It’s one of the big secrets of film history, in fact, that cinema’s landmark films often turn out to be lousy…
I haven’t posted anything substantial on here for a while and while I would rather entertain you with something witty or thought provoking I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with this rant concerning insurance companies’ exploitation of young people, particularly those based in London trying to start a career.
I’m 20 years old, I drive a 125cc Vespa LX 125 i.e. - not a powerful motorbike, a simple moped with a top speed of about 65mph. I use it mainly for commuting and the occasional trip to the supermarket. I had to let my third party fire/theft insurance policy lapse in september because since I moved to London for work the premiums skyrocketed and my renewal quote was simply unaffordable. Determined to find a better deal I have searched high and low but without success. It seems impossible for someone under 25, living in London and trying to start a career to drive anything.
I thought mopeds were the young persons affordable vehicle. If that were the case, how on earth can I be quoted £1,784.20 for THIRD PARTY ONLY insurance? Even with a years no claims, an armoured chain lock, built in steering lock and a hardened steel wall anchor… The vehicle itself is only worth about £2000… It’s absolutely criminal. I don’t understand how anyone my age in London can afford to drive at all!
Some of the reasons insurers have given for the expense are as follows:
I understand why for these reasons my policy might cost more than the £456/year policy I held while a student in Leamington Spa, but almost four times that amount? Is that reasonable?! Furthermore I don’t really see the three points listed above as being particularly valid for the following reasons:
Not only do I feel like I’m being punished for telling the truth, I feel like I’m being treated as some kind of eccentric 20 year old movie star, living in the worst part of England for vehicle crime of all kinds, who has never held a no claims bonus, who holds a plethora of driving offences and many many points on his license…
The bottom line is, without my Vespa I cannot get to work, many studios are quite out of the way (my last contract being based in Pinewood, a 56 mile round trip from my North London home) and since when shooting I am often required to be in remote locations well before sunrise public transport is not an option.
I now understand why in 2010 alone 130,000 people under the age of 25 were prosecuted for driving without insurance. Insurance companies are making it impossible for me to live independently and aside from lying through my teeth to them I’m not sure what else to do.
Most girls with an active social life have a gay best friend. My girlfriend’s worked for Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysees, so naturally when we were in Paris together earlier this summer we had to meet him. Before this day I had never set foot in a gay bar. So as you can imagine when I found myself sat drinking with my girlfriend and her gay friend in his apartment, busy telling us about how the club he’s taking us to has a shower built into the wall I was more than a little bit nervous about what was awaiting me. In the end however I found that, as long as you’re relaxed about it and confident about your own sexuality, the whole experience can be pretty enjoyable.
1) Enjoy the privileges
Anyone knows that when it comes to bars and clubs nobody has a better time than the women. They are let in first, served first at the bar, their drinks are often paid for and a large percentage of the room would only too happily sleep with them at the end of the night.
At a gay bar this still happens, but it happens to you instead. My girlfriend was the only one of us to be ID checked at the door, I was served before her at the bar and for once even though we were surrounded by men none of them were checking her out! She did find this mildly annoying but at least she’s had a taste of what it is to be a man on a night out. It was a refreshing experience for me, being waved into the club, served within moments of arriving at a packed bar and to not then have to worry about whether anyone’s hitting on your girlfriend meant I was probably more relaxed there than most places I’ve been on a night out.
2) Don’t worry about people knowing you’re straight
Chances are most people in there have realised this within ten minutes of your arrival anyway. You don’t have to hold on to your girlfriend for dear life like she’s some sort of anal defence mechanism and you don’t need to kiss her every two minutes to make it clear to everyone that you’re not gay.
It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, as long as you don’t turn up topless in denim dungarees. Mostly I imagine it comes down to how you act, but you shouldn’t worry about people suddenly grinding against you or touching you inappropriately - like any bar or club it can happen but unless you’re actually hitting on a guy or otherwise encouraging that kind of behaviour most people will leave you to it.
Even when I was occasionally approached, offered a drink or in one instance stroked on the shoulder by someone walking past me on the stairs it didn’t take more than “I’m here with my girlfriend” or even a just a puzzled look for them to realise their mistake and move on. Nobody tried to “turn” me and nobody kept trying once I told them I wasn’t interested which is more than I can say for the average man hitting on a woman in a club.
That being said if someone remarks on the wait time at the bar or something while you’re queueing don’t ignore him or immediately come out with “Sorry I’m straight”. In that kind of situation they probably aren’t trying to hit on you and it would probably make you seem rude and/or arrogant.
