Friday, 30 June 2006

"I Fingered Myself With a Fem Dom"

I was at a party last night, I got drunk, talked rubbish and crashed into bed at 2am. The title of this post comes from something someone said at that party and it made me think of the odd stuff you spew out when you've had a few.

To put it in context we were talking about "posh wanks", which is where you crack one off with a rubber johnny on your knob. I confessed I'd never had a posh wank and a lady present chipped in with the above statement.


Thanks for all the bed based feedback, it'll all be channeled into the show we're working on, so cheers ears!

Have I told you how great a human being John van der Put is? Well he is, one of the very best. He bought me a book that hit many notes with me, it's called "A Scanner Darkly" by Philip K. Dick. I won't tell you what it's about but I'll tell you what it stirred up in me.

I started thinking about my memory and how parts of my long-term memory are a mess and that's because of foolish things I did to myself and every day I pay a small price for all the excess I took part in and I wonder what I'll be left with when I'm old? Will my head be able to hold all the precious memories, or will they leak out of me no matter how hard I fight?

Will I lose who I am? Who am I anyway? What if I've built a fake me to fill in all the gaps? What if the gaps are a figment of my imagination? One of my old mates, who is same age as me, doesn't know who he is anymore, or who his family are, he doesn't even recognise his own kid due to what he (we) did to our heads to escape who we were. The irony being that in the long-term we may have actually achieved our goal and we'll be left wandering around some town, a piece of a puzzle, lost.

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Can I Ask You All a Favour?

Plenty of good things are happening at the moment: Out of Joint are interested in Our Style is Legendary so hopefully it will be seen again on the British stage, I’m starting work on a couple of exciting devised projects that will hopefully lead somewhere good and I’ve been offered a part in a show touring August/September.

I also had an audition yesterday for what will be a massive commercial in the United States for Citibank. It’s the first time I’ve been up for a big commercial like that and I think it went really well, so maybe my American readers will be seeing my face across their screens sooner than I anticipated. I bloody hope so.

Can I ask you all a favour? One of the devised projects I’m working on is about beds, could my lovely readers share their thoughts and feelings about beds, any responses at all are welcome; short, long, random, abstract, narrative. Whatever, everything is welcome for our theatrical cooking which I mean leave a comment about beds.

Monday, 26 June 2006

The Accidental President Part II

It’s easy to forget that when George W. Bush first pitched for the Whitehouse, it was as a moderate, a compassionate conservative, full of compromise over abortion, a belief in focused and energetic government, expansion of the Department of Education and a believer in Medicare.

And that’s why he won, even if it was by the most tenuous of margins, he kept under wraps his fiercely conservative political beliefs, so well hid were they that Republican moderates like Colin Powell thought that they, rather than the neo-cons, Moral Majority and hawkish libertarians, would be guiding junior’s time in the Whitehouse.

Bush had merely reversed the tactics of many a Republican Presidential candidate, instead of pretending to be conservative to secure their votes, he repressed his fervent conservatism and wooed the middle ground with a moderate approach. Without this tactic, I doubt Bush would have made it any where near Gore…with or without the electoral fraud in Florida.

Brilliantly and to the utter indignation of the left, Bush did not linger on the small winning margin or the size of his mandate but rightly saw himself as the winner and began mercilessly pursuing his intensively conservative political agenda. This was blitzkrieg politics: the largest tax cut since the days of Reagan, education reform, business regulation rollback, dumping Kyoto, scrapping the ABM treaty and moving power back to the executive and away from the congress.

Bush was focused by a clear plan, backed up with a clear set of beliefs that he knew to be right and as the Democrats wallowed in pity politics, along came 9/11 to only sharpen his resolve as he turned into one of the most powerful Presidents of modern American history.

And Texas is to blame…

Sunday, 25 June 2006

England 1 Ecuador 0

One pattern of England's play changed today: we played better in the second half than the first (it was hard not to) but crucially we still looked quite an average side; which considering the talent involved is shocking. When is this England side going to step up? We are now in the quarter-finals of the World Cup but that also means we're going to meet teams with far more quality than Ecuador.

