How I met Danny Boyle

Something incredible just happened. As I said yesterday, I was very excited to see a film crew at charlton house, and the chance to meet Danny Boyle meant I set off round there bright and early this morning. Of course, I knew that actually meeting the guy, let alone getting to have any kind of conversation with him, was rather unlikely; but at least I could watch a professional film crew at work. I could sit in the sun outside charlton house (you couldn’t go in there as film equipment was everywhere) and watch events unfold.

I sat there for most of the afternoon, in between runs to the cafe to report back to the guys there. Matt turned up, chatted a while, then left. I knew I’d need to be patient so I stayed there, until eventually out the great man came. Earlier in the day I’d got talking to one of the assistant directors (I think) and had explained why I was so keen to meet Mr. Boyle. We had exchanged emails (hurrah for networking!) and he had seemed quite impressed. Just when I was beginning to contemplate heading home, he came back out to meet me, bringing with him one of the greatest living directors.

As with when I met Sir Patrick Stewart, I was awe-struck: Once again fate and good luck had conspired to allow me to meet one of my heroes. I wanted to say so much; I tried to explain why the olympic opening ceremony meant so much to me, showing him this blog entry on my Ipad, but he obviously needed to get back to work. Nonetheless, I feel we had a fairly decent conversation, at the end of which I shook his hand, someone took our photo, and I was left to drive back home, once again wondering how I can be so lucky.

danny boyle

Guess who’s coming to film in Charlton

I still can barely believe this is actually happening – god himself, it would seem, is coming to Charlton Village. I was out in the park yesterday, enjoying my usual cuppa, when I noticed something going on up at the House. I asked my fellow coffee-drinkers what was happening, and was told a film crew was setting up to film there. Of course, this got me automatically interested, so I whizzed up the path to investigate.

At the front of Charlton House, I found men taking film equipment from vans into the house. It looked like high-spec, fairly professional stuff, so this clearly wasn’t an amateur production. I asked one of the guys about it: he didn’t know so I asked another, and was told it was for a period piece about Getty Images.

And then the amazing part came. Wanting to sound as if I actually knew something about film, I asked who was directing. I expected to hear a name I had never heard before. But I had. We all have. It was none other than one of my favourite directors, and a personal hero of mine, Danny Boyle. When I heard that name, my jaw hit the floor! Boyle, the very guy who directed Happy and Glorious, a piece of film I find so remarkable, so awesome that it still has me spasming with glee; Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting; Boyle, one of the greatest living directors, is coming to Charlton village.

He’ll just be here a few days. Apparently he’s filming Trust, an American television series about John Paul Getty, and will shoot on Friday (tomorrow). Of course, the chances of me actually meeting the great man are minimal – he’ll probably be very busy indeed, and the last thing he’ll want will be the likes of me trying to chat to him. Nonetheless, this is very exciting news indeed, and I’ll no doubt be over there tomorrow trying to watch.

I can’t believe how these things turn out sometimes. How did this happen – what are the chances? One of my heroes, making a film on my doorstep. It’s just incredible.

new forms of expression

I’m currently on an ongoing quest for something new to get into and explore. Since starting to make films with Matt Ball, I’ve begun to look at everything in a slightly different way, wondering how I could use it in a film. Of course, I’ve done that for ages anyway, looking for material to write about on my blog; yet now I’ve started to think more in terms of film. That’s how I came to be pondering finger spinners a couple of weeks ago: after seeing them on sale in Woolwich market, I began to wonder if a film could be made about them. I’m interested in the new and previously unexplored; new art forms and sports; things not yet seen as mainstream. How might such things then be explored? Could such new art forms be documented and analysed as one would analyse more traditional art forms?

It seems to me that that is the way things are flowing: people are increasingly trying to get away from mainstream forms of culture and types of expression and into new ways to communicate. Look at the rise of youtube, for one, where everyone can upload short films about whatever they like. Means of expression are growing and changing, and I think this has lead to a plethora of new art forms being created. Culture seems to be evolving very quickly indeed. This fascinates me, and I now want to go and explore a few of these new forms of expression. What new things can I find, out there on the streets? And, just as interestingly, what can I then say about them?

More on the golf ball

My new golf ball took a bit of getting used to. Just to follow up on yesterday’s entry, I must say it was quite strange, at first, controlling my powerchair through the golf ball: I suppose it’s like a new pair of shoes which you have to break in before they get comfortable. Within about twenty minutes, though, I found I liked the new sensation, and could see why so many powerchair users preferred golf balls: There was something bigger in my hand; something to get hold of and grip, giving one a better sense of control. I can now definitely see myself becoming a golf ball convert.

