miercuri, 21 ianuarie 2009

do the pilot

ok. so what have I been doing. first of all, to keep the entertaining style, i would write about my adventures with the project pitch exam yesterday, but then if i think twice i think i will write first about the project pitch itself. so we had to talk about a project we want to do in front of a comission who was playing the role of a funding panel. the people in the comission were my two teachers, chrissie tiller and phil muelen, and 2 colleagues- the colleagues changed, 2 at a row. we had 5 minutes for the presentation, 2 minutes for Q&A, and then you had to go out and let the panel decide if they give you the money or not. virtual money, of course. i mean not even virtual money, coz one should think of lindens. not virtual, but non-existent money. i will write here a short description of my project- some excerpts from the presentation:


Will happen in Camberwell Green, and will be led by a group of 30 residents at The Camberwell Green Centrepoint Centre for young Homeless People; the young people will lead the procession following a route on the Camberwell streets and parks on the first Sunday of July, from afternoon until midnight.

Each of the 30 carnival-leaders participants will create his character, costume, mask and instrument during a one month workshop held by a team of 5 artists. One musician, one visual artist, one performer, one playwright and one carnival artist will constitute the core team that will provide the workshops for the young people and help them explore and create their own carnival characters.

The carnival will bring young homeless people from London and all those who want to celebrate life and freedom and the coming of summer, in the magic of giving up their daily social roles and inhibitions. The carnival’s main purpose will be to eliberate and bring togehter the inhabitants of Camberwell, Centrepoint residents from all London, Centrepoint staff and homeless people. It will be supported and assisted by The local authorities, The Camberwell Wardens, and Centrepoint staff, and it will be based on a grassroots infrastructure which will function on the sharing-knowledge and skills system, through invited guests and volunteers.


As I have been working at Centrepoint as a volunteer in the Camberwell Green Foyer, I have noticed the strong need for an arts project who would provide release and an explosion of creativity and group bonding for the young residents. Also considering the fact that there have been no notable outdoor events for young homeless people in London, and no outdoors event at all for young homeless people in Camberwell, and thinking also about the people who live in Camberwell, the majority being immigrants from all over the world, also considering the fact that life on the streets of London, especially in neighbourhoods like Camberwell, seems to be governed by fear, suspicion and alienation, I have designed a project that could bring people together and help them put the differences appart. My very personal belief is that if young homeless people would get over the shame society has induced them and over the horrible stigmatization that they also tend to throw on themselves and go out on the streets to celebrate the good things in their lives, they would overcome very big mental blocks and frustrations and build a much stronger and proud community. A partnership between Goldsmiths University of London, which is one of the most innovative and creative arts schools in London, Centrepoint, who is the largest company that supports young homeless people in the UK, and Camberwell Local Authorities, who had funded innovative programmes, such as Bonkersfest, or Camberwell Arts festival, would be a very good way of making this work. "

i have to say that 2day, after speaking with a colleague of ioana about social inclusion as opposed to social access, i was glad that there are some other people who feel that the term "inclusion" in condescendent and a bit degrading.

so that's my project. i was a bit scared about the budget, which was about 30000pounds, which is kind of fucked up, but i was ready to try to find those money. so, looking back in time now, i come from bucharest and start to structure the project, write it, plan it, u know, all those things. get some dvd-s about carnivals, learn more about notting hill carnival, and learn more about the summer of love, - after seeing "a technicolor dream", i think with emotion that i really am in the city where not longer than 50 years ago syd barret, john lennon and all the good people were doing acid at the technicolor dream party at alexandra palace, april the 29th of april, and all those big names of music talking about that day in terms of- "i don't exactly remember what happened then , but it was like an 14 hours orgasm in a way", and ginsberg reading poetry at the royal albert hall, and i realize that i was actually leaving near royal albert hall 2 years ago. and about how a 2 years movement ended- "i don't think that was a particular event, i think that people finally crashed and went to bed."

and i read some more stuff, it all links in a way or another with this carnival idea, i see how notting hill started, and i write and write.

