Thursday, 25 October 2007

"The only animals filthier than people..."

(originally posted on myspace here)




 said Ian, our rat wrangler, as the flies on the filled bins and bagel papers presumably did everything in their power to lead good lives and 'pfutt' their sorry souls up the Karmic ziggurat... "The only animals filthier than people," said Ian, "are actors."
Here's some dust:

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What possible values - you may ask - must a fly live by to ensure that it doesn't come back as, say, another fly? Likewise a rat? Let us take as our model the Core Values birthed by Top Brass over a weekend cocooned in workshops and playpens as illustrated by this printout accidentally circulated around the staff-room for feedback:

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That's just the one page, but it gives you a taste. So... Chrome jigsaw bridges... "Fairness to our each other"... "Green". Dislikes? Likes? A number of us put on our feedback forms "The Aids Joke" (under either). There wasn't one of course, but the thought of some nit having to pore over this poop again in a cold sweat seemed a lot more entertaining to us than another round of Mutoid Hypothetifucks on the mortuary steps ("What if she had ears instead of breasts? And she had an ear on her elbow? What if she had a newsagent's growing out of her back?" Ideas are clearly running thin...) For we are working Halloween hours now. Getting too busy to see the Bigger Picture. Entertaining the kids - Hello kids -

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Apparently if you try to cull the rats that make their home here, as opposed to those Ian brings in, their Queen simply waives her spawning monopoly and the numbers swell instead of going down. The only solution is sonic cannon, says Ian...

How is the bigger picture though, guys? I hear it's getting mighty cold. Me? After work I just pop next-door to the Shunt Lounge with a copy of Manga or Jarry and fall asleep on the couch. Last week Nigel was asked to lope around naked, mute and covered in shopping - again - but this time he would be driven off by a fleet of diesel-powered leaf-blowers.

Nigel is an actor.

I missed this scheduled intervention unfortunately, but before my nap I managed to catch the old school up-stream torsoes projected across the long corridor, and had a go on the vibrating arse belt (I'm not sure what that machine's actually called. You see them in Bugs Bunny cartoons, clattering in gyms by the steam boxes, lazy people use them to lose weight, you know. And "upstream" is a word I've just been introduced to as a palatable alternative to "experimental". Or, indeed, "alternative". Use it in a sentence today.) I tried to photograph some of this, but the flash just picked up dust. See? Filthy:

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But pretty.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Where was I? (Men In Pants)

(originally posted on myspace here)


Where was I?
Well, a number of places obviously. It's been a while. It's been ages. Rewind to - um, Christ - October 1st: So I took that week off to Write (not this), but then following the giddy brain-wave on Mount Pleasant I don't know, I didn't get as much done as I wanted. Here:

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And then I was rehearsing Glen Neath's play "Superheroes" as part of the Shunt Lounge's first anniversary celebrations, for which Lizzie had constructed a small reptile house to stick in the ladies' toilets and Suze covered the lengths of the long corridor with projections of turning heads and Becky was translucently pregnant with live goldfish and Heather had done something very excellent with the broken chairs and some gravity in the bar:

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And rehearsing "Superheroes" was a mild confusion undertaken in excellent company. It was just never clear to me how much Glen's lines were really being helped by our rehearsing them if you see what I mean. My favourite Glen piece has always been "RomCom" in which two completely unrehearsed performers would simply repeat the lines being fed to them in their headphones. I've never seen that not work... Similarly in "Superheroes" four actors wearing masks and spandex and unfamiliar with their lines would be left in an arena to bellow some text scrolling erratically above the audience's heads. Easy. Fun. Except that by the end of the week, of course, we weren't unfamiliar with our lines at all... by the fourth and final night I was even beginning to make some sense of them. Which I felt a little uncomfortable about. But for those who missed it here's the synopsis:

I was Captain Mint. Captain Mint loves The Wisp. The Wisp is in a passive-aggressive relationship with abusive alpha The Vortex. Captain Mint fears the Vortex. The Storm is a hobbyist. The Vortex gives the Storm some ibuprofen to give to Captain Mint. The Wisp returns with some shopping and The Vortex gives The Storm a bottle of beaujolais. The Wisp walks out on The Vortex. The Storm gives Captain Mint the ibuprofen. Captain Mint no longer fears The Vortex. The Wisp returns to The Vortex. The ibuprofen is ineffectual. Captain Mint contents himself with being a hobbyist.

