Friday, 31 July 2009

Jerusalem

On Monday, Eva-Jane and I went to the legendary Royal Court theatre to see the latest show there called Jerusalem.

First off, if you have a chance you should really, really go and see it, it is a grand, sprawling, brilliant show that generates belly laughs as well as awkward poignancy. It is a spell bounding 3 hours 10 minutes of theatre that flies past.

I was up for this play, which in itself is a feat of leviathan like effort by my agent, just to get me in with a shout and break the glass ceiling. Once they'd help me get my foot in the door I did what I had to be done, auditioned well and got a recall, indeed, I got down to the last two; what an honour.

But then they went and broke my heart and gave the part to a famous actor, rather than me. Fair play to them but it was with some trepidation that Eva and I went to the theatre, I was hoping the famous guy that got the part would be utterly amazing, that he got it on merit not who he is; that he ground me into the dirt with his brilliance. Then the loss would feel justified.

Is goes without saying that he was average as hell, no presence, no gravitas, no nothing; it wasn't just the actor's fault, the part had been downsized but still, I would've been better. A lot better.

So the glass ceiling is still in place and the battle to break it goes on...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Shatner Does Palin Speech

You may recall Alaskan Governor and GOP-MILF Sarah Palin resigning and invoking her own death?

Well before she left she delivered a typical rambling monologue that was littered with non-sequiturs, excessive pausing and bizarre imagery. This deeply disturbing speech can be seen here and here.

Thankfully, the legend that is William Shatner stepped into the breech and transformed the political car crash into one of his most legendary spoken word performances of all time, nearly as good as his interpretation of Elton John's 'Rocket Man' which is also below, just in case you missed it.

Enjoy the Shatner magic people...



Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Sculptures of Children

This weekend I was filming Natalie Imbruglia's latest music video ("Wild About It" which is the first single off of her new album) and some viral bits and pieces for it, which was an interesting experience, mainly because I've never done a music video before and the shoot contained some surreal moments, more so than any other shoot I've been on.

To begin with, it was a little odd to be introduced to Alan Carr and David Walliams (who were both doing some viral bits for the shoot) by the aforementioned Natalie Imbruglia. The fact that they both looked like they'd been on the razz and smelt of alcohol only added to the oddness of the chit-chat.

It is always funny when you meet a famous person and shake hands, you introduce yourself and they introduce themselves, knowing full well that you know their name already.

Natalie also had a few of her friends there, which included Richard Branson's children Holly and Sam Branson, who I ended up being sandwiched between during one part of the shoot, which is no doubt some people's idea of a dream but for me, all I could reflect on is what it must be like to the children of a billionaire and be either side of me...

Heh.

We were shooting at this amazing house in Richmond, £15 million at least and in between takes I explored the extensive grounds with it's own tennis courts and cricket pitch but I was tickled to spot that even the rich have ghastly taste, as the owner had constructed some fake ruins in the garden.

Upon closer inspection of the fake ruins, I noticed that the owner of the house had secreted about the place some lifelike recreations of his own children, which to be frank, freaked the fuck out of me. They are pictured below.


Is it just me or is that very, very weird? I mean, I checked and his kids are not dead, which is perhaps the only excuse I could muster of why you'd build fake ruins and then have bronze sculptures of your offspring lounging in them.

Perhaps if I ever get that rich I will embark on such mental projects but for now I'll stick to having a conservatory put on the back of the flat.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Union Jacks Unsettle Me

Call me a pinko-lefty-liberal-fag-Commie-cheese eating surrender monkey-Jew-homo-leftist-moonbat-leftard-socialist-freedom hating ballbag but when I see a house that has a Union Jack in the window, I shudder.

I shudder because the chances are they are some kind of daft racist and/or suffering from a crippling small mindedness and/or, worst of all, feel that flying the flag is their patriotic duty at this time of war. And I'm not talking the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan, people have been putting up Union Jacks in their windows long before those conflicts.

I'm talking about the imaginary war being fought in Britain, as it comes "under siege" from Johnny Foreigner, darkies and a smattering of gypsies. Oh and don't forget about all those Somalians...

