Thursday, December 29, 2005

Latest ex-MTV veejay update: Ingo Schmoll

Good news! I've received emails from Kristiane Backer and Ray Cokes. They are doing well and will write updates for this blog as soon as they come back from their travels (Kristiane is doing a one-month world tour and Ray Cokes is off to Capetown)

If any of you want to make sure that you stay up-to-date with the updates but don't always get round to checking this blog, just subscribe to Feedblitz (on the right-hand-side of this page). That way you will receive the new blog entries directly by email.

For now, check out the following update from ex-MTV Europe Veejay Ingo Schmoll:

Hi Simone,

It's really interesting to read and find out about the destiny of my former MTV colleagues. Firstly, a big hello to all of you wherever you are !

As for myself I nowadays live in the country side about 40 minutes outside of Cologne in Germany. After my gig at MTV I continued hosting tv shows for another few years in Germany. Every now and then I would bump into Ray Coked who hosted a radio show for a station in Berlin which was located right next to the studios of Deutsche Welle TV worldservice where I was hosting a show every Saturday until 1999. The truth is that I got extremely fed up with tv after that, particularly German tv, because most of it is total rubbish in my opinion and it gets worth every time I turn on the tv (which I hardly do anymore). But right after MTV I also re-joined WDR- EinsLive radio which is Germanys most successful radio station for people between 16-35 years of age. This is where I still work nowadays hosting several shows every week. The station really sticks out of the ordinary and boring German programming on other radio and tv stations. Most likely you could compare it to BBC's Radio One.

Besides I still produce music every now and then at my studio with a friend of mine. Our latest "product" was a pop track sung by Snap's former singer Thea Austin (I know they had several singers, but Thea did "Rhythm is a dancer" for example). The track was licensed to EMI who never released it, but they paid for it anyway :-) Somehow it got a release in Russia though and landed at number 12 in the Russian Pop Charts. But I never made any money from that as it was released over there by the Russian mafia (or their affiliates...).

Sometimes I also produce television features (including portraits of actors for example) or even advertising (e.g. for Mircosoft although I am a die hard Apple user !). Also I do quite a bit of voice over work. For example dubbing characters on South Park for German tv or characters in Playstation games such as Spiderman.

My latest venture is fulfilling an old childhood dream of mine: becoming a puppeteer of several Muppet-like characters on a tv show that is currently in the planning stages. It will be a puppet show for adults and I have been training puppeteer-ing (doing the voices and playing) some of the characters last week. It's been great fun ! So this is it for the "professional" part of my life.

As for my personal life: I do own a dog that actually looks like a muppet called Josefine (breed: Bearded Collie, age: 10). Maybe you remember me getting married to Janelle who worked in the AR department at MTV. We actually got divorced in 1998 on "good terms" as they say. Janelle went back to Australia after that. My girl friend Anna (who studies Design in Cologne) lives with me nowadays. Whenever we can we travel. Next stop: Snowboarding in Austria in February next year. Can't wait ! Hopefully someday we'll even visit Belize !

Sometimes I talk to Thomas Markert (Ex MTV On-Air, nowadays hotshot at Nick Networks in New York) through my webcam via Apple's iChat. He's working really hard. I can always see him online on my Instant Messenger when he's in the office which is most of the time (then again is this a surprise for any of us ? We're talking working for an MTV affiliate here ;-)

Finally I sometimes bump into Steve Blame in Cologne. He speaks German really well nowadays. I hope all of you are doing great, but from what I read here it seems like it.
Happy 2006 to all of you!
Take care, Ingo

Monday, December 26, 2005

It's always sad to be away from family for Christmas, but thanks to the internet we can stay up to date with each other's lives anyway. This picture was taken last night in Aruba at my mum and Miriam's Christmas dinner (with their partners Laurenz and Hans). Looks like they had a blast!

Aren't they just the sweetest?

Another Expat's perspective

I recently got an email from a Dutch Expat based in the US on his experience of making a transatlantic move (in response to my "Moving to Belize Guide") Seems that many issues are not just relevent to Belize......

Hey Simone,

It's interesting that you write about moving to Belize and the'hardship' it brings. I have to say that having moved from the Netherlands to the US, I have similar experiences.

A lot of things you mention in your 'Moving to Belize Guide' apply to any regular long-distance move, i.e. What happens in a medical emergency? The US has plenty of hospitals, but try and figure the medical system out here, if you're used to the Dutch semi-free's very confusing.

As for your 4 points:

1) Money is often spent at a ridiculous rate when moving internationally. An apartment in the DC area is more than twice as expensive as renting in Holland for less space. Add to that the extra month of rent ahead and a very late first pay-check because you need be reborn as a new tax-payer and money leaves a lot faster than it comes in.