The tactics were a problem, the 4-5-1 meant that Rooney was painfully isolated up front and it was only thanks to his genius he was able to make something out of nothing on a regular basis, he needs a partner with him to benefit from all his hard work. Joe Cole had his worse game of the tournament but still offered plenty and his chasing back and covering impressed me. Beckham, who scored a wonderful goal from a free-kick, was again quiet and his passing lacked the cutting edge required, while Lampard, yet again, missed a hat full of chances to put the game safely in England's hands and often looked lost.

The midfield benefited greatly from the 'get up and go' of Gerrard, who defended and attacked with equal aplomb and the talents of young Michael Carrick who passed the ball beautifully and blocked many attacks with his positional cover. But, Carrick is not a tackler and was liable to be 'passed through' by the opposition, I feel more comfortable with Hargreaves in the defensive midfielder role.

Robinson looked solid in goal, apart from one flappy effort at dealing with a cross and the clean sheet will no doubt boost morale. Hargreaves was a robust and battling right-back and once again impressed, he plays with real fire in his belly. Terry and Ferdinand, like Robinson, had the odd moment of flapping but it was the attacking runs and defensive positioning of Ashley Cole that stole all the plaudits for the defence.

As I write this I have no idea if we'll face Portugal or Holland next, all I know is we'll have to play a damn site better if we're to make the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Minimum Wage Blues & Darn Dangerous People

The current minimum wage in the United States of America is $5.15 an hour, which works out as $10,712 a year, which is of course, below the federal poverty line. Senate, thanks to the Republicans inherent fear of a minimum wage increase and lobbied hard by the business community, blocked legislation to bump it up to $7.25 an hour by a 52-46 majority.

This angers me no end, how can a minimum wage fall below the government’s own level for what constitutes poverty? Why do the poverty apologists, in the guise of big business, maintain the fiction that it stifles the economy when it effects the only 6% of the workforce?

It is some consolation that 21 states already have minimum wage levels higher than the current federal level and that 83% of the American public back the increase (72% of Republican voters also back the increase) but it looks like it’ll be November until it can be put up for consideration again. We can but hope that by that time the Democrats will have control of the Senate and for the record, the UK minimum wage would be the equivalent of $9.28 an hour.

This morning bought the shocking news that Bush has woken up the human rights atrocity that he is responsible for and wants Guantanamo to close: “I'd like to end Guantanamo, I'd like it to be over with but I also recognize that we're holding some people there that are darn dangerous, and that we better have a plan to deal with them in our courts."


I beg your pardon President Bush? Could you repeat that folksy mannerism once more please?

“some people that are darn dangerous”

That’s nearly as bad as the 9/11 threat: “we’re going to get those folks”. Bush also added that he was constrained by concerns that prisoners repatriated to Yemen or Saudi Arabia may face torture in their home countries.



Tuesday, 20 June 2006

England 2 Sweden 2

I feel like we've lost and I know that when the dust settles I'll be grateful we finished top of our group and we have Ecuador in the second round of the World Cup and I'll wonder why I was being so crabby but I just can't bloody help it!

Once again I shouted myself horse and got covered in beer and hugged strangers when we scored and punched the walls and cursed as Sweden kept pegging us back like the bastards they are. WE'VE NOT BEATEN THEM SINCE 1968!

And once again it was a tale of two halves, in the first half we played well, defense looked tight and attacked well when it could; Joe Cole was awesome on the left-wing, taking the Swedish defense on at will with Beckham grafting on the right (he has still to get going yet but he is such a worker). Owen Hargreaves was brilliant as the anchor man, throwing himself into every tackle with gusto and breaking down many Swedish moves across the park, playing with real heart; while Lampard once again has an endless stream of shoots on goal without converting a single one.

Rooney looked understandably short of match fitness and offered less and less as the game progressed but it was good to see him back and England are a far superior team with him on board (when he got substituted, he throw his boots off and punched the dug-out in frustration; which is why we all love him). Michael Owen's awful luck was compounded when he was injured in the first minute and my height twin (all 6ft 7in of him) Peter Crouch had to come on. As I write, it seems Owen may be out of the World Cup, a real shame indeed.

