Friday, May 22, 2009

A medieval cure for writer's block

Clive Ashenden, hot from his success of having his last effort, Code Grey (which he starred in, co-wrote and co-produced with Rob Wickings) awarded the Best UK film, screened in competition at the recent Cambridge Super8 Film Festival, has promised to give me a role as a vampire in his next outing, a horror flick.

Both of Clive's parents are practising mediums, and when his mother gave him regression therapy last year, during the treatment, he woke up to find himself incarcerated inside an Iron Maiden, a medieval torture instrument. He is still hesitant to discuss this gruesome experience in depth, but the regression therapy must have done something right, for immediately afterwards, he conquered his writer's block and started scribbling his feature script and an imminent (horror) short, both for Sick Puppy Films (maker of Clive's creation: the notorious Snatching Time).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fish in Kensington

I now have an amazing photograph titled 'Deliverance' hanging on the wall in front of my computer. It's a limited edition of ten, taken by the photographer Peter Herbert in 2007. (His photos are 'unusual combinations of people in places using single frames with no cropping of image as links space between people and place'). David Blyth, the New Zealand film director has the same photo hanging in front of his computer in his New Zealand beach house.

'I am fascinated by a shop window in Kensington with fishes used for fishing: the reflection of a busy city street in South Kensington intrigues me as much as does this artificial transposed image of nature in a city environment,' is how Peter describes the inspiration for his unusual photograph.

Peter is also a gallery curator (his next curated exhibition of art work is from Pentonville Prison called 'The Freedom Of Art' at the Conference Centre, St Pancras Hospital from June 19 to August 20) and a committed film buff. (He asks questions like, 'who dubbed Ingrid Thulin's voice in the 1961 Hollywood movie, 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'? Answer: Angela Lansbury). Peter even managed to take a photo of Ken Russell at the recent Alternative Miss World bash at the Roundhouse, and also managed to quiz him about his 'controversial' 1971 flick, The Devils. Peter also does Civil Partnership Photography, and his voluptuous singer songwriter daughter Kiria Ceinwen is in the midst of making her first album.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

S.C.U.M. And ART


Schlepped down to the Smithfield Gallery for a 'Shine On' titled exhibition, which consisted of recent work from '25 years of past and present' students of South Hampstead High School. Helen Ralli is an ex-pupil and is now doing a BA Graphic Design course at Camberwell (she also designed the cover for Crushed, my YA novel). Martin Bivand, who acts as the Head of Art at South Hampstead must be doing something right.

Helen's faithful dad John was my escort for the evening and we both decided doing our duty was well worth the effort. Helen Ralli had some of her spooky art on the walls, as well as a film titled 'What do you want if you don't want money?' Judging by her original art, she will never have to worry about future dough. (I'd be happy to decorate her stuff with a red sticker any time).

Surrounding Helen were her friends/housemates: Alice Rigby (on the same course as Helen) and her angelic looking sister, Melissa (Mel for short) who has just completed a 13 date UK tour. She is the (professional) drummer of a 'Darkrock' band called S.C.U.M. She is the only girl in the five piece band. Some girls have all the luck.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Nick Drake Crowd

The Legendary Jeff Dexter invited me to 'A Celebration Of' Nick Drake's music at the Cockpit Theatre.

Nick Drake might be dead, but dying young immortalised him. The Cockpit Theatre was packed out with intellectual looking kids, happy to pay respect to their late icon. Personally, I think it's rather weird, there are so many tribute bands around these days emulating their dead heroes, but at least these bands attract a new generation of fans keeping the flames alive. And it's heart warming, that although Nick Drake failed to find an international audience during his lifetime, he is now regarded as the most influential singer-songwriter of the last half century.

Robert Kirby, the man who wrote, arranged and conducted the strings for Drake's music, most notably on 'Five Leaves Left' and 'Bryter Layter' was in the green room, alongside the musicians who peformed during the evening. Stuart Anthony, who performed with Harvey Lord was sensational (his album, 'House of Sun' is too). After he finished his set, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The other talented musicians on the Bill included Stuart Masters (my doggy bag included soothing tracks from his forthcoming album, 'One Last Look Around'), Helena C Carta, James Edge, My Luminaries, Revere, Gabby Young, Stephen Ellis and Jack Savoretti. I also encountered Ken Sinyard, the Arts editor of the BBC's Ariel staff newspaper. He wanted to know all about my old interview with Frank Zappa, as he is curently writing a tome about avatar rock stars for Omnibus.

Jeff Dexter was the real star of the show: he got on stage to give a nostalgic speech about his old friend Nick Drake (Jeff is on intimate terms with everyone in the Music Industry, alive and dead (including the late Marc Bolan and Jimi Hendrix). And, he actually displayed an historic acoustic guitar , lent to Drake for the photo on the front of the Bryter Layter album, which now belongs to the musician Nick Laird-Clowes. It was so heart warming to see all the musicians gingerly strum on the pricelesss old guitar backstage afterwards!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Keep It In The Family

Who said that Nepotism stinks?! My brother-in-law, the 'legendary' Austin de Lone has just confided he is producing his favourite singer, Caroline de Lone's first album. Caroline is his just-turned seventeen daughter, and is my niece! (I dedictated Crushed, my YA novel to her). 'Audie' is his daughter's manager, and currently 'Coco' is developing her original material for the album.

When Mill Valley based Caroline stayed with me last summer, I thought her powerful voice was going to blast a hole in my kitchen ceiling when she rehearsed 'Mercy' for her appearance in her dad's band at last year's Poretta Soul Festival. Austin is taking his eleven piece band (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, 4 horns, and Sweet Nectar, his background singers to play there this year (July 23-26), and also at the Umbria Jazz Festival (July 10-19).

If that ain't enough, Austin is currently in the studio, mixing blues singer Lisa Kindred's (no relation!) new album (out this summer). He will also be gigging with the harmonica star, Norton Buffalo (not a blood relative) this month. Phew!

Saturday, May 02, 2009



Had a nostalgic time at Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World contest at the Roundhouse tonight. First of all, I met the columnist, Madame Arcati (He's a man and his blog makes riveting reading), who fed me scurrilous stories while drip-feeding me with free champagne from the VIP bar. Also crushed inside the VIP bar were Bianca Jagger, Ken Russell, Tim Curry (flashing his gorgeous white teeth), casting director Ulla Larson, Molly Parkin, Time Out's Tony Elliott, handsome poet, Hugo Williams and the witty Julian Clary. Also, the vivacious Helen Ralli who designed the cover for my Young adult novel, Crushed was making a killing, selling programmes to all and sundry! Her 'partner in crime' was Jessie Lieberson (Molly Parkin's granddaughter). After I had finished ogling the slick show (produced by Michael Davis, part choreographed by Morgann Runacre-Temple) from the comfort of my balcony seat, I bumped into Jeff Dexter who besides being the most famous international d.j. in the Sixties, used to MC and co-ran the LEGENDARY Implosion Events at the Roundhouse. We walked round the refurbished engine shed reminiscing about the Old Days (when I used to be in nappies).

'You used to be the only one who wore bright red lipstick,' he remembered.

Not true tonight, as everyone was plastered with the stuff.