And there's just the two media ultimately, innit - Doing some stuff and Leaving stuff behind. The Shunt Lounge is the latter and "Superheroes" was the former and that brings us up to... what... a week ago? Monday?... when I found myself once again standing in my pants before strangers from all nations for money. It's called "Medical Modelling". Students of anaesthetics are handed jelly and ultra-sound doodads to prod in your ribs like a heretic's finger while you lie on a rug on a table in a third-storey Edwardian games room in Portland Place and crane round to see on the screen behind you something that's being pointed out to them as your liver. Easy. Painless.

The magazine rack that we'd stationed ourselves by beforehand was full of brochures advertising brightly-coloured plastic clamps, and things like this

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for which it seems quite clear to me that nobody has bothered to read the instructions.
Goodnight for now. I'm back. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

I suggest you turn your back now Hercules

(originally posted on myspace here)



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So hopefully Sunday night has seen off that recurring dream where I'm about to go onstage as Henry VI but haven't learnt my lines. It's a dream my Dad used to have as well. (Perhaps he still does.) It's not always Henry VI but it is always a play written in verse: I'm staring down at my second-hand copy in the wings when it hits and the lines are always ten syllables long. Now normally the dream ends with me having to go onstage and fake a few cues, then own up and apologize, clamber down into the auditorium and head out the fire exit... not defeated, just disappointed... but on Sunday night it was different.
On Sunday night I finally decided to take the play onstage with me and pretend I was reading the bible. (Henry VI is very into the bible. And I also started reading it a few nights ago... Never realized before how many men in Genesis wait 500 years before settling down to have kids... Also interesting to see God was good enough to run up a couple of tunics for Adam and Eve to wear in exile. Bless him... Very artistic temperament: "OH IT'S ALL RUBBISH IT'S ALL GONE WRONG... etc.") Of course the theatrical lighting meant it was very difficult to make out the words and I kept tilting my head and losing my place - In fact the whole thing was a joke. But when I walked offstage it was back into the wings, not the fire exit. And the show would carry on. (It was always going to be rubbish anyway.)

And this may or may not have had something to do with the fact that Sunday evening had seen me heading out to Mount Pleasant to miss an Indigo Moss gig at the Apple Tree, which was fine, I mean it's fine that I missed it. Better than fine in fact because it meant I could get some walking done: This is the week I have set aside to write - as I mentioned in the last post - so a lot of that day had been spent attempting to... well face up to this fact basically. I didn't, for example, get round to meeting Benet outside the Burmese Embassy to take some photos (and the protest he was hoping to attend had turned into a march anyway so no-one else was there either). I just paced my room listening to Brian Aldiss on Radio 7 and poring over tray-sized compilations of pulp science fiction illustration, getting nowhere...

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Because in the end I'm a peripatetic. If I'm going to write, I have to get out and walk. And in looking for the Apple Tree I walked a lot. So that was good. And by the time I found the non-Indigo-Moss, Franco-Irish skiffle group launching into "Ooh La La" within before a happy press of excellent old hippies (you know, "Ooh La La": The Faces, Rod Stewart, I-wish-that-I-knew-what-I-know-now, a sentiment as sacred as Christmas... anyway apparently it's called "Ooh La La") the sad knot of transcribed, amnesiac squabbling that had so far been all I could muster in the name of comedy had blossomed in my head into something a good deal more interesting - something stealthy even - something with mood swings and, at the very least, a middle and an end, if not a beginning. And the beginning's just the bit you end up putting first, I'm sure.

Dumas pere said to Dumas fils: All the talent's in the table, if you put some paper down on it and rub long enough, something's bound to come off. And for me it's the streets... Yeah! The streets!

Word.

So, yes, how many interviews does it take to turn a writer into a wanker then. We have our answer. And I should be writing now. And not this rubbish. Here's some more salvaged Heracles instead: "The Twelf Labour - Cerbeus of the Underworld." It's very sad at the end. Brace yourselves.

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- Your final task will be to bring back Cerbeus, the 3 headed dog from the underworld where you may not come back.

(At last you can see his face)

- You're a bit heavy for a dead man and if you're not dead I can't take you.

- If you don't take me across you'll be the dead one!

(Bully!!!)

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- Why! I remember you when I with Jason to find the golden fleece.

- I'm hungry & blood's the only thing us ghosts eat.

- I'll kill one of those cattle.

- Hey you want a fight?

- Stop this arguing - I'm Hades - I know why you've come here and you can have Cerbeus if you tame him
(I can't even make him sit!)

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- Righteo then

GRRRRRRRRR

GAWK

- I've done it.

- Then keep it.

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- I suggest you turn your back now Hercules.

Back at Thebes:
- I've completed my tasks but where's Megera

- Didn't you see her in the Underworld. I'm afraid she died with a fever sent by Hera

Very Expressive Well Done!