Friday, 26 February 2010

Eva-Jane Willis Meets Patti Smith

Because she's awesome, Eva-Jane was invited to the premiere of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland as a VIP, which is pretty cool, so last night she was out on the green carpet in Leicester Square mixing it with the famous and the not so famous.

The film by the way according to her, is great.

Anyway, as we were in bed last night, drifting to sleep, Eva started to mention that she had shared a car with...Patti...(the name then came to her out of the blue) Smith?

As in the Patti Smith? As in the Godmother of punk rock? As in poet, songstress and musical legend? As in the author of one of the finest albums of all time: 'Horses'? As in the wife of guitar legend Fred 'Sonic' Smith? As in the all round intelligent, powerful and wonderfully unique female artists of the last 40 years?



Good job it was Eva-Jane that was travelling with her and hanging out with her on the green carpet and not me. I'd have made an ass of myself, geeking out on that woman's artistic brilliance and no doubt making her very uncomfortable. Eva didn't know her from Adam/Eve, which was a blessing and is a far better lubricant to good social interaction.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

State by State. Part 1: Missives on Alabama to Missouri

I have been there, it was hotter than hell and I had a cry at Martin Luther King's Church in Montgomery. Home to a lot of racism, it might have even been invented there and a keystone in the transformation of the South from Democrat to Republican. Nearly the fattest state but it isn't there quite just yet. Alabama loves Jesus a great deal.

Coldest state by some margin, this may or may not be connected to the fact it has more suicides than any other state and also consumes more oil than any other. The bastards also gave us Sarah Palin and over-fishing. Did I mention it is very cold?

I have been there. The hottest state, even hotter than Alabama and just pipping close pal Nevada. There is also a serious lack of drive-ins and entertainment facilities, only 10 per 1 million people. Home to a surprisingly large amount of dis-enfranchised white folks.

Gave us Bill Clinton. HURRAH! A constant battleground between decency and liberty, not as red or blue as it may appear.

I have been there, who hasn't? Sometimes it is not like America at all. A shed load of people live there, it is America's most populated state. Been at war with Utah to have the fewest smokers in the United States, with only .2% separating them, tune in next week to see who'll win the war on fags! California does win the award for least petrol consumed of all the states, some achievement considering its size. I've also figured out why the rest of the 49 states hate it so: it has more foreigners than all of the others. Rumours of California's collapse abound, will it fall into the sea, will it fade away and can all this be blamed on the Terminator?

A very square state but perhaps not as square as Wyoming which is very square indeed. Square carries unhip connotations so let's use boxy instead. Clear light and thin air, good climate, the settlement of Colorado has a shallowness and impermanence about it. It is a place of romantic individualism.

I have been there. If you live there you are a Nutmegger. Nearly the slimmest state with only 51% of its population obese and another nearly, in that it nearly has America's best teeth. Uses hardly any oil at all and is clearly too posh for oil. Very rich but not as rich as Delaware, a point of some consternation to all the old money floating about there. A place to drive through, famous for being very WASP.

I have been there and it didn't last very long. The first state is the richest state by a clear margin of $11,000 over Connecticut, perhaps because it doesn't like to tax people very much and is something of an on-shore haven for corporations.

I have been there and not just to Disney. My dad insisted that we explore other parts of the state and I got to see the joys of poverty in Florida at the age of 19. It upset me a lot. Florida is smashing and loves its own but is the second most popular choice for non-Floridians to move to and call home, so they must be doing something right.

I have been there and thought it very beautiful, plus, it gave us Ray Charles. Many Chinese live there because the climate is like China, it also loves Jesus quite a bit.

The best teeth in America are in this state but they don't like to vote much, gave us Obama (along with Kenya) but no one knows what Hawaii actually means.

Another state with a made-up name that has no meaning at might mean Hello. Idaho has 10 major rivers, 18 ski resorts and fifteen people per square mile. It used to have a hell of  a lot of beavers but they all got killed.

