Thursday, 22 November 2012

Want a Caring Society? Privatise the Public Sector.

Now I know what's coming, the usual tirade about the private sector being evil, putting money above all else and anybody working in it, is someone who's likely to sell their own grandmother, if it would make them a quid or two.

 The cry in defense of not privatising will be, only the fluffy public sector will care for our elderly, house our poor and look after our children.

 But we all know that is just not true.

 Anybody that's had any dealing with the public sector of late, whether it be a job centre, benefits office, local authority or social services will alert you to this.

 The immediate reaction when you mention privatisation is statements like: “What about A.T.O.S, that's a private company making money from inflicting the misery on disabled Britain's by forcing them off benefits. That's what your privatisation does.” Well, no, it doesn't. You see the problem with A.T.O.S and all other private organisations that are commissioned to run government schemes is that they end up acting and behaving just as if they were the public sector.

 And that's why I genuinely believe that the privatisation of the entire sector is the only way to go.

You see, people in the Public Sector just don't care. It's cultural, it's embedded in every organisation, like words through a stick of rock, the notion of doing the right thing has been either kicked or eroded out of them. Replaced instead with the type of people whose primary interest is job protection & their own salaries, rather than concern for the people they are paid to serve.

 Spend anytime in the waiting room of Westminster Council homeless help centre and you'll see what I mean. No understanding, no compassion. They behave as if they were child soldiers, programmed to kill without guilt or remorse. Ignoring the pleas of hard working mothers on the edge of eviction, to turn away and talk about what happened on X-Factor on Saturday.

 So, it really should come as no surprise when those kind of services are commissioned out to the private sector, that nothing really changes other than (theoretically) reduced cost.

The contracts are drafted by the Public Sector, the measures of success created and monitored by the Public Sector, many of the employees will come from the Public Sector and the whole thing is paid for by the Public Sector.

 So I'm not suggesting we privatise bits of it. I'm saying privatise it all.

 And not with monolith companies either.

For example, run every job centre as a franchise and make the measure of success based on customer satisfaction, not just outcomes.

 Don't think of conglomerate businesses in the private sector, think about chefs, artists, musicians, painters, film-makers, who are all part of that very same sector.

Think about the commitment and passion they invest in their work, the sacrifices they make to produce something great.

 Remember that amazing service you received from a waitress that's probably not even making minimum wage or the trouble your local dry cleaner went to, to ensure that annoying stain was removed and wouldn't dream of making any extra charge for it and you'll start to see what I mean.

 I worked in what was then the D.H.S.S. (or Dole office if you'd prefer) in Cardiff when I was 17/18 and was ostricised for not joining the local trade Union. I was earning more money than some of my friends parents who lived in my home town in the Welsh Valleys. I was on flexi-time so could come in and go pretty much as I pleased, had an index linked pension, guaranteed sick pay and holidays only teachers dream of, all for doing a job a lobotomised monkey could have done in its sleep.

 There was no rhyme or reason for me joining a union. But still, grown “adults” sent me to Coventry and wouldn't speak to me for weeks in the hope they could bully me into becoming one of them.

I didn't acquiesce.

 I was concerned for my claimants, the people who came into my office in need of help. It was they that mattered,

I'd been on the other side of that bazooka proof plastiglass and knew exactly what it felt like, but I was very much in the minority. In an office of 300 people there was only one other who thought and behaved like me. Thankfully, he'd been doing the job for years and between us, we'd often side step some ludicrous blockage to someone getting their benefits, by finding some obscure law, long buried in the regulations, so we could apply common sense rather than just follow policy.

 The last straw came when my Manager (SEO) said I should tell my claimants their cheques were in the post, 4 weeks into one of the biggest postal strikes on record, with post boxes nailed up and cheques siting in our finance office, all because he wanted to avoid the additional paperwork created by handing them over at the counter. I simply walked out of the building and never returned.

 These attitudes have not only not been eradicated, they have worsened over the past 25 years. They are embedded and they are cultural and to eradicate them, we have to change the culture of the organisation and the only way to do that, is start afresh.

 I work in the private sector, I have two film & TV production companies, one for profit and one not-for-profit. And all the people I work with are never interested in money. They do it for the love of the work and in the hope you can make something great. Some even end up forking out their own cash (as do I) to get involved. They are talented, hardworking and committed to improving society through television or film.

 This in stark contrast to the people I have to deal with in the Public Sector. Whether it was the ICO (information commissioners office) taking a year to get Equifax to put right an error on my credit file or Companies House, who failed to get a signature for a recorded letter but continued to act as if they had and suspended my bank account. Everyone's got a hundred stories of dispassion, failure and upset caused by the public sector. Equally, we've all got a hundred stories of people going out their way in the private sector, heres a couple of mine from the past week:

 Katie a waitress at the restaurant Giraffe on Southbank, London, epitomised the difference beautifully. I regularly go in for a Breakfast Special (£5 breakfast selection and a drink) and last Monday was no exception. Unfortunately they had changed the menus and the offer was no longer running. Katie could have easily just informed me of this and forced me to pay the full price (£10). You know the public sector would have done. But she didn't. She went to great lengths to offer me what I'd came in for, side stepping computer systems that wouldn't allow her to put through the deal. She wasn't of the ilk “Computer says no!” oh no. She was “screw the computer, I'm in charge here, I have the power”. Was it against company policy, probably, but what was the end result. I got what I came in for, so I was happy, she got a very pleased customer, so she was happy and Giraffe will be talked about all over town, have my continued custom for life and they'll be happy.

