Monday, 18 August 2008

"The Worwd Demands an Expwanation!" (bubble-wrap, coffee, tears, neon and death.)

(originally posted on myspace here)

We were tired at the Dungeons on Saturday, tired but happy, but tired. But happy. We would clean the mystery shit out of each others' eyes or retreat to the storage cupboard, where the tiny gusts provided by the popping of bubble wrap are our only source of fresh air.


The walls of our staff room were now papered with colour photocopies of actual injury, cuts, swellings, bruised ribs, evidence to any visiting nob that we really do take care over our make-up even if the whole lot's drained down our necks within the hour. And what else was new? We have a coffee machine.

The coffee only really kicked in about midnight though. I had wandered around Piccadilly after work, thought of catching "Elegy", but then staggered into HMV and saw a DVD of Xanadu. That might be worth a look, I thought, but resolved to head home and check it out on youtube first, and fell asleep on the tube. It was dark when I got home. A man stood beneath the lamp on the corner outside my house, staring at the pink hoardings. Then he walked off. I walked up, took his place, and saw that Morgan had painted a small mountain landscape on the broken shelf beneath (beneath the heads I posted here two entries back, or the space where those heads had been). And then I went upstairs, remembered I had to find some black articles for my Uncle's funeral on Monday, did nothing about it and logged on to youtube. The coffee kicked in round about the time Gene Kelly steps out of the pink cab in tassles and roller skates:

The excellent, now-defunct film magazine "Neon" once printed an article called "100 Things That You Don't Get In Movies Anymore", and one of those Things was a still from "Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo" with the caption "Everything in this picture". The same goes for this clip, which is ironic since the period it was trying to generate nostalgia for is itself so poorly served (this has to have been one of the films Paul Thomas Anderson showed his crew before they started work on "Boogie Nights"). It made me deliriously happy. And it made me go and look up every single musical number from "Animalympics" I could find, for some reason. Which then made me weep uncontrollably, for some reason. Which made me think, a 33 year-old man sat at a laptop at three in the morning, wearing headphones and crying over Dogra-La, Rene Fromage and Kit Mambo, is that hilarious? I thought so. Ollie had told me to go home and get some sleep and at the time that had seemed like a good idea, but I headed downstairs instead, turned on the real Olympics, and caught the end of what it turns out is a single-sex marathon. And then I got some sleep.


Loads of sleep. I woke up at five in the afternoon, sewed up the trouser-leg on my Italian double-breasted in front of Hellboy, and that's it. The funeral's tomorrow. I've been thinking a lot about what a bad idea they might be, funerals. I don't think I want one. I think if people want to meet up then they'll meet up, and I wouldn't want my corpse there when they do. Uncle David was a Warner though, and the Warners are very different. I'll be reading C. S. Lewis on the train on the way up. I think my Mum would like that. David would write extraordinary responses to anything I did, plays or stories. He's definitely not dead in my head. We'll see.

Friday, 15 August 2008

NONBOND CLEAROUT (plus Brenner Pass babble)

(originally posted on myspace here)

In my line of work you have to wear knee-length black woollen socks, sweetheart, and in this heat you take them home and wash them every other day. The rats have fallen ill. I don't know what that means. In my line of work you take Mary Wollstonecraft out onto the floor with you and one polystyrene cup of water and you'd BETTER not knock that one cup over with your tricorn, baby. For those forty seconds between each shows, yeah, it's just you and Mary and the loneliness and the patches of Norwegian Moss and the gum on the floor. And you get back rubs.


So on Tuesday I went to a party where a man told me that my voice had now been playing on a loop in a fortress near the Brenner Pass at least a million times, and that it would continue playing until October. He sent me a link. You can listen to it here. The text's by Glen Neath who did, among other things, The Superheroes, and the speed of my delivery is a consequence of his dashes (these - ) which I had always interpreted as an interruption when used in dialogue (while an ellipsis ... signifies a pause or tailing off, that's my system anyway) but which Glen actually meant to just signify the end of a line, to save space. Still the brief was something like "the tedium of attention" since the fortress itself guards a pass that has never been attacked, and I'm really pleased with how it came out.

And now the last scrapings of Non Bond (actually some of the De Laurentiis stuff is quite classy, particularly "Diabolik" which I guess is really more of a Non Batman). Anyway salvage what joy you can from these: SEE a Rolls Royce melt! SEE Trevor Howard play a man who explodes if offered coffee! SEE Jill St. John! SEE all authority figures being played by obvious drunks! In fact, why not just PRESS PLAY SIMULTANEOUSLY ON ALL OF THESE SUCKERS AND DUCK!

