stacie said...

Hey! More interesting things to ponder in today's post...

Hi to A!

1:12 am  
Blogger Mollywags said...

Phew! No one can accuse you two of wasting any seconds. It's great living through all these experiences vicariously. Enjoy the last couple of days.
Love from us

10:26 am  
Blogger Viv said...

Goodness you've been busy! I'm still recovering :) Must go and see some of these films...

Quite agree about Shakespeare for Breakfast - it was good, but it could have been better.

Enjoy the rest of your trip - am amazed you are still standing!

1:05 pm  
Blogger Phillip Lloyd said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:15 am  
Blogger Nez said...

Your bit about croissants on bums made me chuckle. I can whole heartedly agree that items of an edible nature do indeed become highly hilarious once stuck to a human posterior.

You caused me to have a flash back to a drama group meeting where at the end of the night a friend of mine stood up to reveal that a chocolate digestive had somehow magically attached itself to her bottom. That had to be one of the funniest moments of my life.

Names have not been mentioned to protect the identity of the innocent. ;o)

(Oh I'm giggling again now. In fact I'm periously close to laughter tears.)

11:41 am  

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