Access storage on hearing I was in hospital and struggling to sort out payments, just suspended them for 3 months, then froze the fees so I didn't get any increases. This is a so called money grabbing business, heartless.

 Yet at the same time I was being treated appallingly by Social Workers & staff in the hospital who were allegedly trying to find me housing as I'd become wheelchair bound. Literally, at one point, just being abandoned on the street unable to move.

Involved were a Nursing Practitioner (earning £58,000 a year) a discharge co-ordinator manager (earning £48,000 a year) and Social Workers (all on salaries over £35,000 a year).

And just yesterday my friend Daphna posted this on her Facebook wall:

"Patient calling dentist: "sorry I just discovered I will not be able to pay for the treatment we've schedualed for today until the next months maybe we should delay the appointment till next month? Dentist: "That's alright, the important thing is that we get that treatment done, sort us out when you can. Do not worry about it" Dr. Vicky Lee, Primrose Hill. Who brought that angel into my life?"

So even in the privatised world of medicine, we are seeing more and more good people than in the public sector.

My brother is a dentist, an excellent one in fact (and no I'm not biased), so good in fact, that he could no longer afford to be an NHS dentist. He'd taught his patients how to look after their teeth, through children's programs, lessons with hygienist etc. and most of his patients don't need treatment.

Rather than be rewarded for these huge savings and community benefits though, the NHS only pays for treatments. So it's not in the interest of an NHS Dentist to offer you good oral care, which may explain the giving of sugar infested lollipops if you got an all clear when you were a child?

So isn't it time we encouraged the caring society, gave great service in all our deliveries and have the users satisfaction above that of incoherent policy. For that, we must privatise the entire public sector and instil the customer focus we are so used to in the best of what the private sector has to offer.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Thanks to chef Mark on The Yacht for providing the Strawberries & cream & Bubbly whilst Ponni Arumugam & I watched Murray win @Wimbledon!
Yesterday saw end of an era. Not with a bang but a whimper. Time to look to future & better times. Happy 4th July to all American friends!
Sadly @TomsKitchens Eggs Benedict not a patch on @TheWolseleyRest aurant. Can any restaurant in London beat them?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

If you haven't heard about my friend Sara Fazlali's new spy venture "Secret Me" check out GQ & try get an invite
If you haven't heard about my friend Sara Fazlli's new spy venture "Secret Me" check out GQ & try & get an invite
Barbecue lunch outside in the rain at Gordon's Wine bar, listening to amazing Choirs & Brass Bands playing at Victoria Embankment Bandstand.

Monday, 2 July 2012

I hope the weather conditions for our @London2012 Olympic Rehearsals doesn't reflect the actual night. Though we are now ready for anything

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Great meeting Royal Editor, Robert Jobson, on The Yacht on Friday, before dining with Friends @NouraRestaurant

Saturday, 30 June 2012

@Wimbledon Has there ever been a more nail biting finish to a game with the clock ticking down, congratulations Andrew Murray superb tennis!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Amazing belated Birthday dinner @MaroushV Lebanese restaurant, on Edgware Road, thanks to Alison Gaumont. Try the Shawarma Chicken with veg.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fantastic monthly members night on The Yacht London, involving live music, dance, food & bourbon tasting session!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The only upside of a CFS crash day - the ability to watch the first day of @Wimbledon Tennis Championship on @BBC, with no guilt whatsoever!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

10 hour rehearsal for @London2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies today. Scary, exciting & surrounded by some amazingly great people - don't miss
Sanne Wonderkicks 30th birthday party at @VortexJazz in Hackney, made special by the weather staying nice & the crazy table tennis players??
I cannot speak Lithuanian, but I was able to make a friend's Mother ooh & ah with excitement, with a tour of London in my @Mini convertible!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Screams emanating from Kristina Vesetaite, proves that the original Jaws (1977) film still as powerful on big screen as when it was released
Huge thank you to all London Bus Drivers who've taken day off today. Never easier to get around my city, please don't come back! #BusStrike

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Another Closing Ceremony rehearsal for the @London2012 Olympic Games. Team has truly bonded (following a visit to the pub) & moving as one:)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cristina Keech & I, very impressed with what's on offer @SouthbankCentre, especially @NationalTheatre's Propstore

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Back from rainy Wales to a glorious sunny day on Thames on The Yacht. Contemplating a summer party in August anyone around in London then?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Son gave me best Father's Day ever. Gift (he painted himself), GTA China Town on his iPad & Risky Business on DVD

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Son, Charles Atherton-Laurie impresses in Cardiff, starting to read James Joyce's Ulysses to celebrate Blooms Day

Friday, 15 June 2012

More rehearsals for @London2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony today. Amazing team of people & children are stunningly good to (made us work hard)
Friend, comedian & actress Lizzie Roper doing a fantastic job on BBC3's #DeadBoss series as Top Dog - do watch!
Laurent Perrier Bar at Harvey Nichols with Harriet Olaleye. One of the best bars on the circuit, even today - many a night lost @HN5thFloor

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Thanks Ponni Arumugam for the visit to The Big Roof Top Tea & Golf Party at the top of @Selfridges - good cheese!
Amazed a piece of art 12 year old son Charles Atherton-Laurie helped produce (Inflate II) is hanging at 2012 Summer Exhibition @RoyalAcademy
@RoyalAcademy of Arts Restaurant resulted in an amazing desert surprise, Chocolate & Pistachio cake - not on menu