I would love to go to the land of Lincoln, which in theory makes it the best state ever, because although Lincoln was born in Kentucky, it was in Illinois that he made his name. As well as Lincoln Illinois makes its claim to being the best state by contributing Miles Davis, Muddy Waters and Oprah Winfrey. Also, Obama has a strong connection to the state. Never, ever, pronounce the 's' at the end of Illinois, it is a hanging offence.

The lowest divorce rate of all the states, so it is a state of lovers...or masochists, one or the other. They used to make a lot of mint in the state, now replaced by corn, which is pretty much everywhere, especially in the next state...

One word: corn. Corn is the biggest thing in Iowa since...well...nothing. Corn is where it is at and as not many Americans are willing to pick corn, Iowa has become an unlikely mini-Mexico in the Mid-West.

I have nothing to say about Kansas. Sorry.

America's smokers abound here, 33% of the population smoke, hence the second worst teeth in America, so much to be proud of in Kentucky. Actually, the climate is perfect for a whole range of insect and other wildlife to flourish there, making it one of America's richest ecosystems.

I have been there, New Orleans however was to me a vomit drenched blot on the landscape of a fine state. This was pre-Katrina. I had a piss on ice cubes in a trough with lemon slices in, the watery-citrus-piss juice leaked out into an open drain. Louisiana locks more people up than any other state, even more than Texas and they are mad for it, most Louisianian stay in Louisiana, for life. I saw this in reality, wooden houses on sticks in the middle of marshes.

The safest and least violent place in all America. Quick move there! It is also the oldest with a median age of 41. If you are not from there you are a 'From Away'. It is illegal to bait bears with donuts and shoot them in Maine and the drug of choice is coffee brandy. I think Maine may be my new favourite state...

I have been there and if you live there you will know Marylander's have on average a very long commute to work. The state song of Maryland, the catchy titled 'Maryland! My Maryland!' is a racist, separatist dirge with anti-Abraham Lincoln lyrics.

I have been there and is my current favourite state because it has Boston in it and a wealth of history. There is no such thing as a Massachusettean but rather people from the state are called Bay Staters. If you look at Massachusetts on a map and squint, it looks like a mini-America, aside from Texas is missing (a blessing?) and Florida is horribly deformed. The state is very much the past and as each year slips by it get's further about the past and less about the now. Loves the Red Sox. A lot.

Highest unemployment rate in the US, it has taken a lot of hard blows on behalf of the entire country. You are never more than 6 miles from freshwater, in fact water is a big part of the state. People in Michigan are obsessed with the weather because they have a lot of it, they are also obsessed with being generous and kind.

Made in Northern Europe. Only 9% of Minnesotans lack health insurance and it really does not like incarcerating people unless it absolutely has to. They also love voting in Minnesota. This may be to do with the phenomena of 'Minnesota Nice' the perhaps mythical attitude of all Minnesotans, which might have more to do with a deep sense of shame at the poverty they came from and the government subsidies they take.

Does not like breast feeding one bit or roller coasters, it has a serious lack of them. Poorest state by some distance and does not like foreigners one bit but they were very nice to be as I have been there. Competes with Alabama as the home of racism in the US.

They have large canoes here you know? They also used to have the fourth largest city in America and the collapse of St. Louis is the stuff of legend, as was its alarming crime figures, which thankfully are now creeping downward. Missouri has become America's mini-Bosnia Herzegovina with the largest number of Bosnians living outside of Bosnia.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Some time ago I went with Eva-Jane and her family to the pictures, we were intending to see the latest Clooney effort; "Up in the Air" but it was sold out so we opted for "Brothers", a film I had been sub-consciously avoiding because I knew it's content would leave me in pieces.

You see, oddly enough, I am a constant and fervent supporter of our troops, our armed forces; the men and women that fight and die in our name. Ever since the age of 18 I have given money, whenever I can, to military charities and have developed a deep set interest in all things military.

I'm not sure whether my own grandparents travails in the Second World War, or the image of my great-grandfather, who fought in the First World War and lost a limb there, or the military adventures of my German great-grandfather in the same conflict, or even my father's time in the military under National Service, then voluntarily as a member of the King's Troop; left that deep mark.