For the second half England sent out the same team but they couldn't get going at all, as Sweden lay siege to England's goal and then scored an equaliser to cancel out Joe Cole's goal of the tournament. From then on it was dour battling and both teams lacking an attacking urge and so it was that a tired Rooney was off and Gerrard came on to make a five man midfield and the draw was on. That was until Gerrard popped up to score what I thought was the winner until some shocking defending meant Sweden took a point off us...again.

What concerns me most is the defending, which up to now has been so solid, Sweden's set pieces and crosses presented real danger when they should be fodder for our centre-halves; they caught us out far too many times with near post corners, which is shocking. Their equaliser was particularly upsetting as our defence flapped.

On the plus side, Hargreaves was immense and freed Lampard up to miss more goal chances, Sol Campbell stepped in for Ferdinand and looked as solid as ever, Gerrard is really finding his goal scoring feet and Joe Cole is in excellent form (even if he did have a strangely quiet second half).

We should do Equador easily but we'll see...

The Accidental President

Vice-President Al Gore lost an election that he should have walked. The administration he’d been part of had just created 22 million new jobs and a balanced budget with vast economic expansion, he’d overseen welfare reform and had also tapped into America’s sizable Green vote with his environmental policies.

For reasons known only to the man himself he then moved to the right on the environment (hence the Ralph Nadar factor) and to the left on everything else; whilst trying to make himself into some populist liberal with a multiple personality disorder (I was never quite sure which Al Gore I’d see on the BBC news).

A chap who had a lot of money and the conservative movements backing but looked constantly bewildered, who seemed to have a serious learning difficulty and who was trounced by John McCain in the New Hampshire primaries beat him. He went by the name of George W. Bush and from this point on he will be known as The Accidental President…

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Avenue Q

Tomorrow will be Marie and I's 6 year anniversary, we're kinda spreading out the celebrations over the next month or so.

I've bought Marie a holiday in Parga (and hopefully some Havaianas and a cute Japanese toy dog) and Marie treated me to some food yesterday and some tickets to Avenue Q, a musical making its debut in the West End after being a massive success in the US.

I hate musicals but I trusted Marie that this would be the best one to lose my musical virginity to and it was bloody great! Wikipedia has a great article on the show and I urge all of you, even those that wouldn't try musicals, to go and see it. It's worth it to see puppets being rude and having full-on sex...

Friday, 16 June 2006

England 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0

Me and my good friend Kirky sat in a pub, deep in the heart of Essex, that was alive with lazy racism and passionate, heart-on-the-sleeve support and watched our England team bumble about like it was a bloody practice match.

Of course, this match was a no-win situation for our boys (apart from actually winning it that is) when playing such a tiny and frankly useless nation at football. Only an 8-0 victory would have satisfied a goal hungry public and as the chap next to me kept shouting: “IT’S FUCKING TRINIDAD & TOBAGO!” who treat a 0-0 draw and getting a corner like a victory. They were very poor and very dull but still, England had to break them down.

Once again the defence was brilliant, Carragher and Cole pushed forward nicely from the full-back position and looked very composed; while Terry’s heroics saved what would have been a disastrous goal. Frustratingly, Rio Ferdinand ended up trying a few long range passes because no one else would and hence he gave the ball away a few time.

Beckham was quiet but is worth his place for his dead ball delivery alone and when the excellent Lennon came on, all driving runs, pace and taking players on; he was reduced to playing right-back. Joe Cole was once again full of twists and turns and is capable of unlocking defences with a penetrating run, although he cut inside a little too often for my liking and didn’t cross into dangerous areas. Downing replaced him and like Lennon, offered energy, enthusiasm and an ability to take defenders on with pace and power; these two are a real boon. Gerrard has a better match and he and Lampard found some depth in the central midfield with mostly Lampard (who missed about 5 shots on goal) doing the attacking as Gerrard looked sound defensively, Lampard’s misses though became quite worrying as the game progressed.

But not as worrying as Owen, who was better than against Paraguay and showed some of his old ability to beat players but was mostly off the pace and Crouch, who seemingly has the Andy Cole trait of needing 5 chances to put away 1 goal.

