Saturday, August 23, 2008

Let's Get Physical

No matter how much tennis I play and how many cakes and chips I don’t eat, I am still piling on the pounds. I’m no longer a voluptuous goddess and definitely a tad on the chunky side. This is especially depressing as I have to be ready for my close-up on September 19th in the south of bloody France, when I shall be playing the role of me in The Making of Plus One movie.

As we all know, the camera is a cruel beast that adds ten pounds, so there’s a danger people will start lumping me in with Kirstie Alley once they see me on celluloid. I treated my Woman Child’s unhelpful and ridiculous suggestion that I join Overeaters Anonymous with the contempt it deserved. She wasn’t joking. That’s her pictured with me. She’s the young, beautiful, slim one on the right.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Confucius, he say: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. So it came as no surprise that, while loading a tumble dryer in the communal laundry room at Mariner’s Village, my gaze should fall upon the flyer pinned on the notice board, inviting me to join Kim’s boot camp, three days a week from 8 until 9am, at the beach end of our road.

Colin dragged himself out of bed to come with me. I enjoyed it much more than he did. He has a bad shoulder and dodgy knees and couldn’t keep up with the rest of us. He was singled out for “special” attention. He was given his own “easy” exercises to do, away from the main pack. He’s not a morning person, so what with being sleep deprived and getting “the special-needs kid” treatment, I doubt he’ll be coming again. But I am on a mission. If this doesn’t work, I’ll be dusting off the credit card and buying myself some liposuction, or lipo-sculpture as they call it these days.

It’s been a while since my last visual gag, but I was inspired by the Beijing Olympic gymnasts to scrape my hair back into a ponytail held in place with twenty assorted pins, don a swimming costume and perform a floor routine in front of the telly box for Colin. He was suitably impressed, but insisted my last visual gag was even better.

A few months back, I conveyed the passing of Marcel Marceau in mime, which Colin found quite brilliant. Whichever one of us logs onto our computer first will report to the other the latest celeb to pop their clogs. This week, we announced (with due respect and reverence)… Bernie Mac: gone. Isaac Hayes: gone.

The best visual gag ever was many years ago, when my parents were looking after a friend’s piano. We heard banging on the keys and rushed in to see what was going on. Dad was sat there bollock naked, à la Monty Python, beaming at us over his shoulder. Mum was not amused, which made it even funnier.

On a serious note, the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics was absolutely astonishing and brilliant, and I doubt I will ever see the likes of it again. Well, I can because we Tivo’d it, but you know what I mean. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. Tracey and I were raving about it in between tennis shots. She said you can imagine the organizing committee for the 2012 Olympics in London in panic, saying: “I don’t think Elton John is going to be enough.”

No news on the reality TV show, but no worries. I re-read The Secret after boot camp and have asked the cosmos to handle it. I believe and I’m waiting to receive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

An Englishwoman’s home is her chateau

Apologies for the radio silence, but my Woman Child has been visiting and monopolizing the computer. If she’s not on Facebook, she’s playing poker online. Not for money, thankfully, otherwise she’d been down $385,000.

This trip has been much better than her Christmas visit. She decided to give up smoking as she boarded the plane for Los Angeles and, frankly, was pretty unbearable to be around for the month of her stay. She started smoking again as soon as she got back to London.

As those of you who have read my book, Plus One, can attest, I detest smoking, but am so grateful to have a happy, reasonable Woman Child that I’ve placed an ashtray on the balcony and haven’t moaned or groaned once when she and the Man Child go outside for a smoke. Nor have I said: “it stinks and it kills you.”

They really have been a joy. Here they are just about to set off to Santa Barbara, on their first road trip since the Man Child passed his driving test. They had a grand time, apart from getting badly sunburned. Of course I told them to cover themselves in sun tan lotion and wear a hat. Don’t get me started…

I hoped to report that the reality show has already been snapped up by a network or cable TV station, but my producing partners have yet to connect with their agent to discuss the pitch, what with him being head of worldwide television at William Morris and getting up at 4.30am every day to answer 300 emails. Patience is a virtue I’m going to have to acquire. This business we call show is not good for the health. I’m told things will get even more stressful if/when it actually gets bought. Then I really will be on the verge of insanity.

Mary McG (director/producer of The Making of Plus One) invited Julia and me to join her and some other guests at the Chateau Marmont. A few tables away, Daniel Craig was having dinner with Joel Schumacher. Ellen Barkin wandered around, chatting with various people and looking absolutely stunning in turquoise. She was immaculate – great hair, great everything. And her body. She must have been surgically enhanced. She’s in her mid-fifties and looks twenty years younger.

Amanda Plummer was at our table (I saw Amanda a few weeks back at The Catalina Bar & Grill, a jazz club on Sunset, and introduced myself, knowing she was going to be in the film. I told her Julia and I were going to be playing ourselves and she kept introducing me to people as Claire Fordham, the actress. I love this town). She’s playing the production accountant in The Making Of movie. I’ve seen the rushes of what’s been shot so far and they look terrific. Phew.

Anyway, because Amanda moved along to chat with Mary McG and Lothaire Bluteau (a dead ringer for Colin Farrell) who’s also in the movie, there was nowhere else for Jim and Fran Sheridan to sit when they arrived, so they sat with Julia and me and are our new BFFs. Jim (My Left Foot/In The Name Of The Father/In America) Sheridan! Other diners kept coming over to shake Jim’s hand.

Jim asked me if I spoke any Gaelic. Apparently, he and Fran start talking in their mother tongue when they want to gossip about someone nearby. I told him I only knew “feck off.” He nearly fell off his fecking chair.

One of Jim and Fran’s daughters directed August Rush. Jim reckons she’s a better director than both himself and Neil Jordan. I’ve put her on my director wish list for the movie actually based on Plus One. Jim can produce it if he likes.

A couple of days later, we were at another event. Lorna Luft (Judy Garland’s other daughter) was in attendance, talking about her godfather Frank and how much she missed him and dear Sammy. Don’t we all?

The main reason for going, though, was for a reunion of sorts. Pictured at the party are my husband Colin, Julia and Michelle Collins, all of whom were in Mari Wilson’s (centre) band, The Wilsations. Mari is still a singing sensation and looking great 25 years on. Michelle left The Wilsations before they hit the big time and went on to be Cindy Beale in EastEnders. I embarrassed my Woman Child by calling Michelle ‘Cindy’ a couple of times. It’s easily done.

Here’s Mari singing a couple of her hits. Colin is playing bass behind her and Julia is one of the backing singers. Enjoy.