Rome International Cinema Festival

I’m here attending the festival on a last minute decision as a Producer and am grateful to be recognized as one worthy of giving a last minute pass to. It wasn’t easy though, there was a lot of paperwork involved in getting a last minute pass but it reminded me of that familiar old lesson- doing the paperwork mostly pays off. That goes for funding opportunities, artist residencies, festival submissions and more. Putting time into the paperwork and doing what needs to be done can help to open doors to the expected and the unexpected.

Now here and midway through this festival, feeling a need to start blogging… if nothing else to keep track of all that I am seeing and learning and doing this week.

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I kicked off the festival by watching the sunset on the rooftop of The Bernini Hotel, where many people in suits had gathered to say hello to each other. It’s always a bit intimidating to go to a party unsure of knowing anyone there but I am getting accustomed to rocking up to events on my own and just looking around at people’s energy. Within moments of stepping onto the rooftop I got into conversation with a major Israeli film distributor and a French film sales agent. We swapped cards and were abruptly interrupted by a Producer who wanted to tell me about a very big budget film he has been developing and is seeking a co-producer for. I had to let him down gently and say that I was probably not that big player Co-Producer he was looking for but that I would love to read his script. He turned on me and asked “Why should I let you read this script?” and I replied “because you just came up to me and started pitching it to me and the only thing I can offer to do is read it. When I read it ideas and connections may pop into my head and if I like it and can help you make it I will.” He told me about the director he wants to attach and as it happens I have met that director a few times and he immediately offered to cut me a deal if I could get hima meeting with that Director. It was such a whirlwind and I found myself thinking “Why have I got myself into this schmooze game…I really find it all kind of bullshit”. Though I coached myself out of negative thinking and announced that I had to go and attend my first of many film screenings, the premiere of Italian romcom “Soap Opera”. We swapped cards and as he walked away an even better suited Director for his movie popped into my head so I sent him a quick email about that- 4 days later and he has not replied to my email so I am glad I didn’t waste my time getting involved in his slightly paranoid way of operating and in reading or become somehow involved in the goose chase of trying to help attach a big name Director’s to his script.

Here’s the trailer for “Soap Opera” it was cute and full of very modern Italian clichees and subversive dark humour which I felt good to be able understand. It’s something like an Italian take on a “four weddings and a funeral” or an “Almodovar” film with hints of “Shallow Grave” and “Delicatessen” in the art direction, set and costumes. I’m not sure if it will reach a large audience though but definitely Italians around the world would enjoy it and fans of European cinema.

I wanted to go to Asia Argento’s book launch because I really like the thought of making a film in Italy with her, but I couldn’t leg it over to the other side of town in time for that as I had to get dolled up and head over to another huge auditorium cinema for the red carpet European premiere of “Trash”. I gulped when I arrived and saw just how big and long the red carpet parade was (apparently one of the biggest red carpets in the world!) and just how many paparazzos and fans had gathered for it.  I have walked up red carpets before with friends to celebrate their work on big pictures but this was my first walk alone and I looked for another way in before being told to walk up the red carpet- much less painful then waking a plank obviously but still pretty intimidating… I took a deep breath and stood up straight before stepping onto the carpet, half pinching myself that this was really happening- that I was dolledup and walking alone like Alice in Wonderland at a glamorous movie premiere. I love it when life gets wierd in a glamorous way!

I met the Director, Stephen Daldry on the red carpet, maybe he thought he knew me as he said hi and we shook hands and I congratulated him for all his great films and told him I was taking part in a masterclass with him the following day. And then I stopped for a moment as a ton of flashbulbs went off around us, I felt a bit dazed and confused by it all. The film was incredible, also to see it on a huge screen. I felt on the verge of tears a few times throughout. The three young stars were incredible and the story was an interesting mix of a brilliant screenplay and improvised authentic documentary footage. I learnt more about this process and concept of fusing documentary and fiction in the masterclass. IT made a lot of sense to me as I have made both documentaries and fiction and it was inspiring seeing the two forms fused so powerfully together on such a big scale. See this film if you can. It will do for Brazil what “Slumdog Millionaire” did for India. I think the best part of the evening was seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces when the entire audience gave a standing ovation at the end. I felt stunned as I left the screening, I had been hit by an epic and important film- a movie with a social message that was also gripping and entertaining. It definitely gets my vote for The “Best Foreign Film” Academy Award.

Here is the trailer for “Trash”:

The masterclass with Stephen Daldry was insightful, to learn more about how he works, to learn tips about brining the best out of child actors, to learn learn learn and soak up his knowledge with space to ask questions and to give him my buisness cards. I would love to do a “making of” “behind the scenes documentary” on one of his films, but I learnt that his next project is a tv series called “The Crown” so it could be some time before I might get to do a “making of documentary” on one of his films.

I wanted to attend a masterclass with Wim Wenders and the screening of his documentary “Salt of The Earth” but again that event was far on the other side of town and public transport is slow in Rome so I knew I wouldn’t make it. I walked instead to the Bernini Hotel to attend a pitch session where 20 young Italian screenwriters had received funding to develop scripts and were pitching them to Producers hoping to go into production. It was interesting to hear some great ideas written and developed by writers under 30. I may have found one or two I’d like to work with on an idea that has been bubbling in my head every time I come to Italy, for a film I’d like to make in Italy…maybe with Asia Argento.

