Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today's Simple Pleasures

Bookgroup at our place to chew the fat about 'The Woman in White' by Wilkie Collins - reading in bed this morning, and at lunch time, and walking home down the high street

Looking at our picture hanging from last night - the Wall of Music including Elliot Landy photo of Bob Dylan and Pennie Smith picture of The Clash at London Calling promo shoot

Chatting with Tony Gallagher about farming in Donegal - would love to be there myself right now

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wot the Dickens - Saturday's Happiness Experiment entry

Watching Harold Lloyd's Speedy (1928)with piano accompaniment (Neil B?) at the Barbican with D - plus a slapstick workshop for the young'uns

Lunch at Kippferl with D - Austrian sausage and Jewish apple cake with lashings of hot coffee

A walk with D from Barbican through Smithfield down to the Thames at St Paul's for beachcombing on the north shore - clay pipes a plenty - shades of Dickens and Collins

Spreading Germ - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Seeing the press coverage start to roll in for Germ 2 especially the Guardian piece and the item on Channel 4 News

Approaching the climax of Wilkie Collins' Woman in White

Starting to shape Human Footprint online with Touch and Guy Holbrow (on the 10th anniversary of meeting through MindGym)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Skinful - Recent Happiness Experiment entries


Watching Skins

An evening out with U around Highgate Village

Lunch with Zeroinfluencer


Snowballing with the enfants terribles all the way to skool

Au revoir to Naomi Arnold, a fellow inhabitant on the one small (Public Service) village which still holds out...

Skins meeting with the charming Russell Barnes, co-creator Jamie Brittain and my long-lost cousin's cousin script editor Chloe Moss - exploring the notion i had about writing talent development through interactive/social media sparked off by the word "sixteen"

Free style - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Becoming a Freeman of the City of London - shared with Ma and Mo (with some Victorian painting [William Powell Frith] and some Austrian nosh [at Kipferl in Smithfields] thrown in for a perfect few hours)

Hearing the Godfather theme echoing around Victoria underground from a busking clarinetist

Wandering the back lanes of Smithfields and Guildhall in winter sunshine

Monday, January 22, 2007


It was on the good ship Venus, by Christ you should have seen us, the figurehead was Peter O'Toole, still handsome with his floppy TE Lawrence hair (despite his skeletal age). The great Leslie Phillips did a "haallooo" for us all at the premiere of 'Venus' at the Chelsea Cinema. Female lead, Jodie Whittaker was there in a little black number, reminiscent of Imogen Stubbs and Kate Winslet. Director Roger Michell introduced everyone. Producer Kevin Loader attended, alongside Corinne Bailey Rae (who did the music with David Arnold), writer Hanif Kureishi and good old uncle Richard Griffiths.

At the party afterwards dear, dear Johnny Hurt pulled by. Execed by Tessa Ross of FilmFour and Scott Rudin which links to both work and play (the other Paramount Scott, Katherine's other half) plus the link of the Rokeby Venus to Art Vandals - throw in the locations from my manor (from Camden and Kentish Towns to the Chandos caff by the dentist's) and you have a movie I feel pretty connected to. I love what they've done with the poster - they had a tableau vivant at the post-screening pardee which looked the biz, reminiscent of happy hours life drawing in Andi's class.

Leslie Phillips was perfect. O'Toole did a great job, plenty of chemistry and shared experience there. Jodie was fine in a slightly ropey role (a touch of Jane Horrocks meets something else i've seen before). Plenty of enjoyable scenes and a few cracking lines. A fine 96 minutes in the cinema by anyone's standards.

