* Prices may differ from that shown
As many of you already know I am a actress, I am currently Resting as we call it and temping in-between, a friend suggested that try background work as it is good money and flexible hours. I sent my CV and photos to numerous companies and to my surprise got an interview with a company called Another Face (www.anotherface.com). Another Face is an established Supporting Artist agency, they supply background and walk ons for many TV programmes including Holby City, Family Affairs and MTI. To register you have to pay £50, at first I thought this was a bit on a con, but the money is paid as a years subscription and helps cover the cost of adding you to their website and contacts book that they send out to various casting directors. If they do not get you any work in that year then you untitled to get your £50 returned to you. Please note that if a company asks you to pay more than £50 it is not advisable to pay. Also some companies do not charge you to register with them, you can find companies by searching the Internet or purchasing a book called Contacts. Contacts is a book that had has been but together by Spotlight Editor Kate Poyton and it lists hundreds of useful names and addresss with in the performing arts industry, it costs just £10.99 and is available for purchase through Spotlight or Waterstons or on-line at www.amazon.co.uk. Now here comes the exciting stuff So I signed up, within a day of them receiving my cheque I got my first call, 4 days on Holby City as a pregnant lady! How very exciting!!!! I was lucky that my call time was to start at 10am so that gave me plenty of time to find my way to the BBC studios at Elstree and BorehamWood. On arrival I had to give my name to the security staff and receive my visitor pass, I was really nervous but bursting with excitement, off I skipped, pass in hand to costume and make-up. I had to bring some clothes with me, casual wear with a top big enough to cover a bump and pyjamas. Today they wanted me in pyjamas; luckily the pyjama top I had brought was quite big because I got given the most enormous strap on bump to wear! Off I went to the changing room, this was a small room and shared facility, no glamour and glitz, no dressing table with lights around, needless to say I was a little disappointed. When I walked out the door it was like being on Stars in your eyes! I walked in one way and came out looking like another, the bump looked so real it was scary!!! At least now I have a far idea of what I am going to look like when I get pregnant! Green Room: Dressed and ready to go I was sent up the green room to wait with all the other supporting artists. I was relieved to meet a girl called Christina who was also a pregnant mother, it was also Christinas first ever job as a supporting artist and she was also with Another Face. You can imagine my relief to meet someone in the same position as me, my nerves began to die down and then the waiting began. Our call time was 10am but we were not fetched until 11.00am. We headed down to the Purple Unit, Maternity, the filming for Holby City takes place in many different studios so they are all given different colours. We entered another waiting area, lots of supporting artists where already waiting, nurses, doctors, porters and expectant fathers. I am relived to find a friendly atmosphere and that everyone is chatting. 11.30am at last I am on set, my début is to sit on a chair in the hospital corridor and look pregnant. It is as simple as that, obviously it wasnt pushing my acting skills to their limit, but it is some of the easiest money Ive ever made. I was amazed at how long it took to take just one shot, we did again and again, then from different angles, then we had to do pick ups for the sound. It took an hour and a half to film just the smallest amount. The set was amazing; it really looked like a hospital, with treatment rooms a maternity ward, nurses post and corridors it was really precise as well, flowers on bedsides, Its a boy cards, posters on the walls, How to deal with pregnancy leaflets on tables, the place was really realistic. 13.00pm we broke for lunch, headed to the canteen, walked through the door and Oh My God! some of the East Enders cast are having lunch, spotted Dirty Den and Dennis, Kat and Mo, Little Spencer, Sharon and Dot! I was chuffed to bits, of course I had to be professional and not act like an excited fool, so I sat calmly and ate my lunch, inside I was all churned up, I really wanted to rush up and say hello, get pictures, autographs any thing! But no, I sat, ate and occasionally glanced in their direction. (Its at times like these I wish I had a photo phone!) 14.00pm back from lunch we head back to waiting area, and again we wait and wait and wait. I however make good use of this waiting time and chat to the other supporting artists; many of them are all from the same company called Ray Knight (Address/phone can be found in Contacts). Ray Knight supply extras for Holby City, East Enders, The Bill and a lot of films including Harry Potter. One of the ladies Rachel worked as body doubles for Julie Walters through out the Harry Potters films, she said it was great fun. A chap called Ron was a Pierce Brosnan look-a-like, Gorgeous!!! He worked as a stand in on the last James Bond movie and also does a lot of corporate work, going to parties etc, getting paid £500 for 2hours work, such a hard life! (Wish I looked like someone!) 15.30pm we get called on set again, this time I am walking past a window looking pregnant! This takes ages to film; while we are walking up and down the corridors a major caesarean birth is taking place inside. Its really interesting to watch, a real Doctor is brought in to demonstrate how the procedure is done, the prosthetics are incredible, such detail and skill, so life like its enough to make feel quite faint. 18.00pm start new scene, still walking past window looking pregnant. I dont know if anyone watches DIY SOS on Thursday nights, anyway the electrician from there, the little Indian man was working on Holby City. He offered me his seat while I was waiting for a take, he then offered to get me a drink, I thought it was a bit odd but accepted his kind offers, it wasnt until he asked When are due? that I realised he thought I was pregnant! I explained the situation and we had a good laugh. 19.30pm Thats a wrap! finished shooting, what a long day! Filled out time sheet, and headed back to wardrobe, returned my bump and went home! Two more days of filming to go, really enjoyed the whole experience and cant wait to do it again! How much do you get paid? The payment depends on the assignment; I will give you a break down of what I got for Holby City: 8 hours = £73.20 per day (But if you are only used for an hour and get told to go you still get paid full amount) Over 8 hours, £15 per hour over. (But if you only stay half hour over the 8 hours you will still get paid the full £15) Walk On: Extra £30 (Walk on is if you have to interact with a principle character i.e., pass them something) Speaking: Extra £40 (This wont be a lot of dialogue maybe OK or Hello) Multi: Extra £40 (A multi means you are going to be in two episodes) Travel: £7.90 Holiday Pay £6.90 As you can see from the above you can stand to make quite a bit per day! Conclusion: To sum up I defiantly going to continue working as a Supporting artist, its good money, flexible hours and fab fun! Ive met some really interesting people along the way! I would suggest it to others and dont forget no experience is necessary and you can be any age or size! * Also posted on Ciao*
When I saw IainWear's submission in this category (check it out it is very amusing), I knew I had to include my own little plug about my time in the spotlight. 1988 I was 13 years old and in the 2nd year of comprehensive school when a flyer was passed around asking if people wanted to apply for a new television show called 'Young Krypton'. I thought I would give it a go. I was pretty high in my year when we took any tests, and I swam, ran and played netball for the county so I knew I was pretty fit. I received the application form which I remember as being pretty standard, but one thing that sticks out in my mind is that I had to put down the names of three people who I admired and give my reasons why. I chose Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and my mum! A few weeks later, I was invited to the next stage of the process, which involved all of the successful North East applicants being brought together to take individual knowledge tests and take part in group exercises. I was so young that I cannot remember being nervous, as being from a real working class family, who had no car and no spare money, and even was looked down on by some of my classmates as my trainers were shops own makes and not well known popular brand names, I had no expectations of myself, and my parents never pressured me in any area other than my school work. Three weeks later I was called out of class and told that my head of year wanted to see me as my mother had been on the telephone. I was panic stricken, not because I thought I was in trouble, but I thought there must be some bad news if my mum could not wait for me to get home. Who had died? Who was ill? My head of year, Mrs Jarvis was quite solemn, and I just knew she was going to break some terrible news to me. She explained that my mum had called because out of 25,000 applicants, I had made it to the final 36 contestants, and I was going to be taking part in 'Young Krypton'. All I can remember is being totally light headed, and feeling like I was going to faint. I was going to be on television, not some unknown channel, I was going to be on ITV at 4.30pm. How many people were going to see me???? The programmes were to be filmed in March - June, and the first one would air in August. The programmes were filmed in two halves. The first was the assualt course, which was filmed at The American Adventure Park in Ilkeston, which was pretty new at the time, and then a week later the studio portion was filmed at Granada studios in Manchester. I had to have a chaperone each time, so my mum came to Ilkeston and my dad came to Manchester. We were sent train tickets for each journey, and were told that a taxi would collect us and take us to our hotel on arrival. I will never forget arriving at Nottingham train station, and having a uniformed chauffer collect my mum and I to take us to our hotel. As I have mentioned, we did not have a lot of money, and one of the memories that will stay with me is when we pulled up outside the hotel (which I cannot remember the name of), a bell boy opened the limo door and asked to take our bags. We had a case and 3 carrier bags! The shame on my mums face breaks my heart even today. I had no idea of ettiquette, but my mum must have been mortified, especially as a fellow contestant pulled up at the same time, complete with monogrammed luggage and silver spoon hanging from her month. I later found out that her name was Collette Brooking, and her father was Trevor. I could never be on the same scale, and I was really intimidated, which I need not have been as I later found out. The hotel was very plush, and we had a day to relax and mingle with the