Friday, 28 December 2018

Reflecting on 2018....

It's New Years Eve 2018 and I've been writing this post for the past week, cross referencing diary entries, social media and photographs.

As a regular reader you'll know I always attempt to achieve one major thing every month as the year progresses.

Last year, 2017, included my first professional acting role in the Camden Fringe, singing at the Royal Albert Hall Proms as part of the Choir With No Name, winning the Game of Thrones Marathon in the Prince Charles Cinema,  Leicester Square, watching Australian Pop Idol, Natalie Gauci, signing a song I wrote at TedX London.

But the end of the year resulted in my having one of the worst ME/CFS Crashes in quite a while. 
Thankfully one of my amazing cast members in the play (who barely knew me) took me in for three months from December to March .

SO this year started on it's knees.

But going back through my Diary, whilst I didn't have a ton of accomplishments it was definitely a year that was meant to lead somewhere.

January 2018

My year began being entirely bed-bound and literally on my knees. Fortuitously Mim Elkan who I'd preformed with in the Camden Fringe and befriended gave me the most generous gift by looking after me, having taken me in on 1st December 2017.

Everyday was a massive struggle and I didn't want to continue living,

On one of my first attempts of leaving bed later in the month, I managed to get out for my first ever visit to the Phoenix Cinema (so pleased Londoner's managed to save that amazing place from being homogonised into a chain) to watch Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks in the rather excellent The Postman.

Even though could barely speak most of the time, Solicitor Sara Lomri from the Public Law Project came out to the flat to visit me in bed so I could continue my Judicial Review against the DWP in respect to their failure to communicate to disabled claimants by email when requested.

Managed to see the fabulous Bryan Cranston in the National Theatre's production of Network.  Never have I felt more akin to a character other than in Kafka's, The Trial.

February 2018

Win yet another appeal against the DWP to reinstate my Disability payments, made in relation to my ME/CFS and the reason I was trapped in bed.

Ruby Tandoh gifted me her book Eat Up by post, after I commented on her Twitter post about it's publication. This created the first sparks of hope that Human kindness in the UK could be rekindled and granted me with Mim's kindness the power to continue.

My first proper visit out of the house is thanks to friend & performance artist Amy Elizabeth-Kingsmill and an invitation to the LGBQT party at the Wallace Collection. Find myself in an intimate audience of around thirty watching Marc Almond (he of Soft Cell fame) perform his greatest hits acoustically in one of the sumptuous rooms.

Thanks to friend & BUFF Founder Emmanuel get to see the first press screening of Black Panther a day before the UK premiere in my role as a film critic for Colourful Radio's Meet The Critics.

Thanks to friend Yasmin Omotosho I had my first lunch in the Inns of Court (she's now a qualified barrister) even though I've visited lots of times for Carole Stone's Christmas Party this was the first time I'd ever eaten in the venue Shakespeare first performed Twelfth Night.

My first play in the newly opened Bridge Theatre by Tower Bridge, was the fabulous Julius Caesar. Ill health prevented me from being involved but pleased to have caught the second play there.

Introduce my MP Mark Field into the fight against the DWP (turns out to be totally useless).

Finally (after nearly a year) persuade Metropolitan Police to investigate the theft of my son's Trust Fund by one of the Trustees,

March 2018

Find myself having drinks with Alan Yentob following a screening of Being Blacker at the BFI.

My first (and only, I'm old school and prefer to meet people in real life) internet date perpetrated through Bumble.

Fiftieth Birthday Party - still struggling to recover from ME/CFS so can barely write an email in between excursions but manage to organise a party at one of my and my son's favourite restaurants Inamo on Wardour Street. 

End up partying with Stephen Frears, Stormzy & Nick Nolte after a Sochi Film Festival event.  Ironically Frears was there too take an award. Stormzy just happened to have booked a room next door and Nick Notle was staying in the Soho Hotel where the event was being held and just invited himself.

Feeling recovered enough to return to living to the street (sadly lost contact with Mim after my departure but will be eternally grateful to her for the rest of my life for incredible generosity allowing to me to stay with her and thus survive).

Testing film idea for "How to be a proper Londoner?"  at the Widow's Son Easter ritual of putting a bun in the net.

Stay at former Daily Mail editor's Paul Dacre's Highland retreat again (thanks to friend's who rent it every year for the Easter Break) but too ill to enjoy it and spend most of time in bed there.

April 2018

Reconnect with a dear Syrian friend Areej Zayat who is over in the UK presenting the BBC Arabic Film Festival and working with another Syrian friend based in London Reem Khabazy.

Interviewed and Photographed by Buzzfeed on my views on the influence of the black vote in the UK with the upcoming elections. Suggested they speak to my nemesis from OBV which they did, who ironically did make the cut in the article whilst I didn't.

Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Phoenix Artist's Club with their founders a favourite institution for actors and artists in the West End. Reconnected with friend Hattie Hayridge (played Holly in Red Dwarf).

May 2018
An invitation from Alex Werner (Head of the New Museum of London) to the opening of London Nights in the Museum of London allows me to view Amy Elizabeth-Kingsmill (friend & performance) photographs as she has one of herself in the exhibition.

Began living in the back-seat of a friend's Mercedes Car in Richmond.

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Old Vic with a celebratory performance, birthday cake, Pies & mash and loads of wine.  Took a punt and just turned up. First in return queue and managed to get a £120.00 for £35 (which wouldn't have covered the cost of the wine I drank).

Campaigning with Millions Missing, set up by Jennifer Brea of film Unrest fame, a worldwide organisation of ME/CFS sufferers like myself., protesting to raise awareness of the issues of not being properly recognised or researched.  Interviewed for another documentary on the subject. Talked to ITN.

Celebrating the Royal Academy's 250th Anniversary in the new wing.

Celebrating London History Day with my first ever visit to Royal Astronomical Society

June 2018
Meeting with Photographer Matt Crossick (we met at the Widow's Son) sharing ideas around London Events. He doing it Photographically me doing it filmicly.

Have the Louis Vuitton Bag and Toiletry bag that have been with me for twenty years (with all my clothes in) stolen off me whilst asleep on a bus as I was completely exhausted and disorientated from my ME/CFS and sleeping on Public Transport having lost the key for my friends car,.

Become embroiled with the Australian Actor Geoffrey Rush's #MeToo debacle when I spot him in the newly opened Serpentine Gallery and take a photo and Tweet. His opposition lawyers get in touch asking me for a statement, as it would appear nobody knew he'd left Australia.

The fantastic Down and Out Live in the Stone Nest (Charing Cross Road) walked to sit under the balcony. So didn't realise people like Jack Monroe, Simon Callow etc. who were doing readings, were actually doing it live above me. Involved with the Q&A met Guardian Journalist Patrick

Slept on a Hyde Park Bench for the first time in my life.  This was the first time I'd slept under the stars in London.

Pitched my biography to queen of Networking & friend to Carole Stone, she sent it onto a publisher friend.

Jordan B Peterson publishers gift me his book 12 Rules for Life having spotted that I'd taken pictures of all 12 adverts on the underground.

Whitechapel Gallery - Fusions of  as I'd volunteered to be a member of the ArtNight team.

Offered to be in documentary about one of my favourite shops in London, Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium and met directors.

Visit to see my son in Bristol for the first time since he's moved there.

July 2018

Host at Art Night outside the Royal Festival Hall lovely group of students from Goldsmith, UCL and Kings with me. Brilliant London night of volunteering and helping others for no money, with free art all up the Southbank,

Attend Paul Simon's final concert in Britain in Hyde Park as a VIP. Bob Geldoff and his daughter is there too.

Lived on Narrow Boat on Regents Canal for 2 weeks thanks to friend Romany Blythe needing a boat sitter.

Help guardian journalist Dr. Frances Ryan with the book she's writing on the failings of the Welfare state in the UK by contributing my own story.

Attend the Magic Circle for the first time in my life and discover former boss, dear friend and Magic Circle Member Nick Fitzherbert had died.

Reconnect with the great Sam Bompass (we met at Square Meal Event Live) at his newly opened Museum of Ice Cream.

August 2018
Accepted onto the Museum of Homelessness Catalyst programme. An idea to encourage people who are either homeless or were homeless to come up with campaigning projects that the course would

See of Emmerson, Lake & Palmer in (probably a last performance but not advertised as such) perform in Under The Bridge venue in

Reconnect with Rachel Fanshawe who I met in Warsaw in 2011 as part of a Film Project capturing the Human Rights Film Festival there. She became my presenter. Moved to Australia and this is one of the first time she's returned to London.

Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Circus near the spot where it all started on the Southbank which was also friend Savina Sedghi 30th Birthday who came to celebrate with me.

Meet the amazingly creative & hopeful team the Digital Creative who are displaying at the BFI.

Collapse on pavement due to my ME/CFS nearby and stay there sleeping on the pavement until dawn. Again, another lifetime first.

Celebrate Smithfield Market 150th Anniversary with Sam Bompass's Cake

Reconnect with a friend from Nantes in France, at St. Pancras Station's Champagne Bar who I'd performed with in the Notting Hill Carnival with Nostalgia the oldest steel drum band in Britain. 

