Tuesday 16 March 2010
Today I wake up with a headache. This probably comes from having slept upside down last night.
With the sun out in full force I actually find myself writing before heading off this morning.
The drive to the station is a real test this morning as when I decide to pass previously dawdling cars they suddenly decide to put their foot down and turn this thing into a race. Is it good to be heading towards the national speed limit along Balkerne Hill?
For some reason once we reach the station car park cars suddenly return to driving at a snail’s pace, a ghastly crawl of cruel.
Obviously I board the 6.59AM easily but for some reason people appear to be staring at me this morning. These people include the James Lipton lookalike sat on the seat opposite me.
Also sat opposite me is a Before And After girl as some scaly old has been applies her make up on the train in futile measure as a futile gesture. Afterwards she then pulls out a Dan Brown book. Fucking idiot.
By now thankfully my headache is already gone but there are still some signs that it could/might return.
As the journey continues elsewhere on the train there turns out to be another two Before And After girls. What is going on today?
When the train nears London I receive a text message from Tom who is starting our first game of Lookalike Poker of the year. I think today again I have the winning hand. People on my trains are such freaks.
Towards the end of my journey as we near London my iPhone begins ringing and it is The Girl. Not really feeling that I want to deal with her calling in sick at this hour I choose to ignore the call. Anything for a quiet life.
In the end the train pulls into Liverpool Street at 7.55AM. This is truly impressive, much more ahead of schedule than ever before. If only things were always this way.
From here I board my usual tube across to West London and when I eventually emerge at St Johns Wood strangely it smells like fart, smells like cheese today. What the fuck is happening?
As I walk down Loudoun Road I spot a woman walking a chubby Westie which makes me think more of Snowy than it does Bobby. Dare I suggest a preference for one dog over the other?
I step into work into an empty restaurant and office. Its times like these that I like the restaurant the most. Slowly people filter in and soon I have two cups of coffee in me and I am wired for sound.
Today turns out to be another distracted day, one where I have a dozen elements in my head all screaming for attention. I genuinely find it impossible to focus these days; things are just so hectic internally and externally at the moment. And sadly I cannot see things ever calming down either.
I manage to get some work done but frustratingly I fail to reach my target for today of getting the bank reconciliations done and out of the way. I guess there is always tomorrow.
Once out of work I head to St Johns Wood tube station where tonight appears to be HBO lookalike night with a doppelganger of Larry David followed by one of Phil Leotardo. From here I ride down to Bond Street and cut across to Tottenham Court Road where I endeavour to kill time before the JOHN LANDIS talk at the BFI this evening. This sounds like a really exciting event to be attending.
At Bond Street tonight is the beggar who has his face and features grafted off, it is truly an unpleasant sight, which is stating the obvious. I’ve been seeing the guy for years now and you can’t help but wonder just what his story is.
A couple of stops later I emerge at Tottenham Court Road and head towards Fopp to kill some time. Why does killing time always cost me so much money? Tonight I spend £21 on 4 CDs and 3 DVDs that I probably won’t even look at for at least six months.
Eventually Racton texts me to say that he is on his way to Waterloo so I make moves myself towards the South Bank. These days I avoid Charing Cross Road and instead go down West Street and past The Ivy in the vain hope of spotting/seeing a celebrity. No dice tonight though.
A few seconds later however I spot the dude from Pineapple Dance Studios. He is really really short in real life. Surprisingly though he is not dancing. I guess he needs a Sky camera crew following him around and Harry Hill egging him on to do that.
This walk through town is a genuinely pleasant one as soon I find myself passing our theatre land restaurant on St Martins Lane before crossing the Strand before heading down Craven Street to get to the Thames.
As ever crossing the Golden Jubilee Bridge takes my breath away this evening. The vision of Big Ben next to the Houses Of Parliament is a magnificent one; nothing in the modern world can ever look so majestic. The budgets must have gone out of the window on this project; more was the necessity to stamp a presence on existence.
Once across the bridge I head to Waterloo to meet up with Racton. After a few minutes of waiting I receive a text message and it turns out that everyone is already at the BFI. When I finally meet up with the others some people are in a shit mood having had to endure a late meeting for meetings sake. I know that feeling from my days at Baker Street. As a result this is going to be a fun evening then.
With less than an hour to JOHN LANDIS we grab some quick food at the Riverfront where the service is as cool and aloof as you would fear to expect. The food is OK though, basic if expensive. Tonight however speed is of the essence.
