Monday, 31 October 2005

I Spite Myself to Spite Her

My heart hurts.

It really hurts. I feel vulnerable and lonely, angry and desperate. So I bare my claws in the most feeble way possible. I neutered myself a long time ago after all the damage I did. All I can do is self-harm, to throw myself on the damn rocks and hope my pain registers with her, to see if it'll wake her out of this fug she's in.

I give my all for you, I pour everything I have into you. Why isn't it enough now? I'm humiliated, I became this because of you.

I beg for trinkets of affection, the loose change of love and I get the scraps. I am in shock. I am over reacting because I've known nothing like it.

Where have you gone my love? I miss you. Come back soon. I will be waiting for you my love.

I will be waiting.

The American Empire

The United States of America is an empire.

That is not a bad thing.

It has always had imperial pretensions, from the expansionism through the North American continent (Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, Texas etc), to the gradual build up in dabbling outside its borders (Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Panama etc) and then the post World War II phase that included West Germany, Japan and South Korea (to date the greatest success of the US empire). The failures that followed received more coverage: Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Haiti, Afghanistan and now, of course, Iraq.

The United States at the end of World War II inherited the mantle of the world's leading empire from the fading United Kingdom, after waiting in the wings for some time and engaged in a battle for hegemony with the Soviet Union...and we know who blinked first in that clash of the titans.

Since the collapse of the USSR the United States has become, by unspoken desire and pre-determined default the worlds imperial power; following on from the great empires that have littered mankind's social progress. The European Union, the only entity that could possibly challenge this authority, is too busy dividing and falling.

Empire is not a bad thing, the trouble is to be a true empire you have to embrace the concept and in the US we have an empire in denial, as Niall Ferguson describes it: "Consuming on credit, reluctant to go to the front line, inclined to lose interest in protracted undertakings...America as a sedentary colossus...a strategic couch potato."

Iraq is no better example of this negation of power, the US occupies a strategically important area to build its empire but the troops can't stay too long otherwise the people back home get twitchy; therefore the occupation will fail in its hamfisted swiftness. Nothing can be achieved in a rush, just look at the length of time the US stayed in West Germany and Japan (10 and 7 years respectively) to rebuild those nations; indeed they still keep troops in both countries to this day; the rewards of imperialism.

An empire that doesn't want to be an empire is a genuine danger to the world, I believe the US needs to embrace its status as the leading power in the world and relish this role, rather than fall painfully between two stools as it attempts to flex its imperial muscle constrained by a lack of faith in its actions. Currently though, we have a US foreign policy paradox of dictating democracy, enforcing freedom and exhorting emancipation.

The United States has another weakness, it is an empire built on debt and a debt that is mostly in the hands of foreign (Asian) banks. America is the world's biggest borrower and chief IMF economist Ken Rogoff said he would be "pretty concerned about a developing country that had gaping current account deficits year after year, as far as the eye can see, of five percent or more, with budget ink spinning from black to red, with the likely deficit on GDP ratio for general government exceeding five percent this year and open ended security costs."

In short hand that means 8 trillion dollars worth of debt in foreign hands.

Much of the financial malaise comes from Bush's misguided economic policy but much of the hard edge of the imperial behaviour also stems from his policy. In a sense the US needs a leader who has sounder fiscal sense but can see through the concept of a liberal empire and make it a reality.

Sunday, 30 October 2005

Spent in Selby

I arrived in Selby, did the show then scarpered, getting back to London this afternoon. Selby now joins the endless blur of British towns that have been at the receiving end of Bouncers. Needless to say that people who live in the arse end of nowhere (to be fair Selby wasn't as bad as Goole or Gainsborough and they had a cool fish and chip shop) turn up en masse to the gig and bloody love it.

And bloody love it they did, they were one of the most responsive and adoring crowds we've had in a long while; which leaves me feeling all the more sheepish for the unshakable gnawing in my gut which finds it all a bit disappointing.