other contestants, and the next day we would be going to the assault course to practise as the filming would take place on the third day. We were all taken away to be fitted for our made to measure tracksuits (honestly), and our famous Krypton factor trainers, which I w as later gutted to see where available at many shoe shops in the high street, which took the shine off their uniqueness, but my tracksuit was lovely, bright citrus yellow (as that was my colour in the heats). I enjoyed the time at the course, but had a mental block on the second obstacle which was the rope swing, and after having high hopes, I finished fourth and last in my heat. I was mortified, and so disappointed that I had to call my dad and dash his hopes. I felt like such a failure, and was dreading having to go to the studio the next week to finish off what had been such an anti climax, but when I got home all of my friends and family rallied round, and just told me to give it my all, and as long as I did my best then that was ok. The next week, my dad and I headed to Manchester, and this time we looked the part, we had matching luggage, and we acted like we did this kind of thing every week. We arrived at Sacha's hotel in Manchester to enjoy two more days of luxury at the expense of the television company. We went to the studios, and whilst having lunch in the complimentary canteen, we were joined by Liz Dawn and Bill Tarmey (Jack and Vera Duckworth) who were filming in the studio next door and wanted to meet some of the contestants, but only my dad and I were there! They stayed for around 30 minutes, and were two of the nicest, kindest and inspirational people I have ever met. They even left a good luck card under the door of my dressing room later that afternoon which I thought was so thoughtful of them. Speaking of the dressing room, yes, I had my own dressing room, and yes it had a huge mirror with lights all around it. We had to wear an outfit where the top was the colour we had been assigned. I wore a pale yellow t-shirt with a sailor on the front from C&A. I loved it! There were 3 heats filmed each day, and we were not allowed to see any of them, so I was left to either entertain myself or mingle with my fellow contestan ts, Hannah, Philip and Daniel, while we waited for our turn which seemed to take an eternity. I will not bore you with the technical side of the programme, but there were 5 rounds which took 4 hours in total to film in front of a live studio audience which was really nerve wracking. I performed better than I ever expected, and after the final buzzer round, Hannah and I were tied on points, so we had to have a sudden death question. I heard the question which seemed to come out of host Ross King's month in slow motion, and with my heart beating out of my chest, I pressed the buzzer and answered. I was right...I had won...I was moving onto the group finals! Against all my own odds and expectations, I had done it. Walking out of the studio with my dad was a brilliant experience, and some of the children in the audience were pointing and saying "that is her, she's the winner". I felt like a star, it was an experience which will stay with me for the rest of my life, and something that I will always be proud of no matter how many of my family joke about this achievement, it was a major turning point in my life, and until I reached adulthood, and a whole new set of challenges, I always believed in myself 100%. The group finals were a different affair. I was up against Christian, Sacha and Sarah. I performed much better on the assault course and finished second. I held my own until the final buzzer round when my nerves took over and I finished third. I was initially disappointed, but to get down to the final twelve contestants was no mean feat, and I had to admit that I was beaten by better contestants, and that I had given it my all, and come away from it having experienced something amazing, and made a lot of new friends, some of whom I am still in contact with 15 years later. So sorry to any of you who have not had your 15 minutes. I had 40 minutes, so I think I stole yours!
I've always flirted with fame, you know. Well, to be honest, I've always flirted with pretty much anything, but that's not entirely relevant here. Sadly, up until recently, my brushes with fame have been infrequent, and never lasted long. The same is also true of my - no, that's not relevant either! I seem to keep bumping into famous people you see. It all started with a brush with (then) Southampton Football Club Manager Lawrie McMenemy in a hotel in Spain in the Summer of 1976, when I fell over my own feet and he picked me up. My parents were mildly impressed. I was two, so I just bawled. In 1990, I walked past most of the cast of Grange Hill at Charing Cross Station, where we were on our way to a Guns 'N' Roses gig. Then, upon walking out of the MacDonald's, we see a limo pull up, and a bunch of long haired guys get out, go inside, and start making complete idiots of themselves at the till. Not knowing who they were, we sent a member of our group to ask the limo driver, to find they were one of the bands we were going to see. A process of elimination resulted in it having to be Soundgarden. Don't everyone say "who?", please! Then there was my one and only appearance on TV! Sunday Grandstand on BBC2. It was the May of 1992, as I recall, and I'd gone to the National Basketball playoffs the week before with some friends. The following week, as I sat down to watch the event from a different angle, there I was! I mean, you couldnt actually tell it was me, but I knew! When they widened the camera angle to take in the crowd during a game break, I could see myself over the opposite corner of Wembley Arena. I knew it was me, dancing and clapping my hands to Queen's "We Will Rock You", as we were the last group before all the empty seats, and I was the only one wearing a white t-shirt (a Detroit Pistons one I'd bought that day, that I sadly had to throw away a couple of years back), so that figure HAD to be me! I went to the same school as Mick Jagger, too, you know! Of course, he left about 30 years before I got there, but I was still at the same school. It now has a Jagger Block, too. Aptly enough, that's the performing arts suite! I've met sports stars, you know! I've got autographs from quite a few of the 1992 Pilkington Cup winning Bath rugby union team. That was the day before the aforementioned basketball appearance that has so far, failed to get me recognised in the street. Even by me! I served Richard Hill, of Saracens and England rugby union teams, as well as a lot of the (then) Spurs Football Club youth side. Many of the kids I served hamburgers to as spotty teenagers (that's them, not me!) are now international footballers, you know. I've met authors, too. I'm pleased to be able to call John Van Der Kiste a friend, and I met Jeffery Deaver earlier this week. He's now the most famous person to spell my name wrongly, which he did signing my copy of "The Coffin Dancer". I'll let him off, though, as he's actually quite a nice chap. If you're wondering, he got it mixed up, and dedicated the book "To Iaian". Bless! But it's recently that I've started to have what could really be called "My Fifteen Minutes". And, ironically, given that I made a habit of bumping into people, it's all my own work. Quite literally. I've been featured in Sainsbury's Magazine for 3 months in a row now. I'm quite proud of that, as apparently it's a feat not achieved before. If you have any of the Sainsbury's Magazine editions from March, April or May of this year, go to the letters page. In each of those editions, there is a reply to a customer's letter which starts "Iain Wear, Customer Service Manager says" Well, that's me. And there was no ghost writing going on, I wrote the replies myself! < br>But, as if that was not enough, I got myself featured in a magazine that people may actually read! For, yes, April's X-Ray magazine features yours truly. And not just my name this time, oh no! Page 87 of April's X-Ray magazine is graced by my picture, too! Sadly, the wording underneath isn't mine, although they are my words. At least, I think they are. I do believe, and this is what makes me realise I'm now famous, that I was misquoted. Oh, and they spelt my name wrong, too! Rather embarrassingly, however, it's part of a feature entitled "Who the hell goes to see Def Leppard?" It was February 27th, this year. I was down at the Brixton Academy about to see Def Leppard play live for the first time in 11 years. It was the last date of their tour, and I was excited as a bull in a china shop. Or something like that, anyway. I'd turned away from the t-shirt stand, clutching slightly over £100 worth of purchases, and had found a quiet corner to stuff them into my bag and ruin the suit I had in there, having gone straight to the gig from work. This completed, I straightened up to find two women standing over me. This definitely isn't a normal occurrence, so I was naturally curious. They introduced themselves as being from X-Ray magazine, and said they were doing a review of the concert, and they were looking to speak to a few fans to get their thoughts on it, and why they were there. They'd figured I was a fan as I was one of the few there wearing an older tour t-shirt. I figure the fact that it still gets worn more than 10 years after being holed in a car crash says something about my liking for the band. Probably that I should get out more? They asked me a few questions, and took a few photos. I did some pretty stupid poses, and I'm actually quite glad they didn't use any of those ones. I ended up with a cheesy grin, but compared to the bloke whose picture was next to mine (Dave from Worthing, who my colleague thought was a woman for a short while) I actually came out of the whole experience looking relatively normal. I dashed off to find my friends in the crowd, and told them what had happened to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the gig, and promptly forgot all about it. Until a day about 5 weeks later, when I got a text from Fran, saying "Did you know you're in X-Ray magazine?" Well, I knew it was a possibility, but not that I was actually in it! Of course, this was at 9.30 pm on a Thursday evening, so there was no way I was getting a copy of the magazine in a hurry. I'm sure she did that on purpose, you know. I must admit to my enthusiasm dipping when she told me the title of the feature, though. But the following morning, I was in the WHSmith's at Liverpool Street faster than you could say "I'm going to be late for work if I stop and buy a magazine". But there was no way I was missing out, so I stopped, and I was late. And there it was. Page 87. Me. My ugly mug. Suddenly, I am in a national magazine, that anyone can buy. Naturally, I was straight on the text message to let everyone know! It's me! In a magazine! Famous for 15 minutes? I've now been immortalised on the internet, too. You can see the article on my flatmate's website at http://members.lycos.co.uk/fashtali/posse/news.html, which isn't quite clear, but gives you an idea. In the meantime, I figure that if everybody is to be famous for fifteen minutes, I'm owed another fourteen. So I'm going looking for them?