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Another adventure with Kristina Vesetaite which resulted in me doing her hair & make-up this time. All improves my metro-sexual credentials.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Screen 1 of @RitzyCinema probably the best independent screen in London. Even made Prometheus thorouhly watchable

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wishing my Mother, Betty Toy, a very Happy 85th Birthday today. She's been the strength behind my drive since she picked me to be her son:)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

More rehearsals for @London2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies. It's all looking fantastic & tickets are on sale now!
Great exhibition "Brains" @ExploreWellcome Collection with Deborah Collins. This poster had us both in hysterics!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Drinks on The Yacht with the delectable Kristina Vesetaite. Got a quick eyebrow plucking, which was unexpected but welcome (not a euphemism)

Friday, 8 June 2012

@PrimoBarLondon at Park Plaza Hotel amazing views of Westminster Palace & having friend, Stoya Pasiana, work there, makes for a great night!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pondering if any of my friends aren't in the middle of breakups, health scares or emotional breakdowns. Be nice to hear from you for change?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

10 years ago friend Colin Ngan & I, took a stroll off spec to Buckingham Palace to watch Concorde & Red Devils do fly by - amazing memories!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Loving #BBC4 reminiscing about 1977, the great John Cooper Clark performing "Evidently Chicken Town" highlight!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

In 1977 the highlights of the Jubilee for me were, getting kissed, tasting alcohol & great street party. 35 years later - nothings changed!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Great dinner with Robin & Gill, finally managed to finish the vintage Grappa, nice but still can't feel my tongue

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sometimes the words to express your gratitude for the support you get from friends, just aren't sufficient, but thank you Caroline Heatlie.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Meeting with Australian journalist & author Lynne O'Donnell discussing her time in War Zones & High Tea in Mosul.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Smoking Romeo y Julieta cuban cigar on very spot Winston Churchill smoked his. Launch of The Yacht's Cigar Club.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

David Fairman's 65th Birthday Party was a stunning affair at The Chelsea Arts Club. Old friends, wine & canapes.
First Pimms Cocktail of season, with amazing actress @KarinaCornell, in the sunny beer garden of @crowngreyhound pub, Dulwich @Pimms_oClock!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Early evening walk down the Regents canal through Hackney Marshes with Rita Abreu sharing ideas about creativity!
Late afternoon nibbles & drinks Al-Fresco in courtyard of the Italian Restaurant Amici. Amazing Aperol spritzers
The @Kennington Village Fete was surprisingly good. Sublime opera performances &made to dress as District Judge thanks to Nichola Hartwell!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Stunning summer walk through Regents Park, rounded off with Rag Time at Open Air Theatre perfect date #OATragtime
Perfect London date for a foreigner, should always start with champagne lunch, on beautifully sunny Primrose Hill for the best skyline views
More rehearsals for closing ceremonies for the @London2012 Olympics. The opening will be the biggest spectacle the closing the biggest party

Friday, 25 May 2012

The first interviews for Making of DVD for our feature film Vigilia. Director Amanda Baker & I discussing first stages of the film process!
Looking forward to see what Andy Francis of E-style comes up with for redesign of my websites - great company & creative ideas @estyle_Andy

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Meetings on the stern of The Yacht, in the open air with Wifi & virgin cocktails, make office based work far more pleasant than being inside
Enlightening meeting with Joe Twyman, pollster @YouGov, discussing research into attitudes to Rape & Justice, in regards to our film Vigilia

Monday, 21 May 2012

As many know my amazing mother, Betty Toy suffers with Alzheimer's. Please share this for Dementia Awareness Week
In 1 year, 2 Apple Laptops stolen, 2 Apple Computers hard drives fail & 1 Powerbook just refuses to boot, time to go back to PCs @MacRumours

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Impress Lithuanian sociologist Kristina Vesetsita by quick trip to @Oxo_Tower, some of best views & cocktails (mines a Press Gang) in London

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Having been on set of Tim Burton's film "Dark Shadows" on backlot @PinewoodStudios. Nice to see it on big screen.
Great to see Sarah Soetaert back as Roxy Hart in Musical @ChicagoLondon - made my 40th Birthday by singing to me Marilyn Monroe + JFK style!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

For those of you who didn't catch my letter in the Evening Standard on Mayoral results day, you can find it here.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Rebecca Taffs @KettnersLondon shows manager, Caroline (who nearly lost our custom), how to treat patrons who'd been using venue for 15 years
My dear friend & bon vivant, Carole Stone, bids her friends & club members a fond farewell as she leaves for pastures new. An amazing woman.
Director Amanda Baker, putting her mark on our feature film Vigilia (written by @RhiPratchett) by inserting @BBCNewsnight scene with Paxman
Yet more good news for film industry now the grown-ups are back in power & the @BFI have been given back control.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

2nd rehearsal for role in Closing Ceremonies for @London2012 Olympic Games. Very happy to learn I get to wear hat - that was a deal breaker!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Superb exhibition @TateBritain, Picasso & Modern British Art. A composite of my 17 years of London Gallery visits. Moore, Bacon, Hockney etc

Friday, 11 May 2012

Thanks to the amazing @SamandMEblog for reminding that it's M.E. awareness week, a disease I've had over 20 years
Lunch with the delectable Sarah Lloyd-Hughes at Pancras Grand. Cannot wait to do public speaking course with her

