Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My First Foray with Insurance

Had my first encounter with insurance companies today. Before I could officially hire out the filming equipment for the war film I had to do one of two things: Get insurance on the equipment (£50) or pay a deposit (£8000). Guess which we went for? Reading through the clauses on the insurance site I noticed that I may need to pay extra since they did not cover films with pyrotechnics in. This was a big issue since our war film was geared up to included explosions and shellings.

Ended up contacting the man in charge of our films special effects who told us that 'explosion' was a gross exaggeration. In reality we were going to use battery power air cannons to propel dirt within a 2 meter radius. Called up the insurance people for their definition of explosion and we got it granted to us!

Went out to celebrate at the Buffalo's open mic night and had an amazingly cracking time. Before heading out Jamie hosted a jam session with a few mates. They were all planning on doing a mini set together and were visibly itching to perform at our local, especially Jamie who wanted to put his new Cajón into action, he gave the honour of playing it to Ed, Jamie's manager at Wagamama.

For anyone who doesn't know, a Cajón is effectivly an 'all-in-one drum kit.' You just sit on it and slap the sides to make a snare or a bass drum sound. They are about the size of a footstool and a great little bit of kit.

So we all sat down and had a few pints. Someone offered to buy a round of 'fakerbombs' (a jägerbomb but with cheaper ingredients) and many festivities were had as we watched Dr Jazz play quite late into the night. After his set was over three guys picked up their instruments and sat down. We had seen them play before and they are always absolutely amazing. They played one song, looked around the pub, spotted the Cajón and asked the perfect question.

'Who plays the Cajón?'

Ed's face beamed at he rolled on up to play with the regulars. Me and Jamie were in stitches at this point. Ed was apparently a really good drummer a few years ago but has never actually played the Cajón until yesterday. We could see them now gearing up for their next song, Jamie and I were in great anticipation to see Ed's big moment, but nothing could have prepared me for their next song: 'I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.' 

Oh yeah, this was the real deal. This was the New York Cheesecake of acoustic sets. From their on out the night maintained that level of excellence, everyone who came on was fun and great to listen to. Ended up staying until close and stumbled home with Jamie, both of us were still buzzing over what a great night we had.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Phone sweats

Spent most of today psyching myself up for more phonecalls with strangers. The butterflies just wouldn't stay down, spent the whole morning rehearsing what I needed to say. But once again I proved to myself that I needn't get so worked up about phonecalls as the person on the other side is often quite eager to help you out. So now I very, very nearly have all the war film equipment booked out for a reasonable price.

Now I just gotta get back to work on my essay. Very wisely decided to do my Harvard referencing as I went so it saves me a lot of hastle later. Found some quote goldmines today about sitcoms in a book called 'Sitcom.' Handy! 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Marsh Land Hiking

Back home safe and sound from a moderately successful hike! I say moderately since I, quite literally, fell into some trouble. There was a lot of wet marsh lands and streams to cross on account of the naff weather we had this weekend, one lake especially proved to be quite difficult to get across. Mark just hopped across on a protruding bit of gravel, it looked a bit wet for my tastes though and I spotted a log to walk atop. Mark took one look at the log and immediately told me that the wood was rotten through, as a result Dan went to find the footpath bridge a few feet over to save crossing on it. I however was up for a bit of fun.

"Screw the bridge, I'm here for fun!' I believe were almost my exact words. I said this moments after getting on top of the wood and realizing crossing it was in fact a very bad idea. I just really needed to convince myself otherwise. Halfway across Mark again pleaded 'It's rotten.' I sharply responded 'Your rotten!' I was too far through to back out now, I went to put my foot down in the centre and crunch.
Leg goes through, I lose my footing, trousers get wet and I feel stupid. It needed a 'Total Wipe-out' style replay to capture the swarm of emotions I went through in those few seconds.

I had one rule while I was hiking yesterday: Don't be a muppet. I am sorry to say that I broke that rule.

We did absolve our past selves of muppetry however. The first time we did this hike we very cleverly decided that crossing a dual carriageway was a suitable place to cross on foot all those years ago. Little did we know, there was an underpass we only discovered after going over the road and dodging 60mph cars.

