Friday, 30 January 2009

Poles Apart: End of the First Week of Rehearsal

I made myself laugh typing the title of this blog post because we only have a week and a half to write and rehearse the show full stop, so it's not as if they'll be any more weeks of rehearsal to blog about.

And it's been a busy few days, devising and rehearsing Poles Apart in the day and in the evening typing and editing up the day's work to try and make a coherent script and document of our work; as well marking down lighting and sound cues and making a props list.

It's been a very creative time, it's come pretty easy for Mark and I and I seriously think we have a very good show on our hands, I do love how something comes from nothing, how a piece of art rises up from the void. Today we had great fun buying the costumes, which include terrible tracksuits for Act II and nasty-ass Velcro sneakers to go with.

We've also been juggling an extensive PR campaign, with plenty of radio interviews and press interviews, it's good that the show has a media real buzz about it, hopefully that'll sell more tickets for our run. Speaking of which, make sure that if you live near any of these places below, buy a bloody ticket and come and see us.

February:

5th Yvonne Arnaud theatre 01483 44 00 00
6th Maltings Arts St. Albans 01727 844 222
7th Brewery Arts Centre Kendal 01539 725133
10th Darlington Arts 01325 486555
11th Wellingborough Castle 01933 270 007
12th Oldham Coliseum 0161 624 2829
13th South Holland Centre Spalding 01775 764777
14th Helmsley Arts 01439 771700
17th The Ironworks Oswestry 01691 679123
18th New Theatre Royal Portsmouth 023 9264 9000
19th Artrix Bromsgrove 01527 577330.
20th Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond 01748 825252
21st Riverhead Louth 1507 600350
24th the Plough Great Torrington 01805 624624
26th Paisley Arts Centre 0141 887 1010
27th Arlington Arts Centre Newbury 01635 244246
28th Newark Palace Theatre 01636 655755

March:

4th Rotherham Arts Centre 01709 823621
7th The Gate Goole 01405 763652
10th Brewhouse Taunton 01823 283244
11th Marine Theatre Lyme Regis 01297 442138
12th The Met bury 0161 761 2216
13th Derby Guildhall 01332 255800
14th Queens Park Arts Aylesbury 01296 424332
17th Salisbury Arts Centre 01722 321744
18th Wyeside Arts 01982 552555
19th Pyramid & Parr Hall Warrington 01925 442345
20th Waterside Arts Sale 0161 912 5616
21st Stafford Gatehouse 01785 254 653

And the great news is that tomorrow, Mark and I are off to Poland (via Holland) to do a TV interview for Poland's leading television breakfast show, (think a Polish version of This Morning) we are so bloody excited and hope that:

1. We rise the awareness of our show in the Anglo-Polish community
2. We are funny in Polish
3. We do not offend any Polish people

WE ARE SO BIG IN POLAND!

On a side note, while searching for Polish images, I stumbled upon this fine blog that documents Polish Tramps.

Enjoy...

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Poles Apart: The Rehearsals Commence

Blogging will once again be light but for good reason, as I am now off to begin the rehearsals for the epic tour of Poles Apart. Obviously, I will update when I can on our writing, devising, arguing, wrestling and drinking wine process.

Witness above, the comedy genius of Mark Whiteley and Daniel Hoffmann-Gill in action, in Poland. It would be cool if any readers of Blurred Clarity could come and make it, full tour dates and details on the show are here and the video trailer, in order to wet your appetite, is below. I'll keep you posted people!

Do widzenia!


Poles Apart from Hard Graft Theatre on Vimeo.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

You Go Tell 'Em Jean-Luc!



A quick one as I just need to share the following great news with ya'll.

First up, the disgusting Ronald Reagan invention: the global gag rule, has been repealed by Obama in yet another masterstroke of decent governance and basically doing the right thing.

And yet more bad news for the Christian Right mentalists, came in the form of the green light for stem cell research in the US, another bit of science previously blocked by backward thinking religious asshats.