2) The need to be clear with yourself. I notice a lot of other 'expats'complain about things they could have seen coming. Lonelyness, homesickness, trouble getting used to 'weird'/different habits, language problems. One that struck me, is the problem of where to get things. At home you know what stores to pick, but when moving across an Ocean you lose that whole reference field. Drugs sold in US supermarkets can be prescription only in Holland. Liquor however is harder to get in the US (depending on the state you end up in). And what do you do when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere on a high way, and you don't have a cell phone (yet) or automobile club membership (yet)?

3) People have a harder time with climate change than they expect.During my first Winter in Ohio, I caught a fever. No problem I'm a big boy, I can handle that. Just go get some oranges and life will be fine. However, doing so in -15C is quite an experience if you're used to living in a country where -15C is a one time a year low.

4) A lot of your safety networks falls away. Visa trouble? Nobody to turn to. Loose your ATM card & want borrow some money from a friend, mom or dad? Not here. Catch a bad cold? You need to make friends first before they do any shopping for you.

I arrived inWashington on Sept 3rd 2001. 8 days before 9/11. Very hard to get through a day like that without any real friends of family.

Anyway, I am sure moving to Belize has more and very different issues, but it was nice to see someone express the "negative" or "overlooked" sides of moving far away from home. Let's be clear that I don't want to be a whiner. Overall, it's a very rewarding experience and I hope to stay much longer in the States, but between all the great experiences have been some tough times too. I 'll keep reading your blog with great interest and am looking forward to reading the next instalment of your 'Moving to Belize Guide'.....

Uw vliegende radiowereld reporter:

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The true meaning of Christmas

I had it all planned out. We were going to have a real (normal) family Christmas this year. I’d set up the tree in our new house (the one in Belmopan) and we would have a Christmas morning away from the resort. I had visions of Lucas waking up and seeing all the presents underneath the tree. We’d have a relaxed breakfast together, get dressed, take a family picture in front of our beautiful tree & then slowly make our way back to the resort.

Well…that never happened. Last night I left the Jungle Dome ahead of Andy, Lucas and Ian (Andy’s brother is here for the next few weeks). I had told Tella and Nora not to cook for us as we were going to spend Christmas Eve at the other house. But the minute I arrived there I started to feel bad. All I could think about was Karen. I knew that she missed her family (just as I missed mine) and that she would be at the Dome by herself on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to look after all our guests. She had told me many times not to worry about her and that we should go and have a normal family Christmas in Belmopan.

I got all emotional when I looked at our beautiful Christmas tree, the presents and this lovely organized house of ours (Our living space at the Dome is getting rather empty and not much like a home anymore), when suddenly it dawned on me: “Fuck the tree!” In that instant I got what Christmas was really all about & it wasn’t a beautiful tree or being in a lovely house. It was about being with the ones you love! So how could we even consider spending Christmas without Karen?

I quickly phoned Andy and told him not to come, as I was coming back to the Dome. We had to be with family this evening and Karen has, over time, become our part of our family. So that evening we had dinner with her, Ian and Gonzo (our tour guide, who has also become part of our “adopted family”). The only one missing was John really. But he’s back with his mum and dad in Scotland.

Tella and Nora performed a “Jesus” on us that evening. They had cooked for 6 people, but managed to feed 12 of us in the end. Just like that bible story where Jesus feeds hundreds of people with one loaf of bread. It was a great Christmas Eve surprise.

The rest of the night was spent playing Poker with all the guests. What a fun game! I’ve decided that that will be our new Christmas tradition; play poker, instead of the family picture by the tree.

(I did take part of our Christmas tree back to the Dome, but it looks rather pathetic. It’s the size of a large water bottle and stands up by being stuck in a box of wooden bricks)
Still…it’s all about the love. Merry Christmas everybody!

"And that one is for me and that one is for me..." (Check out the tiny Chritsmas tree in the building blocks box)

Brandy tasting session with daddy

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas rush

To all my friends....I'm sorry I haven't emailed any of you back recently. My outlook express is playing up (receiving, but not sending emails)

Actually, the whole Internet connection at the Dome is a bit scatty at the moment. I thought that our rescue would be the new DSL line in our Belmopan home. We had waited for weeks to get it installed and were very excited about getting top-notch Skype service and constant good connections.

Well, it wasn't to be. Last night I was planning to use it for the first time, but instead of getting online, I managed to mess up the whole system. I pressed a button and re-programmed everything. Obviously, Andy wasn't around or that would have never happened. It was just Karen and me there. What a fool & how bloody annoying!

Anyway, life here is as hectic as I imagine everyone's life is right now. Crazy Christmas rush, trying to tie up all kind of lose know the story.

Hope none of you are losing your sanity yet. Still ten days to go. Good luck with all the Christmas parties and hang-overs! (Not missing those much, I have to say)

Adios my dears!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Getting dressed in the carpark outside the courthouse (Andy did find a suit to wear after all)

Look how big I am!

Our wedding party (in front of our new bus)

Moments before the ceremony.....

