Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Off to Edinburgh!

Well not quite but we're leaving so early tomorrow morning that best to blog now...

We've done endless runs of Coast to Coast today, honing the show to a fine comedy point, ready to burst through the unsuspecting audience leaving their guts hanging out of them like Christmas decorations...or something like that...

Just in the process of packing for a month in Scotland and once again over doing it, my case weighs more than a medium sized dog, such as a Beagle (which for the record is two stone) and may have to dump some stuff once over the border.

This is my fourth time so I kinda know what to expect, although the Fringe can be breathtaking in its brutality Mark and I are experienced practitioners; we've planned plenty of marketing tools to rise awareness and to make our excellent show stand out from the crowd. Most importantly we'll be judged on the quality of what we offer and that will speak for itself. I'll update you lot whenever I can on how it's all goes, hopefully with a mix of hard graft and talent we'll make it big and expand the tour we have planned for 2007/08.

Luckily, Eva-Jane (thank you so much for that post my angel) will be visiting plenty to keep me company and be supportive as always.

Spread the word, buy tickets and think of us as we act our bloody socks off.


Monday, 30 July 2007

Back to Rehearsals, buy Tickets to see us Please!

It's Monday so rehearsals are back on and Edinburgh draws ever closer, our rehearsals don't look as shit as the ones above, there's a lot more stuffed toys, waterproofs and policemen's hats at our's.

Over the weekend Mark has been drumming up media interest in Coast to Coast by sending out press releases regarding what was the crappest place we visited, which has drawn some agitated response from across the UK. The answer is Whitchurch in Shropshire, we hate Whitchurch. We already have a whole raft of interviews lined up.

Don't forget to spread the word and buy some tickets for the show here.

I thank you!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Coast to Coast Update: Rehearsal Week Number Two

I can't believe that we are one week on and one week away from our first show at my fourth Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Jesus wept.

This final (ish) week of rehearsal has gone very well, as I type Coast to Coast is all but ready, all we need is an audience and that last burst of inspiration to take us over the edge to funny land...or summat like that...


I love the creative process, making something from nothing in two weeks that'll end up entertaining thousands of people across the UK right through to 2008. This is why I signed up to be an actor in the first place. There is so much bluff involved, so much blag, its all about confidence in the material because if you don't believe in it than the audience certainly aren't going to.

It's funny that some weird idea about a talking bee, or why rabbits attack boats, or that Whitchurch is the place where incest was invented, can make the leap from my head into reality. But it has. Cool.

More regualr updates next week I promise as we approach the Edinburgh D-Day landings but you could help now by buying some tickets for our show in Scotland here and if you can't please pass on the link to someone who can.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Child Gate Blues

Rehearsing for Coast to Coast at Mark's house means navigating a whole raft of child gates located around the place to stop baby Billy tumbling down stairs (even though he is very good at holding my hand and sliding down them on his bum).

Got me thinking that I wish there was a massive child gate you could buy, to keep subhuman scum from bothering you. Not that I'm into gated communities, just that keeping people behind bars is a lot easier than having them killed.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Coast to Coast Update: Rehearsal Week Number One

The first week of rehearsal is nearly over and an eventful weeks it's been. I can't believe in two weeks time we'll be doing our first show at Edinburgh, the first of 26 consecutive performances!

I feel as if we are ahead of schedule, we've blocked and planned out every scene, ran it in rough form and even done a few stumble throughs. I'd hoped we'd be at this point but never imagined we'd be this far, although I don't know why, Mark and I always work well together.

Having said that, it's not been without concern, the two of us knocking the show together is tough and you get strangely fatigued, also we have so much content to cram into 60 minutes of showtime that we are struggling to find a compromise between exposition and material.

But we're getting there, I have no doubt it'll be a great play.

Mark and I are rehearsing at his home in Oldham on the outskirts of Manchester, which is a lovely environment to work in, especially as Mark and his wife-to-be Jess have a baby son called Billy (2 in August) who livens up rehearsals by coming to play with us.

Billy's presence around the house and getting to play with him certainly turns my mind to having kids myself, suppose I'll have to wait many years for that but hope I can have them with Eva-Jane; no doubt she'd be an amazing mum and a wonderful partner to share my life with. I love you baby.

Another update next week, until then comrades.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Coast to Coast: The Madness Begins!

