Monday, 14 December 2015

12. The Christmas calendar: From Matt Damon to Status Quo at the 02, Seth Rogen etc..

It is easy for the diary to fill with dates over Christmas without being invited to multiple cinema screenings each and every night some with huge stars attending, mixing, mingling and doing questions and answers after the film. - Or in Tarantino's case for Hateful 8, before and after the 3 hour plus movie. He was fun and it was great to hear Kurt Russell because he is quite amazing in the picture, though my vote for best supporting actor still sits with Seth Rogan who shocked me in how good he was in Steve Jobs. That was a night to remember because as a writer I was honoured to be in the same room as Aaron Sorkin as well as Seth and the other cast. However, my favourite film is still Spotlight amongst a good crop of movies. The BAFTA votes have become important as they position results just prior to the Oscars and the influence is taken seriously.

From all the many film screenings vying for our votes with wine receptions, to balls, to dance functions there is another event which has been annual for many years: to visit Status Quo, normally at the 02. The arena was packed with a faithful audience dancing and singing their hearts out. The band were on good form. I have been watching them again since we re-met in 2005 on Coronation Street and I proposed making a film together.

Rick then fell ill, we then changed the script to be far less action, changed Vinnie Jones for my daughter Laura Aikman as the film became less hard, violent and more Radio 2 family fun, party in the park. The script and schedule were polished over Christmas 2011 for approval. We left for Fiji as 2012 started. As we head to 2016 I am pleased that The Job Jot has been re-commissioned for her and her love interest in the show Russell Tovey.

I was at the O2 with Jean, who now plays Doris Shades in Shades Of Bad for which she won best actress this year.

In Bula Quo she played Reiko Best the TV news anchor. Also at the Quo concert was our daughter Laura Aikman and partner Matt Kennard who were also both in Fiji with us in Bula Quo, Laura played Caroline and Matt played the reporter, Dave.

Caroline is my favourite Quo song and one I can remember playing as a radio DJ way back when, so making the girl character Caroline meant we could look at a new Caroline song .... The film Bula Quo is still available worldwide and we are just closing a sales deal with Metrodome for it's TV sales as well as the (possible) sequel Namaste Quo which is still muted to film 2017 or 2018. The Fijian mash up brought a Hawaiian / Fijian feel to the classical score with acoustic versions of some of their great hits including Down Down and Whatever You Want. That spurned the Acoustic period. The plan for Namaste Quo is to fuse with Bollywood and introduce sitar rock fusion. You should always have dreams to stretch the future even when some feel safer in the past and that will be fun if it ever happens. It was fun writing the first script, touring India and doing the recce! I watched the concert last night thinking I can see two really hot rock chics playing electric violins and singing backing vocals adding to that line up. We will see, they sometimes listen to my crazy ideas.

I first met Quo and many of the old record industry people in the backstage 02 bar when I was a radio DJ back in the 1970's and spent a time working at EMI in marketing and promotion. It meant another
night of festive fun was with the Knordoff Robbins boxing night at
the Hilton. Jean (Doris) has never been to a boxing night, but her friend Grace Kennedy was there with her partner Nigel Angel the media lawyer and they chatted and talked with other celebs like John Conteh and Ian Wright rather than watching the fights. I should just say here that another night this Christmas week is a gig with the Mick Flinn Band, he the lead singer of the Mixtures who had a hit with The Pushbike Song etc .. and his wife Donna Flinn (who plays Elsie in Shades Of Bad) will no doubt sing. As they both joined The New Seekers (I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing etc) for many years with original band members Marty Kristain and Paul Leyton, I expect to see them there. When as a DJ on Metro Radio in 1978 with James Whale (who appears in Shades Of Bad on Boxing Day) I introduced The New Seekers on stage at the Tyneside Summer Exhibition. I later met Mick at parties where myself, Colin Cook and Davey Jones of the Monkees would site on the work surface in the kitchen, probably as that brought us up to the same height as the others... almost.

A second boxing night appears in the calendar this week at the Troxy in Limehouse, when one of the lads who grew up with my (our) son Luke Aikman and daughter Laura Aikman, a Mr Ryan DaRocha is 'white collar boxing'. This is where members of the public train and have a three round bought (organised Fight Club). He is a tough rugby player who has been in training so I wish him luck at Bethnal Green on the 17th, but Jean (Doris) has said she cannot watch that though she did get John Conteh to sign his a set of gloves as good luck.

We managed to shoot 5 episodes with our new star Derek Redmond over the Christmas period, then went to Courchevel to shoot another travel movie with Doris for the series Doris Visits.

 Episode 30 to 35 are now live, episode 32 stars James Whale.

In between we have Christmas and Laura's birthday but no more filming though the edit suit is chocker clogged with work that will never be completed, and then there is the tax returns to file before the end of January. Sorry, this turned into a little reminisce, but then you do at Christmas....

Here is our Christmas message ... merry Christmas -  Happy Holidays