I guess my whole story is deeply coloured by the fact that I am living in one of our former colonies, a place initially populated by criminals, riff-raff indentured servants and cast offs from nearly every nation on earth. In America a person is not validated, real or alive unless their existance is confirmed by being on television. It is the sole aspiration of nearly every person, to be seen on TV, other than the stars that are routinely on TV, then they pretend like they hate the limelight. But Americans are obsessed with being on primetime, hence their unhealthy fixation with "Reality TV" and shows like "Cops and American Idol". I must admit I have fallen victim to this perverse mentality. I have been on TV a couple of times and in a major book (Cry Bosnia page 43 the young Chetnik in the lorry is me), but you haven't seen nothing yet until you see me this next week. I am not talking local news filler, but the king of all honkies being pushed into prime time. I am talking Bonnie and Clyde's bastard child John Lind Walker having a baby with Brittany Spears. t will be big. Huge, magnificent. Let me tell you about my prior appearences on the idiot box. I made it on TV and the Johnny Carson show when I was young for winning the national junior Scrabble championship. It was bad and it ruined my life. See I cheated big time to win that contest and the 10,000 dollar prize. I was good, but not the best. So I cheated non-stop to win. I won the contest with my favorite trick, the upside down "Q" as a blank ploy. I had also been marking the tiles with my sharpened and fortified fingernail so I could pick them out "blind" out of the sack. I think the organizers could tell I was a grifter but wanted to have a "Real American" champion for once, not some boat person. That was a long time ago. More recently I was on TV after me and my mates started a White Trash Sports league in Toledo Oh io. Basically we wanted to play some sports from our childhood. Other people have organized sports leagues, darts, bowling, softball, bar volleyball, baseball and football. All of these require too much effort and higher levels of physical fitness. To run a real league with teams requires far too great of a commitment, expecting someone to show up the same time and day every week is just too much to ask. Also with real sports you get too much friction over who gets to play what position. Now my mates and me are real men, if two guys both want to be pitcher or shortstop on the baseball field it isn't settled by anything less than a knife fight, that is our diplomacy. We wanted sports to play that you could most importantly hurt people that you do not like, show up sporadically (since most real men-the kind I run with wind up in gaol every few months), being able to smoke and drink heavily while playing the games and be able to hang out and have a good time, plus we needed sports that you could wear normal clothes for, not needing special outfits or shoes and most importantly not have uniforms or equipment. These are games for the masses, you know, the uneducted and not artsy people. Our only rule is that we had to wear old shoes from the 70s or 80s to play. Only assholes play volleyball. That is a game that women play with men, you might as well play croquet or golf. We played real games. Dodgeball, Kickball and smear the queer. Don't jump me for saying smear the queer, it is the name of the game and everyone calls it that, it ain't no slur against backgammon players, just for the record I bang just about as many men as women so it isn't homophobic. Dodgeball is a game where you basically try to slaughter everyone with a rubber ball and you need to hit them with it and they are "out" but if they catch the ball then you are out. In school if you hit someone in the head you were out, in our game you hit someone in the head and you g et an extra "life". It is a fun game. I am much better at throwing than when I was as a kid but far worse at dodging. It is a violent game that we play at the YMCA. You can also play team dodgeball with different sides of the field and multiple balls, this is fun. The speed freaks seem to do well at this game and a lot of the guys gack up first. This game is good for people with short attention spans, like me. It helps you stay focused, I have to snort ritalin first because you let your mind wander and you get knocked out cold. Kick ball is like baseball but you use a big red, 14 inch kick ball. I do real well since I play soccer unlike most Americans so I rule. I fence the ball all the time so I always get picked to be on teams. This game requires having 2 teams of 10 people which is sometimes too hard to do, usually nobody brings enough people so we just get high insttead and then play smear the queer. If we do play we let people smoke and drink in the outfield. Smear the queer is a cool game. It is an American football derivitive that does build up juking skills. Basically you throw the ball in the air and who ever grabs it runs for their life and everyone tries to tackle him. It is fun. Everyone who wants to play throws in a fiver and we have judges, usually guys still too hurt from the last time to play, they watch and decide who wins the pot o' money by holding the ball the longest and having the most style. I never win this game but I think five quid is a small price to pay to get a crack at some of these yuppie assholes who show up from time to time. So people heard about our sports league and would come watch. then teh news crew came and filmed us and asked about our games abd all that, I was pretty high on carck and was running my mouth about wanting someone to get killed and busting up a sissy. The next day Popeye, my brother, hit some 17 year old kid in the head with a dodge ball and he landed all messed up on his neck and broke his neck. It almost killed him and now he is an invalid. We got all sorts of bad press and they kept playing the clip of me saying, "yep, somebodies gonna git themselves killt out here, and I hope I am the one who does it" So that was my fame. But it isn't nothing compared to what's coming. Most of you know that I was in the first Gulf War. I was 19 years old doing what I had to to get a college education. So in like 1994 I was dating this hot bitch from France who was half Algerian. So hot, soo so hot, I can't put m finger on what made her so hot, and I could barely put two fingers in it. I loved her. I also had a friend "moe" which was not short for Mortimer. His grandpa was actually from Turkey. He was in the 10th Mountain with me. He was dating this girls sister. Well they got all stupid on us and we were hanging out with muslims and these people put a guilt trip on us that we were wrong to fight in Kuwait and we owed Iraq and apology. So we decided to go on a trip to Turkey and Romania. We took Moe's dad's passport with us to help us out if we got in trouble to show he was half turk. We went to Turkey and then we went to the Iraqi embassy in Bucuresti. We apologized to the people there for killing thier sons for oil and all that (our girlfriends were with us and made us do it) They were delighted by it and the next thing I knew we were in a motorcoach to Baghdad. It was surreal. We actually got to meet Saddam Hussein. I made sure no one taped me making anti-American statements but I apologized to Saddam, told him thatI knew he had been tricked into the war and I was sorry that we were starving his children. We got to stay at a palace, I saw it get bombed last month too. Saddam seemed kind of cool. He gave us nice gifts and we shot a lot of pool. I also made him my famous peanut butter fudge which he absolutely loved. He was kind of a show off, always bragging about horses and rare b ooks and stuff. I made him abatch of my famous peanut butter fudge that he liked very much. We hung out for awhile and then we came back to Detroit. But the last night before we went back to Romania we all got drunk on Hennessy and I got Mohammed to give Saddam his dad's turklish and american passports. See he looked just like him, as a matter of fact Moes dad dressed up like Saddam during the Gulf War and would attract people to the used car lot he worked at by letting people hit him with a stick for $3. Arab hospitality and the fact that we had shared a table with Saddam meant we were pals for life and even though I was living in a trailer park in Allen Park I was obligated to tell Saddam he could come visit us, so giving the passports was just a way to show sincerity. We came back home and aside from being followed by dark sedans for awhile and all my mail coming late for a spell we never had to answer for our unamericn conduct. I had been watching the recent war and was pretty sad for Saddam. I saw the palace we stayed at get blown up and I did not think that he deserved that, He had been so kind and generous to us and it did not seem fair to take all of it away over non-existant weapons. I am a school bus driver and I came home on April 11th to find Saddam sitting on my bed reading my Esquire magazine. He had been hurt in a bomb attack and had aged terribly. He was agitated and nervous and was having digestion problems. I made him some Kraft dinner and peanut butter fudge and he explained how he had come to america via Toronto and he also had a bad cold. I felt sorry for him but I did not need this. I am living in Karl's basement right now and it has no privacy. I am so screwed. Also Saddam is a lot different now, he is all mad because he doesn't have his own money for the time bring and I am not doing to well either. This has gone on for three weeks and I am miserable. He refuses to eat what we eat and wants KFC every day. Furthermore he smokes in the house upstairs which is against the rules. He tries on all my clothes and leaves them laing on the floor like we have servants that will pick them up. He wants top shelf booze and I only make like $9 an hour. What has really made me mad is how he monopolizes my computer. He is always using my computer. I would understand if he was reading the news or something but all he does aside from snooping in my e-mail is play solitaire and minesweeper. I ask him nice to get off it and he just says, "One more hand, just one more hand" and five hours later he is still there and I can't get on Dooyoo or do my fantasy football stuff. I feel bad about it because he is my friend but I can't take it any more. I know it would be better if it was due to principle or to greed, but I am not going to turn him in for any reason except I am just a shitty friend and don't want to share my space with him. I haven't been able to look at my favorite porn sites in private for three weeks if you catch my drift and Karl is complaining that I am spending too much time in the shower. I know narcing him out will cause me a lot of trouble and probaly get me a one way ticket to cuba but I can't take it no more. So you all know it first.