And that's your lot. I have to stop. This morning I dreamt that Robert Vaughan and I saved the world. I had to pull the plug for the nuclear missile out of the wall at JUST the right moment, and everyone I knew from the Dungeon was riding on that missile, strapped into the seats of a revolving restaurant. And we saved them. And still she wouldn't speak to me.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

One last conspiracy (NONBOND NIGHT 6,708: A MAN CALLED DAGGER)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Who's been painting all of Brixton's hoardings pink? It appears to be part of a beautification project, and on a sunny day the pit that was once a pub next door does glow now with a kind of Mexican ebullience. If I had a camera I'd show you. But I don't, so here instead is a picture of what got painted over:


And now, roll down your sleeves for "just another Pussy Galore", whatever that means, ie nothing. The most charming aspect of this typically charmless trailer, I think, is that it's always the same two henchmen who seem to get defeated. That, and Dagger's David Geffenish comb-over. Girls get blah Guys get blah, you all know the drill by now...

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Rainbow Conspiracy (NONBOND NIGHT 5: D BOOTS)

(originally posted on myspace here)

 Apologies again for my absence, but I've been hiding out in the shadows beneath London Bridge recently for a very good reason. Not just because Shunt are now giving Flamenco lessons. Not just because the Dungeon is now facing stiff commercial opposition from the newly opened "London Bridge Experience" just across the road, and they've just hired a giant, like some Kurosawa film. But namely ("namely"? Do I mean "mainly"?) because it has recently come to my attention that the GOVERMENT is now putting things into our LIGHT. Wake up, people! D Boots has:

And WHO exactly is projecting holograms of the moon into our sky?

[Video removed by user. Muh.]

LOOK AT THE PARAMETERS! And WHO is putting secret computer messages into our aerosol sprays?

A poem:

Thursday July sixth,
Two thousand seven,
About Four pm.

I'm just wondering what the heck is in our water supplies,
What the heck is in our oxygen supply
Of the metallicized salts
That creates a rainbow effect in a sprinkler?

What is oozing out of our ground
That allows this type of effect to happen?

Not just around the sun and moon anymore.
Everywhere we look
The visible spectrum
Is rainbows.

This can not be natural.

We all know
It wasn't something that happened twenty years ago.
But now it's happening now.

We as a nation have got to ask ourselves:
What the hell is going on?

What is oozing out of our ground?

This looks like a job for Ray Danton! Yes, move other, other undercover agents, (again,) Ray Danton's the undercoverest (oh, he isn't. You'll see.) To be honest, this Non Bond thing was meant to be a funny little exercise, but it's now just making me feel a little empty inside... Still, here he is:

"You thought I was six feet under Brian?!" (Oh, you may mock the conspiracy theorists, those who seek out hidden messages, but clearly you've never investigated THE WORKS OF RONNIE HAZLEHURST...)



Saturday, 9 August 2008

Adolfo the Beautiful (NONBOND NIGHT 4: OK CONNERY)

What a stroke of luck. Just as it looks like the summer hours of the London Dungeon will make me miss tonight's Non-Bond deadline, David Cairns goes and digs up this, a vehicle for Sean Connery's actual brother.

Friday, 8 August 2008

"Is it from the horses?" (NONBOND NIGHT 3: BULLDOG DRUMMOND)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Of course, while plugging all those shows I completely forgot that this very evening Mark Evans' glorious Bleak Expectations II hits our ears again, with Richard Johnson and my excellent sister no less. I am perhaps a little biased, but the studio recordings of these shows were perhaps the happiest I've ever attended. Hear the love in that room. And tonight's choice of Non-Bond was therefore obvious:

It turns out Richard Johnson had a brief career as Bulldog Drummond, a thirties sleuth re-invented for the sixties by bringing on the ladies and shooing the helpful schoolboys and scarfed Germans lurking in sewers... Reinvention is nothing new, which might be at the heart of what bugs me about The Dark Knight sorry to return to this but I don't want people looking back going oh yes that was the torture decade. Anyway this should hopefully clear the palette after Gareth Hunt kicking a ninja in the briefs.

But if Joanna Lumley and Johnson in a tux isn't classy enough, here's a coach. My friend Melanie invented it today when we popped into the Education Centre of the Royal Mews. Everything else was sold out so we pottered before the bored bay stallions in their stalls and the gold splurges of palm-tree and cherub (when it dawned on me that I actually know nothing at all about the eighteenth century, except that it turned out a lot of stuff like this... Was it really just one hundred years of nothing until someone somewhere carved one triton too many and they all started killing each other and painting and writing again? And we could tell the stallions were bored because one knocked his bridle off a hook with his muzzle and then, when it was replaced, tried to do it again, learning. They should be given something to do in there, handed some paints or a trampette or something, like that elephant). I haven't sat down in a tiny plastic chair testing coloured pencils and looking over to see what the girl next to me is doing since I was, well actually quite old now I come to think of it. And I fell back on the old standby of drawing lots of carnivorous plants. And Mel got to keep that. And I got to keep this. And then we ate and smoke and drank. Harumble!


