Did you know that 92% of the UK music industry is white? Do you think that matters when you consider that its totally unrepresentative of the music scenes artists, promoters, record labels workers and fans? It does matter. The music industry here is one of the last areas that doesn’t have an active organization that champions equality within this world. Well now that’s been put right!. Last week saw the launch of the Equality & Diversity charter for UK music! The event was hosted at London’s Commonwealth Club, where the UK music industry launched a commitment to increase equality and diversity within the commercial music sector. At a time when our musical talent and audience is as diverse as ever, the UK Music’s Equality & Diversity charter will encourage organisations, businesses and individuals to commit to two or more actions in 2012 to help improve equality and diversity in the industry. The charter can be found www.ukmusic.org/edc, this morning was all about getting people from the industry behind the charter and pledging and we saw players from leading industry company’s come together and sign the charter! Jo Dipple, chief executive UK Music said: “Diversity is a massive asset for the UK music industry. Our creative talent and the audience who enjoy our music is, without doubt, diversity personified. Promoting that key strength to the companies and organisations in between can only be good for our business.”
This week’s been mostly about juggling the stresses of work and personal life strands. Don’t let anyone kid you-we all juggle joy and pain. Some of us just choose to put on a happy face. The happy face actually works-you should try it).
I also managed to pop to a couple of fabulous places like the “A” Lifestyle Magazine launch party at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel, where there was a VIP reception. It’s a very brave concept in this day and age starting a magazine as most print press have either gone out of business or online- I was told that ‘’this International luxury lifestyle magazine was aimed towards the main stream South Asian community in the UK as well as International territories’’. The quarterly publication targets today’s young and vibrant professionals, combining entertainment with fashion, travel and arts, fusing them together with the underlining themes of lifestyle and luxury. They added ‘’Intellectually stimulating editorials, light hearted, informative, fast pages and strong photography, which all merge to present the readership with a unique appreciation for the finest things in life’’.

Finally just before my friend, actor, writer and director Noel Clarke flew off to shoot his next film STAR TREK 2 in Hollywood, he caught up with me to let me and my LONDON360 young reporters grill him about all things London and life in the BBC’S biggest studio in Whitye City where all were gathered to hear the great man speak. Unlike many of my circle, Noel isn’t interested in any of the good life party perks that fame brings- he says ‘’Life is just work, work, work and looking after my family, that’s all that counts really. I don’t head out to all those events and stuff I just stay home and do my work, look after the missus, looking after the kids and that’s what its about, writing, writing writing. Getting jobs, working hard’’. (Embarrassing hearing that when my feet were still throbbing from the vertiginous heels I had worn to the national TV awards the night before where I had totally jollied it up).
He continued ‘’ I don’t go to a lot of premiers, because I don’t think I need to flash myself everywhere it’s not really me, I don’t want to be famous, I’m not interested in being famous. I’m just interested in working hard and hopefully having the results speak for what I do. Not just turning up at events with champagne glasses self-[promoting, it’s not me’’.

We congratulated Noel on his Hollywood role but he was as unaffected as ever claiming ‘’It’s just an audition like all the others really, you kind of just do your lines and see what happens and luckily this time I got the job., they didn’t test me on my knowledge. When they called to tell me I got it I was at home, in my kids room, and I was told I got it and I was happy, I don’t get overexcited about things because I’m just kind of like that. I was happy but it was like you know a job is a job, some you get and some you don’t get and you cant get overexcited about stuff because that would mean if you got a review that was good then you would have to be really happy and if you got a bad review then you would have to be distraught. I think its just one of those things where its another level of accomplishment where you’ve done another job that is bigger than the ones you’ve done before and all of that stuff helps in your career so hopefully it will just help me in mine but I have no idea, how people look to me is up to them’’.
Just to test Noels knowledge of STAR TREK we decided to do a quick fire round to see how good he was. (If you know Noel, you know that he isn’t always up for any silly foolishness so it was good to see him half squirm and get involved). This is how it went down;
So first of all, can you tell me the Vulcan sign for live long and prosper?
(NOEL CLARKE DOES SIGN) That’s the sign.
What would you say if you wanted to be teleported back to the ship?
Am I on my own or with someone else?
You are on your own
One to beam up. You won’t say beam me up Scotty, no one really says that
Why not?
Because they don’t, and that was in the original star trek and since then there has been Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyageur and Enterprise.
Who would be your captain? Jean-Luc Picard or James Kurk and for what reason?
Cant really get that question right or wrong, My captain would be Jean-Luc Picard probably because that’s the one I grew up with really, the original series was done when I was little, but the Next Generation I watched quite a lot when I was growing up.
Are you a fan of tight lycra and will you be sporting any in the film?
No idea, not a fan of tight lycra, no idea, no comment.
So clearly Noel had done enough research on his up coming role.

