We apologise for the break in diary service

Location India | Mood Deeply traumatised by events in Nigeria | Date 10 January 2007
Hello anyone who might be reading this. Sorry I haven't had a moment to get the diary entries from August to December up here.

Perv massages and piano lessons

Location Super swanky hotel | Mood Trudging | Date 16 August 2006
Two of the stars of Crude being taken for a ride by the filmmakers Photograph: Sabri Hakim

Stuck in limbo land again

Location Super swanky hotel | Mood Lonely and frustrated | Date 16 August 2006
Rasmia & Noor. Photograph: Sabri Hakim  

Trip to the dead sea

Location Minibus back from Spanner Films' daytrip to the Dead Sea | Mood Euphoria and fear heady mix | Date 11 August 2006
We'd arranged a bonding trip to the Dead Sea today, for Rasmia and Jamila to have a rare good time and, hopefully, trust us a little more. They are understandably very nervous of British people - as their lives have been destroyed by the Americans (and British). So we booked a minibus and a load of kids we picked up at the school video session.

"I hope there's no more war in Iraq"

Location On the balcony of hotel, overlooking downtown Amman | Mood Tired and tiresome | Date 10 August 2006
Met up with the family from yesterday this morning. Filmed a great interview with the mother (Rasmia) and then were happily sitting drinking tea when something kicked off between Rasmia's brother and sister and a full-scale slanging match ensued. Never quite established what that was about.

Dropped down dead when he heard the news

Location New hotel room. Too many bedbugs and not enough AC in the last room. | Mood Blank | Date 8 August 2006
Franny, and our fixer, Khulood, interviewing Iraqi widows on the streets on Amman<


Location "Yahoo 24" internet cafe. Don't try the 'cappuccino'. | Mood Grumpy | Date 8 August 2006
Nooni finds splendid new filming position

Best ever team

Location Dingy hotel room. No AC, no lock, bedbugs, gotta move. | Mood Winding slowly into second gear | Date 7 August 2006
Crude Team with taxi Have assembled a crack team with miraculous speed: Ra'fat (Palestinian), fixer. Well connected & persuasive.

Eyes Wide Open

Location Wobbly table outside coffee house, downtown Amman | Mood Eyes wide open | Date 6 August 2006
Amman, Jordan.

Wonder how much oil goes into one tray of airline food?

Location Plane to Amman, Jordan | Mood Nostalgic | Date 4 August 2006
Not sure what exactly changed - perhaps panic that we haven't even found our final character yet - but we're heading out to Jordan, despite the ongoing war. Lizzie's a few aisles away being tortured by a screaming baby. I have the headphones and laptop. Sure is good being the boss. Some pretty profound life and death stuff has been going on post Crude-Camp-with-Mark. Like when someone is diagnosed with terminal illness and gets six months to live - or if they survive a near-death experience - they often say their whole perspective changes.