All I know is that I respect beyond measure the sacrifice of those that lay down their lives for their country.

Now "Brothers" and I urge you to see it, is a film about the effects of war upon the mental health of soldiers and thus their families, set in the United States, it is incredibly distressing and conjures fine performances from all of the its talented cast. It had me in tears or fighting them back for much of the movie because the impact of war is so vast, so all encompassing and my mind was drawn to the 4,378 dead American warriors and their families, who gave their lives in Iraq and the 1,000 US servicemen who have died in Afghanistan. The ripples from those deaths reach far and wide, never mind the long list of wounded and those left mentally disturbed by what they have seen and suffered.

In the UK we too have had our share of loss, 179 in Iraq and 264 in Afghanistan; lives lost and blood spilt on foreign soil, doing your duty but dying far from home. And this does not include those crippled, whether physically or emotionally.

A heavy toll, a mighty price to pay. We owe them much.

And to think that many return home, damaged, in pain, hurting and do not receive adequate care, attention and support! What kind of betrayal is that? What kind of crime is that?

The charities I regularly give to are listed below, all of these are for UK military personnel but I will be more than willing to link to some suitable US equivalents if my American readers know of any. If you can give then I urge you to do so, for our brothers...

St. Dunstan's: Supporting blind ex-Service men and women for almost a century, St Dunstan’s gives invaluable physical and emotional support to blind and visually impaired ex-Service men and women.

Combat Stress: is the leading service provider in the care of Veterans' mental health and able to deliver specialist, trauma-focused treatment and support to Ex-Service men and women whose problems are chronic, complex and long term. They also provide help and advice to their families.

Help For Heroes: was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in October 2007 out of a desire to help the wounded Servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The message of the charity is simple: We are strictly non political and non critical; we simply want to help. We believe that anyone who volunteers to serve in time of war, knowing that they may risk all, is a hero. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and some of them are living with the consequences of their service for life. We may not be able to prevent our soldiers from being wounded, but together we can help them get better.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Comments Deleted. I Stand With You

As I'm sure all my readers are aware, I have been blessed for some time with an Internet stalker called The Sentinel (who now hides his profile and his website, thus maintaining a lengthy period of consistent cowardice), who rarely uses that name now but prefers to steal other people's identities (like Douglas Clark a fine blogger, who has written a great piece on The Sentinel right here, that I urge you to read) including mine and/or other glorious non de plumes such as Curious Freedom, Dave, John Walters nee Rubicon, Tony Drummond, Avid, Johnny O, Mr E, Terry O'Neill...the list goes on and on and on.

The obsessed web stalker goes to places I go (anonymously mind, hiding his ass behind proxy servers and by places I mean websites, not actual places, that would too fraught with actual danger for the coward) and then says horrendous things about me, normally accusing me of rape (of a Nigerian girl in London in 1997, not realising I didn't actually live in London in 1997 and oddly the Nigerian girl has an Egyptian male name...honestly, if you're going to smear someone with baseless, nasty lies, at least do it accurately, you cretin), being a sex abuser of children (an enhanced CRB checked abuser obviously, with no criminal record and who has been working with children and young people very successfully and safely since he was 17, you'd think both these things would've showed up wouldn't you?) and if that fails, of being fat, having yellow teeth and of swearing a lot on the Internet.

And with regards to the last charge, the sad, sick cunt can go fuck himself.

I would be lying if I told you this isn't a drag, it is but it has had it's unexpected upsides. First off, it makes me so glad that I am not him: some obsessive, mentally deranged fool sat at a keyboard leaving an endless raft of comments that always, always get deleted. As Albert Einstein said: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I am lucky to be loved, wealthy and happy and not needing to fill my life with pathetic attempts to hurt others, who I don't even know.

The second upside is the friends I have made because of his stalking and the increased bond with friends I already have, that have shown their brilliance by supporting me so well. Never mind the aforementioned and quite excellent gentlemen Douglas Clark and his blog Dougie's Place, I can now call Left Outside and Savannah comrades because of this, united in disgust at these attacks.

