Friday, 18 December 2009


Seeing Tom off to Bystock

I had put a bottle of wine in Tom's suitcase, which duly broke, pissing Will off when he got home with Tom after we landed. The next morning I was ten minutes late coming down to the car that they were waiting in, I'm not going to make excuses because then this'll look really bad, and actually, it's slowly becoming what it is, funny.

But everything was sort of OK, and I said sorry for being ten minutes late, and I said sorry about the wine, but I don't think in a sorry enough way.  On the M3 Will and Tom were upfront listening to The Crooked Vultures, which are a pretty loud bunch of music makers. Will turned it up loud, and I thought, this is weird, Tom's just spent a year telling us he hates things that are too loud. It wasn't too pleasant but I could tell I was in the shit for basically being a fucking annoying sister for two weeks, and not just for being ten minutes late this morning. There was what they call 'atmosphere' in the car. Rather too much for my liking. I'd have rather sold some of the excess atmosphere off to raise some more money for our overbudget film (still waiting on a five figure sum from investors who have yet to deliver the cold hard cash, it keeps me awake at night. Christmas is a bad time to chase people.).

Anyway, I swallowed it. Will's a more solid, likeable, reasonable guy than I am and I tend to defer to him on matters Who's the Idiot.

However, the discord that built over the weeks we were away seemed to be a two way street, we grew to have a very angsty relationship at times. James (Will's business partner who was co-directing with him) said more than once, "God, I'd hate to have to film my sister, fucking nightmare." Which made me feel great about myself. I in turn, was not being terribly helpful at times, and felt ridiculously insecure and had a thin grasp of the technical side of what they were doing yet chose to offer my opinions at any time urgently pressing them to film something that happened ten minutes ago. I can see that I was hard work. 

Ah there were layers and layers to this thing, and it was bloody hard work getting our heads round it, and I judge none of us. It was a pretty nutty environment, there was a lot to do, but as Tom's big sister, I did want to keep things kind of mellow. Yet roughly every three or four days I would lose my temper and make things momentarily not very mellow. I never go out with guys long enough to develop my freedom to holler around them. But I have been going out with my family long enough to do it, and I could not fail to notice that under stress I have a tendency to start yelling. Bad look.

The second unit seemed fine, we were all tired and were developing scurvy through poor diet. I think we all slept in our clothes several times. But they were fundamentally sane. We were in a family vortex. Families aren't really designed to spend two weeks together working their collective nuts off in close confinements while driving down bad courdoroy cement interstate highways in a bloody great bus with beds and glassware in. 

Tom, at this time, was my only friend. James and Will and I got on fine, but I could smell their frustration with me at times. And I don't know that Tom even liked me that much either by the end of it.

Anyway, I digress. There we were, barely slept, very tired, all in a car driving down to Devon to take Tom home. There's atmosphere. Then my phone rings. It's Monday morning, I haven't done any paid work for weeks, I am keen to use the journey to answer my phone to potential business. Will pointedly doesn't turn the music down. 

It was only the repairs people from my managing agents, but, you know, it could have been the New Yorker (admittedly not likely, but it could have been). Phone down, I immediately assailed Will for not turning the music down, knowing that it was an angry substitute for not confronting me. Then he let rip and accused me of something that cut me to the quick, and may or may not have been true, I don't really know what to thing really. Then I called him a few words in a loud voice, including the C word. Tom was about two inches away from punching me and gave me one of his extremely scary, clenched fist, "Shut up, I'll get you"s

I don't know that Will and I have ever had a fight like that. Tom and I had masses of fights when we were kids, but Will was always sufficiently younger than me not to warrant that thing.

Anyway, the rest of the journey passed in chatty haze of jolly loving family banter. NOT. 

As we drove up the drive to Bystock Will asked Tom some filming questions and Tom was stoney silent. What's wrong Tom, said Will, as if it needed to be addressed that your sister screaming like a fishwife might be a bit stressful and loud combined with Them Crooked Vultures at stadium volume. Would you like me to take you to Bristol, will said, referring to my Dad's place, or Ashburton, referring to my Mums. Stoney silence. Zero eye contact. And not because he's F-X, because F-X have problems making eye contact, but by the end of the trip Tom and I were holding eye contact for huge amounts of time. 

Then I said, "Do you just want to see the back of me and Will" and he nodded vigorously.

He shot out of the car at lightening speed, gathered up all his stuff, refused any help, didn't offer any cups of tea, and then he was gone.

"Well we really fucked that one up," said Will.

"Yes," I said, it was the first time we had agreed in some time.

We drove back to London in complete silence. I sat in the back of the car.

I have to say I was slightly concerned about this, when I told Mum the situation in a very lite and brief fashion, with lots of, "Hey, it's fine" provisos, she, as given to taking the most exuberantly negative take on things as I am, at times, said, "There isn't going to be a family schism is there?"

I had suspected my brother found me laughable for a while, especially since he had kids and grew up, while I was Peter Pam, but fundamentally we have a great deal of love for each other and I don't really mind if he finds my life risible; it is a bit silly.

If I lived in a small town my activities would look incredibly sad, but the thing about London is there's loads of juvenile adults around behaving like me so within that context, I'm fine.

Anyway, I digress from the story in hand, yet again.

I'm not sure I could have told this tale so soon after our return and while it is still reasonably fresh and stinging in my mind. But having told the story, both pragmatically and flamboyantly, a few times, the general opinion has been, sounds good. My mate H, who doesn't hold back with her opinions, said, "I had worried your film was going to be a bit "Make A Wish Foundation, we're lovely people doing a lovely thing for our brother"."

My laughter was so hollow you could have put it under the Thames and driven rush hour traffic through it...

Of course I love this film, and I believe in it. But I equally understand that it comes more from punk than primetime spirit. The BBC had turned us down because, partly, apparently, they didn't think I was emotional and warm enough. Admittedly the three or four times I felt like crying I didn't, because that's what normal people do and I am not on X-Factor or Miss World. But there was definitely plenty of emotion. 

Oh yes.

Looking forward to Christmas with Will and his family, and our family, and several others. Safety in numbers eh?!?

Love and peace to all men and women, especially brothers and sisters x

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