Present at the wedding: Mr. Flowers, John, Karen, my mum, Andy, Lucas and I.

As plain as the ceremony was, I still got a bit teary-eyed when we got to the "I do's".

You may kiss the bride!

Lucas was bored and ran off straight after the ceremony, shouting "Finished!" (cheeky monkey)

Mr. & Mrs. Hunt with our dear Karen (And look, our wedding certificate!) I have to say, we loved our simple wedding. It was just what we had wanted.

Our post-wedding meal at the local market (chicken, beans & fry jacks)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The wedding day

Today at 9am we're getting married. We haven't invited anybody, the only people there will be my mum, Karen and John (Apart from Andy, Lucas and me). We didn't invite anyone because we want to leave straight after signing the paperwork to get down to the beach. We're staying at Hamanasi resort in Hopkins for the night & want to make the most of our time there. My mum can look after Lucas & Andy and I can hopefully get some time together.

It's funny, Andy's suits are all mouldy, so he'll have to wear a shirt and a pair of shorts to our "wedding". And we're getting married by this old man called Mr. Flowers who sits at the local market every day (his "office" is a table at a food stall). He is, apparently, a senior justice of the peace, so he's licensed to marry people. He looks like quite a character.

Anyway, we better walk past the food stall this morning on our way to the courthouse, to make sure he hasn't forgotten about us. He didn't even write down the date when we told him when we wanted to get married.

I better get a move on. Get packing, have a shower, sort out the washing, get Lucas ready, etc.

I'll blog (with lots of pictures) in a few days. Wish me luck.......

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lucas is already as hard-working as his dad. Here he is listening to sea shells (obviously, a very important job) He gets deadly serious when he is "working" and we have to wait until he is done before we can leave the house with him.

This is what they look like when they are not working....

Our Belmopan home "the town house"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Moving to Belize Guide, Part 3

For those interested in leaving the rat race behind and settling in Belize, here is part 3 of my "Moving to Belize Guide"

Being humble

So you’re planning to leave western civilization and move to a developing country like Belize. Depending on your current social & financial status, you may be fooled in to believing that the developing country will be awaiting you with open arms, happy to receive your financial and professional input. Though this may be the case in some isolated instances, overall I can assure you of a rather rude awakening.

Most likely, the locals will be utterly unimpressed with who you’ve been “back home”. All they see right now is a foreigner who doesn’t understand the local way of life. Europeans, Canadians and especially Americans are generally regarded as arrogant. We talk too loud, we try to rush people and we usually think that our way is the better way (or at least a more efficient way).

We often come to developing countries with huge dreams and expectations; we will build an enormous resort, a hospital, a 300-seater restaurant, a water park, a crocodile park, a research center, the list goes on. We will be providing work and income for the local community & therefore expect the locals to be as excited as we are about our dreams.

We also may believe that we have found the “gap in the market”, like the man who opened the shoe shop on Placencia after noticing that no one had any shoes there. He invested his money, opened his store & then discovered that no one was actually interested in owning any shoes (there aren’t any roads on Placencia, only sandy beaches)

Then there was the man who decided to start the first fly-fishing business on Aruba (I won’t mention any names, but it’s someone very close to me). He paid someone to set up his “” website & then discovered that no one actually offers fly-fishing in Aruba because it is too windy there.

So, take it easy. Do your research. Start slowly. Get to know the local customs. Don’t rush in flapping your dollars in the air. Be humble. Observe. Then proceed, following the local customs as much as you can. Even if none of it makes sense to you. You are in their country, so you owe the locals a certain amount of respect. They may do things a certain way because it makes more sense in a small country or because it fits with their particular view of life. Who are we to say that theirs is an inferior way?

We always seem to think that we are so much more efficient, yet occasionally we will surprised by how quickly something can get done in a developing country. It just always looks like things move slowly. Mainly because no one rushes around the way we are used to. People chitchat more, take long lunch breaks, most paper work still gets done by hand, women file their nails whilst they are working and often they’ll just sit in silence, without jumping up to help the next customer.

That’s another thing we needed to get used to when we first came to Belize, the silences. We used to fill up “uncomfortable silence” with words, any words, as long as the silence got broken. Now we realize that silence is not regarded as uncomfortable in Belize. In Europe, if a silence continues too long, it means that it is time to move on (we all get that hint, right?) Not so in Belize. Here, silence can be many things. It can simply be a form of togetherness. People will come and visit you even if they have nothing to tell you. They will quite happily sit with you in silence for half an hour before they move on or say the next sentence.

Silence is also a form of negotiation, probably one of the strongest. If you are unhappy with what someone has just told you in a meeting, don’t argue with them, just sit there silently (maybe hum and hah a little & look a tat worried). After a while the other party will come with a new suggestion. Continue this process until you both come to an agreement. It’s an unusual way of doing business for most of us, but much more effective (in a country like Belize) than raising your voice or trying to persuade someone that you are right. And I’m sure it’s better for your heart too, in the long run.

