Stuck on the stationary train ( top10)

… so what is a girl to do but write a quick blog. Ten things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

1.Lying/sitting/walking/ drinking in the sun. Real sun, warm rays that were lacking this summer. It might be over by Tuesday, but we’ll be soaking it up til Monday.

2.Eating. Let’s face it, I always look forward to eating.

3.Wedding preparation / Hen-night talk. The first of us is getting married in April: if you know someone who’s always wanted a small garden wedding… Just wait until they’ve tried on The Dress > Hell Breaks Loose.

4. Daily showers. Oh the small things in life you start to appreciate when your house isn’t fitted with a bathroom yet. ( Don’t worry mother, I have lots of friends with showers…)

5. Reading a book. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell is gorgeous and the storylines are coming together now… so why I am writing I don’t know.

6.Well I do of course, simply for the love of it. Might write on one of the severely neglected writing projects.

7.Hang out with friends, not with angry sweaty men on this train who are just trying to get home. The train lady just announced we are going to skip a station to get to Gloucester (=with an hour delay) She was not popular.

8.Have a lie-in and not having to leave the house because six builders are still painting, sanding and wiring…

9. Enjoy the outdoors. Love London, Love leaving it behind.

10. Beat my friends at poker. Mwahahaha fighting talk: Bring on the Weekend!

The Bus

As I came out of the Tube station I saw the 21 bus, I ran towards it waving my Oyster card… but the bus still left without me.

I swore under my breath while an elderly Indian woman stared at me.  I ignored her and looked at the bus map. She kept staring at me and approached me: “Are you from Japan?”  As she seemed harmless and her son and daughter-in-law looked quite embarrassed, I went into my ‘ My parents are from Indonesia’ -spiel, upon which the 141 bus went passed without even stopping. I signalled for it, the bus seemed to stop. I ran towards it and dropped my umbrella, by the time I picked it up the bus had gone and I walked back to the busstop.

There a lady who had seen me run, pitied me: ” I’m sorry.” ” Two busses…” I muttered.  ” Where do you need to go.” she asked. I told her, she smiled then turned to the road: ” Do you need the 43?”  There it was: the 43. I signalled for it. It stopped.

” There you go,” she said kindly, ” even after all the running…”

I guess patience was never my forte.


This morning I had a Skype meeting with Sura, Lina and a writer who was to advice us on The Pilot. He’s a successful screenwriter, meaning he gets paid for it and got enough projects going to be busy. Still, he was kind enough to make time to look at our work.

It was an interesting experience: though I know he’s giving constructive criticism, I still had to take a deep breath and push through the instincts like a mother desperate to defend her children.

A lot of great points were made and helpful suggestions given, but the ‘understanding-buck’ stopped at his analysis of our characters: ” They are great, they are just all such losers.”


He explained how he assumed that one of the guys wasn’t really talented because the character wasn’t successful. We protested that the characters were in fact talented but just hadn’t made it yet. (Sounds familiar? ;-)) He then tried to compare them to Raymond (from Everybody love Raymond): he’s a loveable loser.

Hmm, there was food for thought and I still can’t shake the feeling that it seems unfair to brand an unsuccessful person a loser.

Raymond a loser? Perhaps but he has a family and a job. I guess the kids in Glee are defined as losers. Still why is the series a success? Is it because we like laughing at losers? I think that’s too cynical… I like to think that we identify with misfits. Who really feels like they have it all worked out? Not a lot of us I think.

Our characters are capable people who make the best that life throws at them: that is the strength of the characters. It is the bit that people can identify with. Finding yourself in bizarre situations, or ‘in life’, and just having to deal with it.

Of course in a comedy, the situation has to go completely wrong despite the character’s attempts to deal with it. That is the entertainment bit, but it would be boring to hear someone whine about it or see someone walk away.

It’s hard to entertain if you can’t engage. Engagement comes through understanding – I don’t want to create a series that assumes people will identify with losers. It would mean we live in a society of losers, of apathy.  Losers aren’t engaging. Losers let the situation rule them or walk away. That is no fun. Even Schadenfreude is less fun when you know the person is not getting up.

