[You have gotta a love a bit of Colonel Abrahams – although it did make a little bit of sick come up when I listened to it. I really hate 80’s music! Sorry – but seriously living through it once was enough. I don’t mind if you love it, and I’ll happily dance round your handbag with you should you want me too, with aplomb, but it’s not actually for me]
Once a traveler, always a traveler. I am ready to flee and get on the road again. I started traveling alone, when I was 11 years old. My dad worked for British Rail, and because he was a manager, we all got 20 free, 24 hour, first class rail passes. This meant that I could travel anywhere in England, first class, as far as I could get in 24 hours. It was my first taste of freedom. I loved it. I cherished it and I did not waste one 24 hour pass ever. In fact, I would have to plan my year to ensure that I could get the most value out of it. We had moved to Warminster, and my gran, Betty, and her bosum, that I needed to nurture me was still in York, so I would get on the train to go and stay with her as often as I could. My dad was not so bothered about schlepping up and down the country, so I convinced him I could do it alone. First, the direct train from Bristol (5 hrs), and then in my teenage years, via London, my preferred route, which was two express train journeys and a splash of tube. I loved the solitude of solo travel, and for someone, who is never short of chat, that may surprise you, but I don’t like to interact with folk when I am roaming. I like to observe. From the age of 11, I didn’t look back, and I have been traveling ever since.
Hagar is away. Not at war away, but away, doing something exhilarating and positive – re-charging his mojo. My two most cherished things have always been my independence and my freedom. Yet, married to the military, with two kids, and I seemed to have eroded into these precious gifts. This leaves me battling against the house destroying atoms that are my children, and trying to stay on top of a spiraling domestic and professional workload. At the moment, I feel on the precipice, and I want just run away as fast as I can gallop, but alas ‘non’. I am stuck here continuing to live the dream. It’s a nice prison. It’s cosy and warm, and my children, who I achingly love, are with me, but I am grumpy and prowling around like a caged bear.
Four years ago, I was the Communications Director, or my full title, given to me by one of my most favourite photographers, Princess Towers, from OnEdition, The Inter-Galatic Media Empress, on the Velux 5 Oceans. The fleet had just sailed into a 90 mile per hour winds in the Bay of Biscay, and we had a 72 hour period of utter mentalness, and I found myself living for a week in a dodgy hotel, in La Coruna, in Spain. I had with me only two pairs of pants, a spare shirt and the clothes I was wearing. My job was to make sure that Sir Robin Knox Johnston safely got himself back to sailing solo around the world again. It was like living in a real comedy of errors, where incident after incident occurred daily; double punctures on hire cars, drunken disco dancing, unexpected old man pant shopping, to name but a few and then having to leg it back across Europe, via trains, planes and automobiles. I loved every minute of the crazyness.
On Saturday last week, a fleet of 5 skippers set off again, this time under the management of the Inter-Galatic Media Emperor, Mr TK – I’d like to think that I paved the way for him to deliver an exquisite event. He was invaluable to me during the race and I have no doubt that he will be invaluable to Clipper Ventures, the race organisers throughout this one. He is the consummate professional. Bon voyage and fair winds to those intrepid five, the global circus has begun.
Just as an aside back to my point about the solitude of travel. TK and I agreed when we were globe trotting that we would try not to sit together on flights so that we could indulge in the solitude. We traveled so much together, and we would talk so much, that we both knew that we needed that space. I think that was why we made a great team, because we could be honest with each other, and working on these intense events, with madness and highly-charged emotion all around you, that honesty helps give you the perspective you need to keep moving forward.
Back in the Shire of Hamp, I am stuck still on Planet Restrepo. When I interviewed Maj Dan, a few weeks I sent this press release out, which was ignored by the media but I’ll share it with you now because I think of it as a prediction:
British blogger, A Modern Military Mother has posted on her blog her British exclusive interview with Dan Kearney, the US Army, now Major, then Captain, featured in Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s new award winning Documentary, Restrepo due to open in the UK on the 8th October.
In The Times, on 3rd October, the Afghanistan correspondent, Tom Coghlan wrote an article on the film, and in The Sunday Times, journalist doyen, Christina Lamb interviewed the legend that is Sebastian Junger, whilst The Observer, celebrated the artistic perspective of the British born director, Tim Hetherington. Meanwhile, in the backwater of the British military swamp of rural Hampshire, blogger and wife of Chinook pilot, A Modern Military Mother aka Clare Macnaughton, interviewed from her cupboard for an office in her military quarter, one of the real stars of the film Major Dan Kearney.
