The decision that the film making day should always begin at an unthinkably early hour is one with which I never fully came to terms. Not surprisingly, I was also deeply unhappy with the decision, which looked to me like the work of the same man, to end the day’s proceedings but a few short hours before we were due to be back at the coal face. Two of the principal advantages of mining this particular coal face are, aside from the Beckhamesque discrepancy in the differing levels of remuneration, the lack of physical labour and the catering. The provision of what is needed and required is a adequate definition of catering, but such a definition falls far short of that which is deemed to be needed and required by the legion of variously skilled and voracious specialists without whom a film cannot be made. Whilst the stars of the production might weigh and carefully assess the calorific content of each mouthful, secure in the knowledge that Photoshop will remove the unwanted or recreate the desired curves, the caterers know that they must produce a seemingly endless stream of comfort food for the throng of bored technicians. Watching a film on a big TV at home is a lot more fun than making one and, in truth, a lot more fun than going on the underground to a crowded cinema and paying a fortune to watch one there.
Breakfast on a film set, once you have managed to get there, is very good. I remember the story of a Jewish technician who could not resist the bacon sandwiches provided by the caterers and would happily justify this departure from the strictures of his religion by simply calling them smoked salmon sandwiches.
The film industry in my life is now a distant memory but, as I waited for the start of the England v Scotland rugby match, I was reminded of those delicious calorific breakfasts. Looking into the fridge for something that would do justice to those memories I noticed some Toulouse sausages that must have cunningly slipped themselves into my meat free shopping basket, probably disguised as smoked salmon. As there was absolutely no artificial bread available, I had to substitute some particularly good cereal bread….it’s a shame, but I can live with it. Heinz Tomato Sauce is still an essential in our store cupboard, a squirt of which completed a perfect sausage sandwich, which was only bettered by an excellent 20-0 victory over the old enemy. All in all, a good day at the coal face.