Two days before the filming on My Summer of Love was
due to start, my producer whisked me out of the rehearsals and told
me I had to go to the hospital. Apparently it was something to do with
the bond people who insisted I have some additional health checks. I
got worried. I'd already undergone all the usual checks back in London.
Have they belatedly discovered some sinister black hole on my X ray
or—God forbid—a virus?
"Nothing to worry about, honest, a mere formality," the
bond man tried to reassure me on the mobile. "It's just
that you're an essential element, in fact the only one we've
got on this one. There's no stars in your movie and nobody can
make head or tail of your script. So if anything happens to you, we're
left with nothing. So we just want to make doubly sure."
For a moment I felt flattered. The contents of my head were worth £1,500,000—the
budget of our film. But when it hit me that I was indeed the only person
responsible for the chaos I've unleashed in West Yorkshire, I began
to feel queasy.
To make things worse, the cab driver started interrogating me about
"So who's in it? Anybody I would have heard of?"
The names I mentioned didn't ring any bells, but he wouldn't
"So what sort of film is it? A comedy, a thriller or a drama?"
"I don't know. A bit of everything, probably."
My vagueness failed to discourage him.
"But is it realistic or, you know, like a fantasy?"
"It's hard to say, maybe both."
That silenced him.
Maybe I'm too precious, but ever since I was a schoolboy I've
always resented having to explain what I was doing. Things are just
too fluid and ambiguous. Why did people always have to put a name to
everything? Nowadays there are whole armies of paid experts who do nothing
else for a living. And you can always trust them to get the wrong end
of the stick. When I used to make documentaries, for example, the experts
pointed out that they weren't documentaries at all and I should
really be doing fiction; now that I'm
making fiction films, they keep going on about their documentary feel.
Some call me a gritty realist, others accuse me of poetry and vagueness.
And then there's my background to further muddy the waters: While
the Brits can't help intuiting gloomy Polish fatalism in everything
I touch, the Poles are tickled by my supposedly very British sense of
irony. There's no end to this…name calling.
But I suppose what it all just goes to show is that I am a rather unique
sui generis hybrid—and thus definitely worth £1,500,000.
As I was sinking deeper and deeper into self-absorption, my cab spun
out of control and crashed into an oncoming lorry. The essential, but
still uninsured, element of My Summer of Love came
within inches of death. Just as well we were near a hospital. After
seeing to my cuts and bruises, the doctor made me tick some boxes on
a questionnaire and sent me back with another clean bill of health.
In the weeks that followed my £1,500,000 price tag came to haunt
me. I first sensed something strange going on when things started falling
apart over a flu epidemic. Half the crew were laid low and we lost three
days' filming. It was just small hints at first—a furtive
little glance from the producer, a whisper in the ear from the accountant.
Nothing sinister really. But when the rains set in and our main location
flooded, I noticed the first signs of serious intrigue brewing. Wading
towards my car, I spotted my two producers hiding behind the fire engine
and clearly plotting something.
As soon as they felt my look on them, they stopped whispering and put
on very suspect smiles. I could sense they were still resentful over
my rather brave decision to shoot our summer movie in a spot famous
for having the highest rainfall in the whole of the British Isles.
Then my creative insomnia set in and I started spending my nights feverishly
scrapping scenes and inventing new ones. It was probably then that it
started to dawn on the producers that we'd never finish the film.
And I knew my life was seriously in danger. Killing me off made perfect
sense. With me out of the way, they could cash in the insurance money,
close down the film, go home to their families and forget this nightmare....