Friday, 28 August 2009

Let's Wrestle at the Buffalo Bar



Last night Eva-Jane and I journeyed to the top of Upper Street in Islington and went to the Buffalo Bar to check out one of our many new favourite bands, the legendary bloody shambles that is Let's Wrestle.

To be clear, it was a fucking cracking gig, even if they did come on too late (on a school night) and not play for long enough.

They make for an odd looking bunch: Wesley Patrick Gonzalez on lead vox and Wedding Present style guitar is a cherub of a lad who came onto stage in a beige cardigan (matched with a beige shirt), that he took off before starting the gig. Clearly, the cardigan had to come off for him to unleash the full rock beast, think of it as a protective sheath because with the cardy off he beats the guitar like an errant child and sang so loud that I nearly passed out on numerous occasions during the gig (my ears still hurt). Rock and ruddy bloody roll.

Mike Lightning, on bass and alleged backing vocals, is the most conventionally handsome of the trio if a tad annoying in a posh school boy kind of way and he got hand ache from playing the bass so quickly and forgot the bass part to one of the songs. I'm sure though he is a lovely chap and his part in this fine racket is to provide some vigorous and loopy bass lines that move things along nicely.

Finally my favourite, if I had to pick, is the man on the traps: Darkus Bishop. Maybe it was the Minor Threat T-Shirt he was wearing or the fact that he looks like he should be in another band all together but his shellacking of the drum kit with seemingly the same beat for every song was as much a feat of physical endurance as it was a thing of simple beauty. I also loved the way his kit was set up, none of this modern hi-hat nonsense just a large ride cymbal to keep time, just like the good old days and a snare to beat the shit out of. Wonderful stuff!

They powered through a selection of songs from their debut album and sublime EP, sweating profusely, singing off-kilter, two sheets to the wind, it was an immortal performance of rock and roll music and I can't wait to see them again.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ted Kennedy 1932-2009


“It's better to send in the Peace Corps than the Marine Corps.”

“150,000 American troops are bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq because the Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence to justify a war that America never should have fought.”

"Frankly, I don't mind not being President. I just mind that someone else is."

"Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins."

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

No Hats No Hoods

I love grime.

If you don't know, grime is the UK's own brand version of rap; where you take hip-hop's flow, nick all the best bits of top garage tracks and run 'em through at 140bpm, while throwing in a dancehall vibe.

Wicked.

I was shopping for the Arctic Monkeys new album and I stumbled upon a mixtape by DJ Magic, which compiles some of the best grime tunes of the last few months, it's title alone made me want to buy it: "No Hats No Hoods".

If you're not familiar, signs like this...

Or this...


They are quite common across London town and it's a genius idea to win the term back and use it on a grime compilation. So buy it. Also, it meant I found out about a fellow Shottingham artist, an MC who goes by the name of Wariko who seems to have some skills and I just love hearing MCs rap in a Notts accent, reminds me a bit of home, of where I'm from and I might be far too old to be listening to grime but I really don't give a fuck.

Check out Wariko below, check out the Notts accent in full flow and look out for me releasing my own mixtape sometime before Christmas...

Heh.

Monday, 24 August 2009

ENGLAND WIN THE ASHES!

Heady times indeed, as England win the 2009 Ashes with a fine victory at the Oval yesterday.

I thought that the admirably stubborn and brilliant Aussies would hold out again, or perhaps generate some feat of leviathan effort to overhaul the 546 run target. I wouldn't put it past them, they have a willpower and focus that sometimes makes our English players look a victory-shy and squeamish bunch but yesterday, England took the wickets required to reclaim that tiny urn for another two years.

WELL DONE ENGLAND!

It made me cast my mind back to the Summer of 2005, when England last won the Ashes, a victory that meant more due to the voluminous gap since they last conquered the Australians and the terrible beatings the Aussies had inflicted on us in the preceding 16 years.

Back in 2005 I was living not far from the Oval (where the last Ashes test is always traditionally played), in Camberwell and was moving out that day to begin my life in Loughton, Essex and I could hear the cheers from my home as every run was scored and as I loaded up the van with my worldly possessions I kept one eye on the TV to keep abreast of what was happening.

It was a funny time, having just finished my MA in Acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama and was about to embark on a full-time acting career again after some time out learning. How things have progressed in those 4 years, my life is hardly recognisable (in a good way) and I sit typing this in my own home that I own, in a wonderful, loving relationship and actually making a living as an actor with some amazing adventures past and some great opportunities in the future.

And to add to the good sporting news, I read today that the UK is allegedly coming out of recession.

A brilliant excuse I think to put up a picture of the Australian captain Ricky "Punter" Ponting looking sad (he doesn't have cold sores by the way, he got hit in the face with a ball)...

And of the England team looking very happy indeed (they also don't have cold sores, they are just drunk)...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Power of the Actor

As an acting teacher and an actor that likes to learn, I spend a great deal of my time reading various books on acting techniques, approaches and theories.

Most of them are great and some of them are bollocks, Ivana Chubbuck's book The Power of the Actor falls into the latter category.

Why?

