Friday, 30 March 2007

American-Jewish Lobby

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is not only one of the largest, richest and most powerful lobbying groups in the US (with some 6,000 activists plus 100,000 members and a $57 million war chest), it is also one of the most dangerous.

The AIPAC has the ear of all leading politicians in America, with both parties scrambling to appear the most pro-Jewish, and is a major driver behind not only the frankly useless Middle East policy of the Bush regime (see the afore-mentioned scrambling for the Jewish vote; no decent solution can be expounded when one side is so heavily favoured) but also the hawkish disposition of the AIPAC when it comes to regime change in nations such as Iraq and Iran.

Serious questions have to be asked about who exactly is guiding and benefiting from America's distorted and disastrous foreign policy across the globe.

Questions also have to be asked about the amount of aid secured for Israel, which is the largest recipient of US funds above all other countries.

The special relationship between the United States and Israel is perhaps reaching a point of overreach but it has already caused a great deal of harm in the current global atmosphere of polarised realpolitik.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Fondue is the way forward.

It may cost £20 but it's worth every damn penny and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Heed my words.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Fuck-Around Guy


Fuck-Around Guy!

You surround yourself with people slightly more stupid than you are

So you can feel like a king of something

You block what you don't like and only do what you want

You make threats to get your own way and hit things when you don't

Your hide your own failings but project them onto others

You wander into life with nothing worthwhile to offer

You fuck around when you should be fixing up


Fuck-Around Guy!

Fuck off

And don't forget

To keep it real

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

The Game of Acting

“In order to be a creative artist you must risk failure…Go out to fail, not succeed. Efficiency is death in the theatre.” Joan Littlewood.

I’ve been reflecting on acting recently, as Mark Whiteley of Hard Graft gave me a bell this week and we will be working together once again on an exciting theatre project to take place in the summer of this year, which will incorporate this year’s Edinburgh Festival and a national tour.

Performing live is the real test for any actor and one that due to a very enjoyable career diversion into TV and adverts has taken something of a back seat, hence my involvement in ‘The Lesson’, which although a success, was initially a difficult re-emersion into live performance.

I’d never quite believed Clive Barker’s statement that acting is the equivalent in terms of stress on the body as being involved in a small car crash, though some performances are certainly like watching one but ‘The Lesson’ seemed to hit a tense nerve I’ve not encountered since I first started acting for a living.

That show also proved another acting truism: the harder you try the worse you get, the more you concentrate on getting it right the closer it gets to being wrong and the sooner you just give it up and let it take you over the better you’ll be. It’s kind of like being possessed but more trance like.

I remember doing ‘The Lesson’ and being totally not-present and floating above myself, watching and thinking how I don’t know the lines and how I’m not present and how badly I’m going to fuck up and let everyone down. I managed to claw myself back into my head and get on with giving a good show but the first few were marred by this kind of out-of-body, hypercritical experience.

The only cure is to give up all your fears and concerns and just let the theatre speak through you, simply and honestly and more importantly to enjoy the experience.

Easier said than done...

Monday, 26 March 2007

Zimbabwe Has No Oil

I have always used Robert Mugabe as an example of the flaw in the Bush/neo-con doctrine or perhaps not so much a flaw as an expose of a transparent lie. The idea that the US and its allies (read: Britain) are somehow on the look out to dispose tyrants that are a danger to their own people and to the world comes with a caveat: there has to be oil present.

Mugabe and his destruction of Zimbabwe is unfortunately not the only example of selective regime change but clearly Zimbabwe has no oil, it has mineral resources and agricultural exports but apart from that very little else or worth to those that like to throw their weight around the globe. So as we’ve stood by Zimbabwe is the proud owner of the lowest life expectancy of any nation in the world, 37, which is a terrible indictment of Mugabe’s regime considering it was on a par with Europe in 1990 at just over 60, a 33% HIV/AIDS infection rate, infant mortality rates doubling and the highest inflation rate of any country in the world.