Yesterday however, we took the low road.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Re-walking our DoE

This time tomorrow night I will be in a tent. Mark, Dan and myself have all decided that since we live relatively near the New Forest we should re-walk our Bronze Duke of Edinburgh hike. Mark kept our old plotted map and route cards from way back when so we cal almost literally, retrace our steps. We just need to buy the food and pack our gear tomorrow morning and then we are setting off for a hike, camp and then more hike. Shame about the weather forecast, we may be walking through a deluge by the sounds of it.

Thursday, 24 April 2014


We started brewing our own beer a few days ago. After intensely cleaning out Dad's old kit with chemical cleaner (fighting off 12 years of attic dust) we got to work. Now we essentially have a very brown, heavy barrel in the corner of our kitchen that is slowly making us some very, very, affordable alcohol. Just pray that it actually tastes partway decent else I'm going to have to drink 40 pints of fermented cat pee.

Checking on it again this morning though, it seems to be coming along fine. Yeast has puffed up to the surface to make some kinda tiramisu topping which is really cool. Best part about 'home-brooze' is that it smells like my childhood. That may be the most red-neck thing I will ever say about my younger years.


Gack! Light bulb buying can be infuriating, tenfold when you are in the market for florescent bulbs. Mum and I spent a good hour attempting to replace the bulb in the kitchen with zero success, all we got was oily and sticky hands from touching the filament which hadn't been cleaned in goodness knows how long. But, we did manage to replace the fridge light! Everything look so much more delicious with that golden glow behind it, we all take that little bulb for granted but it does so much on a psychological level.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Happy Birthday Grace

I've now had two course-mates who have asked me for help on the next essay. I gave them some pointers while I was walking to and from a mini photo-booth for a new passport photo. I think I got the knack on how to look somewhat happy in your picture without breaking the rules. Smile before the picture is taken and slowly return yourself back to a neutral pose. Although it was still an unflattering snap, I reckon it came out 20% better than previous ones.

Just came home from helping out with some last minute Birthday preparations for my housemate to-be. Assembled and wrapped 20 presents (one for each year) and attached little labels on each one. We then hid them around her house with the first in plain sight, then each present gave a small clue on where to find the next one. This made a breadcrumb trail to the living room where we all stood in wait with her Birthday cake. The look on her face was worth every moment of pre-production and stealthy run between cars and houses.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter 2014!

Back from Kent and carrying a fair amount of chocolates and other goodies. I will no doubt tell myself to eat them slowly but indefinitely eat them all within the first week.

Got a Facebook message from a really filming-active coursemate who is currently working on a WW1 film to commemorate it's 100th anniversary. Words cannot describe how desperate I was to be involved in this project and I recently got told that I could help produce and organize up the crew.  


They are always promoting their project on a crowdfunder page which you can find here. It only has a few days left to hit it's goal but I'm sure they would appreciate any possible donations they can get their hands on. Making films isn't cheap, especially for us students. It genuinely is a labour of love for a lot of people my age and support is insanely appreciated. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Found out that we Durrants are quite fond of butter. This morning at breakfast we nearly got through and entire block of the stuff to put on top of some of Grandma's hot-cross-buns which were, as always, delicious. Later on in the evening we were offered some cheesy scones for dinner and even more butter was being consumed, that was until we were all appalled to discover Grandad putting jam onto his savory snack. He just grinned and kept on doing it despite our objections.

Just tried my hand at a few games of 'Rummikub,' keep meaning to take it back down to Bournemouth sometime so the house can play - such a good game.  

Friday, 18 April 2014

Cast Interviews

I like to think that I know my waking up routine quite well now, although if you ask anybody they would probably tell you that I am quite fond of my snooze button. Typically I have to set my alarm 30 minutes before I actually need to be up just to give myself ample time to leave the dreaming and prepare myself for reality. I hit snooze every five minutes until I need to get up. Quite often I hit it a few more times after I half-consciously justify sleeping in just a little longer.

I hit snooze today for 80 minutes worth of time.

