Monday, 20 December 2010

first miranda film developed

Notting Hill Carnival and South Bank from this Summer.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Perhaps we'll actually have a white Christmas this year?

Friday, 17 December 2010

xavier dolan et les amours imaginaires

Been meaning to write this post for a while.

I saw, as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2010, a film called Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires). My friend, Luisa, and I have been going regularly to the BFI for the last 6 months or so. We take it in turn to choose and book the next few films. Heartbeats was one of her selections, I went, knowing nothing about it and was totally blown away.

To give you a brief synopsis (no spoilers): the film tells the story of two best friends Marie, and Francis (a gay guy played by Dolan) who meet the gorgeous Nicolas and both fall in love with him. The film explores the love triangle and the ensuing, and inevitable complicites, especially as Nicolas plays them both.

The film is very stylistic (the slow-mo lingering shots on characters walking sometimes annoyingly so) yet is done in a beautiful way that reminds me of a Vogue magazine photo shoot. There are obvious nods to other films - the annoying, aforementioned slow-mo shots can be seen in In The Mood For Love. I wonder if these would be irritating to watch a 2nd time round - which, since it's not on general release yet, I'm yet to do.

BUT this is of little consequence, and the plot almost is too. The most incredible thing about this film is Xavier Dolan.

I'm in love with him.

Unfortunately he's gay (bien sur).

See how beautiful he is?

This young French Canadian (21 tiny years) not only starred as one of the 3 main characters, he wrote and directed it (his 2nd feature film - J'ai Tue Ma Mere was his first), did the costume design, some of the editing, even designed the press pack for the film...

Although you can see that some of his stylistic techniques need perhaps a little development, he by no means has plenty of time to find his own feet. It is a fantastic film and I can't wait to see what he does next, albeit being just a tad jealous of his talents and achievements so far...

Oh and it won Best Film at this year's Sydney Film Festival, so I'm obviously not this film's only fan.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

camden market

Can't believe it's so long since I've blogged, no excuse.

To get myself going again thought I'd start with some pics from a recent-ish trip to Camden Market.

Bohemiam Beauty or Tourist Twee?

I shot these with my Canon d550, such beautiful quality. And yes, Camden has a lot of touristy tat, but I will go with the Bohemian Beauty. I love anything vintage or bohemian. My friend Polly (in the photo) says it's hard to be either in London. I'm not sure I agree, I'm sure if I put my mind to it and got my creative juices flowing a bit more, I could help fulfill these wishes.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

le cirque invisible

My Mum bought tickets on the spur of the moment after I told her about a poster I had seen on the tube. One review said that if you're depressed, before trying anti-depressants, come and see Le Cirque Invisible. Both my Mum and I had had a particularly crappy day. Having been out of work for a couple of months and feeling pretty low about it, I had missed out on a job that afternoon. Mum, who was meant to meet me for dinner beforehand, had been locked out of the house, kept builders waiting at a flat she lets out and only just got back in the house, to the flat, and back again in time to jump on a train to meet me for the performance.

We didn't know what to expect.

I'm looking online at reviews of it, all of them highly praising it, except for one Guardian review by Lynn Gardner from last year which I've just read. Ok, so the show may have hardly changed over 30 years but that is the beauty of it. It is crazily wacky, simple, timeless and quirky.

The duo are Victoria Chaplin (daughter of Charlie) and her French husband Jean-Baptiste Thierree - I was surprised to hear they were married when he is in his 70s and she looks about 40, but was then even more surprised to hear she is nearing 60. She contorts herself into the most amazing positions and creatures. But it was Jean-Baptiste who really stole the show for me, his obvious passion, enthusiasm and demeanor were enchanting.
One of my favourite bits had to be the rabbits and ducks that came on stage - seemingly voluntarily. The rabbits were given books to read so they didn't get bored. Their costume changes and the humour in the simplest of sketches is refreshing and certainly cheered both Mum and I up.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Houseboats used to be a really cheap way to live, but not anymore, especially on the Thames. Moorings and service charges are ridiculously expensive in London.

