Brian McCardie 1965-2024...

I’m writing this in remembrance of Brian McCardie, who passed away on April 28th at the age of 59. Brian was a celebrated Scottish actor, whom I had the pleasure – and challenge – of working with during my second feature film, Solid Air (2003).

Pleasure because Brian was intelligent, quick-witted and during the process of rehearsals and production, wholly committed to his role as Robert Houston Junior. Challenge because he took no prisoners, forcing me to up my game knowing I had to know the answer to every question he asked – and for which I was/am grateful. He extended the same generosity to his fellow actors, rehearsing off-the-cuff, trying stuff out, coaching.

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The Power of Three...

Forgive my magical thinking but in storytelling the number three is said to have magic properties, a trope of folk tales such as the one I’m currently working on. Oddly it’s taken three attempts to write this post, not helped by the opioid haze of the last 600 (and counting) days and an existential crisis where I try to reconcile my desire to make films with the reality. At such times I remind myself that filmmaking – the good stuff – is supposed to be hard even if it’s on a spectrum ranging from ‘thankless’ to ‘futile’.

Another reason I’ve avoided writing is because I don’t wish to dwell on the negatives. ‘Scottish film isn’t the hill I’m prepared to die on,’ I tell my husband. ‘Hummock, more like,’ he replies. He’s right. I recall a conversation I once had with a writer acquaintance outside a local supermarket about the goings-on at a Scottish film awards do. I was taken aback when my companion said casually, ‘Oh, and so-and-so won the keep breathing award,’ referring to the recipient of a lifetime achievement honour.

I thought about this for a long time.

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A Straight Line...

Writing a Covid-19-free post is a struggle if not downright impossible. If I caved in to my rage over how this crisis is being mishandled I’d probably get arrested. As it is, currently I’m furloughed and on a 23-hour a day lockdown. Frankly I don’t know how others are coping. What I do know is those charged with mental health services will reap a bitter whirlwind when this is over.

It took only days into this pandemic for pundits to opine how, on the other side of this catastrophe nothing will ever be the same. I sincerely hope so if ‘the same’ equates to a hard-boiled Brexit, Austerity V2 and a depression that will make the crash of 2008 look like someone made off with the menage money. Meanwhile a supine mainstream media shills for an incompetent, venal Tory government mandated to get away with anything, genocide included.

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The Planets Align...

It’s now become increasingly clear that spring, summer and beyond are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For students of disaster capitalism one thing’s certain: the poor and vulnerable will suffer most, for as Warren Buffett reminds us, “it’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” In this case, as the situation worsens, it’s our politicians who will be called to account. And yet, I fear, nothing will change.

If I thought Brexit, austerity and climate catastrophe made the business of film seem trivial it’s perhaps contradictory to suggest film is more necessary than ever but having glimpsed a world devoid of culture – with venues closed, shows cancelled and film and TV production postponed or ceased – it’s not a prospect to relish.

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