Thursday, 31 July 2008

Re: Stacks

This my excavation and today is kumran

Everything that happens is from now on

This is pouring rain

This is paralyzed

I keep throwing it down two-hundred at a time

It's hard to find it when you knew it

When your money's gone

And you're drunk as hell

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load

In the back and the racks and the stacks are your load

In the back with your racks and you're un-stacking your load

I've twisting to the sun I needed to replace

The fountain in the front yard is rusted out

All my love was down

In a frozen ground

There's a black crow sitting across from me; his wiry legs are crossed

And he's dangling my keys, he even fakes a toss

Whatever could it be

That has brought me to this loss?

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load

In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load

In the back with your racks and you're un-stacking your load

This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization

It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away

Your love will be

Safe with me

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

You Act Because You Don't Like Who You Really Are

I was casting for a play a while back and my old alma mater had kindly lent some space to see actors and as I strolled by, I spotted the above graffiti on a phone box right next to the main entrance; strategically placed to catch all the passing drama students and perhaps sow a seed of doubt.

I wonder if it convinced anyone of the error of their acting ways?

I doubt it, I would guess that it aroused a more confrontational response but the trouble is, the statement is right.

At the fundamental root of most people's journey into the acting profession is some kind of deep-set self-loathing that shows itself in the desire to be liked and to be loved, for approval. Most of us deal with this by working hard, or being a success in a certain field, or having kids and getting worth from them. The most daft of us go into acting, a profession which, by it's very nature, constantly challenges your self-worth and tests the boundaries of self-esteem.

You could call actors masochists...or needy idiots, either/or really.

I got into acting as a 9 year old child because I could escape who I was at the time (quiet, meek, bullied, repressed) and transform into something better, something spectacular: Sweeney Todd for example or a General in World War I. Acting also put my disturbingly furtive and active imagination to good use and focused my creative talent.

As I got into my teens, acting became a means of therapy to process repressed sexual feelings towards women, or to exorcise violent tendencies or re-inact terrible moments from my life to that point and either re-live them (masochism again) or to alter the outcome.

I would say that it is only recently, as a 32 year old man, that I've moved away from using acting as a means to justify my existence and my self-worth and to selfishly use it as a conduit to process past trauma and rather, use it for what it is there for: to tell good stories, to get people to think and feel and to entertain them.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Daniel Hoffmann-Gill Method

Back in this post about stage presence, Matt asked "if this was the Hoffmann-Gill Method" to which I said no but it got me thinking about what my acting method is and to be honest I'd say that I don't really have one but I do have certain key beliefs that add up in their disparate forms to make some kind of acting technique.

First off, my approach to acting has changed massively and will no doubt continue to change, when younger I was obsessed with character and getting engrossed in the character and had quite a few nervous breakdowns inspired by my poor appropriation of the techniques of Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg and other Method acting practitioners.

Funnily enough, I don't even believe in characters anymore, I think there is no such thing, just words on a page that have to be conveyed as truthfully as possible to the audience to convey the author's intentions.

Indeed, I believe that the least acting you can do the better, because the performance will connect with the audience all the better if they can believe in it. That's not to say that performances have to be natural and some how everyday because humans are as grotesque, violent and amazing in their everyday existence as they ever are on a stage or in front of a camera. As long as it is truthful, you can do it and we all know that the span of human behaviour and experience is vaster than we could ever hope to imagine.

Another element I despise are actors emotionally masturbating themselves to 'become' a character (which remember, does not even exist), which is all very good for personal therapy because your mum and dad didn't love you but of little use to an audience. To quote Peter Gill: "I prefer actors who say the line the right way and not know why to actors that do it the wrong way but cleverly."

For me, good acting is all about being present, in whatever you're doing, heart and mind fully connected, fully involved; having fun out there and telling the bloody story to the people who come a long way to pay and see you act it out.

One thing I'm bad at and will use this blog to confess to, is upstaging other actors.

And I mean that in it's original term, ie: standing upstage of actors so that they have to turn upstage to face me and thus the audience see me but not the other actor. One thing I don't indulge in is trying to draw focus from other actors but playing up to the audience, this is bad form and smacks of desperate personal need and wanting to be a performing monkey.

If the audience love it, don't do it again, leave them with that moment and wanting more.

Here ends the lecture...for now...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

"Wall Street Got Drunk"

Bush may be utterly unpopular as President, a lame duck waiting to be put down, he may be shunned by those seeking to be his parties backing (McCain seems to have forgotten who Bush is) but boy, can this old boy raise funds. So, as long as cameras aren't there, he is wheeled out to bring in the heavily devalued dollars to the GOP coffers.

