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Home Again — But There’s an Avid in My Bathroom

Dear Friends,

In February’s Production Diary, I wrote about how my TV studio in London had been “transmogrified” into a bells and whistles 3D color grading suite. Steve, the 2015 “me,” had kindly offered to do a deal cleaning up my feature documentary and making a DCP.

Molinare 1980 house and garden, now Moli’s computer graphics department

Always the impetuous one and stoked up on thousands of airline miles, I book a flight and, finger in the air, pick a date four months away in the middle of the year. Two people to London and back for $393 plus a zillion air miles—what a deal.

Come the magic date, I am not quite ready … but the flights are almost free and we are staying with friends. We pack our bags and go.

London Sizzles
And hasn’t it changed. Wow, the place is flourishing. Lots of little street cafes, modern tall buildings and even new bridges across the Thames. So unlike 1976, when the country was in trouble.

As a regular contributor to Broadcast magazine back then—which was a tad like Digital Video—I was asked to design the front cover as a sort of fun ad for Molinare.

These days I’m still waiting for DV editor Cristina Clapp to ask me to do the same for her. Cristina, I have my Arnold Böcklin Letraset at the ready.

My old biz in Soho, Central London, is spread across two buildings with five floors on each, just the way I left it.

Today, Tricia and I are being taken on the prodigal son grand tour—32 years after we were chucked out by dumb non-execs and an even dumber chairman.

“This is Stefan and Tricia, they started Moli way back in ’73.” “Wow, you’re a living legend. You lived here with your children. I’ve seen the photos.”

A Legend on the Loo
With CEO Steve Milne as our guide, off we go. It’s a tour that I used to do so often in my prime, but of course it has all changed. Sound studios are now 4K Avid edit suites.

We climb the stairs. “Here is our documentary section. We’ve just finished the Amy Winehouse doc.”

We go into a preview/dubbing theater somewhere on the second floor. “We’re mixing our latest feature, but you must promise not to write about it.” Sworn to secrecy, we meet the director and crew. Where are we in the building? Was this our AV suite? Dazed and confused.

In between the fourth and fifth floors there used to be a men’s loo. Yep, it’s still there. “Would you excuse me?” I climb the half flight of stairs, find an empty cubicle and sit down on the lid to recover.

I get my breath back and enter our old apartment—surprise, no longer the family home but jammed full of geeks with computers. “This where we edited and did the effects on The King’s Speech.” Our bedroom is now a conference room, our bathroom an edit suite.

But, hey, the kitchen is still … a kitchen. Some things never change.