Miles to go:

Miles to go: 2423
My photo
My target is to reach 7000 miles by October 5 2012. This marks the 3rd Anniversary of taking up cycling. I did 2000 miles in each of the first 2 years so thought I'd up it by another thousand whilst at the same time having a busy year that I'll tell you about along the way.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Blog 4: We Five Kings

The festive season has passed and 2012 is upon us. Almost too much has happened since the last blog, but one thing that has been almost non-existent is cycling! I knew it would take a dive over the winter months but due to Christmas, illness and those few crazy windy wet days I’ve got further behind in my challenge. I am now 231 miles back from where I should be by now. It’s going to be a busy summer on the bike at this rate.
After the filming ended I have been off work as planned. I’ve been looking forward to this time off for ages. I did my Christmas shopping at my own pace where as normally I only have time to do it all in one hit a week before the day with a million other people. I was able to go to friends birthdays and spend time with both sides of the family, again, all the things I would normally have to cram into my one day off. I must really love my job to be saying that it was nice to spend time with family and friends over Christmas which must be a given for the majority of the population!

Christmas day was lovely for the most part. We were having lunch at the Walter family this year. My two nieces are at a great age for Christmas, not sure if their mum agrees with me as they ask if there are any more presents to open five minutes after we finish opening. A huge lunch and a couple of hours of discomfort later we head home. As we walk through the door my phone rings and it’s my mum telling me “don’t worry but your brother is in hospital”. Why do we all do that? I remember Isi phoning her parents a couple of years back and using the phrase “Don’t worry but we’ve been in a car accident”. I guess we don’t know what to say in these situations and you don’t want to start right off the bat with the bad, even though there would appear to be no good, so we all revert to the stock phrase “don’t worry but…. < Insert problem of any severity here >.

Long story short, my brother is fine. The doctors don’t really know what happened to him. The bad news for Matt was that as they didn’t know, they kept him in. So, we five Kings spent the last couple of hours of Christmas day in a cubicle of the Emergency Assessment Unit. It was so hot in that room, not like we’d followed a star there, but had one right there on the chair next to us. I can’t imagine how Matt felt, as he had a fever at this point, having that star right there next to him can’t have helped. “Yeah, but how hot is a star?” I hear you cry. The first hit on Google says: Anywhere between 2600-7200 degrees C. We’ve all learnt a little something now.

I try to take a positive in most situations, at least we were all together. A couple of days later when he felt completely back to normal he was still sat there waiting for more tests that may or may not reveal the answer. Matt ended up coming out on the 30th. At least he didn’t have to spend New Year in there. We finally opened our remaining presents that night along with a curry that Matt had asked for after 5 days of hospital food. It was an unconventional but lovely evening.

I was going to tell you about my bike getting stolen but I’ve already talked too long so the main thing to know is, it sucked. To summarise the rest of the festive period quickly: We had nice family walk in Knoll Park to see the Deer, New Year at ours was fun other than Isi’s sister being struck down with a mystery illness (see a theme developing?). Now, I have been struck down with a bout of man flu, which brings us right up to the present minute.
Happy New Year from me and the Deer

Friday, 9 December 2011

Blog 3: 3.97 million phone calls

So, I said I’d tell you all about the filming that I’ve been doing but to tell you the truth it’s all a bit of a blur. Here goes…..

The idea was to film segments from all of the Matthew Bourne/New Adventures shows. They will then all be linked together for a programme that goes out on Christmas day!

The problem we had was lack of time. There was not a lot of time to teach new dancers so we tried to use people that already knew some of the work. The problem we then had was that everyone that knows the work was working on other jobs!

So began the enormous jigsaw of who would be in each piece and when all the people in that piece were all free at the same time to rehearse and film, all within a 2-week window! Easy! A lot of the work had been done before I started on it, which was good for me due to a complete lack of free time leading up to it.

We ended up with:

40 dancers performing 13 Segments from 10 different shows to be learnt in 9 days of rehearsals and filmed over 5 days and only 1 person not working on another job! Again, easy!

The commute from south east to north west on day one of rehearsals filled me with dread as I knew the start times would only get earlier once camera’s rolled. Rehearsal days flew by at an alarming rate, with most of my time spent on the 3.97 million phone calls and re-writing the schedule as priorities and availabilities changed. I felt by day 3 we were kind of all in the swing of it when I realised, that afternoon was the final rehearsal for one of the pieces! That came round quick! I think everyone involved felt a little on edge at that moment as we realised from then on, the next time we rehearsed each piece would be the last before filming.