Unfortunately, someone was filming, while he went and reeled off this classic:

"There's no question about it, Wall Street...it got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is, how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."

He went on to increase his gaffe SLG when discussing how Dallas seems to be unaffected by the current, crippling, economical downturn:

"We've got a housing issue...Not in Houston, evidently not in Dallas, because Laura's over there trying to buy a house today."

Brilliant. Laugh in the face of thousands of Americans housing and financial woes. See for yourself...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Community Anchor

The term Community Anchor is not rhyming slang I promise.

I repeat, the term Community Anchor is not rhyming slang.

Although, if the phrase does pass into general usage, I can see glorious Cockneys dancing down the streets of London Town shouting things like:

"Shat ya' mawf ya' bleedin' Community Anchor!"

"Who ya' callin' a Community Anchor ya' slaaaaag?"

"Geroff that dog 'n' bone and get down them apples and pears you fackin' Community Anchor!"

And so on, adinfinitum or until all the Cockneys die out...

If you actually want to know what a Community Anchor really is then go here.

Only joking! Go here instead.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Work For Your Dole & Karadžić Captured

New Labour has embarked on a much needed round of benefit reform and I thought as this is a field I've some experience of, mainly working with young unemployed, I'd blog on their new proposals (announced by this strange looking man).


First up is the idea of making long-term unemployed, ie: 12 months on the dole, work for their benefits. A similar scheme already occurs with young people, it's called New Deal and jobseekers avoid it like the plague, so it acts an an incentive to find work but not in the way intended. Personally, I don't think this is going to make a great deal of difference because any job seeker worth their dole, will just get a temp job after seeking for 8 or 9 months and then sign on again, resetting the work clock back to zilch.


You've got to remember (and this is from experience), anyone job seeking for more than 3 or 4 months does not want to work; there is no real need, even in the current economic climate, to be seeking for that long unless you don't really want a job or have unrealistic work expectations. Add in the fact that JSA is a 'gateway benefit', ie: enables you to claim other, more lucrative (I use this word loosely) benefits, getting people out of a cycle of benefit dependence is very hard. I also think that aside from when the scheme first comes into play, the take-up of people having to work for their benefit will be very, very low. So, in summary, it's a move that looks politically good, in terms of ticking all the right-wing boxes but actually won't impact much at all.


The far more interesting reform is the end of Incapacity Benefit by 2013, this is something I'm a big fan of because in reality (again from working in this field), many people claiming this are actually fit and able to work but a system of complicity, both by GPs, claimants and benefit officers themselves, has left a vast raft of people able to work, able to sit out of the economic process on long since passed medical grounds, breeding a culture of benefits-poverty existence. In some parts of the UK we now have third generation benefits claimants, raised in a world of being on the drip.


I'm looking forward to see if this policy is fully followed through to impact on those abusing the benefits system, or whether it is all political bluster. Place your bets...


On a more positive note, brilliant news is that Radovan Karadžić has at last been caught and that the Serbian war criminal will hopefully be bought to justice, now all we have to do is the same to Mugabe, Bush and Blair...

(Shout out to Kirky, hope you're all well and good and reading this on your lunch break)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

On Torture...

"It was not over for a while. It still is not over. Twenty-two years later I am still dangling over the ground by dislocated arms, panting and accusing myself...with the first blow from a policemen's fist, against which there can be no defence and which no helping hand will ward off, a part of our life ends and can never again be revived...Whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world, which already collpased in part at the first blow, but in the end, under torture, fully, will not be reagined."

Jean Amery, survivor of Fort Breendonk, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.

Let us not forget what is done in our name, for our freedoms and at what cost.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

How to Improve Stage Presence?


The answer is in the question.

Be present on stage.

Be in the moment, relating to the text, the actors and the audience.

Don’t be in the past, lingering on a mistake, otherwise you force it and push your performance.

Don’t be in the future; anticipating a moment or difficult passage to come, otherwise you’re distant and disconnected from what you’re doing.

There is no book.

Just do it.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Story of the Number

The Number is God, the Number is the reason, the Number is the story, is the question and the answer. The Number is everything.

It began with Po, a man who is the embodiment of the fight for rights of all black people, who sees the exploitation of the black man in the mines of South Africa and realises that these young men need deliverance.

Then comes Nongoloza, he who drinks the blood from the bull's horn, a young Zulu, looking for work in the mines who is convinced by Po that the mines will kill him, and who is persuaded to join him in his crusade against white oppression.