Well, not because actors don't have power, they do and lots of it but because her book is a horrible mix of Stanislavsky's System bastardised for imbeciles (which is what much of especially American acting technique is retarded in; Lee Strasberg's Method and it's numerous off-shoots, Chubbucks 12-point plan being the latest malformed offspring) and pseudo self-help psychology that reads like an addict's 12-step program with lots of emotional fascism thrown in for good measure.

Other highlights of the book include handy guides on how to act like you're high on speedballs, realising the mind-set of a serial killer and a formula for organically feeling like a paraplegic/quadriplegic.

The reason I hate it is not just that I'm from the school of thought that would prefer people to just act, rather than fannying about but I also find a great deal of it emotional exploitative and masturbatory.

I'll leave you with a brief true story to illustrate the point.

Occasionally I have to get a cover teacher in when I am away working, I love the cover teacher to bits and we are good friends but she always does very emotional work with my students, where basically the other actors abuse them whilst you think of something terrible that has happened to you. Naturally, this has even the most emotionally stunted of them in tears so that when I come back they gush about how good it all was; a classic error, confusing crying with acting. But when I challenge them to put this emotion into a scene they cannot.

We can all get emotional when we're thinking about our dead mum and having other people call us subhuman cunts but the trick is putting all of that into a performance where you can't masturbate your emotions (with some other actors joining in the frottage) in a flash.

And that's where acting comes in...

Monday, 17 August 2009

American Healthcare Blues

(click on the picture to make it bigger)

I've exhausted myself at numerous other places debating the current US healthcare debacle with idiots and I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so here, especially when the picture above sums it all up so wonderfully.

Have a nice day.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Racist Cake

Things have changed.

In the old days a racist was proud to be a racist, they threw around their offensive and backward opinions without a care in the world, they had faith in their convictions, no doubt helped by the over-arching air of racism that propagated the the good old days.

They accepted and wore the epithet of racist with pride, with honour, a sense that they would be proven right in the long run and that being a racist would one day by a positive, rather than a negative. They accepted the pejorative with a shrug and a "so what?".

Not now.

Racists have realised that being a racist is actually a fundamental human flaw and shows you to be not only intellectual stunted but quite possibly, mentally ill; failing to resolve your own personal issues and projecting your weaknesses and fears onto innocent people. They have also discovered that most people do not like racists and would prefer it if racists stopped being racist and educated themselves and stopped basking in their myopic ignorance.

Now we have a new brand of racist, one who still vomits racist ideas but when you confront them with the truth that they are a racist and explain why in clear detail, they look at you with a mix of horror and confusion and say: "but I'm not a racist and you calling me a racist is an effort to silence my freedom of expression, this is because you are a fascist."

Racists are now in denial, their ideas have proven to be wrong and they've drifted to the margins of modern thought, they hope that by denying their inherent racism, their racist ideas will be seen in a new light.

We live in an age of racists refusing to accept that they are racists.

An age of the racist wanting their racist cake and eating it.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Who Owns America?

America's national debt is huge and growing, it's around $11 trillion at the moment but what makes for interesting reading is who owns all the debt, via Treasury Bonds, we can see which countries are propping up America.

Little surprise who is top of the list, those pesky Communists China with $800 billion and the US may have bombed the crap out of them in WW2 but the prudent Japanese are in second place with $677 billion.

Then there is a big drop off to third place, which is a virtual $194 billion tie between two wonderfully titled, if not alarmingly vague groupings of, Caribbean Banking Centres (made up of Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Panama and the British Virgin Islands) and Oil Exporters (Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria).

Yes, that's right, Hugo Chavez owns some of America, as do the Iranians and the Iraqis, never mind Colonel Gaddafi. Brilliant stuff!

To my surpise the UK is next in line, with $163 billion, although not quite sure how we can afford that at the moment, considering the state we're in so perhaps time to cash those billions in Gordon?

Full list is here, have fun with it and celebrate that even Canada owns a peice of America, even if it is only $11.5 billion.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

FLYING JEWS DO BATTLE WITH PIG AIDS!

You have to laugh, otherwise you'd cry.

A bunch of Rabbis chartered a plane on Monday and took to the air above Israel.

Why?

To ward off Swine Flu of course, by shouting prayers down those weird phones you have on airplanes and by blowing ceremonial horns (which is not a euphemism for their willys) as loud as they could. Needless to say, the chief Rabbi in charge of the airborne war on Pig AIDS thought this was a very wise move and would "stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it".

After they'd finished rocking backwards and forwards and blowing into trumpets, the group of Rabbis proudly announced that: "we are certain that, thanks to the prayer, the danger is already behind us" although whether the danger has passed for Israel based Gentiles and God forbid, the Palestinians I've no idea. I presume that the tooting of horns and prayers bounce off the non-Jews and perhaps, if you are Palestinian, exacerbate your chances of getting Swine Flu?

File this one under yet another reason as to why religion, in all it's silly forms, holds back humanity and is a waste of bloody time.

Oh and on an interesting side note, Swine Flu or to give it it's unofficial title Pig AIDS, is labelled somewhat differently in Israel, due to the deep loathing of all things pork. It is instead called Mexican Flu (or Tex-Mex AIDS as I've snazzily called it), which is not at all offensive to Mexican people all around the world, after all, this is all their fault in the first place isn't it?