OWNED!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Last Post About Bush I Swear (Unless He Dies)

Here is Bush in some of those gosh darnit number-type things and all those folks...

Number of news stories from 1998 to Election Day 2000 containing “George W. Bush” and “aura of inevitability”: 206

Amount for which Bush successfully sued Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1999: $2,500

Year in which a political candidate first sued Palm Beach County over problems with hanging chads: 1984

Total amount the Bush campaign paid Enron and Halliburton for use of corporate jets during the 2000 recount: $15,400

Percentage of Bush’s first 189 appointees who also served in his father’s administration: 42

Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98

Years before becoming energy secretary that Spencer Abraham cosponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Energy: 2

Number of Chevron oil tankers named after Condoleezza Rice, at the time she became foreign policy adviser: 1

Date on which the GAO sued Dick Cheney to force the release of documents related to current U.S. energy policy: 2/22/02

Number of other officials the GAO has sued over access to federal records: 0

Months before September 11, 2001, that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil resources: 6

Hours after the 9/11 attacks that an Alaska congressman speculated they may have been committed by “eco-terrorists”: 9

Date on which the first contract for a book about September 11 was signed: 9/13/01

Number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African men detained in the U.S. in the eight weeks after 9/11: 1,182

Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0

Number charged with an immigration violation: 762

Days since the federal government first placed the nation under an “elevated terror alert” that the level has been relaxed: 0

Minimum number of calls the FBI received in fall 2001 from Utah residents claiming to have seen Osama bin Laden: 20

Number of box cutters taken from U.S. airline passengers since January 2002: 105,075

Percentage of Americans in 2006 who believed that U.S. Muslims should have to carry special I.D.: 39

Chances an American in 2002 believed the government should regulate comedy routines that make light of terrorism: 2 in 5

Rank of Mom, Dad, and Rudolph Giuliani among those whom 2002 college graduates said they most wished to emulate: 1, 2, 3

Number of members of the rock band Anthrax who said they hoarded Cipro so as to avoid an “ironic death”: 1

Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations: 22,000

Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50

Minimum number of laws that Bush signing statements have exempted his administration from following: 1,069

Estimated number of U.S. intelligence reports on Iraq that were based on information from a single defector: 100

Number of times the defector had ever been interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents: 0

Date on which Bush said of Osama bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him”: 3/13/02

Days after the U.S. invaded Iraq that Sony trademarked “Shock & Awe” for video games: 1

Days later that the company gave up the trademark, citing “regrettable bad judgment”: 25

Number of books by Henry Kissinger found in Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz’s mansion: 2

Number by then–New York Times reporter Judith Miller: 1

Factor by which an Iraqi in 2006 was more likely to die than in the last year of the Saddam regime: 3.6

Factor by which the cause of death was more likely to be violence: 120

Chance that an Iraqi has fled his or her home since the beginning of the war: 1 in 6

Portion of Baghdad residents in 2007 who had a family member or friend wounded or killed since 2003: 3/4

Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have filed for disability with the VA: 35

Chance that an Iraq war veteran who has served two or more tours now has post-traumatic stress disorder: 1 in 4

Number of all U.S. war veterans who have been denied Veterans Administration health care since 2003: 452,677

Number of eligibility restrictions for admission into the Army that have been loosened since 2003: 9

Percentage change from 2004 to 2007 in the number of Army recruits admitted despite having been charged with a felony: +295

Date on which the White House announced it had stopped looking for WMDs in Iraq: 1/12/05

Years since his acquittal that O. J. Simpson has said he is still looking for his wife’s “real killers”: 13

Minimum number of close-up photographs of Bush’s hands owned by his current chief of staff, Josh Bolten: 4

Number of vehicles in the motorcade that transports Bush to his regular bike ride in Maryland: 6

Estimated total miles he has ridden his bike as president: 5,400

Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Minimum number of times that Frederick Douglass was beaten in what is now Donald Rumsfeld’s vacation home: 25