Thursday, 10 May 2012

1st rehearsal for my role in the Closing Ceremonies for @London2012 Olympic Games last night. Amazing team of people to work with & such fun
18. Travel back to Wales, with hugely impressed son, after impromptu, surprise day out in Dublin. Return to London to collapse - The End!
17. Get back to Wexford to discover everything booked. Find nice concierge @WhitesofWexford Hotel - to sort out stay in sister hotel nearby
16. Complete day with trip to Wax Museum @waxplus learn about Irish Uprising, Irish writers & use recording equipment used by Paolo Nutini.
15. 17:55 need to get to an Exhibit for 6pm (15 min walks away) Son Charles gets CityTour Driver whose finished his shift to taxi us there.
14. Visit @stpatrickscath edral & Walk down the river Liffey to crossover Ha'penny Bridge & past Jameson Whisky Distillery for photographs.
13. Visit @NMIreland National Museum of Ireland's Natural History & Archaeology. Son impresses knowing "Irish People call this the Dead Zoo"
12. Visit The @ScienceGallery at Trinity College & discover if you're really happy, via a series of experiments, set in a pop-up laboratory.
11. Take in the amazing stained glass windows of @BewleysIreland Cafe on Grafton Street & impress son by singing Bob Geldof's hit Rat-Trap!
10. Have amazing Green Cod & Duck Fat Chips with Virgin Cocktails at newly opened restaurant @BITEdublin with Irish Friends Rachel & David.
9. Photo taken with Molly Malone & visit Trinity College Dublin @tcddublin, persuade 12 year old son, this is something he should aspire to
8. Take a break on O'Connell Street with an amazing Hot Chocolate from Cafe Carlo, though you might have to wait
7. Take in @GuinnessIreland, @DublinZoo, @Dubliniaviking, @IMMAIreland & Kilmainham Gaol, on Dublin City Bus Tour
6. Start day with Irish Breakfast before finding open-top bus tour of Dublin with CitySightSeeing to get bearings
5. Arrive in Dublin, walk to B&B's one perfect room available in @HotelOSheas. Order son perfect pint of Guinness & listen to Irish music.
4. Get to Wexford, 2 minutes to spare for bus to Dublin, still no Euros. Another lovely driver even stops at shop for us enroute @Wexfordbus
3.Arrive at Rosslare dock 5 minutes to spare to catch bus to Wexford but no Euros. Find great bus driver who takes sterling @buseireanndeals
2. Drive to Pembroke, with no knowledge of boat times, to arrive just in time to catch the only ferry of the day @Irish_Ferries to Rosslare.
Steps to take 12 year old child to @VisitDublin for a day. 1: Take Charles Atherton-Laurie to ensure perfect weather regardless of forecasts

Monday, 7 May 2012

Atherton(-Laurie) boys, took Ireland by storm & are on tiumphant return to Pembroke, aboard ferry Isle of Inishmore - full details to follow

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Making my first ever trip to Ireland with son, Charles Atherton-Laurie. On Ferry to Rosslare. Beautiful day,calm sea. Any tips when we land?
Pleased @BorisJohnson scraped through to remain The Mayor of London (albeit far to close), city won't be in financial melt down on my return

Friday, 4 May 2012

If you're in London, pick up a copy of Evening Standard & check out my letter on pg. 55 "The Barriers to Adoption"
Film, The Avengers Assemble, a nicely made Hollywood romp from favorite director, Joss Whedon, no Serenity though
MD, Barry Basset at camera hire company @VMItv epitomises all that's great in film industry - true collaborator

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Writer @RhiPratchett based the vigilante group in our feature film Vigilia on actual Indian Gulabi Gang. Inspired

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

With the voting for #LondonMayor due to start tomorrow. Have the bookies got it right for @BorisJohnson to win it

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hoping big brother, Richard Toy, had amazing Birthday yesterday, wherever he was? It's the big one next year I think - unless he's hidden:)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Superb performances by volunteer cast of The Vagina Monolouges (especially friend Ciara Morrin) raising funds for Bede House Refuge & Haiti!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Deborah Collins & I pleasantly surprised by excellent performances in Moon on a rainbow shawl at National Theatre

Friday, 27 April 2012

Working with Director, Amanda Baker, on what type of Saree one of our characters wears, in feature film Vigilia. Great learning experience
Working with Director, Amanda Baker, on what type of Sahree one of our characters wears, in feature film Vigilia. Great learning experience.
Tamara Thomas's Birthday party was an excellent affair at the Waterway pub, Maida Vale. Canals, barges, good company, excellent food & wine!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Revisiting great 1990 satirical news series "Drop The Dead Donkey" reminds me nothing changes, NHS, Budget, etc.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Captain Phil Morris of The Yacht London, hosted a superb members night, selecting fine wines for the Queens Jubilee Dinner. It's a hard life
Dentist, Chris Parte, gave me much hope, that he maybe able to glue my broken tooth back together & keep my smile

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

In front of a select audience, Carole Stone very funny, reprising her stand-up comedy routine from Funny Women,

Monday, 23 April 2012

Discovered toothfairy no longer visits - with inflation was expecting £50, which would have gone some way to repairing the now absent tooth!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

To all friends running to support their cause or charity in the London 2012 Marathon today. I wish you well & hope you have an enjoyable day
Visited the superb Everyman Maida Vale Cinema, thanks to amazing manager, Tumi Itholeng, to watch appalling film, Salmon Fishing in Yemen.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Thanks to the wonderful crew of The Yacht London for looking after me so well today, feel another party coming on

