From Monte Carlo to California – and other Manson Dreams.

Ferrari California in Monte Carlo.

On Sunday (day off – yeah right) Paul Hamer and I try to take it easy. The problem is that we are miles behind on image capture and have already stockpiled about another seven hours’ worth of real time downloads on top of what we have already captured. To Put Hamers commitment into perspective he has already captured three hours’ worth before I even get out of bed.

I am in agony the tiny bed that I have here in Norwich is so soft it is like sleeping in a sponge hammock, I have no support. By the time I am Showered and suitably re-ignited by coffee Mark Forstater and I are in hysterics about last night’s shenanigans. We are becoming buddies, He tells me tales from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He must have done this over a thousand times before but I love it.

Mark was tickled about one part of our conversation. Last time I worked with Magda (Grace Vallorani) was on a film by Drew Cullingham called “Umbrage” her character was called Loren and very pregnant. (in the film she miscarries – the crew dinner Spaghetti Bolognaise if you want the trade secret) We all took great delight in punching her in her padded belly, sick but boyishly funny. It was only a few months later that we found out she was actually pregnant in real life, she didn’t know, so we all say the Umbrage baby.

Mr F (we are starting to get informal he he) looks at me in panic. “My God does our insurance cover this?” we fall about laughing but start thinking about who will give birth to the Power baby. But more importantly will it ever make it on to an XMEN movie. For the record my money is on one of the Twisted Sisters the question is though who will plant the seed. It would appear there is a fairly orderly queue forming. Then a moment of panic! NOT Molly, Molly the youngest script supervisor in history. She is only seventeen and absolute jail bait, in the nicest possible way if that makes sense.

By the time Hamer has had enough of the mountain of image capture. My hangover is abating quickly and the caffeine is clearing what is left of the remaining adenosine from my brain, sleep is over for another night. Manson, welcome to the day. Hamer is desperate to go on a road trip, he wants to go to Great Yarmouth, a beach littered with the memories of his childhood. I am not too into this as an idea but how do you say no to a good friend. I know he has picked up on my reluctance he looks disappointed. He skims over his i-phone and suddenly beams a smile. “I have Just found a place past Great Yarmouth called California” “Well why didn’t you say so. Let’s punk” I reply. And I mean it, this can only be great.

I hurriedly make some CD decisions. This is a road movie (without cameras) so the sound scape has to be perfect. The only thing I can think of is Frank Black singing “I want to live in Los Angeles in the black and white movies” unfortunately I don’t have teenager of the year with me. But we do have The Pixies CD I bought him as a present that we still haven’t listened too. Time for some EDUCTION-AL (Told you I like a pun).

We set of just around lunch time with the windows open and sunglasses on. The Pixies are offering up their own blend of surf punk, It’s just like being 21 again. Sometimes it is great to do these things it is all too easy to forget that the simplest pleasures are the best things in life. JOY.

We arrive in Great Yarmouth (Great – how ironic) park up and walk down to the beach. Paul’s childhood phantasies are shattered within three footsteps. We walk along the shore line towards the pleasure pier. We have our Einstein on the beach moment. We talk about the responsibilities of documentary making, money and its ridiculous gravity, about being the best we, we can be. It was a beautiful walk. Sure Paul’s childhood memories have been morphed but we just invented a history for ourselves. One that is real, authentic and truthful. I hope that the Power has a premier in Norwich. I would love to come back to see the film, meet up with what by then will be lost friends and take a pilgrimage back to this beach with Paul. This time I will bring the afore mentioned Phillip Glass score and sit and listen to it with only the sound of breaking waves to interfere with his piece.

We both want fish and chips and head back towards civilisation. We walk down the street looking for a café. I want something to speak to me, Hamer just wants food. Then like a mirage of shimmering light the words Monte Carlo Café beckons me. Monte Carlo to California in one day, you just can’t make this shit up, you can’t plan this. You have to be fucking jet set. Build a rocket boys, build a rocket.

We order Cod and Chip’s with mushy peas and extra bread. Paul Hamer has a coke because he is driving I don’t wimp out and take a pint of lager. “Fucking hell Manson, it’s not even two o’clock and you’re already on the beer.” I smile to myself. Within a couple of minutes our food arrives. I take one bite and I can’t believe it, we are right by the sea but my cod has spent its time in the deep freezer unit of some horrific warehouse for too long. What a crime. Such a beautiful fish wasted by in this way.

I had already felt guilty about ordering it, I know how depleted the stocks are. In my defence I ration myself to six cod per year and I always save them up for when I am by the sea, I have them fresh and enjoy every last gram of this stunning fish. I gorge on it like a heroin addict who has waited far too long for his latest fix. But here in Café Monte Carlo on the sea front of Great Yarmouth one of my six has been wasted. This tasteless cod has a texture of mouldy jelly, I heap on the tartar sauce and battle my way through determined not to let this fine fish life been for nothing.

I look over at Paul in an apologetic way. He is just wolfing down his fish. “Ahhh this is delicious.. I love Cod and chips” I make myself a promise; “never ever cook for Paul Hamer!” And for that matter one day when this crazy business actually pays its way and I have a few quid I will go to the Hotel De Paris in Monte Carlo and have a Cod based product and do my best to forget that this Café ever existed.

The Great Yarmouth and Cod disappointment over we are back in the car heading off to California. The Pixies are singing “This aint no holiday song” I hope that this is not an omen. We head towards our object of desire I was hoping for the Pacific coast highway but somehow we appear to be in Death Valley. California is a film set; a horror film set out of the 1950’s, little white holiday chalets as far as the eye can see. I say to Paul “Don’t stop. Turn around and get us out of here. This is the resting place for the four horse men of the apocalypse .. keep going .. drive, drive, drive.” We both burst out laughing. As California drops over the rear-view mirror we have a connection moment. We agree we must tell Mike Bartlett about this it is perfect for Zombie Diaries Three .. The road to California. Pitch that one to the Weinstein’s.

Out of boredom we head back in to Norwich, That is saying something – RIGHT!!!! When you head to Norwich for excitement you are in real trouble. A guy in the Fat Cat pub told me on our first night “Norwich is the place where ambition comes to die. But once you get used to that … it’s all alright really.”  GREAT!!!! We avoid the Cat tonight and head into town for some Vodka cocktails at Revolution. By the time we get home Mark Forstater suggests we all watch a movie together. Paul and I run out get supplies of beer and Chinese take away (maybe we won’t lose weight on this film after all) before we all just chill out.. NICE.

Ian Manson Film Maker