Yes I was once on TV - dressed in a bin bag. It all happened a long time ago... When I was young (about 7 or 8) all of a decade ago I was in the Brownies (junior Girl Guides). We used to have lots of fun playing and doing things to get badges to sew on our sashes, and attend meetings. Ah those were the days. Now I have a non-identical twin sister who is a whole minute younger than me, and she went to Brownies as well. Our Brownie "pack" was special as there were, including us, five sets of twins. Five sets! This was seen as a cute story to put in the local paper and on the regional news. The newspaper people came along and took a photo of the five sets all standing in pairs and ran the story under the headline "Double Trouble" - how original! This was fine, and we still have the cutting to prove it. The problem started when the TV people arrived. Why the leaders decided to pick this evening to do the fashion parade I'll never know - they probably thought it would be cute. The reporter came along with the lights and cameras and got all set up. All the Brownies were as hyped up as only small girls in the face of TV cameras can be, and then they announced the evening activity. A fashion parade. Sounds fine in theory, but the outfits were to be constructed from bin bags and other assorted bits of recycled rubbishy bits like crisp packets. And guess who one of the models turned out to be. Moi. 7 and 8 year olds generally have limited fashion constructing talent, and with only bin bags and crisp packets to work with you can imagine what a state I was in by the time I appeared on camera. I can't remember saying much in our few seconds interview but there I was - on TV wearing my Brownie uniform covered by a bin bag with wrappers stuck on it. Ah my moment of fame. Luckily we moved not long after as I think I would have had to have changed my name if I still lived in the region this was shown, just in case some one dug it up from the archives. If I ever become famous I just know this will be brought out so I plan to live a life of obscurity - no one I know now must find out!
? but I was wearing my feminist dungarees! 1984 was the year of the miner's strike. It was also my first year as an undergraduate at Essex University. Much to my mother's chagrin, I'd chosen Essex over York, principally for its reputation as a left wing college. For a stroppy little teenager with agitprop ambitions, Essex turned out to be a good choice. Situated very near the East Anglian port of Wivenhoe, which was taking imported coal to help break the strike, it was the ideal place for we Thatcher-hating undergraduates to put up picketing miners in our hall flats. We went on the pickets, too. We were allowed friends to stay for a night or two in halls, but of course, this putting up of striking miners didn't go down too well with the Dean and various other university authorities. It was the cause célèbre of the academic year. At one point, the then government minister, that slimeball amongst slimeballs of the Thatcher administration, one Cecil Parkinson, was due to come and speak to us all. I forget the original intentions for his talk - I do keep telling you: I'm old, and very possibly senile - but of course, given the goings-on that year, his agenda altered to include current events. As I remember, his time was doubled and a Philosophy lecture of mine was cancelled to make way. And of course, what else was there for a leftie-stropbag-first-year to do but demonstrate! And demonstrate we did, complete with our overripe tomatoes and rotten eggs and bags of flour. I'm glad to say that I scored a direct hit! Looking back though, I have to hand it to the hideous and horrible, but shamefully pelted, Cecil. Dripping with the detritus of student missiles, he looked at me and said, "Why don't you run along home and cook someone's dinner, dear?" I pelted him again, from short range, was collected up by the police, and left to cool my heels in the back of a police van, while Cecil walked off laughing, re ady for a quick clean up and a talk with the few members of the Young Conservatives, the only ones who'd actually gone INSIDE the lecture hall. I escaped with a telling-off and a couple of hours waiting around in the police station, but with no charges. Given the mood of the times, that was quite lucky really. I was charged with offences for doing no more than standing around on many other occasions. Sigh. Later on that evening, we went off to a gig on campus. It was some dreadful gothy band called Danse Society, as I recall, and not really my bag. But we were still on an adrenaline high from the excitement of the day, and were all up for a big night out. Some friends from home had arrived for the weekend, too. So we got ourselves as drunk as skunks on the lethal combination of Pils mixed with Barley Wine, and dropped some acid as we went into the gig. [Aside: yes, yes, I know. Drugs, illicit or otherwise, can be very dangerous things. I wasn't big or clever for chucking as much down my throat as I could, but we can leave the discussion on narcotics law and alcohol abuse for whenever I get around to giving you my views in an opinion, right?] The band was dire but there was good company, plenty of over-excited adolescents, lots of dry-ice, stage blood being thrown around, and a good time was had by all. I remember trying to walk back to our flat but failing miserably, because my stoned self couldn't adjust to the dry-iceless out of doors, and every time I put down my feet, they just seemed to sink into the ground. My knees kept buckling. It seemed hilarious at the time! My boyfriend and I decided that we'd give up our beds to our friends. We thought it would be super and funny and anarchic to sleep in their VW camper van, originally dubbed the Purple People Eater. [Jebus, when I look back, we were so obvious!] We sat outside for a while, looking at the stars, talking drivel, and generally being young and silly, and then we c ollapsed asleep in the back of the van. Morning broke with a vengeance. Morning broke my head, and my stomach. I felt awful, and I can't imagine that I looked anything other than awful either. I needed to be sick and so, head banging, stomach churning, I crawled out of the van and proceeded to throw up on the grass verge of the car park. I remember thinking, "Blimey, thank heavens I'm not at home. Mother would kill me!" and then hearing some heckling. I looked up, and there, at the window of the flat, were my friends, waving pieces of paper and shouting to me. I wasn't impressed. You give up your room and your bed to your needy friends, and what do they do? Laugh at you and your hangover from hell, that's what. Charming. Still, I gathered myself together, or rather, my boyfriend gathered me together, and we made our way up to the flat. "Your dad's been on the phone. We think you'd better see this before you ring him back." And there I was: mouth wide open, tomato in hand, on the front pages of The Times and The Mirror and The Guardian, on the inside pages of all the other papers, including page three of the Sun, right above that day's topless maiden. I'd made banner headlines! It turned out later that I, and my pals, and Cecil, had been on all the national news programmes, including Newsnight. My father, poor man, tuning in, had choked on his gin and tonic. I don't think his morning toast and coffee had gone down too well either, not after the paper boy had been, anyway. I did try to phone him back, but the line was forever engaged as he fielded calls from our very large extended family. "I told him we should have made you go to York," my mother said, when I finally got through. Oh you know, odd though it feels, even now, I do have some happy memories of that year of the miner's strike. They were, in truth, dreadful times. Those poor men were fighting a battle i n which they just didn't stand a chance. They were used, abused, manipulated, and I will hate Margaret Hilda Thatcher until the end of my days because of it. That woman destroyed so much, and for what? For us to import coal from countries where children mine it, on the night shift? Eurgh. But despite that, I made friends among those miners who stayed at the university with whom I still correspond, twenty years later. And in that year of 1984 I still managed to get a third of the way through my degree. I have the picture from the Times, copied and framed and on the wall in my office. Next to it is a photo I took myself, of the back of a miner. Painted on his donkey jacket are the words "Arthur Scargill Walks On Water". I'm not sure I believe that any more, but I'll always believe that someone needs to stick up for the little man. Much as he'd hate to admit it, my father kept all the clippings, you know. They're at the bottom of his sock drawer. But I'm not supposed to know that!