Typical actor, you get a job, get the money and you should be bloody grateful. Maybe but why should that stop a questioning mind? I just can't help but think that Bouncers is such a success because the writer, John Godber, 'sold-out' and pitched it as an overtly comedic piece rather than what could have been a show that challenged the spectator to the core.

I could see it in the audience, Lucky Eric (played well by Richard) is the play's heart and soul, the serious voice in the mire of obvious comedy but at any given opportunity (and encouraged by the script, perhaps by our interpretation of it) they use laughter to escape the difficult realities of what Lucky Eric is saying. That escape route doesn't have to be there but it is because Godber didn't want the audience hectored but he went too far. He neutered his own work so it would sell more.

I can feel this welling up inside me and I am taking my character, Judd, darker and darker in an effort to battle against the audience's wishes. Perhaps it's a good thing we only have 3 weeks to go and perhaps I am a selfish, stupid bastard and perhaps I am an ungrateful sod who thinks too much.


Saturday, 29 October 2005

Onward! To Selby!

Brief post as playing Selby tonight with Bouncers so got to catch my train.

So brief in fact that all I want to say is that I'm linking to a new blog called Sisypharama which belongs to yet another London based actor who shares my political beliefs and writes in a very intelligent manner indeed.

When I return I shall be spending some time blogging on the idea of an American Empire and not just because I've read Colossus.

Peace out.

Friday, 28 October 2005

Harriet Miers

Poor old Bush. He has been humiliated yet again.


He thought that he had enough shove amongst his own party to force through close friend, sycophant, personal lawyer and White House counsel (read: crony), Harriet Miers into the Supreme Court.

But because she has no track record of voting in an extremely right-wing manner (ie: abortions/gays/poor people = bad), indeed she believes that emotive moral issues are best dealt with through 'self-determination', she was forced to withdraw in the face of overwhelming resistance from within Bush's own party. Especially that moral majority that want to see an anti-abortion coalition formed in the Supreme Court.

This was in spite of, or maybe because of, an endless raft of personal endorsements from Bush. Oh the embarrassment! It seems the party is turning against its puppet leader and in good time because things could get a lot worse.

Today, a special prosecutor is expected to conclude a 22-month investigation into a White House intelligence leak. Mr Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, and the vice-president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, have been implicated in the leak and risk indictment.


This is all too good to be true.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

How We Living?

Marie and I were supposed to be off to see Kano tonight but the gig ended up being cancelled due to police thinking it would end up in a gunfight/riot/lots of uppity niggers going and shooting each other.

Real shame, Kano is one of the leading exponents of UK hip-hop and I was looking forward to seeing him in the flesh laying down 16 bars here, there and everywhere.

Following on from yesterdays post I was doing some Vietnam War research and staggered upon some interesting numbers. The US army numbered some 8 million troops during the conflict (compared to just under 3 million now) with a total casualty figure of 211,471 in 90 months of war. Thats 526 KIA each month. To provide some further contrast we've just reached 2,000 casualties in Gulf War 2.0. I just hope we don't reach Vietnam levels of loss of life...

How we living people?

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

One Shot. That's What it's all About. One Shot

Christ, I've been gone for a long time but back in the LDN and ready to fill you in on what's been going down before I make Marie some tea. By the way, how much is your blog worth?

My blog is worth $22,581.60.
How much is your blog worth?

As always most of the shows were sold out or bloody busy, Wednesday was nice because playing Newark meant some Nottingham mates could come and see me in action and that included the lovely Barnze and his missus as well as the legend that is Kirky. It was also rumored that Doogie Talons was there of the fantastic Lunch Break but I can't deny or confirm that...

And then it all went very dark indeed as we did 5 shows in the space of 3 days with very little rest between; which pushed voice and body to the limit. We did 2 back to back shows in Rotherham, got to bed at 12.30am before getting up at 4am to go to fucking Thames Ditton for an 11am start before driving back to Sheffield, which due to the bastard nature of the M25 and M1 on a Friday at rush hour meant that we didn't get home until 7.45pm...