Thankfully, the people flying these Union Jacks fight this imaginary war by...well...putting up flags, moaning to their mates down Wetherspoons at the Curry Club (every Thursday 3-10) and shouting at the TV, as they become one with their Argos sofa bought on the drip with their nan's death money.

I'm not sure why I'm so squeamish about the Union Jack, maybe because it represents a union of nations that I don't really believe in, or because nationalism seems so silly in the modern age as we learn that national identity and basic elements of nationalism are relatively new man-made inventions, with little basis in reality.

I think the main reason it puts me ill at ease is that the Union Jack has been won over by goons like the BNP and the National Front, that my flag has become their flag and as I don't really care much for it anyway, I've handed it over to them and they've sullied it and transformed it into something deeply unsavoury.

Come back next week folks, where I'll be attacking people who fly the Saint George's Cross and bang on about celebrating Saint George's day as daft racists that are clinging to outmoded ideas of nationality and that Saint George was actually a Turk with an Arab mother.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My Struggle

This week I completed my epic journey through Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, which is perhaps the hardest book I've ever had to read.

Not for the reasons you'd think, indeed it is not a grim read and you get strangely used to everything being the Jew's fault and if it's not the Jews it's the Marxists (who are all Jews anyway) and if it's not either of those two's faults then it might possible be a German's fault but not a real German, a German who is a Jew loving Marxist.

This will all sound oddly familiar do anyone who has had to "debate" daft racists on the Internet.

Anywho, the reason the book is difficult to read is that it is, as Winston Churchill said: "a turgid, verbose and shapeless affair" that runs to some 600+ pages and aside from the opening chapters that are an autobiography of sorts (and are actually quite humorous in parts, although I'm not sure if Hitler was trying to funny...probably not knowing him), the rest is a bombastic call to arms for anti-Semites across the globe.

The level of puffed-up self-importance is staggering and although it is clearly justified, the man built up a new political party from eight people (himself included) to over a million strong force of Germans through sheer force of will, I don't think we need five pages of flowery, earnest verbiage as to the thought process behind designing the Nazi flag and how long it took him to get the white circle that surrounds the swastika the right bloody size.

What was most interesting for me was reading about how Christian he was, I knew Hitler was a Catholic but religious types always bring up Hitler and Stalin as examples of atheism going terrible wrong. Which makes me laugh, as if Hitler or Stalin are epitomes of atheism when they invest so much in building up a God head via the cult of personality...I digress...

Hitler was a Catholic and a big fan of Christianity, he saw Jesus as an Aryan slaying the Jews, forgetting that Jesus was a Jew (many Christians seem to do this) in the process; in fact much of Hitler's religious views are selective and self-serving but let it not be said the man was an atheist.

Anyway, what caught my eye in Mein Kampf regarding religion was that Christianity was a template for Hitler's beliefs, in the way that it crushed all opposition to it with ruthless force and power and that intolerance is a good thing in order to create stability. Hitler's reference point was paganism and witch hunts but it made me think that organised Christian faith provided Hitler with his final solution ideology.

Also, Hitler talks about how the Catholic churches' then blind faith and utter adherence to its teaching and principles, meant a total denial of any and all scientific and rational evidence that contradicted it (please see the United States and for it's current incarnation). Thus, in such dogma and immovable attitude Hitler sees, rightly so, that all strength is bound and that as soon as you tolerate or compromise by fitting in other's ideas, in the churches' case science and the advancement of human knowledge, you weaken and fall away.

I'll leave you with this comedy video of Hitler.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Holding Onto My Fingers

You've got small feet and hands

One of the reasons I love you

Even though I'm not sure how someone as long as you

Manages to balance so well

But you do

And I love you

For that

But not just for that

Because that would be silly

Of late when you fall asleep

You have taken to holding onto my fingers

Like a koala

Clinging to some Eucalyptus

It makes me feel useful

And I must let you know

That I only want to be your

Eucalyptus

Now and forever

And I love you

Monday, 20 July 2009

Bloody Hell! England Trounce Aussies at Lord's!

I love the photo above, the England cricket team celebrating, laughing, taunting the dismissal of arch-cobber Ricky Ponting.

Just look at his ratty, twisted face as he disputes the umpire's decision!

Brilliant stuff.