If ever there was a prime example of one dictator’s mismanagement of a fine nation than this is it, fortunately for Mugabe, Zimbabwe has no oil and he has not made any threats to Israel…not yet anyway. It probably helps that his country is mainly Catholic and not Muslim, or it would no doubt be classed as a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

There is no doubt that if the kind of acts of repression being carried out by Mugabe’s regime upon his opponents were happening in most any other country, the outcry for action and condemnation would be strong. However, European nations and the US merely mouth their disappointment as free political discourse and free elections, given democratic rights, are further erased by a dictator gone to seed.

The most worrying thing though is the total silence from Zimbabwe’s neighbours, or in Zambia’s case support of a destructive regime. It is to be expected from Botswana, which has a history of echoing edicts from close ally South Africa but that South Africa should remain silent on the matter is not only confusing but also tantamount to complicity in the acts of terror.

Friday, 23 March 2007

The Shit Snowman

I am the shit snowman

I smile even though no one loves me

My smile is fake

My smile is in my neck

That is the wrong place for a smile

No one loves me because

I have no arms

And my nose has fallen off

And my body is puny

And the back of my snowy skull

Is caving in

Sinking into my own neck

Like a snowy spaz

I crave


To say

I like your green eyes

Shit snowman

Thursday, 22 March 2007


"It's weird to wake up knowing you'll be onstage in twelve hours and there's absolutely nothing you can do to ensure success."

"Ask people to give you an original idea and see the chaos it throws them into. If they said the first thing that came into there head, there'd be no problem." Keith Johnstone, Impro.

Improvisation is a word bandied around too often with regard to acting and much of the time with little understanding of what it means and little regard to how difficult it is and how easy it is to improvise very badly. It is also a skill that is sometimes raised to quasi-mythological status in order for those that think they're good at it to smokescreen the fact that with practice we can all be good (and indeed already are) improvisers.

Improvisation is merely an adult word for play, a skill we quickly lose as adult life consumes us and we are educated into repressing not only our imaginations but also anything that makes us look psychotic, obscene or as if we are unoriginal.

I am currently embarking on a new teaching programme with my students regarding becoming better improvisors and in turn freeing up their creative elements and stopping repressive behaviours.

Not easy.

I work with them for 2 hours a week to repair some 20+ years of oppression but when the break throughs come they are quite profound.

I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

And We Bought Them Freedom!

Monthly Iraqi Civilian Deaths vs. Coalition Military Deaths

Thanks to Cheeks for bringing this graph to my attention.

Even though I am constantly aware of the imbalance in the death and destruction caused by US/UK axis forces in Iraq; the raw graphical data takes my breath away with it's impartial,calm violence.

So what are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

I Held on to You (Me) All Night

I imagine this is what it's like when the person you

Love most in the world is ill

And when the nurses and doctors have gone

And you're left alone with them

You get into bed with them

And watch them

And hold onto them

For dear life

And so I held you

Fell asleep holding you

And I awoke as if unmoved by sleep

Me, exactly as I had been left

You, wrapped up with me

As it should be

As we want it to be


Thursday, 15 March 2007

An Offer That I Couldn’t Refuse

I was teaching yesterday, working with a group of 6 year-olds and helping them develop a Spike Milligan poem for a whole school assemble performance; needless to say we had a right laugh pretending to be naughty cats who stole rubies, doing our best funny walks and making a giant washing machine.

One young chap seemed to take a shine to me and showed me where he lived out of the window of the school hall, taking me by the chin to make sure I could make out his road. He then invited me round to play and offered me cake and tea; I had to decline of course, don’t think his mum would’ve been too pleased with a 6ft 7in, big haired actor turning up on her doorstep but it made me think of that wonderful time as a child where pals are made so quickly and are round for tea, some cake and lots of fun in a flash.

