40 and blogging!
Updated: Mar 10
On September 19th 2016 I turned 40 years old. I'm completely fine with this by the way. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by strong 40+ women who are top of their game, taking control of their lives and relishing in opportunities around them. On turning 40 I started to reflect on the last ten years of my life and different experiences that had either shaped me, educated me or had an effect on me in some way.
So for my first blog, at 40 years old, here's a quick catch up of the last ten years.
2006 - I became Venue Manager of the Roundhouse in Camden. The birthplace of Glam Rock and Punk, the legendary venue where the Doors played their only UK gig, and I was running those famous gigs. At one point I thought I would stay in this perfect venue forever, but perfection doesn't always equal happiness, so in 2009, with a wealth of experience and superb friendships under my belt, I buggered off and left them to it.
2008 - Whilst still at the Roundhouse I produced and directed a play with a mix of disabled and non-disabled actors. The thought process behind this was to show that disabled actors don't just have to play disabled roles, it can simply be a character who just happens to have a disability. I wanted to show that the person was, primarily, an actor. In hindsight, producing and directing together for the first time possibly wasn't a smart move and although we achieved a great run at Edinburgh and also a small UK tour, the process was pretty stressful and the learning curve was steep. But I wouldn't take back that experience.
2009 - This was the year I joined Riverside Studios and also their sister company Assembly Festival. If you had told me when I joined Riverside as a casual duty manager what a huge part of my life it would become, well, I would probably still join but maybe with more of an prepared mind! In the 5 years I spent with these two companies I became Front of House Manager, Venue Manager for Assembly, created the Twin Peaks UK Festival, produced at the Edinburgh Festival, and made some of the best friends who I'm certain I'll take with me through the next 40 years! I also learnt I'm able to survive on 2 hours sleep a night, beer and crepes every August!
2010 - Easily the worst and one of the best years of my life. Worst first. My mum died. My lovely mum who had supported me, encouraged me and did all she could, including putting herself into debt, to make sure I went to drama school to achieve my dreams. My mum wasn't the happiest of women, although certainly could provide hilarious moments, she wasn't always easy to be around but she loved her children. During her courageous battle with cancer I asked her if there was anything she really wanted to do; "spend time with my children" was her response, "and get the kid next door to stop kicking his football at my window". She told me that when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer she has considered herself lucky to have had an extra 13 years with her family - having beaten cancer in the late 90s. I remember thinking what strength that took to have that view. I miss her everyday.
2010 was also the year of the first Twin Peaks UK Festival. Little did I know it but that festival, celebrating the David Lynch and Mark Frost's TV show, was about to have a major impact on my life. I started this festival for the fans, still do it for the fans, and what I intended as a one-off is now in it's 7th year. That first festival seems so small now compared to the production that we give the fans - yet I look upon it with such fondness.
2012 - My first trip to LA. The Twin Peaks UK Festival and a couple of other projects allowed me to build up friendships in LA and I finally took myself there in 2012. Let me be clear, I LOVE LOS ANGELES - and here's why. It's everything I didn't expect it to be. The media portray LA as a city of looks, image, movies and cynicism. The movie part is right, it's definitely the main focus of the town BUT, LA is a city full of personality, some of the best people I have met, and the best avocados you'll ever have in your life. In fact, LA reminded me of London and how each district has it's own personality. You want nightlife, great cafes, fabulous atmosphere - head to West Hollywood. You want a bohemian afternoon sitting on Sunset watching the world go by - drive over to Los Feliz or Silverlake, or if you simply want to be a tourist and take in a tour then of course live it up in Hollywood. But wherever you go, go to Trader Joe's. Trust me.
2015 - After telling myself that I needed to slow down a little and that 2015 was going to be a slightly easier year, I took on so much work and responsibility that my body practically broke down by Christmas. From Bollywood, to short films with Jonathan Pryce (lovely man with some great stories), from the Twin Peaks UK Festival to producing a fantastic group of comedy actors from LA in Edinburgh, the year went at 100mph from start to finish. Add to this I was commissioned by Octopus Books to write a Twin Peaks inspired cookbook - which was then picked up by Harper Collins to be distributed in the US. 2015 you were marvellous but you almost broke me. Almost.
So now it's ten years later, 2016, and this year I celebrated 40, am producing the Twin Peaks UK Festival, am being published and am in discussion for several other projects for the next couple of years. I'm a lucky girl.
My blogs won't always be this long and actually won't always be about me, but about things in life I love, people, places, creations and anything else which puts a smile on our faces. The little things.