The blog must now take a back seat as the full-on hardcore madness of Coast to Coast is soon to be underway! HURRAH!

On Monday I go up to Manchester to start rehearsals for two weeks (I'll update when I can on how that goes, if Mark lets me near his modem that is...) and then at the start of August up to Edinburgh for the Festival. If anyone is popping to Scotland at all during the month of August for the Festival lunacy, then please do pop along and show your support. However if you can't make it up, we are touring through 2007 and 2008 so hopefully ya'll get to see it.

Here is the trailer of the show for your viewing pleasure, look out for my ridiculous head twitch...

If you need anymore convincing (surely not) then here is the offical press release pitch of what Coast to Coast promises you, my dear, sweet reader...

Before their international tour (we’re going to Wales), Coast to Coast comes to the Underbelly for this years Edinburgh fringe festival.

2007 BBC Alfred Bradley prize winner Mark Whiteley collaborates with Daniel Hoffmann-Gill (whose only prize is his 25 metres swimming badge) to tell Coast to Coast, the amazing story of walking 216 miles across Great Britain.

Walking from Bangor in Wales (they had a lovely time) to Boston in Lincolnshire (inland port, not so lovely) with no money, no food and no where to sleep, their only currency was a 90 minute comedy/storytelling show and it had to be good otherwise they’d starve. They did not starve but they did come very close to dying in Cerrigydrudion (it was lambing season).

They met many fascinating people: John who spoke directly with God via an Etch-a-Sketch, street sleeper Danny who taught them how to forage for food in the skip behind Lidl and Weird Doug...who was just weird. Along the way they were attacked by insects, re-created a scene from The Clockwork Orange with a local journalist and learnt the joy of hotbagging.

Using story telling, stand-up comedy and video diary footage from their odyssey, we discover the funny, touching and sometimes scary truth about being at the mercy of the kindness of strangers. This innovative show will entertain, educate and hopefully encourage a little bit more adventure in the world.

The duo’s former work includes Thick as Thieves, the critically acclaimed comedy based on the pair’s youth offending past in crime-ridden Nottingham that toured nationally for four years.

What more could you wish for?

Great times at the moment, as not only am I involved in Coast to Coast but Eva-Jane is back from her holiday and I just finished filming a pilot for a new film news/review TV show.

I'll blog when I can from the belly of the Coast to Coast beast, love and respect to you all!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Letter to Michael


What's going on brother? How are you?

I remember the baby names we used to run past each other, I was obsessed with Amy but I've been through a few since then, my son was always Michael but no one seems to like that name so I've taken it.

Since I last saw you a lot has changed, pretty much everything, I've got a lot better, I try not to judge no other and every day is about being better. Sometimes it's hard but what's life without struggle?

I'm still your big brother.

I'm still a United fan.

I still fuckin' hate Arsenal.

It was hard to back you but I did it, still do it, you'd be amazed how many people know who you are.

Wish you could bell me.

I'm on tele loads now, you'd piss your pants.

I still think about all the stuff we did...cool.

I've moved away but I'll never forget who I am. I promise.

All grown up now.

And I got this girl...

Lucky man.

See you soon brother.

I love you,

Great Almighty Gill


Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Kids Spitting at a Train

I should've known something was up with these kids, they were experimenting with instant death skipping between moving tube train carriages, slamming the doors shut, effing and blinding making a racket above and beyond the train rattle.

The train stopped at Wood Green, instead of the terminus at Cockfosters and the two boys leaped off and gave the train driver some serious cheek before he pulled off and as the train eased out of the station the lads began gobbing at it, covering the side of it in a thin film of their spit.

I don't think I've seen a gesture in a long while that was so spiteful, futile and impotent.

They waited for the next train by slouching dangerously around the platform, dangling their legs in the way of the next train before hopping on.

I noticed that they were sharing a carriage with a large group of Orthodox Jews and I hoped that I wouldn't have to step in if the boys went for them. The little cowards only opened their mouths when the Jewish group was half way up the escalator, shouting out words that were as empty, meaningless and pathetic as the idea of spitting on a train.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Lucky Man (Month in the Summer)

I'm a lucky man Eva-Jane.

This time apart from you while you're on holiday has reminded me of how grateful I am for the gift of you, I love you my BabyJane and I you know what I'd do for you, how I feel about you and the ends of the earth I'd walk to for you and you alone.