And then Rooney came on; funnily enough he did nothing, apart from acting as a wake-up call and a massive moral boost, part of me was glad that we didn’t need him to win but clearly England are a better prospect with him playing. Even if he is the most over developed 20 year old I’ve ever seen…

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Furious Partisanship

If anything can sum up the current, successful modus operandi of the conservative movement in America, I believe it is the concept of furious partisanship.

Not only has its aggressive style caught and kept the Democrats on the defensive (a rare position for the party not in power), it has also made them look weak, indecisive and uncharismatic. Crucially, it drew the liberals into fighting a partisan political war that forced them to define themselves by moving further to the left and therefore further from the power in a predominantly conservative nation that balks at liberal over reach.

It’s not been without its problems however, the GOP has lost the stronghold of California to the Democrats with its race and religion tactics; California was always more interested in Republican individualism and laissez-faire approach and for now is a bedrock for the Democrats (with however, a Republican-lite Governor).

It has also spawned an awful array of fanatical, conservative, pseudo-commentators, which spew forth the right-wing agenda with an admirable degree of chutzpah: Ann Coulter (who seems to be getting more grotesque with each outburst, the attack on the 9/11 widows being particularly vulgar as it was delivered in a cocktail dress) and Bill O’Reilly (caught up in yet another terrible gaff over his comparison of Malmedy and Haditha) being prime examples.

But these figures of hate are useful tools to keep politics in the United States polarised and this plays directly into the conservative’s hands.

Monday, 12 June 2006

The Conservatives Worst Nightmare

“There is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you love your country but despise your government.” President Bill Clinton

He went by the name of Bill Clinton and not only was he the most charismatic President since JFK, he was gifted with a genus like level of understanding of social policy and crucially, was a centrist conservative with a Deep South accent.

Don’t believe me? He reformed welfare, believed in free trade and balanced the budget with a strong economy, used a tough love foreign policy and cut the federal payroll to trim big government…oh and throw in that he was pro-death penalty. To the conservative movements utter horror here was a Democrat that middle America could vote for and love. And all this in spite of his silly personal misdemeanours (utterly blown out of proportion by the right but only because they feared him so much), he polled the most consistently high level of job approval since the aforementioned JFK. No wonder that when Newt Gingrich saw Clinton speak he commented:

“We’re dead. There is no way we’re going to beat this guy.”

It was a sign perhaps of the awesome political proposition Clinton presented, that he vexed the right so much, indeed Clinton bought out the ugliest, intolerant traits in the conservative movement but then he didn’t help himself. His first two acts when in the White House were both terrible examples of liberal over reach: gays in the military and cabinet selection seemingly based on skin colour and being a female.

But when Clinton got it right, he got it very right; economic measures that cut the deficit and built up the surplus that Bush Jnr squandered; NAFTA, welfare reform via tax credits that made it more worthwhile to work than claim benefit and the ability to say (roughly) what the American people wanted to hear. He did so much in his first term that for the second he simply steered the policies through…and got embroiled in sexual misdemeanours that tainted his time in power and ruined Al Gore’s chances.

It no doubt helped that was up against the awfully wooden and unfashionably patriarchal George H.W. Bush, who achieved much in his time (post Cold War diplomacy, punishment of Saddam Hussein and repairing Reagan’s voodoo economics) but it’s interesting to note that he rates higher amongst non-Americans than he does amongst his own people, especially the conservative movement, that quite frankly loathes him and his time in power. So while the GOP tried to smear Clinton with every personal attack under the sun, the next President stuck to his key principles:

Change vs. more of the same
The economy, stupid
Don't forget health care

George H.W. was the conservative past, Tory paternalism was to be replaced by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and the furious partisanship that marks the current American political climate.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

England 1 Paraguay 0

What a bloody shambles! Yes, we won and that's all that matters, especially with Sweden only managing a 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago but England can only get better.

No wonder the old football cliche, "it's a game of two halves" gets so much use; England bossed the first 45 minutes with a relaxed display of practice match football and should have added to their early opening goal. But instead they appear for the second half with a slender 1-0 lead and proceeded to be given the run around by Paraguay, who were clearly playing their hearts out trying to get a result.

Faced with a passionate but distinctly average team, England relied heavily on their excellent defense to get them out of trouble, so much so that the last few minutes had me screaming at the TV for England to "FUCKIN' GET RID!" (for those not in the know, that means clearing the ball from the goal mouth area).