Estimated number of juveniles whom the United States has detained as enemy combatants since 2002: 2,500

Minimum number of detainees who were tortured to death in U.S. custody: 8

Minimum number of extraordinary renditions that the United States has made since 2006: 200

Date on which USA Today added Guantánamo to its weather map: 1/3/05

Number of incidents of torture on prime-time network TV shows from 2002 to 2007: 897

Number on shows during the previous seven years: 110

Percentage change since 2000 in U.S. emigration to Canada: +79

Number of the thirty-eight Iraq war veterans who have run for Congress who were Democrats: 21

Percentage of Republicans in 2005 who said they would vote for Bush over George Washington: 62

Seconds it took a Maryland consultant in 2004 to pick a Diebold voting machine’s lock and remove its memory card: 10

Number of states John Kerry would have won in 2004 if votes by poor Americans were the only ones counted: 40

Number if votes by rich Americans were the only ones counted: 4

Portion of all U.S. income gains during the Bush Administration that have gone to the top 1 percent of earners: 3/4

Increase since 2000 in the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level: 3,500,000

Percentage change since 2001 in the average amount U.S. workers spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses: +172

Estimated percentage by which Social Security benefits would have declined if Bush’s privatization plan had passed: –15

Percentage change since 2002 in the number of U.S. teens using illegal drugs: –9

Percentage change in the number of adults in their fifties doing so: +121

Number of times FDA officials met with consumer and patient groups as they revised drug-review policy in 2006: 5

Number of times they met with industry representatives: 113

Amount the Justice Department spent in 2001 installing curtains to cover two seminude statues of Justice: $8,650

Number of Republican officials who have been investigated by the Justice Department since 2001: 196

Number of Democratic officials who have been: 890

Number of White House officials in 2006 and 2007 authorized to discuss pending criminal cases with the DOJ: 711

Number of Clinton officials ever authorized to do so: 4

Years since a White House official as senior as I. Lewis Libby had been indicted while in office: 130

Number of U.S. cities and towns that have passed resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush: 92

Percentage change since 2001 in U.S. government spending on paper shredding: +466

Percentage of EPA scientists who say they have experienced political interference with their work since 2002: 60

Change since 2001 in the percentage of Americans who believe humans are causing climate change: –4

Number of total additions made to the U.S. endangered-species list under Bush: 61

Average number made yearly under Clinton: 65

Minimum number of pheasant hunts Dick Cheney has gone on since he shot a hunting companion in 2006: 5

Days after Hurricane Katrina hit that Cheney’s office ordered an electric company to restore power to two oil pipelines: 1

Days after the hurricane that the White House authorized sending federal troops into New Orleans: 4

Portion of the $3.3 billion in federal Hurricane Katrina relief spent by Mississippi that has benefited poor residents: 1/4

Percentage change in the number of Louisiana and Mississippi newborns named Katrina in the year after the storm: +153

Rank of Nevaeh, “heaven” spelled backward, among the fastest growing names given to American newborns since 2000: 1

Months, beginning in 2001, that the federal government’s online condom fact sheet disappeared from its website : 17

Minimum amount that religious groups received in congressional earmarks from 2003 to 2006: $209,000,000

Amount such groups received during the previous fourteen years: $107,000,000

Percentage change from 2003 to 2007 in the amount of money invested in U.S. faith-based mutual funds: +88

Average annualized percentage return during that time in the Christian and Muslim funds, respectively: +11, +15

Number of feet the Ground Zero pit has been built up since the site was fully cleared in 2002: 30

Number of 980-foot-plus “Super Tall” towers built in the Arab world in the seven years since 9/11: 4

Year by which the third and final phase of the 2003 “road map” to a Palestinian state was to have been reached: 2005

Estimated number of the twenty-five provisions of the first phase that have yet to be completed: 12

