Category Archives: Media


Because the people who

think they know will

always prevail, we who

do know approach the

shoot with faint faith and

little hope, determined to

do our best whilst

praying for the dubious

charity of our audience.


My business has many ways to express scorn:

the Lighting Cameraman who couldn’t

light a box of matches; the

Director who couldn’t

direct traffic; the

Producer who couldn’t

produce his prick from his trousers.


But you have refined scorn to a

simple glance.

Missing in the Multiverse

We are multipresent in the multiverse,

always online, available as

avatar or bare-faced,

named or anonymed, at the

press of a key or a button

emailed, messaged, skyped, blogged to

so many it’s hard to know who you have

missed, why they might be

missing, whether you will be missed when

you go missing.

The Band Room, Pinewood

In the shadow of the gargantuan stages,

I worked in one of those

fathomless spaces which seem to

sum up time and

seam it in its walls: where

big bands rehearsed for

big musicals; dancers

warmed up at now-rusty barres;

where the mechanics of my business exhausted

enthusiasm, energy, blood; where

despair sometimes stuck you to its

sweat-stained, tight-beamed floor; where

once an unknown man

hung himself from one of its

high substantial stanchions;

where now is the home of the

nostalgia of Science Fiction; where

sturdy security guards shiver on their

late rounds when the

memories drift down

like dust.


In a dark sound-neutral room we

layer a drab impasto of everyday noise—

doors opening and closing,

footsteps up and down stairs,

dogs barking somewhere,

trains, distant traffic, sirens,

absent babies gurgling or crying,

absent teens characterised by what

thumping music leaks through a

ceiling—all to scumble the

over-clean Hi-Def images we have

slaved to create, far sharper than our

eyes or brains require, trying

desperately to re-impose the lost

messiness of real life.


I leant against the wall and

watched them come and go, mostly

female and shedding their clothes to

pose for Sir, but sometimes

well-dressed men who

peered at me with what I took for

disdain—well, I was there a long time and it was

peaceful and dull.



I don’t remember which

particular shop-girl she was,

bought for a few sous to

strip and pose for paintbrush and

prick, but when Sir propped her,

finished, opposite me, I couldn’t help but notice her

whey-faced beauty, her

half-starved innocence—had that

survived the session? Well, pure or

sullied she startled me and

something stirred within the

tightness of my veneer.



I watched the dust settle slowly on her,

softening her pallor but

sharpening my love, the way He’d

caught her between fear and desire, her hands

undecided whether to cover or

proffer her well-thatched sex or the

apple-bosoms that no longer

need fear gravity, and that

long auburn hair which caressed her

boy’s bottom and begged to be wound round a

calloused male fist.



Sir didn’t come for a long time, then

rough men threw a

rough sheet over me, and

darkness so profound I ended up finding

colours in it, and pictures, most of them

of her.



When light startled me, I was in a library

above a fireplace, with nothing but the

spines of books to gaze on and no sound except the

insects eating the books word by word; a gaunt man, a

leaden lady who spoke a language I

didn’t understand; two servants who

fucked violently; the eructations of

explosions with their tiny sifts of dust;

distant cheering; a party with

people in uniform who seemed ecstatic though

not inclined to include me

stuck up in the shadows.



A long silence: the house seemed

shut up. Sometimes I saw her face in the patterns

dust makes as it floats through light.



Then a man on a ladder, his face in

my face, speaking my language, “Oui,

c’est lui”, but I didn’t know him, didn’t

want to, but he knew me. How?



Men brought me down,

hooded me again, the

sickening sense of unseen motion.



Strange spiral, vertiginous, but with one

outrageous blessing, that she was there and that

for once she was looking me in the eye and she

was happy to see me, I think, I

hope, unlike in those long days in that

dusty studio when all she could look at was her

lost innocence.

Email in a Bottle

It’s instant isn’t it? Unlike

telegrams or snail-mail or

smoke-signals or carrier-pigeons or

a runner’s feet slapping

bare baked earth?

There are no horse-relays involved

are there? or landslips to

frustrate, or feathered tribes to

shoot, a messenger?

Our frontiers are pervious,

aren’t they, to all our

ethereal mutterings? The

air is so full of them it is

opaque with their mist of

assignations and the

sweet musk of infidelity. They

must mingle with the drizzle I inhale

as I sit and wait and

wait for the instant reply to my

instant message.


It was raining the day they were to

shoot her scenes and Dirk just

shrugged the way he did and

studied the crossword.

It wasn’t a big part—the

wronged wife in a

merry-go-round of infidelity

amidst the upper-middle class.

The script was by Pinter and a

tad pretentious but it was

work and she didn’t want it

to go to waste, so she

found the oilskin and the

sou’wester and went without

shoes on the wet grass despite the

sparks’ cables snaking nearby.

She thought she might seem silly,

not thinking how erotic she looked—

a barefoot English rose in a

mackintosh, all wet.


The problem with pictures is persistence,

the visual intensity of the shoot

seeping into the rest of my life so that

talking with my wife in our

narrow kitchen I’m thinking

how do I get the reverse angle,

do I need the chippie to remove the door or

do I need to ask her to move

so she will be in the shot?

Dead Air

I love the absolute silence of a Sound Stage

before 7 when I have to

stumble to find the working lights,

open my script and see pictures,

people moving in space, stories

unrolling like Sinbad’s carpet,

thoughts popping, feeding on the

dead air and the faint smell of

old movies.

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