I had my palm read once, you know! Not by a professional, I hasten to add, but in a pub by a lovely (if slightly odd) girl I was working with at the time. As she stared in tipsy concentration at my outstretched and slightly grubby paw she informed me in no uncertain terms that I'd just missed my one big chance for superstardom... Still, doesn't stop me from trying, though! My quest for stardom started at an early age, albeit unintentionally on my behalf. When I was just a a baby my mother had a habit of thrusting me into the faces of unsuspecting visiting celebrities for baby kisses (because, of course, you get LOADS of celebrities visiting Grimsby on an almost daily basis, don't you know). Not only have I kissed the, ahem, gorgeous Christopher Quinten, I've probably kissed Austin Mitchell more times than his wife has! However, my first appearance on TV that I'm aware of came about when one overenthusiastic baby lunge at a mini-celeb covered the poor guy in half eaten banana! Now, your probably thinking the worst here, so let me explain... I was only a tiny baby and most of the banana I'd been given to keep me occupied had finished up all over my face, rather than in my mouth. Therefore when I planted a big smacker on his cheek the banana was transferred. Bet you had images of the baby version of me spitting it at him, or throwing up all over him Exorcist style, didn't you! But no, in actual fact on the local news that evening there was a rather cute picture of the above celebrity (for the life of me I can't remember his name!) cheerily clutching a giggling infant, both of us covered in mushy banana! The bug had well and truly bitten! Of course, I was too tiny to remember any of this, and as this was in the days before video recorders (yes, I know I'm ancient, you don't have to remind me) I've never seen my first starring role, either! It was years before another attempt to thrust my self on the unsuspecting viewing public presented itself, but when it did, boy was I ready! Now, I'd managed to make it all the way to Comprehensive school without any further brushes with stardom. I'd had one or two near misses, true, my mother swore blind she'd seen me on a local news featurette about truancy caused by the Radio 1 Roadshow's annual visit to Cleethorpes. Of course, I assured her that it couldn't possibly have been me, as I would never dream of 'twagging' school for any reason. Ever. Honestly mum... Then there was the time that the conductor of the brass band I used to play in told us that our band was being considered to play on television when Songs of Praise visited the town. Excitement in the ranks of the Mainstream Youth Band was high. Of course, what I should have realised at the time was that the producers of Songs of Praise would only have to listen to one butchered rendition of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' before screaming in desperation for the Salvation Army Band. Still, I was gutted that my bid for stardom had been thwarted again when Songs of Praise came and went without ever requesting the appearance of my ugly mug! Still, fame beckoned in my first year at 'big school' when for some reason I never was able to fathom some art professionals came to our school to help us build an almost life-sized interpretation of a trawler in the middle of our Craft Block. My class was chosen out of the whole school to assist in this monumental task. I have a vague recollection of spending a couple of days painting dozens of ping pong balls black for Seagulls heads... Such bizarre behaviour obviously caught the attention of the local news crew, who headed straight over to my school to film us all hard at work on this cardboard trawler. So, there I am, shoving myself forward on the right hand side of the ship, clutching armfuls of netting to make it look like I'm act ually working on it, but more importantly doing all of this right in front of the camera... This one can't FAIL to make me famous... Can it? Oh yes, it certainly can... Picture the scene: That evening the world and his wife are gathered round our TV to watch my starring moment. The local news is well under way, Bob Rust has told us what the weather will be like tomorrow, then, suddenly, there it is - our class and our interpretation of a trawler complete with plastic seaweed and paper seagulls. The camera shows the left side of the ship featuring Craig, Carl and John hard at work rearranging the fishing nets, it pans round to Julie, Mikey, Lee and Beany examining a seagull on the right hand side of the ship, carries on... just a little further... is that my arm I can see there? No! It's on to the next item on gardening or test tube babies or blooming donkeys or something. Another attempt thwarted! The Memphis Belle was filmed just outside Grimsby when I was about sixteen. They hired loads of locals as extras, but the minimum age was eighteen, so I missed out on that one. A couple of years ago Band of Brothers was filmed opposite my house, despite hearing all of the action I never managed to push myself in front of the camera then, either. My sister has even had a documentary based on her about women working in a mans world (she was a cook in a factory on the Humber Estuary, 99% of the workforce were male!) But I still never got my ugly mug on the goggle box. Life carried on. Several more attempts at thrusting myself on the unsuspecting viewing public failed. Then I got my big break, I went to work for a terrestrial TV company! OK, so I was starting as a Duty Officer, taking complaints and answering viewers questions, but surely I'd soon be talent-spotted and plucked from obscurity to become the new 'Parky' or 'Wogan' hosting my own chat show or presenting morning TV with Angus Deayto n or somebody similar, wouldn't I? Erm, no. The job did have some compensations, getting priority tickets to TV shows was easy enough, I bopped at the Pepsi Chart Show, was shocked by a streaker with Reeves and Mortimer, still didn't make it onto the screen, though. Still, my job gave me the opportunity to speak to Russell Grant on a regular basis, so I couldn't complain! I've even been to a party with Brian Cant. Well, I was at a party that he was also at. Erm, well, if I'm honest the TV company had a party that Brian came to and I sneaked in during my break to cadge a look at a real celebrity... So, at the grand old age of nearly 29 I've only been on TV the one banana-y time that I'm aware of. Still, I haven't told you about my crowning glory yet, have I?!! No, I still didn't manage to make it onto TV again, and if I'm honest I'm not that bothered at all, the stardom bug hasn't bitten me for a very long time. However, the following story has caused me no end of smug satisfaction. Now, dear reader, if I was to ask you to name a TV magician you might come up with an 'interesting' looking fella who dated a supermodel, or the guy who levitates and amazes people with fantastic card tricks on the streets of America. However, the guy I would immediately think of is short, middle aged and slightly balding. He's the kind of bloke that the Nation just loves to hate, do you know the chap I mean? He and his pint sized blonde 'Mrs' (though she has kept her own name) are so saccharin sweet that I've always wanted to injure them in some way, and I'm really not an aggressive person at all. My big chance came one fateful afternoon... The daily chat show was on screen and I paused in my work to note that this afternoon's guest was none other than the dinky magician mentioned above. My caller rang off and I glanced up at the scr een in some interest, the presenters were discussing politics and the new Labour Government, which had recently been voted in, including the charismatic leader Tony Blair. My phone rang and a lovely lady enquired why the aforementioned magic-man was still living in this Country as he always swore that he and the lovely Deb... I mean, his lovely wife, would emigrate if a Labour Government came into power. "I don't know", said I, "but I can find out!" With an evil glint in my eye I telephoned the production company who were screening the chat show live at the time. "The viewing public want to know why Mr D is still in the Country, as he said before the election that he'd emigrate if Labour came into power, can you ask him, please?" Seconds later, one of the presenters dipped his head with hand to ear to listen to instructions dictated to him through his ear piece. Back at work I, and the rest of the Duty Office, waited with bated breath as presenter asked magician the fateful question, then, how we laughed in glee as we watched the little fella squirm in embarrassment and try to wriggle his way out of it. Can't remember exactly what he said, something about the papers taking his comment all out of context, or some such twaddle. He did turn a very attractive shade of raspberry, though! Sad, I know, but I count the above as one of my finest moments. It's not everybody who can claim that they've embarrassed a celebrity live on National TV! It's funny, but for some reason as the presenter asked the magician the fateful question, all I could think was... "You'll like this, not a lot!"