I heard very good reviews of the Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribero Salgado co-directed documentary “Salt of The Earth” and was a bit sad to have missed it so I will definitely try to see that when it is publicly available.

Here’s the trailer:

I then went to the screening of a Japanese film that just happened to be premiering at the cinema on Piazza Barberini shortly after I left the script pitches so I thought why not just watch this film- there were a lot of people linedup to se it and one of the benefits of a Producer’s pass is being able to just walk in and watch any of the films (other then the big red carpet Gala premieres which have to be pre arranged or invitation only). The filmmaker Miike Takashi had been awarded the “Maverick Director Award” as he has made over 100 films in Japan, many of which are live action manga adaptations and very stylistic violent films. Italy also has a track record of producing stylistic violent films and there is definitely an audience for gore- although it is not my genre of choice to create or to watch.

Here’s the trailer for “As The God’s Will” :

This Japanese film was very surreal and very violent, I don’t like watching violence or gore particularly but this was mostly done in an over the top or artistic way; such as red marbles pouring out instead of blood when people got killed… at the beginnig at least. It just got darker, gorier and more twisted as the film went along. It was like a live action version of a wierd manga cartoon. It felt like a social commentary on voyeurism, reality tv, violent video games and the sort of Japanese schadenfreude gameshows where someone is being chased by a giant bowling ball afraid for their life yet laughing hysterically whilst being sprinkled with giant evil giggling kitsch killer toys and a jpop all star looking cast of beautiful and talented young Japanese actors. God in this film is a man locked into his bedroom coding scripts for these teenagers to act out like they are his puppets and writing dark games for them to play where inevitably someone dies at the end of each game or test. At one point during the film I scribbled a line down on a piece of paper, about how they were all being tested on their intelligence, fitness, imagination and luck. I know I am going to have some crazy dreams after seeing that nightmarish film. It was definitely too long at 2 hours. I found myself squirming in my seat feeling tortured by beeing forced to watch the violent and sadistic “killing games” they were playing over and over again and considered getting up and walking out but nobody in the cinema left their seats and I was kind of both disgusted and fascinated hoping it might resolve itself have a deep moral story and a happy ending… I’m sure it will be banned in America for it’s violence and killings in a highschool setting and it’s not a film I feel people will benefit from seeing. However, it does have all the ingredients to become a cult film appreciated mostly for it’s wierdness, art direction and violence that particularily video gamers, horror/gore and Japanese Anime/Manga cartoon fans will appreciate.

Tomorrow morning I have an early start with Italian grammar lessons yuck I really do not enjoy studying grammar but it does make me a better speaker. Then I’m going to do a couple of back to back skype coaching and creative consultancy sessions before dressing up in a vintage and New Romantic-inspired look for another walk down that long red carpet and the European premiere of “Soul Boys of The Western World” about Spandau Ballet The Movie.

I have taken a lot of meetings with international distributors here to discuss my Guerrilla fiction feature film made in London and the documentary I have been independently producing and filming this year in Indonesia. This seems to be a market for more mainstream yet still experimental films- people are definitely signing deals her to international distributors and it’s been great to connect with so many, especially the ones who are known for purchasing film rights early before a project gets popular! It also gives me new energy for future projects- to be able to run them by and possibly get a distribution deal before going into production- even to finance the production… this could take filmmaking to a new level for me and so it makes it seem worth the while to go to festivals and connect with distributors for everything I have already made and everything I will go on to make- it’s also good to meet people face to face and look for real connections that will be energizing and have longevity rather than dealing with emails and anonymity.

Distributors look at my a bit blankly when I raise the topic of a documentary or tv series about healers and in particular sound healing. I have expressed how my interest is also on the varied journeys people have taken to become healers. One distributor suggested that it would be more interesting if I made an investigative expose film called “Shamans or Charltans?” to expose the dark side of lightwork: corruption, lack of integrity and money driven side of “healing” but that’s not the kind of work I am on a mission to make and that would also drag me down to investigate and expose corrupt healers. I am sure there are of course healers taking advantage of people who are troubled and or sick but I have been very lucky to meet so many healers who live and practise with heart and great integrity. I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on the good ones and currently feel some fusion of Anthropologist, Musicologist and Promoter of the concept and benefits of “Sound Healing” and and quite literally Sound Healers. The Sound of Healing : Project Page

A major TV Channel expressed an interest in the Guerilla feature film I made on a shoestring budget and very quickly in London. That film really needs one last edit, a polish, colour-grade and sound mix for me to feel good about sending it to a broadcaster for their consideration…although it is currently being submitted as a work-in-progress to festivals for a premiere. I’m hoping it will be accepted to a good festival and then I will be able to get the support to have these essential final stages of post-production carried out….and it would of course be incredible if it ended up being broadcast on television!

Ah life is fun with one foot in a platform heel and one foot in the lotus position!

To be continued…

Hi again so part two…

I thought to make this a separate blog but really it’s a roundup of the rest of the festival so prefer to pack it into one.