Andy has become a master at “out-silencing” people. I still get uncomfortable. But then, for years I used to get paid to talk. It is my first line of defense when I’m scared. Maybe I’ll get used to it one day.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trying to move

Wow, it's been enjoyable to hear from the other veejays. But I still have so many to track down though. If anyone out there knows where any of them are today, please let me know.

Andy and I, by the way, have been trying to move into our new rental house for the last few days. See, we now have a country house (the Belize Jungle Dome) and a town house in Belmopan. The town house is the one we run to when things get too crazy at the Dome. But the last few days we've not had much luck getting in. First I brought the wrong keys (pregnancy brain!) & then it turned out that the pad lock on the gate got jammed. So even with the right keys we can't get in. How annoying.

Today I'll go back and try to get the stupid thing off, as I really need a quiet place to go to. My head is pounding and there simply are too many people at the resort at the moment.

By the way, been watching the coolest documentary series lately, called: "The Century of the Self" and "The Power of Nightmares" by Adam Curtis. They are absolutely incredible and will change the way you view modern society forever! They can be downloaded from: . Go check it out!

Oh, and if my headache clears up, I'll post another instalment of the "Moving to Belize guide" later.

Groetjes trouwens aan iedereen die hier via: is gekomen. Prettig Sinterklaas alvast. Ik vind het jammer dat ik mijn zoontje Lucas niet naar Nederland kan brengen voor Sinterklaas (Ik ben te zwanger om nog zo'n eind te vliegen, vind ik zelf). Helemaal jammer dat hij dit jaar weer de kans niet krijgt om sneeuw te zien. Nouja, volgende keer dan maar. Adios!

Rebecca De Ruvo

Mini-update from ex-MTV veejay Rebecca de Ruvo

Hey Simone,
It is so nice to see and hear how well you and your family are doing..I became a mother to Alfonso 3 months ago and I absolutely love it! I attach a pic.. I would really like to come out and visit you and stay in your resort someday! I dont know if you remember but I love horse riding!I am still in my band The vitamins and we have a single out in January, the video stars the actress Samantha Morton, I was 9 months pregnant and simply refused to be in it! She is fantastic.. We have a web page but it is very basic, it is being redesigned. I would write more but Fonsie ( his nickname ) is crying the little bugger!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

One month to Christmas!

It’s getting “cold” in Belize (17 degrees Celsius this morning) and we’re all loving it. Shuffling past each other in wooly jumpers and slippers, checking whose hands are the coldest. Funny how perception of temperature changes when you live in the tropics.

Our crazy little Lucas, by the way, is ever the jungle boy. He refuses to wear anything on his feet “I don’t wear shoes!” even when we go to the supermarket & even when our tiled floors are as cold as they are today. I look at his bare feet and get cold for him. Still, he’s a little radiator. It simply doesn’t bother him.

Talking of Lucas, I think he’s gone through a “testosterone release” recently. He suddenly started walking with a male swagger and wouldn’t play with girls anymore, virtually overnight. The girls dislike him too these days. He just rides his tricycle in to them, pushes them around, throws sand in their eyes (wondering why they are upset with him), etc. The boys that he plays with have the same sense of humor as him and find all that stuff rather funny. Of course, the girls hate it. I have tried to explain it to him, but Lucas just doesn’t seem to “get girls” anymore. And, like most men, he probably won’t “get them” anymore for the rest of his life. Yep, that door has shut, I’m afraid.

Back in the days when boys and girls were still able to play together in a cardboard box

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Toby Amies update, part 2

As part of my "where are they now?" postings, the latest instalment from another old MTV collegue of mine, the very unique, funny and talented Toby Amies:

Since being back in the UK I have done quite a lot of directing for tv, made a few pop videos, been presenting for Film Four and am on my third series for Lonely Planet TV.Also more and more people are asking me to make strange films for them. I have just done one about a Victorian seance that went horribly wrong, shown in a festival here with a live score.

Best of all though has been the photography which is a perfect way for me to make sense of what I experience, I find it too difficult to write that much and too inept to paint properly, but my pictures are the best way I have found to grab hold of time that flies by now and to see some more of life for what it is. I have had some exhibitions here by the sea and am getting published in magazines quite widely. I also make bits and pieces of art for group shows and so on and my piece "The Museum of Unfinished Projects" was in this year's Sussex Open.

With that in mind, I want to use the behind the camera work I do to train my storytelling skills to the point where I can make a really good feature film, in about 5 years time ideally.

Otherwise I am increasingly content, have a wonderful woman who has a delightful daughter, love to cycle and worry about climate change, totalitarian religions and oppressive governments, the principle concerns of champagne anarchists.

Don't smoke fags no more.
I still dress funny.
Still got back fat and some side fat too.
Still don't eat meat.
Still dance.
Still hate the man.
The best thing about me is my friends.

