The next day with Geoff Thompson

Newcastle has just had its first Film Festival, which was great for city, the arts and film making.

When reading the films that were being shown I came across my friend Geoff Thompson’s short film Romans 12:20 and that they were doing a Q & A about it afterwards. I waited with anticipation for the release date for the tickets and paid it straight away, I wanted to go on my own because people always say put me down or they would definitely go but let you down at the last minute; so, I went with me, myself and I.

What I have learned over the years is that if you are wanting to do something do it don’t wait for others just go for it yourself. Kerry dropped me off at The Biscuit Factory, on the outskirts of Newcastle, a place I drive past every day for work but had never been in. I was ushered down the back of the building to the Biscuit Rooms and went into a very contemporary building with ironically no biscuits on offer, but they did serve Guinness that was not bad in my opinion. Feeling a little out of place amongst the lovelies of the film world, I loitered with intent cuddling my Guinness waiting for the doors to open in the Auditorium; just then I noticed Geoff getting photos taken with a small group of people but being quite a shy personality (I am) I waited to say hello. But out of the corner of his eye Geoff spotted me and came straight over.
We hugged and then chatted as if it was the next day, not over 10 years since we last seen each other. Geoff said him, and Sharon had been saying as they drove up of how many times they had travelled to Newcastle to teach, and he was very surprised when I had worked it out that one year they had come up 19 times! Sharon spotted us talking and came over to join the conversation, this lovely lady just does not age, is that a sign of a peaceful life, I don’t know what it is, but she should keep doing whatever she is doing because it works. We talked about diet, Geoff telling me that he doesn’t eat meat fish or drink alcohol with me trying to hide my Guinness from them. Geoff went on to say that he tries to eat as close to natural as possible and even does a 600-calorie diet day once per week to cleanse the system. That was very interesting me as I am always interested in fasting as a means to cleanse and weight loss such as wet fasts and dry fasts and the effects it has on the body. As we made our way into the Auditorium, Geoff asked me to ask a question to get the Q & A rolling, as they are notorious for taking a while to get started; so, I promised I would shout out. So, armed with my Guinness, I took my place at the one of the front tables as Steve Wraith, the organiser of this part of the festival introduced the Short film.

I sat spellbound with the powerful, raw dramatic piece expertly directed by the Shammian Brothers and amazing acting from the very talented and gentle soul of Craig Conway. The film is about the cause and effects of child abuse and what it does to the young life that is abused and the shame hatred anger and pity that come with the aftermath of such incidents, on everyone’s lives. You could have heard a pin drop in the room, I was so scared to pick up my drink for fear of dropping it to shatter the silence. As the credits rolled so did a huge round of applause and Steve invited Paul Shammian Craig Conway and Geoff to the front.

The Q & A started by a lady who’s brother went through a similar case of abuse and it really moved her to tears, then Right on que I asked Geoff how hard it was to move from the Martial Arts to writing books to screen plays. He said it was difficult every step of the way, even some family members told him he could not do it and should not do it, but Paul Shammian said the very same thing about directing this film; because of the subject matter. They all got told the world was not ready for this and they found it difficult to get backing for the project. As Geoff said they were ahead of the curve and 10 years too early, or were they just pointing out things that people didn’t want to talk about. Geoff has always been ahead of the curve and has never minded ruffling the feathers of the establishment in any area he has put his mind to! I so admire Geoff and Sharon for being true to themselves and followed a path that is very difficult to travel on but have stayed grounded but always have followed their dreams. They have not changed a bit in my eyes, they are a lovely couple with beautiful souls. When Steve wrapped up the Q &A, Geoff came over and asked me what I had thought; I tried to put into words what I had just witness, I was so glad I waited to see it now rather than online. The emotion from the audience made it all the more powerful as a truly artistic piece because we hung on every word and action until the end. The whole team effort made the film what it is, now 10 years after it was made the world is ready to hear and talk about this hard subject. Geoff and I got a photo taken and I said I promise to keep in touch and not leave it too long, but Sharon said a lovely thing as I said goodbye just think of us and we will be there; like I said before they are beautiful souls and my life long friends. Geoff gave me a screen play to read and as I told him that he was one of my inspirations to write he said when you have read it would you do a blog about it; I would be honoured to.

On refection about the day isn’t it amazing you can not see some people for years and within minutes it feels like just the next day; It’s the best feeling in the world. I would like to leave you with a quote about a funeral

“it is not what you have done in life or how much money you have earned it is how you made people feel when you left” this a quote to live by.

Until our paths cross again

Big love from the AFC x

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