Friday, 30 September 2005

Hate The North

In yet another grim internet cafe in yet another grim Northern town in the UK, this time Goole but to be honest, they are all starting to look the same with their depressive harshness; one size fits all highstreets and oppressive air of poverty.

And as I sat here typing I heard the owner of the internet cafe tell his mate that: "I've got to drive the wife down to Scunthorpe to have a termination, she's a bit upset about it." Fucking hell...

Thanks to Merk, Stav, Rich, Fulla, Bob and Stone Cold Steve Austin for turning out for the performance of Bouncers in Telford, it was lovely to meet them all face to face and enjoy the wonders of the Crown.

Or a cheerful note, disgusting images have come out of atrocities committed by US troops in Iraq as they pose with remains of Iraqi people. There is set to be even more images hitting our screens soon as the deluge of war crimes builds against the occupying army in Iraq.

So just be grateful you don't live there...or Goole.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

When There's No More Room in Hell the Dead Will Walk the Earth

No, I'm not talking about Telford where we are playing tonight (and where the adjoining library has free internet access, so I can cram in another post while I wait to perform. HURRAH!) but the tagline to George Romero's greatest zombie movie that I stayed up late to watch last night: 'Dawn of the Dead'.

For all my concerns about Grantham as the home of the terrible face of uber-conservatism the audience were well up for a good night at the theatre and seemed to really enjoy themselves. The journeys in the people carrier to the venues are also providing some entertainment as everyone else in the car seems to have really bad music taste. That's not quite fair but when you're having to argue the merits of ground breaking bands like 'The Beatles' and 'The Stooges' you're on to a loser. Nevermind the fact they (excluding Kev) are musical bigots with a knee jerk reaction to dismissing all hip-hop as 'noise' and/or rubbish. They are however in their late 30s so maybe the old men should be forgiven?

We also keep debating 'Bouncers' from a critical performance perspective which exposes some of its latent elements of homophobia and sexism. I love de-constructing theatre, breaking it down past it's component parts and tearing into the institutionalised attitudes that underpin it.

Some sad news before I go and warm-up, Jessica has seemingly decided to close her blog 4zillion which is a real shame as she offered an intelligent and compassionate voice as a woman raising her beautiful daughter. You and your words will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

Thatcher's Home Town

In about 9 hours I'll be on stage in Grantham, which for those of you that don't know is the town that gave us Margaret Thatcher, everyone's favourite pantomime political villain...apart from Nixon and Hitler that is.

I was a child of the 80s (well I was born in 1976 but that hag oversaw much of my early life) and Thatcher was a larger than life figure in those days; an Orwellian matriarch locked into some sexless, flirty relationship with the founding father of neo-conservatism Ronald Reagan.

On Wednesday I also get to meet Merk and Old Man Rich at a theatre in Telford which will be cool and off for a pint in the Crown Pub. The week ends in Goole of all places and the chance to meet John Godber again, the author of Bouncers and hopefully have a more in depth chat about the show.

And before you know it I'll be back in sunny Loughton and on that note may I draw your attention to a new link, the blog of fellow Loughton resident Darren Lock which is a very good read indeed.

Monday, 26 September 2005

I'm A Bride On Fire

Back again before I'm off again.

Last week bought the non-delights of Barnsley, a beautiful theatre in Whitby where we had the best night of the tour so far as the audience loved us up, then onto Doncaster where the author of the show came to see it which was a stressful honour, for those that don't know it's the equivilent of Shakespeare coming by to see how you're doing. Unfortunately, when he came into the dressing room my trousers were round my ankles and my shirt was off as I sweated a lot in front of the most performed 20th century playwright in the world.

He's a rather gruff but affalbe man and he must have liked what he saw as he's coming again in Goole! We then played Leeds and another cracking venue where we graced the same stage as Danny La Rue, Jimmy Tarbuck and Craig David. I was visably moved...

Perhaps the biggest surprise was when we went to the arse end of nowhere in Builth Wells and rocked the house with a marvellous performance, after that Cambridge was a bit of a come down.

I think the biggest surprise of the tour for me and one that I'd love to feed into my time at Central if I could do it all again is the this world of theatres that exisits out there that for me is the lifeblood of the more pompous and self-indulgent work in London and the regional reps. It's theatres that play to working class audiences, that sell out every night putting on good work that reflects genuine working class narratives and in all the hurry to dismiss British theatre, these venues are carrying the flame for the qulaity theatre fo the future.

