Friday, 30 July 2010

Female Circumcision: a Polite Term For Cutting a Girl's Genitals


I found it shocking that the mutilation of a girl's genitals occurs in such vast swathes of the world, it is a profoundly disturbing left over of ancient, anti-female violence, carried out by men as a device to repress, control and, to a certain extent, destroy femininity.

I will not go into the depraved details of female genital cutting, plenty of information can be found on the practice, needless to say in most cases it involves the removal of the clitoris, to strip the female of an organ that enables sexual pleasure and of course orgasm.

This is no doubt rooted in perverse, phallocentric thinking; to brutally destroy female pleasure in sexual intercourse, to win back sex from the sullied mewling of the feminine. I do wonder who thought up this act of uber-violence, of inter-gender warfare, what it stemmed from. One can guess, we are all familiar with the clumsy, ill-thought out desires of man and the ease at which he turns to violence in order to force his will.

Ancient man can perhaps be forgiven for this base, backward error but what alarms me more is that it is still practised.

Precise figures are hard to come by, a conservative estimate is that some 130 million women are effected around the world, with 3 million girls vulnerable to genital mutilation each and every year; a raft of fresh victims.

Sadly, Africa is the continent most blighted with the evil practice, in a band that stretches east to west across the continent. Imagine if you will this band peaks at its extremities: on the east that gives us Egypt, Somalia et al and on the west hand side we have Mauritania, Mali and Sierra Leone. The band thins but is still present in Chad, Nigeria, Ghana etc.

Nations at the extremities have a figure of over 80% of the female population having experienced genital mutilation, which is bewildering in its scope. Even those in the slimmer sections of this awful band have rates between 20 and 40%. When one thinks the device used to carry out this practice is usually a razor blade or broken glass, with battery acid used to staunch the heavy bleeding, the speed with which this barbaric act must come to an end becomes even clearer.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Twitter Still Sucks Ass But...


I'm on it!

Oh the shame of it!

Oh the pure hypocrisy!

Look, before you pass judgement on me, the reason for signing up was two fold:

1) I started to worry that some Internet stalker nob would create a Twitter account in my name and be a douchebag, so I went and did a baggsy before any web-ponce could. Which I think is fair.

2) I had to get in contact with Notts rapper Wariko and the only way I could do so was through his Twitter. Hence my starting up of an account.

Shamefully, I found myself, for want of anything else to do, tweeting about eating wasabi nuts.

I do solemnly swear to only make tweets about non-tedious stuff from now on in.

You get me?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Why Nana Is Cool


(Editor's Note: Nana is a term mainly used in the North of England and refers to your Grandmother, it is pronounced nan-nar and does not refer to a Manga character, a native Alaskan corporation, or some Japanese musical artiste)

Like any of you needed telling but your nana is real cool, it still upsets me that both my fine nanas are lost to us, such is the way of life I suppose.

But there is a very good reason as to why Grandma's are cool: from a scientific perspective, having a grandmother is of extraordinary evolutionary value and a real boost to your chances of survival.

Ever wondered how the menopause fits in with the evolutionary dash of survival of the fittest and the urge to procreate? Surely a female losing her reproductive powers blows a big hole in the idea of human evolution? What evolutionary purpose does a whole raft of females with no reproductive abilities serve?

Well, evolution is not just about having sex and popping offspring out left, right and centre. It is about being able to protect, tend and increase the survival chances of the aforementioned offspring and that is where your nana comes in.

Senior female humans (the scientific term for a nana) provide additional nurturing and foraging skills, thus protecting their own gene pool advancement.

So all those cuddles have an evolutionary purpose as well as feeling nice.

Let's big up nanas everywhere!




Monday, 26 July 2010

On Fairness



Fairness, to me, seems to be a very British thing, it is intrinsically moderate, reasonable and balanced. I like fairness, it is a good thing.

Fairness, it seems to me, has not caught on in many places. Europeans and Americans seem to opt for lofty ideals of justice, which is hifalutin in comparison to common-sense fairness, with all it's earthy connotations.

There is far too much talk of American exceptionalism, I for one have indulged in it but something that makes Britain exceptional is its fairness for all, even though, as a notion, fairness would blush as such an idea. That is what our tolerance is rooted in.

Fairness also enables difficult things to be done or said, it is the sweetener to the bitter pill, harsh but fair is one of my favourite phrases.

