Things I have done this week..


  • Joined the Labour Party (just waiting for my super fun membership pack to arrive – *jumps up and down excitedly*)
  • Tried to join Natwest (for preferential overdraft rates – not that I’m using an overdraft, but if I do use an overdraft, I’d like preferential rates) and failed – not because I’m a liability, but because it took too friggin’ long.  Actually, I joined in the first week of September – not this week.  During the time I have been waiting, my existing bank started offering support for Apple Pay.  On reflection, not joining Natwest was probably a good thing overall.
  • Got new business cards:


  • Bought a new Apple gadget (having sold the old one) – more news on that in a bit
  • Upgrading to iOS 9 (and very nice it is too – the best thing is the trackpad/cursor gesture on the iPad.  Makes it so much easier to move around blocks of text to insert/edit stuff.  It’s a shame they haven’t made it available on the iPhone.
  • Joined the company Rugby World Cup sweepstakes thingy.  I have England.  I reckon I stand a good chance of winning all the money.

That Guy Martyn Drake

A long while ago – last year in fact – I backed a Kickstarter project called “That Guy Dick Miller” – a documentary film that explores the life and career of character actor Dick Miller, a man who has appeared in well over 100 films, notably in Roger Corman and Joe Dante movies.

I only got around to watching the documentary yesterday.  And I forgot that Kickstarter backers get a mention “Special Thanks” in the end credits.

Here I am, amongst such great directors including Joe “Gremlins” Dante, Jonathan “Silence of the Lambs” Demme, and producer Jon “Starship Troopers” Davison – if only because of surnames being sorted in order.  But still!


It’s ironic that one can pay to get a credit in a film these days, but if you work on a film in post-production/VFX infrastructure as a full time member of staff, the chances are extremely slim.

That’s show business!

BTW, another Kickstarter project I backed (alas, I think for only for $5 or $10) was I Am Big Bird – all about Carol Spinney who plays Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch in Sesame Street.  No credit for that one – and rightly so – but it’s a brilliant documentary (like TGDM) and also available on VoD services.

Also: there are two Martyn Drake’s listed in IMDb.  One of us has got to change their name.   It ain’t going to be me.  (Changes name to Poopdeck McGinty.)


Martyn Goes West (part two)

(A reminder: all photos featured here, and more,  can be found via my Flickr album)

Vancouver B.C.

Much has been said about Vancouver.  Especially when it comes to film tax credits and visual effects.  My former employers have an office here (and indeed, we ate just around the corner from them at the excellent Keg Steakhouse in Yaletown – it comes highly recommended).

Vancouver public library.  Has a very decent pub at the back.
Vancouver public library. Has a very decent pub at the back.

The first thing you notice about Vancouver is just how multicultural and cosmopolitan it is.

Robson Street, downtown Vancouver
Robson Street, downtown Vancouver

It is also very green.  I was particularly taken by Stanley Park which plays host to the Vancouver Aquarium and horse drawn tours.

Stanley Park's rose gardens
Stanley Park’s rose gardens



We took a hop-on/hop-off bus tour which took us through the all the interesting part of Vancouver.

Horse drawn Stanley Park tour
Horse drawn Stanley Park tour
An inhabitant of Vancouver’s Aquarium at Stanley Park

DSC00352 DSC00350 DSC00329


Panoramic view over Vancouver from Stanley Park
Panoramic view over Vancouver from Stanley Park
The hop-on/hop-off tour bus.  Tickets cost (IIRC), around $42 CAD per person for 24 hour access
The hop-on/hop-off tour bus. Tickets cost (IIRC), around $42 CAD per person for 24 hour access

You’ll need a couple of days to explore properly, and there are a number of whale watching tours that’ll take you out around Vancouver Island and other islets.  Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to do this, but it’s on my list for the next time I go back.

Up next: The Orgeon Coast!

Martyn goes West (part one)

I’ve just returned from an extraordinary two weeks visiting my lady friend in the Pacific Northwest, taking in Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and the Oregon coast.

Public accessible photos of the trip can be seen via my Flickr account – note that family/friends who have a Flickr/Yahoo! ID should get in touch so I can grant them full access to the photos.

First stop was Seattle, visiting Pike Place Market, the home to the very first Starbucks store.

Leaving Seattle via the Bremerton ferry
Leaving Seattle via the Bremerton ferry
Pike Place Market, Seattle
Pike Market, Seattle
Pike Place Market, Seattle
Pike Place Market, Seattle
The home of the very first Starbucks, this place is BUSY.
The home of the very first Starbucks, this place is BUSY.

We spent a lot of time in used bookstores (we’re both book connoisseurs) and when I returned to the UK, I was 1Kg over the luggage limit thanks to the books I bought during our hunting trips (which BA were going to charge me $90, but kindly waived it despite me having no qualms paying).

Seattle is a lovely city – staggered across multiple levels, you’ll soon get a good workout traversing the steep streets.  It wasn’t helped that we spent an hour or so having a few pints and some nibbles at a local bar before doing this – but at least we got a bit of exercise working off those carbs!

The first time we went to Seattle was via the main interstate route, but the second time we tried the ferry via Bremerton (which is home to a US navy base – and indeed, we discovered a couple of former sailors at a local bar whilst waiting for the next ferry – all good people with interesting stories to tell).  The ferry is free to go one way (into Seattle), but $8.50 going back.   You do get some fantastic views.

In my next report, we head over the border to Canada and experience the hospitality of Vancouver, B.C..

Canada Place, Vancouver B.C.
Canada Place, Vancouver B.C.

Londinium or Bust: Tourist Time

With less than two weeks away until I head over to the BFI Southbank to be one of the first to watch the first two episodes of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I decided that given I’ve waited 10 years to see this, I’d treat myself.

So I’ve splashed out on three days at a reasonably priced, but good quality hotel near to the BFI and the Southbank as a base to explore London over the weekend and throughout the day leading up to the screening itself.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while is to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  Having worked on the 5 out of the 8 films, and having been to Leavesden a number of times throughout – it’ll be interesting to see what they’ve done with the place.



All this will give me a chance to take the new camera for a spin, and to get me out and about of the house.

I’ll report back on my activities as and when.  I’ll be filing a complete report on the Harry Potter Studio tour, along with various anecdotes from my own experiences at Leavesden back when they were filming.  It’ll be interesting to compare what’s what.