But I know a couple of people who have lived on them for years. The downside (as well as the above) is the maintenance and the fact that that they rarely increase in value. It's the lifestyle you do it for. There is often a real sense of community spirit, sometimes communal gardens, drinks on each others roofs... and there's the waking up with mist on the river and ducks and swans paddling past - bliss!

I want one!

Which one would you have?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

richmond park deer

Need a better, longer lense, better technical skills and more sunshine, but it's a start!
You can just spot the London Eye and Gherkin in the last two.

Friday, 6 August 2010

lost in translation - together

People seem to either love or hate this film. I love it. People who hate it, 'don't get it', obviously they have never had this sort of experience. I have. And the beauty of the film is how poignantly realistic it is... *sigh*, I'm going to stop there. It's too close to my own heart to go into further without revealing too much about my own experience. Plus I don't want to go there for my own sanity.

Instead I'll hand over to the words of someone else - Roger Ebert.
Here are some snippets.

Bill Murray's acting in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" is surely one of the most exquisitely controlled performances in recent movies. Without it, the film could be unwatchable. With it, I can't take my eyes away.  Not for a second, not for a frame, does his focus relax, and yet it seems effortless. It's sometimes said of an actor that we can't see him acting. I can't even see himnot acting. He seems to be existing, merely existing, in the situation created for him by Sofia Coppola.

She has one objective: She wants to show two people lonely in vast foreign Tokyo and coming to the mutual realization that their lives are stuck. Perhaps what they're looking for is the same thing I've heard we seek in marriage: A witness. Coppola wants to get that note right. There isn't a viewer who doesn't expect Bob Harris and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) to end up in love, or having sex, or whatever. We've met Charlotte's husband John (Giovanni Ribisi). We expect him to return unexpectedly from his photo shoot and surprise them together. These expectations have been sculpted, one chip of Hollywood's chisel after another, in tens of thousands of films. The last thing we expect is… what would probably actually happen. They share loneliness.

I can't tell you how many people have told me that just don't get "Lost in Translation." They want to know what it's about. They complain "nothing happens." They've been trained by movies that tell them where to look and what to feel, in stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. "Lost in Translation" offers an experience in the exercise of empathy. The characters empathize with each other (that's what it's about), and we can empathize with them going through that process. It's not a question of reading our own emotions into Murray's blank slate. The slate isn't blank. It's on hold. He doesn't choose to wear his heart on his sleeve for Charlotte, and he doesn't choose to make a move. But he is very lonely and not without sympathy for her. She would plausibly have sex with him, casually, to be "nice," and because she's mad at her husband and it might be fun. But she doesn't know as he does that if you cheat it shouldn't be with someone it would make a difference to.

I wish I had written and made this film.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

dressmaker required

I bought this dress of E-Bay a good year ago for a 1920s evening I was going to. Even before I won the bid I realised it wouldn't get to me on time but I then it was too late, I just HAD to have it.

It's original 1920s, made in Paris for a shop in Chicago. Oh, I can just see it now, the flapper girls in a Chicago club, Charlston, early Jazz scene...

It's so fragile and it looks like it's made out of tights with heavy beads embroidered, thread bear in places, stained in others, and too big for me anyway. My neighbour is a dress-maker, used to work for the National Ballet, and she said she'll see what she can do for me. Either way, I don't care - if I ever get married THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO WEAR.