Mad love to you and anyone who knows me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Oh, how I love my little boy....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Moving to Belize Guide, part 2

For those considering a move to personal "how to" series.

Getting to know the country

Before settling in a certain part of Belize, ask yourself what you are actually looking for.

How much inconvenience can you truly handle? It’s great finding a beautiful little waterfall in the middle of the jungle or a private island, miles away from civilization, but could you really live there? Try to net get too idyllic about this. Be overly practical. How will you get your shopping? What happens in a medical emergency? What will the place look like in torrential rains or when hit by a hurricane? How accessible is it? How much will it cost you to make the place more accessible? (Always double your estimate, for a more realistic financial picture) How long will it take you to build your dream house/resort, etc. (Again, double your estimate) Where will you find builders, plumbers, electricians, etc? And, most importantly, how will you fund your chosen lifestyle long-term?

Life in Belize is most likely to be very different from the life that you are used to. Right now, if you need a plumber, you probably just grab the yellow pages and find one that way. Right now, you buy all the food you need in one supermarket (confident that everything you purchase is within its sell-by date), you pay your bills online, your garbage gets collected every week, any house you’ve bought came with running water and electricity, when your car breaks down you get it fixed at your local garage (Access to car parts is usually not a huge problem in the States or Europe) & when your house is on fire, you phone the fire brigade and expect them to be there within the next 20 minutes or so. None of these things are as simple in Belize (I will share some stories in the coming days highlighting these inconveniences)

Also, you know what how to play by the rules. So whenever you deal with any legality, you’ll find out what’s expected of you and follow the clear instructions given to you. There are very few gray areas when dealing with legalities in most of Western Civilization.

When moving to Belize, or any other developing country, you have to pretty much relearn how you do everything. There are no clear-cut rules, it often seems. Just rules that are rather fluid and move around a tat every time you look (I’ll go into this more in part 3 of my “Moving to Belize Guide”, when talking about the need to be humble)

So, to start with:

  1. Keep your money in your pocket if possible & spend some time in your chosen town or community. Make friends there and find your way around. Because, even though the communities are so small, it takes a long time to discover what is where. Small businesses often have no signs and the best fish (for instance) can be bought from a person’s shed somewhere. Also, talk to other expats in the area. They will have a wealth of information and are usually happy to assist newcomers.
  2. Next, get very clear with yourself (and your partner?) about what it is that you want. What lifestyle do you want and how can you achieve that?
  3. Get very clear as well about what you don’t want or can’t put up with. If you hate bugs, stay out of the jungle, if you become a nervous wreck whenever a hurricane comes near, stay away from the coastal properties & if you want convenience at all times...stay out of Belize.
  4. You may come to Belize with some savings, expecting them to last you a long time (The “but things are so cheap here” trap). I can tell you now that your money will disappear much faster than you anticipate. So plan how to make ends meet long-term

And finally, when deciding to make the leap, be prepared for a simple life of beauty, mixed in with moments of utter despair. You will often wonder: (or shout out to the heavens) “What have I done????” Know that this is normal and that this too shall pass. The only way to succeed in relocating to a place like Belize is to not throw in the towel too quick. Good luck my friend! May patience be on your side…..

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Moving to Belize guide, part 1

People often ask Andy and me for advice on moving to Belize. It seems that many are planning to leave the rat race and are hoping for a more peaceful and fulfilling life. Sadly, not many people succeed in building this idyllic lifestyle for themselves once they get here. The whole country shows the signs of these failed dreams, usually in the shape of deserted hotels, restaurants and lodges, build with all the best intentions, but often over-ambitious and not thought through enough.

So how does one succeed in a country like this? I’m sure that there are many different opinions on this, but my personal advice is the following:

  1. Get to know the country
  2. Be humble
  3. Plan cautiously & take your time
  4. Don’t rely on others too much (beware of starting businesses with friends, etc.)
  5. Think ahead of time! (Make sure you do your marketing early & be aware of what lifestyle you actually are building for yourself)

Many people fail to ask themselves some basic questions, like: Does running a 20-room resort really provide me with the relaxed lifestyle that I crave? And can I really live in a place without theatres, cafes, shopping streets, cinemas, certain social scenes, family, etc.

There is so much to say on the subject that I will break it down into a series of postings.
Starting tomorrow with point number one: Getting to know the country

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Update from my old MTV collegue Toby Amies

how nice to hear from you, it sounds like you have an extremely interesting life, I'd like to come and visit. Congratulations on the breeding and the blog!

He's handsome that Silvestrin isn't he?

So as far as VJ's reunited goes:
After being such an arrogant angry fuck at MTV Europe I moved to NYC to work at the Deathstar as we dubbed it, had a fairly unpleasant time at MTV US and in the process figured out that fame was not really my main interest in life, but being creative was.