I attended the Spandau Ballet premiere, with another slow-motion walk up the long red carpet. Secutiry was tighter for this one and clearly Spandau Ballet are massive in Italy as the throngs of fans behind the barricades suggested. I wore a vintage balck and gold spandex 1980’s shoulder padded catsuit with my red recycled leather jacket and a lot of heavy eyeliner, hair backcombed and flipped over to one side. I was going for a New Romantic inspired look. It’s really so much fun to dress up for movies- especially when there is a theme. Getting ready for this premiere reminded me of going to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a teenager and the imaginative effort that went into creating a look for that. It was exciting to see the whole band together again on the red carpet and as they made a parade into the auditorium to introduce and sit through the film the audience were screaming and going wild! The film was good, I particularly loved the archive footage from the early pre-famous Blitz Club days also featuring Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange and Philip Sallon (who almost became my manager at one point when I was making music. I love that man!)

It was a moving story of a band of London teenagers suddenly hitting the big time, then breaking up and then making up. It was also interesting to learn about the rivalry and then strong friendships with Duran Duran. One quote that stood out from the film was “There are only three things that breakup a band- sex, drugs and ego” In their case, as in many cases it was ego that brokeup the band and the songwriter’s need to control that only he would write the songs “for fear that someone else might do it better than him”- which eventually meant that after years of handwork all the other band members got screwed by his ego. It was very humble of him to admit that awareness and ill possibly be a cautionary tale to current successful bands- not to let drugs, sex, money or ego breakup the band. It all got much more positive towards the end when the band decided to reunite and return to what they loved doing in the first place -making and performing hit songs and lifting the spirits of the audience. This movie and premier was also an announcement of their comeback tour.

On another note…

I am slowly getting over the shock of the terrifying events that took place in Ottawa and in Canadian Parliament. A crazygunman ran through Ottawa shooting and killing a soldier, then ran into Parliament shooting open fire, shooting several people with a big gunfight culminating in Parliament and ultimately the gunman being taken down. It was very scary for me as my brother is working in Parliament and he was in that building, instructed to hide under his desk through the gunfight. The entire building went into lockdown after the gunfight as they tried to assess if their were more gunmen around and then also to deal with the chaos of hysterical people being in lockdown all day. I was very afraid and just prayed hard all day to know my brother was in the building but not to know if he was ok. I am beyond relieved to know he survived the ordeal and my heart breaks for Cpl Corillio and his family who suffered a great loss at the hands of a crazy gunman. I hope that there will be some sort of ceremony of healing for all who spent a day in fear for their lives and lived through the ordeal as well as to heal the building itself- the space needs to be cleared of negative energy…how are people supposed to just return to work as normal without experiencing some kind of trauma/PTSD?

It also made me feel that I have no more tolerance for sensationalized gore and violence in movies. When this traumatic shit happens in real life and someone very close to me was forced to deal with that kind of reality, it just makes no more sense to me to be entertained by sensationalized violence. I suppose it is a part of life- the shadows of the world but right now it would only make sense to me in movies if there is an underlying moral message or is based on real-life events as a factual account- still not my chic of entertainment.

After this day of praying and feeling terrified…I lost a bit of steam for the whole film festival networking thing and most of my enthusiasm for geeing out to watch more movies…still it was quite a full cup and inspiring experience at this year’s Rome International Cinema festival.

My head is down now in right-brained Producer organizational mode as I lineup the final stages of post-production on my my feature film shot in London- aiming for a cast,crew and friends premier there before Christmas. Also, very happy to learn that a feature film my company Co-Produced a few years ago, finally has distribution and will be publicly released on November 11th- very fitting as it is about soldiers returning from war and suffering from PTSD.

Will be back soon with some hopefully inspired learnings and reflections.

I leave you with this funny rap about meditation and to promote the “21day meditation experience”:

“Happy New Now & Cowabunga Namaste”

Top 13 Favourite Albums

Ah the time-wasting joys of Facebook. I was asked to compile a list of top ten albums and when I sat down to write them out it took some time…much more than I wanted to spend compiling a list just for fun. The friend who asked me to do this is a dear old friend and budding DJ Liam Mockridge so for him, I made the effort and it was fun. I realised that choosing my top ten all-time favourite songs would have been much easier because there are so many artists that I love listening to, depending on my mood. Choosing top albums involves loving at least several of the songs on there so, in the end I was able to whittle it down to my all-time top 13 albums plus 3 compilations. I am quite tempted to compile another list of my top 10 spiritual/yoga/meditation/world music albums too because there are so many great artists that I love in that genre alone and that’s what I listen to mostly these days but I don’t want to spend all day compiling lists of music I love – there is too much to do today! The albums on this top 13 list have stuck with me as great loves over the years and I never get sick of hearing them.