Fairness is however, a broad church, that allows for all-comers and there lays its weakness and its intrinsic Britishness.

Fair enough I suppose...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Disfigured Conservative Election Posters

This post does exactly what is says on the tin.

Have a good weekend ya'll.




PS: my favourite is the one with George Osborne having a massive cock hanging off of his head, matched with a Hitler tache. Textbook.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The iPhone Sucks Ass

Seriously people, it is nowhere near the best mobile phone out there, you are buying heavily into the brand, a great brand but a huge smokescreen that covers up a pretty dire product.

This incredible video sums it up perfectly...



You feel me?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Sick, 105 Redchurch Street, E2 7DL


I like to shop.

I like to buy interesting clothes, accessories and knick-knacks and occasionally I peruse Time Out for shopping recommendations, to add to my list of places I always go.

They recently had a special feature on Redchurch Street, which is just off Brick Lane and one shop they mentioned, called "Sick", caught my eye.
"A grungy thrift shop, run by the founders of cult 1980s label Boy, which specialises in '90s vintage (if you can call it that). The store also sells a good selection of restored bikes and is shortly to open a fashion 'laboratory' in the basement. Whatever that is."
Well, I was always a big fan of Boy and I'm looking for 90s fashion at the mo, both personally and for my play and I do love a good restored bike, as well as a chance to rustle around in some brick-a-brac.

I stepped into what could only be described as an odd smelling shit-hole which contained hardly any stuff at all, most of it artily hanging off the walls, surrounded by detritus. The two people sat down chatting at the far end of the store, not actually that far away from the door in this mini-retail hell-pit, barely acknowledged my entrance; aside from a vaguely discernible sneer.

Now I don't mind them being vacuous, self-important fashion ponces but at least show you can grasp basic customer service techniques, especially when you're asking ridiculous sums of money for bits of old tat. Anyway, I went in further and looked at the "restored" bikes, which actually hadn't been restored at all and I should know because I've just been restoring two 80s bikes for my play.

I ventured closer towards the two wittering shop workers: one was about 50, leathery and dressed like a Frankie Goes To Hollywood off-cut; the other, a female, had some sheer material draped about her visage. They stared at me in utter silence. I politely enquired:

"Is there more...er...stuff downstairs?"

The leathery old pillock frowned at me like a frazzled Bukowski wannabe and the lady breathily exclaimed an affirmative. As I peered down the stairs, into what looked a tramp's basement, it occurred to me that maybe the bit of material hanging off her head was a symbol of her empathy with French Muslim women, who are banned from wearing certain types of religious headdress. I digress...

Downstairs was worse, basically an explosion of stinky old clothes, dis-figured mannequins, bits of sheeting used as dividers and an all pervading stench of damp, sick and piss. Two other customers were poking about in the melange of crap, trying to be cool no doubt and they briefly confused me for a member of staff, until I smiled at them, therefore belying my lack of pompous coolness and giving away the fact I was a decent human.

I made my way back upstairs to escape from this God awful "shop" (I use that word in its loosest possible sense) to find the polyester enveloped crone blocking my exit and seemingly impervious to my massive physical presence. My patience by this time was wearing very thin indeed, so I manhandled the dozy bint out of the way, bolstered with a booming:

"Excuse me duck."

She made some kind of noise as I stomped out of their pretentious car-boot sale emporium, to which I shouted:

"THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS! THIS IS NOT EVEN A FUCKING SHOP!"

And with that I was gone, chuntering under my breath about how some parts of London seem to be in love with pretending to be poor and forgetting that basic customer service is not some old-fashioned concept but an important part of being a decent human being.

So in summary then, Sick of 105 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DL is the worst fucking shop I've ever had the mis-fortune to step into, in my entire life.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Our Style is Legendary: Reading Tonight


I'm quite excited and just a wee bit nervous, because tonight I have gathered a fine collection of actors, an excellent director and a very fine writer to do a reading of the latest draft of my play: Our Style is Legendary.

The reading is for me as the author to hear how it stands, I have done extensive re-writes of late and staring at the PDF can only teach you so much about the ebb and flow of the text, so I needed to hear it before I can construct the final draft and by that I mean the rehearsal copy; the one I will be sending out to agents and whatnot.

The play will go through further changes once in the hands of gifted actors during a rehearsal process.

