Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Slippin'

No, not the kind of slipping where you fall over on your arse but rather slippin' which means to be caught out of your own neighbourhood or postcode, something that can cost you anything from your pride, your mobile, to your life.

I was aware of the UK phenomenon of slippin' but it was brought home to me today with a group of young people I've been working with for a while. I'm helping them make a song and the artwork to go with it, which they'll then display and perform; they are all kids from a Pupil Support Centre which is basically another term for a PRU, or Pupil Referral Unit, a place for young people that have been excluded from school or are unable to do anything positive in a school environment for whatever reason (and there are many).

Over lunch we were chatting and as always the conversation turned to slippin' and the penalties for being caught in the wrong area, postcode or road; many of the young people had been threatened at knife point or got attacked or just had stuff stolen off them.

Adults of course are oblivious to this, unless you exist in that world, we move around free of the lines drawn in the sand, that crisscross every section of the cities and towns we live in. These young people are hypersensitive to these boundaries and they have to be, stepping outside of the theatre we are based at is itself fraught with danger, whether imagined or not, and penalties for slippin' weigh heavy on their minds.

As I watched them chat, one of the young people, Piers, profoundly expressed the heavy sense of dread and fear that hangs over his every movement; he talked of feeling weary, of always feeling on edge when outside of his home and it struck me, to live with that fear and hypertension virtually all of the time is a serious thing to carry at a young age.

I'll leave you with a tale told by Abdi, a young Somalian boy I'm working with on the project, he spoke of the time that a Somalian boy was caught slippin' in Camden and was thrown out of the back window on a double decker bus.

Abdi says that since that day he's never been to Camden.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010

Always a depressing read when it comes out but a necessary evil, is Project Censored's top news stories that...well, didn't really make the news.

I'll let you read them for yourself but highlights include how US schools are more racially segregated now then in the 1950s; that Somali piracy is not just about money but the illegal fishing in its waters and the dumping of toxic waste; North Carolina is the home to a nuclear waste pool and the guy that was behind the US Presidential election fraud in 2004, a certain Mr. Mike Connell, died in a mysterious place crash as he was about to be subpoenaed and possibly take down uber-shit, Karl Rove.

Good luck sifting through that lot, I'm off for a lay down...

Friday, 25 September 2009

"Those Folds in the Trousers..."

I have just finished reading Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell", a book I have been meaning to get around to for some time, after all, it gave The Doors their name and as someone with plenty of experience of hallucinations and mind altering experiences, I wanted to investigate what is considered a key tome in the genre.

I was not disappointed, for it gives the reader so much, including the seminal idea of Istigkeit, or is-ness, the idea that 'it just is' and that through this is-ness one can gain a sense of being in the object or thing that just is.

To be clear, "The Doors of Perception" details the author's experiences of taking mescaline and offers a crucial insight into mind-altering experiences. It famously charts Huxley's reaction to the legs of a chair, where he muses:
"I spent several minutes, or was it several centuries, not merely gazing at those bamboo legs but actually being them, or rather being myself in them; or to be still more accurate (for 'I' was not involved in the case, nor in the certain sense were 'they') being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair."
But it is the section where he become entranced by the folds of his own trousers that I truly shared a eureka moment with Huxley, a re-remembering of the positives from my own experiments with an alternate way of viewing things, to invest those things with new values and to discover, as described in relation to the chair leg, being myself in them.

From here Huxley departs on a fascinating tangent that is further developed in the following book "Heaven and Hell", which is that it is in humankind's representations of fabrics that the true vision of art is to be found, in that, arts love for drapery for its own sake, or rather for their own sake. Humanity's transcendence is to be found in these non-representational and unconditional forms that enable true expression. It is those things which are charged with is-ness.

The accompanying slim volume "Heaven and Hell" further distills the thoughts in it's experiential predecessor, which divests transcendental powers to humanity's obsession with jewels as means by which alternate states can be reached; alongside more prosaic methods as fasting, solitary confinement, fireworks and throwing oneself about in order to reach otherness and thus is-ness.

Huxley also leaves us with two fascinating ideas in "Heaven and Hell", the first is that heaven only exists in the minds of many as a vantage point to look down on those below, so in doing so the relationship between heaven and hell is symbiotic and self-referential, one can only exist without the other and that heaven would not be heaven if it did not have hell and also some sort of middle ground for it to be heavenly in relation to, the same of course goes for any concept of hell.