Depeche Mode- 101

Madonna- True Blue

Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral

The Velvet Underground & Nico

David Bowie- Hunky Dory

Eek-A-Mouse- Wa Do Dem

The Doors- Strange Days

Patrick Wolf- Lycanthropy

Peaches- The Teaches of Peaches

Yoav- Charmed & Strange

M.I.A- Arular

The Beastie Boys- Check Your Head

Tchaikovsky- The Nutcracker

These are my favourite compilation albums because I have loved playing them from beginning to end over the years and still do- they have stood the test of time for me:

Nouvelle Vague- Nouvelle Vague

Hotel Pelirocco- Compilation

Kashpoint- Compilation

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Dream Journal : Whale

I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the concept of lucid dreaming and lately I find myself feeling conscious in my dreams just before I wake up I am aware of summarizing what I have dreamt about, or maybe it’s just the tail end of a long dream I am capturing. In any case I have noticed some synchronicity in the things I dream about lately. For most of this year, especially when I was in Bali- I was early to bed and early to rise and I did not remember my dreams. More recently, I have found myself sleeping through 3 alarm clocks and waking slowly, consciously running and capturing the essence of my dream as I wake. I think this is lucid dreaming and am interested to learn more about the art of lucid dreaming and being able to be conscious through more of my dreams to acess the knowledge of the subconscious world and maybe of some psychic intuition. Someone once told me that “dreams are like going to the movies for free” and I think that’s an interesting take on dreaming and maybe it’s the thing I love about filmmaking and it’s potential to visualise the inner and sub-conscious realms.

I am going to start writing them down here as blog posts in between writing reflections, experiences and observations. I want to write them down as an experiment, to see what synchronicities appear in waking life that correlate to my dreams.

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Last night I had a dream that I was on a dock by the ocean and a super creative friend (Art Director and Interior Designer Jamie Stimpson) was loading things into a small motorboat. Out of nowhere a huge whale slowly surfaced and swam up to my feet and started tapping the dock with it’s mouth. It opened it’s huge mouth and I stared straight into it. I knew that if I stepped inside the whale’s mouth he would go back underwater and I would be stuck for the rest of my life living inside his stomach like the legend of Moby Dick. For a moment I saw all that possibility playing out and saw myself living inside of the whale’s stomach. I didn’t feel afraid, I felt fascinated and a bit lonely. then I was on the dock and I consciously chose not to step inside it’s mouth and just looked on as it kept banging it’s head against the dock in front of me. It was a huge whale maybe 30 feet long and I was calling to my friend to come and look at the whale but he seemed to have completely vanished. I was afraid he might have already been swallowed by the whale. Then I woke up.

I went online to look up animal totems and their symbolism in dreams.

“To see a Whale in your dream indicates that you need to be more social or more vocal about something. Step up and speak up. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes spiritual guidance. You are ready to explore your emotions, but you need to make the connection between the conscious and subconscious aspects of yourself.”

I often look up animal totems when an animal randomly appears in my waking life too.

Here’s a good link for insights on animal totems Animal Totem : Whale

Baroque n Roll

Firstly, let me begin this post with saying that the “no complaints” experiment was awesome and I committed to it all weekend- not for just 24 hours. I have experienced some serious magic and serendipity occurring in my life since that experiment too, so I am truly mindful now of any complaints that might tumble from my voice box and just sort of biting my tongue if I feel something like a complaint pouring out or even sayng “wow that was me complaining” – in a way to own it and dissolve it. I have realised how complaining is essentially dumping energy onto the listener and I have also realised how often we modern day humans tend to bond through complaining. I don’t want to bond with people tat way- to do that to people or to have people dump their negativity on me. It feels as though in not complaining there has been so much space for positivity opening up in my life and recently it has all been looking and soundeding fantastical…and very baroque.

The highlights of life and learnings recently…

An invitation to the most AMAZING inspiring place I have been to in Italy: Castello Ruspoli where I attended the annual competition of young classical musicians from all around the world.

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DSC_0110DSC_0102 I dove deep into a 5 hour Baroque immersion as the 6 international finalists delighted our intimate group of writers, musicologists and judges with their mind-blowing talent and professionalism. I particularily enjoyed hearing each of them perform a new and never before performed piece, assembled from archive manuscripts as a composition by musicologist and a previous Ruspoli music prize winner Ana Lombardia Gonzlez. Each gave their own flavour to their own interpretation in premiering the “Tocata Number 3″ as well as performing 2 solos and 4 pieces accompanied by my new favourite instrument- the harpsichord.

( the finalists waiting nervously to hear who is the winner below)

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After much contemplation and deliberation between the judges, a new Baroque star was announced- 24 year old Amandine Solano a classic beauty in high stilettos and a biker jacket who was accompanied by her mother on the harpsichord. In between performances I took every opportunity to wander through the intriguing centuries old labyrinths of sacred geometries outside of the fortress-like Castello.

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I honestly felt as though I were in one long lucid dream with an endless score of Baroque performances or instruments being tuned or pieces being rehearsed endlessly echoing through the vast corridors. I also recalled the days of preparing for exams as a teenager and the reccommendation of our in house “learning expert” who taught us to listen to baroque music as we studied for our exams because apparently Baroque helps people to focus and is particularily useful for people with short attention spans or ADD.  It was a great treat to be in a fairytale castle, surrounded by musicians and musicologists – an experience I will cherish greatly. Also of course, the lunches and dinners- the Italian food was “da morire” to die for. And on the final day, classical music appreciators from all over Europe arrived to experience the prize winners performance, which was also recored to be released soon as a cd.

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It also thematically and experientially complemented the subject of sound healing that  I have been focused on with my own research and documenting of the Sound Healers and Shamans I met in Indonesia. I immediately bonded with a film crew from Brazil Owl Filmes who were there making a documentary about the castle’s musical history and the career-changing annual Ruspoli music prize.