have a break for my birthday, i organize a birthday event on friday- go and choose a pub in shoredich where we would all go before the party, and find the place where the party would be, stoke newington 36, i walk there, find the place just to be sure i will know the way the next day, on saturday. while in shoreditch, i have the impression that the little prince just got out from a doubledecker, i am stunned, he certainly is the little prince, but older- 17-18, and dark haired, he has a green army coat and boots, and walks a bit jumpy- at least that's how i remember it now- the same as people were saying about syd barret, that he used to walk a bit jumpy, like on some invisible arcuri or something. before seeing him, i was gonna walk to shoreditch highstreet up to kingsland road and then up to stoke newington, to find stoke newington 36, bartens boudoir, but when i saw the little prince, i stopped near him, pretending i was looking on a map in a bus station. then he sat on the bench, and i sat as well, at the other end. unfortunately i didn't see his face. he jumped in a bus which was not my bus, and dissapeared. now, while writing, i realize that i should have got into that bus, but i really wanted to get to stoke new. so that's it.

that was my last 27 years' old day. and related to that- we had an exercise at school, to represent an event that changed our lives, and i did a drawing and made a short performance about the event with the datura when i almost died, this summer. i explain something about eating a poisonous cactus. part of the drawin was like that:

i explain how when i was a kid i was sure that it's no worth living longer than 27, coz all the respectable people - i think that's how i said it - died at 27- kurt cobain, jim morrison, jimi hendrix etc. part of the exercise is that i draw a huge skull on the whiteboard, similar to the one in the drawing. a colleague of mine mark says after that that it was so strange to see this very little girl all dressed in pink and yellow and bright colors, and with a funny pink hat, drawing a horrible skull signifing death. i'm glad that they respond with sympathy to my datura-story. sometimes i feel, as i've also told mark, that they tolerate me, like i am a cute person they don't totally understand but they like in a strange way, i feel like a freak sometimes. that's how i wanted to feel with my story, i have all those beautiful clishees, death at 27, and me with my punk-ish cool style, and all. anyway, some of my colleagues respond with respect to that story, and we go further.

i celebrate getting out of my possible year of death by watching a youtube clip together with sorin, at 0:00, my hour. he at piata chibrit, me at new cross, which is also a sort of piata chibrit, but anyways, jim morrison, and especially jim morrison on youtube is international an immortal. so we listen to the lost tapes of paris, part 6 of 7, and talk about if the world will or not will end/cure/be better.

the birthday party goes well. as planned. haha- tiina, my finnish colleague, is really genuinly happy about the party and the bands, and i also am very amazed by the rock'n'roll band, i mean there's a band who genuinely sings rock'n'roll and has a fat cello singer, a drummer on speed with an elvis hair and a siger wit ha white elvis costume. i dance like crazy and almost laugh thinking that the rockstar in me hasn't died.