Someone I met in a nightclub there was going to interview Martha Quinn, one of the first veejays ever and they asked me what question would be good and I said "Ask them if they think a person can ever be bigger than a brand?"

That said I must say the first year in NYC as "the British guy" was quite spectacular and there was more sex, drugs and rock and roll available than I had imagined and my appetite was already large on departure from London.

As well as doing a fair bit of deejaying I started a band, Genius Steals, your basic Gothic funk 2-piece supergroup, we made some records including one with New Jersey House legend Romanthony [the voice on Daft Punk's "One More Time"] and played some gigs to varying levels of acclaim, very much enjoyed it though. The band split due to "emotional differences" and together with comic genius Darry Logan I started doing the US Top 20 for MTV international in a punk rock style from my own studio, Sinister Construction, a chained-up shed in Brooklyn, in many ways though the music was pretty dreadful, this was some of my best work for the channel and props to Richard Godfrey for giving us the freedom to do what we thought best.

Darry and I also made some films and one won the Dali Award at the 1999 International Surrealist Film Festival.

I started work for Film Four and began to take photography seriously as my main creative focus. I lived in a Hassidic neighbourhood in Brooklyn and my landlord used to call me "the Picturemaker" and that pretty well sums up what I was doing and still do.

Pot smoking, a windowless environment, American capitalist immorality, Bush-led conservatism, a torn heart and the vile horror of September the 11th encouraged me to leave the States and come to Brighton, retirement community for ex-rock stars, London fugitives and lazy artists.

To be continued (part 2 coming soon)....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mud bath!

Belize Jungle Dome staff picture

Chef Bart and "his girls"

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Belmopan, here we come!

Our house is like an ants nest these days, with people everywhere. We are currently sharing our home with 3 other people (Karen, Bart & Mooch), making the total: 5 adults & 1 child. Our open-plan kitchen is being used for chef training and our “office” (a sectioned off part of our front room, which includes our dining table as a work desk) is being shared by the four of us, with Richie working on our new website.

On top of this, all our rental units are full. So there are those people to deal with as well. And the children of our guests, plus the local children spend a fair amount of time inside our house to play with Lucas’ toys. What I’m trying to say is that this place is pretty chaotic at the moment, fun, but chaotic.

So today we have signed a rental contract for a house in Belmopan, which is our nearest “town” & the smallest capital of the world, with less than 10,000 inhabitants. We will rent that house for the coming 6 months, starting from the first of December, whilst slowly converting part of the Jungle Dome into more rental rooms (beginning with our old bedroom and kitchen).

Our new business partners, Tom & Marge, should be arriving in Belize in early 2006. They will move into the Jungle Dome for a while and share the space with Karen. We will simply come to work every day and whenever we want to “get away from it all” retreat to our house in Belmopan. I am so looking forward to it!

It will be interesting though, as Andy, Lucas and I have always shared our home with other people. But I think that we’re ready to “just be a family” now. Especially with baby number 2 coming soon.

Anyway, until that time, I’ll enjoy the craziness that is part of Jungle Dome living & make good use of the large amount of unofficial “baby-sitters” here.

Andy trying to take a day-time nap, with children playing around him and cooking lessons going on behind him.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ex-MTV veejay Kimsy's update part 2

Tracking down the other old MTV Europe Veejays is turning out to be great fun, like having our own little online reunion. As part of this "pet-project' of mine, here is the second instalment of Kimsy's update. Coming soon...Tobie Amies!

In 2003 family circumstances required me to move back to Germany.See, we have this castle, that has been in our family since 1453 and my parents were getting somewhat on in age, so my sister and I decided to move back and evaluate our options. I was hesitant to move back, especially move back home. I mean we're in this tiny tiny village of 980 people - a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan streets:

compared to this:

I've been back here for 13 months now and have had a great time. I don't know how long I'll actually stay right here, as the place as well as my parents don't really require us to be there all the time.There's a good possibility that I'll move to Berlin in the forseeable future. I've had some auditions for TV Shows, got a small part in a film and am scheduled to be in two other films that are still in the financial planning phase. It's such an exciting time.

Right now though, I'm anxiously awaiting the return of my husband. Yep. Got hitched 43 days ago, but we've actually only spent 3 of those days together. Marcus, my husband, is currently on tour in the states and working on his own music in the studio.

We had been going out for 6 years and after getting engaged, never could quite figure out how we would want to get married. No idea ever really materialized and so we decided , to the shock of our parents, to plan a wedding in 6 days. quite a task, considering we wanted to get married in New York.Hearing horror stories of Bridezillas, over-anxious mothers and general wedding planer disasters, I highly recommend such a wedding to anybody. It was simply beautiful and about us and what we feel for eachother, rather than about creating the biggest event in history and not even having the time to enjoy it.