All I can say is that after this intense baroque experience my whole body was buzzing and my heart felt as if it had burst wide open. Castello Ruspoli is a very magical place!

I also learnt that they are creating “Fugga Experience”- beginning with a cycling tour, where guests will stay at the Castello, cycle through the stunning landscapes by day and enjoy delicious food and wine by night. They also very kindly suggested I should consider to host a wellbeing retreat there, which is something I would definitely love to do with them and for you! That is something now in the pipelines for 2015. I think it will be a week of yoga, meditation, creative writing, dance, delicious food and some silence- to walk the labyrinths in silence and see what inspiration arises. Many years ago, Handel lived in the castle as an artist in residence and he composed some of his most well-known works whilst there.

I also discussed getting some recordings of the classical baroque instruments to have a play with some electronic-baroque remixes…so I have some interesting sonic experiments ahead of me too.

Before heading up to Vignanello I had been listening to music along these lines by Benjamin Skepper and Gabriel Prokofiev- so perhaps I had actually put the law of attraction into action by manifesting my Baroque immersion experience at Vignanello!

Upon returning to the hustle and bustle of city life, I was invited to attend the opening of an exciting classical-contemporary fusion exhibition by British Art Star Mat Collishaw in the  Galleria Borghese Rome.

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The main work presented was a very large scale sculpture that also functioned as a zoetrope which would sporadically spring into action with a whir and as it began to spin with lights flickering all the miniature marble sculptures became animated- they literally sprang to life. It was mesmerizing and a true masterpiece. He also presented large elaborate black framed looking-glasses throughout the museum, where after a few moments of gazing at myself surrounded by great masterpieces, a classical renaissance style painting would emerge on the mirror’s surface and slowly begin to move- to come alive. He was literally breathing life into the classical masterpieces and explained that it was all created in response to what he felt and imagined when looking at the classical pieces in the museum. To see his works sandwiched between famous masterpieces by Titian, Caravaggio and Bernini amongst others seemed to make an official public statement that his works are recognised as great contemporary masterpieces in their own right and in my opinion they are works that will stand the test of time and live on in the future as classical works of our time.

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Here’s a great little film about the new exhibition: Mat Collishaw : Vogue

I am truly blown away by witnessing all this classicism-futurism fusion in art and music and in my life at the moment too as I skip through the streets in vintage dresses and a recycled red leather biker jacket.

It seems that most Italians prefer new designer brand name clothing, which means there are a lot of great designer vintage wardrobe treasures to find in Italy. I have always found great pleasure in having an eagle eye and being able to spot jems amongst masses of vintage rails. It’s also perhaps a conscious style- to source second hand and vintage shops and recycle for individual chicness. Rome has some great vintage shops full of old Gucci, Missoni, Valentino, Moschino as well as many small “artigenale” shops where the designers can be seen inside working away on their sewing machines and are also very happy to customize their creations to your colour preference and tailor to your size.

I am loving everything about life here and now.

I am bursting with gratitude and wonder.

Definitely no complaints. Baroque n rollin’!

No Complaints

I realise that my blogpost from yesterday was a fragmented, streamofconsciousness rant and there was a bit of bitching in it- about L.A bulldozers… I want to keep this real and for me being conscious is being human and being aware/mindful…even if it is in hindsight/upon reflection. I strive to put this mindfulness into practise every waking moment but sometimes I slip up.

So I tried and failed to do this challenge today because the water system was shut off in my entire building, it’s sticky hot here and I couldn’t have a shower…so when I arrived late, sweaty and stinky to my language course and they asked me why I was late- I had to explain and apologise, which sounded more like complaining about not being able to have a shower- FAIL- which makes me appreciate how I took endlessly available water supplies for granted…and how challenging it is to go 24 hours without complaining!

Tomorrow is a new day and I am really going to go for it with this positivity challenge.

24 hours- No complaining…maybe I’ll be able to go all weekend…

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There’s no place like Rome

I clicked my heels with a one two three and was transported from Cali to Canada to England to Germany and have finally landed on my feet here in Italy. All this movement truly makes me feel like a restless shape-shifting Dragonfly and I have discovered a new longing to stay in one place for a while… I thought that would be California because I was really so very happy out there riding horses and surfing but I am here now and maybe this is where I am meant to be, for a while anyway…Romeing.

urlAs I write today, I am streaming Trent Reznors & Atticu Ross’ new score for feature film “Gone Girl”. I suggested you click on this link: Gone Girl,  press play and listen to the same music as me as you readon.

If you find the experimental and industrial nature of Reznor’s productions is not to your taste then try any of the artists listed in this article for some top rated Conscious DJ’s & Producers…also a perfect soundscape for reading this blog.

It’s been a whirlwind and I am so grateful to have caught up with so many beloveds across the globe in such a short space of time and to have made it to the wedding of a very very dear friend, shed a few tears when I first saw her step out in the stunning Westwood dress and danced wildly, high on jetlag and exhaustion for two nights in a row.

So, what’s keeping me on the conscious trail at the moment.