Friday, 20 April 2012

Carole Stone's YouGov "London's next Mayor" debate, not even Labour voters want Ken Livingstone in & most liked Boris Johnson lift outburst!
Met Graeme Croton for first time, impossible not to admire him. Honour to assist with his Aspergers film project.
Most enlightening debate at Westminter's House of commons committee rooms “Ways to Reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process” - we're done!
Nothing better than home cooked food thanks to Nichola Hartwell & showing the amazing James Earl Jones interview!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

I've been X-Rayed, ECG'd & had more blood sucked out of me than episode of True Blood at St. Thomas' Hospital - better be something serious!
The delightful Harriet Olaleye comes to the rescue for last minute drinks in the BFI. Nothing better than catching up with long term friends

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Sadly an excellent 6 month relationship with @tunehotelsUK Westminster branch, ends abruptly with the new manager Shadan Gurses taking over
@tunehotelsUK Westminster Branch. Sadly an excellent relationship with a brand, abruptly ended with new manager Shadan Gurses taking over:(
@tunehotelsUK Westminster Branch. Staff & Managers are fantastic. Service well beyond their budget prices. 1 Star prices - 5 star beds:)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Inequality in pay, men earn more than women at Equalities Commission. If you didn't laugh, you would have to cry!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

@InuaEllams greatest storyteller & had the pleasure to meet him. Black T-Shirt Collection at the National Theatre

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Come on Postmaster, Seabass, Shakalakboombom, Swing Bill & Tatenen. Getting ready to race at Grand National Horse Race with Ponni Arumugam
Missing dutch friends Dirk van der Velden & Christina Jansen at Holland House festival in Trafalgar Square today
Friday night, sipping cocktails on the lounging deck of The Yacht, with two wonderful women - millionaire lifestyle, on a penniless life:)
Damien Hirst's show at Tate Modern, made extra special by friend, Deborah Collins, having seen Sensations at RA!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sitting across from actress Tyne Daley & family at Canteen on the Southbank. Wasn't fan of Cagney & Lacey, but loved her in TV series Burned

Thursday, 12 April 2012

True friends are amazing. Even if a year has passed, it can seem as if it was only yesterday. Thanks to Marion Geisler, my hospital saviour!
On hunt for lawyer who has dealt with rape cases, who can check the accuracy of a court scene in our feature film Vigilia, anybody know one?
"In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman" If Karina Cornell starts political party I'll run

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Always struggled to understand how NHS nursing became so uncaring. This should be the primary focus of NHS debate
Missing son Charles Atherton-Laurie hugely. Unusual to not spend the Easter Break with him in London, but this year he chose a school trip.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

I hope everybody has had a Happy Easter, gorged on chocolate, drunk good wine & been surrounded by great friends. I raise a glass to you all

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Most interesting Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race in over a decade. Cabmbridge wins easily after the restart but should it have been theres?

Friday, 6 April 2012

Note to self. Feature film Vigilia, great idea. but it does allow Director to force me into strange sexual positions for storyboard artist?
Still savouring the Gosset Champagne tasting on Members night on The Yacht. I'd go for the Grande Reserve Brut.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Thanks to all those involved, for the amazing work put into this filmic trailer, for friend's restaurant Angelus

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Reading the New Yorker in a cafe in Brixton, is a bit like reading the Sun in The British Library, You'll look out of place either way:))
An evening with friend, film & theatre critic, royal commentator & PR Man, Richard Fitzwilliams, always tunes my encyclopedic film knowledge
Final musical touches to the Angelus Trailer with friend & composer Damian Coldwell. French silent movie score to St. Germain style jazz.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Give me somewhere to sleep (Car), somewhere to work (Yacht) & surround me with talent (Damian, Catarina & Xian) & I can accomplish greatness

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Celebration concert for David Fanshawe (1942 -2010) father of my dear friend Rachel, Royal Festival Hall tonight
Chocolate Festival on the Southbank is well worth a visit - try the delicious chocolate chili by Teabag Chihuahua
Unimpressed by forced trip to St. Thomas' Hospital, nasty reaction to something I ate, Huge thanks to Deborah Collins for keeping cool head.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Getting used to doing my film producing on the decks of The Yacht; sunshine, wifi & screwdrivers. Working should always be this pleasureable

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Jamon croquetas with tomato mayonnaise & Buckwheat ravioli with Swiss chard, absolute musts at Aurelia Restaurant
Love it when a glass, turns into a bottle, turns into a dinner, turns into a night - thanks to Ponni & Jennette for an impromptu at Aurelia

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Ideas for tagline for our film Vigilia "Do what is right & do it now" as said by Virgina Apgar, seems appropriate.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Film, The Hunger Games, @RitzyCinema, which is still a great place. Girl kills for TV entertainment, Lord of the Flies for next generation?
Glad to be able to help Chris Gourlay get on BBC Radio 4's Today program. Excellent initiative worth your support
Met the amazing Richard Stoker at Dr. Bryant's spring party - regailing stories of working with Johnny Depp & co!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cinema followed by Art & finally a romantic night time stroll along the River Thames.
Love the fact London just decided to ignore the clocks going forward an hour last night; places supposed to be open at 09:00 opened at 10:00

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Alighiero Boetti Exhibition at Tate Modern clearly not a sellout show, some interesting pieces nonetheless, but not for the entrance fee
Film, Carancho at Renoir Curzon Cinema, is reminiscent of 21 Grams, but has some comic relief. Thanks Yvonne Brown & have a Happy Birthday!
During research into Free Schools, came across Local Schools Network website, anti idea, but read to believe; Mad