Had to be up early to help film the 'Hungerford' cast interviews and arrived with 15 minutes to spare... which soon turned into 30 minutes to spare when Mark said he'd be a little late. Once again we met up with the crew we filmed with 10 months ago and it was like we all never left the set. Great to see them all again and interviewing them for their first-hand insight into their roles and characters was wonderful. Had to leave slightly early to head on down to Kent to spend Easter with my Grandparents. Nodding off slightly after being offered a beer and a chance to sit in my chair. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

You Haven't Seen Everything

A movie for someone who thinks they have seen it all: 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask.' It features seven short stories very loosely based on human sexuality showcasing some of the most elaborate thing's Woody Allen's brain could muster back when he was starting out. Of course it's all delightfully ridiculous, the absolute pinnacle of the movie would be a stand-off between Allen and a single, forty-foot breast. It was too stupid not to laugh at. Certainly not his best film, some of the shorts were miles better than others, but certainly worth checking into if you have a bizarre sense of humour.

Begun work compiling a reading list to co-inside with my latest essay plan on Arrested Development. Looks like this essay may actually be fun(ish) to write. Just gotta force myself to sit down and write it now.  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Manhattans are mean cocktails

How to make a Manhattan cocktail. Step one, assemble whiskey, vermouth and that obscure, foreign medicinal bitters Louis got from a mate that one time. Combine in a chilled glass and then drink. And then begin to wonder if you made it right and ask why Louis is beginning to slur his sentences and fall off your sofa.

Perhaps I made it a little strong.

Spent a majority of my day compiling a small list of films that I really need to watch. I am now leaving with a lot of Kieślowski and Kurosawa DVDs and can't wait to dive in. Recently I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of great films, slowly I will try to rectify that!

Starting my own Micro-Micro Brewery

Had a very nice lie-in today which fell under scrutiny from the rest of my family, but deservedly so. I probably should try to get up a lot earlier than 10:30 tomorrow. Alarm set! Louis and myself went into Newbury highstreet to meet up with Mark, Lucy, Chris and Dan to meet up and have a nice time. Walked back with a heavy little carrier bag full of beer brewing stuff, really looking forward to starting my own micro-micro brewery back at home. I have come to accept that the first ever batch I make will be pretty bad, but it's also a very economical way to get alcohol, and in a fun/education way!

Speaking of brewing, I attempted to make up a Vietnamese Iced Coffee today. This is essentially a cup of coffee with condensed milk in it but presented in a lovely layered manner. The actual recipe sounds a bit grim on paper, but it actually turned out quite nicely. It didn't personally leave me wanting more, but its always good to try new things.

That and it did look hella pretty.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Dota 2 Reloaded

Got back home to Newbury late last night hugely regretting eating so many chocolate covered coffee beans and drinking espresso, it really, really didn't help me get to sleep last night. Despite the fact the clock chimed 2:45am, my brain was still in hyperdrive, contemplating the existence of toenails and how crap my German is.

Woke up refreshed if a little bit confused. Thought I could see Louis after getting up, went into his room but he wasn't there. Probably eating breakfast or something with Mum. Went downstairs, still no-one around and I started getting a little bit weirded out. It dawns on me that I haven't actually seen anybody in the house at all the whole time I've been here. Did I just sleep in an unknowingly empty house? I took my venture outside to find a very peculiar sight that makes me question if I'm still dreaming. I see Louis outside, wearing a dressing gown and crocs as he's putting up the laundry in the glowing sun.

I've never seen Louis putting up laundry before.

A few hours later, Louis and I do what we do best. Chill. Caught myself doing something I swore I would never do again, play Dota 2. Louis has been seriously getting into that game over the past few months and has repeatedly been asking me to join him. I tried once or twice and had a really bad time. But tonight, I actually had a really good time with him and his mates, destroying the team dynamic of the 'XVII clan.' The imaginary sound of them cursing our name in defeat will be my lullaby tonight.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Little Prince

Had my bath today. Poured in all the bath salts I got for Christmas and got ready for a nice cleansing soak. Sat in the tub and did my usual 'blimey, water can be hotter than I expect' routine, but this time, I didn't have to turn on the cold water at all. Instead the water temperature from the tap begun to plummet, leaving me with the difficult choice of having a 'hot-but-half-full' or a 'brimming-with-ice-water' bath. I chose the former. Guess it was naive of me to think that there would still be hot water at 4pm.

