salvation army / brass band play outside Asda / felt sorry for them
My recurring dream of very many years involves me filming a wedding, something I did for many years. Each week was a worry and starting out the day always had me almost sick with worry and nerves presumably akin to stage fright. Once I’d got going it was usually fine and I was on auto pilot.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot to cope with as you were essentially filming a live event that you couldn’t stop stage (unlike photographers who did just that). They were all a challenge and the majority meant that you were filming often from 10am until midnight, lugging what in the early days was very large and cumbersome equipment (near broadcast in fact) with large battery belts, microphones, tapes and be ready for the unexpected.
Your job was, as much as possible, to be unobtrusive and in the early days as video was gaining a foothold as a new option for marrying couples, subject to a lot of jealousy from photographers, some of whom could refuse to photograph the wedding if they booked a videographer (the wedding photographers worried that guests would buy copies of the wedding rather than their then £8 a pop photos).
The clergy too were typically a prickly bunch. My often used opinion was that many of them had missed their calling as traffic wardens such was their hostile demeanor. The church used the emergence of video as an excuse to levy yet another fee on the pretext of requiring payment for the public performance of the organist (have you heard most church organists?) and maybe (if in attendance) the choir, which were already an additional cost.The church was as much as business as any of the other wedding services on offer. In addition videographers were required to purchase a copyright license to recird each wedding. Many churches did not allow video filming at all or worse charged the couple £80 for the privilege whilst making sure (& often will ill concealed glee) that the videographer had the most inappropriate filming position usually behind the couple and not allowing use of a radio mic that would at least allow us to pick the vows up clearly.
One of my worst experiences came back to me in this recent dream. A vicar that became known to many of us on the wedding video circuit was a particular annoyance. He would shout at us that we were not to move during filming (and mean not as much as move our fingers) which was from way back in the church , behind a pillar and just in front of a double life sized photo cut out of himself which occupied one side of the church. Yes this man’s ego was that large. The penance for daring to breath was a threatened stopping of the ceremony and ejection from your designated position of purchased privilege. It never happened to me but other videographers had experienced this action directly.
At the rehearsal he would tell us that he’d make sure we had an adequate filming viewpoint, from one side and revealing the back of the couples heads (thanks) but on the day would often motion the best man forward to block that view whilst slyly grinning and winking at us knowing that it would deliberately spoil the already appaling view that was available.
In the end I used to play footage to any potential couple wanting us to film in that church to show what was likely to happen. The winking and smiling at the camera as he pulled the best man forward to block a shot which he’d charged the couple £120 in order to secure was sometimes enough for couples to even cancel the church as their first choice for marriage though obviously this was not always possible but made me feel good that this man’s unchristian behaviour was exposed for what it was, just plain mean spirited.
I remember that once the ceremony had started he would always make sure the main church door was locked. On one occasion a Bride’s brother who had only just managed to get thew briefest time off from his Royal Navy tour of duty but who had not arrived at the church in good time was left deliberately locked out of the church unable to see his own sister getting married.
The last time I ever filming in that church the ego boosting cut out of this vicar had increased in size and now had arms outstretched with a ego-maniacal looking mixture of smiling and self obsessed devilment in the eyes.
Over the years I and others were bellowed at and treated like lepers by some vicars and priests of this land. Over time the more extreme behaviours subsided and the introduction of ‘all in one place’ weddings where a civil ceremony could take place in the same place as the reception helped quell slightly the desire for marrying couples to use the church as a convenient backdrop. I could understand the churches cynicism at these couples who were mostly neither originally religious or after experiencing many of these clergy behaviour ever likely to return to regular church going.
Pain And Pleasure
I have very many related filming recollections like the priest who used to take great delight in stabbing me hard with a cane whilst I was filming the Brides arrival knowing I was less likely to interrupt my shot by crying out in pain or protesting at his worryingly sadistic actions.
These are the stuff of my most common recurring dream.