So, enough of me now. Simone's stories of jungle paradise are so much more exciting. For old time's sake, I looked through some foto albums on the attic and found some snaps.Much Love to all of you out there!!! XXX Kimsy XXX

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Update from ex-MTV veejay Enrico Silverstrin

Received an email from the lovely Enrico Silverstrin. It sounds like he is doing well these days:

Ciao Simone, Ciao Kimsy, Ciao James, Ciao Everyone!!!

God it's such a pleasure to find out we still have an interest in each other's lives: I hate to think that after years of no matter how intense life-sharing with other people, everibody tend to simply fade out. So here I am. After my 3 years in London I moved back to Rome where I lived for 4 years, then off to Milan for 2, and now been back in Rome for about 3 years.

I have been acting for the past 8 years in movies (both cinema and tv) and I am starting to see some very interesting results which make me very proud. Also I have been dj'ing electro house in clubs all over Italy, and made quite a name for myself in this country. By the way James Hyman, u've always been an inspiration for me, so thanx because If I am a deejay today is also because of you!

And last, I still work as a presenter even if i consider it a side job. I still do occasional work for MTV!! Just got back from Lisbon where I co-hosted the Red Carpet at the EMA's...

Anyways, I bought myself a flat, I spend hours working on my Mac, so I am almost constantly online, and I am single! Been single for a while now, but perhaps I have suffered the mammoth-previous relationship factor!!

I also have a blog, although it's all in Italian. Maybe I should start posting articles in English then!

And if you wanna listen to the stuff that I do on turntables you can download my free Compilations on my ftp site. They're named Vicious (like my club night) and you can find a text file too with all tracklistings. There's only 2 posted so it's quite easy!

Don't know what else to write.Oh yes I do: love ya all!!!

Latest from the Belize Jungle Dome

Andy’s Escribbler blog has gone through the roof! Not only did he get 585 visitors yesterday, but he also was contacted by Sky Sports (they want to film some stuff about his life here in Belize) and appeared in a Guardian Newspaper article about retired footballers with the strangest current careers (never knew we were that strange)

In the meantime, Richie has been working hard on our new website for the Belize Jungle Dome. It’s still going to be a little while, but I think it looks great already.

And just as we were starting to relax last night, Lucas surprised us all by sticking his head down the toilet. John, Richie, Bart and Mooch nearly pissed themselves laughing, making it rather hard for me to tell him off with a straight face (this happens a lot these days, as Lucas keeps doing things that are just so bloody funny)

I also managed to get hold of Till Lasmann (the illustrator) over the last week or so & he has agreed to make drawings to one of my children’s picture book stories, probably to “City Head”, which I’ve re-written completely in the last few days.

And finally, my mum is coming to Belize for a week in early December! I’m so looking forward to it. Andy & I may even get married when my mum is here, as we have been planning to do it one of these days anyway. I just hope that all our other family/friends won’t be too upset about not being here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogging right back at you!

I just love how blogs work! I've just started posting updates from the various ex-Veejays & already there are some other ex-MTVers writing their own postings about it on their blogs.

Have a look at todays listings on the following blogs:
Big up to both of you!

Ex-MTV veejay Kimsy's update

Good news! I've already received a wonderful update from Kimsy (Which I'll bring to you in two parts) and just got an email from Rebbeca DeRuvo. It's great to see what colorful lifes all the ex-veejays are living. Kimsy, for instance, is running the family's castle these days. How wild is that? Anyway, enjoy Kimsy's update part one:

Kimsy: This is just great. I was reading my friend Thomas' awesome blog about his experiences in New York and all over the world. He mentioned Simone's blog and that's how after 7 (SEVEN!!!) years i found myself emailing my dear former colleague in far away tropical Belize.

I was a VJ for 3 years before deciding to move to New York and study acting at Mike Nichols school. I got accepted for the 2-year training program and had the most incredible time. The school prides itself in being very open to new and different methods of teaching, which had us incorporate everything from Feldenkrais to NLP into acting excercises.
I finished in 2000 and did three short stints for VH-1 Germany, hosting their segments of big events, like the VH-1 Fashion Awards or Divas Live. It was interesting having been out of the VJ loop for a while and returning to it with some emotional distance.

In the following 4 years I immersed myself in the fab world of being an actor in New York looking for work. In true clichee style I had the smallest apartment on this planet, waited tables, auditioned for Sex and the City, worked as an Extra and did numerous off-off-broadway plays and some indie flicks.

My first real part was playing a model/terrorist in Sam Seder's "A Bad Situationist" . My character joins a group of radical jewish orthodox postal workers and threatens to blow up a theatre. A brilliant fully improvised film that unfortunately never quite made it. Anywhere.
As hard as it was at times, I did enjoy myself throughly and I had the chance to grow as a person without being in the spotlight of international superstar VJ-dom.

Part 2 of Kimsy's update coming soon.....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Where have all the veejays gone?

Those of you who used to watch MTV Europe during the 80's and 90's may be interested in what has happened to all the old Veejays. I often wonder about that myself & have decided to track some ex-Veejays down for you.