The ease with which children engage, bond and are open to play never fails to impress me; long may it continue into their adult life.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Handy Move: Internet Café Update

Last Thursday was, in one sense, a surprisingly painless house move, smooth, efficient, nothing got broken and everything fitted into storage (and one of the removal guys liked Black Flag). It was not however, without it’s fair share of heartache as Marie and I parted company, she was obviously terribly distressed and I have obviously moved on but it upset me to see her in so much pain and I hope she can come to peace in the next few weeks and months as we both make our new lives.

I had no time to relax after the move because I was up for a Miller Lite commercial, so had to make my way to the casting where I had to pretend to be a statue in just my pants and be threatened with all my body hair being removed. The good news is I was short-listed and the other good news is I didn’t get the job so I get to keep all my body hair. YAY! The God of adverts is clearly frowning on me at the moment and my hairy ass.

Saturday, Eva-Jane and I went to see a lovely bit of theatre at the Young Vic called Generations by Debbie Tucker Green, which I would recommend but we saw it on the last night so you’ve missed it. It’s melange of African song; urgent rhythms and a compelling cut and paste dialogue hammering the repetitive narrative meant that a simple point regarding the terrible impact of AIDS/HIV in South Africa was well made and left Eva and I profoundly moved.

The start of this week is taken up with a showcase I’m directing at the Soho Theatre, yesterday was the first performance and I still can’t believe how nervous I get when all I’m doing is watching the actors I’ve taught and directed; I think that’s a good thing; I think it means that I really care and I’m passionate about them being the best they can be. I’m with them every step of the way and I hope they all shine today and for the final show tomorrow, break a leg to each and every one of them.

Still without regular Internet access but withdrawal is not too bad and quite enjoying a life away from computers, even if I do have a new 19-inch monitor…you heard!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Moving Back in With the Parents and No Internet Blues Jam

Moving day is upon us.

I’m off then!

No idea when I’ll have internet back up and running so bloggage will be very light but do spare a thought for my poor parents having their 30 year old son living back at home with them.

Jesus wept.

Good speed you black emperor!
See you on the other side.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Goodbye to Debden

I was wandering through Debden and I found the above road sign vandalised, just about sums it up...

On the 8th of March 2007 I’m moving out of the flat that Marie and I have shared since September 2005.

That means leaving Essex, leaving Debden (officially Loughton but Debden is an entire world away from the tanning salons and Louis Vuitton handbags hanging off the arms of blonde girls in denim mini-skirts) and the final point of closure in the end of Marie and I's relationship. I made a decision that the breakdown of our love affair was not the stuff of public consumption, although moments of course leaked out onto the blog.

However, I would like to use this forum to genuinely wish Marie all the best for the future and all the success in the world, to take care of her heart and to respect herself always; to have faith in herself as an artist, teacher and human. I am grateful for the last 6 years we’ve shared and the fantastic journey we went on together, nothing can take that away.
Take care Patch.

So it’s goodbye to Debden then and hello to a wonderful, new life…

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Kids in Care

I’ve been working with disadvantaged young people for over a decade now but I still get surprised by how those from the most damaging of circumstances are able to rise above and not get dragged down by the negativity of their past, so that they can make a better future for themselves.

Last week I was lucky enough to work with some young people who are in care, statistically some of the most disadvantaged individuals in the whole of Britain, those who are dealt a particularly rough hand and more importantly have been starved of that most crucial criteria for secure growth: love from your parents.

I’m glad that I can’t understand how a parent cannot love their own flesh and blood and turn their back on that child so that it has to learn to struggle on its own two feet without any of the support structures most of us take for granted. The young people I worked with were making this journey and it was a pleasure to meet them and make some theatre.

As we talked and played and created, took risks and laughed together, I was reminded of the essential human truth: that no matter what struggle, what pain, what terrible journey any of us has been on we can all move on; we do not need to stay stuck, lost in that destructive place but instead use the dark past to fuel a brighter future.

To those young people I worked with, I salute you.