If you cast your mind back to my last blog post (yes I know it’s over two months ago but I’ve been busy! ish) I mentioned the upcoming film festival that I run. Well it happened and it went very well, thank you for asking.

As I sit here sneezing, coughing, generally feeling like death warmed up and hoping Lucifer will open up a hole in the ground and take me to a warmer place, I reminisce about the past few weeks starting with the Hellfire Short Film Festival. The event began around 5pm and I was more than a little worried due to the very sparse audience. I spoke to Zoé, you know, Zooloo Zoé from Zooloo Book Blog, outside the venue minutes before it started and she said something along the lines of “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine”. She was bloody right! By the end of the evening it was pretty much a full house and to top it all off a local film (“All In A Day’s Work” by Andy Coughlan, pictured) won the big prize, with five of the other six prizes going to the USA, France and Kosovo. Happy Days!

A week after the festival I took a trip to France with my friend Steve. We ferried across from Portsmouth to Ouistreham in Normandy through the night so the calm seas gently rocked us to sleep in the cabin. Seven hours later we disembarked the ferry in Ouistreham and immediately faced a group of Sudanese immigrants trying to get onto the ferry. Apart from that we had a great time. We visited Sword Beach, Le Grand Bunker, Pegasus Bridge, Merville Battery and most importantly we met the Band of Brothers cast in Carentan and got their autographs. We were in Normandy for the 74th anniversary of D-Day and got to stand on Sword Beach on the morning of the 6th June. Quite an emotional trip.

The hotel we stayed in was very basic but it had everything we needed (barring a kettle!!) I would recommend staying there, it’s called Hotel L’Ecailler and the La Marine cafe/bar beneath is amazing! Second-best Croque Madame sandwich ever! I can’t wait to go back.

At 23:00 the ferry departed Ouistreham, it arrived back in Portsmouth at 06:45. At 11:00 I was back in Folkestone and at 13:00 I was back at work until 19:00. By the end of that evening I had been awake for 39 hours as I couldn’t sleep on the ferry. I blame Steve’s snoring – or demon-like growling.

OK so that’s now two references to the fallen angel. I must confess I’ve been binge watching Lucifer after work each evening. I even stopped watching Nashville as I’m that hooked on Lucifer, the show, not the devil himself.

So what’s your biggest desire?

One of the things I most enjoy about being a creative is to support others in their creative endeavours. That’s why, just over two years ago, I launched the Hellfire Film Festival.

The Hellfire Film Festival is a multi-event organisation that showcases the very best (and occasionally the worst) of independent filmmaking. Our flagship event is the Hellfire Short Film Festival. Over 3000 submissions from 141 countries, twelve rounds (plus three semi finals), 163 films screened and we’re now at the Grand Final stage. This takes place at The Brewery Tap UCA Project Space in Folkestone on May 23rd.

I had the day off from my day job yesterday (I work in the box office of a Folkestone theatre) so I spent most of it shopping. More specifically trophy shopping. What use would a Grand Final of a film festival be without prizes? I was torn between a few different types of trophy so I recruited the help of my wife to narrow down that selection to two trophies. Both are a firebrand style, which reflects the name of the festival, so I bought one of one type and five of the other. The awards are for: Best Director; Best Actor; Best Screenplay; Best Editing; Best Sound; and the big one Best Film. The latter’s winner will be decided by audience vote while the other five will be decided by a judging panel.

I enquired about getting a celebrity to host the night but we were looking at a fee of around £4,500 so I made the executive decision to host it myself. I had hosted all the previous rounds so it wasn’t a major issue to decide to host the big one although I’ve only ever spoken publicly to a large crowd once before and that was 26 years ago when I stood in front of my entire school and deliver a 30-minute speech dressed as Julius Caesar complete with toga, sandals, scroll and a wreath made from green paper.

“Friends, Romans, Classmates, lend me your National Curriculums.”

Yes, that was my opening line. You can thank my teacher, Mr Robert Beal at Great Coates Primary School, Grimsby, for the genius script that included obvious references to Life of Brian “What have the Romans ever done for us?”. As a ten-year-old impressionable child I just had to investigate the story of the man mistaken for Christ. The Monty Python masterpiece would go on to become one of my most favourite films of all time.

Coincidentally Life of Brian is being screened at my workplace, the Folkestone Quarterhouse, on Thursday 19th April. If I’m not on location shooting a scene for the No Glory short film (and I suspect I may be) I will definitely be sat in the audience enjoying Graham Chapman and John Cleese in their most iconic roles.