Before we quite relaised what had happened it was the last day of rehearsals. Call sheets went out for the first day of filming: 7:15am on Friday 2nd December. I should mention at this stage that this particular day was my 30th birthday, and, being in charge (at least of the New Adventures side of things) I could not be late. So, on my birthday, I left the house at 5:30 in the morning. Delightful.

Isi had said I wasn’t allowed to open presents until the morning, but then l I told her what time my alarm would be going off, and she swiftly changed her tune and I got to open a few the night before.

Filming began with Swan Lake and I finally got a chance to have a proper look at some of the stuff we’d all been working on. I stood there, glued to the monitors behind the director. Put the iconic image of the Swan in front of an £80,000 camera and it blew me away.

The days passed slowly and quickly at the same time. The days we filmed three segments were absolute killers. I don’t want to relive that in a hurry. The process was made easier by the people, so many people I hadn’t seen in ages coming together to work on the show was great. It was also made easier by the on site catering! It was truly awesome. Considering at busy times in the theatre world you live on packet sandwiches and microwave meals this made a real difference! All the food was served to us by a lady called Jenny who would sing to you and greet you with more enthusiasm than I’ve witnessed at any point in my life. One of the girls wanted her to be in her mirror in the mornings to get her ready for the day, I’d say that would probably do the trick.

The end came around extremely quickly and our show is now “in the can” (don’t think I can pull that kind of lingo off). I can’t wait to see it and I feel that everyone involved should be very proud (I get to say these kind of things now I’m the boss). Thank you to Matt, Scott, Etta and all the cast members for being extremely flexible and understanding, and thanks to Gemma and Duncan for supporting me. I think we made a cracking team!

Look out for us at 9pm on More4 on Christmas day.

P.S. I have barely touched my bike for two weeks aside from a couple of trips to the station and back. Getting behind in the challenge so I’ve got some catching up to do! More about bikes next time, including one of my bike being stolen………

Monday, 14 November 2011

11 hours and 8 minutes

                          I've been working on a show since August that comes to an end this week. It's called 'Some like it hip hop', the new production from ZooNation who did 'Into the hoods' a couple of years back. It's been challenging but fun, I guess that's exactly what you want from a job. I don't quite have the same feeling I usually do at the end of a production, but that's not to say I haven't enjoyed it. I think it's just been incredibly hard work (described by my boss as pushing custard up a staircase with a stick) for what was a relatively short run. I finally feel like we're all in the swing of it and were done. Heres a picture of the dark corner Ive been stuck in for the last couple of months.
So as this job draws to a close I move onto the next. It's sometimes hard to link work together as the contracts are all different lengths but this next transition has worked out rather well. If the show finishes at its usual time on Saturday then I'll have 11 hours and 8 minutes until starting my next job! Next up is filming a TV show for channel 4, a selection of pieces from the Matthew Bourne shows, which I'll leave for now and talk about next time.

I've been cycling as much as I can through October and November trying to get ahead in my challenge before the inevitable slump that will come through December and January. I've made a good start with some training type rides combined with some commuting. I've managed to put 394 Miles on the board, there's still a long way to go but it's a start.
I encourage anyone to have a go at cycling. I remember the first time I tried my commute, it was horrible but now it's so much easier.  My commute to town is 9.6 miles, so a round trip to town is 19.2 miles which sounds a lot but goes so quickly, in fact I can do it quicker than public transport door to door and it's free! Give it a go!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A new blog....

Blog 1: The Idea

I was writing a blog last year for a charity bike ride and enjoyed it so thought I'd give it another go........
If all goes to plan I have a very busy year ahead. Starting with turning 30 in a few weeks time I will then film a TV programme, have my first Christmas off since I was at school, be unemployed (for a time), play a gig on New Years Eve, work on at least 2 new productions, Isi's 30th birthday, go to the Olympics, do a 24 hour charity bike ride, 4th Wedding anniversary, hopefully move house and try to reach my target of 7000 miles on the bike since I got back into cycling! A busy and hopefully interesting year I think you'll agree. Here goes.........