Bumped into Axel 'The Light Side of the advertising Force' Chaldecott and Ian 'Lara Croft' Livingstone along the way. Catering by Jonathan Rutherford Best's mob. All in all, not bad for a Monday night - not least for the A1 Thesps. Boing! "Time for bed"

Starspot #134

Ewan McGregor (in classic dark glasses and hat) - Kenwood [21.01.07]
Johnny Vaughan - at Channel 4 [22.01.07]
Malcolm Rifkind MP - Belgrave Square [22.01.07]

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This weekend's Happiness Experiment entry

Saturday lunch in the Italian caff with the green frontage - today, unusually, armed with a copy of the JC with an interesting article on the Brothers attitudes to tatoos (love Amy Winehouse's Daddy's Girl)

Wandering about Flickr - my first upload in months (pics from Brighton hols) - intriguing contact with Thursday

Watching I Believe sequence in DV8's Cost of Living - one of my favourite Dance sequences

Walking in Kenwood with Ja and his boys and Simon L and Jo - star spot: Ewan McGregor

Doing maths in the kitchen with N

Playing the Lists of 3 game

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Listening to Jim on the way home - The End from the eponymous first lp The Doors - Coppola was some kind of genius opening Apocalypse Now with that choon

Gym on a Friday evening

Reading Skeleton Key with N and The Whisperer with D, especially the illustrations of the latter with the Tommy Boy like catgang

O'er hill and dale - recent Happiness Experiment entry

Wander on the allotments - sound of the brook

Walk with N from Cherry Tree Woods through Highgate Woods to Queen's Wood

Watching John Buchan: Master of Suspense on BBC4, particularly Alexander Armstrong's enthusiasm (writing partner of Ben Miller who co-wrote MindGym with Tim Wright and me)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

First Serve - Recent Happiness Experiment entries

Varied and productive morning of meetings including at Dazed and Confused with some groovy young things; at Flickr about Hotshots; and with Alfie about Big Art Mob

Working on Education strategy on a propicious day - the day of Naomi Sargant's memorial service at St John's church, Smith Square with contributions by Jeremy Isaacs and David Puttnam as well as a poetic Irish(?) woman [Gillian Lindt] and Naomi's husband [Lord MacIntosh of Haringey] reading U's favourite Louis Macniece poem (Sunlight in the Garden) - appropriately enough I'm writing this on the Fuelland Allotments and I'm going to give the speaker fee from my next gig to Naomi's Harrington scheme

The Lavazza coffee ads with tasty women in hot futuristic superheroine outfits

Laurel + Hardy shorts with D and Finn including Liberty and Big Business(?) at the Barbican - special as Finn's first outting without his parents

Quick trip with N to Crouch End to look at 60s/70s furniture including a Danish couch and Jamie Reid prints

Showing Roy round the East Wing

Friday, January 12, 2007

Blue and White - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Coming home on a friday evening listening to Blood on the Tracks whilst reading The Woman in White

Arranging my first outting with my nephew Finn - to see Laurel & Hardy, accompanied by D

Getting a positive response from Barnet Council to the plan I wrote up for East Finchley Library

Naomi Sargant 1933-2006

Been this evening to an inspiring memorial service at St John's church, Smith Square, SW1 for Naomi Sargant, champion of adult education and free education for all. Naomi set up the Education department at Channel 4 when it was founded 25 years ago this year. Jeremy Isaacs (founding Chief Executive of Channel 4) spoke, as did David Puttnam (current board member)

I last saw Naomi on 13th June at the RTS Awards, the evening we picked up an award for Breaking the News, a project addressing Media Literacy, one of Naomi's passions. She told me that evening she wasn't well - she passed away a month later.

I was working with her on 21/7 (2005) when further bombings were attempted in the wake of the 7/7 bombings. We were at the DfES doing work on the relation between Public Service Broadcasting and Education in the UK when the news started coming in. Because the meeting had been so hard to arrange and the time available was so limited, we soldiered on and got the job done, as undistracted as possible.

The gathering tonight reminded me of the heritage of Channel 4 Education and gave me a real sense of taking on the flame...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mahler's 9th

The ending is like someone expiring peacefully.

This is the end, my only friend the end...

