Thursday, July 06, 2006

First Timers

Got Work Buddy’s girlfriend reading Dennis Lehane’s novels. In particular the five marvellous Kenzie & Gennaro books, from A Drink Before the War to Prayers for Rain.

It’s a good thing to introduce people to the books. Any books really, whether its Glen David Gold’s magnificent Carter Beats The Devil or John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. Everyone has their personal favourites that they they try to spread around. That done, there is a twinge of envy that the new reader gets to experience these books for the first time.

Films too, which tend to be pre-1970s, and in particular the artistic flights of fantasy conjured up by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger during the 1940s.

After leaving art school in 1987 I took a potential girlfriend to see a new print of The Red Shoes, struck by the National Film Archives, at the National Film Theatre. The screening took place on the evening of September 30th, significant for being Michael Powell’s birthday. The just turned 82-year-old director was in attendance and stood while the whole audience sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Some years back I put on A Matter of Life and Death for my then-girlfriend to introduce her to Powell & Pressburger. She sits through about half of it before suggesting we got to bed. I’ve got this hottie offering me the pleasures of the flesh, where every hole’s a goal, and I’m saying, “But the big trial scene in heaven is coming up!” I guess you can see why that relationship obviously eventually went south - She didn’t like the films!

Yesterday was my last day of filming on the current project. Typically it was a burning hot. Three actors, two lights, one camera, all in the one room in the building that didn’t have air-conditioning. The only way to cool down would have been to douse myself in petrol and spark up.

If the agency had a clue about what she was doing we would have finished long before now. For a while we waited for actors they wanted to become available. When they were free, the agency couldn’t decide on which dates we should film.

By the time they nailed it down the actors were once again unavailable. Which in the end proved to be a lucky break. The people we got were uniformly brilliant. Once the filming was done we retired for a very late lunch and swapped war stories.

Thankfully, today, the weather finally broke. (Tough break for the commuters whose trains were cancelled because of the lightning, but it makes a change from the usual excuses like leaves on the line. Or spilt ice cream).

It seemed churlish to huddle under an umbrella when I had been praying for rain. Although I couldn’t figure out why most people looked like they been lightly sprayed with water while I looked like someone had turned a fire hose on me.


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