As mentioned the defense was excellent, virtually flawless and very competitive, boads well for the future. Gerrard and Lampard played well in the first half but as the game progressed got trapped in a flatter midfield formation so that Paraguay simply passed through them. Joe Cole offered plenty on the left flank but was then used as a deep forward to little effect but he battled well. Beckham continued his good run of form and was always a threat with passing that is truly sublime. Downing, who came on as a sub, was great, lots of driving runs and looked good getting at the defense but kept holding back too deep in his own half at times.

Crouch was my man of the match, he was a constant handful up front and worked himself into the ground for England whilst his strike partner Owen was utterly and worryingly anonymous. He is clearly short of match fitness and has 5 days to get himself into attacking shape for Trinidad and Tobago.

Final thought, the referee was a total wanker...

Friday, 9 June 2006

al-Zarqawi Crashes Blogger

Wondering why Blogger’s been on a go-slow after the maintenance period was over? Seems bloggers, eager to have their fingers on the pulse, all rushed to blog about the death of al-Zarqawi and as Google bumps blog posts up in its search returns, people’s searches for facts caused overheat.

Well, “ding dong the witch is dead” or perhaps it should be “the King is dead, long live the King!”

You see, I’m not convinced that al-Zarqawi was anything other than one of many figures in a loosely formed terrorist organisation, which due to the behaviour of America and its allies can draw on support from a wide range of sources. There is also too much evidence that points to the US military exaggerating the power, reach and influence of al-Zarqawi in an effort to pursue what I call ‘The Star Wars Agenda’.

The American people it seems need a Darth Vadar to focus their wayward ire and they also need a coherent Evil Empire to battle. The idea that the enemy has no particular command structure and a series of individuals that work for the destruction of America is no doubt a difficult one to deal with, as is the idea that the opponent is rather shapeless and makes and breaks alliances with other groups at a moments notice.

Now onto more pressing matters…


That’s right, the world’s biggest sporting event starts today when Germany kick-off against Costa Rica. And for all you doubters, The World Cup is bigger than the Olympics and bigger than any American sports event. Some facts before I go and get very excited indeed:

Total audience for America’s biggest sporting event, the Superbowl: 100million
Total audience for the World Cup draw (not sport, just names in hats): 350 million
Total audience for 2002 World Cup: 30 billion

And its called football, not soccer!

Thursday, 8 June 2006

This One is For the Moral Majority!

You may remember that some time ago I posted on attending a gay wedding? Well, to celebrate the utter failure of the anti-civil union amendment I have some pictures that I'd like to share...

Here is the 'bride' Adam, with his two lovely bridesmaids; Marie is the one of the left and Sarah is the lady on the right.

Adam and Alan (who is actually a Texan) exchanging vows and listenening to what it means to be part of a civil union.


It's all about the rings baby!

Just so you know, the motion only gained the votes of 49 senators, 11 short of the 60 required to take it forward and I'll leave the final word to Ted Kennedy: "The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the constitution".

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

A Senseless Political Bone for the Right Wing

There I am, writing about why America is so conservative and the development of the political right over the last few decades and we get Bush giving us a perfect example of ‘The Right Nation’ and juggling such an ungainly but powerful coalition of the willing.

For those of you that don’t know, it’s mid-term election time and so in an effort to keep the Moral Majority on board (remember, these chaps are unlikely bed fellows with the neocons and the libertarians that makes up the conservative movement), Bush has backed this frankly ridiculous and deeply offensive anti-gay marriage amendment.

Have people forgotten there’s a war on? A war that’s getting progressively worse and if it turns out to be true, that ordinary Marines (some on a third tour of Iraq) pushed to a murderous rage by the hideous death of a colleague, massacred 24 men, women and children at Haditha. Are American people that stupid that a debate on whether same sex marriages are destroying American social fabric (I’d say the war in Iraq is doing a pretty fine job) will distract them from the terrible events that are happening in their name?

I hope not. Gay marriage doesn’t harm anybody, no matter what George W. Bush and the Moral Majority say, there are far more troubling issues in the United States that are deserving of discussion in the Senate.