Number of times in 2007 that U.S. media called General David Petraeus “King David”: 14

Percentage change during the first ten months of the Iraq war “surge” in the number of Iraqis detained in U.S.-run prisons: +63

Percentage change in the number of Iraqis aged nine to seventeen detained: +285

Ratio of the entire U.S. federal budget in 1957, adjusted for inflation, to the amount spent so far on the Iraq war: 1:1

Estimated amount Bush-era policies will cost the U.S. in new debt and accrued obligations: $10,350,000,000,000 (see page 31)

Percentage change in U.S. discretionary spending during Bush’s presidency: +31

Percentage change during Reagan’s and Clinton’s, respectively: +16, +0.3

Ratio in 1999 of the number of U.S. federal employees to the number of private employees on government contracts: 15:6

Ratio in 2006: 14:15

Total value of U.S. government contracts in 2000 that were awarded without competitive bidding: $73,000,000,000

Total in 2007: $146,000,000,000

Number of the five directors of the No Child Left Behind reading program with financial ties to a curriculum they developed: 4

Amount by which the federal government has underfunded its estimated cost to implement NCLB: $71,000,000,000

Minimum number of copies sold, since it was released in 2006, of Flipping Houses for Dummies: 45,000

Chance that the buyer of a U.S. home in 2006 now has “negative equity,” i.e., the debt on the home exceeds its value: 1 in 5

Estimated value of Henry Paulson’s Goldman Sachs stock when he became Treasury Secretary and sold it: $575,000,000

Estimated value of that stock today: $238,000,000

Salary in 2006 of the White House’s newly created Director for Lessons Learned: $106,641

Minimum number of Bush-related books published since 2001: 606

Number of words in the first sentence of Bill Clinton’s memoir and in that of George W. Bush’s, respectively: 49, 5

Minimum number of nicknames Bush has given to associates during his presidency: 75

Number of associates with the last name Jackson he has dubbed “Action Jackson”: 2

Number of press conferences at which Bush has referred to a question as a “trick”: 14

Number of times he has declared an event or outcome not to be “acceptable”: 149

Rank of Bush among U.S. presidents with the highest disapproval rating: 1

Average percentage of Americans who approved of the job Bush was doing during his second term: 37

Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin: 37

Thursday, 22 January 2009

China has Right Idea About What to do With Lying, Failed Business Men

China is to execute two people and sentence another to life imprisonment over the poisoned baby milk scandal, which is perhaps a method the British government should utilise with all the chief execs, board members and senior staff in the banking sector; which seems to be a bottomless pit for tax payers money. Surely that would focus hearts and minds on the task at hand and make sure no one fucked up ever again.

While we're at it, perhaps Peter Hain and Jack Straw should be held accountable in the most final, cruel and unusual way? What the hell, can we execute burglaries and robberies at knife point as well please? I'm sure abstract notions can be shot in the head or given lethal injection if we all try hard enough.

I joke of course, I find capital punishment repellent and am reminded of another reason we shouldn't have given the Olympics to China.

On a lighter note, I read with some amusement today that after the slightly bundled oath taken by Obama at the inauguration, he retook it out of an "abundance of caution" which is, in itself, a delightful turn of phrase...as is Chief Justice Roberts' coda: "Congratulations, again."

An interesting footnote is that two other Presidents have retaken their oaths out of an abundance of caution, Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur. Let's hope Obama does far better than either of those two...

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Hail to the Chief! (A Bit of Inaugural Fun)

Yesterday was a magical day indeed, including the beaming, bumbling Obama and a thrown Chief Justice Roberts just about getting through the oath; it was nice to see the usually perfect Obama suffer from more than human nerves.

It was also amusing to see the small box used for the First Lady to stand on when she holds the Bible being swiftly removed, when it was realised that Michelle Obama, at an Eva-Jane like 5ft 11in, certainly doesn't need it.

