Filming Mr Nobody

I have just read recently of a film “Killing Bono” that came out in April. It is rather special in that the entire film details the attempts and failure of a young man, Neil McCormick, to become a rock star. In his less than illustrious career, his band failed to create even a single album, let alone a top 10 hit.

In the article I read in the Telegraph (Neil blogs for this paper regularly), it became obvious that McCormick was less than enamoured by the film as it makes him look, to put it bluntly, like a complete idiot.

I wondered to myself, afterwards, why on earth anyone would want to make a film about a total failure. Or, for that matter, about anyone who was very ordinary and boring.

But then, there seems to be a spate of such things being filmed, in recent years. From Supersize Me which was merely a low budget documentary about a man eating nothing but McDonald’s food for a month, to the movie about the Facebook founders, it seems that ordinary is now special.

Admittedly, all these people did do something special. Facebook speaks for itself, Supersize me ended up significantly changing both McDonald’s and customers’ perspectives about food and McCormick was a good friend of Bono from U2 and had already had success with the book of his autobiography back in 2003. Nevertheless, home-made documentaries, stories of the lives of computer geeks and books about people who fail to do anything successfully are not really what you would think were the source for great film entertainment. McCormick reports himself that he did not even think that this film would be a comedy, something, I would have thought, would be bleeding obvious it would need to be.

So, it seems to me that if the film directors of tomorrow are out there trawling the internet looking for the next non-story to become a big hit movie then I am that man!

After all, at 40 years of age, I don’t have a great deal that is special to show for my life. I am not complaining, mind you. As Eliza Doolittle (a singer my family rather likes at the moment) sings:

“What’s wrong with being a nobody?

I’m not pretending I am what I’ll never be.”

And as Jamie Callum (a fav Jazz musician of mine) says:

“When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life.

I see so much magic though I missed it at the time.”

I like these philosophies though, ironically through the twist of fate, both of these musicians are now far from being the ordinary nobodies they eulogize so well. I do think they sum up my preferences pretty well though. I gave up hope or desire for fame and fortune a long time ago although, I will confess, a little more money than I have now would be nice. But then I was thinking that even when I did have a little more than I have now and don’t suppose it will change if I ever get a ‘proper’ wage again.

But I do think I qualify for Mr Nobody of 2012. Fairly ordinary (though my circumstances are unusual and the people I am surrounded by are extraordinary), average family, middle income (well was – poverty-stricken currently). Kind of ‘bog standard’ really.

There you go, I rest my case. Mr Film Director Kind of Person – Superfilm me! I’m your ideal nobody. TAKE ME!

Though… thinking about it and re-reading Mr McCormick’s article in the Telegraph again, I wonder whether I really want everyone to see my failings on the big screen – certainly not for purposes of entertainment and ridicule. I am only flesh and blood after all and find that sticks, stones and words do actually hurt me.

So…on second thoughts – don’t bother.


About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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4 Responses to Filming Mr Nobody

  1. Ruth Subash says:

    Really interesting blog. I think a film about your lives in Bangladesh would be amazing and I would really enjoy it as would others! You should make one or write a book about your time there. I have been told to write a book about our experiences in India and our wedding etc so you really should it would be a top seller!! These days you can buy books about people’s holidays so a book/film about your adventures in Bangaldesh.

    If you have a job that makes a difference you sadly will never get enough money – I need to realise this. I doubt running a NGO Subash will ever earn as much as I would like but I feel ok about this knowing we will be trying to make a difference to people’s lives and answering God’s call.


    • Thank you Ruth. Actually I do keep a private blog for myself and have done ever since moving to Bangladesh. When we’re done here for good (or at least a few years), then I think a book will definitely be in the offing. As it is I have a number of stories and tales from here ready to write up fully and find someone who will print them. A film, however, would take quite a miracle!

      In all of this, I have to say that the interesting parts of our lives have entirely centred around other people rather than ourselves. I maintain that I am the most boring man in Bangladesh – but the people who surround me most certainly are not!

      I think you are right about your NGO comment. But then none of us ever earn enough do we? At least with an NGO you know you are making a difference. So often in the modern world we have no idea whether our lives make any sort of impact at all. That is the blessing of NGO work 🙂


  2. Vikki Ford-Powell says:

    Interesting thoughts. One thing I would just like to question….average family!!!?


    • hmm…should have guessed the wife would read this! I mean statistically average – 2.4 children, both working parents (yes Vikki, I DO work ha ha!), two years between them etc, etc.

      It goes without saying that you lot are far from average to me personally. Indeed I hint at you when I refer to the extraordinary people that surround me…


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