Restrepo, is to some extent pre-hype and once the ball starts rolling and it wins the predicted Oscar, Hetherington and Junger will be heralded as journalistic literati greats by those who themselves hanker for the same legendary status and notoriety.
Eventually, Restrepo will be made into an Hollywood blockbuster, just like The Perfect Storm and soon over paid actors will immortalise the underpaid soldiers that appeared in the documentary. Undoubtedly, the actors will be applauded and awarded for their execution of realism.
Junger and Hetherington have created a brave and iconic piece of filmic history and they absolutely should be celebrated but whilst they flew in and out of the outpost, in the heart of bandit country, in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, Maj Dan Kearney was there for the whole 18 months, isolated by his rank and battling an aggressive brutal enemy, trying to achieve a nigh on impossible task. He and the men of Restrepo are the true stalwarts of the film and whilst the literati celebrate the work of their own, it is these men who are the ones that had their feelings stripped from their souls, who continue to work in their underpaid roles and continue their normal lives.
Last week, at 2am by Skype video call, while her husband played live war games, A Modern Military Mother exclusively interviewed Maj Dan Kearney. He talked to her about how he felt about the US withdrawal from the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, man sandwiches and how hell was the most beautiful sh*thole in the world.
To find out more and to hear the interview, please visit:
Now I am punting this:
AWARD WINNING WAR DOCUMENTARY
SHOWING AT THE MALTINGS, FARNHAM, SURREY
THREE MILITARY WIVES JOIN DOGWOOF AMBASSADORS PROGRAMME
Bringing film to the people by the people
To book tickets:
(or search RestrepoUK)
Restrepo @Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey
Date: 01 Nov 2010
Tickets: £6.00 (389 tickets available)
Location: Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR
ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!
Three military wives, blogger A Modern Military Mother, Clare Macnaughton, Stephanie Flint and Faith Lindsey from Fleet, Hampshire have signed up to become Dogwoof Film Ambassadors, to bring the Award Winning Documentary Restrepo, to the Surrey and Hampshire area, showing the film at the Farnham Maltings, Farnham Surrey.
There are 400 tickets available to buy for the 7pm screening.
“We believe that this film is so significant in providing a window into the world, and psyche of the serving, that we want to give our community an opportunity to see the film on the big screen.” Said Stephanie Flint.
“Restrepo is a film of great energy and spirit. It will show you into the soul of the soldier and help you understand the highs and lows, the strength and the vulnerabilities, and the intensity of war. Sometimes, you need to look at things you don’t want to see to understand the things you can’t see.” Said Clare Macnaughton, blogger A Modern Military Mother.
“We were delighted that the Dogwoof Ambassador programme gives us wives, the support network of military, a chance to share in the delivery of film that is so significant to our community and also the civilian community.” Said Faith Lindsay.
RESTREPO is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, “Restrepo”, named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment.
This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you.
“The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicized, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. Their lives were our lives: we did not explore geopolitical debates. Soldiers are living and fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand, regardless of one’s political beliefs.
Beliefs are a way to avoid looking at reality.
This is reality.”
– Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger – Directors, Restrepo
So please help me sell out this bloody event so that I can get off Planet Restrepo, and also Toys R Us have sent me yet another box of frickin’ amazing toys that I have to review. Hagar is back soon, so I am going to get him to help me do the reviewing – the kids seriously are doing my head in. It feels like they just walk into a room, demand of me, express their disappointment with ear bleeding tones, and then should I have the audacity to turn my back for 10 seconds, they spin around like Tasmanian devils and trash an entire house in 10 seconds. This would be fine but I am Monica from Friends and can’t just leave it trashed!!! Aaaarghh – but I am staying positive. Repeat after me; ‘I love my life, I love my, l my life’……..I’ll tell you what I do love though my new logo from the best frigging designer in the world, and my best friend Fi Fi @ KifiCreative Check this out…….
Tim Hetherington, total hottie and all round thoroughly nice chap, soon to be Oscar winning director, thinks that I should lose the ‘A’ and just be MODERN MILITARY MOTHER – what say you?