The pals I already have have been grand, whether it is flesh and blood offers, like Stephen and Terry's willingness to kick the scumbag's face in and Jonny's ruminations on making a Cracker like phychological profile for me. My virtual friends have also been great, with offensive comments speedily deleted and relationships strengthened through communication and a bond being made in the face of a common enemy; that always brings people together. Thank you one and all for your support.

The title of this post came from an email Ellie sent me, to tell me that the offensive comments at hers had been deleted, it made my heart swell with pride.

I then found a video of my personal hero, Henry Rollins, fronting my favourite band of all time Black Flag at some venue in Germany. He get's hit in the face by a beer can, thrown by some twat in the crowd and naturally he wants to stave the guys face in with a mic stand. The guy bottles out of course and Henry gives an impassioned speech about just wanting to play and do his thing.

This video speaks volumes to me, beer cans thrown by some coward in a crowd, it won't stop me, I will keep playing on.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Some Pictures For The Weekend Sir?

I stumbled upon these, they are a mixed bag of images from Magnum, the international photography co-operative and they are all pretty damn awesome.

Something for the weekend sir?

Have a good one!

Chicago, USA, 1966. Muhammad Ali, boxing world heavyweight champion, showing off his right fist

Harlem, USA, 1963. Fire hydrants are opened in the summer heat

Illinois, USA, 1955. Marilyn Monroe resting

London, UK, 1964. The Beatles during filming of A Hard Day's Night

New York, USA, 1955. James Dean walks in Times Square

North Carolina, USA, 1950. A man takes a drink during the era of segregated water fountains

Omaha Beach, Normandy, 1944. The first wave of American troops lands at dawn

Washington, USA, 1963. Martin Luther King at the climax of his I Have a Dream speech

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What I Made When I Went to Barcelona and is Now on in Italy...

Well that was quick!

Akita Film did a real speedy turn around from the shoot to getting this edited and together for Italian TV so fair play to them.

It's a nice spot and good to see me and good pal and fellow Notts lad Martin Collins in 'summat together, feels weird me being the 'Good Twin', I usually play the 'bad guy' or the slightly incompetent one but Martin has taken that role on with some aplomb, so I get to be all suave and have a serious side-parting.

Well, without further ado here it is...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My Showreel

An essential part of any actors tool kit is the showreel, a collection of your best bits, greatest hits so to speak, from your acting career (recorded media only of course, theatre by its very nature is there and then it is gone, living on only in the memory of others); so that any prospective employers can get a handle on how good you are without having to meet you.

I've been a bit slow to get one together and have managed very well without one but thanks to some lovely pestering by Eva-Jane, who is a showreel genius (and offers her showreel services at a very reasonable price any actors reading this, drop us a line if you're keen), I now have one.


I think it is awesome and here it is for ya'll to enjoy.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Two True Stories on a Monday

(The soundtrack to this blog post is The Soft Pack and Buddy Holly)
  1. A mother leaves her 16 year old Down's syndrome son at home, as she often does, while she pops out to do some shopping, she is only gone for about 20 minutes but when she returns and her son answers the door she immediately notices that his face is covered in scratches and bruises; although he seems oblivious. She asks him what is wrong and he says: "Don't worry mum, I saw a goblin walking outside and I caught it, the goblin is tied up in the kitchen." The mother rushes to the kitchen, expecting to see a cat or small dog tied up and in distress, perhaps dead but instead she finds a dwarf in her kitchen, tied up and in distress and most definitely not dead. It turns out her son had been looking out of the window when the dwarf was strolling past and confusing him for a goblin, wrestled him to the floor and into the house where he subdued him and tied him up with an old washing line. No charges were pressed.
  2. I went to an audition this morning for a commercial for a leading search engine. For the actors who get the part it will be worth around 11k and working with a great director. We had to go in in pairs, I was to play the normal bloke chatting to his neighbour and the other actor was the neighbour who also happened to be a human search engine. My partner had presumed he was up for my part, not the human search engine part and seeing that he was actually up for the far more interesting part he walked out, claiming that he was unable to play this part. Myself, the camera man and casting director just looked on in shock as he walked away over seemingly nothing. Someone stepped straight into his shoes and did a fine audition as I did my best normal bloke. That, ladies and gentlemen, is show business.

