June/July 2011

It has taken me quite some time to get to grips with the business of keeping or is it writing a blog. I have battled with decisions over whether it is like a diary or notes on momentous events in my life or mere drivel. Confused over format and worried about just rambling on I have tried jotting down notes whenever it felt appropriate and made short videos of my self peering into the lens like a deranged person waffling on about the day. People, friends and fans often ask me what I have been doing and what did you do, see, eat etc… and because I seem to be back and forth from America to England there are plenty of people who want to know about the other side but my life is more than just Hollywood (doesn’t THAT sound pretentious?) but how the hell to decide which bits and what continent…
I have checked others crispy neat formats and been rather dazzled at the professionalism of some friends and realised that I actually don’t really give a toss ‘cos Miss Perry is no longer alive and consequently I no longer fear that red pencil through my work and those pursed lips and beady eyes, this is all me and mine and God knows you don’t have to read it!
Anyway this week came and went again without me tackling the issue and just as I thought I would never start the idea struck me. The 4 Cs. How brilliant is that?
Croydon: Work. Location for Strippers vs Werewolves.
California: My home for some 20 years and where I feel most valued as an actress and most warmed by the sun.
Carrots: The allotment. To plant or not to plant. My most time consuming hobby and my great pleasure.
Cornwall: My annual holiday with my 89 year old mother.

cornwall 016As I am writing this whilst on holiday I will start with Cornwall. In the southernmost tip of England and a surfer’s paradise one might be forgiven for imagining the sun beating down on my frail old mothers head but NO. Already two days have passed and challenged by wind and rain I marvel at the British resilience and the ‘make the most of it‘ attitude. Far from being a frail old lady, my mother, in her 90th year is not to be deterred and we have already hit a number of Cornish hostelries and consumed local brews and then quickly on through the rain to try the cream teas with lashing and lashings of clotted cream. No cholesterol fears on this vacation. Mostly though, we have ploughed up and down steep and narrow single track country lanes to be rewarded with magical little coves or vast expanses of beaches. Pausing briefly to sample the chilling winds and peering through our rain splattered glasses we have marvelled at the beauty of it all and rewarded ourselves with a quick photo op and a reassuring word from the mater…” you can just imagine how beautiful it must be on a sunny day “ on/on.

It took hours to get here and shortly we will head back again to Stratford upon Avon but this time we have the added bonus of passing close by Glastonbury Music festival. Lucky us. We will be on the motorway on the very week end the festival starts and we will be able to observe at close range the festival goers in the thousands. Wellington boots and mud their companions for the next few days.

My sister is with us and we are increasingly aware that this might well be one of the last summer hols we take with our mother as she has begun to really prefer the comfort of her own bed…and who can blame her.

me AND MY GIRLSHaving just downloaded my photos of my shoot on Strippers vs Werewolves the blood and the gore of it all are still fresh in my mind.
Firstly, I have to once again confess that it is a struggle coming to terms with ageing. I thought it wouldn’t bother me but I hadn’t realised that I was going to be continually bombarded with images of a younger, svelte self. The pictures, the downloads, the old movies are continually rubbing my face in the fresh faced youth that was me!

On my very first day on the set I was confronted with a photo of myself at 27. I have to play my scene to it…remembering bygone days and boy did I have to dig deep to find the emotions that mirror the scripts description of ‘Jeanette’ wondering where all the years have gone as she contemplates her younger self. Thank God for method acting!!!!

Anyway it was a fun shoot and the first time I had filmed in England in almost three decades. I love British crews and the banter on the set. For that matter I love being on any set. I feel totally at home and in my comfort zone.

The location is Croydon and most British people will understand that this does not conjure up anything remotely glamorous. There is a plethora of Pound shops, discount stores and thrift shops in the high street. Fast food and kids in hoodies…

The producers have kindly moved me from the first hotel which I remember from the TV commercial being a lot more comfortable but this one took me right back to some of the Eastern European gems I have bedded down in.

But at least those hotels had room for big girls like me. My Croydon place only had a disabled room available and although brilliantly adapted to accommodate wheelchairs not so great when you’re 5’9.

