Sunday, July 16, 2017

CRAZY DAYS 2



JANUARY 2016
.
Twenty years later things looked a little less bleak.
Oh, yes - The winter of acid folk rock.
Bar 23
Asked to help out a friend (stage name Mr. E) with some equipment for gigs in a dive Bar 23 on soi nana, Chinatown, I’d taken the favor as a challenge. I had a notion about a dishwasher from Belarus with movie star aspirations. He boards the wrong cargo ship and ends up in Bangkok rather than California. He washes dishes for the quasi-stars, is recruited by a shady talent agency and slums it with the failed actors and drunken singers and feral hookers in the Bangkok metropolis. I’d written as a musical over a weekend the songs were pregnant in my mind.
Broadside on stage sat writing sensation, creator of the world’s first slice of viral media and all round best buddy Hugh Gallagher on drums. Gallagher was the man behind MTV generation star Von Von Von and back in town after a year’s stint back in the States producing the world’s first book of spirituality to contain the phrase motherfucker eighty-three times.
Me and Von.
His handbook the
I Ching eagerly promoted around this time betwixt sessions hitting the camel-skinned bongos.
An acoustic guitar and a zoom effects unit – but this was art for art’s sake. Apart from beer, which to be fair, I had my fair share of – this was a non-paying gig.    
Practical people don’t have children. A film, a book, a painting, is like a child. A thing we bring into the world with the best intentions – but sometimes the world has other ideas. Sometimes the world decides to quit shaving and smoke cigars and hang out on lower Sukhumvit Road.
Arriving in Bangkok sixteen years ago, the words started flowing as soon as the city surrounded my anxious naivety.  

Jim Algie, Me, and Thom Locke at the Checkinn99
After the acid folk sessions I’d entered one of my old haunts that spring – The Checkinn99 on Sukhumvit Road – I’d put the spot on the literati map having conceived and hosted a series of literary events from 2014. The Night of Noir – Bangkok saw a host of international writers dropping by and reading from their work. 
 It was here that we'd work on a ghost hunting documentary and edge closer to the film world. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

CRAZY DAYS - Making of Crazy Medicine - Part 1



Newman with Kate Tiger preparing props. Photo: Eric Nelson.

So here we have it. Part one of a memoir / dairy written while laboring in the world of film from Autumn 2016 up to the present day. Also if you haven't checked out the trailer to the film CRAZY MEDICINE yet, please do and like the clip on youtube. Here's the LINK TO CRAZY MEDICINE - CLICK and LIKE
One

FOR MY eighth birthday mum bought me a portable black and white television and VHS player. She also wrote a note addressed to the owner of the local video store aptly known as The Seven Dwarfs.
The note permitted your narrator to hire over 18 VHS cassettes. TV viewing hours totally unrestricted and uncensored, and like any young boy should I watched whatever whenever. Life was a gas, man.

The golden age of horror to my thinking was the 1980s – Killer Dolls, Puppet Master, Hell Raiser, Nightmare on Elm street, Children of the Corn.
But it isn’t just guts and gore, the ripping out of a heart through an innocent rib cage, that keep us up late a night. The most awful horror scenes are the nonviolent ones. The steady build up of suspense in the Exorcist and the slow build of The Shinning
Violence also has a place in the world of celluloid art.
 Bruce Lee – The Way of The Dragon, Big Boss, Fist of Fury. Who can forget that Chuck Norris showdown at the Coliseum? The mysteries of the East unfolded before my prepubescent eyes.
Then there were wild cards – Life of Brian, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors.
The 1970s were the decade for film, but if you can brush aside the shoulder pads and the hairspray the 1980s could well be in with a shout. 
Of course I absorbed all this like a sponge and by fourth year primary I was already penning horror stories to disgust my primary educators.
Bilitis - 1977
    Back in those days of innocence, Channel Four, bless 'em. aired high-brow European art films late at night, subtitles, bizarre plots that never added up, and brief flashes of nipples and unruly pubic hair (these films were shot for the most part before the large-scale distribution of the bic razor.) The first flash of female genitalia I ever laid my prepubescent eyes upon probably French, in my bedroom, on a black and white portable. 
But it wasn’t only anatomy being taught inside my eggshell fertile mind. Oh, no, far from it. These films taught us auteur movement, the make-do, and cutting away of corners. Plot was something to beware of but not become a slave to. My European sensibilities were sharp, cynical, accurate and unforgiving and by secondary school I was both immune to The Exorcist and merely puzzled by Animal Farm
Years later I enrolled into film-making college because it was the closest thing to being a rock star. Mornings spent smoking on the lawn and sitting half awake during lectures, stumbling around in the dark-room, writing half-baked scripts, and pulling blurry focus.
And writing, always writing - The years of pulling strange facial expressions in hotel mirrors were yet to come - more about that later on.
Another twenty years later I found myself shooting a film in a go-go bar with a full cast, crew and extras - some of you were there. 
Let's find out how it all came about.