Monday, 10 August 2009

I Don't Accept the Premise of the Question

Much to Eva's rightful chagrin, I argue far too much with people on the Internet, I have quite a bit of time on my hands at the mo; so more than usual I am exchanging verbals with idiots.

From such practice I have discovered one way of cutting back on the sheer volume of crap pointlessly exchanged in a virtual format, it is to use a technique mentioned by Leo McGarry in the seminal TV show The West Wing: if you don't accept the premise of the question then don't answer it.

Although I find this frustrates the hell out of the goons you're debating with it saves a lot of time, it also means that you don't end up validating the question's premise with the dignity of a response; which is usually based on personal prejudice and has no basis in fact, or getting into a mess arguing against something that it isn't even true. Rather like the premise that you should never argue hypotheticals, one I always try and stick to, again to the frustration of cretins.

Sticking to these rules is easier said than done though, a recent debate I was having about Fascism was a point in hand, there was no point me arguing about whether it stemmed from the Left or not because the premise of the question; that Fascism is from the Left, is total fiction, the premise in itself is wrong but by arguing it, I gave it credence.

It's like arguing about the Earth being flat, or there being a God, or those birther twats that think Obama isn't a US citizen...no point doing it; the premise is flawed and thus, arguing with someone using a flawed premise is pointless because they are obviously an ignoramus.

Come back next week when I explain that having the last word doesn't mean that you've won an argument, it just means that you've had the last word.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Natalie Imbruglia "Wild About It"

You may recall that I did my first music video not that long ago and also some viral bits and pieces to go with it, it seems The Sun liked it and has featured it, which is a bit embarrassing as I write for an anti-Sun website but what's a spoon full of hypocrisy now and then?

Anyway, without further ado here is my appearance as Natalie Imbruglia's Dancing Man, a two-minute dance performance where I channel the energy of the long dead James Brown directly into my moves and burn a hole in the bloody carpet.

If only you could see my feet...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Happy Anniversary Eva-Jane



How did I know that the warmth of the glow would last.
How did I guess that the long loneliness was past.
I merely looked at you and I knew that I knew.

It's you or no one for me
I'm sure of this each time we kiss
Now and forever and when forever's done
You'll find that you are still the one

Please don't say no to my plea
'Cause if you do then I'm all through
There's this about you
My world's an empty world without you
It's you or no one for me

Please don't say no to my plea
'Cause if you do then I'm all through
There's this about you
My world's an empty world without you
It's you or no one for me
For me

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

We'd all like to think that the days of signs warning away certain 'undesirables' were a thing of the past but one thing the UK has been unfortunately riven with in the noughties is immigration obsessed ignorance.

The BBC has done a wonderful exposé on the return of 'No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs' thinking, which seems to have become, in Boston, Lincolnshire at least: 'No Poles, No Portuguese, No Muslims'. Which is a funny combination but not if I was a migrant worker in Boston, Lincolnshire that happened to be Polish, Portuguese or a Muslim.

Estate agents it seems are breaking the Race Relations Act of 1976 by discriminating against non-British tenants and pretending that property is taken when the Polish undercover reporter requests info on it but lo and behold, when the British chap strolls in it is available.

The funniest bit is the second video of secret filming, where the pretend daft racist landlord (after requesting no Poles or Portuguese) asks if they can make sure no Muslim tenants are allowed to rent his flat, where upon the poor estate agent says yes and then equates being a Muslim to being an animal and then smoking.

There is a comedy sketch there somewhere...

It doesn't surprise me that Boston in Lincolnshire is a focus of this report, some of you may recall I have much experience of Boston, it was the target of my cross the country walk for Coast to Coast and a town I have performed in often. Choice quotes about it include (from May 2007):
"famous for being the home to a legion of inbred people, you know, three fingers, webbed feet and eyes too close together...I still don't like Lincolnshire very much, not very racially integrated and full of deformed people who have sex with their own relatives."
And this gem from September 2007:
"As you may remember, I've performed in Boston before and things haven't changed although the volume of in-bred gypsy people with webbed feet and three fingers on each hand seems to have been replaced by refugees from Eastern Europe who smell funny.
God I hate Lincolnshire."
It seems things have only got worse in my absence.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Visitor From Kazakhstan

I was checking Blurred Clarity's site stats which have been higher than usual and was bemused to see that I had a visitor from Kazakhstan, who had found me by Googling my name (but missing the 'n' off of the end of Hoffmann) and then spent 5 minutes 57 seconds on my blog.

The mystery visitor was based in the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate fields, which I have learnt is one of the largest in the world and quite what an oil worker living in Kazakhstan is doing Googling my name and spending nearly 6 minutes on my website I've no idea.

The mind boggles.

An interesting side note is that when they'd eventually read their fill, they decided to go and visit A Very Public Socialist, which perhaps paints a picture of an ex-Communist oil worker who wants to move to London to start a fresh career as an actor but is just checking out the level of Socialism before he makes the move.

My Kazakhstani reader, if you are out there, please get in touch!