Thursday, 30 November 2006

You WILL Enjoy the Theatre

President Bush isn’t the only lame duck leader struggling in domestic politics, Prime Minster Blair seems dead set on doing his dying swan routine whilst spewing out death knell legislation.

It seems that education is the unlucky target for his legacy building policy, with much talk of more private company investment in education (always a bad thing, there is no profit to be found in children), a rather late acknowledgement of the International Baccalaureate Diploma but more interestingly Blair has started to bang on about ‘life skills’.

‘Life skills’ have been with us since the beginning of time, it basically means being able to look after yourself and be a decent human being, however, since the early 90s various agencies across the UK have felt the need to try and teach ‘life skills’ to young people who seem to not know how to look after themselves and are not decent human beings. Frankly, it’s very silly indeed and this is coming from someone who has spent more time teaching ‘life skills’ programmes then he’d care to remember.

Thankfully, ‘life skills’ were only foisted on disadvantaged and under privileged kids because obviously middle class/wealthy kids have no need to learn how to look after themselves and to be decent human beings as they have money to negate any tricky social situations…Blair is determined to end that and seems hell bent on making sure that all British children can cook, surf the internet, manage money and enjoy the theatre.

Never mind where this is going to fit in to an already over crammed, over legislated and bureaucratic education system; I’m still pissing my pants with laughter at the hilarious thought of making children across Britain enjoy the theatre. Does he realise what a massive task he has on his hands? Solving the Iraq problem pails into insignificance in the face of convincing the youth of the nation to stop surfing the Internet (at least he’s reached one target already), get their fat arses away from the tele and huff and puff their way to the nearest theatre (no longer that near due to chronic government under funding) to sit through some subsidised piece of po-faced historical drama that says absolutely nothing to the juvenile watching it.

I’m all for getting young people into theatres but twisting their arm is not going to solve the problem of a medium that does very little to communicate to them.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Side by Side

How right you were.

It is so much better to make the transition from the palm of your hand to right by your side.

Side by side.

We are, side by side.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Wanted: a Stress Ball the Size of Christ Almighty

I hate pity posts as much as the next man but as some of you may know I am currently snowed under, it’s a mix of keeping busy so as not to linger on distressing personal circumstances and being too busy to take a breath, to reflect and to sit at my computer and write.

I feel like things are slipping from my grasp, the list of to-do things is building to a virtual mountain and I’m struggling to keep my head above water: I’ve a show to direct, two plays to perform in, a comedy show to rehearse for and a showcase to produce.

It would also help if I weren’t crying so much.

So, apologies for my lack of writing and apologies for not frequenting your blogs as much as I should, these things come in cycles and I’m sure I’ll be back in full effect before you know it, leaving a string of inappropriate comments and starting arguments with Americans.

Peace.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Killing Children

Don’t worry; I’m not about to hector you regarding the human rights atrocities carried out in Palestine, Iraq and Sudan; I’ll save that for another post. I’m talking about child euthanasia, or the right of parents and doctors to help sick infants to die.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is debating whether it is always right to keep the sickest children alive and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has released a 247-page report on the matter that can be seen here. It makes for interesting reading and this complicated area generates complicated and conflicting answers.

The key conclusion from the report was: “There are some circumstances in which imposing or continuing treatments to sustain a newborn baby’s life results in a level of irremediable suffering such that there is no ethical obligation to act in order to preserve that life.” Interestingly they state that the interests of the baby are the central consideration and not those of the parents, with the doctor acting in the best interests of the child. Perhaps the most interesting conclusion in relation to euthanasia is the disapproval of any active ending of the child’s life but in the following paragraph, approval for the use of sedatives and analgesics “potentially life-shortening but pain-relieving treatments are morally acceptable” which is the classic method used on both adults and children to speed up the process of inevitable death.