For all you London theatre types, get the train out to the North and go and see some proper theatre!

I've been listening a lot to the music of Antony and Johnsons, I can't recommend the album 'I Am A Bird Now' enough. Some of the the most beautiful lyrics coupled with heart breaking melodies with 'Hope There's Someone' being one of the greatest pieces of art I've experienced. Go buy it.

Monday, 19 September 2005

Eric Hall is my Neighbour

Marie and I are moved in to our lovely new gaff, the internet is up and running, England won the Ashes and Eric Hall is my neighbour!


Since we last spoke, I also completed a run of Bouncers at the Palace Theatre in Southend-on-Sea which was delightful (apart from one night where we had a drunk heckler who tried to kiss one of my co-actors) as on our last night I made a man fall out of his seat with laughter!

Today I am off again on tour to the lovely northern town of Barnsley, as always, touring will make blogging light but if I find an internet connection in one of the cities I'm acting in I'll be sure to drop by and keep you informed.


Sunday, 11 September 2005

Moving Out

Tomorrow I load all my stuff in a van and head out of Camberwell and into the racist confines of Essex but the joy of it is, it marks the beginning of a new phase in Marie and I's love affair. That's right, we're living together! About bloody time really...

Whilst AOL sort out the transfer of my broadband I'll be out of action but have no fear, I will return with fresh political insights, excellent pictures of people with mental health issues and reports on the success of the tour of Bouncers.

Can I also take the opportunity to apologise to the people of Boston who turned out to be our best audience so far. Your mother may also be your wife and wear a dress made out of leaves but you appreciate good theatre!

See you on the other side where we'll party like it's 1995!

Friday, 9 September 2005

Posting From Boston

Unfortunately I'm not in Boston, MA but rather Boston, Lincolnshire (which gave Boston, MA its name, which is weird considering how cool Boston, MA is and how shitty its namesake is) where I am performing this evening. I thought I'd knock out a quick post to keep you abreast of the fun I've been having, sweating and acting in Northampton, Blackburn and Rhyl. We seem to be determined to leave no stone unturned in the entire United Kingdom.

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.

On a cheerful tip we've sold out like we keep selling out everywhere. I don't know what it is about a play about doormen set in the 80s but folks seem to love it and there's nothing better than playing to a full house.

I'm moving out of my house in Camberwell on Monday which will be both stressful and wonderful as it marks the beginning of me and Marie living together, obviously posting will be light as I'll have no internet connection for a while.

Better go, the internet cafe owner is looking at the clock and I may have overstayed my welcome.

Have I told you how much I hate Lincolnshire?

Tuesday, 6 September 2005

For Marie

I stood at the bus stop waiting for the 343, looking up at the stars, watching the flames outside the London Dungeon lick the night, watching the drunks stumble past and people in suits flirting with each other as the alcohol softened their resolve.

I saw some couples exchange spit and gropes and saw tenderness in held hands and tiny glances. I saw a girl with red hair and she smiled at me and I smiled back and all I could think of was your fucking smile and how a life without you is not a life at all and my eyes start to burn and I look up to the stars again and you're there and I feel you and the tears roll as the sounds from my ipod fill me with widescreen passion and I understand what it means to be in love and what it means to want to be with another human forever.

Side by side. You and me. Forever.

The girl with the red hair looks at me crying, the salt water cruising down my danieldot and she breaks into a confused smile and turns to read the bus timetable.

I keep looking at the sky, feeling like I'm in a movie, the one where the guy gets the girl and lives happily ever after.

Forever yours my love.

Monday, 5 September 2005

One Big Photo Opportunity

I had a cry this morning about what's going down in New Orleans, 7/7 didn't make me cry because we're at war so we have to expect becoming a target (I didn't say I agree with it but war is war, even if I didn't vote for it). I cried because the loss of life in New Orleans was so unnecessary, so excessive, so crass and unforgivable. I also cried because I watched this interview with Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana. I urge you to watch it all the way to the end.

Can I also ask you to spare a thought for President Bush who cut his vacation short by two whole days as thousands of his citizens down south wandered or swam around in the sweltering heat, with no food, no water, no homes, no way to get out. What a guy! Having said that he barely seemed to understand there was a hurricane for the first three days. He was in Coronado, outside San Diego playing a guitar, and in his speech he managed to mention New Orleans, by saying that people should not return to their homes until rescue crews could do their work. Nobody had to be told not to return to their homes because they don't have homes to return to.

