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It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away. It has been the toughest yet conversely, the most life-affirming year of my life. To read the glowing obituary I wrote about him just a few blogs ago you’d think it was all done and dusted. Not so. I have come to a far more profound understanding of the fundamentals of my life. The power of the subconscious; the true nature of grief; the importance of respect for others but ultimately, just how lucky I am in my soul mate.
There were times when I certainly questioned my sanity; I know others did. There were times when the despair and the anger were overwhelming. There was never a time when Jen wasn’t beside me, holding, smiling and reassuring. Slowly gradually helping put me back together, stronger, happier; resolved in myself.
Put quite simply, she was my rock and my saviour. I’ve added diamond number seven to her wedding ring as it will be our seventh wedding anniversary tomorrow. We have given each other tickets to Paul Simon’s Graceland concert in Hyde Park. But I’d also like to give her this; a poem I wrote three weeks ago as I headed to the Alaskan gold fields. We are buying a new house together.
Alaskan Sky (For Jen)
Flying through clouds
Sun glint on fiord and peak
Searching for gold again
My father comfortably in me
I feel the great love
Of my life stronger
In the lonely sky
I fly north
To fly south
Adventure and invent
For a new home
For our hearts
A home for us
A place to be safe
For friends to love
We cross the lucky horizon
Where the sea meets the sky
At home in our
Tonight’s the night when Gold Rush Alaska premiers on Discovery Channel. It’s already causing a stir. The Washington Post said it is ‘ Almost Homerian‘ whilst the Wall Street Journal calls it ‘Jaw Dropping TV‘ but possibly not in the nicest of contexts.
So this is what has been obsessing me for the last year and why most of my friends and family haven’t seen me for ages. I’ve been producing 10 x 1 hour documentaries for Discovery Channel in the US. The series is called Gold Rush Alaska. You can see the promo here . The show follows the fortune of a gang of unemployed men from Oregon who head north to Alaska in search of gold. It’s been a rock-n-roll shoot and edit but there’s a good buzz about the series. The subject has genuine and profound jeopardy and with gold prices going through the roof , unemployment rising and the recent swing to the right in the US it’s very current. I hope it does well not least as recognition for all those who went above and beyond to get it on the screen against all the odds. It premieres on Friday the 3rd of December at 10pm EST on Discovery in the US. It’s a Raw TV production of course.
It’s an odd old life at the moment that doesn’t lend itself to blogging, or much else outside of work or travel for that matter. My summer has consisted of long days and nights in the edits intercut with sharp sojourns to Alaska. Crazy commutes to location are part of the job but this one is a classic. It’s three flights and two days to get where I’m going in SE Alaska.
Also known as the Pan Handle of SE Alaska, is actually on the west coast of continental North America, (confused?) check it out here. Being on the west coast, the weather is unpredictable. After a flight north from cool Seattle, the final leg is up the coastal canal from Juneau to Haines, skirting glaciers and overflying whales.
The journey should be on a small single prop plane on ‘Wings of Alaska’. But often the weather is so changeable that I end up taking alternative methods of transport. I’ve taken a fast cat, cessna, chopper and slow boat so far. I head back to Alaska soon. Who knows, I may get to kayak home yet.
One recent diversion took me back through LA for the premiere of a show that’s part of ‘Locked Up Abroad‘ , a long running TV series that I look after at Raw TV. In this episdoe called ’The Real Midnight Express‘, Billy Hayes re-lives being incarcerated in a Turkish prison in the 1970s. His story inspired Alan Parker and Oliver Stone to make the film ‘Midnight Express’.
It took Billy an enormous amount of courage to take part in this film. He had to stand by his life-changing and costly mistakes in front of a theatre of TV critics, friends and subsequently a national TV audience. When it aired, it rated off the scale. I was delighted for Billy and the teams at Raw and National Geographic.