Sunday, 28 February 2010

Linereading place-holder

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

Damn, nearly finished writing this blog about the nature of "scripts" when it suddenly disappeared. Ffff... okay until I get back, class, watch the following clip then discuss among yourselves what instructions you think the actors were given that led to this:


What was on that tape? Do we know? Do the actors know? Does either actor seem a little put out by how long this scene is going on for, and if so why? I'll be back.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Cowboy and the Frenchman (David Lynch, 1988, "Whut the Hell...?")

(originally posted on myspace here)


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Well yeehah! Back in 1988 it turns out that stone-deaf David Lynch - THE great artist of unsettling alien hospitality - decided to make a film from the HOST's point of view for once, a gorgeous little project for... Actually before I go on if this sounds like your kind of thing and you've half an hour to spare then watch it here first. Very much not the kind of thing Lynch would make nowadays but SO MUCH the kind of thing he made back then, it's funny to see just how starkly his mood has changed (his stuff's still fun but not nearly so silly. This actually makes quite a nice companion piece to Tomatoes Another Day now I think of it.) And no, all I was going to say before I cut myself off was that this piece was actually commissioned by a French television station for a season "The French as seen by..." And the reason I cut myself off was that I only learnt this fact after I'd watched the piece and can't be sure that I'd have enjoyed it as much if I'd known before. Conversely though... if I hadn't known beforehand that it was directed by David Lynch I might not have enjoyed it AS MUCH. I don't think I was cutting the film more slack, I just think that this way round I was seeing more in it. More than if I'd known it was a film made specifically for an audience with English as a second language in order to address views on the French (which it beautifully doesn't do anyway). Authorship though, hm...

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Another point of reference for Money's machine now I think of it

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Random Acts of C***ness

(originally posted on myspace here)


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The scene of the crime

BLOOD AND GUTS UPDATE: Well Hywel's go on the laurels was pretty short lived because Friday night (Banker night) saw ME become the hero when - you remember! - your boyfriend Belmondo'd me in the face halfway through a show (Cliveowened me, Danielcraiged me, Neesoned, Mitchumed, "nutted" - what you will,) then ran off and abandoned you while the show went on, as it must, with blue roll up its nose. Good thing there was a doctor in the house, our own esteemed Dr. David Rosenberg who having been denied entry to South Africa because there was literally not enough room in his passport for another stamp (true true!) found himself freed up now to give Hywel the crash-course on Thursday, and on Friday witness your boyfriend hit and run mid-show leaving behind only you, mumbling and panicked, and of course all his booking details at the box office.

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Nice men. Do not hurt them.

Crikey you were drunk, weren't you, whoever you were, and terribly annoying. You must have known that. And I guess I sort of know where your boyfriend was coming from because even I felt a bit bad about singling you out when you were so clearly barely able to even stand. Then again though, it could be argued you actually singled yourself out by wibbling on about carbon in the corner of the auditorium, I don't know... but I mean why didn't your boyfriend make any attempt to try and keep you quiet, that's what I don't get, or to even acknowledge your presence until you wanted to be escorted out of the show? Why did he try and take it out on that volunteer in the riot gear? Did your boyfriend not get that it was pretend? Did your boyfriend just have a bad day? Was your boyfriend actually, secretly mad at you? Well this is all academic I guess... Man I just can't believe your boyfriend ran out and left you like that, that's all. 

And poor old Hywel! A second baptism of fire for day two. (Oh yeah, fire. Did I mention the pyrotechnics? Yeah he's great, Hywel.) And Nigel's had his appendectomy now I hear. They eschewed keyhole surgery in favour of the full Jack the Ripper, that's all I know. Dr. David only works on electro-shock therapy cases these days, says he misses the smell of an operating theatre, the smell of cauterised meat. And me? Well I almost look TOO gorgeous but on the down side every face pressed towards mine on the tube now makes me just that bit more bristly. Like I said, I don't know. Things fall apart, mistakes are made, the Machine begins to warp and split but the run continues, and Friday Night will always be Banker Night. Applying Goode's Pertinent Binary (see Feb 18) we deal with it... Honestly though, your boyfriend! It almost makes me wish now that I'd listened to your Dad
(Thank you videogum.)