Regular readers will not be surprised that I support child euthanasia, just as I support adult euthanasia and abortion. I believe firmly in choice and I believe that prolonging life unnecessarily is just that. There is another reason for my belief in child euthanasia: bringing up a massively disabled child is often too much for a family unit to manage, heartbreakingly hard in fact. Thus, the family unit collapses and the child is left to be cared for by the state. Disabled children in the UK are nine times more likely to end up in the care of the state and British doctor’s bravery in discussing this matter should be applauded.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

One of my Pet Hates


Have I told you how much I fucking hate snitches?
Never grass me up or I'll fuck you up.
Simple as that.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Idiot at the Window

I was stood on the outside looking in for ages

About 12 months to be honest

I so wanted to get in but you wouldn't let me

I must have looked like such an idiot

When you eventually let me in

I didn't want to go inside anymore

Now we are both idiots at the window.

Monday, 20 November 2006

No Return: The Hard Path

The pain of being together is more than being apart

The lonliness of walking by your side is more than walking alone

That's why I'm leaving

She let out this sound, like a hollow scream, the pain keeps coming and coming and coming. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I've failed you.

The heights we reached makes the fall further but at least we reached those heights and no one or nothing can take that away.

Just don't pretend you never knew me.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Love on the Back Seat of a Bus

I'm sat typing this is in the British Airways First Class Lounge at Heathrow Airport, on my way to film for the project that I mentioned a few days ago so I shall be absent for a while but no fear, when I return I shall be laying on heavy facts and not talking about what I've been up to otherwise they'll sack me and that would be bad.

Why is it that rich people get all the free stuff?

Why is it that sometimes you can love someone so much and want them so badly that no matter where you are, you just want to have them, to bury yourself in them, to be as passionate and as close as you want to be?

Why is it that even angels have to use buses?

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

God’s Foreign Policy

One thing that has always confused me about the Christian Right in the United States is its obsessional support for the Zionist regime in Israel.

The United States has always been the political heavyweight behind the idea of a homeland state for the Jewish people, from enthusiastic support of the concept of Israel under Truman to what is now a frankly bizarre relationship that feeds conspiracy theorists across the globe as to what exactly America could be getting out of such a one sided partnership.

America’s close ties with Israel not only jeopardise any attempts it makes to stabilise the Middle East but also further antagonises the International community who view the aggressively expansionist and human rights infringing nation as a threat to world peace. America pumps some $1.2 billion into Israel, set to increase to $2.4 billion as well as loaning them some $9 billion, it is of little surprise that Israel is at the very top of America’s foreign aid list.

And there seems to be no clear answer as to why? Where is the payback? America’s special relationship with Israel is a disadvantage in foreign policy terms, especially as the Zionist agenda has leaned further and further to the right and the war crimes carried out against Palestinian civilians increase in their severity. The case is clearly for a socio-political foothold in the Arab-Muslim world but Israel behaves more like a proxy aggressor, American funded violence carried out by Zionist lackeys.

And there can be no stranger ally for Israel than the Christian Right but in Christians United for Israel, they have that partner but unlike America’s funding of this apartheid nation the answer to why is a little clearer: the Apocalypse.

You’d think the fact that Jews don’t recognise Christ as the Messiah and are still waiting for their saviour would put evangelical Christians right off but no, it seems that the Holy Land has be saved and populated with Jews in order for the second coming to come off, although the fact that Jews would then have to convert to Christianity and accept the second coming of Christ as their Messiah or burn forever in hell, doesn’t seem to put Israel off from building ties with these mentalists.

Frankly, Israel needs allies wherever they can get them and the Christian Right forms a powerful lobbying group in US politics so even if they don’t agree with the Christianisation behind the concept of End Times, they’ll bite the religious bullet to make an unlikely ally in difficult political times.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Rita

I walked into a pub and saw a lady in her late fifties/early sixties, propped against the bar, swaying slightly under the influence of a few gin and tonics. I stood next to her to order a drink and she turned to me and smiled and said how much she loved tall men and that it’s always nice to be arm in arm with a man and look up to him; to have someone to look after you, to protect you.

I turned to her and asked her where abouts in Wales she came from, her thick, warm accent had given it all away and she said North Wales, Betys-y-Coed and I told her that I walked through there when I was doing The Big Adventure and we discussed the merits of Bangor and the beauty of Snowdon and glacial valleys and how weird Cerrigydruidion is during lambing season.

