Tales of an understated blogger

To say I’m useless at blogging is an understatement. It’s so understated it’s underwhelming. It’s been over a month and a half since my last blog post because, well, I just haven’t been doing anything interesting. Unless you count my new job of course.

For those of you who know me personally you’ll be aware that I got a (kind of) promotion at my day job. For the past year I’ve been a casual front-of-house staff member at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone which pays the bills as I’ve not been earning much recently as a filmmaker. You don’t get paid until the film’s released and it’s going to be another year before we’ll be in a position to sell feature film number two. I’ll explain my lack of income from feature film number one later.

Last month I got a new salaried position as Visitor Experience Assistant, my photo is on the website and everything! Basically if it’s to do with visitors to the Creative Foundation and any of its projects – including the Quarterhouse, Folkestone Triennial and the Creative Quarter – I’m your man (along with four others and a manager of course). Sounds fun eh? Except one of my tasks today was to stand in the male toilets and time the automatic flushes of the urinals. Don’t ask.

Since I had major surgery on my chest a few years back my belly has been growing, I look pregnant! To the person who says I don’t, YES I DO! You know who you are! 🙂 So to counteract it I’ve started playing football again. I used to play regularly until I started my film course at university in 2009, I was in a 5-a-side team called the Grimsby Misfits who finished the season just one solitary point above the bottom of the table and that was due to us and the bottom team, Grimsby Old Boys, facing each other in the final game. We beat them 1-0 thanks to a goal by our ace 19-goal-a-season striker, my brother-in-law Norman Connor. I played mainly in defence and was the only player on our team never to score a goal. We took part in a charity football tournament and I scored my only goal of my amateur football career in the semi-final… except the final whistle blew literally as the ball crossed the line so the goal was disallowed. We lost 2-1. Previous to that I played very briefly with the Grimsby Town Youths and then the fans’ team, the InToNet Mariners. Playing football again has given me so much more stamina in just a few weeks. Not in any team, not in any tournament, just me and some mates having a kickaround on the village green in Capel-le-Ferne.

So onto that lack of film money. My friend Steve, writer and director of the movies I have been and am working on, signed a contract for Christmas Slay with a film distribution company based in Florida, USA. As it was his first contract he signed it straight away without reading the small print. NOTE: ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT. The contract gave them exclusive global rights to the movie in all formats for a period of seven years starting from the day it was signed. Also hidden in that contract was a small part which stated that although we will get 70% of all profits they do not have to pay us a penny (or a dime) until the end of that contract. So in July 2022 we’ll get a nice payday but it means we’ll be struggling until then, or until we finish our next movie and either self-distribute or READ THE SMALL PRINT before signing another distribution deal.

I’m thinking of starting a blog series about Football Manager. When I’m not working, filming, playing my guitar or playing football I’m playing FM18. I have been since those early Championship Manager days. I’m faced with a dilemma though, should I start it now or wait until FM19 is out in a few months?

And I’m still no closer to relaunching my YouTube channel.

A frustratingly unproductive day

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.

Happy New Year

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.

In addition to the film projects I’m relaunching The Gaz & Gaz Show podcast after a seven year hiatus. News on this will be available by the end of January as we’re still in the planning and preparation stages for this.

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.

So, Happy New Year! I hope it’s fun and prosperous and enjoy the ride!

Since when did more equal less?

I don’t understand the logic of many Americans. Their “solution” to prevent further mass shootings like Sunday’s Orlando massacre is to put more guns on the street.

I much prefer the British solution. 20 years ago we had the Dunblane massacre. The British Government brought in tough gun controls immediately afterwards and we’ve had no massacres since.

Guns are made to kill people. Lots of Americans are being killed by sick people with guns. Only in the USA would you believe it’s safer to give more people more guns (and high calibre guns too!)

It’s a bit like giving a morbidly obese person more cake to stop them from eating cake…

Unlocking the Twat of the Week

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!

Goodnight Grandma

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

A healthy concoction

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.

New beginnings

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.

Wedding bells in the air

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.

