Halloween is now a 'thing' here. I'm sure it wasn't that big a deal before I left for LA but even my local corner shop has carved a pumpkin sitting on the doorstep.
“A can of Special Brew and a pumpkin, kind sir!”
I know it's customary to dress up as a “sexy (whatever)” for Halloween in Hollywood but my favourite own creation remains my Annie Hall costume from 2010. The stars aligned and I ended up a party with the only guy in town dressed as Woody Allen. It wasn't so much Midnight in Paris as A Quarter to Eleven on Laurel.
But I digress. It's getting colder and that means more telly. Strictly, X Factor, Bake-Off and all the usual nonsense but for sheer brilliance you must check out Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy's cheekbones and an array of accents that will bring to mind Pipkins, Miss Diane and Noddy Holder. Oh, and the cinematography, costumes and set design are breath-taking. It's been a real slow burn but worth making the effort for.
As was heading to the BFI to hear Tony Gilroy, who wrote most of the Bourne films, talk about his career (for BFI's and BAFTA's screen-writing lecture series), which started when he realised he wasn't going to be the next Eric Clapton.
The talk was most entertaining but what stuck with me in a nutshell was: learn as much as you can about human nature, stay curious & "prettify" your script. That means keep it neat, make sure it's formatted correctly and spell check. Simple. Follow that advice and you too can have your own movie franchise!
If you're heading back to London this year you must check out the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. They hold sporadic open evenings for adults only, complete with bespoke balloon animals from the wonderful Miss Ballooniverse, palm readings, strange green cocktails and the chance to sit in a vintage train carriage. Now I understand that you can do that if you use the Northern Line on a regular basis but it's more fun with a cocktail in one hand and a balloon Ariel in the other.
And before I go (and buy a can of Special Brew and a pumpkin at the corner shop) tonight was the World Premiere of Saving Mr Banks, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, at the London Film Festival. The film is marvellous but if you're a fan of Big – and Sandra Bullock - and haven't seen The Jonathan Ross Show recently, click here.
As Mary Poppins would say, it's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Prettify that, Mr Gilroy.