Then comes Kilikijan, he who refuses to drink the blood from the bull's horn, a young Pondo, who is recruited, along with fifteen other men to whom Po teaches a secret language and the art of highway robbery.

Kilikijan and his seven men rob by day and Nongoloza and his six men rob by night. Their laws are recorded in stone, Po makes clear their laws must be followed to the letter and with that, a cattle hide is pressed onto the rock to record the law of the gang. Nongoloza and his six men carry the hide, Kilikijan and his seven men must carry the rock but the rock is cumbersome and difficult for the bandits to carry and it is dropped, smashing into two so that Kilikijan and his men only have half of the bandit's laws.

The schism comes when, before embarking on a joint expedition, Nongoloza says that he is sick and chooses to stay behind. He asks one of Kilikijan's men, a youngster by the name of Magubane, to stay behind with him. Upon returning, Kilikijan finds Nongoloza making love to Magubane and, enraged, challenges Nongoloza to a fight. Nongoloza nonchalantly replies that, according to the hide, sex between bandits is permissible as to avoid contact with women. Kilikijan retaliates by saying that he cannot trust that this law wasn't added to the hide after the fact, since half of his rock was missing. The two men commence fighting until they are both drenched in blood, and Po arrives to intervene.

Po, after listening to the accounts of both men, tells Kilikijan to travel to the mines to see whether the men there engage in sex with one another, but fails to explain any further. It is said that Kilikijan found that sex between men in the mines did happen, but opinions are divided as to what this means and whether it justifies Nongoloza's act. This was to become a pivotal disagreement between the two gangs that persists to this day. Po also says that under a rock at the entrance of his cave there is an old assegai and, if the two men find the tip of the assegai rusted, it will mean that Po has died. This prediction comes true and the two bands decide to separate: Nongoloza's band with its now eight men (including Magubane, who he decided to take with him), and Kilikijan's with its seven.

This is the beginning of the Number.

Nongoloza is the 28.

Kilikijan is the 27.

It is agreed that the day would still be divided between them as it had always been, and Kilikijan said: "You will recognize me by two rays of dawn sunlight: one over my right shoulder, the other in front of me"

The two gangs roam the countryside until they both meet up again inside Point Prison in Durban. Here, they encounter a group of six men led by a man named Grey, who are all frans (non-gangsters) who sit in a circle and flip a single silver coin between them. Nongoloza, upon demanding these men's possessions and being refused, is told by Kilikijan that these men were skilled smugglers and gamblers who had helped him in his early days in the prison.

Nongoloza decides to name the coin a spyker (nail), but Kilikijan insists that it is called a kroon (crown). Here, the story splits for 27s say that a fight over the gamblers broke out between the men, with Kilikijan defending the gamblers against the 28s' sexual appetites. The 28s say that Nongoloza decreed that the new group shall be called the 26s (both because there were six men and to indicate their inferior status), that they shall be the last gang to form in the prison, and that Kilikijan shall be answerable for their actions.

Some say that Grey is actually Magubane.

Grey is the 26.

The three camps were thus formed: the 26s responsible for gambling, smuggling and accruing wealth in general, the 28s for fighting on behalf of all three groups, and the 27s as the guardians of gang law and the peacekeepers between the gangsters.

It was decided that when a gangster broke a rule, the blood of a warder or frans must be spilled to set things right.

This is the Number.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Bill Shields

Bill Shields is a damn fine poet, Vietnam veteran and one of my fucking favourite writers of all time. He moves me, inspires me and has been a measuring stick of my own writing since I was 18. His work is pretty hard to get hold of, which is a terrible shame because it hits so hard it hurts, blood and fire poetry of the highest order that leaves you in doubt of the horror of war.

And in this time of over 4000 US troops killed, nearly 200 UK soldiers sacrificed, 30000+ injured and up to 90000 Iraqi civilians dead, we need his words more than ever.

Here is a selection...

