Saturday, 19 February 2011

Paul Richards and his general lack of discipline

I've frustrated myself the last couple of evenings. I've had this idea for a play which I'm very keen on, I've planned it meticulously - every lunchtime I've been working on the structure of the piece with great detail, really getting to grips with the characters. I've booked the second week of May off work, I've been chatting to a really good actress who is keen to be involved (one of those nice situations where she's a friend who I know is talented and who I can trust, yet equally she's never been in any of my plays before so the Richards brand of awkwardness will still be a novelty), I'm in talks with a of couple venues to possibly even tour the thing - and even better, that means it'll tour before I'm 30, which is well up on my to-do list. It's going to be called 'Is Is Too Late To Save Oscar Pike?' and it's going to be the best thing I've ever done. When I actually write it. Due to a series of things band-wise, with different bands, all being cancelled (bassist unavailable for new material session, recording session cancelled, singer ill etc) I've suddenly found myself with 4 nights in a row to do whatever I like with. I never have that. I don't think I've had 4 nights off in a row for years. So - with those 4 nights it was obvious - time to write the tour show, and it'll be time well spent. But why is it - when everything is set up nicely for me, I don't just sit there and get on with it? On Wednesday I caught the start of the Arsenal v Barcelona game whilst coming out of the shower and suddenly it was full time and that was an evening wasted (wasted because Arsenal won, which annoyed me a bit). On Thursday I wrote, and wrote, and wrote rubbish all night - 8 pages of dialogue, which was so self-indulgent I couldn't possibly release to the public, at midnight I scrapped the script and started from scratch. Friday I started writing from scratch, got frustrated, and ended up around my mate Heather's house just to rant about it all, I got back at midnight and fell asleep. Am I losing my drive? Just trying too hard? I've got a theory that I write my best material when I don't plan to, you can't force creativity I guess. Saying that, one more night in before I get busy again, and here I am not writing it, but instead updating my blog. Madness.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Gone Midnight - the radio version

I was just Googling around looking for reviews of Gone Midnight's recent Leicester Comedy Festival run, when I stumbled into this - the radio version of the comedy:

I gave permission to them last year to record it but completely forgot, what with the same play back on stage and also being made into a film. Lovely stuff.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gig report: Flaming June @ The Cornerhouse, Cambridge

Band: Flaming June
Venue: The Cornerhouse, Cambridge
Date: 12/02/11
Audience: Heaving
Set: Rejoice, Under My Skin, The Devils Daughter, You Do Moody So Well, The Boy I Knew Before I Met You, The Insance Ex-Girlfiend Parade, Nerves Of Steel, I Know What It's Like (no drums), The Wizard, Wednesdays And Weekends, Rumplestiltskin
Notes: We were the main support for Sunday Driver last night, and didn't realise quite how popular SD actually are - I've never seen The Cornerhouse so rammed. Always nice to play in front of a bigger audience, and always nice to play a gig when we we're all really going for it. Is it arrogant to say a band I play for are fantastic? Flaming June were last night - everything seemed to go up a notch, the songs were played fast and with passion, the stage was hot and sweaty, I enjoyed myself a great deal. Also a quick mention must go to the band who were on before us - The Treehouse, a folky band from Lincoln, who were excellent, I like the whole male/female vocal thing (I've recently discovered the joys of Darren Hanlon who does that so well), we're playing with them again in a few weeks time and I'm looking forward to it a lot.

Gone Midnight - day 2 of filming

Hard work this film lark, isn't it? And I wasn't even doing anything apart from hold up the odd light, suggest the odd line, and eat excessive amounts of pizza. They're a bunch of geniuses working on this though - the talent in that tiny room was flattering, the work everybody was putting in was almost exhausting to watch. I had to leave the second day of filming after 7 hours in Haslingfield to play a gig, but I see from Vorno's Facebook status late last night that 'Gone Midnight' was eventually finished. Can't wait to see it when all the many scenes are pieced together. My first attempt at screen writing, mentored by knowledgeable and creative people, has been a steep learning curve, but one which hopefully should hold me in good stead for the future. I didn't think learning could be this fun.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Gone Midnight - day 1 of filming

Just back from the first session of filming for my debut short film, Gone Midnight. We reverted back to the original title of the stage version, realising that the new title, If You Can't Make Me Happy, was a bit crap. It was a long old night, and Thursday's tech rehearsal was also a long old night, but I kind of feel like I shouldn't be moaning about energy levels because I've done nothing to be honest - all of my work was done last month with the script and then script re-writes, now it's down to the actors and crew. Boy, do they work hard. I just sit and watch them and feel exhausted, it's flattering to see my loosely penned words so clear and elegantly performed. There was a minor switch in the casting, with Robert the director stepping in for Vorn, who now takes a valuable off-screen role, and alongside actress Clare their talents, alongside the relentless energy of film maker Kate, producer Michelle, Alan (aided by runner Vorn) on sound, James with his filmy-based suggestions has all made me a bit excited as I sit in the corner of the tiny set and try my best to keep quiet. Day 1 of filming was pretty much an evening - started at 6pm (I was late, as always), and finished just before midnight. Alan and Clare are allergic to the house cat, but apart from that it's all going well I think. I think, at least, this film lark is a totally new experience to me. I'm a happy Paul tonight, I'm full of energy drinks and Michelle's lovely cooking, and can't wait for a full day of filming tomorrow which hopefully should complete this short.