Yoga of course, I am back to being a student for a bit to improve my Italian. I am studying Iyengar yoga in Italian which is quite fascinating as I know the moves and the postures so well by know that I do them with my eyes closed so hearing all the directions and body parts in another language whilst I am moving seems to embed the language deep into my cells. And I just love the sound of Italian, the way it rolls like a soothing lullabye- in a yoga class at least not when you hear the way people shout at eachother or debate animatedly along the cobblestone streets. I’d love to be able to teach some classes here in Italian so I have also signedup for a language course. The course is SO much fun and more surreal than I ever imagined a language course to be. I do two hours a day of “conversatione”, discussing art, culture and current events all in Italian. I know my Italian is rapidly improving from this immersion yoga, daily life and conversatione all in Italian and I feel like I am getting smarter too- we actually debate what is in the news and it is such a fabulous motely crew of characters; each of us with completely different points of view. I love this little microcomsic celebration of diversity within a language class. And the best part is that it involves cooking lessons too in Italian of course- though really sort of glutinous pasta pizza type of recipes that are not actually in my diet- but every once ina  while a little gluten can be reeeeallly delicious eve if I feel like passing out and sleeping for hours afterwards. Gluten is basically glue in the stomach yuck.

After my morning Italian conversation class I sit down and go through rushes of the sound healing footage from Bali. I am looking for direct in roads to Channel4 or the BBC to see if they may comission this as a series and am half jotting down pitches for them. I intend to do that next- submit proposals for this project and what it could grow into as a series to Channel 4 and the BBC as I slowly assemble a roughcut at my own pace with the hopes that I will be enlisting the services of a professional editor in Cali or in London to polish it. I feel such a sense of duty now to all who let me film them, that is the thing I hate about having a camera is that moment when people start asking you when they can see a finished piece and it’s always waaaay before I am ready  to show anything or else a big hassle to try and meet the requests by digitising and transferring photo or video files to help them promote themselves or their buisness…. I guess as far as this project goes…I am working on it right now as a producer- submitting applications to tv and documentary comissioners and as an editor by assembling a roughtcut. Frankly it feels like I have bitten off more then I can chew right now and I at times want to smash the computer and just be fully presnt in Italy but then that would be sabotage as this computer is full of my words, songs and videos so I wont smash and I do frequently back it all up and I do just keep on trucking with more then I can chew in my gob as has always been the creative norm for me  “Go Bold or Go bust”. I have a new work mantra too now it is

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY & PASSION OVER POWER (Repeat 10 times everyday.)

I’ve also been revisiting the four agreements. Slightly wondering why I haven’t had this stuck on a fridge or somewhere obvious so I could read it everyday too.

10419578_10152713379843535_5354025454962250550_nI’ve also embraced a new affirmation that I stumbled upon when I was surfing podcasts. Finding this quote made me feel really sad for a moment as I realised just how hard I have tried to impress people throughout my life and how much of a relief it would be to stop doing that. To know that I am enough, that I have a ton of experiences and skills under my belt and to start paying more attention to who shows up and seems interested in me- personally and professionally rather then being a “let me entertain you” dancing monkey which I have definitely been at times too. I would like to become like a kung fu master who knows they could kill someone with their skills but would never do it for that is the integrity of a true master- to embody all that they have learnt and know whilst remaining humble, kind and honest- well yikes that’s a lot of work for me to do still- maybe I should take up Kung fu rather than just using it as a metaphor.

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I love podcasts and one of my favourite ways to relax is to have a long soak in a very hot bubble bath and listen to podcasts- usually about sex, tantra and relationships or maybe Ted Talks with passionate speakers ranting about empowerment, authenticity and healing…or maybe some kind of amazing music mix I find on soundcloud when I don’t want to hear the voice of anyone preaching or teaching at me.

I was recently reminded that it is not important to strive for mastery of the self but rather to work on self-acceptance every step of the way, forgiving myself for clumsy slipups, negative thinking and unconscious/lower vibration thoughts. words or actions- that is probably very much the true key to happiness- self acceptance.

I am becoming very aware these days of when my thoughts, words or actions are coming from a darker lower vibration place of fear, anger, mistrust, jealousy, control or a higher vibration place of love, and trusting that everything is as it should be.

I have been challenged massively a few times with this and what I notice as a repeat pattern is that everytime I listen to the darker materials and chose the lower vibration words or actions…things just get well worse! When I rise above and consciously choose to let go of controlling situations, to trust that all will be well- whadda ya know things work out just fine. So that’s a daily practise and I know in a place like Ubud or Findhorn or Esalen everyone is going around operating in that sort of conscious way but in all the cities I have been to- L.A being the worst actuall probably I can’t help but judge that people are just mostly ambitious, tough, vampires, schmoozing, using and looking for the next best thing… competing to be the best or get ahead and behaving in pretty ruthless ways seeming to have no conscience or sense of karma at all…

L.A is full of bulldozers!

I know thats a severe judgement and not a very fair statement but more of an observational stereotype…I met some good people living in Venice and reconnected with a bit of an angel who was one of my sort of mentors over the years so it’s not all dangerous there. Please recognize my judgements as low vibe silliness and take them with a pinch of salt and maybe even lol right now (cue the canned laughter from Friends).