The speech itself was grand and if the new President sticks to it even slightly, we shall be in for a good 4 and then 8 years of wise, prudent and perhaps even inspirational governance, which has already started with the suspension of all military trails at Guantanamo Bay.

But thanks to Ortho at Baudrilliard's Bastard, I have stumbled upon a great bit of software that enables you to make your own Obamicon, inspired of course by Shepard Fairey's iconic image.

Here are the ones I made, but have a go yourself, it's very addictive and a right laugh, make sure you share your goods with me and have a peaceful day one and all.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Censorship: Yes We Can!

"What story?"

This is how this story starts...

Someone starts Googling their name and to their horror discovers that I wrote a blog post three months ago, read by about 50 people, about how bad they and their colleagues were at their job (in my humble but honest opinion, consider it a review).

Instead of contacting me about it, perhaps using the email address in my profile, or the comment form, they run to their boss, who in turn contacts my employer at the time I wrote the blog post in question. So the boss leans on my ex-boss, who then emails me and asks me to remove the blog or to at least edit it so that the names are changed to protect the guilty (in my humble but honest opinion).

Out of due respect to them and despite my hatred of this minuscule but embarrassing part of the Internet being censored, the post in question has been removed, for now, but obviously Google keep a cache of the page for a short while; so check it out whilst you can and see what all the fuss was about.

For the record, it's not the first time, Blogger censored me back in 2006 about this post here, where incidentally I think I was in the wrong to publish the ladies email address.

"What fucking story?"

Now how about some fucking perspective?

As Dr. Martin Luther King predicted, a black man, a great man, is going to become President today and that is a truly amazing, beautiful and wonderful thing that fills me with so much hope and joy for the world we live in and our shared future.

YES WE CAN!



It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

Monday, 19 January 2009

As a big fan of Keith Olbermann, I was glad when Hack alerted me to this wonderful piece by him that is an at times overwhelming wall of upsetting information regarding, quite possibly, the worst President of all time (you heard that right Warren G. Harding). We are within touching distance of Bush's passing but this is a timely reminder of the sheer weight of damage he subjected America and the world to.



And as the Gaza conflict grinds down into a no doubt brief faux-ceasefire, a wonderful piece by Jewish-British comedian Paul Kaye is most definitely worth your reading time; as he talks about the shame he feels at Operation Cast Lead, the urge to fight against revenge instincts when his wife's' mother was killed by a bomb and where he makes a very good case for a solution to the problem I share: an end to settlements and a return to the 1967 borders.

A dark fog has enveloped us indeed...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Man with Woman's Name Refuses to Drive "No God" Bus

This is Ron Heather, he is a tit and he is also a Christian. The two facts may or may not be connected, I'll leave that for you to decide.

You may remember that last October I backed an initiative to place 'atheist adverts' on public transport around the UK, we raised an amazing £148, 452 and the adverts have been rolled out across Britain this year.

The chap above, Ron Heather, is a bus driver in Southampton who refused to drive his bus because the aforementioned advert caused him "shock and horror" (please note, not shock and awe, that is reserved for bombing campaigns, not advertising ones) and so upset was he by the "starkness of the advert that implied there was no God" that he had to have the day off from work and have a good lay down.

How weak is his faith and how low is his tolerance to shocking and horrible things?

Unbelievably, his employers indulged this idiotic fit of pique and are doing their best so that he doesn't have to drive a bus with the advert on and will only do so if no others are available. Are they like, the best employers ever? How understanding are they of this man's serious special needs? Doesn't this open the floodgates for train, bus and tram drivers who don't like the adverts on their vehicles, because they might be offended by them and their content to down tools and have a day off?

The nob went on to say, in a vaguely apocalyptic tone:
"This is a public attack on people's faiths. I have a lot of passengers who are over 90 or are seriously ill, and to tell them there is no God seems a bit insensitive, when God is probably all they have left in the world. Faith is a very important thing in people's lives, and I think [the poster] pushes the issue too far."
Full info on the Atheist Bus Campaign can be found here, with further reference here. And don't forget...

