Thursday, 20 June 2013

Beetles and sunsets

Today started very early indeed with a rehearsal at old Frank's house in lieu of the one I missed on Tuesday. The poor bloke hadn't heard himself singing his own song on account of his CD player being so old that it had point-blank refused to play anything that had been burned on iTunes. He nevertheless picked up things fairly speedily and by the time I'd left his house, he seemed to be fairly on top of things. 

Our filming proper started an hour later at Queen's Park Rangers. The grass had been removed and the pitch was covered in a thick layer of sand, which was being bulldozed by all sorts of bright yellow trucks. Maybe this is what happens when you get relegated! The place looked like some kind of rodeo! 

QPR have some wonderful community initiatives and we were filming members of their "extra time" club for the elderly doing Callanetics in the stands. 

There was a considerable ruckus at one point, generated by an enormous stag beetle, almost two inches long, which was making its way along one of the rows of chairs. I have only ever seen such a big insect dead and in a frame! I can't imagine how it got there. 

The circus moved from QPR to various schools in the neighbourhood where we were interviewing head teachers and one or two children with special needs. 

Before lunch, we filmed Frank, with his girlfriend of 40 years, Mona, at her house on Loftus Road. The shoot was tough, both emotionally and physically, but we got there in the end so hot and sweaty that we could have rung ourselves out as we left Mona's house. 

But there's no rest for the wicked, and before long we were filming a second sequence with Frank, this time at his local pub on the Uxbridge Road. It was another hot and sweaty affair, which saw Frank having to repeat certain takes up to 40 times. I feel so awful when I'm forced to crack a whip so hard, but there's no point in delivering rubbish for the sake of an easy ride.

From Frank's pub we went to Norma's house, whose sequence involves baking a cake. More heat. More takes. At one point, I told Norma to take out the frustration she was plainly feeling with me, on her mixing bowl, and she literally threw the poor thing down on the top of the cooker! She'll be thrilled, though, when she sees the film... And will definitely sleep well tonight! 

We left Norma's house, about two hours later than we should have done,  stepped onto her balcony and found the most beautiful sunset glowing in the Western sky. The clouds looked like jewel-covered tiaras hovering above the buildings. 

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