Recently this here item was posted through our door. Free chocolate eh. Very tempting. That is until you
realise quite what the trade-off is. Inside the bag is a glossy survey to fill in which basically requires you to reveal a lot of data that advertisers would love to purchase.The game is to leave the bag with the survey completed outside your door and a bag of chocs is left in exchange for you to devour the following day.
Much as we love Lindor chocolate I’m not sure that £3 or so of chocolate is sufficient recompense for the setting free of our personal data which would then be traded between other companies who prize such data. Not a good trade in my eyes. An expenses paid overseas holiday for two is probably nearer the kind of bribe that would have me wavering but I seriously doubt my personal data would command such a reward.
How easily bought do these marketing types think we are? How very dare they!
I was standing waiting to use the self checkout facility and the seventy something guy behind me struck up a conversation about how hit and miss the process of swiping your own items was. I agreed and said that it was sometimes hard to get all the items through without some kind of staff intervention but it was still worth it when you only have a handful of items.
The gentleman then revealed that he would normally stand there and look frail and helpless in order to illicit help from the designated self checkout assistant. He followed this revelation with a crafty wink and a wry smile.
I then watched in awe as he suddenly transformed himself into a doe eyed helpless retired gentleman quickly transforming his demeanour he caught the eye of said female assistant who then promptly processed each and every one of his items herself thus leaving him with little to do but smile meekly and say thank-you as the entire process was completed by a willing third party.
We both left the store at the same time and the helpless stoop straightened into a more healthy upright stride as he exited the store. A small example of one of the rare advantages of over playing ones age and fragility for personal benefit?
As the great consumer and easy credit bubble begins its rapid deflation I thought I’d share my own personal thoughts on what, In Britain we are possibly left with in terms of our ability to weather any potential oncoming storm.
Walking Without Crutches
A Britain without the artificial crutch of high consumer spending and ever increasing property prices may reveal a less favourable environment for surviving an economic downturn without a degree of turmoil.
The Bubble Bursts
The housing bubble may well adjust itself to more sustainable prices as many estate agents go out of business but will we be able to accept the changed landscape that removes the great British dream of owning a property from under the noses of an entire generation as future mortgages require a much greater deposit down payment and which has already relegated 95% mortgages to the past.Things will become particularly unbearable if a greater degree of regulation is not introduced into our housing rental market or if truly affordable housing is not built built and protected from future market speculation.
We already had a pensions short fall problem and the world economic downturn will only exacerbate the shortfall especially if the over reliance on ‘property as pension’ turns out to not be the great guarantee of security it once was.
Whilst many European countries may cope well with the fallout from US financial woes which will surely effect the world markets in the coming weeks and months ahead,I suspect that Britain may well wake up to find that a lot of its benefits were in fact temporary illusions that masked some very real intransigent problems that may continue to have a detrimental impact on our society for a very long while to come.
Britain has been for some time now a very expensive place to live and is likely to remain so which will only make it more difficult for those that may find themselves in different financial circumstances.
The question is how well we’ll each be able to adjust to new realities and restricted possibilities. It’s often said that the true key to happiness is to limit our expectations.It may or may not be a new socio economic era is just dawning around us.The rush for fool’s gold has ended with little of real worth to show for it.
Another Sunday looms large. When I was very young Sundays were a real non event kind of a day which wasn’t entirely disagreeable but they were a day with no available shopping, little or even no television (as telly was devoted to religious programming at least until Sunday evenings) and so were a very distinct day of alternative activity.Sunday evenings were, for me anyway, a time of great sorrow as Monday morning and school loomed. I was not a happy bunny with the whole school thing.
Part 2 of 2
These days Sunday seems to be a bit more like Saturday part II. Shops are open, there are things going on elsewhere, religious TV programming does not fill the entire schedule though if the number of cars in the road is anything to go by many people still choose to stay put on Sunday.
There was only one other time in the week that filled me with foreboding and that was Wednesday afternoons.My memory remembers them as wet weather days, stuck in school, maths all afternoon, dark brooding skies that necessitated lights being on in the classroom and the inevitable trudge through rain at home time.
They can’t all have been like that but Wednesday afternoons seem permanently tainted by personal reputation and linkages in my own memory.
So here’s to another Sunday.