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The devastating effects of a Belmondoing 

Saturday, 20 February 2010

MONEYNEWS

(originally posted on myspace here)


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Here's Shunt looking over the script for Money as it stood on the 31st of March, 2009. Way back. But the good news is it looks like the the show's run will now definitely be longer than the rehearsal period as we're extending it to the end of June, imagine that! I wonder who'll be Prime Minister. In other, appalling news: Nigel - lovely big, works-forty-hours-a-day, stars-in-the-show, runs-over-to-the-vaults-between-shows-to-be-Mussolini-or-Walter-Raleigh, just-had-a-bloody-KID Nigel, was taken into hospital yesterday with appendicitis. We have no Nigel. Now this was going to have been Nige's last week on the show anyway, as the National Theatre of Wales was commandeering him to appear with Michael Sheen in Peter Morgan's "Jesus: The Meetings" or something as of next Tuesday, so he HAD been training in his mate Hywel as a replacement, but still. This meant Hywel now found himself having to go onstage last night instead of the following Tuesday, and do two shows with one day's rehearsal, in Nigel's clothes, in the dark, over the trapdoors, with exits that can only be opened if you remember to keep a handle on you. Which he did, and he was incredible. A bear like Nigel but a more innocent bear, and like Nigel an absolute engine. Boy was he paying attention. So we plough on.
But Nige, baby, get better.

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Friday, 19 February 2010

Goode's Pertinent Binary

 


Hooray, Chris Goode* is back on the blog: 
"I sometimes have recourse to what I take to be one of the most pertinent binaries in contemporary culture: the underlying social philosophies of, on the one hand, Disney, and on the other, Sesame Street. In Disney World (or Land or whichever you prefer), "it's a small world after all": people are all basically the same, once you get past their superficial differences. This is Peter Brook's line, and it ends up being a reason to not bother trying to penetrate those superficialities: which is why 11 & 12 is so unbelievably gay. On Sesame Street, the message is not that everyone is the same, but conversely, that everyone is different, and it's your job to deal with that." 

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Napping 4D

(originally posted on myspace here)



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It's big, the Eiffel Tower. Terribly big. It's easy to forget but it's an honest-to-goodness skyscraper, like nothing that had come before. And at its apex there's a genteely furnished living room diagonally bisected by a gigantic girder where two wax likenesses of Eiffel and Edison sip tea and listen to cylinders: time captured and the sky scraped, both for the very first time, they must have felt like gods. And I thought when are we going to see anything that exciting again? We'll have to wait until Time Travel.

And then about a month ago it hit me that would never happen. Time Travel. I was watching old videos of life in the year 2000 and there we were in our twenties pissing around in the garden that's now next door and it was suddenly clear to me that the past was just gone. It's there in our heads, and in what we own, but there's no reaching it. And I know we talk about four dimensions but this is a dimension we can only move forward in and it takes no energy to do so and it requires no force, so it's really not the same. Which is fine. Everything's closed and cosy in this finite Universe, fine. Except... well I had been planning to get back into harness on the Doctor Whoey vehicle I used to go on about before the fire and now I suddenly find I don't believe in the central concept. It's only pretend I know, but there's nothing to explore in an idea I've dismissed unless, UNLESS I could somehow work out a practicable method for our hero to travel anywhere in time without cheating. So that was sort of it. 
Right, 80's break.

Brilliant! The only thing they got right was the hand dryer.

And on Sunday evening after the Dungeons, Transboundy Gal (hmm... maybe another name) and I went to the pictures at West India Quays, a location that has totally kept faith with what a place should look like in 2010. We watched A Single Man, and THERE was the past... I mean they must have gone to 1962 to film it, it was extraordinary and all the sadder for it. Outside and the water was still, a thousand lights were on and nobody home, and I realised coming here on a school night was more exciting than the Tate, so much more exciting, we risked a cigarette and I once more pondered: future, future, but how do you get back?

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Monday was a write-off of course. In a good way. Mondays are normally a write-off these days. But, but, but... hanging out the washing I had a moment that merited if not the full "Eureka" then at least a little "Eurekeeny", when it suddenly occurred to me how you might be able to visit the past without having to travel backwards through time after all. All it would require is infinite patience, for time to be cyclical, and a big-bounce-proof container. But that's MY idea, Science, you're not allowed to nick it. Still, great! Right time to get out of bed... although meh*, anything I miss I know now I'll be able to catch next time around. Ah yes, legs this has.

* And it's surely a sign of this country's increasing civility that we finally have our an English word for "bof".