(At some point I'll also get some better photos of it)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Friday, 2 July 2010

kalk bay

Came across this lovely little shop (and lots others like it) in Kalk Bay, on the Cape just outside Cape Town. The train line behind goes all along the coast. Kalk Bay is a sweet little town, very bohemian, lots of cool cafes and vintage shops and boutiques like this one. Just up the road is Simon's Town - famous for its penguins - we were meant to be going on there but never got out of Kalk Bay!
Unfortunately I didn't have the money or space in my backpack for any purchases.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

30 things to do before you turn 30

I'll be 30 next month. I usually hate these type of things - usually written in the same sort of publications which like to convince you that you're too fat, ugly and poor to be considered a proper human being.
But what the hell, I haven't got much else to do today so I thought I'd make my own list, compiled from other lists.

1) Visit Paris

DONE! (several times - I also lived in Lyon for a year when I was 21-22 - in some ways even better than Paris, more friendly and intimate. One of the best years of my life, partly for meeting my first serious boyfriend. Unfortunately, he wasn't French, but Welsh.)
I think this one should be 'have a romantic kiss in Paris' - haven't done this, yet :(

2) Get a piercing/tattoo

Hate tattoos and will never get one, but I have 3 piercings in my right ear, 2 in my left and my nose pierced. Had wanted to do it for years and finally did when I was 25 and in the Philippines. The guy said there wouldn't be any hurty, but there was. 

3) Learn another language

I speak French... well at least I did. Languages have never come naturally to me, but having spent most childhood holidays in France I was always determined to learn it, and did well enough to study it at university. However I have since forgotten it all. Shamefully.

4) Buy a one-way ticket overseas

Not sure about this one... I've had a round-the-world ticket. Probably bought a single when I went to Lyon, but that's only just across the channel so perhaps doesn't count. Damn it. This is something I'd like to do one day.

5) Have a 3-some

Done! ;)

6) Go on a demonstration

Never chained myself to railings, but I have been to 2 rally's. The first one was when I was living in Lyon, it was the year that the far right leader - Jean-Marie Le Pen, nearly got in. Lots of the students went on a march protesting against him and were setting off just as I was coming out of class. It was good fun, a great atmosphere and felt like I was really shouting for a good cause, even if it wasn't my own country.
The 2nd was in 2003 in London for the anti-Iraq war demo. I took my Mum.

7) Go and see your favourite popstar in concert

Growing up as a true 80s child, Madonna was always my icon and I vowed when I was about 12 that I would go and see her in concert - and I did! O2 arena in 2009.  I was at the back but it was worth everything penny, and even the 4 hours it took to get home on rubbish London transport.

8) Run a marathon

Absolutely not. Nor do I have any intention of ever doing so. I hated sports at school and was crap at them, always the last to be picked.
However I am proud that regularly practice yoga and keep fit this way. I love it and hope I'm still doing it when I'm 80.

9) Have sex in public

Well there was a field, some naughty fumblings on a bus once, and that time - ahem - in the kitchen at work... also nearly got thrown out of a restaurant for something similar (with the same person I should add) 
Oh god, they're all coming back to me now - also a hotel balcony... and a beach in Portugal
Do they count?

10) Get something published

Done! When I left university for a while I wanted to be a travel writer. I took my laptop with me and wrote everyday. When I got back a got a couple of articles published and did some work experience at TNT magazine where I got a couple of things in print.
I'm also on the Rough Guides writer's pool, although they've never asked me to do anything.

11) Do a skydive

NO thanks!

12) Stay in a 5* hotel

Done - The Savoy in London when I was a bridesmaid for a rich friend, and the Oriental in Bangkok. My friends parents were friends of the owners and we got a heavily discounted room. 
Also stayed in a safari lodge in the middle of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It's not 5* but normally costs about £300 per person and we stayed there for free.
I think the best one though is the Imperial Queens Park. It's rated as 4* but I can't imagine how much better a 5* would be. I've stayed for free (through work) and again have paid to stay there. It's only about £40 a night. Amazing. 

13) Go to a Gay Bar

Hmm. Have been to a sex show in Bangkok's red light district. Never seen ping pong balls used like that before. Surely this trumps a gay bar?