For example, I was there in L.A for a meeting with a big film Producer about a project that I really want him to put into development, A filmmaking girl I have met once at a dinner party runs over shouting my name and gives me a space invading hug and sits down on the empty chair beside me, then proceeds to introduce herself to the Producer I am talking to and grills him about who he is and what he does and then seems to have no emotional intelligence or a ruthless determination as she dominates the table, pitching her movie project, flirting and moving in to sit really close to him, sends him a friend request on facebook whilst sitting there and then takes off with a wave. I felt bulldozed by this Alpha female who pretended to be my friend but wasn’t acting like a friend. and how did I deal with it? I shrank back and started to feel myself shutting down whilst  the coach voice in my head was saying “NO! Do not dissappear, do not become small, do not start to doubt your own worth… you need to be fully present right now and firing on all cylinders to impress this guy who might make your movies see the light of day in a big way”. As soon as she had left I shifted gears out of dealmaker mode and just wanted to chill so we might both want to hangout more and eventually work together on this project or something else. I really didn’t want to bombard him with ideas anymore after her intrusive intensity. The rest of our lunch was pretty pleasant but internally, I was struggling to shake off that fairly random person’s energy.

In hindsight that would have been a great moment for me to put up an energetic shield or just excuse myself maybe or even point blank told her to please go away because she was interrupting our meeting and I only had one day to make my movie dreams in Hollywood come true and these were really important meetings for me and she was messing with them…..or maybe I could have just sat back and enjoyed the show more, practising the art of detachment and learning how the bulldozers network in Hollywood…

I sometimes I feel easily drained by dominant personalities- the sort who laugh or speak loudly to be heard and seen totally irks me unless they actually are funny…

I also sometimes feel drained by the weight of other people’s problems and secrets. I am a keeper of secrets and I am proud of knowing I am very good at that…but I think it can be alienating to be so super sensitive or at times full of other people stuff. Sometimes being “strong” for others both professionally and personally can get a bit too much for me, so I do cleansing ceremonies with sage and palo santo, crystals and chanting to clear and heal and create space for me to show up more and to fully be present and at peace…to radiate my own frequency instead of absorbing those of others- that is really important stuff which I am realising is a necessity for survival- grounding and clearing!.

I don’t like to appear weak….which is stubborn so must be a part of my shadow…

I have learnt thought that that is inauthentic to always want to appear brave and strong.In a way this blog is about undoing that part of me that wants to rescue others and often ends up feeling drained in the process. This is about me eploring my inner maze and trying to make sense of that point where the inner world and the outer world meet and becoming more human and soft in the process…unless I am having a bad day or a down day and then the rants get heavier and expose much more of me then I would dare to put out there under my own name.

I have just sat down to do a small writing assignment which was completely inspiring and which I found very emotional. I have been writing letters to my teenage self and also from my future self to me now. It’s an experiment really. I believe in the law of attraction and I am experimenting with writing my life story from the point of view of a much older me looking back and also writing from my own point of view full of advice to a much younger me…I am very curious to see if anything of these almost predicitions will manifest and I am also full of blocks about wanting to write down only what I do actually want to manifest not what I don’t want to manifest- careful what you wish for right?

There is probably a book in all this but one I probably will not publish until I am dead. I will deliver it all as a document in a few days and upon first sitting down to write it, out poured about 20 000+ words over a few hours…and that is only the tip of the iceberg really of what I could deliver on that subject….when it flows it flows…

I am going to keep doing this blog thing until November at least and then I would like to publish a blogbook. There is definitely enough material and imagery up here for a book and I feel that “The Conscious Hipster” is a Zeitgeist title. I would flesh it out though with more handwritting lists, tips, quotes and ponderings I would like to maybe insert some interviews with well known speakers on the subjects of style and consciousness to deliver a book that is a eeting of those two worlds through my curated and mostly created text and imagery. I would like to publish a book that everyone I know would buy and give to their friends as a present (hopefully because the like it and not just to support me).

That’s my intention- one year of blogging and then I have more then enough content for a book. That would be one month away then so if you know a publisher who might be a good fit and if youare a publisher and you are reading this and you want to give me a book deal or an advance to keep blogging or just stop blogging and write it out as a book- I am very seriously up for that kind of a deal!

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Back to the consciousness…..and walking the talk….I know that’s all I really have to do in this lifetime and everything else is a frilly bonus. I just have to live, lern, grow and walk the talk- practise what I preach or better yet not preach at all just ramble it all out in freeflowing blogposts from time to time…and take some advice from Gandhi-Ji

“Be the change that I want to see”

Every step of the way and everyday…. be mindful of and forgive myself for the mistakes I make along the way.

Until the next time

(Are you a publisher or do you want me to write for you? Maybe you just want to say hello or tell me about the cool stuff you make or do? You can contact me here)

 

Hello Again!

Well hello hello on the first of September…. and it’s very hard to believe that this is the first day I have really had all to myself so far this summer. Is that a lame excuse for not blogging at all? Maybe I was just too busy actually trying to be present and conscious rather then contemplating it or writing about it. I also had a bit of resistance to blogging these last few months because 1: I don’t know if anyone reads my blogs 2: I don’t know if it helps me to do so much pondering and written introspection.

Being alone inspires my writing and being in joy inspires me to live fully. So, now I am alone and whadda ya know…I am writing again. Maybe this blog will come and go in waves. It’s my diary when I need it and I am grateful for this anonymous outlet of self reflection, expression and promotion of all that I love or am inspired by. If it helps or inspires anyone else in any way- that’s awesome!