She offered to buy me a drink and she refused to accept my protestations, as we waited she explained that she used to work in London and that she comes back occasionally to reminisce and get drunk. I asked her name and she said Rita, I shook her hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek. When my pint arrived she waved me off to go and sit with my friends, in reality I wanted to stay and talk to her for as long as she wanted but she reckoned she’d had enough drink and wanted to window shop.

I watched her as she stayed at the bar for a few moments, as alone as she was before I came, the bar staff giving her weird looks and as she walked out I tried to catch her eye to say goodbye and thanks but she just motored past.

As a young man I remember reading Chuck Bukowski and thinking there was something noble and romantic in being a lone drunk, propping up bars and making conversation like some passing ship. Some days I think that’s bullshit and some days I think Rita and Chuck are onto something…

Sunday, 12 November 2006

America’s First Black President?

“The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic Keynote Address.

Barack Obama, the Democratic junior Senator for Illinois, is not a man many of you may be familiar with but he is perhaps the best chance America has of having a black President and one thing is for sure, America would love to elect a black man of Mr Obama’s calibre to the highest position in the land.

Barack Obama is being pitched by some as the only challenger to Hillary Clinton’s 14-year preparation (some might say this is a conservative estimate) to become the United State’s first female leader. This is being rather dismissive to the excellent John Edwards and the Democratic leviathan that is Al Gore but my money is on Barack Obama being the Democratic Presidential nomination for 2008 and he will be a formidable foe.

Obama has many strengths, aside from the colour of his skin (he is in fact mixed race but not so much so that the Oreo insult can stick), such as his youth, political integrity and the fact he comes without any of Hillary’s baggage. He is a straight talker, whether it’s referring to his dabbling in cocaine or in reference to the Clinton cannabis fudge: “When I was a kid I inhaled. That was the point.” When it comes to formal public speaking he is rather brilliant and has the stardust that is attractive to voters.

More importantly, 2008 is the right time for him to strike: the GOP by then will be further weakened, the nation fishing around for dynamic change; there will be no incumbent and no vice-President to deal with. In short, there is a golden opportunity for the Barack Obama to become the first black President.

Here’s hoping…

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Here is the Advert!

I found it! YAY! Click here for a link to the advert in question, my phone has been snowed under with texts from mates who've seen it, which is all good by me.

Any comments on how much of a twat I am will be gratefully received...

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

I’m on Television and Other Ego Massage

The advert I made for the James Bond Casino Royale scratchcard has been running across British TV, which has led to me being recognised in the street already (even though it’s a blink and you’ll miss it performance as a painter and decorator) and also the joy of knowing that every time it’s on, I get money.

HURRAH!

The products connection to the new James Bond movie has meant that it has had great exposure and it is tied in with other leading brands, the rumour on the Internet is that it’ll be shown at selected Odeon cinemas, where they are also giving out free scratchcards to encourage gambling.

Speaking of which, my mum, believing that if sales of the scratchcard in question increase I will personally get the credit and perhaps a financial cut, has been buying large quantities of Casino Royale based gambling devices and triumphantly informed me that she had won £3…the card itself cost £2.

I’ve been keeping something from you my dear readers but I am fit to burst: I have just secured a marvellous acting job that will increase my profile in the United States massively; I can’t say more than that at the moment as these things have to be kept confidential but never the less, these are very exciting and successful times for me.

Peace to you all.

Monday, 6 November 2006

“Love Live Iraq! Long Live the Iraqi People! Down with the Traitors!”

Those were Saddam Hussein’s words as he heard that he had been sentenced to death by hanging and thus enabling Bush to strut around Republican heartlands, trying to shore up votes with the murder of the President of Iraq; parading his scalp like some backward Emperor and amazingly managing the impossible: generating sympathy for the Iraqi dictator.

I’m afraid you’ll never be able to convince me of the worth of the death penalty, I think that state-sponsored murder is abhorrent and sinks us to the level of pigs; vengeful violence has no place in a decent society and Iraq already has massive problems with government death squads administering off hand executions.