Oddly enough, tomorrow (well, today by the time I've finished typing) sees the stage version of Gone Midnight being performed by the John Lewis Partnership at the Leicester Comedy Festival, where it will run for 2 days. It stars Sarah Ingrim and Phil Orvis. I keep thinking/comparing those two, and then the film actors - Robert Jezek and Clare Kerrison - both of them completely different partnerships, yet the play still works equally well, it's rather lovely. It's also lovely that Gone Midnight is being performed again, a few years after I wrote it and nobody gave a shite about it. It's a bit like 'Letters To Sparkle' being performed in London a fair bit last year - maybe in a couple years time all those plays I wrote last year that flopped really badly will suddenly start being noticed? Probably not, thinking of the rubbish I churned out in 2010. Letters To Sparkle, incidentally, is being made into a film by a different production team later this year, but that's a different story. Literally.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Gigs, films and good times

I'm in a good mood about things at the mo, the general feeling that things are moving in the right direction. Last weekend's Dowsing For Sound gig still makes me smile, the best show I've ever been a part of, something I'm very proud to be associated with. I won't keep going on about it though, I think people are starting to get annoyed by my over enthusiasm about that one...anyway, it's all good fun, this creative lark. Last week went to watch Juliette in a play in Cambridge which was excellent, as well as do the radio show with Eureka Stockade, finish the new draft of the film script, rehearse with bands and do some writing with Heather (okay, let's be honest - it was a Friday night, our intentions are good but it had been a long week and we just ended up watching DVD's and having a cheeky beer instead). Last night's gig with Aidy and Eureka Stockade was such good fun. The comedown from the Dowsing For Sound thing worried me a bit - I'm growing to like different music these days, wanting to play different things - Latin rhythms, challenging soundscapes, and I was starting to worry that I wouldn't enjoy Saturday's show at the Portland because it was back to playing more conventional music, rock songs, that kind of thing. But I loved playing with both bands, and I realised that you just can't compare the projects. The crowd last night were so into it, in a proper sweaty, boozy, good time kinda way, I felt just as appreciated last night as I did the week before, which is the beauty of being involved with so many lovely bands. I feel very happy about this. The aftershow party at Aidy's was just fantastic - loads there, everybody was so nice, it's just so brilliant to meet new people, see friends, chat till the early hours. It was themed around Dave, our bassist, and there was even a tuck shop. I've never seen that much alcohol before at a party, it was ridiculous (in a good way) yet we still got through a majority of it I think. Evening ended with an improtu gig in the early hours from Aidy, and Steve Bradshaw (aka Brad Spreadsheet), a brilliant, brilliant night. Now need to focus on what will be a frantic week - main focal point being the filming of 'If You Can't Make Me Happy' - my debut as a screenwriter, after years of theatre and (more recently) radio stuff. The script has seen many changes, but all for the better - and we've got a wonderful team working on it - alongside me there is Robert Jezek directing, Michelle Golder producing, Kate Maddison (with help from James Page) is actually filming it, Alan Morgan is doing sound stuff, and two wonderful actors - Vorno Hancock and Clare Kerrison, who fit the roles to perfection. I've learnt so much in this process already, it's been a bit of a challenge, but I'm going to be a better writer because of it. Also next week I have a meeting about another film project for the summer (more on that soon), a catch up with the Dowsing For Sound bunch, off to see the genius that is Daniel Kitson, and play a gig with Flaming June. My other 'must do before I'm 30' plans - tour a play, finish my novel, and record a jazz album called 'Death By Congas' will probably be delayed by another week then, but it's not like I'm sitting around the flat eating pizza all day is it?*

* I've done a fair bit of that recently to be honest.

Currently listening to: Joshua Redman - Compass, Slow Club - Yeah So, The Dawn Parade - The Dawn Parade.

Currently reading: It's Lovely To Be Here (by James Yorkston)

Currently watching: How Not To Live Your Life (yes, still, I'm a bit addicted)

Gig report: Eureka Stockade & Aidy @ The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Bands: Eureka Stockade, Aidy
Venue: The Portland Arms, Cambridge
Date: 05/02/11
Audience: Really very nice indeed, enthusiastic and appreciative
Sets: Aidy (not sure), Eureka Stockade - She Got Good, All Alone, Without You, Violence, Through Every Darkness, Heroes Fall, Erotomania
Notes: A good little gig this. This is the first time we've gone full band with Aidy's set - it was still the three of us (Aidy, Dave and me) but with drums rather than percussion, and it was enormously good fun. Okay, so we weren't the tightest, but in a New Wave kinda way it worked, I sometimes feel Aidy doesn't get enough credit as a songwriter - there's some proper good stuff in there. The Eureka Stockade set had the same vibe as Aidy's - although we were well rehearsed, there was a ramshackle charm to the performance, with the odd glitch in tightness forgiven due to the enthusiasm and energy of the show. The Portland Arms is a lovely venue to play when we have an audience like this - it's a small venue, but with a really good turnout like we were lucky to have it felt vibrant. A lot of the people in the crowd were singing along to the Eureka stuff - I know it's a home audience and all that, but it was very lovely all the same.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Gig report: Eureka Stockade @ BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Band: Eureka Stockade
Venue: BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (BBC Introducing show)
Date: 04/02/11
Audience: No idea, but the show gets plenty of listeners so I'm told
Set: Through Every Darkness, All Alone, Without You, She Got Good
Notes: After our first rehearsal of the year last night, Eureka Stockade kicked into what should be a busy year with our first public showing. Playing acoustically, I felt it worked well tonight - Kerry the presenter is very easy to banter with, and the hour ticked over very nicely.