Friday, 23 March 2012

First Hyde Park, then passed St. James's, finally settled on the River Thames. No better place on the planet than London in spring sunshine.
Night out in Groucho Club, celebrating success of producer Soraya Miam, loads of anecdotes, too long for a tweet!
Director of Investigative Journalism Rosie Waterhouse, persuaded me to write about experience of growing up in Wales under Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Chris Gourlay of Spacehive proving that local communities can come together & raise £1/4 million to improve lot

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

If anybody has attempted to contact me by phone today, apologies for not getting back to you, It's temporarily out of order - back tomorrow!
Thanks to everybody who attended my birthday party last night (over 150) & the texts, cards, tweets, facebook messages but especially kisses

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hair by Gavin at Adee Phelan, Clothes by Marco at Energis & Spencer Hart, Saville Row, Hat from Locks. Penniless, off to party on The Yacht!
I am the penniless millionaire. Sitting outside Angelus in the sunshine for my Birthday Brunch. Eggs benedict & 1st champagne of the day.
I've been wished Happy Birthday in Dutch (twice), Spanish, German, Polish & English (though not Welsh yet) - I have such wonderful friends:)
Thanks my 12 year old son Charles Atherton-Laurie, for calling me & singing Happy Birthday. Couldn't have asked for a better start to my day

Monday, 19 March 2012

Manager, Arron Dorjbat, Tune Hotel, Westminster, offers 5 star service at 1 star prices, for anyone that's wondering where to stay in London
Watching the sunset over a London skyline from the Thames. Hope guests for my Birthday Party tomorrow, can make it around 18:00 to enjoy it.
Great news for the film industry as Ben Roberts from Protagonist is announced the new Director of BFI Film Fund,

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Walk in Greenwich Park & I see the masts of The Cutty Sark on the skyline. A constant reminder of how things can be rebuilt after disasters
Although my Mother is still alive, her Alzhiemers often means I don't see my Mum. But sending her all my love for a happy #Mothersday anyway

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Triple Crown, Grand Slam, RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship, Wales are forgiven for losing to England at home in my 21st year roll on year 44

Friday, 16 March 2012

@Benugo_BFI Bar, has best waiter in London in shape of Rosario. Mention my name if you ever go see a film at the NFT - he'll look after you
Views over London from 15th Floor (Heights) of St. Georges Hotel, with an early Birthday drink & BBC gossip thanks to (you know who you are)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Thanks to Rhianna Pratchett I'm reading the Vigilia film script for the 'nth time & still laughing out loud. "Vigilante Barbie" indeed:)
First ever TV production, Silent Voices, to be repeated on the Community Channel, tonight, shout if you catch it?
First production Silent Voices to be repeated on the Community Channel at 22:00 tonight Sky 539 • Virgin Media 233 • Freeview 87 • BT Vision

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Crossed swords with Lemm Sissay on TV on adoption last year. Nuts, but responses to his Guardian piece fantastic
Watched film, John Carter, ironically, with the special effects team in the audience, who'd come to see it for the first time @Ritzycinema

Monday, 12 March 2012

Doing research for our feature film Vigilia, has been enlightening, in how people can really affect social change

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Driving through the Chilterns in an open top care makes me want to campaign against HS2. Beautiful countryside, should be left unspoilt.
Son, Charles Atherton-Lauire watches Wales beat Italy from stands of the Millenium Stadium for the 2nd time, but this time Sadly without me!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

London proving it can still surprise me. Thanks to Carli De'la Hughes, Krissi Lucas & Sally Angel for a legendary night of coincidences.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Excellent opinions from friend Joy Carter on Radio 4's Today Program Black/White adoption, completely mirror mine

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Silent Voices, addresses Domestic Violence, on the Community Channel next week to mark International Women's Day

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

To mark International Women's Day, my domestic violence, docudrama, Silent Voices, on Community Channel next week

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Robert B Sherman with brother Richard wrote the soundtrack to my childhood (and my sons). R.I.P. Here's my London

Monday, 5 March 2012

Amazing work by editor Catarina Oliveira on Free School video for Katharine Birbalsingh thanks to all involved.
3 month stay in St. Thomas Hospital only 2 things kept me going @MediCinema & being interviewed for Sacred Cinema

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Play, Travelling Light, at Lyttleton Theatre in the NT, definitely worth a watch. Humble beginnings of filmmaking

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I'm living like the "Lincoln Lawyer" but the "Mini Producer" really doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?
Spring has definitely sprung in St. James's Park beautiful walk & even learnt something new, the Pelicans have been in residence since 1664!
Impossible to sit in the Riverfront Cafe at the BFI without remembering that scene from Four Weddings & a Funeral
Where to go to try the best food that whole of Wales has to offer? Why London, obviously, never need to leave:)
Some people just make you smile regardless. Thanks to Rachel Fanshawe for turning what could have been a disaster into a much better night.
Great to support Paul @Wiffen's CD Launch last night. But avoid 5 Cavendish Square as a venue like the plague - mismanagement & surly staff

Friday, 2 March 2012

A magically eerie London evening, Big Ben glinting through the mist & bumped into film director of Wall-E, Andrew Stanton at The Apple Store

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Annual admission, I was in fact, born in Wales. Happy St. Davids Day. Still a Londoner through & through though

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

American friend defines class - the Upper classes are honorable, the Middle Classes are decent, but doesn't understand the difference, sweet