Thursday, 7 August 2008

BANG! URGH! TOOT! (NONBOND NIGHT 2: something something KILL)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Youtube has this down as a trailer for the film "Licensed To Love and Kill". The trailer itself however says "Shoot To Kill", and elsewhere on youtube it's called "No1 of the secret service Lindsay Shonteff". Regardless, I came across this trailer after last night's post and it immediately leapt to the "No1" Non-Bond spot in MY heart, I'll say. So here it is, enjoy:


So okay the film itself (Let's call it "Gareth's Good at Flicking Fags and Poo") looks wretched, but this trailer's clearly the work of a comedy genius. Really, hats off to the dry, lone anarch who pieced this beauty together: the Quixotic irony of the final voice-over that accompanies No1's clearly doomed test-drive of the world's shittest flying car... the subliminal suggestion of a turd flicked into cleavage... the non-sequiteurial toot of the stripper crawling out of the wall... and the sound, just the cutting of the soundtrack is hilarious and oddly exhilirating, it's like Spike Jones (as opposed to Jonze).

Oh and should you feel like a bath after watching this, may I belatedly suggest my friend John's Cabin Pressure...

Oh and on the subject, I'd also like to plug Ned's awesome Knocker. (Just grit your teeth for the preceding "poetry pod"). There's quite a bit of baroque surrealism doing the rounds in comedy at the moment, only not very well and slightly embarrassed, but Ned nails it. And he always plays people called Ian, which is nice... I would also have liked to plug the repeat of Laurence Howarth's brilliant Safety Catch, but that's just finished, so I can't make the words go blue and underliney. Well, that should do for now.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

No but seriously, why so serious? (NONBOND NIGHT 1: BLOODY MARY)

(originally posted on myspace here)

or... "And with that in mind we've given this name to a new type of Nuclear Bomb"

So guess what I went and saw on Sunday?... Here! Clue!

  Tha-hat's right, I went and saw The Dark Knight... which I feel I probably shouldn't be writing about as it is bloody everywhere, but, mm, this is going to be a short post anyway, it was horrible and sometimes brilliant but mainly horrible, yet the Dainipponjin clip posted above does something more interesting and disturbing and entertaining with comic book violence in a much shorter time. Okay, I'm not sure actually that's what The Dark Knight was meaning to do, but I AM pretty sure that a man dressed as a bat fighting a man dressed as a clown should have a bit of Romance to it, if not downright Fun. There should be more to it, I'm saying, than simply a man dressed as a bat fighting a man dressed as a clown, but The Dark Knight smothered all that inherent resonance with Its Interpretation. (It brought something new to the party, sure, which I suppose is great but, mm, I have to say I think Kirsty Wark agrees with me. It don't "chime".) Like the most recent Bond, its refashioning of the "myth" basically involved a total subtextectomy, everyone talking in terrible essays about each other, the painstaking doing of PROPER damage to humans and, at heart, just a kind of narrative self-loathing. It had to be self-loathing, didn't it? I think Christopher Nolan is amazing, a real heart-breaker, but no-one could really have WANTED to tell this story, or it would have been better told, non? I just find it so weird that this is entertainment. Or is it filler fodder? Most of my friends have seen it more than once, so it must be the first. I don't know. Graham Linehan's been posting a bunch of stuff about some disturbing inferences concerning the post 9/11 Anthrax attacks lately, and last night I lay awake thinking, the only way to get this story on the News must be to say you're making a film about it. That's the only, the only way. And a worse public service could be performed than the setting up of a production company whose only job were to direct media attention to topics of national importance by churning out puff pieces for said-topic-inspired-films, films that themselves need never leave Production Hell. Heck, you wouldn't even have to draw up contracts, just make some calls and e-mail London Lite with "Sienna Miller expresses interest in Anthrax movie". None of which is to cast aspersions on Newsnight Review by the way, nor Natalie Haynes. Duh.

Anyway, back in the sixties a film came out with a guy called James Bond in and cinema went mental. And THIS WEEK I SHALL PROVE IT with a series of clips salvaged from youtube, again last night, while brooding on the iniquities inherent in the system, and listening to Adam and Joe's theme tunes for Quantum of Solace. Yes, to make amends for posting nothing during the run of "Hamlet Abridged", which was a joy to do - and to give you a little taste of the piece itself - I shall be offering up atrocious nightly, non-Bond nuggets, such as this gobbet from the lesser known, I-shit-you-not, O double-7 series: "MISSION BLOODY MARY":

[Originally I posted the opening sequence but that's been taken down.] It's when the talking gets going that this shit really flies, and I can only hope the dialogue we came up with for Hamlet occasionally matched MISSION BLOODY MARY'S depths. And thank you to everyone who came. Big thanks.

Actually, here's another little taster of the Camden Fringe. Sorry, but I still have no camera and it's the only thing from the show I could scan. It's my show shirt after six quick-change matinees, the salt's pure Fringe.

It's salt.


Like she say, I can't see why THIS had to happen.