Secondly, Huxley touches on his understanding of schizophrenia, which is all about perception of what is, in that the illumination of is-ness is infernal in it's intensity and that added to this is the horror of infinity; a revelation of the universal system, the cosmic mechanism which exists to grind out guilt, punishment, solitude and unreality. This seems to be a very close friend of Sartre's nausea.

And just as Sartre teaches us how to engage and channel this nausea, Huxley makes the valid point that:
"Sanity is a matter of degree and there are plenty of visionaries who see the world of the schizophrenic but contrive none the less to live outside of the asylum."

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Police Are Experimenting on People...

I was heading off to an audition and was waiting at the bus stop at the end of my road for the short ride to Wood Green station, when I spotted this...

(click on the image to make it bigger if struggling to read the madness on it)

The full text reads as follows:
"Police Experimenting Illegally On Sick & Unemployed
Electronic Harassment Check Web"
Which is a pretty odd thing to find written on a bus stop in an urban suburb of London, I mean I expect to see some tedious gang tags or a badly drawn penis, or at the very least someone's name and a reference to how much they love cock...

Instead we get some apocalyptic warning of the British police experimenting (illegally may I add) on the sick and unemployed and also utilising some form of electronic harassment. I decided to follow the bus stop graffiti advice and check the web. This is what I found...

Bugger all.

If anyone out there can help clarify the story of police carrying out experiments I would be most grateful as I have a few unemployed and sick people I would like to suggest for the program...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Meet Tory Muppet...

No, not that one and no idea how he got into this blog post but another one, a proper Tory Muppet, who is based over at the Conservative Change Channel (a channel I urge you to subscribe to and to keep abreast of at all times) and who has even been known to Twitter!

Tory Muppet is the product of the fertile imagination of Tim Ireland, with script by Jamie Sport and voiced by yours truly.

First episode is below...enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

As you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, busy as hell at the moment, which is great but I'm attempting to juggle the filming of a new commercial, booking a holiday to Washington DC, trying to finish off a script, rehearse for a new short film, audition for lots of things and teach the youth of Britain how to act and to a lesser degree rap...

But to keep you all busy in the mean time, I stole this video off of my good friend Martin because it was so cute, it gave me cancer of the cute gland.

Until next time!

Friday, 11 September 2009

"People Are Jumping Out The Windows...They're Jumping Out The Windows, I Guess Because, They're Trying to Save Themselves...I Don't Know"

It was eight years ago today...

For some reason this anniversary of the terrible 9/11 attacks is playing a lot on my mind. Last year I was immersed in the world of Zero, a play no doubt inspired by the acts of torture triggered by 9/11, the year before that I was consumed by the archaic process of trying to purchase a home, while in 2006 I was more concerned about Iraq which has besmirched the idea of 9/11 and demeaned it to a mere precursor of war and excessive loss of human life. 2005, I didn't even mention it all, so preoccupied was I with yet another house move and the impending tour of Bouncers.

Before that, I'm ashamed to say, I had always been rather glib about 9/11, even pedantically referring to it as 11/9 and making noises about correct formatting of the date, like a monstrous tit. The reason, as I have inferred above, is that we were not allowed to hold onto 9/11 as a terrible crime against the United States and a device by which we all pulled together as humans against acts of cruel terror.

Because just as the dust was settling, it was a seemingly perfect excuse for Bush and his cohorts to unleash a period of eight hellish years, that have included human rights infringements, the awful mire that is the war in Iraq and the endless process of bringing peace and stability (and of course an acceptable regime to the West) in Afghanistan; at massive loss of civilian and military life...never mind the terrorist attacks around the world inspired by America's approach to the problem.

And now I come to think about it, the number of odious off-shoots is endless: we have the increase in fundamental and violent Islam activists, which in turn has led to a polarisation of the world's religions and the bracketing of Islam as evil, which further exacerbates it's militarisation and has become something of a culture war.

This polarisation has leaked into our politics with retarded 'with us or against us' thinking; black and white solutions to grey problems and a lack of a middle ground where most solutions are offered. All this adds up to a tarnishing of 9/11 as the instigator of this God awful mess, when in reality it is the Bush regime's response to 9/11 that has changed our world for the worse; ably supported of course by a whole raft of idiots on both sides.

I stumbled upon the famous video today of Bush at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School, the moment when he is told: "A second plane has hit the tower, America is under attack" is at one minute in...



I suppose my feelings of sadness at this anniversary have partly been due to a maturing in my attitudes to the events of that day and the volume of powerful 9/11 documentaries that have featured on British television in the last week or so, including the excellent '102 Minutes That Changed America' and '9/11: The Falling Man'...