Before I passed out from exhaustion I treated myself to a viewing of Mean Streets which is one of my favourite films of all time with the lead performances (esp. De Niro) blowing me away and inspired me as a young actor to go out there and do it.

After a brief sleep we then did 2 back to back shows in Derby before I got to bed on Saturday night. I then spent a lot of Sunday night in tears as I made the mistake of watching The Deer Hunter in a fatigued and restless condition. What a brilliant film, a film I've seen so many times but watched it only to be reminded of the sheer force of the film and the horror of the effect of warfare on the soldiers that fight it.

It also reminded me of the great injustice of the Vietnam War: the dis-respectful treatment of the veterans that returned; the attempt to sweep that 'unfashionable' conflict under the carpet; to place the generational hatred for the war on the shoulders of the men that fought it rather than the politicians that caused it with the flawed idea that: "Not one domino shall fall".

Remember this: when the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial was opened in Washington DC in 1982 no one came. The bleachers stood empty as the veterans marched, no one came to remember the dead from an 'embarrassing' war. A disgrace. A humiliation to proud men that I hope does not welcome the dead and veterans from Gulf War II.


Tuesday, 25 October 2005

A Quick One While I'm In Hereford

And I mean quick!

I am not dead but the tour has been very consuming and I have not been back to London yet.

There is a serious lack of internet cafes in the UK.

I will be back tomorrow and blogging to full effect.

You will be fully briefed on events and thoughts.

I will also include some pictures of weird things.

Thanks for your comments and support.


Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Chesterfield Equals Benidorm

One thing struck me as we spent a few days at the lovely Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield playing to full houses and that was how amazingly packed the city centre got every night of the week with young, scantily clad revellers. It was bizarre how a small town in the East Midlands managed to generate enough people to sustain a lively beer and sex scene.

Honest to God it was like Benidorm. So if you're short of a few bob but need a holiday, Chesterfield may not have any sun but it does have a crooked spire and a wealth of boys and girls stumbling around blind drunk and desperate to cop off with anything going.

This week Bouncers arrives in Burnley, Newark (where Barnze and some other pals will be in attendance so looking forward to this one), two back to back in Rotherham because its sold out, Esher and Derby (again and also back to back sold out madness); before two nights in Hereford.

And then I get some time off.

See you in a week and a bit!

Monday, 17 October 2005

The Men Who Stare at Goats

I've been meaning to read the aforementioned book for some time, eventually with the persuasion of Old Man Rich and being bored out of my arse in Cambridge, I splashed out and read it in a day. It is a very good book indeed, essential reading if you want to gain some kind of insight into the twisted psyche of the inner sanctum of the US military. So go buy it.

Part of its brilliance is that it manages to connect such outlandish theories as trying to walk through walls and staring goats to death (as well as levitation) to the depraved acts of torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib and sees them for what they are; connected, desperate concepts in the efforts to win the war on terror. Indeed, the book makes it very clear that 'physic warriors' are being deployed in Iraq to try and kill leading figures in the resistance movement by staring them to death...from a safe distance of course and no doubt heavily camouflaged.

One part of the book struck me profoundly and was so laden with truth that i felt I had to share it:

"America fundamentally wants to think of itself as being good and that we're fundamentally right in what we're doing and we have a very compelling responsibility for the free world. And looking at some of these issues is troubling, because if America does have a darker side it threatens your hold on your view of America and it's kind of like: 'Gee, if I pull out this one underpinning of the American consciousness, is this a house of cards? Does it really threaten the fundamental nature of America?' "

Monday, 10 October 2005

Sick in a Bin

As I'm only back in London for one night I decided to take Marie for a meal to make the one night we had together before I went away again, special. That was last night and I took her to Reflections off Oxford Street and it was lovely, not amazing but still a nice place to enjoy some food and each others company.