JINGOISM
I never wore a yellow ribbon
& I've bled for this country
no flag either
or "WELCOME HOME HEROES" bumper sticker on my car
I can't find one good thing to say
about American teenagers firing extremely high-tech weaponry
against a virtually unarmed enemy
A parade for our heroes?
A parade for death?
What was the body count anyway?
How many Iraqi children died with our metal in their bones?
I'm not going to make a nineteen year old kid a hero
for having the innocence to kill
I have two Purple Hearts myself
for being young & stupid
& that is not an excuse
to fill a coffin

ABATTOIR
I hadn't been home from the Nam for 23 minutes
before a kid my own age stuck his middle finger
in my face & called me asshole
my own sister didn't speak to me for five years
& my mother kept a full tank of gas in her Plymouth
for a one way ride to the VA hospital in Pittsburgh
I let the war lick my guts quietly
& without an audience
but when my daughter died from my exposure to Agent Orange
I bought a typewriter & pounded pure fire
out of its keys till it broke
& I bought another one
I thought if I shared blood with a reader
my goddamn hells would be easier to walk thru barefoot
but they aren't

THE TRUE TASTE OF AN ASSHOLE
I hate my whole fucking generation of baby bumpers
especially the men, the spineless bastards suck on a greed tit
the ex-hippie chick is a lump in a bowl of bland gravy
fuck the whole bunch of 'em

if you're in your forties & male
best be a Nam vet to walk in this house & get a handshake
this is wrong & I don't care
every year I lose another friend & no one is stepping in

one eye on the mirror
one eye on the floor

killing

Monday, 14 July 2008

Craig Murray Bullied Again Redux

Craig Murray is a good man, you may remember me blogging on him way back when he last needed a hand to highlight the faux-legal bullying he gets far too often.

And it now looks like he is set for yet more nonsense, facts are as follows and are taken from both Craig Murray's blog, Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads and the excellent Ministry of Truth. Please read, share, make noise, publish the letter below (beware, you could face legal action) and do your bit. Please.

Some background first, the legal hassle is from Schillings who are a firm of libel lawyers dedicated to prevent the truth from being known about some deeply unlovely people. They temporarily closed Murray's blog and many others, to keep information quiet about the criminal record of Alisher Usmanov. And now they are attempting to block the publication of his new book in the interests of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, one of those who has made a fortune from the Iraq War, as well as trying to stop Craig speaking about his views at the Edinburgh Book Festival; a complete and flagrant disregard for freedom of expression and speech.

To fully grasp this nonsense, read the letter below that Schillings sent to Craig and was marked ‘Not For Publication’. Obviously if you publish this on your blog you could be attacked but by all means, share this madness to highlight the stupidity of it all:

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Limited
7 Albany Street
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH13UG

BY POST AND FAX: XXXX XXX XXXX
OurRef: SMS/JXR/ww/A131/3
ON THE RECORD
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
08 July 2008

Dear Sirs

The Road to Samarkand - Craig Murray

We represent Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer OBE, C.E.O. of Aegis Defence Services Limited (”Aegis”).

We are instructed to write to you with regard to ‘THE ROAD TO SAMARKAND- INTRIGUE, CORRUPTION AND DIRTY DIPLOMACY’ (”the Book”) written by Craig Murray and due to be published in September 2008 by you (http://www.rbooks.co.uk/search results.aspx) to be sold in England and Wales by Random House Sales Department.

We have reason to believe that the Book may contain serious, untrue and damaging defamatory allegations about our client.

Please confirm by return whether the Book is due to be published in England and Wales in September 2008 and if so, the exact date. Please also confirm whether the Book is due to be published in any other jurisdiction, setting out each jurisdiction, together with the publication date and publisher concerned in each case.

Importantly, we require you to confirm by return whether or not the Book contains any reference to our client, and if so, we require you to set out in full each and every reference to our client in its entirety to give our client the opportunity to take legal advice and to respond to any allegations in good time prior to publication.

Any widespread publication of the Book containing defamatory allegations concerning our client would be deeply damaging to our client’s personal and professional reputations and would cause him profound distress and anxiety. We remind you that you would be responsible for that damage and any subsequent republication of the allegations. We also put you on notice that you will be liable for any special damage or loss suffered by our client as a result of the Book and we reserve all our client’s rights in this regard.

We note from your website http://www.mainstreampublishing.com/news_current.html that Mr Murray is due to speak about the Book at a ‘Mainstream author event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival’ entitled ‘Lived Lives’ on 12th August 2008 at 4.30pm in the RBS Main Theatre, Edinburgh. We hereby put both you and Mr Murray on notice that all our client’s rights are reserved in relation to any defamatory comments or publications made by you or Mr Murray in relation to that event.

Please immediately take into your possession all drafts of the Book pre-publication, all notes, emails, correspondence, memos, images and other documents relevant to the publication of this Book, and preserve them safely pending the outcome of this dispute. They will need to be disclosed in due course if litigation has to be commenced. Also, you will need to disclose the financial arrangements for the sale and licence of the Book to other publications.