On a final note, if you’re an avid bookworm and also enjoy reading blogs (well, you’re reading this aren’t you…) be sure to check out Zooloo’s Book Blog and vote for her in the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Newcomer category. And while we’re on the subject of books, I’ve just completed the three Eddie Dawson novels written by Max Adams. If you enjoy a good WW2-themed story I can’t recommend these three novels any higher.

Today was supposed to be a busy day. An exciting and productive day. Unfortunately things didn’t go exactly to plan.

On Tuesday evening we (myself and my friend, the film director Steve Davis) were frantically trying to book foot passenger tickets for a ferry across the English Channel. The plan was to spend Wednesday in Calais looking at remaining parts of the Atlantic Wall, in particular the Battery Oldenburg. This was to form part of the research for a future feature film. Unfortunately the P&O Ferries website wasn’t playing ball and kept throwing up errors. We looked up the number for phone bookings – the lines closed at 9pm. It was 9.15pm by this point.

We didn’t make it to France.

So, instead we made alternative arrangements to travel to London to check out a couple of museums.

By the end of the evening I had a terrible migraine so headed to bed. I was awoken early Wednesday morning by men with hammers on my roof. Bearing in mind my head was still quite sore the last thing I wanted to hear was constant banging for four hours as I was trying to sleep off this migraine.

I must point out that they weren’t random guys just deciding to climb on my roof and start hammering the roof tiles. We’d been expecting them since October to fix the leak but they conveniently chose to arrive and make a noise when I needed sleep the most.

I got up.

While waiting for Steve to arrive I thought it would be a good opportunity to print out the voting sheets for the upcoming Hellfire Short Film Festival. I have the wrong bloody paper! Cue a dash into town to buy paper from Wilkos. I arrive back home and start the printing. After five sheets the printer has a bit of a strop and decides to print at a snail’s pace. Almost an hour to print out 20 double-sided sheets. Sadie later informs me that the printer doesn’t like printing documents straight from Google Docs. Temperamental, much!

I get a text message from Steve. He’s just getting his hair cut and then he’ll be here. Perfect, that gives me time to have a cuppa. Then two cuppas. Then three cuppas. Finally I get a call from Steve. His car has broken down and he has to wait for the RAC recovery. Several hours later and he’s finally arrived. At 4.45pm.

To late to go to London now. Instead we went to McDonalds and had an impromptu production meeting.

And now I have another headache.

Just a quick message to say Happy New Year to all my site visitors. It’s been an eventful 2017 with many ups and downs but hopefully 2018 will be the best year ever.

The photo you see is a snapshot of my new year celebrations, it was a fairly low-key event this time round as two of those in the photo had to be up for work at 4am on New Years Day. What a ball ache!

So what does 2018 have in store?

I’m involved in three film projects in 2018. The continuation of the No Glory short film, which should be complete within the next month or two and then it’s onto The Screaming Woods and Outbreak of the Dead. These should keep me busy throughout the year.

Plus I still have the day job in a theatre although I’ve been off since Christmas Eve and still don’t know when I’m returning. The joys of a seasonal entertainments industry.

Who’s a bit of a tit? That’s right, me!

Went into town to get my bro a key cut for our front door. Got home and his new key didn’t work. I tried my key and that didn’t work either, they keys just wouldn’t turn in the lock. Panic ensued!

Luckily someone in flat 2 was in so we managed to get them to let us in.

My bro then dismantled the lock to try to fix it. Added some oil in case it had just seized up. The lock still wouldn’t turn.

Only after 10 minutes of head scratching before my bro realised I had cut the wrong key.

Twat of the week award goes to ME!

We knew this morning that God was calling your name,
In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

Yesterday was without doubt the hardest day of my life being there to see someone you love so dearly draw their last breath right in front of you. But I know that last breath also meant my Grandma breathed out the last of the pain and suffering that’s dogged her for the past year or so.

My Grandma lived to an incredible age of 94 and she was one of the most selfless, caring, forgiving and inspirational of women right up to the very end. Her presence alone could light up a room even if she was just rocking in her chair twiddling her thumbs.

It truly is an honour to be her grandson.

Although we’re all heartbroken and it hurts like hell it’s comforting to know you’ll be with Grandad Gordon again and no longer suffering. Thank you for all the beautiful memories Grandma, I love you. xxx

Thanks everyone for your supportive messages to my family. We really do appreciate every sentiment. Your support is helping us get through this very difficult time x

I’ve decided I’m going to start a healthy diet so here’s my late dinner. Yes that’s guacamole in the middle, hope I like it as that’s a huge dollop of it and I’ve never tried it before!