Eventually we step into Cinema 1, collect a set of BFI notes and take our seats for JOHN LANDIS and being on the right hand side of the room we pray that when he takes the stage that he will be sitting facing us. Thankfully when he emerges indeed he does sit looking in our direction.
The event turns out to be a joy to behold. The talk turns out to be a good one as LANDIS’ enthusiasm is infectious and genuine.
Going through his history in the movies he explains how The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad was the first movie that he saw when he was eight years old which gave him the passion for film before beginning work as a mail boy for Fox at the age of sixteen. His first big job was then on Kelly’s Heroes which he recalls fondly before describing how it was a long time before he was making Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House and The Blues Brothers.
Proceeding tonight’s event was a rare screening of his documentary Slasher from a few years ago and when a large portion of the early part of the talk we begin to worry about our decision not to attend the viewing. When LANDIS jokingly calls the people who didn’t watch the movie “bastards” we are certainly paying for it.
Thankfully the talk soon moves onto subjects we are all familiar with as some kind of retrospective of his career takes over. He genuinely shocks when describing the obstacles faced with The Blues Brothers before stepping into great tales of lunching with Alfred Hitchcock.
Over the course of the event we get treated with clips from many of his movies which begins with a clip from The Blues Brothers and the scene where the return to their orphanage and receive their mission. I’ve never seen John Belushi on a big screen before and he looks amazing.
Excitingly LANDIS is very opinionated and definitely not afraid to say if a film is bad or not so when Avatar inevitably gets brought up he declares that it is a fun movie but highlights how cliché ridden it all is. Wisely he states that just because you have such advanced CGI and 3D capabilities it doesn’t mean that you have to overdose on it. As he says these things all the while a black guy sat at the end of our row is vocal in agreement (not that LANDIS hears). For the longest time I stare at this guy half thinking that it is Antonio Fargas.
We get the famous An American Werewolf In London clip and the final transformation. Its funny to watch it now on a big screen as an adult because this scene truly terrified me when I was a youngster and meant for years that I was unable to watch the movie past this point. It is crazy to think of the age of it compared to the quality of the effects, which are through the roof even now.
After this we get a clip of Trading Places when Eddie Murphy is being busted by the police early on leading him to run into the rich men’s club and eventually cross paths with the old guys working him as their puppet. With the clip out of the way the evening brushes up against dirt about Eddie Murphy but LANDIS is too savvy to sink to that level.
It comes with some joy that he even discusses The Stupids which starred Jessica Lundy (who I had a minor obsession for in the nineties, she had the most amazing eyes). Apparently when the movie was dubbed into foreign languages it was perceived to be a funnier and completely different movie/story, much to the pleasant surprise of LANDIS who accepts that it is perhaps not his finest piece of work.
Eventually things move onto the Q&A session during which he is very accommodating. As ever the questions range in quality but luckily his enthusiasm powers through.
Amongst the subjects being raised include the Michael Jackson video for Thriller which LANDIS directed and has been at odds with the powers that be ever since. He says that he was on the verge of lodging a lawsuit against the man before he died. This dispute does explain why in this day and age of slick music videos that every time you see the video it is such shitty quality.
Invariably there is often a crazy person asking a question and tonight this guy goes off on a tangent with a question relating to a scene in The Conversation to a scene from a LANDIS movie. At the beginning of the question LANDIS indicates/states that he doesn’t know the scene that they guy is going on about and it’s a wasted question. Soon the guy is put out of his misery as there doesn’t appear to actually be a question being asked. Later it turns out that Eleanor is unfortunately sat next to the guy.
After a strong hour and a half LANDIS calls it a night, a true gentleman to the end. With this I exit feeling I know more about film than when I entered.
Emerging from the BFI onto the South Bank of The Thames all is very well this evening as our attendance tonight feels more than justified and worthy value/use of our time.
Walking across to Waterloo station we eventually head off on our separate directions with me going up to Tottenham Court Road and then across to Liverpool Street. In the end the ride home is non-eventful, a late night snooze train. This is nice.
When I get home there is a package at my door and when I open it I unearth the On The Buses box set which is a blag from Sharpy. It is a beautiful thing, a gift of the highest order. With this I proceed counting the eleven (ELEVEN) discs of the box set. I wonder what the poor people are doing.
Everyone else – suffer!