In the circumstances, we require that you confirm immediately that you agree to undertake on behalf of Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Limited not to publish any libels regarding our client in any editions of the Book or at all.

We require the above undertaking by 4pm on Friday 11h July 2008, failing which we will have no option but to advise our client with regard to making applications to the High Court for an injunction to restrain publication and/or for pre-action disclosure. You are on notice that we will seek to recover the costs of any necessary applications from you.

We await your response by return. In the meantime all our client’s rights are reserved, including the right to issue proceedings against you without further notice.
Yours faithfully

SCHILLINGS
cc. Craig Murray Esq.

I'm with you Craig, for all my poxy blog is worth, hope my readers are with you too!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Tackling Knife Crime

UK readers will know that Britain is going through a spate of knife attacks, pretty much one every other day, with London being pretty badly hit and most of those involved are young people, both as attackers and victims.

These are some serious times.

I live in North London, Bowes Park/Palmers Green and if I'm not overland training it, my nearest tube is Wood Green. Today, as with many days over the last few weeks, there has been a large police presence, doing stop and search, checking for weapons and also handing out leaflets about tackling knife crime. I think it's a great idea because Eva-Jane and I are the kind of people who could get into trouble; as we are the sort who when people are rude, or listening to music too loud, or eating/smoking/generally being an anti-social git, we step in.

We don't like to walk on by.

But with the fact that most young people now seem to carrying some kind of weapon, it puts that kind of behaviour in greater risk of being punished.

It's funny, in my day knives were for pussys and considering the daft stuff I got up to when I was a kid I only ever get held up at knife point once and was lucky to not get stabbed as I pushed my luck with the bloke in question.

It was all about being able to handle yourself with your fists rather than weapons and if ever we did use weapons it was whatever was around, stick, bricks and shit like that; improvised violence so to speak. It was only at organised fights between gangs that we might be armed but only then with stuff to beat people with, not stick them and anyone who did use knives was deemed a bit of a cunt, which indeed they are. Most of them have no idea how to even use a knife, which is a blessing but also shows up the desperate nature of it all; it's like grab what you can to defend yourself and all that honour bullshit, when most of them wouldn't know honour if it shit on their mum.

How times have changed.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Acting Update

So far, this year has been an interesting one for me as an actor, it's mostly been made up of a lot of auditions which I've done well in, (which has been great in terms of feeling like you're getting the chance to be seen, a blessing many actors don't get), the completion of Coast to Coast and shooting my first ever feature film; called My Last Five Girlfriends.

I'll linger on that last one for a bit because this marks a major break through in my career to date, in that, if all goes well with the movie and it gets the success it deserves, it will hopefully launch my career up to the next level that I've been eagerly seeking. And I'm bloody chuffed!

My part as the (slightly) bad guy of the film is not huge (more of a supporting role) but big enough that it gives me screen time to show what I can do and that I am more than just a walking haircut. It also gave me the pleasure of working with fellow Carltonian spaz Julian Kemp, who is ace and the marvellous talent that is Brendan Patricks...oh and the very famous Naomie Harris.
Articles on the film from Variety and Cinematical certainly give a flavour and I've got everything crossed that it goes well, not only for me but for Julian who has put so much of himself into the whole damn thing.

The second half of the year promises more amazing adventures that I have to keep under my hat for now but rest assured, any news will be plastered all over this here blog, contractual obligations permitting of course...

The life of an actor is a tough and interesting one but let no one say it is without adventure.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Muslims Under Seige

A few things have happened of late that have concerned me quite seriously. Firstly, a fellow blogger has been threatened with legal action by the British Muslim Initiative for merely quoting a report published originally in Arabic by Al-Jazeera but which the site later altered, no doubt due to pressure from the BMI. The original article can be found here but do be warned that linking to it and/or publishing it's contents could make you open to legal action.

I'll quote the key part of the article and encourage any fellow readers who feel powerfully about this to do the same, as quasi-legal bullying is never a good idea...

Here’s Mohammad Sawalha, President of the British Muslim Initiative, speaking to
Al Jazeera in Arabic about his demonstration against last Sunday’s celebration
of the foundation of the State of Israel:

The President of the British
Muslim Initiative - Mohammad Sawalha - said in a speech to Al Jazeera:

“We, the Arab and Islamic community, gather here today to express our
resentment at the celebrations by the Jewish community and the [evil Jew/Jewish
evil] in Britain”

[والوبيل اليهودي في بريطانيا]

Following on from this I am currently engaged in a very protracted and tedious tit-for-tat comment exchange, that if you have a spare day or two, I urge you to read. The gist of my argument is we should more vigorously investigate the belief values of all religions in order to see the repressive and negative impacts they have upon our societies. This led to me being called a racist, an Islamophobe and being swore at. I have also had to quote vast tracts of the Koran, the Bible and also defend evolution as well a few other things.