However, the evening took a turn for the worse when Marie proceeded to throw up the meal into a bin outside Tottenham Court Road tube station (the bin in question is circled below in green):

No, she wasn't poisoned and no she wasn't having a panic attack but yes, Marie seemed to have managed to over eat to such a degree that her body rejected the food and hurled it back out of her body and into the cool night air of one of London's main thoroughfares. Naturally, I was on hand with the tissues but she smelt of sick all the way home.

Oh the romance!

As for last weeks touring shenanigans, I've found a place to compete with shitty Goole that's even shitter: Gainsborough; which is a pissing hellhole full of young mothers and ugly people in caps and trainers. Last week was also marked out by the volume of arguing we did between the five of us in the company.

This week brings the joy of a three night run in Cambridge, which should be good (and we get to stay in a Travelodge) and a three night run in Chesterfield, where Marie's parents will be seeing the show. Hurrah!

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

A History of Violence

Marie and I went to see David Cronenberg's latest movie last night, title felt appropriate in the face of my last post and it proved to be stimulating viewing.

I am intrigued by the idea that if someone who did terrible things in the past wants to change their life for the better, to start again, to repent but who does not want to be punished; deserves that chance?

Humans like to punish each other, modern humans like the idea of 'bad people' getting better after punishment. That's why people who show no sign of remorse or seem incapable of stopping their 'evil' behaviour appall our sensibilities so much.

The reason I am so intrigued by the concepts in the film is that (on a smaller scale) I made the same move as the protagonist in 'A History of Violence'. That is changed a life of violence and crime for one of respectability and making something of myself. Occasionally the past comes back and pays a visit but most of my enemies are dead or inside, the visits I get now are from ghosts or hearing on the grapevine of another brother dead. More on that later I think but for now go and click on the pig.

Monday, 3 October 2005

US Troops Trade Images of Dead Iraqis for Porn

You've read that right folks, maybe read it again and again. If in doubt sources are here, here, here and here. Enjoy. I hope you fucking choke. And if you want to see the pictures they are all up and online here with more being added every day. I love being on the same side as the good guys.

And it's not done yet. Unless you've had your head up your ass and you're more worried about what's going to happen in the next episode of 'Desperate Housewives' you'll know that clearance was given by a judge for yet more disgusting images of prisoner torture in Abu Ghraib to be released; much to the US government's chagrin.

The man we have to thank is U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein who rejected crass US government arguments that: "the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against U.S. troops in Iraq". What rubbish, the troops are doing that themselves. Judge Hellerstein said: "terrorists do not need pretexts for their barbarism...our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command" Of course Hellerstein's ruling was appealed by the US government, which could delay release for months but they will come out and we will once again shake our heads in disbelief at all the hypocrisy of this futile war.

Now don't get me wrong, to me war is war and having fucking rules and Geneva conventions is pure fantasy; who an earth fights fair? We live in a world built on corruption, greed and taking advantage of others for the advancement of oneself; so why an earth shouldn't troops on any side torture one another and take pics of dead civilians blown to bits? What fucks me off is the hypocrisy, the idea that there are still good guys and bad guys, that war can be 'clean' and decent, that the good guys never do anything wrong apart from shoot the baddies and have a cold beer after.

Spread the word.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

William Shatner School of Acting

If only I'd been there. I mean seriously, how cool would it be to have trained there? I think I'm gonna' write to the man and get him to start an acting school up, where he can pass all his talk-singing techniques on to the next generation.

Back in the real world I am home once again for two nights before off to Stafford and Christ, Goole was depressing. The shows were pretty crummy too. The first night there was spoilt by some youth workers bringing in 15 eleven year olds who did well to control their utter boredom as the play escaped the feeble grasp of their young minds. The second night was vandalised by some pissed up degenerates who were out on a fancy dress booze up and who sat on the front row heckling and twatting about through the entire thing. We couldn't get out of Goole quick enough...

Next week also brings Derby (where bizarrely we've sold out all three shows there), Gainsborough and Wisbech before a three night run in Cambridge.

If anyone out there wants to help me sell some pottery please make a bid on this item I have for sale on ebay. BUMP ME UP BITCHES!