Everything was very, very low and to wash or clean my teeth or even gaze at myself I had to spread my legs and bend at the knees to get low enough to look in the mirror. My bed was so close to the ground that I could amuse myself counting the fluff balls as I certainly couldn’t see out of the window which was at normal height!
Suffice to say that I have great empathy for fellow guests with disabilities but I also knew that I personally couldn’t live the next few weeks feeling like the Jolly green Giant….so they moved me and now I look over the back alley and side entrance to Larry Flynt’s strip joint in the centre of Croydon. It feels like the Ritz!

nike at the beach 038I left L.A. at the end of May just as everything was flowering and sunny. I do miss the sun and my friends but mainly I miss Nike the wonder dog. She is a 15 ½ year old German Shepherd and the most loyal and loving and gentle of dogs. She has had a stroke and has lost the use of her back legs but her heart is strong. Every day is a blessing and she shoots around on her custom made wheels and no one is in any doubt that she doesn’t intend to give up any time soon. I hope to see her again, but one never knows. I am so grateful that she is being loved and cared for so brilliantly. What a Great Dog!

L.A is everything you have heard and more. If you live centrally there is a very strong chance that you will be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. There is also the chance that the guy pumping your gas could be the next Spielberg so everybody is always so damn nice to each other.

I have just completed the 4th episode of the animated series ‘Green Lantern’. There is a lot of hype and press for the Green Lantern movie so Warner Brothers have high hopes that interest in the film will spark the imagination of another audience, fans of animation.

I love my voice over gigs. Wonderful short days of recording with the rest of the cast with much laughter and a very relaxed atmosphere. Possibly because you don’t have to learn your lines or even dress for the occasion, it’s a truly great way to earn a crust.

The other great thing about voice over work is that you get the opportunity to try different stuff. Be larger and louder and meaner than ever before. As an on camera actress one is incredibly aware of the time restraints and the costs and there often isn’t the luxury of too much rehearsal opportunity but in animation they encourage you to try different ways of expressing yourself and of course it is all about your voice and the way you use it.

I was thrilled to have been invited to join the regular cast of Green Lantern for few episodes and it amused me to discover that as I stood in front of the microphone alongside the other actors, it seemed to be my voice that sounded different amongst a sea of professional voice over artists and actors. To my ear they were all doing ‘funny’ voices and yet they all thought that I was the one that sounded odd. Guess that just comes down to being a resident alien, eh?

The rest of my time is taken up with wining and dining and sunning and a lot of BS but I also spend time working with my great friend Melanie who writes wonderfully and has very creative ideas. I have been coming up with streams of thoughts and ideas and words and nonsense and she has been sifting through them and making sense of it all. Our first venture was back in the 90’s and a sitcom. We got a long way along with it though sadly it never came to be made. Now we are being quite ambitious and working on an idea that is more in the sci fi genre and has me battling all sorts of monsters. Just like my everyday life. Anyway we have the support of the fabulous Pearry Teo and so we will continue with that idea. Thank God for Melanie as I would never be able to put my thoughts to paper in such a succinct way. This is her baby though and I am very excited about it.

080820101835And now to my carrots or lack of them… but a plethora of beans, broad and French and runners.

The allotment is a very English thing. It is a piece of land that local councils rent to residents for a nominal fee. It’s yours then to do with as you please as long as it means digging and weeding and mulching and growing your own. It is provided for the express purpose of cultivation and that is exactly what my sister and I do.

My sister, Marilyn, is the head gardener as I am often away and she lives permanently in Stratford upon Avon. Our piece of land is adjacent to Anne Hathaway’s cottage. We like to imagine that the young William Shakespeare often walked over these pastures whilst courting his future wife. It’s a beautiful spot and I love it. We sweat and toil and battle the elements. We also battle the stinging nettles and weeds but Oh the pleasure of growing one’s own!

I favour tomatoes and beans and all things green whereas my sister is the berry queen. All sizes and shapes and colours so we are a good combo. Goodness knows how much we spend on fertilising and nurturing and purchasing all the tools of the trade. Way more than our return I am sure. But the pleasure for me is undeniable. A summer’s eve and a small gas burner, the kettle is on to boil for a nice cuppa tea. Bliss.

So there you have the 4 Cs and goodness knows what might come next but I had to start somewhere. It might be months or an instant before I next put pen to paper. We shall just have to see how the muse takes me.