I also had to make a compromise while cooking dinner today. Plans were to have another sheppards pie but once I got my hands on our potatoes I could have sworn someone cracked an egg onto them. Just turned out that after a little while 'tatoes seem to have a tendency to eek out some for of stale porridge. Naturally, that option was out. We needed a replacement carb to go with our mince and Worcestershire sauce. Sheppards bolognaise it is! Mark and myself needed a hearty meal like that after beating the hardest and secret level in Mario 3D World, it took us 80 minutes to complete a single stage.

That victory shouldn't outshine what I consider to be the most eventful moment of the day. My Father always speaks fondly of 'The Little Prince,' the books opening was read to me multiple times and we still reference the boa constrictor that swallowed an elephant drawing. However, up until this afternoon, I had never read beyond that point in the novel. Finishing the last paragraph, I felt like I had simultaneously aged and returned to my inner child. A brief chapter about a signalman stands out in my mind, The Prince and Signalman discuss the passengers aboard trains which closes:

"Only the children press their noses against the window-panes... They are lucky."

 It's writing like this that makes my heart ache while keeping a smile on my face.



Friday, 11 April 2014

Ben and Dan are a lot of Fun

Dan and Ben had a nerf war to end them all. Cushions were being used as shields, sofas were barricading doors and alliances were as fragile as a glass contact lens. House was in a pretty bad state following our shenanigans but we were quick tidy some of it up before the pair went back home ot Southampton. I said at the dinner table before they left 'After you go, I'm not sure what I'm going to do for fun.' I promised myself a bath tomorrow, at the moment, that is the driving force that is making me excited to get up tomorrow morning. That may read to be somewhat depressing, but I am actually quite excited. 

Peer Assessments are Terrible

It was time for my bi-monthly trip into Bournemouth Town Centre to do some shopping with Dan, Ben and Lucy. We came initially to find some new shoes for the guys but instead ended up getting a good chunk of Birthday presents for a uni friend. That was goal one of today sorted.

Goal two was to finish off these uni peer assessments I have been putting off for days, seeing as the deadline was in a matter of hours, I figured it needed tending to. I mean, how long could it possibly take? Certainly didn't expect it to take 'Lawrence of Arabia' long anyway. It starts off simply enough with some tick boxes and then asks for a written comment about your opinions on the team-mate. The crushing part about this bit is that your comments are not confidential and can be viewed by everyone once its finished. So of course I cannot just flat out say nasty things about the guy who forgot to plug in our sound cable during an interview. No no no. I have to tactfully word every criticism or else I will come into uni and be starred down by my peers.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Ben and Dan

All my uni editing is now done and dusted! Handed over the final drafts along with the paperwork just moments before our dear friends Dan and Ben turned up to stay a few nights. Hit Lidl to do some food shopping for the week ahead and watched Frozen for a second time. In my head I am planning on what to do with the boys. Dan mentioned bringing over 'Cards Against Humanity,' sounds like we have our tomorrow planned out. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Front Row

Happily rolled into uni today with my little five minute edit of our assessed fiction film. Did a fair bit of tweaking on it last night and I was very excited to hear the feedback from it. Mostly, it was very positive from my peers which was wonderful. Then my lecturer offered me a challenge: cut it down to 3 and a half minutes.

Challenge accepted. Got home, ruthlessly chopped and hacked away at the project and now we have something even better. Went out to the Buffalo Bar to celebrate and found myself, once again, in the front row on open mic night. I always feel awkward right at the front. Every time Jamie used to play in pubs back at home I was often a matter of feet away from him, yet people always assumed I was having a bad time because I looked bored. I am just one of those people who have an unfortunate 'default face.' Makes me look like I'm having a guided tour of a glue factory when in reality I am having a wonderful time.

Regardless of my expressions, tonight was especially awkward as it was a Spanish girls Birthday. She is a regular at open mic and invited all her friends. I was slap bang in the middle of a drunk Spanish fiesta for a very long time and I just had no idea how to act. Mostly I just smiled, I figured that was the best thing to do. If in doubt, offer your best smile.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Techno Make-Up

Actually got up remarkably early today. Time enough to finish Batman and cram in a few episodes of 'Regular Show' before heading into uni. When I got back home, the living room was very different. Gone was the smell video games and beer, as well as the musk Jamie leaves when he sleeps in there. Instead it had been replaced by a shed-load of make-up products! A sight that makes everyman feel inadequate about his understanding of life and the known universe. I mean, what is in all those tiny, kaleidoscopic bottles?

