A Fun Day at the London Marathon – with side of Gordon Ramsey

Just back from a fun day down at the London Marathon, helping raise awareness of Battens Disease with my sister. We were camped out down by the west entrance to Canary Wharf, next to the BBC London radio bus, all wearing our bright orange t-shirts. And while we were there who should run past but Gordon Ramsey. Bless. Who knows, next year maybe I’ll give it a go… Maybe.

John Hannah (& The Mummy 3) in Montreal

Another usual morning in the Old Port, Montreal. While waiting for our usual morning coffees at the splendid Olive et Gourmando, M noticed John Hannah checking her out from the corner. His hair was pretty long so we weren’t 100% sure at first, but it turns out he’s in town for the filming of The Mummy 3, along with Brandon Fraser, Jet Li & Michelle Yoeh, but unfortunately not with the ever stunning Rachel Weisz. Ah well.

And no, yet again I did not take a photo, but suspect John Hannah pics ain’t quite as valuable as one of Brad. Sorry John, I prefer you to Brad but somehow I don’t think posters of you adorn as many walls as his do.

Oh, and Rowan Atkinson is floating around town somewhere today prior to presenting his latest Mr Bean flick this evening. Not to mention the other assorted global comedy stars for this years Just for Laughs festival.

My Night With Stephen Colbert

Those of you who have spoken to me recently may have noted that I was going to see a filming of The Colbert Report tonight… well it’s true, and very splendid it was too. The audience is pretty small, about 100 odd folk, and the studio is very intimate. Colbert is amazing to watch in action, practicing his lines to himself and, off camera, telling John Stewart he only has another five days left to finish his imminent book. The only downside of the whole night was that the guest was a country & western singer so probably about the most uninteresting guest I could ever hope to see. Ah well.

My Colbert Ticket

For those of you thinking of heading down to see The Colbert Report here’s some background; you can sign up online for free tickets here – although they regularly stop taking requests so you have to keep an eye out. Also, once you’ve been given a date by email they need you to confirm your tickets a week or so before the date you’re given – this is a bit strange, as you need to email them back but they don’t confirm they got your mail. Alternatively you can just come down to the standby line outside the door (on W 54th St between 10th/11th Aves) before 5.15pm on the day of filming. They recommend you get down early, at least 1 1/2 hours before this, so I got down at 3pm at which point I was 32nd in the ticket line – there were about 10 people in the standby line and I think a lot of them got in.

The line itself is pretty comfortable – it’s covered over which was very handy in today’s intense sun. You’re not allowed to take food or drinks into the actual studio, but you can take them into the waiting room so it’s worth bringing some along. About 5.15pm they give you a number and you go through security into the waiting room, where you get to hang around a bit more until around 6pm. Once they’re ready to let you in, you will go in in the order of the numbers you were given – so don’t worry about being near the studio door.

When you go through the studio door you tell the crew member there how many people are in your party and they direct you to where you need to sit. Since it was only me in my group I got put in the second row to fill up some space in the section of audience opposite Colbert’s desk. If you want to be in the audience near the interview area, which is generally more visible in shots, then you probably want to be further down the line but it’s a bit of a crap shoot. Also note that if you’re in the front row Colbert will high five you before the show – bless.

Once everyone’s inside the warm-up comedian does his stuff, and the stage manager gives you some background. Then Stephen Colbert himself comes out – huzah! Today we got to sit in and watch the ‘toss’ between Jon Stewart at The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Then Stephen went backstage again and the warmup guy carried on. Shortly Stephen came back out and took some questions from people in the audience – favourite moment; some guy asking Colbert about Jane Goodall… he actually meant Jane Fonda, referring to his infamous kiss & cuddle session, but the mistake was hilarious. I didn’t get the nerve up to ask a question, although I thought of a good one when leaving the studio – guess that will wait for next time.

Questions over, Colbert takes the stage and rules the show. He ran through the show tonight with only one slight hiccup which was pretty amazing. One thing I noticed was how pale he looks in his TV friendly makeup, he also never really stops smiling and moving, often tapping & singing along to the indie rock songs that play between shooting to keep the energy up. ‘Keeping the energy up’ is a key part of being in the Colbert audience; you need to be ready to laugh and clap loudly, so my throat is pretty sore right now.

Have fun if you go, it’s well worth the effort. Although in my case this meant flying down from Montreal so maybe that was a tad excessive.

Random Coincidence: More Celebs

Bizarrely, having just blogger about him, I saw Charlie Rose again on Saturday as we headed up to see Television at Central Park Summerstage. He was on the 6 subway. Then at the gig, Tunde from TV on the Radio did a song with Dragons of Zynth before we abandoned the site due to intense rain. While we were sheltering from the rain we saw Kyp from TV on the Radio wandering around looking a bit damp. Guess I must be back in New York for the weekend…

Stephen Colbert on Stephen Colbert (on Charlie Rose)

This older interview from the Charlie Rose show featuring Stephen Colbert is wonderful. Colbert is actually himself rather than his character ‘Stephen Colbert’ and there are some moving insights into the show as well as his own history, parts of which are very sad indeed. All of this has gotten me even more fired up for next Monday, when I’m going to go see him do his show in person. Woo! Yeah! Etc!

On a related note: this means that when I bumped into Charlie Rose at Heathrow airport over Christmas, he has already met Colbert – so guess I should have thanked him even more effusively than I did.

Brad Pitt in Montreal

Yep, Brad Pitt is now officially in Montreal, as I just watched him film a scene in an Old Port alley way for his latest movie – Benjamin Button. No pics this time I’m afraid, as it was a very dark alley way and there was an over-anxious security guard who made grumpy faces and used pointy finger tactics every time someone reached for a camera. Plus he had a scary beard.

Roof Collapses Near Brad Pitt’s Latest Movie in Montreal


Benjamin Button Shoot: Clearing the Roof
Originally uploaded by ultrahi.

Brad Pitt’s latest movie “Benjamin Button” is being shot in Montreal just down the road from us in Montreal. I was watching them shoot the scene when about 50 minutes ago there was an almighty crash. Part of the roof from a building alongside the shoot had just fallen down! Luckily it appears that no-one was hurt. The police and fire brigade were along quickly and cordoned off the road. Thankfully the roof was just off the road where they were shooting.

“Benjamin Button” is directed by David Fincher, he of Fight Club fame, and stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, as well as Tilda Swanton. I’ve no idea if any of them were on the set for this shoot as I’ve not seen any of them.

See more photos here.

en Montreal (‘with’ Brad Pitt)

Well I’m now up in Montreal and it turns out that Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett are filming in the Old Port this week. In fact, not only are they filming in our neighbourhood, they’re actually filming about half a block away from us opposite our regular dep (that’s short for ‘depanneur’ which is long for ‘deli’ which is short for ‘newsagent’). So from 5am tomorrow, till 11pm at night, we can expect fun & games in a movie stylee. I’ll try and get some pics from our balcony if anything exciting happens, but we don’t have a great angle onto where they are as they’re on a side street.

Can Anyone See England?

So yesterday I flew back to England, which turned out to be quite lucky since Heathrow domestic flights were cancelled yesterday and again today due to fog. Yep. Traditional English fog, something that ‘rarely happens’ according to Heathrow spokes-folks, is blanketing the whole country. So all things considered our flight got off quite lightly with only a half hour delay, something that we were all glad of. Oh, and Charlie Rose was on our plane.

It’s nice to be back catching up with the folks, eating Pizza Express pizza and also watching Brit-TV again in between fighting the jet lag. So many wonderful new shows to catch up on… and of course the Doctor Who Christmas special in a few days. Yay!