Friday, 16 January 2009

"It's a Disgrace to the Democracy of This Country"

The fine looking chap above is John McDonnell MP and he did something quite extraordinary in the House of Commons, so fed up was he with the refusal to open up the expansion of Heathrow Airport to a vote, to the political process in fact; that he manhandled the ceremonial mace (a serious offence in the Houses of Parliament, as it represents the authority of the sovereign and Parliament can't get together without it being present) whilst furiously shouting: "It's a disgrace to the democracy of this country!"

Marvellous video of the moment in question is just below, the first one has the row but not the fingering of the mace, which is in the second video (because bizarrely the BBC removed the footage from their website...). It's wonderful to see a man stand up for the people he represents, a true Member of Parliament and do look out for the refusal to sanction John McDonnell which leads to the division and count how many times the Speaker says 'Order' and is roundly ignored.





I do understand that it can all look rather twee and thankfully John McDonnell doesn't go berserk with the mace, which would've made better television no doubt but he would've lost his dignity and the widespread respect his actions have drawn. For the record, he placed the dislodged mace in the empty seat of Dennis Skinner MP, a notoriously wonderful character who is no doubt regretting not being there to join in.

The ceremonial mace itself has a grand history of being used to show disgust with the political process: John Beckett MP (a terrible old fascist) tried to take it back to his office in protest, Michael Heseltine MP famously used it to threaten opposition politicians and swung it about like a club, while Ron Brown MP threw it on the floor.

Who said British politics is boring, lacks passion and character?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

America's UN Resolution Abstention

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert getting Bush in a headlock to make sure the US abstains from the UN Resolution on a ceasefire in Gaza

Bush needed no convincing after Olmert shows him pictures of dead Arab children

Bush then looms behind Condoleezza Rice in order to humiliate her into abstaining from something she was going to support

The world demands it's free motherfucking cupcake!

I've done my level best to not blog on the current conflict in Gaza, mainly because I don't feel I can bring much to the debate in a blog format, when the issue at hand is so immensely complex and one false move can have you labelled an anti-Semite/Zionist.

And posting pictures of dead Arab children is exploitative and crass.

Having said that, my feelings on the issue can be best summed up by the fact that both Israel and the people of Gaza elected really awful people to represent them and they are reaping the dividends of those choices, as the two elements duke it out and the civilians get caught horribly in the middle.

My solution: Israel goes back to the Internationally approved 1967 borders, stops making illegal settlements and takes down the bizarre wall; then (the hardest bit) it has to bite it's tongue as Hamas (or whatever idiotic 'wipe Israel off the face of the map' political party is in charge) tries to provoke them into lowest common denominator battle. If Israel took the moral high ground and did all the things asked of it by the world, Hamas would still attack but then Israel would have the backing of the globe in its destruction. It's a win-win for them but all it takes is a long view and restraint, something Israel has lacked since its inception.

I'm more interested in the weight of power that Israel and Olmert seems to be able to exercise over Bush and his pals.

Rice it seems was all willing to vote for the ceasefire UN resolution, which would've made it a clean sweep of all 15 votes and total condemnation of Israel's activities from even it's closest allies. And on that note, I'll hand over to Olmert:
"When we saw that the Secretary of State, for reasons we did not really understand, wanted to vote in favour of the UN resolution...I looked for President Bush and they told me he was in Philadelphia making a speech. I said, 'I don't care. I have to talk to him now'.

They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, 'You can't vote in favour of this resolution.' He said, 'Listen, I don't know about it, I didn't see it, I'm not familiar with the phrasing.' He gave an order to the Secretary of State and she did not vote in favour of it, a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged."
And lo, it came to pass that the US abstained on the UN security resolution with the White House overruling the State Department (yet again), fighting to the very last day of their miserable existence, to perpetuate their unconditional backing for Israel.