I wasn't going to write this opinion. I though it would be far too hideous to share, but I wanted to think of something original FORCHARITY, so here goes, deep breath... OK, so I haven't been famous for 15 minutes. Maybe more like two. I was a 'Child in Need'. Honestly. Imagine the excitement as a 10 year old child, turning up to my 'after-school playcentre' (my parents worked) and discovering a host of TV cameras. The excitement of it! I was going to be on TV! Yep, those cameras were from the BBC's 'Children in Need', and they were filming our after-school playcentre as it had previously received funding from the children in need appeal. Now you have to picture this - approximately 50 primary-school aged children all fighting for the attention of the TV cameras. Now I'm older and wiser, I no longer have a burning desire to see my face on TV. But at 10, it seemed like the most exciting thing in the world. My friend and I followed the man with the TV camera around trying to impress him with our classy wit and our cute moves. I thought I did an outstanding impression of Neil from 'The Young Ones' and was most disappointed when that didn't make it into the final broadcast. I think we tried to impress them with our gymnastic prowess as well. Thankfully, that didn't make it into the final broadcast either. I can tell you are on the edge of your seat wondering what they did in fact broadcast. I can't remember the whole thing, but I do remember the very important bit with me in it! There's some explaining to do first... we had a giant tractor tyre, which the kids used to sit in, and the playworkers would roll around the park. It was excellent fun, but probably wouldn't be allowed today in case the child got injured and the parents sue the playworkers. Anyway, they had filmed a kid being pushed around in the tyre, and were asking a small group of us about it. So there I am sat, in my Abba T-shirt and my hair in bunches (stylish) trying in the way that a child would to explain centrifugal force. I described how the tyre had to be pushed really fast so that you didn't just go 'bonk' down to the bottom. Very eloquent. And that was it. None of our wit and cute moves! They filmed in September, and it seemed like ages until November when it was finally broadcast as part of the traditional BBC Children in Need night. I think it was only shown as part of the regional broadcast, so I'm afraid national fame still eludes me! I suffered dreadful side effects from my brush with fame. I had asked the TV crew for an address for the BBC, and promptly sent them some of my 'poems' in true Adrian Mole style. I'm sure they were delighted with the not-so-poetic musings of a not particularly lyrically talented 10 year old. Still, they were kind enough to write back and tell me that they were not currently producing any programmes that would be suitable for airing my work. I was very proud of my letter. I wanted more. I regularly telephoned 'Saturday Superstore' in the hope of getting to ask someone famous a question, but never got lucky. Probably because my questions were pants. I did manage to get on the local BBC radio station to request a song for my mum *ahhh*. The lovely DJ asked me what I'd been doing at school today, and I declared that I'd had 'boring maths'. Must have been prophetic, since I am now an accountant! These days, I'm not so fussed about being on TV. Probably due to the years of having my father point a video camera at me and then cringing with horror at the results. But I still look back fondly at that day when I said 'bonk' on TV... Check out the webpage at www.delawney.com This opinion was donated to the FORCHARITY account by delawney. If you'd lik e to read more about this initiative go to the FORCHARITY profile page where all will be explained!
Ok im not Joanne Lees the girl who lost her boyfriend in the outback, but she has certainly been famous for more than fithteen minutes. Last night on ITV and a week ago on Channel Four they showed two interviews and documentaries about the suspicious looking minx when about as far as you can to say she killed her man over any mad gunman in the Ozzy outback topping him. Each time I have heard her story and the questions you often-wont answer in rare interviews I get the feeling that almost everything is staged in this case. Her story that they were pulled over by a lone gunman after they thought they had exhaust problems falls apart quickly. She was supposedly tied up by the guy with her hands behind her back whilst the shooter killed her boyfriend. But forensics show no sign of the killers footsteps at the crime scene or bloodstains in the van where Jo claims that kill took place. In fact her alibi is so full of holes it would sink quicker that the Titanic with a bloated Dicapprio still on it. The young distraught backpacker failed to give the media vital clues of the killer for three days after the killing, which would have helped to catch him or at least slow him down. The Northern Territory police seems incompetent and bias to the girl who is obviously lying her slender as off. She won?t take a lie detector test and has not been questioned further than the 18 hours on the day of the kill. Back in England there was talk of Peter Falconio bragging at work before their trip of a lifetime that they were planning some sort of insurance scam by faking his death. Friends of the couple to have collaborated this tale to the extent that the Outback coppers followed it up. As compelling as this new evidence may be, no one has followed it up or her case that has been left open until today, when it was closed. Ok now heres the thing, clearly she enjoying the publicity and has gone back on her promise not to cash in. She made 50 grand from the TV interviews and ten from a newspaper one. She went back to the crime scene a year after the event and still puts on this performance that he was killed and not abducted. Her body language is as guilty as OJ`s missing glove. Now for the real reason for writing this. What if something else is going on here unprecedented in TV history. We are over come with this now tired reality TV and Big Brother stuff so why not go one step further. This is probably worthy of the conspiracy page her but lets give it a go. What if she?s an actress and her family are in on the scam. What if she didn?t go to the media straight after the attack to stop Australians running down what she described as a guy that looks like 40% of Bushman Aussises. The whole tale seems to have been controlled all the way along the line so the media and public are all in the dark. What if this is the latest format in reality TV like the fictional Truman Show where enough people are in on the scam to make it seem real. Joanne Lees looks and feels like an aspiring hammy actress and her crocodile tears couldn?t be more appropriate for the country of choice. What if a TV company and a couple of people staged this act and Peter Falconio is indeed still alive and clues have been left like a reality TV gameshow. As preposterous as it sounds legally only the TV Company and the two incumbents would be liable to any charges. Well you know where you heard it!. Send the guys in white coats when your ready.
When I was younger one of my greatest desires was to feature on television... it all started when we got a video camera... that kept me engaged for years... then I found various ways to get on real TV! I think my first port of call was Howard’s Way... yes you remember the soap opera about rich people sailing (or more generally just ponsing) about on the River Hamble? Well, I lived a few miles away from Hamble and Bursledon (where the majority of it was filmed) and they were always on the look out for extras. I made my acting debut whilst still in my pram... well I appeared in the background! I didn’t stop at Howard’s Way though... I also made it into the background of a Ruth Rendle Murder Mystery... you know the one with Colin Firth which is predominantly filmed on Dartmoor? Well, the village scenes were filmed in my village – Titchfield – (a good way from Dartmoor lol) and I can be seen strolling past the “Pet Shop” (which was a bakery at the time and is now a small art gallery) window on a few occasions. I then crept onto Meridian news when I was about 8 by walking next to the donkey at the Easter parade in Portsmouth... I was ever so excited then... but of course it wasn’t long before I set my sights much much higher! Upon hearing that Fern Briton would be appearing at my local shopping centre I embarked on a mission to appear on TV again! My brother and a few friends decided we could lurk in the background or stage something a little bigger... we were quite drunk at this time and drew straws to decide who should feature... I got the shortest and was informed my task was to stand at the back and shout, “WHO ATE ALL THE PIES FERN?” (This was in her tubby days!). I was a little reluctant but knew I couldn’t back down from my task which is why I so boldly marched forward when the media asked if the crowd had any questions for Fern. I stuck my hand up and began, R 20;Who...” but before I could say anymore an eager lady with a microphone was in front of me plus a man with a hamster on a stick (apparently he’s the boom man) and another with a mahhhhhhhooooooosif TV camera! In classic Bridget Jones style I froze and began to stammer... “Who... who... who... (my mind was racing to find something suitable to say... and then remembering she had just arrived onto the whole Ready, Steady, Cook scene...)... who taught you to cook Mrs Briton?” And yes of course that night I was on the evening news in full glory sounding like a right geek... and unfortunately the majority of the South Coast was watching me! From there it actually got worse! Not so long ago I was watching a documentary on binge drinking... hmm those people look familiar! Sure enough there I was, accompanied by two close friends, staggering down Queen Street in Cardiff swigging a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and doing a sort of "can can" kick whilst bellowing Frank Sinatra’s New York New York.... I really don’t recall that cameraman being there at the time!!! Before long I was stung once again by the cameras... this time whilst relaxing in a Cardiff street cafe with my beau of the time, Jonathan. A smart looking woman rushed up to us with a microphone whilst tugging a panting man with a camera behind her. She hurriedly explained they were doing an item on the marriage of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas and asked if she could do a brief interview with us... of course we leapt at the chance... but then she went all uptight and the camera man did the whole, “In 5,4,3,2,1,LIVE” thing.... Pretty lady with mic: Here we are in Cardiff on the wedding day of local belle Catherine Zeta Jones and A list celebrity Michael Douglas, with us we have another local couple, Louisa and Jonathan... so Louisa, why do you think pretty woman(camera zooms to me and I get very flattered) go for ugly men? (camera zooms to Jon – who’s bloomin’ sexy! But soon puts on a moody pout haha) Me: *stifles giggle* well... obviously most people don’t base their relationship on just looks... there are lot more things involved *starts giggling* aren’t there Jon... Jon: *tries not to look so offended now the camera is in his face* oh of course... I mean obviously when Louisa met me she fell not only for my great looks *grins smugly* but my sense of humour, lovely personality... *Lady with mic cuts Jon short*: Well, that’s all we have time for I’m afraid... Turns out 99% of South Wales saw that... both Jon and I picked up celeb status at college (where we are already infamous for our nit picking little tiffs!) for the next week or so! My most recent