an auntie and wise rockstar, who dances only when she's drunk. we get home trying to help my friend walk, he looses his key and sleeps at my place. i throw all my clothes on the floor and improvise a bed for me and mark. he laughs, this is an awkward situation. for no particular reason i open my colored little umbrella and put it on the chair. i later realize i was instincively splitting the space btw me and mark and my friend. anyways, this awkward situation ends the next day, and i spend the day with james and rj, in a vegetable state. then monday. i go to the library and start writing the project. i've been working since i got here, so all that was left was the budget and some details about possible partnerships etc. so i write until 23 o'clock and go back home. i am happy with the result. satisfied, as they say. all i have to do is some editing- i have to find the best way of writing the printed version i will hand to my teachers while i talk at the project pitch. i think about maybe doing some stuff in photoshop. buy amir's, open the computer, open the file i've been workin at all day long, and which contains all the written project, from a to z. the file doesn't open. i mean it opens, but is blank. instead of 11 pages of project, eleven blank pages. i try various times more, still blank. finish eating my chips staring at the screen. and i can't redo the budget coz for no reason i have no internet. and all the prices were there, on the internet. after the anger's gone, which is almost one hour, i start writing it again. i finish at 7:32 in the morning, put myself to bed for half hour, i know one half hour makes the difference, close my eyes and imagine ducks floating on a lake. this brings so much peace to my heart, i don't know why, that i open my eyes and feel that i've slept the whole night. i write the budget- it was the only one left,i write it in big lines, still 30000pounds. then put it on the memory stick, go. take a bacon bap, favourite breakfast, on the way. it usually takes me exactly 2 minutes to eat it, which is the way from the shop to the school, with a bit delay for the last bites when i don't want to go chewing to the morning course. now i just wait in front of the library to finish it, i meet mark who has just printed his, tell him about the corrupted file, he feels sorry for it, then goes, i go in, print it and then copy it in 4 exemplare. 11 pagesx4. as it gets late, and the exam starts at 10, i don't have time to arrange the pages for the 4 exemplare i will hand out to the teachers, and i rush to go into the classroom. i go, and have a bit of a panic about how the fuck will i put my papers in order now, that the exam just started. i choose to be the fifth, and so i will have time. i sit on my chair nicely. my colleague tiina starts. it is a bit like an unatc exam, but the panel is nicer. tiina sits on a chair close to the panel and talks to them almost as if they had an apparte, and us, the other ones, are just the present-but-not-present audience. ahile she talks, i try to arrange my papers in total silence. seems like a zen-dance. so i have one copy in the right order, and the other 4 exemplare in the order 1-1-1-1, 2-2-2-2, 3-3-3-3 etc and i have to put it 1-2-3-4...11. i manage with the set of 1-2-3-4, and then something strange happens. i look at the papers and see that i've copyed all the other papers backwards. reversed. in the wrong way. i look at the paper in my hand, it is like the direction of the letters is switched. omg. i look, all the rest of them are the same. backwards. reversed. the other way round. i start laughing and try to show mark, but i have to be silent, and he seems to be focused on the panel. it seems incredible to me, i mean how can u after all that work and struggle to copy more than half of ur papers backwards? what can i do now? how can i give to my teachers my project written backwards? it is so stupid that it makes me laugh. i throw all the papers under my chair and decide not to give any papers to the teachers, just speak. si when my turn comes, i appologize for the technical problems and then speak. as i look at them, and they have to look at me, i get carried away and get excited, i speak about the project but only the main things, don't have time enough, i can't cover it but i'm all over the table with my eyes just thursted into theirs, something like don't u dear not pay attention or think this project is impossible. they ask me about the protection, about police, i say of course there will be local police involved assisting the whole thing, then they ask why don't i link it with a bigger carnival, ie notting hill, i jump that notting hill is big and rich and commercial and that it is not reprezenative for the young homeless, they need their own carnival, and notting hill also started like this, a bunch of people, and it was real when it started, it was a real celebration and all. then i go out. when i come back, i feel that they are a bit warmed by my enthusiastic presentation. then chrissie says the magic words: "do the pilot!". we won't give you the money for all the project, we think it is a great project, an ambitious project and you are definitely the one to do it, but you need to do the pilot first, really small scale, make it with 12-13 people and more intern, not really out there on the streets, and only during the day, so maybe on the streets near the hostel but not out there on the streets because it might end up with riots and scandal. and then u can make it global, phil said, if the pilot goes well, then you can take it off, make it fly, make it global. we are giving you not 30000pounds, but 5000pounds and you do the pilot. i feel such a big relief, because the big one was almost impossible to do, to coordinate it and gather the money in just 3-4 months until then, but... do the pilot, such beautiful words. i feel almost enlightened by this idea. i forget for a moment that the 5000 are non-real money. but even when i remember, it's ok, i can find 5000pounds until summer. so the class ends, the day goes by, i tell all my friends about all the printing adventures and about how i copyed the project backwards, and all. i laugh with rj and james about that. then the next day i try to find the wrong pages but i don't find them anymore. all the printed pages seem good. they seem in perfect order and perfect readable. and then i realize that you cannot COPY something backwards unless it's printed backwards, which was not the case. i take one page, turn it upside down. yes, here it goes. now it's backwards. turn it again- now it's normal. aha. i don't laugh anymore, i think a bit something like- "te-ai prajiiit!", ur brains are fryed, i mean, how can u think u copyed a paper bacwards when u were just keeping it upside down? how? so i say- if m-am prajit, i have to take more care, like double care with everything i do. if m-am prajit, then all my life from now on will be a spectacular adventure of discovering new ways of doing regular normal things, or "wrong" ways of doing "right" things, which in fact might be a great adventure and also fun. could never get bored in a world like that. i know that happened mostly because of being really tired and not because my brains are really that fryed, i'm sure they're not, but still...