14) Go skinny dipping

Done - Okavango Delta in Botswana - quite brave considering there are hippos and crocodiles 7ft long in there. (We were assured this was a safe bit) I got out and dressed just before my boyfriend got out - a bunch of tourists then turned up and got in - and he was stuck, unable to get out!
I kind of think you're meant to go skinny-dipping at night though, that's what they do in the movies. Haven't done this.

15) Take drugs

I'm a wimp when it comes to drugs. Convinced that if I ever tried E or even coke I'd be the one freak who'd overdose/freak out/have an allergic reaction and end up in hospital.
I have dabbled a bit with Marijuana. Two quite amusing incidents... 
First was in India aged about 19 - I was in a town where alcohol was forbidden but you could buy 'special' lassi's (green with weed). I had had delhi belly and hadn't eaten anything for days, but didn't hesitate to down this in one. I was hallucinating monkeys for the rest of the evening and convinced that one of the guys in the group I was travelling with was planning on raping me. Neither were true, very embarrassing the next day. Also thought I was about to have a heart attack as I had the WEIRDEST pins and needles going up and down my left arm. 
The 2nd was at university. My housemate had made some hash brownies and left me in the house on my own with them. I can never eat just one cake/brownie and devoured the lot. I then spent an hour trying to get a giant centipede out of my hair before being violently sick.

16) Swim with dolphins

I kayaked with some in Namibia... I have swam with a whale shark though, twice in fact, once in the Philippines and once in Mozambique.

17) Climb a mountain

Hmm, no :( I've looked at Mount Everest but that probably doesn't count.
I have been high enough to experience altitude sickness though - not seriously, I just got the giggles and felt a bit weird. That was in Hawaii, we were filming at the top of Mauna Kea (extinct) volcano where there are some of the best telescopes in the world. That was a truly amazing experience.

18) Sail on the Nile

Did a Nile trip when I was 8, I still remember it in bits...

19) Kiss a random stranger

Think the quickest meeting - kiss was about 5 hours, guess could be better...

20) See the Northern Lights

Nearly! I was meant to film in Alaska a couple of years ago where I would have had a really good chance, but plans changed at the last minute and we went to Iceland instead. (Not a bad alternative!)

21) Win a competition

Done! This month! My first short film won a FilmLondon short film competition and will be shown at Bafta next month. 

22) Sunbathe Naked

Only topless :( I would though... tried to find the nude beach in Noosa, Australia once but couldn't find it...

23) Give £10 to a homeless person

Will do it today!

24) Slept under the stars

Lots of times in tents :( Done this in Morocco, India and Namibia and Botswana, and once properly in India. Awoke to a horse nibbling on my ear.

25) Been to as many countries as your age

Done! 34 at the moment.

26) Changed someone's life

Apparently, yes...

27) Move out of home

I am ashamed to say I am living with my Mum and her partner at the moment - but I haven't always... I went to boarding school, university, lived in France and done lots of travelling. I'm back with Mum whilst saving for a flat which I really hoped would happen before the big 30 but looks like I'm just going to miss it.

28) Made a film


29) Ride a Harley Davidson

Yes in the French countryside - although I wasn't driving and I wanted him to go faster! 

30) Volunteered

Nope... can't I do this before I'm 60? I have just made a charity film for free though, that sort of counts right?

There are a few achievements not on any lists I found but which I think deserve a mention:

1) Go out with a famous person

Possibly... sort of...

2) Go holidating

I think I'm fairly spontaneous - none more than a couple of years ago when I went to Africa with a guy I met on an internet dating site. It was our 7th date I think, and we went travelling together for 9 weeks. Although it didn't have a happy ending I did have an amazing time.

3) Art scholarship

I won an art scholarship for my A-levels and went to art college which had been my dream. (The dream changed once I got there, but it was still an achievement) 

4) Taken a cheetah for a walk

Yes - In Africa, one of the most amazing experiences ever.

Monday, 28 June 2010

petersham nurseries



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