Friday, 12 February 2010

What I've Been up to of Late Aside From Being Ill...

My recent relative lack of blogging is to be explained by the duel effects of possible PIG AIDS/Man Flu/a cold and a very busy start to 2010 work wise, with January bringing some eleven auditions and February already clocking up three and me working on two shoots in the last two weeks. Pretty awesome stuff and bodes well for the rest of 2010.

First I was off to Barcelona for yet another Italian commercial with the same company that made the IKEA one, which is seemingly going down a storm over there. This time I was with my good friend Martin Collins, as we worked our comedy double-act magic, which was a blast getting to film and work with a good pal and a Notts lad to boot with some serious comedy features...only downside was he gave me whatever vile lurgy he had.

Here is a smattering of images from Spain that capture some of the wonder without giving too much away...the spot is for SKY Italia.

Then, with a hardly a moment to catch me breath, I was off again to one of my favourite countries, Norway and Oslo to do yet another Norwegian commercial after the wicked time I had there when making the Keno (the Norwegian national lottery) spot; which in itself is a fine piece of art.

It really was a dream to be back in Norway and I had a bit of an epiphany in my hotel room, staring into the bathroom mirror and imagining myself many years ago and how this kind of job and amazing adventure would've seemed so far from my grasp and here it is, an everyday truth. What a blessing.

Either that or all the medication I was taking was effecting me.

The Keno ad I made previously was quite a big deal in Norway and I nearly didn't get this job, for Brilleland, because I am a bit of a known face amongst Norway's 4.7 million residents but thankfully, the gave the best man the job and I was back. I got recognised quite a bit when I went walk about in Oslo, which was odd and as I took in the freezing air and sights of Oslo it struck me just how weird a job I have.

The shoot itself was great fun and I reckon the opening sequence will be perfect for my showreel as I fall over a huge array of items before pulling myself together and...sit on some drumsticks.

Anyway, here are a few images from my time there and hopefully, in another two years, I'll get to go back again!

Normal blogging service is resumed!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Garry Cook...You Are a Ballbag Sir!

If you don't know, Garry Cook is the CEO of Manchester City, a man who was brought into the club by previous owner and vile criminal/human rights loather/ex-Prime Minister of Thailand: Thaksin Shinawatra. He has stayed on under the current dubious owners (please note the use of United in the companies name, clearly trying to leech some of the power of the one and only Manchester team): The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment. He was behind the disgraceful sacking of Mark Hughes and the sideways move for his replacement Roberto Mancini.

In summary, the man is a ballbag.

So cast your minds back to the middle of January 2010, the first leg of the semi-final between United and City, thanks to two goals by footballing mercenary Carlos Tevez, the City scum take a slender 2-1 lead into the away leg.

Cue City CEO Garry Cook to run his mouth off thus...

27th January 2010 bought the second leg at Old Trafford, United crushed the collection of cash hungry players known as Manchester City (not a team by a very long shot) 3-1 and deny the scumbags a Wembley appearance...yet again.

I live for such moments.

Editor's Note:

Blogging is light at the moment due to illness and work, will tell all when safe to do so.


Monday, 1 February 2010

America Will Always Kill It's Own For Better Ratings

Endless small towns
Full to the brim with American flags and bad food
All that time and all that television
This is the real America
Where the American slow death plays itself out over football seasons
And raking the leaves
All that heritage
Depressed shells of the American Dream (copyright) they tried to be
No one told them it was a joke
The joke was on them and that the American Dream (all rights reserved)
Is only for the few and that the rest can just chase it
Serve their time chasing in the tortured land of beautiful fugitives
Proud suppliers to the American Machine (trademark): soldier boys, food, patriotic air, good sturdy racism and a raging separatist spirit

America is a nomad
A bastard
A criminal
Cut loose in their own vast country to wander and wage war
Always lost
Always homeless
Come and go
America never notices: body bag or
Business class.