September 2018

Singer at the Barbican

Performance Artist and friend Amy Elizabeth Kingsmill returns to Soho after a devastating event that took place to her there a year earlier. It was a fabulous moment.

Museum of Homelessness Catalyst Programme begins, every Thursday & Friday for the whole of the month, get to meet heroes artist David Tovey, Journalist Steve Topple who I'd become friends with online and who ironically had connected with another friend Anne Sebba (and my first ever book launch) and came to discus

Rediscover Coffee, Cake and Kink under it's new branding and location Coffee, Cake and Kisses.

Streetsfest - Streets Festival's first homeless festival in Finsbury Park - I go to get my teeth seen too (there'e a dentist on site - unfortunately they don't have the facilities to treat - referred but as is most homeless people's experience nothing happens - see December).

Attend Creative Europe Connect in Barbican.  Amazing positive experience around Brexit.  Everyone there, artists, film-makers, theatre, all say the same thing. We're all working together better, we're looking outwards not inwards (productions in India, China, Asia etc.), DCMS is going to ensure any finance offered by the EU will be matched

Friend Mar Dixon's fabulous Drinks Thing at Twitter HQ in London.  Learn they've only just made money for the first time this year and that they are no longer a Social Media channel but a News Delivery one.

Reconnect with the one person in my life who has always kept my faith in Human Nature. Ex-Girlfriend Naomi Kenton who is retiring from her Nursing Career and in London to celebrate as she resides in Cardiff and continues to live in the house we bought together that I signed over to her when I left. The most generous and caring human being I've ever met in my life.

My friend Logan Sparks opens his Feature Film in London with a Curzon Cinema Q&A the perfect swanswong for his friend Harry Dean Stanton in a film that explores the end of life, "Lucky"

Meet the Menswear buyer of Selfridges at the Screening of at Cine Lumiere

Discover the Espon Pop-up and meet a VR specialist at the table (ionic as applied for Google 360 VR programme earlier in the year that I failed to be selected for)

Attend the fabulous German Film Festival in the Regent Street Cinema with friend & journalist Tim Baros.

Open night of Skethcing at Wilton's Music Hall meet James Graham in person for the first time.

Become part of the advisory group for developing the new Museum of London. Discovered the room was full of real Londoners and meet the female Chief Executive of City Read London (now friend) Andy Ryan.

October 2018

Become a mystery shopper for Five Star Hotels and Michellin Starred Restaurants.

Meeting UAL Creative Digital

A personal VIP Guided tour of the new galleries in the Greenwich National Maritime Museum y friend Sacha Coward.

Met Andy at EON Recharge Retreat.

Meet the makers of The Hate U Give writer and at Rich Mix as part of S.O.U.L London Film Festival Event.

Connect with Founder of Sh! meet Suzanne Noble friend who is a Cinema Case builder and designer.

Invited by Adria Wu to her fabulous Maple outlet in Bloomsbury. To discuss future of healthy food.

Attend the brilliant Cross Bones Graveyard Halloween event and interviewed by ITN about the experience.

November 2018

Collaborate with LovePopUps and attend Archery Fit for a fabulous Archery Lesson (hadn't done Archery since being a Scout 30+ years ago).

Working with campaigning artist David Tovey on his personal journey into homelessness performance Man On Bench Fairytale in Manchester.

Began writing my play with the encouragement of playwright James Graham (and friends actress Karina Cornell & theatre producer Savina Sedghi) Fifty Years of Trying...

Enio Morricone's last ever Concert in the O2 Greenwich, as a ninety year old, it was amazing to watch. One of my favourite composers with Michael Nyman (whom I had the chance of working with earlier in the year when he agreed to be in the 360VR film we were pitching to YouTube but who turned us down. Morricone being introduced to me when I was about eight through The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and I owned the sountrack to the Mission being moved by that in ways I didn't think possible when I was 19.

December 2018

Interviewed as a Trustee for Patchwork Foundation an organisation that assists young people from underpriviliged & minority backgrounds into politics.

Filmed as a subject for the Crowdfunding Video for Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium to assist with promoting their sex educational programme for women throughout the UK.

Rekindle my Insanely Late Summer Party.

Having spent last December in bed so pleased to rekindle most of my London Christmas Traditions. Harvey Nichols Christmas Eve, Walking in a Royal Park on Boxing Day (mine was 29th December 2019 as in St, Albans

The best event of the year (other than seeing my son), am appointed a Fellow of the RSA. So end the year being able to call myself  Paul Atherton FRSA.

Happy New Year for 2019.

Jordan B Peterson - Free Book
Pitch Sketching (what month did I actually Pitch).
Geoffrey Rush in Serpentine Gallery - MeToo
Frances Ryan - Assisting with her book about disability and the welfare system. 

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