A protracted recovery

On December 11th 2012 I let a bloke in a mask cut me open and break my ribs. OK it’s not quite as simple as that, I had major surgery to correct Pectus Excavatum. Pectus Excavatum is a rib deformity where the sternum and ribs sink into the chest, the exact opposite of a pigeon chest (Pectus Carinatum) where the ribs stick out. It can affect one or both sides of the ribcage. In my case it affected mainly the right side, asymmetrical PE.

The surgery consisted making a six inch vertical incision on my chest, cutting out the costal cartilage on ten ribs, removing the sternum and replacing it in a different position and holding it in place with a metal bar before stitching and gluing me back together again while at the same time pump me full of pain-relieving drugs.

Feel sick yet?

It’s now seven and a half weeks since my surgery at the Castle Hill Hospital and I’m still on the very long road to recovery. As you can imagine this is a major procedure and it has on average taken patients up to three months to recover, most patients however are just 16 years old.

I’m double that age!

At 31 years old the healing process is taking a lot longer than what it would take a 16 year old, the cartilage takes longer to regrow and my bones are more solid so naturally it’s also more painful. I’m also experiencing unusual aches and pains in my kidneys and liver. At my six-week post-op check-up the doctor said this is probably due to them now having more room to move around as the ribs and sternum have been raised slightly, previously they were squashed up at the bottom of the ribcage. I’m having a CT Scan at the local hospital tomorrow so we’ll find out for certain if this is the case or if I do have knackered kidneys and liver.

In the seven weeks since I was discharged from the hospital I’ve gained a stone in weight as my movement is so severely restricted. Most of my trousers no longer fit me as that extra weight has given me a bulbous stomach.

I look like I’m nine months pregnant!

I’m not allowed to lift anything for three months, I can’t do much exercise other than lift my arms up and rotate them to stop the shoulders seizing up and breathing exercises to gradually increase chest movement. Another 5-6 weeks and I should be able to start lifting things again but I have a feeling – as does the hospital doctor – that it may be another 2-3 months before I should be lifting simple things like a half-full kettle. At the moment I can only lift the kettle if there’s enough water in it for just one cup of tea, anymore than that and it’s too heavy and causes pain. Even with just a small amount of water it’s painful when I tilt the kettle to pour the water into the cups. Yes I am being serious, the doctor really did tell me not to lift a kettle so of course I’m milking it, makes a nice change to be sat on my backside and have other people make all my cuppas.

At times though I do regret going through with the surgery but later I look in the mirror and see how much better my chest looks and I realise that when I’ve recovered it will be well worth it. My only concern at the moment is that there are still sunken parts on my upper chest but the doctor says this is simply because the cartilage is missing so there’s nothing for the flesh to rest on. When the cartilage grows back the sunken parts should disappear. The doctor is very happy with the visible results, only time will tell if the cartilage fuses back to the ribs and sternum properly although apparently there is a 97% success rate.

97% is pretty good, right?

Only 3 in 100 will need further surgery – they’re the lucky ones as they get to have the epidural again and not have to just rely on oral medication. I loved it with the epidural in my back, I didn’t feel a thing, as soon as they removed it (48 hours post-op)  I was in agony and I’m still in pain today!

I was supposed to be at a wedding today, it’s the special day of the mother of my big brother Kelvin (yes he’s my half brother and yes he has a silly name), but I was unable to attend due to the pain I’ve been in over the past 24 hours. I believe I twisted my upper body in my sleep, something I really shouldn’t be doing – and while awake I’m unable to do as it’s far too painful. The metal bar is holding my sternum rigid and slight twisting of my body causes the bar to dig in to my ribs which in turn causes so much pain.

My first major test in my recovery will come next Thursday as I attend the funeral of my partner’s Grandfather who passed away last Saturday. To date the only time I’ve been out of the house is to attend doctors’ appointments (every ten days for repeat prescriptions for pain medication), one journey to Castle Hill Hospital hospital (an hour’s drive away) for my six-week check-up and one painful 2 minute walk to the fish & chip shop. This will be my first all-day thing which doesn’t include a doctor.