Anyway, today is a special day as for the first time since 1934 (and for only the second time ever) England beat the Australians at Lord's. I mean, they nearly made a hash of it but thanks to soon to be retiring Freddie Flintoff they bested the buggers and English cricket can once again do a little dance in it's pants.

So in honour of Big Fred, he's some videos of his best bits...

COME ON ENGLAND!






Friday, 17 July 2009

Perspirex

I have a confession to make.

I am a sweater, a heavy sweater.

Thus, I was excited to hear of a new anti-sweat product called Perspirex and as I was early to teach acting out in North London I popped into a chemist to get some.

The chemist was packed but I strolled to the counter and enquired if they had any Perspirex for me to purchase, the assistant looked at me as if I were mad and made me repeat the product name a few times, he then asked what it was for.

So, in a packed chemist, I started to explain that it stops heavy sweating, from which I suffer and as he was hard of hearing, he kept getting me to repeat what it was for; his friendly mate then came out and got me to repeat the whole story all over again before the original shop assistant, who by now was on a computer looking it up, made me spell it out so that I ended up shouting in the busy store:

"PERSPIRE! AS IN SWEATING! AS IN HEAVY SWEATING!"

Eventually he found it and with a little whoop of joy shouted out "PERSPIREX!" and proceeded to exclaim that it is a roll-on that stops heavy sweating.

It turns out they didn't have any.

Thank God I didn't have thrush.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

America's Obsession with Guns Sinks to New Low...

You couldn't make this shit up.

Registered gun owners in Arizona and Tennessee now have the right (and I use that word loosely) to have concealed firearms on their person in bars or restaurants that serve booze.

Please feel free to read that again and wonder if someone in legislative power has not lost their freaking mind.

"YEEHAR! I'm gonna' shoot me some coon or beaner but not not until I've downed these nine beers and hit my kids for being toothless, dumb, cracker bits of shit!"

Guns aren't a great idea in the first place and why America has a problem with the consistent and painful mis-reading of the Second Amendment I've no idea, clearly many, many people have no fucking clue as to what a militia is. Far too many asshats take that to mean that each individual is a militia and you can stock up with all the weapons you want. Whatever...

Well now you can arm yourself and get so drunk you can't feel your hands, before firing some rounds from your cannon.

Seriously, the US has been stricken with shootings, three massacres this year alone and rights for gun owners just seems to get more and more liberal (in the worse sense) so that soon, we may face total deregulation.

As a footnote, it seems one area the NRA is not having much joy is the right to carry concealed firearms on university campuses, no idea why that's proving a hard sell, it's not as if America has had lots of shootings in educational environments...

Oh wait!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Getting Pencilled

The process of actually getting work as an actor is a complicated and harrowing one.

You start off as one of thousands, submitted for a job by your agent and somehow, by some miracle from a photo and CV alone you are chosen to audition.

This is the first achievement, to be seen. Many actors fail to realise that to get even this is a success of sorts, a small win.

Then you audition and hope that your ability and talent wins the day rather than your look or the terrible unimaginative casting brief that acts as a straight jacket. You need to think they they have no idea what they want until they see it. And that 'it' will be you.*

Then comes the recall, the whittling down of the hundreds into a handful, although as they have to pay you for a recall they have got less common and many people, the rich people, use recalls as extensions of the original audition, most demoralising if you feel you're making progress.

If after the initial submission and the audition and the recall they like you then the act of pencilling occurs, dates are checked, availability is confirmed and the job is within touching distance.

This is 'getting pencilled'.

This used to mean you had the job int eh bag bar the shouting, or it was down to you and one other but again, as the climate changes, pencils are being used willy-nilly, to pin down actors and to cover all the bases.

If you're really, really lucky, you'll get the job.

Thousands become just one.

* A funny thing happened to me last week that both knocked and boosted my confidence, I went for a double act audition with my new buddy Martin, we riffed for about 15 minutes and knocked 'em dead, not only were they laughing and we got called amazing but the room full of industry people clapped.

Let me put this into perspective, people never clap at auditions, it is not the done thing but we killed it. Of course, we didn't get the job, our 'look' wasn't right and I don't want anyone to labour under the mis-apprehension that talent always rises to the top in show business. The good will out does not apply to this job.