I have asked all involved to be harsh with their feedback and the play's mentor, Ken Christiansen, has pitted a question for the readers that he wants answered. I hope that by the time we wrap up, come 10pm tonight (although a swift half may follow), I have plenty to work on this week that will push the play from the realms of the very good, into the exceptional.

I trust the folks I've invited to be forthright, intelligent and honest in their assessment.

Then, my aim is to take all the feedback on board and generate the final draft by this Friday.

My next play is already brewing now that this albatross around my neck is starting to lift. More on that later...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Yet Another New Commercial I'm In...


It goes without saying that 2010 has been the best year of my career ever. Seriously.

I have had, to date, an incredible 60 auditions, which is just mind blowing. Today, for example, I had 3 in one day: a feature film and two commercials no less. My agent is a freaking legend.

Work wise, I've done 5 commercials all over the world (with my Kohler one in the America still doing the rounds); reprised Poles Apart successfully; my debut feature film came out across the UK and is now doing very well in the US (with an upcoming DVD release); Kirky came alive on the BBC (a dream come true) and I've had confirmation that my play about growing up in Notts (Our Style is Legendary, which has been brewing for an eternity) will make its premiere next Spring in London.

And it's only July...

I'm not blowing me own trumpet, I'm just using this blog to document a good time in my life because one thing I've learnt about this acting lark is that at any moment it can go deathly quiet. You never have time to savour these moments because you have to keep your head down and keep going, this blog is all I have, apart from my feeble memory that is.

Anywho, without further ado, here is my latest piece of comedy gold...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

In My Beginning is My End


Bluster.

I love that word.

Bluster is something the world of blogging (digitised opinion) is full of and I've played my part.

Political commentary has found an apt home in the world of blogging, most of the top blogs ply their trade opining on the issues of the day, shouting from the rafters their opinions from one side of the wire or other. And then there are the army of comment-whores, either fishing for a fight or cheerleading the agenda.

Seems to me a lot of people are just seeking a bit of human contact by proxy, even if it is brutal.

And so we return to bluster, because so much of political commentary now, whether blog based or not, is all about provocation, obsessed with prediction, interpretation and telling those who actually have real power what to do.

It's all pretty shrill, instant and intrusive and has long ago drifted into bluster but particularly cruel and sharp bluster; desperate for an audience. And let's linger on this audience, which seems to be regressing in terms of what it can handle, we are mostly left with a puerile simplicity littered with Unique Selling Points but little élan.

In this cruel 24-hour news cycle nothing ever stays news for long. Drop it and move on.

The end result is a lot of bluster and the UK joining the US in becoming increasingly immature about how it engages with politics and its politicians.

Which is a damn shame.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I Saw This and Thought of You, Part 425


When will the Christian bigots realise that their silly Jesus has more pressing concerns then whether someone is gay or not.

The poor sod is fighting for his very life

Monday, 12 July 2010

She-Pee


I kid you not, a device had been invented to enable women to piddle stood up and thus, defeat the phallocentric hegemonic oppression of visiting the latrines. HOORAH!!! UP THE WOMEN!!!

It is called the She-Pee or She-Wee or a whole host of other urine based catchy titles, that mix terms for piss and the word she, or fem, or lady. Cool.

Eva-Jane and I were at first a little confused as to how it would work, basically, it's a piss funnel that replicates a penis. You can purchase one to keep, which strikes me as a little unsanitary, or buy a whole host of disposable ones.

If you're not clear how to use it, there is a handy guide below.

The things people come up with.

Utter genius.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Like Mercury...


Whenever I love an actor, I mean really love them, I always end up referring to them as "like mercury" and by that I do not mean Freddie Mercury:


Or the planet Mercury:


And to be truthful, I'm not quite sure what I mean.

What spurred this was the fact that Eva-Jane and I are off soon to see Mark Rylance in La Bete, an actor whose performances dwarf those of most humans, he is truly epic and bestrides contemporary acting like a colossus and he also constantly make me waffle on about his work being "like mercury". The best compliment my feeble mind can bestow.

I think I got it from a song by The Wedding Present, it is, unsurprisingly, called "Mercury" and is quite sublime, featuring some grand lyrics:
And I know where you want to be
You're in my hands but I just bet you'll slip away
You'll trickle like mercury
And I won't hear you
I can't seem to find the track online but here is another Weddo's track to hopefully turn some of you onto their great music...