Ok ignore the fact that the two monstrosities called chicken kievs are on there, the rest of it is healthy.

In the past fortnight I’ve have the incredible privilege to be part of the film crew to shoot two WHEATUS gigs, one in Margate and one in Milton Keynes.

In August I was asked by filmmaker AD LANE if I’d like to join the crew to shoot the gigs, an amazing honour to be asked and an opportunity I grabbed with both hands.

On this UK tour Wheatus fans were treat with performances by FOUR acts, The Ventura Project, Gabrielle Sterbenz, MC Lars and of course Wheatus. All were incredible in their own right, especially Gabrielle whose vocals are simply amazing.

The Margate gig may go down in history as one of the more memorable gigs for all the wrong reasons. This year ONE DIRECTION have been covering Wheatus’ TEENAGE DIRTBAG in all their concerts so Wheatus have reciprocated by performing WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL. This didn’t go down too well with one audience member in Margate who took exception to their rendition of the One Direction song and assaulted the lead singer Brendan by charging the stage and dragging him into the crowd. The rest of the band then got involved with drummer Will punching the idiot and unfortunately one member of the audience was injured and taken to hospital. Despite the unfortunate incident the rest of the gig went very well and we later heard that the injured guy is recovering well, thankfully.

While at the Margate gig Wheatus performed one of the tracks from their new Valentine album – FOURTEEN – and as a special birthday present for Brendan (he was 40 on 11th October) AD Lane has created the new official music video for Fourteen using footage from the night.

Six weeks ago I began a brand new life in Folkestone, Kent, 250 miles from home and it was the best thing I could have done. For 31 years I’ve lived in Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire and things have been tough so this year we (my wife and I) made the decision to get out.

Since the big move away from Grimsby I’ve so far I’ve been involved in two major projects, shooting two Wheatus gigs, one in Margate and one in Milton Keynes.

To coincide with the new life and new horizons down south I thought what a good idea it would be to launch my new website. It’s obviously still under construction but I hope you like it. Send me your feedback.

Photo: The Zig Zag Path, Folkestone. Copyright Gary JJ Ingoldby-Spate.

Eight years ago I did the honourable thing and proposed to my beautiful partner, we’re still together so obviously she said “yes”, however we didn’t get married. It took me another seven and a half years to actually pull my finger out and start organising our big day.

In October 2012 I made a call to the Ceremony Room at the Cleethorpes Town Hall to see if it was available for a date in June 2013, it was! So I booked it.

Then disaster struck.

On the day we were going to announce our big day to the world my better half received the devastating news that her Granddad had passed away.  It would be ill-timed and inconsiderate to announce our happy occasion on the back of such terrible news so we delayed the announcement until a more appropriate time.

On the day after the funeral we decided it would be a good time to tell the families. Sadie’s parents have been dragged backwards through hell and back these past few years so naturally they were over the moon with the news. I think their exact words were “it’s about time we had some good news”. Sadie’s parents are two of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing and I’m proud and delighted to soon become their son-in-law. In fact I’ve known my future mother-in-law eleven years longer than I’ve known Sadie, she was one of the dinner ladies at the secondary (high) school I attended back in the 1990s.

Then we began in earnest the task of finding our reception venue. We visited several locations around North East Lincolnshire before deciding upon a fantastic hotel on the outskirts of Grimsby. It even had its own ceremony room!

“Ring Ring. Hello Cleethorpes Town Hall? Yes we want to change our wedding venue. Yes we still want the registrar but she’s now coming to marry us at a hotel instead of your tiny ceremony room. An extra hundred quid? Oh okay, if you must. Thank you. Bye.”

No that wasn’t the actual dialogue, we spoke to them face-to-face but you get the general idea. We’ve now booked this hotel for the entire day, ceremony, formal dinner, reception, evening do, the full works.

Then I went into hospital.

Fast forward two months and I’m well on my way to recovery. During this time Sadie bought her dress and shoes, booked the photographer, designed and created the invitations and booked the wedding car. I’m still to find the suits for myself, my soon-to-be father-in-law and my best man and I still need to book the videographer. Together we’re still to find the rings, order the cake and flowers and Sadie and her maid-of-honour (my niece Amy) still need to find her dress.

Another couple of weeks of recovery time and I should be fit enough to go suit hunting and as I type this Sadie and her mother are looking at the websites of local wedding cake makers.

So there’s still plenty of work to go before we’re ready for the big day but we’re loving every minute of it. It wouldn’t be a typical Spate wedding unless some things were left to the last minute.