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Finally sending out invites to ask friends to join me for drinks on The Yacht to celebrate my birthday - let me know if you don't get yours?
Not the most opportune moment to have to spend £600 repairing my Mini (a new Radiator). Let's hope that holds it for at least another year.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Only upside to a 5 hour wait in my Mini for RAC recovery. Catching friend Rhianna Pratchett on Radio 4's FrontRow
Doorman Neil at The Dorchester Hotel, extremely helpful, following my vehicle breakdown on Park Lane. Just showed how class outwieghs cash!
Friday evening, nothing was going to go right. Car breaks down, disocver RAC membership cancelled by mistake & a 5 hour wait for recovery

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Video shoot for restaurant Angelus, nothing better than working with really great talent in both Cameraman & Chef

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Led a group of UK students on EU program to Warsaw, many with no film experience, to produce this in just 5 days
Met with Chief Executive of the Big Society Network & friend Steve Moore, social video A Thousand Voices for a Broken System very much alive

Monday, 20 February 2012

Back to work on feature film Vigilia with director and friend Amanda Baker - starting on storyboards - work should always be this much fun.
Sometimes work should be all about just watching re-runs of Muppet Show, for research purposes only, obviously!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Revisiting the works of J.J. Abrams for research purposes including the TV Series Alias & film Mission Impossible III with Wanda Zalinski.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Son, Charles Atherton-Laurie, cooks fabulous last supper before return to Cardiff, homemade Vine tomatoe Pizza it's been a foodies half-term

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Son, Charles Sebastian Atherton-Laurie falls in love with David Hockney at Royal Academy, he uses iPad to paint.
Son, Charles Sebastain Atherton-Laurie falls in love with David Hockney at The Royal Academy - he uses his iPad
Son Charles, finds best place to get Hot Chocolate (with it's own mini ice Cream cone) Parlour @ Fortnum & Masons
Enjoying London with my son Charles, roof down, signing Naughty from the musical Matilda loudly - now everybody

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at The Mandarin Oriental, was given the thumbs up by son Charles, especially the Orange buttered loaf desert.
A quick trip to the Imagine Children's Festival on Southbank with son Charles. Confronted by very strange troupe
Son, Charles thanks Tumi Itholeng for electric lounge seats, Hot Chocolate brought to him & Hugo in 3D - Everyman Belsize best cinema ever!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Never more accomplished as a parent, introduced son, Charles Atherton-Laurie, to my childhood heroes, The Muppets
Son Charles, uses Gordon Ramsay's cookbook to produce his Valentines dinner for me & Tamara Thomas, Pasta with bacon & peas in a cream sauce
Son, Charles thoroughly enjoyed his lunch & private tour of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), thanks to amazing friend Tom Wakeley.
Son Charles, makes a good start to Valentines day by cooking me breakfast, free range egg, organic bacon & artisan brown toast. Very tasty!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Son Charles went shopping on his own & then cooked dinner (cheese & ham omelette followed by M&S Blood Orange & Chocolate Torte) very proud!
Son Charles, thought Robert Montgomery exhibition at KK Gallery, Hoxton was good, but liked outside works better
Staff at Hix Restaurant Soho, did a sterling job of impressing son, Charles Atherton-Laurie, excellent cocktails
A visit to Camden Market's Cyberdog surprised as son Charles, drew my attention to the pole dancing lingerie model!
12 year old son, Charles Atherton-Laurie, cooked Mattar Batata from scratch for guest Marigold & I, one of the best curries I've ever tasted

Sunday, 12 February 2012

After 5 years, Little Japan in Camden Market, still remains a favourite of my son Charles, healthy fast food & he gets to try before he buys
Son, Charles Atherton-Laurie hugely impressed with the London Book Barge even purchased a book with his own money

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Best way to visit Cardiff from London. Drive 3 hours collect son (Charles), return immediately, thus only spending 6 hours away from London.

Friday, 10 February 2012

BMW Tring Specialist Cars do a superb job for Mini's & make the customer service at 9 ELms Service Centre, look like staff at Fawlty Towers!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Great news, friend & photographer, Christina Jansen launches Muhamed Ali exhibition, for London 2012 Olympics
Pavlina Stoyanova & I both agree once famous Automat Diner, has passed it's sell by date, didn't even order, night saved by Fortnum & Masons
Working on our film Vigilia with Director Amanda Baker - but Apple Computers trying best to thwart all efforts with badly designed software.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Looking forward to seeing editor Catarina Oliveira's next cut of the Free School trailer with Toby Young, Katharine Birbalsingh & Kate Hoey
Hugely Unimpressed with Axa Insurance, tried to avoid responsibility by claiming my job sector not correct on original application - it was!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Should we read anything into the fact, Andrew Marr's BBC documentary on the Queen closed with the theme tune from the Da Vinci Code playing?
Should we read anything into the fact, Andrew Marr's documentary on the Queen, closed with the theme tune from the Da Vinci Code playing?
Thanks to assistance of Daniell Morrisey, finally got my application for BBC PresentAble program submitted, after problems with HR's website

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Film, Man on a Ledge, recycled ideas, hung together on a ludicrous plot. Heist audiences will probably love it - not one for the grown ups!
Adam Sanlder's latest fim "Jack & Jill" is not as bad as you'd expect. Al Pacino advertising Dunkin Donuts maybe worth price of admission