I refuse to believe the majority of the world is apathetic: selfish possibly, hedonistic perhaps, not apathetic. So I object to this term for our characters as we’ve created them and I tell you  ‘loser’ won’t apply to any child of mine.

Paternity Leave

A packed train carriage and two men having conversation in ‘man-speak’:

Man A:  *loud groan* “I really have to get used to being back.”
Man B:  “Really? Where did you this year?”
Man A: ” Oh didn’t go anywhere.” pause, then proudly “I was on paternity leave.”
Man B: “Oh.”

Here I expect a ‘Congratulations!’ it doesn’t come, instead:

Man B: “What did you do?”

Huh? Still, apparently acceptable question:

Man A: ” Quite a lot actually, did some pruning, removed a tree from the garden, fixed the fence.”
Man B: *hums impressed*
Man A: ” Yeah, you know some plumbing stuff that had to be done for ages. The garden…”
Man B: “Wow, that’s amazing! When I was on paternity leave I did nothing at all.”
Man A: modestly “Ah yes, well…”
Man B:  (almost embarrassed whisper) “I mean ‘nothing’, you know… not other then…you know.”

Ah yes, that evil thing that shall not be named…

Man A nods smugly.
Man B: ” How is it?”
Man A: ” It’s ok, it’s ok. Child two sleeps ok.”

Child two, did he forget to name it while attending to his garden? But no, this is a normal concept a man’s world :

Man B: “Ah! Child Two.”

They step off the train, happy with their male bonding session, leaving me completely baffled.


A First Night out in (Rock of) Ages…(aka tips for guys on the dancefloor)

In honour of new musical Rock of Ages, London’s institute of Club de Fromage  had organised a 80’s Rock night.   I had planned to leave London for the weekend, a change in plans – as so common in my life recently – made I could attend.

Much to the delight of my Spanish colleague who’s been trying to persuade me to come out. Her sighs of ” You are always busy!”, the realisation that my nights out mostly consist of ‘dinner’ or ‘quiet drink in pub’ ; and perhaps (bravely confessed here) a tiny bit of a bruised ego – saw us queuing in Islington around midnight.

The night did what it said on the tin: 80s music and cheese. As we entered Queen blared out of the speakers. We came there to dance (with the extortionate prices, we were definitely not getting drunk.) and dance we did. This is not about showing off musical intellect or breakdance skills. It is about just singing along and having fun: they play the Spice Girls for chrissakes.

A few events during the night brought back memories:

Most people will be horribly drunk.
– Drunk people who dance, spill their drinks. Over you. I think I got drenched in vodka/lemonades and beer about five times last night.
– Drunk people also throw wild moves, as my poor friend discovered after being hit for the third time by an always apologetic, but always very drunk gent.

We were having a good time by ourselves which inadvertently meant that others wanted to share in our happiness. Now gents, here a few tips to pull off a dance with a lady:

– If you want to dance, you must already do so. Jumping between us after having stared immobile at us for half an hour, throwing a random move, is just weird.

– Respect the fact that there are two of us. Either by accepting there will only be one half-dance, or by recruiting your mate as a wingman.

Photo credit : PA Wire

– Don’t assume a dance is a kiss. Especially if you have a uber-hip haircut that really is just an East London version of the Jedward. As you lean in, I’m no longer laughing with you, rather at you – sorry.

–  Don’t assume that after having danced, you have the right to grab on to us whenever we pass. If we’ve left, it’s for a reason.

-Don’t try it on by bowing or making some other Orientalesk move to get attention.  I’ve mellowed and I was not intoxicated; I could still have that chip on my shoulder and punched you in the face. No winners there.

– Have fun, share a dance and a kiss on the cheek is enough of a thank you that makes neither of us look like a harlot. Then rejoin your mates.

When the lights went on, we got on a bus and went home. As I stood on the pavement trying to find the keys to the door, the cheeky driver of the N18 nightbus finishing his shift, flashed his lights at me. Haha.
Ah well, bruised ego gone: mission accomplished.