Friday, 26 June 2009

Ready When You Are


A day in London, filming a little movie to go with Built for Britain. Did the streets around the Post Office Tower hum with generating trucks and location catering buses, did cherry pickers rise into the cloudy skies above Tower Bridge, did security hold back screaming girls at St.Pancras? Not really, but what a simply wonderful time I had. Racing about in black cabs with me doubling up as grips with the big Manfrotto tripod (what a great little symbol), snatched coffees, everyone thinking "Who's that grisly git who keeps swearing every five seconds into a camera lens?". Before this I had been filmed in the comfort of quiet rooms, shut away from prying eyes and the disapproving mutters of people hearing my very vocal displeasure at getting my words wrong. Out on the streets I hadn't reckoned on an audience, which quickly gathered to see if I was Dan Cruikshank, and then turning away in disgust when they realised I wasn't. Heartfelt thanks to my crew: Sam, Lorna and Ali. And thanks to the lorry driver who frightened the wits out of me by blaring his horn right behind my head during a take on the Euston Road.

14 comments:

Jon Dudley said...

How exciting! It is amazing what the effect of even a small film crew can be; I do hope you entertained onlookers with some suitably esoteric reasons for your being on location - "oh, it's a commercial for Ashley's patent haemorrhoid cream...you really should try it". But you're right, it's great fun...especially when you're 'best boy'.

Jon Dudley said...

Sorry, I meant to ask you when the piece will be aired. And yes, the Manfrotto symbol is just the ticket! - CND with a break...

Peter Ashley said...

Jon: The film is being used wherever it's wanted. It will be on the Built for Britain website next week, and a little trailer film is going on Amazon soon. Meanwhile you'll see my grisly features on YouTube (click the link). Never thought I'd be on there with all those people trampolining.

adam said...

First rate video Mr. Ashley; I've placed an order for Built For Britain as it's about time one of your publications graced my bookshelf! As long as you don't mind it being sandwiched by dull computer programming tomes, of course. Loved your blog post about the day filming - it reminded me of an attempt at a comedy piece myself and my friends undertook at Wimbledon in 2006. Me dressed in tennis whites, followed by convincing 'crew' painted a scene that got me as close to fame I think I'll ever experience!

Peter Ashley said...

Good Morning Adam! Are you by any chance the Adam Barker? Well, of course you are anyway, but welcome to Unmitigated England.
So glad one of my efforts is going to be sandwiched on your shelves. Don't mind it being between computer books, but spare me anything by Ben Elton.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Great name, Manfrotto. Do they still make the lovely wooden Manfrotto tripods that I remember from still photo shoots in the early 1980s? (How good they looked with a Gandolfi camera mounted.)

Diplomate said...

In congratulating lord ashley on his performance i suggested he do more tv work - hopefully not too late to say I meant television not transvestism.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Diplo, and there was me ironing my frocks.

Don't know if Manfrotto still do wooden tripods, but I use a Billingham (branded, but not made by them) tripod called The Reporter which stands on ash legs. It's probably the first thing I'd grab as I leave a burning house. Well, camera first perhaps, then back for the tripod.

martin said...

Have just watched the video on YouTube. I have to say I'd far rather watch you than Dan Cruickshank any day. He tends to do this windmill thing with his arms when he's describing something. You,thankfully,are rather more relaxed.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Meant to say I greatly enjoyed the video too. Relaxed, but obvious that you;re interested in and knowledgeable about what you're describing. I agree about the refreshing lack of windmilling hands. I remember doing amateur dramatics as a teenager (my only claim to performative 'fame', and I use the term loosely) our director giving people things to hold if they showed any tendency to involuntary arm movements.

Sandy said...

Did you get a frisson of Keillor? A drawl of Mason? Shall we - SHOULD'NT WE - be expecting a bbc 4 series soon? (or at least a semblance of that audi plug that Sinclair/Petit did? Shiver the thought...).

Mr Ashley - to me, to me - (why is he staring at the tripod... somebody get an autocue in front of him, quickly...)

Sandy said...

Oh meant to add... great job big man. We're relying on you to whack the deeply annoying Nicholas Crane/Cruickshank sorts and become the new Betjeman/Peel of the Ashlar.
Meade and you? In an Ant and Dec doubleact? - just kidding! (no... really... any chance? Now that would be cool).

Peter Ashley said...

Thanks Sandy, I'm on the case. If I got one tenth as good as Meadesey I'd be a very happy man.

Sue said...

I've just had an extraordinary multi-media experience. Just about to start the film on YouTube when the doorbell rings and it's DHL with amazon package. So I watched the film book in hand. Congratulations!