I developed a cathartic empathy with the mountains of make-up later on in the evening while doing some colour correction on a uni project. I spent a fair bit of time making some guy's face look just right and I realized that I was essentially applying 'techno make-up.'     

Monday, 7 April 2014

Bacon is Dreamy

Glad I didn't have a repeat of the nightmare I had the night before last. In a very uncharacteristic turn, Mark decided to pair my highly irrational fear of spiders with the versatility of his new printer. In the dream, Mark printed out a picture of the biggest spider he could find on the internet and taped that image onto the front of our packet of bacon. Went to go make breakfast, opened the fridge, saw the spider and woke up in a cold sweat. All I wanted was a dream bacon butty!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Good Days and Bad Ones

Our last TV studio day came to a close yesterday afternoon. We did our music show, I was on sound and woke up eager to work with my crew. Since moving into my new filming group we have produced two other shows that we all thought went exceptionally well. There is a genuine synergy throughout our team, no matter how bad things get we always cheer each other on. Today was no exception and everything came together beautifully well, the only part we didn't look forward to was saying goodbye.

After the show was wrapped our group decided that we would honour the occasion with a drink at the uni bar. For those who do not know me very well, Guinness, and most other bitters are my Achilles heel when it comes to alcohol. One pint of that stuff and I am Wombled. I rather foolishly decided to drink a Guinness on an empty stomach (a double no-no) in an effort to get merry for cheap. It worked out nicely, in fact so well that I once again did that awkward thing where I follow people out of uni and got invited over to play 'Cards Against Humanity' in someone's halls. Even a sober Theo would have said yes, the booze just made me sound a lot more excited.

Ended up ordering a pizza with some course mates and just chilled in their halls until midnight. Went to bed knowing in my heart that I had a wonderfully productive and social day that was worth living. 

Today, I singed my arm hair and got invited to a Jehovah's Witness convention. As the above can testify, I've had better days.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Music Rotation

Feels like I have been sleepwalking through most of today. Every time I looked at the clock I was startled over how much time little things have taken me. Did enjoy spending time with Mark and Jamie in our office trying to be productive. Sometimes we do this thing where we go around the room and someone gets to play a song of their choice. I am also quite aware that my music taste doesn't especially fall into the 'just throw something on' but I think I did ok all things considered. Stevie Wonder's 'Isn't she Lovely' is a popular choice whenever we play this little game and whenever it comes on, we groove, we jam and we get down.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

'Great Entertainment'

I read three graphic novels yesterday. Just sat out in the garden and ploughed through 'Chicken with Plums', 'When the Wind Blows' and 'Blankets'. All of which were sensational and effecting stories that left me with that addictive sense of fulfillment. I heard something today that I though was very interesting and can be applied to novels, art, films and video games. I will paraphrase it now.

'Good entertainment provides an escape from reality, great entertainment teaches us about reality.' 

That rung oddly true to me. Some of the best films and books change our lives because they make us consider different points of view and cultures. When we come out of a experience knowing that we have changed in some way, we understand that something about what we witnessed resonated with our being. As I said, I think I am a bit of a junkie when it comes to that feeling, been a bit starved of it recently but these graphic novels are certainly scratching that itch.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Humble Brag

I always unwittingly force myself into socially awkward situations at the end of uni. Everyone from my seminar groups just kinda disperse to catch the bus home and I end up following some of them, of course this also means I am going in completely the wrong direction to get home too, so when I do get around to saying my goodbyes I have to double back on myself. Yesterday this happened again, but with a strange twist. Someone just started following me home. I also remembered it was this persons Birthday.

They said they were just going to pop into Winton to get a coffee on their own. This distressed me as a human, even more so when they said they mentioned they hadn't been back to their home county in about 2 years and had subsequently spent some Birthdays alone. Not on my watch. I volunteered to take her out for coffee as a humble Birthday gesture!

Of course, this gesture would have been much more effective if I hadn't locked myself out of my house (and my wallet). I had to catch up with Lucy in town and ask her for some money which was a little embarrassing but sincerely appreciated. Now that I had some cash we headed to a decent looking coffee shop and camped out in there to make sure her special day was a little bit brighter.