Archive for February, 2004

Odd Jobs: Bollywood movie extra

There was a post on Molly’s blog about weird jobs. Here’s mine.

My brother and I ended up in Bombay on our round the perimeter of India by train trip, and saw an ad for Extras to play British soldiers in a Bollywood movie “The Mahrajah Ranjit Singh” to be filmed on location in a park. Transport, food was provided – and the pay was 200 Rupees a day (approximately £4 – big money for India).

It wasn’t the money that attracted me, though – anything that might get me the slightest opportunity to hook up with Madhuri Dixit, star of that year’s blockbuster movie Hum Aapke Hain Koun seemed like a good idea to me. So my brother and I signed up and the next day at 8 a.m. a battered minivan came to collect us and a dozen other bleary-eyed backpackers and took us to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in North Bombay.

It quickly became apparent that Madhuri was unlikely to put in an appearance. This was a low-budget, straight-to-video affair – so low-budget that there was only one camera. In the middle of a fight sequence, the director would shout “cut” and all the actors would freeze while the camera was hurriedly set up in a new position to get alternative camera angles.

The motley crew of backpackers were required to represent the entire might of the British army (to be single-handedly vanquished by the eponymous hero). As fifteen men doesn’t really adequately conjure up the Imperial power of the British, we were told to march in a circle and, once we disappeared behind the camera, new props were pushed into our hands, wigs and false moustaches hurriedly applied so that, when we re-emerged in front of the camera we looked different. It was a great day, certainly my weirdest ever job, even though I never got to meet Madhuri. Yet.

me as Brit solder and clapperboard guymy brother being made upmy brother and I relaxing after a hard scenegetting into my role, darling

I was also English tutor to the Thai Princess’s daughter.

Two cheers for America.

Hooray for photos
of newly-married gay couples in San Francisco
. The mayor of San Francisco
upholds gay and lesbians’ rights to the pursuit of happiness and sues
the state of California which banned same-sex marriages
. And hooray
for the people organising a
collection drive to send flowers to random couples waiting in the line to
be married
to show their support. In my 4 visits to the U.S., San Francisco
seemed like the only place that I could ever live over there. It’s civilised.

Boo for the continuing detention of people in Guantanamo
bay. The UK government has been congratulating itself on persuading George
Dubya to release some UK citizens from illegal imprisonment. They had no trial,
and no charges have been made in the two years that they have been incarcerated,
contravening the Magna Carta
of 1215
(“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped
of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing
in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others
to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the
land.”) upon which the American
founding fathers based the sixth amendment of the American Constitution
:
(“In all criminal prosecutions,
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial
jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,
which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses
against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense”
). Disgraceful.
(More communist anti-america ranting from me here).

Nongyaw passed her driving test!

This is unbelievably splendid news. After 8 months, £85 zillion paid
to the incomparably patient driving tutor/friend, Mankee Cheng (kiss kiss)
and innumerable domestic “disagreements” during practice runs,
Nongyow is now a fully-licenced driver. Colour me happy – as I now
have a beer-budget again, as funds are no longer diverted towards buying Mankee
a Porsche to match his yacht. And colour me disgruntled. You see, as sole
family driver, I’ve always been able to rebut comments about my occasional
atrocious vehicle control with “Oh, so you’re the expert driver, are
you?”. No longer is this small weapon of marital self-defence open to
me. But then – I can get drunk at family gatherings! Hurrah. A teetotal, fully
driving-licenced wife. I’ve got one, you haven’t. Ha ha ha!

Song: “Then You Come Down”

Found another song lurking on a dusty cassette – that never got recorded in a studio because I never managed full lyrics – " Then you Come Down". It was made on a rainy Sunday; the tune came into my head, the scratchpad words while working out the chords, and the demo was made in an hour: headphones on, quickly plug a mic into the Fostex 4-track, point mic at guitar and subsequently at mouth, and you’re done.

The analog 4-track is still a great machine; sure, I’ve got 256 audio tracks at 9 gazillion bits/ second sampling rate on the computer, no tape-hiss, but by the time you’ve got everything set up, you’ve forgotten the song.. The Fotex really is plug-and-play.

Babies Babies Babies

Isabel daughter of IanYannick
noah benjamin

It’s been quite a fortnight for babies! In addition to my own

niece, Isabel, there’s been another Isabel born – this time to my university
mate, Ian and his partner, Ali. Yannick was born to old friend Lou and her
husband Mark. Ex-Wrox friends Ian and Kate have a baby boy, Noah Benjamin,
and another old Uni friend Giles and his wife Helen have a new little boy
called George. The whole world has gone progeny-crazy! Congratulations, and
much love, to all!

Song: “The Song of Laughter and Forgetting”

Alison Eglinton and me on vocals, I play double tracked guitar. there’s a couple (!) of guitar fuckups, but I really like the fade-out.

All of your secrets are pressed between the pages
Of the books you don’t open and nobody reads.
All out of sequence, in cryptic arrangements;
they’re reminders of the memories that you no longer need
but I have seen how the winter is reflected in your eyes.

I will sing a song of laughter for you.
A song of forgetting,
A song to remember me by.

You stand, wrapped in memories while the twilight is filtering
the warmth from the world, and the darkness falls again.
You hide all your feelings, despise them as your weaknesses
when the world seems bewildering, you wear your mask of cold disdain.
I have seen how the winter sometimes darkens your eyes.

I will sing a song of laughter for you.
A song of forgetting,
A song to remember me by.

You look like two children, one golden with spring’s blessings;
the other quiet and frightened by the solitude and dark.
When the world seems unforgiving take my song of forgetting;
there’s no shame in admitting that you’re scared and you’ve been scarred.
I have seen how the summer can be greeted by your smile:

I will sing a song of laughter for you.
A song of forgetting,
A song to remember me by.

A song to remember yourself by.

Words and music, © Bruce Lawson