appearance on television happened only a few months ago... when Neath lost to Pontypridd in the rugby. My good friend Ozzie was absolutely devastated at the lost... he knelt down on the pitch nursing his head in his hands... it was then that I spotted him on the stadium screen and pegged it through the stands and ran over and jumped on him – hooray I was on stadium TV! It wasn’t ‘til the next day that I realised I’d made it onto the news as well! I’d popped home from college for lunch and whacked on the TV... straight onto the sport news.... “... and there were mixed reactions at The Knoll rugby ground last night as Neath missed out on winning the league...” *enter footage of Ozzie practically crying and me sprinting up to him giggling and jumping up and down before bundling him* - Louisa strikes again! Recently I’ve had my name mentioned a few times on TV as well... namely for answering a few tennis queries regarding line calling for the BBC team during Wimbledon. My appearances haven’t stopped at television... why yes I’ve even crept onto radio! Whilst still a young teenager a few friends and I had a girly night in... a few drinks... talking about boys... giggling at magazines and it all culminated in us listening to the agony aunt hour on our local radio station... although we didn’t exactly stop at listening! Yes of course one of us... ok yes it was me... got dared to ring in and have a chat with the agony aunt! The number was dialled and the phone thrust into my hand before I could even think of a cunning story! Having been put on the spot I babbled out a story about fancying my headmaster then tried to stifle my giggles whilst the others rolled around on the floor and the ever so helpful agony aunt questioned some of my morals. Hardy ha ha wasn’t that funny.... Except that wasn’t quite the end of it! Friday afternoons used to be double Art at school and if we were lucky we would be allowed to tune into the radio. So there we all were making funny sculptures out of clay... shading in our perspective drawings... or scribbling randomly in my case... when on came an advert for the agony aunt show... and yes of course it featured certain stories from the previous session! Before I even had time to giggle the whole room was filled with my voice saying, “yeh I couldn’t help myself and we ended up sleeping together” – CRIPES!!! – and yes of course everyone knew it was me! My cheeks had begun to resemble plums and my girly chums were in fits of laughter... however, worst of all was the fact my current boyfriend was sat a mere few feet away with thunder rippling across his face – oopsey! My ever-so sardonic art teacher found it very amusing and managed to stop laughing long enough to say, “You do know he’s married don’t you Lou?”... “Ho ho ho... yes I did realise my 60 something year old, face like a frog, headmaster was married thank you sir!” God what an awful day! Yes eventually sorted it out with bf of the time and I was able to stop the story from reaching a forementioned froggy-faced one, however, my bid to prevent the tale from reaching the staff room was rather unsuccessful! Yes it took a few years for my street cred. to return! Nowadays I’ve had my fill of fame (you’d have thought I’d have packed it in anyway though wouldn’t you) and I’m sticking to lying low in the background... you see I’ve recently acquired a new job – calling lines at tennis tournaments... so for sure (all things going well) in a few years I’ll be creeping around at the back of the court at Wimbledon.... keep your eyes peeled for me!
When I was young, I always had visions that I would somehow, someday wind up on TV either as Wincey Willis's sidekick on 'Treasure Hunt' or as a contestant on 'Blockbusters'. However, pretty much any TV I wanted to be on when I was younger was decommissioned by the time I could read maps or go to Sixth Form College, so it became another unfulfilled ambition. Throughout the early 1990's, various body parts of mine became regular features on Anglia TV. Firstly, my right side was briefly in shot, as I met Fatima Whitbread. Fatima was a childhood idol of mine, as she through her javelin to distances that would make grown men weep. Sadly, she knackered up her shoulder, so she was reduced to doing PA's at minor sports events and opening clothing shops. Quite why Fatima Whitbread opening a sports shop in Bury St Edmunds was deemed worthy of a 30 second segment on the local news I don't know, but as it panned in on her signing her name across all manner of garments and books, you can see me jockeying for position trying to get her attention. After going on a TV hiatus for a few years, I returned, with the back of my head making its debut, also on Anglia TV. This time, they featured a chess tournament where I was playing (there's bugger all else to do in Suffolk as a youngster I'd like the point out). As they interviewed the organiser, you can clearly see me scratching the back of my head as I pondered the next move. I don't remember how well I did, but I do recall being very pleased that I had been on TV TWICE at such a young age. More time passed, without so much as a whiff of fame, until November 1999 when I friend suggested we pop along to see a free screening of the new Bruce Willis film, where the cameras might be rolling. Despite not being a big Bruce fan, I thought the opportunity of getting me mug on the boob tube was too good an opportunity to pass up, and so off I trundled to the Trafford Cent re in Manchester. The TV show hosting the screening was called 'Rough Cut', a BBC2 programme fronted by Jayne Middlemiss. It was a mixture of reviews, previews and interviews (my tagline, not their's - catchy eh?), and went out on early-afternoons on a Sunday. When we arrived at the Trafford Centre (very late due to issues with trams and buses), we were given a little green badge, which segregated us from the honest people who pay to get into films. 100 people were given tickets to see 'The Sixth Sense', which hadn't been released in cinemas generally at that point. I had heard nothing about the film other than the fact it had Bruce Willis in it - not overly promising I thought. The film crew went round form group to group interviewing people about the most inane things. Jayne would try to feign interest in people's favourite ice-cream flavours and what the last film they saw was. In the in-between bits, when the camera crew moved their set to the various groups of people, Jayne appeared to be getting all flustered about her hair, and didn't look a happy bunny. Luckily, the researcher came over to use (a motley crew of three students, still sweaty form running to the tram stop) and asked us if we wouldn't mind being interviewed. After being introduced to the lovely Jayne, she proceeded to ask us questions about Manchester and what students like doing ( this was hardly Paxman on Newsnight, after all). I think I upset Jayne a little bit when I said that the city had Europe's best football team, and her eyebrows furrowed even more when I sarcastically remarked that it was my mistake, and that obviously Newcastle United were better than Manchester United. Despite this football faux pas, she continued asking us questions about our expectations for the film, including the classic line to my mate (who is black and 5"4) "Do you model yourself on Bruce Willis?". Maybe it was this inte rviewing technique that led 'Rough Cut' to being decommissioned after one series? It was at this stage that I could have put in a reference about preferring Wincey to her namesake Bruce, but sadly, the opportunity to say it had gone before I had thought of it. After the crew had finished filming, we had to sign consent forms to allow anything we said to go on TV. Shortly after, we were herded into the cinema to watch the film. After doing a few links, Jayne went away, and we sat down with out popcorn away from the glare of the cameras. After the movie, we had to decide whether it was a 'seat-gripper' or a 'seat-tipper', the rather crude method of analysing the entertainment value of the film. This was done by a show of hands in practice, although this bit was covered up when the show went on air? After filming the vote from 3 different angles (this took 45 minutes, because they had only one camera), we filed outside for a complementary 200ml bottle of cheap beer from Tesco. However, the film crew came round again, and interviewed us again to see if my negative opinions towards Bruce Willis, expressed in the first interview, had changed. Impressed that we had been deemed important enough to be filmed twice, we left (resisting the temptation to ask Ms Middlemiss for her autograph), and went home. A week and a half later, and we watched the show in anticipation. Would we make the final cut, or thrown onto the cutting floor, usurped by the woman with the poodle perm talking about how she can't stick vanilla Haagan-Dazs? With the first half of the show covering other bumf such as also-ran movies of the week, we got more and more disheartened that we wouldn't be shown. Then, from out of nowhere, yours truly is on TV speaking his brains to an audience of literally tens of people. They chopped out the heated discussion on football, (and also the third person of our group, much to his annoyance), b ut had included me talking about my dislike of Bruce Willis. Fantastic - my first words ever on national TV were slagging off a millionaire actor? What alarmed me the most though was the fact that my head was cocked to one side throughout the entire duration of the conversation - making me look as though I had some sort of spinal deficiency. After a few more interviews with people (even the poodle perm got her oar in), they showed us voting for the movie. It is here that I reveal the shocking secret about TV. ELECTRONIC KEYPADS DON'T EXIST! Instead, the audience is given small blocks of wood for props. When you see audiences in TV shows grinning as they press their button, it isn't because of some perverse thrill in deliberately going for the wrong answer in 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', but the fact that you feel a bit stupid pretending to play with a block of wood with an unconnected wire sticking out the other end. Instead of the researcher counting the number of hands of the audience as they expressed their like/dislike preference, on TV you saw a futuristic graphics screen showing the result 'as it happened'. TV's all about deception, y'know? We popped up twice more in the programme after the film. The bit when they asked me if I liked Bruce Willis now was shown. My response (because I know you really care what is was) was that Toni Collette (who played the Mum in the film) was the best actor in it, and they proceeded to show the duffest clip of her in the film. Being the only group of people shown on the episode 3 times, there by giving me a sense of pride for my 'achievement', I dined out on the anecdote of my 15 minutes of fame for a good few weeks before everyone got bored. I haven't been allowed back onto TV since (must be the neck-craning thing) but if they ever bring back 'Treasure Hunt', you can be sure that I'll be first in the queue to have another crack at the fam e game. ----------------------- Apology From Stoffy: I can't help but notice a correlation between my appearance on the show and Ms Middlemiss's decline in showbiz circles. She was last seen on BBC Choice on the graveyard slot, doing a sub-3am girl celeb gossip show with Z-lists, and also doing voiceovers for 'Babyliss' haircare products. I can't help but feel that I'm partially responsible for the slump in work that she has received recently. Therefore, I apologise to any fans of Jayne who are reading this and have been wondering why the pipeline has dried up. Now you know...
