Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is me in Greenwich Park wearing the purple jacket I bought for a job interview for one day's teaching in Dartford. I decided against it before the interview. I decided by the time I'd done the preparation and the marking, not to mention meetings, it would add up to more time than I want to spend not writing.

I was determined not to have the same trouble as last year with the London Film Festival . Feeling I had to review every film I saw I drove myself demented with the work. It was so bad I gave up film reviewing for six months.

The festival only lasts for sixteen days, after all, and it takes me, average, five hours a review, with research and checking, so it's practically a whole day's work. I decided I'd cover only the Chinese films, but there were at least eight of them! Roy sensibly suggested I try not to review each one individually but try to rationalise, as he puts it. Anyway, if I don't count the non-mainland films and lump the rest into one article, which I'll send to Dimsum, I think that's me acquitted.

Besides, I've got my new drama responsibilities to think of. I finished off an article about the King's Head Theatre for the My Cultural Life website, which has its official 'final' relaunch on Monday, ie we need to re-submit photos before then, because Ali the site-owner thinks at the moment that it's the mug-shots of inhouse writers that are letting the site down. She rejected a couple I sent because of poor quality , and I know my camera doesn't have enough pixels. I blame my sister who told me a few years back I could get a digital camera at Argos for only £99 and I hadn't even heard of pixels then. Anyway, I'm going to get myself one as a Christmas present, although it'll be too late for Ali's relaunch.

I met a My Cultural Life fellow writer, Alan Diment, at the last festival film on Thursday, and he said Ali's own picture looks like a studio portrait. It probably is because she used to act, I think. Well, she used to be engaged to a leading actor who's in a West End show that's just opened. Alan agreed with me that it would cost too much to get professional photos done for the site.

In fact, I've overdone going out on rainy nights. I've had some kind of virus since Monday which makes me cough a lot, probably from mingling in packed venues. I was wandering around Shoreditch on Tuesday night , looking for the Amnesty International offices where I heard Jung Chang talking about problems with getting her books published in China. I'm not surprised, especially by the latest, 'Mao : The Untold Story' where he emerges as a real villain. The lecture theatre was packed to standing room at the back. They kept asking Chang questions about things she didn't know, but she just ignored them and answered the questions she had in mind to answer or told 'amusing' anecdotes I've heard before, like how she learned English from sailors at Shanghai docks.

I turned in the wrong direction leaving the the back alley location afterwards and wandered up Shoreditch High Street to find a bus stop, then retracing my steps because I needed a bus going the other way. No chance of finding Old Street Tube again.

At least I managed to get the talk written up the next day.

I was supposed to go to a fringe play in Battersea on Friday and had even accepted the kind offer of an extra ticket for Roy. I felt so tired I couldn't face it and have had to postpone until next Tuesday. This isn't good idea with a fringe show as it only runs to the 17th.