All in all if you’re comfortable with your sexuality these instances shouldn’t be any bother to you. Take it as a complement don’t get defensive, my girlfriend actually liked that I got hit on! It means you’re attractive it doesn’t mean you’re gay.
3) Nobody will judge you for ducking out if you feel uncomfortable
Earlier I mentioned that my friend had been telling us about the shower built into the wall of the club and what goes on there. Well on the night we were there one of these shower shows took place and I had a decision to make. I could stay and be the only one of our three not enjoying the show, standing there awkwardly staring at the floor or I could excuse myself and do something else while they watched and rejoin them afterwards. So I did. It doesn’t really matter what, if you’re running low on drink go to the bar, if you smoke you could go for a cigarette, you could go to the toilet for all it matters. The point is, nobody’s going to call you a homophobe if you’d rather not see a man write his phone number on a shower door with his penis.
So that’s about it… I enjoyed being treated better than I would have been at most normal clubs and bars, it was nice knowing the men in the room weren’t checking out my girlfriend and on the whole the atmosphere was good and we all had fun. Like I said things occasionally went a little outside my comfort zone but it wasn’t a big deal. Just excuse yourself for five minutes and wait till the show’s over. At the end of it all I still went home a straight man with a girlfriend who loved that I had been open-minded enough to do that for her and appreciated that any attention I got was complimentary.
I’m not trying to suggest that straight men should suddenly start heading to gay bars but if you’re ever invited to one, instead of saying no keep these points in mind and you might find when you eventually fall into a taxi and go home that you actually had a good time.
2011 will be remembered as the year of middle eastern uprisings, natural disaster and economic hardship. The year the people of London wondered what happened to good old English reserve and America finally ended their game of hide and seek with Osama bin Laden.
My 2011 went something like this:
I suppose it all started in March with my mum and dad nagging me over the Easter holidays because I spent it lazing about not doing anything useful and in general making a nuisance of myself. It was around this time mum suggested I apply for some work experience in the film industry for the summer holidays. She probably just thought it would be a good way of getting me out of the house, there’s no way she could have predicted the chain of events that would unfold, but thank goodness she managed to get me to do it. If she hadn’t I might have had a very different 2011.
That work experience really was the catalyst for all the major decisions and changes I made this year. It’s hard to describe but the month I spent working with the good people of ‘Gambit’ (2012) really opened my eyes. Having spent my sixth form years working the 9-5 shift behind a checkout at my local Sainsbury’s, where every ten minutes seemed like an hour I suddenly found myself working what would sometimes amount to a 16 hour day and loving every moment of it. The day I got a phone call at 6:30am asking me to come to the Midlands from my home in South East England which I did was also probably the day I realised just how much I wanted to make this my career.
It was also the point at which questions started forming in my head about whether or not I really wanted to return to University in October. I both kick and applaud myself for doing so.
That may sound odd but let me explain. I kick myself for going back because there are many ways in which I didn’t enjoy my last ever term of university. The workload quickly began to overwhelm me, I found myself poor once again after a summer of earning reasonable money and more than anything I was bored. I’d lost the spark that got me through the first year and I really missed the work I’d done in the summer. As I stated in an earlier post I still wholeheartedly recommend university and I had an amazing time, particularly in the first year but the fact is after the summer I had and having been told by most of the people I’d met that experience is worth more than anything academic in film going back to university just seemed like an unnecessary waste of time. I found it hard to care about the work I had to do and it really brought my mood down for a while. Ultimately I had to admit to myself that my priorities had changed and that University was no longer for me.
Despite that, I am hugely grateful I decided to go through that last term pure and simple because I met some really amazing people (one in particular) and I did something I wanted to do but couldn’t afford in my first year - went on the Warwicksnow Christmas ski tour. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget the friends I made, aside from the career and personal advantages that come with a degree, the people are what I’d argue make university really worth the effort. No matter what your interests are and regardless of your social experience at school it’s virtually impossible to avoid making friends at university. It’s a social melting pot, one I was very happy to be a part of however briefly. Deciding to leave was difficult because of the people I met at Warwick.
I have now left and after some initial worry and nervous anticipation I’ve shifted my old room in Leamington and found myself a room in London. I’ve got seven months full time work on a big feature and I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the year ahead. Now I’ve started I don’t intend to stop and I hope I can keep the work coming because I’ve got big ambitions.
I hope these text posts haven’t been too boring, I’m not sure how much people want to know about my life but I hope it’s made a refreshing change to the reblogged nature of many pages on tumblr.
Happy New Year to all my followers anyway, bring on 2012.