So then I actually looked up what mercury is and discovered it is a quicksilver and bears the chemical element lettering of Hg. It is basically liquid metal, which makes it pretty unique. It doesn't conduct heat well but does channel electricity. It's also pretty toxic.

And that's about it.

I suppose the reference, with regards to acting anyway, is someone who has a raw but flowing movement, pace, excellent physical presence,  coupled with a sheer density of being that verges on the supernatural. To be both fluid and metal, one or the other at times and most of the time both.

I still think it's a cool compliment...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My Postman Recognises Me Off The Tele



I've had dabbles with fame before, in varying scales, such as after a show and the audience wanting to chat or have photos taken, to the premiere of "My Last Five Girlfriends" and signing autographs and then being stopped in the street (or worse, just stared at with whispering) by people who recognise me off the TV from commercials or whatever.

It's stepped up a level now as my trusty Postman has figured out who I am.

It seems that Kirky doing the rounds on the BBC and my new advert for VW that has just come out (and that I will post up when I either find it, or can be arsed to upload my copy to the Interwebs), have launched me to new heights of fame and thus, my Postman asked for an autograph.

At the time I was signing for a parcel, recorded delivery and all that, seems this squiggle was good enough, although I was more than willing to give him a more accurate autograph if he requires one.

However, I'm not very good at autographs. I never know what to put and end up either being obtuse or rambling and far too personal. I also have not perfected my autograph signature and have confused many a hunter as they compare signatures that are all different.

Fame is a funny thing, even the mild fame I am experiencing, it is a by product of my job of course but it's an odd experience to be stared at; to wonder if the staring is caused by my pink shorts, or unruly mop of hair, or because they saw me at the cinema. And then there's the texts and emails you get from mates you've not spoken to in a bit, who are jolted into contact by seeing you on the screen. That is one of the upsides.

I do wonder if I will ever ascend to even higher levels of fame, not that I care but the thought of it is both exciting, in that it will mean I am having greater success and terrifying, who wants to be a role model and having your behaviour, words and thoughts analysed and taken-apart?

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, for now, I'm just grateful my Postman recognises me off of the tele.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

What I Made When I Went to the Czech Republic


Back at the start of May I got a huge commercial job which I shot in Prague with a fantastic crew and the greatest commercial director of all time, Bryan Buckley. It was for Yahoo! And I never know, with regards to grammar, whether when I type Yahoo! at the end of a sentence I have to put a full stop after the exclamation mark...

Well, the results have just come out in the US and with a probable release in the UK real soon and perhaps even the world, it's going to be a great bit of exposure for me skillz.

Here are some pictures from the shoot, which was phenomenal; glassing people and leaping off bulls and fighting and rocking out with a Japanese band, what more could you ask for...













And here is the 30 second cut, although I'm hoping to get the 60 second version as well and when I do, it'll be up here in all it's glory.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Die Antwoord


As ya'll know I'm a sucker for all things South African and as well as the legendary BLK JKS (who quite simply, are one of the finest proponents of expansive, progressive guitar based noise in the world), it looks like SA is going to contribute another fine band to the world of music: Die Antwoord.

They are an immense proposition; part art-happening, part pastiche, part very fokken real musical explosion. Quite simply Die Antwoord is die zefste shit ooit my blaar! Tsjek dit uit!

There cod-rap, rave-clash, mash-up next level beats is pretty hard to capture in words but it goes without saying they are pretty fokken fre$ and whether you like it or not DIE ANTWOORD are here to stay.

Full fokken flex! Fre$! Mega-zef! Go!

In your fokken face bitch!





Saturday, 3 July 2010

The American Flag Shirt by Chuck Bukowski


now more and more
all these people running around
wearing the American Flag Shirt
and it was more or less once assumed
(I think but I’m not sure)
that wearing an A.F.S. meant to
say you were pissing on
it
but now
they keep making them
and everybody keeps buying them
and wearing them
and the faces are just like
the American Flag Shirt–
this one has this face and that shirt
that one has that shirt and this face–
and somebody’s spending money
and somebody’s making money
and as the patriots become
more and more fashionable
it’ll be nice
when everybody looks around
and finds that they are all patriots now
and therefore
who is there left to
persecute
except their
children?

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Bluebird by Chuck Bukowski


there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pur whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
sad.

then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you?