Ahh Oscar Night. Ten years ago I was in a flat above a rat infested kebab shop in Peckham, staying up all night to keep up with the industry. When I saw the dawn I was so surprised I momentarily assumed it was a nuclear strike. Two years ago I was in a huge house in The Hollywood Hills, living it large with Bojack & co. Last year I was in Manchester, staying in a little home in Didsbury, teetotal so I could ride a motorbike, trying to stream it on my iPad and falling asleep. This year I’m going to bed in London without even trying, even though a friend is there and might well win for editing on Roma. A foreign language film, with Netflix money, looking like it’ll get heavily recognised. I’ll check the results in the morning.
These huge, ambitious movies of the past. Their impossible width. The sheer scale of Wind, Zhivago, Lawrence… even Marvel money isn’t making wide-screen films now. But if we dispense with width, how do we justify keeping the picture houses open? If all the cinemas turn into flats what happens to the film industry? Is convenience slowly shutting down expression? How long before we really are just those batteries in The Matrix, rolled over our telephones, utterly predictable, utterly trackable, utterly exploitable..?
My head has been in my other love today – unusual theatre. A career in making large scale feature films and unusual theatre. That would be a good headstone to aim for, so long as both mediums continue to exist. I went for a walk in Battersea park with Lydia and Tom. Lydia has just launched out of an MA in playwriting. Tom has been making it work for himself in this industry as a theatre director. We were taking in the unusual weather, walking in Battersea Park while the ice caps sweat and the world dies, enjoying the sunshine. Such a lovely day, here in the UK. It felt like summer, but for the fact we lost the light so early. The whole park was thronged.
The guys who rent weird bikes in June had dusted off their stock. The solicitous young people in harnesses who usually only do corporate teambuilding for “Go Ape” were up in the trees smiling. Families with kids marathon trainers, fitness freaks, young couples, old friends, first dates, grandparents with grandchildren, ex-cons, old friends… Everyone was out in the park. It doesn’t take much. And very few were catching Pokémon on their phones.
I brought a huge bag of birdseed with me. It was leftover from the show. One of the many things I was giving people as The Marquis was birdseed, for them to throw for the little birds at a time when food is relatively scarce. “Give to the universe, and perhaps the universe will give to you. Not the pigeons though. Fuck the pigeons.” I had a lot of seeds leftover, so the birds and squirrels of Battersea Park will hopefully enjoy an unusual seed bonanza on this unseasonably warm Sunday. I was scattering them liberally as we wandered around.