I’m ready for my close up …

A new cultural event in Medway has been gaining lots of friends recently, with its eclectic mix of any and everything.

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Seasonally Effected, produced by the tireless Roy Smith, occurs on the last Wednesday of the month in Rochester, usually in the Dot Cafe but last night, sad circumstances required a switch of venue to coFWD – how well did they adapt to an extremely last minute request? With their customary awesomeness, of course.

The theme of this cultural open mic is to be the time of year, interpreted any way you like. A highlight last night, for example, was the ‘Mollusc Mayday’ film – complete with maypole dancing snails. It’s an image I won’t forget quickly for its brilliance – kudos to Chris of Hand of Stabs for that one.

I made my debut at the mic, with a tiny piece about the first Oscars ceremony and first all-colour talkie, On With The Show, both premiering in May 1929, and linking in a video from the film. This I followed with the official Skyfall teaser trailer and the collaborative, much more professional home made version by coFWD (which I’m in and have shared with you before). Then I showed Richard De Soussa Silva’s Sunny Day video (which I’m in and have shared with you before!)

And that’s when I thought I could sit down and relax. But Mdhamiri decided to show his short film (which I’m in but can’t share yet, due to competition rules he’s entered into) and then up popped Stuart Turner of The Flat Earth Society with his new song and video, The Making of Landscape. And guess what? Yes, I’m in it and I can share, since it’s already out there on Youtube! The zombies come courtesy of Mdhamiri and Roy, who were making a film called Zombocity (I’ve shared a couple of photos and a very short trailer previously, see the Sunny Day link above for that) which sadly, suffered a bit of a malfunction and is now in a dry lab hopefully being recovered. Anyhoo, here’s the video:

And you’d think that would’ve been quite enough showing off for one night, but no. 2013 BBC Writer’s Prize winner, Sarah Hehir, asked if I could play one of the parts in her short play (impressed by my earlier performances, clearly ;)) so I ended up in the final piece, rounding off a cracker of an evening.

Another wonderful aspect to the night was having artist Nigel Adams respond with live art as the event unfurled. The image at the top of the post is his work from Part One; this is Part Two:

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A massive thanks to Roy for instigating this rapidly growing cultural must – check out the Seasonally Effected blog for pod casts of each event  and dates for the next. The hasty venue change means we may not have the pod cast for this month, but don’t let it stop you enjoying the rest. A full list of last night’s participants will appear there shortly too.

That was the weekend that was

Last weekend, to be precise, when I got drunk on rose wine, twice. In fact, having two bottles of wine in the space of 36 hours made me a little bit wobbly, if I’m honest. But I was held steady by the wonderful friends who plied me with said wine, so that was ok.

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So on Friday, it was over to one of Medway’s not-so-hidden gems, the Cafe Maroc. It’s small but perfectly formed and once you’ve been there, you’ll be telling everyone you know about it. Not only is it different, the service is fantastic and the food gorgeous.

The owner, whose name escapes me but I’m going to call Sweayne (on account of the fact that he reminds me of both Sean Lock and Wayne Hemingway) doesn’t bother with the trivial, paper based boringness of a menu. Instead, he sits with you and verbally runs through whatever it is he’s decided to cook that evening – much more civilised than the same set meal, don’t you think? So you can ask those questions directly: “How hot is it?” “Is it crunchy or chewy” “Ketchup or brown sauce with that?”

We hadn’t actually booked, which was a bit silly, considering there are only three tables. But Sweayne was very accommodating and let us eat in the lounge area, after sending us up the road to the offie for a couple of bottles – they’re not yet licensed at the Maroc, but you can BYO. I felt like a 14 year old, stealing out to bagsy some booze to quaff round the corner …

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As you can see, I was that taken with the delights on offer, the camera wasn’t spared a thought until it was nearly all gone. With decent portion sizes at a very reasonable price, you can still top up with lovely home made lemon drizzle or fruity Guinness cake and the most heavenly minty herbal tea I’ve ever tasted. Trust me, I even texted someone about it, I was that impressed.

Open as a cafe during the day, and a bistro restaurant in the evening, you can find Cafe Maroc at the Chatham end of Rochester High Street.

Moving on to Saturday and it was meeting up time with my bessie mate who sadly lives in Essex. Consequently, we normally meet up halfway, at Lakeside. Not today! I said – we’re going Up West … but only as far as the East. A quick stop at Chez Sue to meet the family, with new addition Robbie (the lovely Schnauzer) and then a side stop at Westfield to view the Olympic Park (I’ve now seen it from afar when being constructed and de-constructed) thanks to Sue’s friend, who rescued us at Buckhurst Hill station when we learned the Central Line was buggered (techy term, won’t bore you with the details).

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A spot of lunch thrown in (where the other bottle of rose was consumed) and we headed out on the Docklands Light Railway down to my old home, the Isle of Dogs. We didn’t misspend our youth there, really, we had an awesome time, mainly drinking and dancing and being chatted up with the same chat up line every time: “Are you two sisters?” No?! No, we’re not – I’m four inches taller and we look nothing alike. But even the waitress in Westfield asked if we were related, which cracked us up. (Sue’s the one in middle of the group shot, at the front – see for yourself!) Does everyone else get that, when you’re sat with someone with the same hair and eye colour? I think not. I can understand it when we were little because we were always together – our mums used to park us in our prams, side by side outside the shops. Now, not so much!

Our final destination was The George pub, on the corner of a street I used to live in, where my dad and brother played darts, and where I’d buy a big bottle of coke and a few bags of cheese and onion crisps for me and my mum to share while we watched M.A.S.H. Funny the things you remember so vividly, isn’t it?

One of our school friends, Jayne, decided to put a call out to our school year, thinking half a dozen of us would turn up. Cue about 50! It was rammed and great to find out what everyone has been up to and how they’ve changed. And play ‘Guess Who?’ At which point, as soon as the name was said, there was instant recognition – eyes never change, I’ve decided.

Back home the next day, for a final flurry in a busy weekend, watching my eldest in his cup final. It started so well – one – nil down to a penalty after a minute *rolls eyes* but back came the Medway Lions, with said eldest rising like a hot air balloon in a helium factory to head home the equalizer. 3-1 up with five minutes to go but he doesn’t like to let us relax – the last cup final he was in, they went 4-0 up just to be pulled back to 4-4 before running out 6-4 winners – this time, their opponents got one back to leave us all biting our nails before the whistle finally went. I still maintain it was 3-1 though, since their second goal was from their number 5 who should’ve been sent off in the first half …  don’t get me started.


This weekend, I’m planning a quiet one. Apart from the theatre on Saturday night. Oh, and cricket on Sunday. Maybe next weekend?