Brilliant.

You see, I've noticed in the left-wing UK blog universe that much hand wringing is going on about the dreaded evil of Islamophobia and I, in the past, have been very guilty of also jumping on this band wagon and getting very upset indeed about representations of Islam and how we engage with the Muslim community in the UK and around the globe. Now, I'd like to make it painfully clear (and regular readers should already be aware of this), that in no way to I support or believe in the repression, denigration or violation of any human based on their belief system and as I said a very, very long time, we have got ourselves a new nigger.

However, I have started to chip in on these debates by stating that the great shame is that bigotry is obscuring an important debate: the negative impact of all religions upon humanity.

This has not gone down at all well.

Perhaps, it is not the best time to ask people to look deeper at the beliefs and values of the major religions and to see what they are actually defending; certainly defending someones right to believe in what they want is very admirable but when you actually see what some of the values are of these religions, I wonder what exactly we're fighting for sometimes and the vigour with which we do it.

Daniel the Confessor

Last night, in a bit of a bourgeois day job-real job-life fug, I went with Eva-Jane to meet up with her and her other family and by that I mean her father and his wife, along with Eva’s two half sisters: Ella and Sophie.

If there is anything that can bring me out of my self-induced, self-indulgent and silly state of mind, it is spending some time playing with a six year old small human and Sophie-Grace is one hell of a six year old small human.

First off we played, at Sophie’s behest, the question game, which I play with actors I teach all the time; the idea is you must have a conversation and only use questions; try it readers, it really tests the brain and the imagination.

We played this for some time and over dinner the conversation between Sophie and I turned from questions to confessions, or more accurately, tales of being naughty. It was pretty much one way traffic, we me regaling her with stories of me being naughty when I was a child. As soon as one was finished, she immediately asked for another and promises of my stories were used as leverage for her to finish her supper and take her medicine.

As the evening drew to a close I kept staring at Sophie’s small but beautiful features and tried to imagine what I would feel like if such an amazing mini-human were mine, as I got a little overwhelmed I saw Sophie’s teenage sister, Ella, sat next to her and thought equally what a blessing she is. Finally, my eyes rested on my Eva-Jane and saw a woman that a father, a mother, three sisters, a brother and one tall lad from Notts are very proud of indeed and love so much.

With such thoughts swimming in my head we parted ways, hugs, kisses and handshakes all round and a sense that perhaps, family really is the best thing of all.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Call Centre Blues

It's been quiet over here of late because some 6 months of creative work came to fruition this week with the performance of two shows I've co-created and directed, the first was called Bridge Night and the second was Call Centre Blues.

Both shows were created in tandem with the cast, both were two pieces of work I'm very proud of, full of black comedy, very dark and challenging humour as well as a nice slice of humanity to keep the work connected to the heart.

It's a shame that it has come to an end now, three shows didn't really feel enough but the performers can be very proud of what they acheived in those shows and it was a joy to be part of an organic, creative process and hope it's not too long before I get to do the same again.

Here's Eva-Jane's (who starred in Call Centre Blues) take on the whole thing.

"As I read the script for the 876th time I could feel all the hope drain out of my heart and it being gradually replaced with a hate so deep, so strong that I nearly vomited all over my work station.

I gripped the headset and began to push it deeper into the shallow flesh of my skull, until it began to draw blood. As I bled I grabbed the the mouthpiece and crammed it deep into my mouth, until I gagged so violently that I was thrown from my office chair.

As I lay there covered in my own blood and sick, my line manager came across to me and said that my services would no longer be required and that I should collect my things and go."

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

You Bloody Idiots!

The madness goes on, it gets even worse in fact, as the world stands by and huffs and puffs while Mugabe gets away with murder, torture and an election.

How bad does it need to get before someone steps in to do something, or are we going to let African democracy go to the dogs? Forget the 'we', is the rest of Africa going to let African democracy go to the dogs?

Below is a rare glimpse of Mugabe's rage as he abuses a journalist outside the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, which bizarrely he has not been banned from. I sometimes think that if you stand with someone, you stand for them. Mugabe shouts things like: "You bloody idiots!" and other such nonsense, look out for his Freudian slip regarding Gordon Brown being Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.