Renee

Appreciation, the JFK conspiracy and an exhibition not to be missed

The launch of the Soldiering on Through Life Trust’s ‘Eight Voices, One Story’ exhibition was fabulous.  It was my first time inside the Ministry of Defence.  I’ve been to Ministry of Sound, and sometimes feel like I should be hurled up in front of officials at the Ministry of Magic, but never this.  It’s a very serious place and I had to wait ten minutes for an escort to take me through to the exhibition courtyard – they obviously took one look at me and decided I wasn’t fit to be let loose alone in a building full of men in uniform…

The exhibition is a fantastic multimedia portrayal of eight survivors of the catastrophes of war.  Yet it’s upbeat, heartwarming and enlightening.  The ‘voices’ are people who received horrendous injuries while serving in the military – and their families.  Anne Diamond interviewed each person with the skill to bring out the determination and gratitude of survival, and their stories are each exceptional and inspirational.

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Darren ‘Swifty’ Swift lost both legs serving in Northern Ireland – now a star of stage and screen. ‘Top bloke’, as some people say…

I was dumbstruck to be awarded a beautifully framed certificate for my ‘outstanding contribution’ to the charity.  Clients often tell me that they value my work, but to be shown appreciation in such a public forum was an absolute honour.  The exhibition will be touring soon and I’ll let you know when it’s coming to a town near you.  (If you’d be interested in hosting it, please contact me and I’ll introduce you to the charity’s chairman.)

My certificate now hangs proudly on my office wall along with my degrees, a signed photo of Patrick Stewart and my nana’s wedding photo.

I ended up drinking somewhat more than usual this week.  Taittinger champagne at the MOD, pink wine on Friday during a girls’ night out…  But the best was a home-made apple vodka cocktail created by Vivienne – a friend I made earlier this year when she attended one of my mini social media workshops.

Vivienne and her husband Howard have produced an extraordinary, riveting film about JFK and Martin Luther King, created entirely from original footage.  It plays out the story, encapsulating the conspiracy theory along with the secondary tales that captured the hearts of my mother’s generation – such as Marilyn Monroe singing her famous version of Happy Birthday.

I travelled across London for a private viewing with Gary, a business friend who arranges funding for anyone seeking high value investment for a specific project.  We watched the tragic story unfold whilst drinking the delicious cocktail and dining on champagne truffles and a cheesecake that had been flown in from New York.  On screen, the images melted against a soundtrack that’s had me playing The Mamas and Papas on Spotify all week!  The film was shown at the NY film festival to high critical acclaim.  If you’re in the media and interested in seeing a rough cut or finding out more about it, do let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Vivienne.

Michelle Phillips played Captain Picard’s ex-girlfriend in ‘We’ll always have Paris.’  That links my two stories nicely.  If you’re geeky enough to know what I mean, you’ll probably also know that she sang this beautiful song: “If there’s one thing I want you to do especially for me, then it’s something that everybody needs…”  If there’s something you need, or something you want me to do, just ask.  Here I am, as always: @WeekendWitch.

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Thanks to Dennis Gimes for the group pic

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