This post's title is a direct quote of an eyewitness, whose testimony I saw live on television and was so moved by it, I hunted down the audio file as a reminder of the terror and horror of that awful day.

In honour and loving memory of those that lost their lives on that fateful day.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Kept Hidden For Almost Two Decades and Forced to Bear Children

*next time I read the news must remember to use punctuation and to take a breath*



*next time I sum up the news must not make a slip of the tongue and accuse teachers of striking over urine*



THIS IS THE NEWS!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Gordon Brown is a Sexy Bitch

I was surfing the web and I stumbled upon some pictures of my Prime Minister Gordon Brown, some Polaroids to be precise...

Now before you all run to the hills, it's not some smutty instant picture of him dressed up as a sexy nurse, or exposing himself as he indulges in his Omorashi fetish (seriously, click the link, in a nutshell, Omorashi is a penchant for people with a full bladder...I kid you not), although perhaps his wife, Sarah Brown, might be into Teratophilia: a sexual attraction to deformed or monstrous people...

OK, that's pretty unfair and if any spouse of an ex-Prime Minister is a Teratophile then it has to be Cherie Blair...

As long as it stretches to moral deformity and monstrousness.

Anyway, I spotted these Polaroids and thought that the PM looked very bloody dashing indeed and if seeing is believing then here they are (click on image to make it bigger)...

Am I going mad or does Gordon look a fine hunk of love?

Answers in the comments please or a postcard, up to you really.

Friday, 4 September 2009

The Worst Wax Works Ever?

I was going to write today about how badly Milton Friedman's ideas destroyed Chile and Argentina but then I thought, it's the bloody weekend so why not have some light-hearted fun and show you some pictures of quite possibly the worst wax interpretations of celebrities ever.

I am not sure why the waX work seems to be sat in the corner and why the forehead is so high...somehow they have enabled Sandra Bullock to look like a man with man's hands.

Perhaps the only one that is an improvement on the original human, clearly the maker was a Republican.

What the hell is going on here with the ball defying gravity and look of terror on the wax Jordan's face? Deeply disturbing stuff.

No resemblance here what so ever and no doubt making a wax work is tough but come on guys, how hard can it be? And once again, they have made a fine woman look like a man or a pre-op transsexual at best.

Is it me or does this look a bit like The Joker of Batman fame? But in awful clothes...

No way is this Jack Nicholson but rather a deformed Bob Hope zombie coming to eat you alive as you are bedazzled by his beige ensemble. RUN TO THE HILLS!

I love Drew Barrymore but this creature, whose hands seem to made of pork and are conjuring some kind of evil ju-ju magic, has the pallid tone of a near-dead human and hair like a ginger killer.

We all know that Cher is a bit of an old slag but why an earth they posed this wax version with her legs akimbo, sat on a bit of old carpet looking like a drunk gypsy who'd suck you off for a bottle of cider. Also, note to the maniac that dressed her: open-toed heels should never be worn with tights.

All I can think of when I look at this hybrid Bruce Willis is a hunchback paedophile with a gun waiting to stun his next sexual conquest...

I had no idea that Bruce Springsteen was in fact a child, unable to get clothes to fit him but clearly he is, he also seems to be joining the wax Willis in the hunchback gang.

For a start off, this looks more like Christina Aguilera than Britney but Ms. Spears should be grateful that she doesn't look like a man.

Boris Yeltsin anyone? The wax dummy makers GOP leanings are even clearer here and can someone please tell me the last time they saw a papier mache cat as terrifying as that one?

It's all gone a bit Denzel Washington hasn't it? No doubt the racist Republican making these thinks that all black people look the same...

I've saved the best till last and if the wax version of the tiny Scientologist pervert doesn't give you nightmares then you're made of tougher stuff than I am.

I CLOSE MY EYES AND HE'S STILL THERE, LOOKING AT ME WITH THAT CRAZY SMILE...
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics Have Much to Answer For...


Thankfully, Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economist, is dead after living to the grand old age of 94 and while it's true that only the good die young; Milton Friedman never had a moment of self-doubt in his life and people without self-doubt always go straight to the burning torments of Hades.

Friedman's uber-free-market monetarism has left the world with a neo-conservative hangover. Since the collapse of the economy of Argentina, whose government had followed the Consensus's prescriptions to the letter, Latin America has rebelled by electing every leftist in sight, while in Iraq the hubris of a new US imperialism has failed to conquer a country they actually helped weaken with a decade and a half of sanctions and airspace control, instead stoking radical Islamic anti-westernism from California through Europe to Indonesia.