Once we’d finished the tomfoolery we went back to asking noel about the other 3 films coming out this year. He revealed ‘’We have Fast Girls, which is about four runners in a 100 metre female relay team and their quest from being girls who don’t always get on, to see if they win the event in the end, it’s a really good sporty movie, really exciting and I’m the lead writer on that. There is Storage 24, which is a sci-fi film about five people stuck in a storage facility and there is something in there. Sci-fi should give away what’s in there but I don’t want to reveal more, and that’s really exciting as well, that’s a Universal Picture. And then we have a wedding rom com called The Knot, which is sort of like a UK Bridesmaids Hangover type thing and its really quite funny ‘he says’ LOL’’

Clearly it’s realty impressive that noel isn’t stuck in a one sided genre. I bet many out there think he just does ‘’urban road movies’’. Clearly they forget that he cut his teeth on BBC dramas like Dr Who and others. He’s even written a MMA Mixed Martial Arts movie which he said ‘’it was supposed to be in February, now its indefinitely delayed but maybe in the summer or when I get back or like I said if something else interests me more, I don’t know.’’
Noel described his process of writing a film as thus ‘’Well I formulate the idea in my head for a long time, I keep going over it and once my head is full of the idea I get up one morning and I write it in a sort of flow of information on one page or how many pages it takes and then basically the whole thing will be written in prose, story kind of terms and then I copy and paste it onto a script document and I start writing the script by looking at that and as the script gets longer, that gets shorter and that’s kind of how I do it’’.

Noel described his highs and lows to me ‘’I started in 1999 and it didn’t really work that often, I kept a full time job until 2002 and then after that I did Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and I thought, ‘wow this is where things are going to take off’ and then you would finish that job and then nothing would happen. There have been loads of downs. There’s been films I’ve done of my own where I have had producers that were of the unsavoury variety and not being paid on my own film you know, it’s just, these things happen. Its not as big as people think it is and its not like America where they can just throw loads of money at stuff and so there’s been loads of downs, how you pick yourself up is the same way you carry on like when you win an award and you don’t get overconfident and arrogant about it, you put it on the shelf and move on, that’s how you pick yourself up because when your at your lowest point you can’t dwell on it and get depressed you just have to go, ‘alright, I’ve done all that work and I haven’t been paid or I’ve done this and this happened’ or you know, people you helped get far go and do things to you that you would never do to them. You’ve just got to move on’’.

We laughed about the fact that so many critics suggest that Noels films like Kidulthood and Adulthood are either changing the images of young people in London or cementing them?
Noel didn’t agree with either ‘’I think anyone who’s actually inspired enough by a film to go and behave like that is an idiot. That’s like people are saying that computer games make people go out and do stuff… I haven’t been zombie hunting in years; I don’t know about you, you know what I mean? I think the films themselves never claim to represent young people. The films represented those young people in the film on that particular day. Just because you do something on a Monday doesn’t mean you will do it on a Tuesday firstly. Secondly, it’s a film so they were all slightly exaggerated, the things that happened in Kidulthood in one day and the things that happened in Adulthood in one day don’t usually happen to people, so there is dramatic licence there. But I don’t think for a second that anyone other than saying the lines ‘are you dizzy blud?’ or whatever I don’t think anyone is really influenced by the films and if they are then they need to be educated a little bit more and I think that’s probably a problem’’.