Chat's where it's at - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Chat with Asma Shah and John Bird (The Big Issue) after Oli Barrett's gig at the Adam Street Club

Lively lunch chat with Steve Moore (Policy Unplugged)

Walking the boyz to skool

Mahler's 9th at the Barby with Ma (Staatskapelle Dresden) - wonderful detailed wooden backdrop with organpipe-like shapes, warmly lit

Lunch with Anuja - encouraging her radical documentary-making career

Chatting with N about the day he accidently smashed a glass door in the face of Oscar-winning director Mike Leigh (in Crouch End, when he was 3) and the ensuing convo about passports and the millennium. N interviewed me for his homework.

Patti Smith on the New Year

"I always think of the Jimi Hendrix line 'Hooray I wake from yesterday'. Just being alive is a gift. We can build on that thought every day."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Saturday's Happiness Experiment entry

Watching Blue Man show with N and D - especially when they drum with coloured paint on their drumskins

Photographing around Covent Garden - with N + D featuring among the mannequins

Writing a plan to help safeguard East Finchley Library from the rapacious property developing bastards (RPDBs).

Music Note #411 - Bowie's lyrics

Listening to a documentary about David Bowie on Saturday evening (on Radio 2), it occured to me that his lyrics (for Life on Mars? for example) owe much to Bob Dylan - Ballad of a Thin Man type surrealism. Guess Song for Bob Dylan on Hunkydory is a bit of clue...

Shake and jog - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Setting up our new Mac - another elegant machine from the Apple corps

Going for a jog with N for the first time

Watching BAFTA contender movies with U - this evening, Notes on a Scandal (fancy Kate Blanchett)

Drinking coffee

Watching a booty shaking vid on MySpace

Talking James Brown and Gil Scott Heron with Doug Miller via Blogger/Wordpress


James McEvoy + Anne Marie-Duff (sports shop, Brent Cross 030107)

Friday, January 05, 2007

International Man of Leisure - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Getting a mention on Robert Elms' show on BBC London Radio (it will always be GLR to me) with regard to Muddy Waters and the late great James Brown - with the enfants terribles listening in the car

Coming across our old neighbours Reg and Eddie Wagland in The White Van on the Holloway Road

A fine all day outting with N + D ranging from finding my lovely blue scarf against the odds to hanging out at the British Museum to pulling by Bernard's for that magic touch

Ugly Betty

First reactions - did The Devil Wears Prada credit Ugly Betty's writers? or is it the other way round? Practically a scene for scene ...hommage

The Godfather of Soul

Having just got a mention on Robert Elms' show (on BBC London Radio) for suggesting the Hoochie Coochie Man to add to his list of singers/musicians with epithetical names, a game inspired by the late great James Brown, seems like a good moment to reflect on the Godfather of Soul...

'Please Please Please' was just playing on the show and it really struck me how much Van the Man owes to Mr Dynamite in terms of the repetition and incantation of the words to the point where they take on a mantra-like rhythm and transcend their literal meaning.

Van plays a cracking version of It's a Man's World on his 'Live in San Francisco' record (featuring Pee Wee Ellis i think??) and often dropped a few bars of it into other songs during his live shows throughout the 90s, maybe still does.

So for that alone we owe the Godfather our heart-felt thanks.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Turn of the year - first Happiness Experiment entry of 2007

Playing Monopoly en famille

Receiving visitors throughout the afternoon like the Dashwoods we watched the night before (in Ang Lee's movie of Sense & Sensibility), including my cousins Clive & Jeanie (and her hilarious New York folks) and Joan & Paul

Reading The Woman in White to the accompaniment of Kind of Blue, stretched across The Bed

Walking along the Roman Wall of London with N + D - from Tower Hill to Finsbury Circus

Reading Skeleton Key to N + D in The Bed

Finding a new Banksy (art attendant looking after a blank canvas, in Martineau Road N5) on the way to Bernard's house to pick up U