Feel a bit lost without you, a bit aimless, you know? My partner is missing, so that only leaves the other half and what use is that without it's matching part?

If I may Miss Willis, I'd like to steal some lyrics to a song close to our hearts, especially at this time of the year; dedicated to you my angel...you get me?

"You're somebodies daughter and I'm somebodies son. Could be somebodies daddy and somebodies mum."

Love from my giant heart to yours, always, now and forever.

PS: Have I told you how beautiful you are?

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Friday, 6 July 2007

Wu-Tang Clan

I went to the Hammersmith Apollo last night and saw one of the most legendary and greatest hip-hop bands of all time, live, direct, in full effect and in the flesh; every single one of the bad boys (apart from the sadly departed Ol' Dirty Bastard).

I can't describe to you how utterly awesome it was to see the whole Clan on stage, playing tracks from their entire, lengthy discography and making London jump like crazy fools to their frenzied sounds. They managed to fuse tracks together, so the gig was like one intense medley of noise and power.

These guys are one of the founding fathers of modern hip-hop, one of the leading lights in pushing the genre forward and they've been sadly missed from a fairly redundent US hip-hop scene churning out artists with little artistry, skills and stories that are worth listening to.

I salute you Wu-Tang Clan, long may you bring the motherfuckin' ruckus!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

My Mate Rob's Baby Boy

Congratulations Rob Booth!

Baby Ethan is a bloody star, proud of you mate.

Thought I'd give the little man his first bit of Internet fame, after all his pa is a weblord...

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Free at Last, Alan Johnston is Free at Last!

Wonderful news broke today, BBC journalist Alan Johnston, after nearly 4 months in captivity, has been freed thanks to work by Hamas and no doubt made easier with the pressure applied by people across the world; especially the voices of concern coming from the Palestinian territories themselves.

What a relief and delight, it’s made my day to see the beaming face of Mr. Johnston as he celebrates his deserved and newfound freedom.

But who would’ve credited Hamas with being a key broker in the deal? They flexed both military and political muscle to free Alan Johnston and have laid down a marker that they are a genuine force for change in the Middle East.

I watch with interest…

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Finnish Football Adverts

These are two commercials that are running over in Finland that I think are wicked, they are based on the premise that UK footy fans are mental, which indeed we are.

The only down side is that for the wedding one I had to pretend to be a Liverpool fan, which is nearly as bad as being an Arsenal fan. I fuckin' hate the Arse but not as much as I hate Leeds United and Man City.

The second one is all about West Ham, who I must confess I have a soft spot for due to the Paul Ince incident and them being a bit shit.

We shot them in Helsinki and it was bloody cold, -36 or summat daft, it was like living in a freezer, the snot in my nose froze and my eyes got all stiff due to the fluid freezing around the eye.

Good gig though...

Monday, 2 July 2007

These Are Some Serious Times...

After London there was Glasgow...

And the response has been sadly predictable, on both sides of the fence.

From the government and figures within the security industry there is more dangerous and unsettling talk of the need to cut back on civil liberties in order to combat terrorism, Blair calling those trying to voice concern at the UK governments infringements under the pretense of protecting us "loopy-loo" which is as silly as it is rudely dismissive.

I thought the whole point was that we didn't alter our way of life and laws to deal with the attacks, I thought that meant that they'd won? Instead of these attacks acting as prompts to question foreign policy and review the bigger picture of world politics, it seems to merely entrench our politicians further and the catch-all response is emitted: "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear."

I mentioned the typical response on both sides and a brief search through various left-leaning forums that are usually very politically astute finds the normal tin foil hat wearing nonsense being churned out, regarding it being a MOSSAD job, or an American false flag opp to increase support for the Iraq war in the UK.

The best (worst) ones though are those that argue that because it wasn't very successful or the bombs weren't good that we shouldn't get our knickers in a twist, which is similar to telling a diabetes sufferer to cheer up because they don't have cancer.

I'm glad the attempts on civilian life were pretty useless so far and that the bombs they made weren't very good but that doesn't stop me caring about why they are attacking us and getting politicians across the board to mark a sea change in our foreign policy but I think people are forgetting that we'd still get attacked anyway.

Appeasement is not the answer, a fair hand is but it must be a fair hand willing to form a fist and smash to pieces anyone who attacks us.

Like I said, serious times...