By the Dunes of Camber Sands

One thing I love about the UK is the charming names given to quaint villages and towns: John O'Groats, Burton-on-Water, Camber Sands. It's practically impossible to come across one and not start thinking in Byronic poetry.

And so it was, that on a midweek holiday, I found myself at the seaside of Camber Sands.

Together with my film location scouting party, Kasey and Andy

Amidst the tawny dunes and rippling reeds.

Overlooking yonder sea.

And sky.

And sea.

Okay - quasi-Byronic captions must end there. But I'm reading The Bell Jar right now and this shell so reminded me of the one Plath described as a "thumb joint" found on the dark beach of her own brooding ocean.

Interlude: The kitsch of Space City to lighten an otherwise contemplative afternoon.

Go ask Alice (how to get to Central London via a stationary bus).

Our cabbie friend.

As the skies darken - what will they find?

Kasey in a playpen of pebbles looking for her own earthen treasure.

A cloud swells with imminent rain.

Me, just a few hours before I was knocked over with severe case of non-swine flu. In retrospect, the pallid look of my face is quite foretelling.

Languor and all, it was, nonetheless, beautiful.


Behold the preview for The Windmill Movie - a sort of hybrid documentary/feature portrait of a conflicted artist (is there any other variety?), pieced together by a man who is also sort of a hybrid: tie-maker/budding (now budded) filmmaker Alexander Olch (his name is linked to an interview with the Boston Globe).

The crux of the movie seems to be about telling "the story," and telling it successfully - without really having a clear vision of what "the story" is. It's a storyteller's perpetual conundrum: how do I tell "the story" the real story, when its form is vague and hazy and elusive. This can feel a daunting impossibility - though you have a haunting sense that "the story" is nonetheless there and tugging at your soul to do it justice.

As a TV news reporter, I was regularly ramrodded by impossible stories that wanted telling. I would arrive on the scene of some "newsy" event, and feel, quite certainly, that there was nothing particularly meaningful about the house fire or the flu outbreak, but rather, the "real stories" were sliding around the periphery like shadows in a gyroscope. Feature pieces too - those spotlights on humanitarian workers and dog carers - seemed a sham. What appeared heartwarmingly straightforward always coursed with a more beguiling message bubbling just underneath the obvious song-and-dance.

It was a constant struggle, since while it was simple enough to capture the cardboard scene, and to report back the rehearsed answers, what I wanted to do was hone in on the heartbeat - reveal whatever it was that animated everything else. The story of life, seemed to me, the tale that was screaming to be told.

My news days are long past now. I've become a free storytelling agent. So when stories beckon me with shadowy hands and say "do me justice," I have nobody to answer to but me. Hence, why I've posted a lot about documentaries lately. It's what's on the brain, you see. I look to others who have gone before and struggled and ask:

How did they do it?

How did they do it?

How can I do it?

Can I do it..?

the beginning of the end

Okay, it's not like the 'net needs another blog. But hurray! Photographer extraordinaire Rodney Smith just launched a blog called The End Starts Here. He writes about the stories behind his lyrically whimsical photographs and throws in bits about his life and psyche along the way. In his most recent post, Twins in Tree, he writes:

"When I was younger, I just assumed I would be a novelist. I had the sentiment but not the skill."

Ahhh... I love getting such insight into the minds and motives of my favourite artists... shows that you never know where a deep-seated inkling will lead...

swinging the blues

Retro-themed parties with live music are the best. Attended a party of this variety for the opening of Charlotte Street Blues in Fitzrovia. Award-winning Blues singer (including an award from Sundance!), Otis Taylor, took the stage as the audience sat rather mesmerized.

Behold the flapper version of me behind the bar, with barman Eddie, who walked me through the making of my own Mint Julep. Oooh! Cheers!


"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

The haunting fairy tale photo is by the Spanish photographer, Eugenio Recuenco.

double double... hit and run

Last night was the final eve of Carsten Holler's club-meets-art-project, The Double Club - and we were there. All proceeds from our enjoyment will go to help distressed women and children in the Congo - can't argue with art/bbq/dancing for a cause. Snapshots of us among the arty throngs follow. Enjoy!

B2 waiting for BBQ

And an hour later... kababa

Hey, is that Keanu Reeves?

Hannah swinging with the one guy in the place who could actually dance.


Blackberry Ad (note that my shoes match the furniture)

Should we stay or should we gO?

Making an exit.

Farewell Double.


somewhere between dandelions & sunlight

“Everyone hears the future in a dream.” - Isaiah Zagar

Artist Isaiah Zagar is the subject of a new documentary created by a fellow Boston University alum. My jaw dropped when I read the filmmakers' philosophy on the style of this documentary - a difficult mix of surrealistic perspective with real-life - as it articulates exactly what I'd like to achieve through the documentary medium... a visionary inkling I initially saw long ago in a newsroom and a mere daydream. Could its realisation also be in my future...?

Photo is by the always-surrealistic Tim Walker.

Proud to be an American

my screwy landlord had the gall to write me this yesterday:

"you should consider dropping your yankee liticiousness now that you are in europe. doesnt work over here :-)"

the humourous irony with that statement is that he finally graced my concerns with a reasonable response when an attorney was mentioned. ha. obviously it works quite well.

so... happy 4th of July from one proudly "liticious" yankee!

i'm going to become a squatter

british landlords are the *worst* on the planet.

the multitudes of uk's squat folks have it all figured out. seriously, if you can't beat these land-mongers, don't pay them...

- photo of graffiti art (which is much in accordance with my own philosophy) as seen at a squat compound near Westferry in East London