My only film and TV exposures of any note are not worthy of fithteen minutes of your time and mine. So i will say famous for seven and a half minutes twice!. The first was when I was seven and a half when we won a family pass to see the British premier of Star Wars. Rainbow Carpets was the deliverer of this sumptuous wide-eyed treat to a space mad kid. We had purchases a double shag luxury pile which enabled mum and dad into the prize draw. We were lucky enough to win the star prize, along with fifty others. Well even if it wasn’t an exclusive deal we were still going to the big city to see the greatest film ever made, and still to this day!. We shuffled in to the allotted areas in chords and Tom and Jerry T-shirt with mum and dad wearing Rainbow Carpets sweatshirt’s supplied by the owners of course. Our seats were better than we thought as we were behind the cast of the Sale of the Century, which was very big in those days. Of course I had no idea that Nicholas Parsons and John Junket were in those innocent years but I recall mum being dead impressed looking down their necks. John Junket was the voice of the show you never saw like the guy on Blind Date.Older viewers would recall this kitch show. Bet you didn’t know that Nicholas Parsons dad was the doctor who delivered Margaret Thatcher!. Not only were we on Anglia Today our local news station but we were also glimpsed coming out just behind New Avenger Gareth Hunt!.Not a bad days celeb shnoozing don’t you think. I remember a microphone being stuffed under me and my brother by a lady saying did you enjoy the film. We were particularly cute in these days and mumbled that we had been told off for hissing by the other lady. The guy on the coach told us to hiss Darth Vader when he came on screen which caused great consternation when row BCD made this horrendous snake sound. Torches lit up the coach parties area l ike those light sabers swooshing in front of our eyes. The second moment for me was in the film business in Miami Beach where I was travelling around America.I was staying in The Clay Hotel there which is an incredibly glamorously located International Youth Hostel near the beach and the beautiful beach bunnies. One morning we awoke to the news that the hostel would be used as a movie location. We knew that it was fairly famous in Miami movies with it being a regular on Miami Vice. It had a trendy café and breakfast bar with its are decco finish and vernhadhas. In the late twenties to the war it was a famous gangster hang out where Al Capone used to polish his machine gun. There are even bullet holes in the plaster, although the owners story is suspect. Its more likely to be ammo from the drug squad as a lot of narcotics have been taking here. Anyhow the film was The Specialist starring Sylvester Stallone and Eric Roberts with Rod Stieger in there to. The babe of the flick was Sharron Stone. Because we were residents we were allowed to come and go as we pleased as long as we didn’t interfere with filming.One time Stone was doing the shot when she first dates the evil drug dealer Roberts in the café where he beats the guy up.We were asked to be extras in the café!. Well we jumped at it along with other guests and sat bar stools from the stunning Stone.Sly was at in the across the road as the undercover bomb expert looking to meet there for the kill on Roberts. The mini actors motorhome was below my balcony and I could see the great movie legend throwing his sweat shirts out after what ever he was doing in there. The film was awful at the movies which I obviously watched for vanity reasons with my big screen appearances less than satisfying was a mere blur from a camera pan. Well at least I can say I have worked with Stallone and had a burger from the same catering van. He’s just over five four you kn ow!. If you fancy a trip to Miami and you want cheep and cheerful accommodation down there the do doubles for $18 each. They are nearly always filming something on South Beach and my second visit recently I did a crowd scene in Oliver Stones “Any Given Sunday”. Im not so prominent there as we were one of forty thousand people who turned up for the free food and the minute chance of a zoom!,every extras dream apparently. Oh I also appeared on Northants TV!,does that count,err thought not.
Famous for 15 minutes does 25 minutes on your own video count. In 1999 I won a Millennium Award to do various courses, visit other voluntary organisations in a bit to make me a better person to lead my community. I am secretary of my local residents association. As the year was coming to an end I had a big underspend on my budget, due to an illness in the family and a few of my trips being cancelled. Part of the criteria of the award is that all money you have been given, being spend. An urgent meeting was arranged with my sponsors and mentor on how I could spend the money. One idea that I instantly took a liking to was making a video about the estate I live on. A meeting was hastily arranged with the Community Video Project to talk over the idea, I had a week to put down some ideas what I would like to see on the video. I was lost, all I knew about videos was you either bought them or hired them, that was my total knowledge. My meeting with Gary, my able cameraman was a blessing, although he was an experienced cameraman, he had never filmed a documentary style video. Together we came up with a rough running guide on how the video was to run and came up with an approximate running time of 15 minutes. A list of potential victims, sorry people to interview were drawn up. Over the next few weeks the storyboard was forever changing as new people were brought onto the list to be interviewed. A major boost was the local MP Dr. David Clark agreed to take part in the video and the local newspaper give us plenty of coverage in its paper. The local reporter was asked to take part and she readily agreed. The editor of the paper also agreed to us taking some shots inside the newsroon. So fare we had been working on the video for 2 months without a single piece of filming taken place. The hardest piece of work was getting people from the estate to let us into their homes to interview them on what life was like on the esta te. After three months the final storyboard was agreed, we knew whom we were going to interview and where on the video they would appear. Shooting of the video started in earnest in November. I remember somebody saying to me that making a video was a glamorous thing t do. I can assure people walking around the estate taken various shots of houses whilst the wind whistled in your ears and the rain soaked you to the skin isn’t glamorous. After 2 months of filming all the required footage was taken, In total we had over 12 hours of filming that we had to edit down to at least 20 minutes. Days were spend take out pieces, that we would have loved to keep. One interview that I personally loved was that of an old couple on the estate, in total their interview lasted for over an hour. A lot of the material we couldn’t use in this video but the wealth of knowledge about the estate was unbelievable. The whole interview was like a history lesson with them starting about the estate during the war. Finally all the footage was edited; we had in total approximately 23 minutes of interviews. All that was left was to add the background music and my narration over the top. Another day was spend in the recording studio recording my various pieces to CD. At this stage we still had no music for the video. The sound engineer asked if he could have a quick preview of the video, as he had some music he had written which he thought would fit the bill. The cost for the music – a mention in the video, a deal was struck straight away. We know had a complete video. Three weeks later the video was ready, the cover was done and the video complete, all that was left to do was to have an official viewing. The official viewing took place at the local community centre. The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, The Local MP, councillors, local leaders from other residents associations, local reporters and a representative from the Millennium Commission, who funded the video were all present. As the time slowly approached the showing I could feel my knees knocking together, the mouth going dry as I stood at the front and welcomed everybody. The lights went down and the video was started. Was it success? Yes it was, it was well received by everybody and it is still been used as a fund raising tool. Would I do it again? YES is the answer and I already have. We made a video of out yearly Family Fun Day, but that’s a different story.