Monday, 5 July 2010

Go That Extra Mile

It’s been another day of unbroken sunshine. I’m getting browner and browner and keep wondering when all this good luck is going to run out. I suppose the only thing we're suffering from is slightly higher than average winds. This morning, the area around the Humber Bridge was particularly blustery; our poor pianist looked like she'd been fiddling with a Van de Graf generator. I made the same joke several times; "you'd pay thousands of pounds" I said "to get this effect at the Eurovision Song Contest" but sadly no one laughed. It was at that moment I realised for the first time in my life that Eurovision isn't neccessarily the cultural and political trendsetter that I'd always reckoned it to be.

We had a very unpleasant period today on the Hessle foreshore, just up from the Humber Bridge. We were trying to film the kids from the percussion section of Hull Youth Orchestra, but first health and safety, and then a series of technical disasters meant we slid way behind schedule, and shot a fair amount of unusable material. Unfortunately we were left without any form of playback and I was forced to conduct the players, with an ipod in my ear, instead of focussing on watching the pictures, or noticing what the players were doing. No doubt I’ll get into the edit and see a series of shots wrecked by people playing out of time, looking bored, or doing that crazy thing of flicking their eyes towards the camera self-consciously.

I wound myself into something of a tizzy, which wasn’t helped by a rather strange woman from BBC Humberside who seemed to be filming everything we were doing and kept appearing in our shots, and then asking me for interviews like the world was revoling around her work. The film crew from BBC4 were also milling about. They're following me wherever I go for a “making of” documentary. I think the director of said piece was rather hoping I'd have a full-on tantrum, but I find shouting embarrassing, so instead he had to make do with shots of me pathetically sitting on a beach eating a Macdonald’s Veggie burger which Alison thrust in my direction because she knows a lack of food makes me grumpy. After interviewing me about how despondent I was feeling, I caught them filming the Macdonald’s bag on my lap and noticed the slogan daubed across it; “go that extra mile...” So I went that extra mile, all the way to a shop in fact, to buy some extra water because Macdonald chips are saltier than the Dead Sea.

It’s very strange have a film crew popping up everywhere. I’m permanently wired for sound, so forget they’re there, until I’m swearing, or weeing, or buying orange squash in Scarborough...

Anyway, the negativity of the morning soon drifted away and we got stuck in to some really decent filming which culminated at Spurn Head in the late afternoon, where every shot seemed to get more beautiful. The sky went a shade of royal blue, the sun turned to golden syrup and every musician seemed somehow more prepared than the last. We filmed one sequence whilst paddling in the sea. It was what I call “point and shoot” filming. Stick the camera anywhere and the results are astonishing. I was hugely disappointed that we’d not managed to fit the boys from Circus Envy into the day as originally planned. As we left the area, the sea was beginning to shimmer and the light was turning a shade of amber. Sadly the lads are on holiday, and we have to wait until Saturday morning to revisit Spurn Head and discover weather God truly is smiling down on us. There were moments today when I felt as though something utterly unique, and truly wonderful was finally becoming possible. Perhaps if it chucks it down on Saturday, it’ll be because someone up there feels a few rainy shots would make the film even more magical.

We finished the day on Hull’s pier with members of the hysterical Hull Ukulele orchestra and the immensely talented Mambo Jambo. We filmed the latter in a series of understated shots behind the bar of the Minerva pub. A few extra lights gave the whole sequence a sort of timeless beauty and Frankie and Pete from the band shone like little drops of fire.

July 5th 1660 was the day when the city of London formally entertained the King, the Privy Council and all the members of the combined houses of Lords and Commons. The event took place at the Guildhall. There was, in Pepys’ words, “much pomp” which involved processions and all manner of street music and theatre.  Sadly it rained, and “being at White Hall, I saw the King, the Dukes, and all their attendants go forth in the rain to the City, and it bedraggled many a fine suit of clothes.” Fortunately, we had sunshine all day!

No comments:

Post a Comment