I have fired off emails asking for updates from:

So far, I have got news from Steve Blame (see next posting) and am waiting for a promised update from Kimsy. I hope to receive more email adresses soon & will try to get as many blog postings of them all as possible.

I do have to say that it is great to hear about Steve Blame's life. I have always loved and admired him. He is such a talented person & used to be my favorite "partner in crime". Steve and I were pretty wild in the old MTV days. One day I'll write about some of our insane adventures. It is actually amazing we never got fired for the trouble we used to get in to. Anyway, enjoy his update...

Update from ex-MTV news presenter Steve Blame

Like all of you, I have been fascinated by Simone’s tales of the jungle over the past few years. I have the utmost respect for her, uprooting herself from the comfort of London and living out her dream in Belize. It’s not so easy to change country even if it’s just to a European destination. I left MTV in the winter of 1994 to live in Germany, a country I first despised and now have grown to have the deepest love and respect for. Whenever I hear from Simone I think of MTV. It’s such a long time ago but what memories remain are of wonderful, crazy, interesting and puerile experiences. It’s difficult to identify myself with what I was doing those days. I enjoyed it immensely but would not want that life today. I found my niche on this planet some time ago and have been enjoying it ever since.

Cologne is a great city to live, and although there are other places on the planet I would like to experience, it suits me fine. I have a TV format company which continues to grow. In the past few years my business partner and I have built up a successful portfolio of formats. That keeps me fed and has allowed me to pursue another goal.

I always wanted to be a writer, even before my time at MTV. Like most people I started reading every book about it instead of writing. Eventually I took the plunge and with my first two attempts at writing sitcoms had them both optioned. Neither of them ever made it to the screen, and I felt that although they were good they could have been better. So in March of this year I applied to go back to University and study once more.

The last time I was at University was at Exeter over 26 years ago and the degree subject could not have been more different, Mathematics and Physics. This time I am studying for a Masters Degree in Screenwriting at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. At 46, I am again a student. I live in postgraduate accommodation in town with two other guys, each of them a quarter of a century younger than me.

It’s refreshing to know that University hasn’t changed. The line up of artists playing this term reads like something directly from 1979. Debbie Harry and Bob Geldof for example! The drinks don’t change either, everyone seems to drink snakebite and the corridors stink from dope. But this time around is very different for me. I am that swat you all hated when you studied. I was up at 8 am this morning, Sunday, straight onto the computer, its now 10 pm and I have just finished writing and re-writing for today. The process will begin again in the morning.

The whole experience has been a shock, but I know that at the end of this I will have written that movie I was always destined to. I just hope that someone buys it!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lazy days on San Pedro

We’re having a quick break before our high season kicks in. Starting from about the second week of November, we’ll be extremely busy at the Jungle Dome. On days like these, it’s so great to have the islands nearby. We simply drive to Belize City (one hour drive), hop on a plane for 15 minutes and that’s it! Get your cozies on…we’re on the beach.

One of the perks of being in the travel industry is working with the beach resorts, as they give us free accommodation whenever we want a break (obviously, we send them many clients, so they are happy to see us). This time we are staying at a place called Banana Beach. It’s a wonderful resort to come to with children. They have two pools, a private beach, a great restaurant and self-contained apartments. We’re in one of their beachfront villas.

It’s so great staying here, I open the back door and the kids run out to the beach or I open the front door and the kids run out to the courtyard swimming pool. And where ever they go, they have other children to play with. There are a lot of young families here at the moment.

We’ve taken little Jimmy (Tella’s grandson) along with us. He has never seen the sea or been a plane before, so it’s a big deal for him. I think it’s especially good for him to be exposed to these things, as he is the only Mayan kid at Banana Bank who goes to a private school (sponsored). He shares his classroom with the children of Ambassadors, Politicians and Businessmen. So it is nice that he too has done the kind of things that they do on their weekends off.

Yesterday we celebrated Lucas’ third birthday. It’s amazing how time flies (sorry to state such a cliché, but it’s only once you have children that you fully realize the truth of that statement). Especially his birth seems like it was yesterday. Yet life before Lucas seems like forever ago. I can barely remember what on earth I used to do with my time. Now, 90% of it is spent on Lucas related things.

It's funny to see what a domesticated mum I have become. I notice it even more on this trip, with the two children around. Spending large parts of my time tidying up the apartment, folding up clothes, reminding the boys to brush their teeth, helping them with their dinners, etc. Whenever we’ve gone out to a restaurant (with Karen and her dad, who are here too) I seem to end up on the children’s side of the table, covered in ketchup and barely able to follow the grown-up’s conversations. Oh well, I guess that’s just part and parcel of being a mother. I’m sure that one day I’ll be allowed back on the grown-ups side of the table.

Off on another adventure!

The courtyard pool at Banana Beach

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Making friends on the beach