When asked if Noel regrets anything in his career thus far he barked ‘Nah you cant have regrets in front of the camera, what you do is what you do. You have to try and perform as best you can and you know I always watch myself back, I know actors that are like ‘I cant watch myself’ I always watch myself because that’s how you learn because I’m not the best at anything. People say ‘you think you are big out there‘ I’m not the best at anything at all. The reason I do better than a lot of people is because I work hard because half of it is preparation. You can have someone is this talented and I’m here this talented but they aren’t doing any work because they think they are number one. My whole focus is that I’m going to knock you off your perch, that’s my whole focus everyday I get up it’s like ‘you see you there? You’re lazy, you are sitting there, lazy, your number one, I’m going to knock you off, I’m going to knock you off, I’m going to knock you off. And they’re like ‘Man it’s good up here’, not doing any work. And eventually you knock him off. The difference with me is I don’t stop working. I just continue working because I don’t ever want to be number one. I’d always rather be number two because you are always chasing someone’’.
It’s better to chase the dream then live it.
Yeah. If you become number one, you get lazy. I wouldn’t but people do get lazy so I’m quite happy always.. Even in some people’s mind they are like ‘but you are number one’, in my mind I’m not because I’m always refocusing. There used to be a couple of actors that would be like ‘why am I never going auditions with this guy? I want to go to auditions with that guy’ And my agent is like, ‘he is there and you’re here. My whole focus is, ‘Alright. One day I’m going to audition with that guy.’ Work hard, work hard, work hard, you get on set and you work hard. You’re not the best, you learn, you watch yourself and you learn. Eventually I went to auditions with that guy. Then I became friends with him. And then I didn’t see him anymore, why? Because I was up there and he was still there. Then you focus on the next person.
When noel worked with young people at BBC blast he told them to broaden their minds. he elaborated ‘’I feel like a lot of young people who have been inspired by maybe what I’ve done or what other people have done around me are focused on doing that, and I want them to broaden their minds because you don’t need to focus on what I did. The reason I just don’t write ‘this hood that hood’ ghetto this knife that, the reason why I don’t do that is number one, it’s for me, I cannot physically pigeon hole myself like that but also for you guys in the future. If you come from a similar environment or a similar place and you go to a film company, you’re like ‘I want to write about fairies, or I want to write about aliens’, and they go ‘well, who is the blueprint of this person?’ ‘Oh it’s that Clarke guy all he did was knife this, gun that, hood that’ he might look at you and go, ‘yeah we don’t think you can do that.’ If I’ve shown that someone from my environment can do different things when you go in and say you want to write about aliens they can’t question you because you might be able to do it. So I want young people to broaden their minds and go ‘actually you know what, just because I was raised in a one bedroom single parent council estate it doesn’t mean that I can’t write about trolls or whatever, you can. But you have to believe you can and you have to go in there confidently, knowing you can and when they go ‘yeah but you’re from a one bedroom council home’ you can say ‘hold on, but that Clarke guy did it.’ They can’t argue’’.
Noel added ‘’you can’t regret anything you have to make mistakes to grow as a person. I’ve made choices of people I’ve worked with, the producers like I’ve said have done things and I don’t get paid for my own film, I’ve made choices of actors I’ve given jobs that if I could go back in time I would never give them a job. But you know what; you don’t know how people are going to treat you. You can only treat people how you want to be treated. If someone helps me out then I would never s*** on them but there are people out there that do that’’.

Asked finally about young actors we should be looking out for in 2012 noel smiled ‘’People to watch in 2012? I have no idea. You can never tell who is going to do well, what people need to do is to stop watching other people and concentrate on themselves and hopefully they will be one of the people to watch’’.
Noel finished by telling the LONDON360 team why it was important for him to be a London 360 Ambassador. ‘’It’s important for me to be a London 360 Ambassador because I’ve always been about people having the opportunities to do things they wouldn’t always have the chance to do. I think what London 360 provides young people to be journalists and to be in this industry, I look at the people here today and I can already see future big time journalists, hopefully they’ll all be nice to me when they’re reviewing stuff if any of them become reviewers. In all seriousness you can see the future and I think that’s what’s important. There’s a big old guard out there trying to control us and have certain set ways and certain views but luckily for us they’re all retiring and getting out of there and getting young people that can represent the country the way it should be represented and I think that’s important’’.

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