Crude Diaries

Cattle class to Heathrow

Location Cattle class to Heathrow | Mood Worried | Date 31 October 2005
I've been helping my Best Pal wade through a million and one medical decisions to do with major surgery she has to have next year. She gets bamboozled by the doctors, so I've been going along to her appointments and taking notes. Which is fine, except two days ago they called her and said they have a cancellation and her operation is... today.

Documentary poetry with Jeh

Location Hotel room in Mumbai | Mood Soldiering on | Date 27 October 2005
Our hero Photograph: Patrick Igonet  

No airport filming passes for non-Indians

Location Hotel room in Mumbai | Mood Lonely | Date 25 October 2005
I've been following the cabin crew around for days, trying to film them doing their life raft practice.  Day one, we all got to the pool, but it was only three-feet deep, so hard to practise drowning. Day two, we get to pool two, they all change into their shorts, t-shirts and life jackets and line up by the edge ready to jump. I've got a lovely wee shot set up. Water sparkling, sun shining, girls who can't swim trembling. Then Mr Hotel Owner informs them that swimming in t-shirts is not allowed in his pool. Two-hour discussion ensues. Really two hours.

In the cockpit with my feet up

Location Hotel room in Mumbai | Mood Annoyed with self | Date 21 October 2005
Flying in a big jumbo is pretty damn good fun. Especially with the giggliest pilots ever. (I asked them if they were always so hysterical, or whether there was some impending doom they were reacting to that I should know about, but they said they were just happy to be working together, cos normally their shifts don't coincide. They've signed up for 6 months in India, gawd bless 'em. Never been before. Don't speak Hindi. Bringing babies.

Doing the bad things

Location Any seat I like | Mood Excited | Date 19 October 2005
One of the best things about making documentaries is that you get to do all the bad things in the name of helping the rest of our species realise that they should stop doing the bad things. In this case, I'm flying from Singapore to Mumbai on the spare seat in the cockpit of a jumbo. Except I now know it's the jump seat on the flight deck of a 320. That's not such a good thing about getting immersed in so many new worlds - coming out with the lingo.

Can't ignore Nigeria

Location Healthy Eating Cafe in Camden | Mood Preparing for long battle ahead | Date 11 October 2005
Two good thoughts from "The End of Oil" conference today. 1. The problem is: how do we market austerity?

Someone to represent the future

Location Kitchen table in Spanner office. Too many people upstairs, can't think. | Mood Re-inspired | Date 3 October 2005
The Guy family. Photograph: Charlotte Rushton  

The world is doomed. And the film's no good.

Location Sofa in my house | Mood Very black | Date 28 September 2005
Finished reading "The Party's Over" in France and, as the full implications sink in, down goes my sunny disposition with it. Which reminds me of something a climate change specialist I met in Tuvalu (Pacific island being abandoned cos of rising sea levels) a couple of years ago said: that anyone who works on climate change gets deeply depressed and gets out after a couple of years.

Toasting our survival

Location Classic Alpine chalet, Morzine, France | Mood Frustrated | Date 17 September 2005
Francesco Frangialli is surely the busiest man in the world ever. He flew ten times around the world last year. But we've managed to coordinate a one-hour slot in his schedule, between New York and Namibia, in which we can pick him up from Geneva airport, drive him to the Chamonix glaciers and film him talking with a local expert about how far they've melted. Everything goes swimmingly... planes, hire cars, trains, equipment, expert, Francesco... until... fog.

In captivity

Location Holding cell in the Indian airline office | Mood Tearing hair out with boredom | Date 25 August 2005
The Chinese water torture is nothing to the Indian "After Some Time" method. What happens is that you meet up with someone who is, for example, starting up a new low-cost airline and who you are hoping to, say, feature in your documentary. They say that they are going to meet with you, but first just have to finish something, so please wait in this small room that looks suspiciously like a police cell (and I've been inside an Indian police cell or two in my time) .