So….a recap of the summer highlights and inspirations….

Firstly I’d like to say that much of my activity this summer has been fuelled by a delicious herbal coffee alternative which is caffeine-free and currently only available for sale in the U.S.A it is called Teeccino. It is really delicious and tastes just like coffee but is made from all natural ingredients such as cacao, dandelion and hazelnut. I was introduced to Teeccino as a coffe alternative by actor, rock climber and founder of Soul Climbing Galen MacDougall.

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I am currently back on my regular morning coffee as rocket fuel but mostly go for the teeccino’s during the day and the best thing about finding an alternative to caffeine is that I no longer stay awake all night- obviously coffee affects me massively and was a big part of my insomnia in London.

So what else…

I am very inspired by Canadian Haida artist Corey Bulpitt and loving his fusion of Hip Hop and Haida Culture. I went to checkout his current exhibition at The Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver and have planted seeds to ideally visit Haida Gwaii and make a documentary with him about contemporary Haida First Nations Art and Culture.

url-4I also attended the opening of Douglas Coupland‘s solo show “everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything” at The Vancouver Art Gallery. He is an incredibly inspiring person, writer and artist and it was an exciting arrival to Vancouver and straight over to the art opening where I was asked to bring a bag of stuff to swap as well as to chew some gum to stick on/vandalise a large bronze sculpture of Doug’s head and then do “The lego walk of flame”  by walking barefoot across a pile of lego pieces, quite painful but I won a Starbucks gift certificate for succeeding in the challenge.

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 The Gumhead sculpture is at this point completely covered in pieces of gum stuck on it by participants and then melting in the summer sun so it has taken on a multi-coloured gooey texture and is far from the staunch bronze head that was presented at the opening night. I also left that opening with a bag of cool objects that I had swapped my stuff for including a plastic dragonfly and a crystal ball- for calirvoyancy and future predictions?

I have had the pleasure of hanging out this summer with another very talented Canadian artist called Christopher Rodrigues and his wife Melissa who is a former professional ballet dancer and now a yoga teacher, dula and mother of two beautiful little girls. Vancouver is the most beautiful city in the summertime with sunshiney beaches so I was able to swim in the very refreshing Pacific Ocean most days.

I am currently back in California and experimenting with wellbeing and creativity retreats involving health organic foods, yoga, meditation, horseback-riding, hiking and quiet time for journalling or creative writing- just with friends as the guineapigs and co-creators at the moment not as a commercial enterprise. It feels like I am practising for more ambitious retreats of this type and I hope to offer you such wellbeing & creativity retreats in Bali 2015. I have also been discussing the element of dance incorporation with a friend and brilliant 5 rythms dance teacher Jessica Howie. 5 Rhythms dance was created by Garielle Roth and was a weekly highlight for me when I lived in London, I would go weekly to dance every wednesday at HOME in Paddington. If you haven’t  tried it but have even the faintest inkling of interest in dance as fun and therapy then I can highly reccommend it. Somedays it is fun and other days it is a brilliant emotional and physical release for the stresses and worries of life. When I would bring a new friend to the dance with me I would always say “You will get exactly what you need from this experience so go with the flow.”

I had a great time staying in L.A at the house of a talented filmmaker Tao Ruspoli who has several airstream and vintage trailers parked in his Venice Beach garden which are available to rent on airbnb. It’s the perfect spot, very close to the beach and interesting creative guests passing through. I am in love with his series of short films called “The Love Project” 

I was invited to go and watch a friend racing and win a grand prix which was such a thrill- I was shaking in my boots with fear watching the racecars speed and spiral round and round the racecourse and it was amazing to see him being sprayed with champagne and triumphantly holding a trophy up in the air at the end. I am a big walker, I will pretty much walk anywhere or ride a bike as I am possibly the worlds worst driver and have never owned a car, so it was almost ironic to watch the experts racing and somehow it gave me some more confidence behind the wheel as I have since been driving myself around California.

I have also been able to indulge in being a cowgirl this summer, spending time with horses is very healing and in my case empowering as I love to get on and gallop as fast as I can across the hills whooping loudly “Yeeeehaw”. It is one of the best feelings in the world for me tuning into the spirit and character of these powerful wild and free animals…not to mentioned the exercise as it tones up my entire body- particularily the thighs, core and arms. I have had the pleasure of quality time with a beloved soul sister and awesome cowgirl who also loves to gallop off into the hills at full throttle and that is a great feeling, no fear of having to slow down for but rather trying to keep up!

And of course the hooping, I picked up some shiny new custom twin hoops and have been doing a lot of that too- the most fun type of exercise with immediate results in core toning. I even had a private lesson at The Brewery in L.A with artist and pro-hoop instructor Malcolm Stuart

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So today I am about to tune into writer and sound artist Jasmin Blasco‘s monthly radioshow on Dub Lab You can tune in live online the first Monday of the month from 2-4pm.

Currently feeling blessed and full of gratitude for the incredible and inspiring people I have had the honour of spending quality time with over the summer, including dear old friends, new friends and artists and of course my beloved family and siblings.

Until the next time I find myself alone y hasta luego x