The official line from the White House is: "We've seen these press reports and they are inaccurate." So either Olmert is lying and posturing like the corrupt old toad he is, or the White House is lying...again...and again...and again.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

A Dull Roar

Bush's last press conference (aside from some final address type shit, no doubt from his bunker...) made me wonder.

It made me wonder if the US troops look up from their food, to their TV screens in the mess hall and realise they were sent to Iraq by a sissy rich kid who doesn't know what he's talking about? I wonder if they know they were sold out by an underachiever frat boy who never had to put himself on the line for anything? I wonder what they think when they see fat fucks in America at a hog dog eating contest stuffing their faces? I wonder what they think as they get wheeled into the hospital top find out if the doctors are going to be able to save that leg while Paris Hilton could sell her piss for a thousand dollars a teaspoon?

It also got me wondering, via reading the Constitution, about the ooze of Christianity into the American political spectrum, brought on by Bush and his cohorts and the subsequent retardation of America via the sheer anti-human nature of evangelical Christianity. These petty mini-tyrants, amateurs and cowards that make up the Christian Right should get out of America (there work is done...) and try to set up a church in Iraq and convert Shia and Sunni Muslims to Christianity.

But that would mean actually putting their life at risk for their faith, just as the Christians in Iraq do.

I think America missed a trick with the Intelligent Design debate, they should offer it in all schools and see natural selection at work right there. All the stupid kids will choose ID and all the ones with brains will go for Darwin. This will leave the stupid children to fill all those jobs vacated by illegal immigrants after some terrible Brownshirt legislation has been passed, they'll eat shitty fast food, smoke and drink. They'll be too illiterate and ignorant to make good choices and will destroy themselves. God will not save them.

Or, we could let all the red states offspring only have a diet of ID, Irreducible Complexity, School Prayer and Abstinence-only sex education. This would generate a gene pool so fucked-up we'd have enough cannon-fodder to fight a thousand war on terrors.

No need to thank me...

Monday, 12 January 2009

Every Citizen Should Have a Copy...

I've just finished reading the United States Constitution, kindly bought me for Christmas by Eva-Jane and what a miraculous, pithy document it is.

I urge one and all to read it, if you haven't already that is and pay particular attention to the bits where religion is to be kept as far away from governance as possible, where it says America can have a militia but not everyone carry a gun (many people seem to have got this one very, very wrong indeed, mainly because they have no idea what a militia is...) and where non-whites were given the vote before women were.

I'm jealous.

I wish the UK has one of these things...and don't throw the Magna Carta in my face, because that just doesn't cut it as a constitution.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Friday, 9 January 2009

HOWL and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg (A Mash-Up) "Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!"


All these books are published in Heaven.

Hold back the edges of your gowns, Ladies, we are going through hell.

{HOWL} I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked...who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
in policecars for committing no crime but their
own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
scripts
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly
motorcyclists, and screamed with joy...who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
Denver and finally went away to find out the
Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes...who in humourless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table...Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!

{A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA} What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-
man...I saw you, Walt Whitman...Where are we going Walt Whitman?

{AMERICA} America I've given you all and now I'm nothing...America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb...America stop pushing I know what I'm doing...I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by
Time Magazine?...It occurs to me that I am America....America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

{IN THE BAGGAGE ROOM AT GREYHOUND} Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much,
hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built
my pectoral muscles as big as vagina.

{SONG} No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love-
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
-cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,

9780872860179

$6.95

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Perspective:

"Yes, my lover is a washing machine but I've grown tired of dealing with the rejection that humans always present me with. I'd rather have the safety and security of my washing machine romance. At least I know where I stand."

"I'm a massive fan of Lara Croft and when I dress up as her I gain a sense of real empowerment, that transforms me into something more than a just flid in a wheelchair. I become, at last, a sexual creature."