Friday, 3 February 2012

Brunch with Katharine Birbalsingh discussing the next progressions of my film about Free Schools. Just wish my son could attend her new one.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Trying to figure out how I can waste the time of Local Councils in the way they waste mine. Answers on a postcard please to you nearest LA

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Finally back in London. Even with the cold I love it. As Dr. Johnson famously said, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life".
A massive thank you to all my friends in the Welsh Valleys over the past week for all the support, especially Anne & Malcolm - life savers!
Watched great film "Wag The Dog" again, on TCM, reminded me why I loved PR & was the catclyst for me becoming a TV/Film Producer - be afraid

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Saddened to be missing John Odell's 40th Birthday Celebrations - sounds like an excellent evening will be had by all. Magic & Mayhem Party.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Finally, some good news. I've been selected to perform in a speciality role, in the closing ceremonies, of the London 2012 Olympic games!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dear friend, Yvonne Brown, makes the 12 Voices for 2012 in the Evening Standard - loking forward to her opinions

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I'm always amazed by my friends. Those that are suffering the worst plights & going through the hardest times are always the most supportive

Monday, 23 January 2012

Gung hei faat coi to all friends to whom those words have meaning & to all those born in the year of the dragon - hope your year is joyous!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Unimpressed that my Mini, who will be now known as Herbie, decided, without permission, to roll down a hill & kiss another car on the bumper

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Son, Charles Atherton-Laurie, stuns me whilst watching Simpsons on TV in Cardiff with the quote "That shot is from Edward Hopper's picture"!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Razia Ahmed did a stunning job of proving that a dinner party is not a dead tradition. Excellent company & superb food - perfect London host

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Le Gavroche restaurant still remains to be the best value lunch in London. Huge thanks to Nichola Hartwell for organising - exquisite food!
Meeting with friend & Producer Leo Wurm in the BFI was enlightening. Seems everyone wants to do co-productions in Poland, the land of film

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thierry Tomasin's legendary hospitality never fails to impress. Sharing a bottle of his own brand of Champagne at "Angelus" was astounding.

Monday, 16 January 2012

#BlueMonday, hardly, never felt more positive about the UK film Industry, the demise of UKFC now this, happy days
6 of my friends had a Birthday today. What the hell happens in May every year? All best wishes to Deepa, Julie, Lisa, Neeraj, Ian & Keisha

Sunday, 15 January 2012

When a brunch date rolls into afternoon tea you know you're in good company. Discussing new documentary ideas with friend Siobhan Kierans.
Beautiful London morning, only marred by fact that I wasn't woken up with a facial massage, which I've been getting used to after my party:)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Best party ever, at the Warwick on Whitehall. Thanks to all who turned up & made it such a special night. I have some truly amazing friends

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Revisiting some of my favourite films as research for putting the very final touches to the script for Vigilia -Fight Club & V for Vendetta.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The film "The Iron Lady' is a tour de force in acting from Meryl Streep. New Everyman Cinema Maida Vale, an excellent venue - thanks to Tumi
This country would be so much better if all there was on TV was BBC4. Story of Musicals is a superb documentary

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Thankful to having so many wonderful people around me at the moment, Wanda, Rebecca & everybody who's been so supportive last couple of days

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Belated Christmas Present reminds me why I loved Alan B'stard growing up. New Statesman DVD boxset, hysterical, nothings changed in 25 years
Film, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was an enjoyable rollercoster movie, though not sure I could have watched, if not on the big screen

Saturday, 7 January 2012

In love with Polish Film Industry, email responses within minutes re Vigilia & support from a director who worked with Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski
Wishing friend & Director Amanda Baker a very swift recovery from the dreaded Norovirus & indeed anyone else who may be suffering - horrible

Friday, 6 January 2012

Lovely to see dear, left wing, University friend Emma Williams (or for those in the know WK) on such fighting form against the establishment
Will be truly happy when this #DianneAbbot debacle has passed. I get drawn into these ludicrous debates to easily. She was wrong - that's it
Camilla Moutadi is clearly going to get me into trouble. Quote of the night "have you had your hands on everyone you know?" Really...
Lovely home cooked food with Romany Smith & Hoon. Hugely appreciated the hospitality. And a great start to catching up with my friends year.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Wonderful impromptu meeting with friend Razia Ahmed the voice of Skype & my Google guru - catching up on all that is new on Street View!
Sun flickering on the water, blue skies over Waterloo, all whilst the Yacht rocks gently on the Thames, a brilliant way to return to work.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Packing away my son's Scalextric racing track more effort than breaking down a set at Pinewood. Lunch at Ottolenghi was a nice reward though
Pleased to be in touch with so many members of the Leonardo Ontente group, Warsaw trip. Glad to see ideas born there are being seen through.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Starting year as I mean to continue, final touches to Post Apocalyptic Christmas Party on 13/01/12, get in touch if you've not got an invite

Monday, 2 January 2012

Said farewell to son Charles Atherton-Laurie at Victoria Coach Station, his first solo journey back to Cardiff, exciting start to year 2012!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Day dinner with son, Charles, at Wahaca Convent Garden what better way to end a trip with Churros & Choc
The film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, allegedly assisted son Charles with his english homework on Arthur Conan Doyle - not convinced!
Shrek the Musical surprised both me & son Charles by being much better than expected, the Dragon was as good as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Son, Charles braved the rains to watch the New Years Day Parade, drenched right through but enjoyed nonetheless, especially the cheerleaders
Son Charles, started New Year's with a trip to Somerset House Ice Rink for the first skate of the new year (1st time for me since hospital:)