Thursday, 22 October 2009

October 22nd 2009

A sunny day in Sydney – such a great city. I dashed around doing radio interviews – I don’t have any trouble keeping enthusiastic about the film or Beethoven; indeed I enjoy the challenge of being articulate, funny, and a good salesperson. The one question that always trips me up though is ‘So, Phil, who is better? Mozart or Beethoven?’ So, which are your two kids do you prefer? Do you like your left leg more than your right one? No time to enjoy Sydney though – too many emails to keep on top of forthcoming screenings. I did manage to meet a local author called Agnes Selby who wrote a great book on Constanze Mozart. She and he husband Theo invited me for pancakes. And thoroughly nice they were too. Though I am always amazed at the short-sighted stinginess of some restaurants. The pancakes were advertised to come with fruit. They turn up with two strawberries and an inch of banana. Can I have more banana please? Yes, sir, but we’ll charge. Before I can respond in an appropriately Beethovian way, Theo says that will be fine. The waitress reappears with another inch of banana….
After lunch I had a meeting at ABC Australia – great guy works there called Ian who is keeping them honest. Ultimately it comes down the individuals who work in organisation – hopefully they’ll keep Ian on for a good while yet. Especially as he wants more of my films!
Rushed over to AVIS and picked up a hire car and then Linda the publicist and I headed north to a screening at Avoca Beach. It was a two hour drive (through lovely landscapes) and a pretty small cinema but as far as I am concerned Avoca Beach is the absolute model for small, community-based, well-run, fabulously programmed cinemas. Digital had changed everything so one day it’s Beethoven then it’s a live concert from Sydney, a Shakespeare play from London even a Robbie Williams concert. Plus a strong array of films. Good coffee, good cake, a bar, comfy chairs in and out, and cinema owners who know many of their clients by name. And what a great evening we had. A string quartet played on the lawn – with the sea only metres away – and then the film was tremendously well received. Terribly enthusiastic Q&A – lots of laughs too. Linda and I didn’t get to leave until 11pm and then we had to drive back to Sydney. We couldn’t find a cab anywhere for Linda – who is tremendous fun and extremely nice but started to lose her smile by 1am and no way home from the airport (where I was staying). Sorted it in the end. I got to bed in a dingy prison cell of a room – a Formule Un (which can be OK in France) – but a bed’s a bed. I seriously considered not bothering to get undressed as I have to be up in 4 hours..

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