today, i go with ioana to a presentation of the company station house opera, the performance making MA organizes these meetings in which various artists come to talk about their work, and we meet Julian Maynard Smith, a guy who talks about their work, which seems quite amazing, and this guy has a very personal fight- not fight, more of a quarrel, or a very personal issue with gravity. he is also very skinny, that i think his personal dream is to become immaterial. he has a few mintues when he speaks about the challenge to fly, that they tried expressing that in a show, and they found all those stupid ways - i mean how can u perform that, when there is no way, u just can't find the way of expressing flying because you just can't fly, something brings you back to the earth, and even if u go to peter pan for example, you see all these boys flying, but there are always those almost invisible strings, always, they're not flying, they're just hangin on those strings. and his issue was so seriuos, he was so upset about this matter of flying and the shit that is to be stuck in your own body and having to deal with that, that i almost saw him flying through the room like a demented baloon. well didn't actually see that, but it felt he was in so many places with his mind at the same time than the place where his body was.

duminică, 11 ianuarie 2009

error error

back to london. humid air, straight to my lungs. my mother has bought me woolen things, because there's nothing like wool, she says. wool. second day, first shopping. sainsbury's. neat stuff. carrots, spaghetti, oranges. eggs. plenty of carrots, don't know exactly why. feel like a grown up, with my neat bags goind to the cash machines. i also have toilet paper, salad, serious stuff. basic stuff. stuff for living. i am an adult. i go to the cash register and i suddenly realize i have forgotten my pin number. i know the pin from my romanian card, which i used recently, but meanwhile, during the holidays, i forgot the other one, the english one. i tell the woman at the cash register- i might have forgotten my pin number. how can we solve that? she looks into my eyes and hands me the card-machine: introduce your pin, please. she is so serious, that i type a number which resembles in a way to the number i forgotten, but of course it isn't. i look at the woman, and repeat: i forgot my pin number. then we have to wait for 5 minutes for another woman, who comes to save the day. "what happened?", says the second one. "she forgot her pin number", says the first one. "can u save the transaction?". she saves the transaction and i go home to find the paper with my pin number. i am very thirsty and have a huge head ache from the night before, when i went out with james, back to our same old tequilla trips and whiskey for the road. i go into my room, drink a big glass of water, find the pin number, go back. i write it in my telephone- aka i send a message to myself, with my pin, and i also save my number, which i don't know by heart, under the name "me". and proudly go to the sainsbury's. i enter the store. somebody's wiping a huge amount of red wine from the floor. smells like shit. the floor is greasy and stinks. like when u see huge quantities of alcohol it makes you so sick, and it makes you wonder why do you drink that disgusting shit. i proudly introduce the pin into the machine, the woman looks at it, looks at me and says: "your card has been declined". i look at her with bambi eyes. "your- card-has- been -de-clined", says she. "by whom?", i say. "by the bank.". aha. she takes my bags back, puts them behind the desk again. "is there any other means you can pay for this"? "oh yes, of course, i will go home and take cash". i mean i have some cash, how else do you want me to pay for the fuckin carrots? i once more feel like an adult who has, of course, some cash at home. and although i didn't commit any crime, i feel so relieved when she smiles at me. i mean i'm glad she doesn't suspect me of stealing that card. which is in fact mine, so why do i even think about her suspecting that i stole my own card. so i go home, drink another big glass of water, go back to sainsbury's, pay with cash, come back. put everything into the frigde, talk with my flatmate jiaojiao and decide to go out next week, all the flat-members of the flat 13, go back to my room, work a bit more. then go out and get a vodafone voucher. a good warm robot voice tells me what to do to top up my phone. when i get to the "please introduce your 12 digits number" part, she says "if you make a mistake, don't worry. just press start to start again". i am grateful for this undestanding system, who allows you to makes mistakes. i introduce the 12 digits number, but the voice says: "i'm sorry, i didn't get that." i introduce the number again. she is sorry again. after trying to introduce it like 4 or 5 times, she says: "i'm sorry i'm having such a hard time getting your number. thanks for calling. goodbye!"- and a long beeeeep after that. hmm. ok. i put the voucher under the phone, on my desk, and go back to writing. maybe tomorrow she will get it. and yes, i just tried now one more time, and she got it. the payment was successful. i will try with the bank later. maybe the bank changed its mind on declinig my card. maybe. you never know. i wonder how "the bank" looks like. is she like and old frustrated woman who didn't get a fuck in more than 20 years? is there any chance to get the bank lighten up a bit? is she mad at people? will she commit suicide soon?