The University of Chicago (that did beget the Chicago School of Economics) has of course developed some great thinkers but Friedmen is one of it's major intellectual embarrassments and how he became a figure of power and reverence in America is a question for an expert on the mass psychology of fascism.

Regular readers will know that I don't believe in Hades but I do believe Milton Friedman is being tortured there by demons and so infectious is his lack of self-doubt that, even in death, he makes me certain he's being tortured in a Hades I don't even believe in. Now, that's one evil economist!

I'll explain why...

As we've seen in the recent financial collapse brought on, in part, by Milton's ideas that have created the paradox of public funding holding together the very free market structures the evil old bastard was such a fan of, there is money to be made in moving companies and their debt around. Definitely not in making and selling products. What kind of schmuck manufactures or does stuff?

The big money is in the investing and buying and selling of ethereal debts and assets, never paying the debts, never delivering the fruit of the assets, paying yourself handsomely, and to top it off, not paying taxes, since most of the tax cuts that the white Christian gay-bashing underclass patriots in the red states were so happy to have, benefited no one...well, no one but the very, very rich.

And it is all Milton Friedman's fault. How? Is he magically forcing the financial world to suck the resources out of the real world with its funnel cloud of insanity? From the land of the dead, from his torture grief-pit he is doing this?

Yes. Yes he is.

Milton Friedman dignified a simplistic vision of economics, a vision so simplistic it could not but appeal to the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, who were both very simple people at heart. Thus began the popularisation of the terms of extreme capitalism and the private ownership fetish. Thus in the early 1980s William F. Buckley could host a farcical debate on, "Resolved, Government Is The Problem, Not The Solution" at the start of which he declared, "We are not anarchists. We simply believe that the government more often stands in the way of progress than aids it." He and what would become the neo-conservatives wanted just enough government to protect corporations from the rabble, and none to protect the rabble from the corporations. And again, Milton Friedman and his "Chicago School" surrealists gave an intellectual imprimatur to these semantic antics.

Government (whether of, by, for, or against the people) has always favored the very wealthy and their endeavors, adventures and investments. But since Milton harnessed Reagan and Thatcher, and vice versa, the very wealthy have faced dwindling popular resistance. They and their media lackeys in the hate industry proudly display their resentment of any control over the economy that doesn't originate with or profit them. Allowing high financial interests to dictate how clean the air should be, who should own the water, how much a corporation should compensate someone it injures, how much assistance a government should offer its poor, how much it should spend on teachers and doctors, whether workers can organise into unions, what kind of science can be done...the list goes on.

Putting all these decisions into the hands of the people with the most money is now second-nature to the voting public of the USA. And, yes, it's Milton Friedman's fault. So I'm glad he's dead. Not as glad as I will be when Margaret Thatcher dies...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Shock Doctrine Left me Sad & Angry

Last night I watched the film based on Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine" on More4, I was bracing myself for a depressing time, I've not read the book yet and will now make it a top priority but I was aware that it took on the awful free market policies of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics.

Each time there was a commercial break, I got up and went for a walk to stop myself getting incredibly angry, it reminded me of the burning sense of injustice I got from seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11" for the first time, or "Bowling For Columbine", or the excellent "Road to Guantanamo" which was directed by the same person as "The Shock Doctrine": Michael Winterbottom.

It made me angry because the current sad state of world affairs is partly down to these terrible free market ideas that have run unchecked through modern society and that they were tested out on various South American regimes with horrible effects and loss of life and liberty only adds to the horror.

I suppose what made me so sad is that it all feels so hopeless trying to fight back at something that is all pervasive in our society, that I am part of the problem due to my level of participation. But then, I suppose that is what they want, hopelessness, to give up and to let the markets run free and to self-correct themselves; self-correct themselves in the sense that they are propped up with public money after some disgusting capitalist overreach.

Inspired by Winterbottom's documentary I'm going to blog over the next week or so on the issues the piece bought up, including Chile, Argentina, Thatcher's Britain and perhaps re-visit some of my writing on Reagan and his ilk.

It won't be fun but I'll feel a lot better armed and educated on the matter.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

"Magic? You Just Pissed on a Gypsy in the Middle of Fucking Nowhere"

Yesterday, I had the real pleasure of seeing the excellent movie "Bronson" again, this time on DVD after going to the pictures with Eva-Jane to see it when it first came out back in March. I looked back through Blurred Clarity's archives and for some unknown reason I didn't blog on how this is a fine, fine film with a massive, powerhouse performance from Tom Hardy (that is as gripping as it is funny) as Britain's most legendary prisoner: Charles Bronson.

If you've not seen it yet, you should...