"I'm the only black boy in the school, so to gain acceptance with my peers I have to pretend I'm SpongeBob SquarePants, you know, from the cartoon. It seems to make them more comfortable around me. I suppose because they can see less of my black skin and if my colour and heritage offends them, they can lash out at me safe in the knowledge that I won't get hurt."

"I'm tired of being a muzzled bear. Fucking humans. I hate them. Tonight, I plan to escape and run into the road that runs past my cage and kill myself under the wheels of truck."

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I'm Working at the NATIONAL BLOODY THEATRE!!!

That's right, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill (success has unfortunately made the third person in me come out) is working at the motherfucking National Theatre, as in Britain's Royal National Theatre, as in the National Theatre of the whole of the United Kingdom.

W00t!

(And I know the above picture makes the National look like Hitler's bunker but it was all I could find...)

It came about thanks to being spotted in Zero and then getting cast in a workshop on a new production which is in the pipeline called The Girl Who Kept a Fly as a Pet. This is what is taking up all my time at the moment and it is turning out to be a wonderful experience. I'm working with a small cast of 4 very talented actors and the marvellous writer and a lovely director.

It is all very organic and creative; plenty of play, plenty of fun and a real feeling that in the framework of the working day we can make whatever we want, in whatever form we want and thus, it has become 7 people playing in a room.

Today for example, I got to be a fly pretending to be a chicken pretending to be a rabbit, an irritating man talking about penis soup and a member of the Cultural Revolution cutting off a girl's petit bourgeois plaits. And that was all before lunch...

This is real step forward for me in my career and I get the sense that I am on the cusp of something good, career progression has been constant over the last few years and this is yet another moral boosting step in the right direction; that I'm sure will continue with the tour of Poles Apart...but more on that at a later date...

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Hitler's Bunker is a Car Park

Berlin was as riddled with pivotal world history, as it was with bullet holes and shrapnel scars; reminders not only of Allied bombing but also the terrible Battle of Berlin.

And I couldn't help, as we wandered about, seeing the sights, but imagine my grandfather and his father and his father's father playing, living and walking these very same streets we were.

There are perhaps too many highlights to bang on about, the best thing you could do is just visit Berlin itself but the site of Hitler's bunker is one of the stranger and more compelling, whether it be the bizarre mundanity that envelops the place, or the sheer evil that was present here.

Eva-Jane and I debated whether the car park should be marked with something other than the small sign, or whether indeed the small sign was too much of a marker for the final resting place of evil; why is it okay to remember victims as a spur to never letting the thing happen again (having said that, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe reminded me of the stacked up coffins of Srebrenica) but the instigators are erased from history?

Speaking of erased from history, Eva and I went off the beaten track to pay our respects at Garnisonsfriedhof, a neglected military cemetery that contains German war dead from the First and Second World Wars, some of their graves had fresh flowers and candles, some didn't.

It struck me that Germany is a nation that can't celebrate it's war dead but rather has to hide them away, like Hitler's bunker or the elements of architecture destroyed to cover-up the past; Berlin itself has three small man-made hills that surround it, they are made up of the mounds of rubble that Berlin was reduced to.

And then there was the Berlin Wall, looming, long and ominous; slicing the city into an odd shaped half, crappy concrete bits popping up here, there and everywhere, a marker of Communism drawing a line in the sand and a reminder that the idea of building walls never goes out of style...

Of course there was more, the lovely people, the huge array of architecture, the serious lack of jay walking, the great beer and marvellous but heavily pig-based food of which we had our fill. I mean, Currywurst is a fucking brilliant idea.

It felt in someway home, my surname was common (even streets were named after me...) and Eva and I felt that this is a city we could live in if ever London and the UK became too much...or we both got a part in a German soap opera.

Here's to Berlin, past, present and future.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

And in Berlin...(Part III)

Eva-Jane and I just got back from Berlin, we had a simply wonderful time in a grand city. I can't recommend a visit enough if you've not yet been, will blog on it in depth at a later time but here is a collection of our images...