The golf ball

A few days ago I lost the knob off my powerchair control stick. Going through nearby Maryon-Wilson Park, it flew off into the bushes as I was going down a slope. I spent over half an hour looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, having two chairs, I could just take the knob off my spare powerchair and put it on to my main one, but Lyn had a better solution. Rolling up to me as I was looking for my knob in the park, she immediately got on her Ipad and ordered a golf ball for me. The lads back at school always used golf balls on their chairs, but up until now I’ve used the knobs the chairs came with. I’d always thought they were just ordinary golf balls my mates had had holes drilled into, but obviously there’s a market for wheelchair control knobs which look like golf balls.

I just got back from the cafe to find my new control knob had been delivered. It’s now on my control stick waiting for me to try out. Well, here goes…

Boys Wear Skirts To Protest At School

I think I really need to flag this video up. The Young Turks panel discusses the recent story in The Guardian about school boys who, told they weren’t allowed to wear shorts to school, opted to wear skirts. I love it! Not only does the story chime with my own views on clothes, that people should be able to wear whatever they like regardless of gender, I also love how these americans react to it in an odd, slightly bemused way. It’s as if it’s the last thing they expected from a group of british school boys, but nonetheless they fully support the ethos behind it.

A year on from our act of utter stupidity

I’m still just as angry as when I wrote this entry a year ago yesterday. My frustration with the way things are going in this country hasn’t calmed down one iota; in fact things seem to be getting worse. I’ve written many times on here about how stupid this country was to vote for brexit: it was a vote for xenophobia and isolationism; a vote which, more to the point, essentially denied reality. How long do these fools really think we can survive outside the EU? It just did not make sense to leave our biggest, nearest market. As I wrote the other day, I think people will soon be changing their minds in their droves – I think they already are, as the truth becomes clearer and clearer.

The problem is, it’s very hard for people to admit that they were wrong, or that they were deceived, when it comes to matters like this. They will thus try to cling to fantasies for as long as possible rather than face the truth and own up. Even when the truth becomes blatantly obvious, brexiteers will still be claiming they were right. This mess will therefore take a long, long time to sort out. A year on and I’m still angry, but I fear this farce has some way to run yet.

Michael Palin awarded an honorary doctorate

Just to pick up on another of my fandoms, Michael Palin was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland this week. I read earlier that it was ”n recognition of his contribution to the understanding of contemporary geography issues.” Programs about so-called celebrities going on journeys are tena-penny these days, but as far as I am concerned, Palin virtually created the genre. The current copycat series, with Joanna Lumley and so on, all stem from Palin’s Around The World in Eighty Days, Pole To Pole and Full Circle. As someone who has loved his programmes since childhood, it’s good to see Palin’s contribution being recognised.

Henry Blofeld announces his retirement

As a cricket fan, it saddens me to read that the great Henry Blofeld has announced his retirement. Listening to test matches just won’t be the same without him; to many, he’s the quintessential voice of cricket. ”Henry Blofeld will retire from BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special after 45 years in the commentary box. The 77-yearold will broadcast on the show for the final time when England host West Indies on 7 September.” I love the way he brought a strange quirkiness to listening to cricket commentary, as though you were listening to someone from a totally different age while still being homely and strangely comforting. Mind you, I’ve always wondered whether he was related to the famous Bond villain. Oh well…farewell Blowers – you were great.

The ship continues to sail

I was just looking through my blog archive – something I do from time to time. Ten years ago today I wrote this entry. Freshly home from finishing my final undergrad year at university, Dad had just set my computer up on my old desk. I dashed off a quick blog entry, no doubt wanting to get on with other stuff, about how much uni had changed me. I had indeed changed over the previous three years: my experiences on campus really brought me out of myself. But I didn’t realise then that that was just the beginning, and I had barely scratched the surface of the change. I remember writing that very entry, but at the same time it seems an age away. So much has happened since then, not least meeting Lyn and moving to London, that it staggers me to think how much my life has changed. I’ve created so many awesome memories, had so many great adventures, since I wrote those words; the very geography of the world where I exist is completely different. To continue the metaphor I use in that entry, the ship slipped her moorings, cleared the dock, and sailed into a vast ocean full of adventure and intrigue.

Helm, hold her steady, and prepare for excitement.