Thursday, 21 June 2012


I reached Leicester Square tube today at pub turfing-out time. Worse still, my oyster card had run out of juice and I had to queue behind a load of "good-natured" piss heads, who'd all forgotten their pin numbers. The smell of cheap alcohol, cloying perfume, wet hair and sicky breath was overpowering.

Heading down to the platform was like dancing with death itself. One girl with 4 inch heels, with hair like straw and legs like a giraffe, was tragically too pissed to climb down the escalator unaided, and how her friends laughed as they lifted the slaggy cow down one step at a time. I was wishing for something awful to happen, really just so I could join in with the laughter.

I've just been to a Fresh Voices event at BAFTA. The organisation showcases the work of screen writers from ethnic and cultural minorities and stages some wonderful events. The screenplay being read this evening was a little out of my comfort zone in terms of its action-packed, straight-boy, geeky-chic, sci-fi vibe, but it was plainly a very good piece. I take my hat off to organisers for not playing it safe. The Fresh Voices events are always so well thought-through. Everyone gets fed, there's always a high calibre of experts talking on the panel, and tonight I got to rub shoulders with Floella Benjamin! She's the second living legend I've met this week.

The sun shone all day yesterday, which was a wonderful treat as we were filming sequences for the London Requiem films. We started our adventure in Hoop Lane before working our way down to Abney Park and then Postman's Park, where we were able to film some of the ridiculous plaques to Victorians who'd died in all sorts of ever-increasing "heroic" circumstances. The pantomime artist, for example, who went up in flames trying to extinguish a fire that was enveloping her companion, and my favourite, the plaque to a lad called Soloman Galloman who died saving his brother from the path of a vehicle on Commercial Street. The bottom of this particular plaque reads, "Mother I saved him but I couldn't save myself," and these lines have made their way into the requiem.

20th June 1662. The sun was shining but the wind was high. After a day of business, where our hero occupied a great deal of time worrying about money, in particular a decision to spend a few shillings on a pair of tweezers, Pepys took his wife and servants on a walk to the famous Half Way House. It seemed to be his preferred activity in the summer of '62.

A day later, Pepys got brutal with his serving boy. Many of the other staff had complaned that the lad was a thief and a liar. It's worth and Pepys decided to intervene. It's worth quoting the passage in full as I could never find the words to sum up such sadism!

I called him up and with my whip did whip him till I was not able to stir, and yet I could not make him confess any of the lies that they tax him with. At last, not willing to let him go away a conqueror, I took him in task again, and pulled off his frock to his shirt, and whipped him till he did confess that he did drink the whey, which he had denied, and pulled a pink, and above all did lay the candlestick upon the ground in his chamber, which he had denied this quarter of a year. I confess it is one of the greatest wonders that ever I met with that such a little boy as he could possibly be able to suffer half so much as he did to maintain a lie. I think I must be forced to put him away. So to bed, with my arm very weary.

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