And this is the kind of thing that gives politics a bad name, first off its utterly polarising and partisan, a wedge issue to divide and conquer; making political debate look all frothy mouthed and hysterical (on both sides may I add); it's also a transparent smokescreen for events in Iraq and an ugly shaped bone tossed to the Christian Right to make sure they vote the right way. Why is it wrong for people of the same sex to marry if they love one another? The sanctity of marriage is not being destroyed by gays and lesbians but by people (of any sexuality) who rush into the ultimate act of commitment without fully considering the responsibility involved in dedicating your life to one person and loving them forever.

And guess when the last time this issue was bought up (I hate how legislation that effects people’s personal lives and means of showing love for one another is used as a political device)? During the 2004 election, where it was on the ballot in 13 states.


You know, American people are actually a tolerant lot, polls show only a small majority of Americans still oppose gay marriage with only 42 percent in favour of the amendment; with the percentage getting lower as the age bracket of those polled drops.

Let’s just hope America doesn’t embarrass itself again…

Saturday, 3 June 2006

Hayfever, Stabbings and Bad Ass Sneakers

And at last Summer arrives in the UK and with it comes the pollen and snot streaming forth from my snout.


My nose and face are as red as a baboon's ass and about as pretty, investments need to be made into drugs to ease my facial pain.

Meanwhile, newspapers in the UK are currently awash with an unhealthily obsession with stabbings, the reason being there has been quite a few stabbings in the last few weeks and some of the victims have been "have-a-go heroes"; who have got stabbed for standing up to, or looking out for other people.

Now I'm one of those chaps that doesn't keep himself to himself, if I see an injustice, I step in; I believe we have to look out for one another but clearly this puts me in the line of fire. I doubt Marie would be too chuffed if I ended up getting stabbed because I told some lads on a bus to behave and not be so bloody rude but that's the kind of guy I am. Do we live in fear and not help others? Or do we risk our own lives to make the lives of others better? I know which side I'm on...

On a happier note, today I bought myself some awesome new trainers...

And got Marie and I a holiday for our 6 year anniversary, we are heading off, once again, to Greece and the joys of Parga.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

The Rise of the Neocons, the Moral Majority and the Gipper

Neoconservatism is rooted in the old stomping ground of Democratic America, that is the east coast liberal havens of Boston and New York; it is mostly Jewish, non-Ivy League and utterly modernist; shaped by traditional liberal values. Its aim is to repair the damage done to American society by liberal overreach and provide, for the first time, an intellectual framework for a conservative agenda.

The Moral Majority used to be firmly in the camp of the Democrats, Christian Evangelicals were bedfellows of the donkey rather than the elephant (Carter won a large proportion of his votes from the Christian Right) but the constant leftward drift of the Democrats alienated them as much as it did the neocons and a formidable enemy was stirred into action, made even more formidable by the rise in Evangelical churches and a decline in the Presbyterian and Episcopal faiths. It has been an enemy that the Democrats have struggled with ever since.

Add to these two forces the loss of the South to the GOP and the Western Sun Belt becoming fervent Republican territory, all it needed was an individual to harness this mighty force into Executive power; that man was President Ronald Reagan.

The Gipper was a genuine outsider to the political machine and the first one to embody modern American conservatism, strange, considering that for most of his life he was a self-confessed “near haemophiliac liberal” who worshipped FDR and spent many years as a trade union boss. But with a loathing of big government, a desire to smite communism and a record of voting that pleased the religious right he, rather than Nixon, could pull the strands of conservative America together.

Reagan laid the platform for conservatism as the dominant force in US politics by winning the Cold War and establishing a hegemony, destroying organised labour and union bargaining rights, increasing military spending, aggressive tax cuts to boost the economy and changing the face of the Supreme Court to be more right-leaning.

Upon closer inspection his record in office had its weak spots, he didn’t cut public spending but managed to reduce taxes and left the US $1.5 trillion in debt (sound familiar George W?), policy was guided by the stars as much as the neocons and for all the lip service, Reagan was a secular man who cared little for Moral Majority issues like abortion. But, with the neocons and Religious Right on board, the South and West of the country sown up and a charismatic front man serving two terms all was looking good.

And then came Clinton…