Monday, 13 July 2009

BNP Backtracks on Racist Policy...1 Down 14 to go!

One thing I have noticed in my dealing with racists is that they do cling onto some terrible ideas and fight for them with a blind and desperate gusto which says much about the idea in the first place but, you have to admire such blind adherence to utterly unworkable ideas.

Because that is what the majority of their ideas are, unworkable nonsense.

It seems that top-Nazi Nick Griffin has retreated on one of their most unworkable ideas, the "send 'em back where they came from" nonsense because, he concedes, that no one wants it, likes it and it is totally impossible in enforce. So the fascist dream of an all-white Britain has fallen by the wayside.

It's a start, now all we need to is get them to see that the rest of their policies are impractical tosh and we'll be making real progress...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Online Racists Jailed and I May Have Some More Suggestions...

Cheering news today that the two daft racists pictured above, Stephen Whittle and on the right Simon Sheppard, are to be locked in prison for inciting racial hatred online.

There is clearly hope for me yet, in my dealings with all the bigots out there!

They got seven years inside between them, where hopefully they will be based in cells with non-whites to give them a crash course in racial tolerance and understanding.

The funny bit of this story is that the cheeky racist bastards tried to claim asylum in the United States, the irony of white supremacist asylum seekers cannot be lost on anyone, even the most ludicrous of bigots must have a giggle at that, although knowing how pompous and how seriously they take themselves, I doubt they'll raise a smile.

I'm laughing all the way to the bank though.

Have a nice weekend comrades, I know I am!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

"If I Die, I Die" If Only...

I'm kidding, I wouldn't wish death on anyone, not even some one as evil as Sarah Palin but, to be fair to me, she did let slip those fateful words from her lips regarding her bizarre abdication from her post as Governor of Alaska.

Naturally, it was God who told her to leave her job.

Her political death, if not her real one, is a tantalising prospect and it seems that her actions have split an already wonderfully divided, bickering and tedious GOP; whose main mouthpiece, FOX, has already called out Sarah Palin as "inarticulate and undereducated with no credentials for any job."

Funny that when everyone else was saying that, they were sexist, liberal, fascists holding back the tide of real change in America...so it goes.

The Guardian has a wonderful take on the situation with "Sarah Palin: The Musical", which I include here in all it's glory, along with a video of Matt Damon taking Sarah Palin down...

Act One

Backstage at the end of the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant. Two girls are discussing the ceremony. There are polar bears and moose everywhere. Enter Sarah, wearing a bronze sash.

First girl: "Well done, Sarah! You were awesome!"

Sarah (relieved): "Gee, thanks, Miss Ninilchik. I was really worried for a second. I thought I blew it on the overcoat round."

Second girl: "No way. Ever since you were head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school, you've always had something special. So how are you going to use your new power?"

Sarah (determined, becoming wistful): "I'm going to run for political office. First I want to be the mayor of my home town of Wasilla. Then … who knows?"

Second girl: "But Sarah, God gave you the third best swimsuit-to-personality ratio in Alaska! Don't throw it all away!"

Sarah: "I have to. I cannot rest while wildlife gambols wantonly around our fair state."

First girl: "But do you think the townspeople are ready for your unique brand of neo-medieval impro-babble?"

Sarah: "I don't know, Miss Pilot Station. I just don't know."

Together, they sing Jesus, Help Me Cleanse the Tundra.

Act Two

The 2008 Republican National Convention. Thousands of cheering people.

Sarah: "Do you know the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick."

Wild laughter. Sarah descends from the podium and is grasped by an aide.

Aide: "Sarah, Sarah! There's just a few days until the financial crisis starts. What are we going to do?"

Sarah: "You can actually see Russia from land, here in Alaska."

Aide: "All right, we'll come back to that. I'm also worried that, as governor of Alaska, you may have knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda."

Sarah: "Alaska isn't a foreign country, you know. I read all the newspapers and magazines."

Aide: "What?"

Sarah: "It's all about job creation."

Aide: "Yes, but …"

Sarah sings The Bridge to Somewhere.