I also think that the trial of Saddam was the very worst kind of kangaroo court and it would have been more fitting to see Judge Judy sat omnipotent at its head for all the credence it has. Every major international body has made it clear that this prosecution of Saddam Hussein does not stand up to internationally accepted measures of what makes a fair trial. Indeed, as they worked their way through three judges, endlessly murdered defence lawyers and heavy handed interference from the American sponsors of this most despicable performance piece, the Bush regime must have been challenging the very precept that Saddam should have been brought in alive in the first place.

Max Hastings, in his column for The Guardian newspaper, makes a wonderful point:

“The biggest American mistake was to capture Saddam in the first place. In the House of Commons in 1944, the foreign secretary was asked what instructions had been given to British troops on what to do if they encountered Hitler. Amid laughter, Anthony Eden said: 'I am quite satisfied to leave the decision to the British soldier concerned.'

Among the allied leaders, only Stalin wanted Hitler alive, for the pleasure of hanging him. Everybody else was appalled by the prospective perils and complexities of trying and executing a head of state in partnership with the Russians. Hitler's suicide came as a relief.”


Victor’s justice is always an uncomfortable thing to implement, if you have any shred of human decency that is but at least the Allied forces had some kind of moral superiority over Nazi Germany (even with Stalin on board), unlike the botched and clumsy alliance of Britain and America, who themselves lurch from one crisis to the next.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Good Advice

Thanks to the brilliant Matson Jones for a stolen song, some girls will never learn that you can't put precious things on shelves...

Oh dear, what's happening here?
Oh dear, I think it's perfectly clear
Oh dear, what's happening here?
Oh dear, I think it's perfectly clear
Give me one small strain of good advice
I never listen
But I'll help you all I can
I never listen
But I'll give you all I can
Give me one small strain of good advice
Some girls will never learn
Some girls will never change
Some girls will never learn
Some girls will stay the same

Thursday, 2 November 2006

The British White Underclass

I remember when Old Man Rich prompted me into moving my focus from US poverty to UK poverty and just recently my attention has been drawn, once again, to poverty in Britain and the building of what could be a vengeful and dangerous white underclass.

Aside from acting, I have always worked with disadvantaged young people from a variety of troubled backgrounds but mostly they’ve been white; born and raised on council estates; straight out of school aged 16 with nothing next to their name apart from a small-time rep that carries little weight in the outside world. There is a current trend I have noticed that is worrying me greatly.

British governments, in all their wisdom, throw money at trouble, especially media friendly trouble, until it’s fixed (ish) and this has led to a public sector culture that is utterly skewed towards BME groups (Black Minority Ethnic), inclusively, diversity and what is tantamount to turning your back on angry, poverty-stricken, young white men.

Please don’t misunderstand me; in the UK we make a deserved focus on those that have been excluded on the basis of their culture, ethnicity or refugee status and this I applaud. I also accept that we still have a long way to go to rid ourselves of the curse that is institutional racism but we have forgotten that the majority of those living in poverty are white and of British origin and this is dangerous and unfair.

The number of very specific, targeted and excellent initiatives for BME/Refugee young people in the UK makes me proud; yet it is white children who are at the very bottom of the pile when it comes to GCSE results amongst other ethnicities who are in poverty. Remember that they are competing with people in this bracket who have English as a second or third language!

We now have a white underclass with poorer results than all other ethnicities, who are the least likely to stay on in education post-16 of any other ethnicity, who end up working in the most unskilled jobs (89% of factory staff are white, 93% of manufacturing staff are white) that in turn have a tenuous longevity in the current economic climate and who commit more crime than any other ethnicity and are more likely to misuse Class A drugs.

They are being outclassed in every single department, yet government funding and initiatives are consistently targeted towards every other ethnicity, apart from this white underclass.

Why does this matter? It matters because it breeds feelings of injustice, it breeds feelings of being left out, of your country no longer being your own, of it turning its back on you and embracing those not even from those shores; in short, it breeds a fervent and nasty brand of racism that in the right hands could be manipulated into a deeply destabilising force: a war of cultures.

The answer is to widen the focus to reduce poverty and things that cause poverty across the board, rather than making judgements and initiatives based on ethnicity. We need inclusively and diversity all right but it’s not one-way traffic; all communities need to be urged to engage and share so that ignorance and misinformation can be dispelled. Only then can we make steps to rid ourselves of the evil of poverty across the board.