After a false start, when he showed up on the fifth day of a national tragedy making little humorous asides about the times he was in New Orleans celebrating too much (but if he tried to walk fifty yards he could have tripped over somebody's dead black grandmother under a blanket), Bush began acting very Presidential. Which, via his grimaces, resembled a bad bout of constipation. He'd flown over the disaster area (at a comfy 5,000 feet, being photographed frowning and concerned, gazing out the window, as he saw bugger all) and was going to actually show up by the weekend at the scene...sort of...New Orleans was considered too dangerous still, so he opted for Mobile and Biloxi with a New Orleans aerial tour.

To quote BBC journalist Matt Wells: "The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation...was that a foreign dictator would have responded better. It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream." He goes on to say that: "The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week."

Remember this: under Bush's leadership, federal flood control spending for southeastern Louisiana has been cut from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in 2005. Federal hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain vicinity in the Army Corps of Engineers' budget sunk from $14.25 million in 2002 to $5.7 million this year.

Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu pleaded for $27 million. No deal. Iraq was more important. According to Louisiana's Times-Picayune from 2004 to 2005, Iraq was specifically cited as the reason for lack of hurricane and flood-control dollars. In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Army Engineering Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

Bush then cut $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans CityBusiness at the time, that meant "major hurricane and flood projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."

This is what killing Arabs costs you when you have oil to steal and people's sovereignty to annihilate. I think Bush and his pals confused the black community of New Orleans (many of whom live below the poverty line, remember that poverty levels in that city are twice as high as the US average) with Iraqi civilians.

Then to top it off, the token black in the Bush world tells the suffering people of New Orleans that is was God's will: "The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come on time...If we just wait."

Laugh or cry? I'm opting for the latter.

Sunday, 4 September 2005

He Let Them Drown

It's been a while since I got political and having just finished my 10,000 word dissertation I feel a sense of freedom to spout some thoughts on the atrocity that is New Orleans.

Jesus wept, it's like a scene from some horror movie, rotting bodies strewn about, people caged like animals at gun point, no supplies of food, water or basic hygiene equipment and suddenly the most powerful and richest nation in the world looks like some shitty backwater that can't handle a natural disaster in spite of all the resources it has at its disposal.

This man has a right to look worried as he surveys the damage done to a once fine city because the buck stops with him (I've been to New Orleans but to be honest I thought it was a bit of a shit hole but I dipped my hand into the Mississippi and bottled some of the water. I also went to a toilet in a bar and found myself pissing on a trough of ice cubes and lemon...) and it has took until today for the clear out to be completed and work wasn't really started until 5 days after the disaster.

What the fucking hell were they doing, apart from playing their guitars and watching musicals? Nothing, because the rich folk of New Orleans got the hell out whilst the black people were left to fight it out tooth and nail. Let Kanye West said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people!"

Before I go to bed, I spotted this in the Guardian and I have to post it because it makes me both laugh and cry:

And in belated recognition of the depth of the crisis, Washington swallowed its pride and asked for blankets, food and water trucks from the EU and Nato, and beds and medical supplies from Canada.


Saturday, 3 September 2005

I Sweat A Lot, Wouldn't You?

As you can no doubt guess by my web silence, the Bouncers tour is now well and truly under way. We opened in Sheffield on the 31st August before doing back to back shows in Bracknell and just about to wrap up two nights in Guildford.

Christ I sweat a lot when I'm acting, in fact I sweat so much that the suit I have to wear is starting to smell of urine. The two shows back to back at 7pm and 9pm was a killer and I've never been so moist in all my life. Honestly, you imagine the most sweat you've ever seen on a man and double it.

The best bit so far has been the audiences, Bouncers is a very popular show and we virtually sell out every night which makes busting your balls that much easier when it's to a full house of laughing punters.

The Bracknell gig brought us our first smattering of groupies but they turned out to be two old hags with wine stained teeth and a desperation to get laid that wasn't so much attractive as deeply distressing.

Pretty happy with the way things are going but the show is the least of my worries as I try and write 10,000 words to get my Masters Degree, organise a house move for the 12th September and find a new tenant for my room in Camberwell before I am contract raped by my landlord.

Christ, I'm stressed and with Marie not being here I feel very overwhelmed with no one to turn to, I can't wait till she gets back and we can support one another through this exciting and bewildering time.

Have I mentioned how much I sweat when I act? I'll not be surprised if my costume rots away by the end of the tour.