Friday, 3 July 2009

Worship Supplies

I was at an audition last week in a church and whilst I was waiting to be seen I saw a large cupboard which had the following sign on the front...

Worship supplies?

This made me very curious, what was inside this metallic haven I wondered? Perhaps some mini-Christs, or the communion flesh and blood, a cupboard full of crucifixes or even God himself, waiting to be brought out, dusted off and to strut his stuff for the awe stuck minions?

Curiosity got the better of me and I jemmied the cupboard open, committing a minor felony in the process and all was revealed to me...

Tea, bottled water, NESCAFÉ, white sugar sachets and some urns. Ho Hum.

So, that's all you need to worship?

That and a bit of faith I suppose...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

OMG! The White House is Gay!

I understand that the previous eight years of Bush set the bar for even a slightly left-of-centre White House very, very low indeed.

Basically the bar is flat on the ground, perhaps even slightly submerged in the soil...it's a gimmie.

In my links you'll see the official White House blog, I visit every day and check in on what the Obama administration is up to, reading policy and watching videos.

The brief time that Obama has been in charge has already shown sweeping changes, this is a very different administration to the last one but I think that the sheer weight of change is being underestimated. Three things have happened of late that have rejuvenated and re-reminded me of what a changed White House this is; with attitudes that have the power to pervade deep into American society; perhaps even repairing the damage of the last eight years.

27th June: Obama and his wife had an AIDS test in order to encourage all to do so, bearing in mind that one in five Americans with AIDS don't know they have it and to see their leader doing so (not for the first time, he did something similar in 2006 in Kenya) may help to remove some of the stigma and sends a global message. Can you see any previous President doing this?

29th June: the anniversary of Stonewall is celebrated on the White House website, what sea change is this? From an administration that was openly hostile towards the LGBT community to one that marks the anniversary of a seminal event in their civil rights movement.

30th June: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the White House's first LGBT event, with remarks that acknowledge how far America has come but outlines the vast array of work that still needs to be done. Clearly under Obama's watch, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender people will not be burning in hell...

What a welcome change this is to the hate and horror of Bush.

Then, this morning, my very good friend Wendy turned me on to this great piece of journalism by Johann Hari.

Johann Hari provides context to Stonewall, and how it stands as a pivotal moment in the LGBT movement. He also reminds us that homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon and part of the great tapestry of nature:
...about 2 to 5 per cent of human beings prefer to have sex with their own gender. It occurs at the heart of nature: only last week, Professors Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk, of the University of California, concluded in a study: "The variety and ubiquity of same-sex sexual behaviour in animals is impressive – many thousands of instances of same-sex courtship, pair bonding and copulation have been observed in a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, molluscs and nematodes."
His piece reminds us of how far we have come in the West, although acknowledges that gay teenagers are still six times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. In other parts of the world he flags that India are on the brink of de-criminalising homosexuality and that China had it's first Gay Pride march.

Johann Hari then outs those parts of the globe that are still in the dark ages when it comes to the human rights of LGBT people: the Muslim world and the Caribbean.

The fact that the Muslim world is a bastion of vile homophobia is of little surprise, the book that guides that faith is twisted and turned (sometimes with plenty of assistance from the book itself) so that homosexuality is punished by jailing, torture and death sentences. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even denies there are any gay people in Iran, but is happy to have them executed in public squares when some crop up.

The fact that the Caribbean is also a hunting ground for LGBT slaughter is perhaps not so surprising, it is a culture infested with the macho and phallocentric and thus is actually quite flimsy and weak, paper thin ideas of strength and masculinity that run rampant in many parts of Africa also (see my piece here on the raping and killing of lesbians in South Africa); so that 'men' (and I use the word very loosely) feel threatened and challenged by lesbians who are not enthralled by the penis and by gay men who are equated as women and thus lesser than man.

Irony is perhaps not the best word for the sexual violence that these gay men have to endure at the hands of the 'straight' men. Is is clear that these 'straight' men, emasculated and impotent due to unemployment, life style choices and a lack of purpose; can only confirm their own stupid existence through sexual terrorism.

It is clear, as Johann Hari points out, that these communities need our support in defining their human rights as LGBT people; just show me where to sign to beat back these vulgar bigots...