Sunday, 14 February 2010

It's Singles' Dawn here at the Ole Unattended (We'll always have Paris)

(originally posted on myspace here)




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Five thirty-eight ayem you guys. In two hours I'll be cooking myself breakfast and heading off to the Dungeons once more. I remember my first Valentine's day there. That was - What the Hell? -SEVEN YEARS AGO?! No. No wait I'm glad I stuck it out this long because of course that is where I met - well what should I call her here? I can't keep calling her my baby so let's fire up that right brain, start making sounds with our mouths and just see what happens: Lilly Bambazaan? Transboundy Gal? Mima Nunahangamban? Lass Booms? Mm. Anyway I'm up this late/early/stupid because I was hoping to finally squeeze in a little post about my trip with Miss Transboundy to Paris what with this being Valentine's Day and me now proudly tamed. But that clearly hasn't happened so here's what I call "the better idea". A little shout out to the singles.

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Hey, look at you, singles! This day is yours, you get that right? I mean, you can't have a day for couples! The very nature of a "couple" (uyergh, just listen to that word: Couple. Khhhuahaharphul! Aclk!) precludes any celebration, for "celebration" surely suggests a coming together of people in numbers GREATER THAN TWO. Don't we couples know that true love WAITS? Don't we know that life is PAIN, HIGHNESS! You get it. You've read at least the first half of the Female Eunuch. You don't want to wake up one day and find you've turned into Don Draper / nearly-every-woman-in-fiction. No, there is a WORLD out there! And YOU are it's hero. Well you're my hero anyway. And this day, o singles - hey this whole WORLD - is nothing but your party. At our expense. 

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(Okay actually I'm not sure if anyone in this picture is single BUT imagine how much more fun they'd be having if they were. And I'm pretty sure looking at them they were all at least FEELING single the second this photo was taken. And that's how you feel ALL THE TIME, SINGLES! And might this song below be your anthem? Probably not but boy can that guy dance! He's single, right?)




I LOVE YOU FOREVER SINGLES, BYEEE! XxXxXxXxX

Saturday, 13 February 2010

"Hhuhhh...?"

(originally posted on myspace here)



I think today sees the last location shooting for the fourth series of Mitchell and Webb. I was driven over bright and early to Pinewood Studios last Friday to watch the Caesar sketch I'd written being filmed. I'm not used to being driven: "I'd love to see the look on John Terry's face when he wakes up this morning! Sir?" Shit. A: Sir! B: John Terry?! Think! John Terry, headlines, something about sex, football? Is he a footballer? Maybe I can veer the conversation onto O'Reilly's interview with John Stewart, will the driver have seen that? He won't, will he. And we drove through the gates of Pinewood and I was very excited. Look!

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(James Bachman took that. My camera's bust.) Pinewood's not as paved as I thought it would be, I have to say. I picked the wrong shoes, should have gone for something without holes. And it was very quiet although I suppose it was eight in the morning. Wandering about the perimeter I thought it looked like the Kazakhstani space programme only with more posters of Terry Scott. The atmosphere on the Caesar set itself was lovely however, lovely and warm, really cheering. My only worry is the decision to film the whole thing underwater which might play merry hell with the timing. But we'll see. 

Great comedy can certainly be achieved underwater, as the film below demonstrates. I saw it that same evening at the reopened Shunt Vaults. (They're open again tonight. It will be quiet I think. Even if it's packed it will be quiet, which is how we like it. Things might get ugly if too many people turn up expecting a DJ or live band or noise, but I hear Nigel's dashing over between shows to do his Barry White Mussolini, so then again it might all be fine.*) Anyway, Gemma supervised the construction of a cinema - what more do these people want? - and that's where I hid out last Friday. Occasionally someone might pop their head round and go "You have got to be fucking kidding me. Are you all on acid? Are you on acid?" And then go, "Are you all on acid?" And then leave. But I think the film's brilliant. If you're not hooked within the first seconds however, don't waste your time:
 

 And it's interesting to see the one actor playing the husband clearly not "getting it", especially as everything I can find online about the film's director - an avant-gardist named James Sibley Watson Junior - suggests HE didn't get it either... deemed the whole thing a "failure". But I get it. And the lovers, they certainly get it. They're hilarious. They're inventing a new type of comedy before our eyes. Can there be any funnier shot of someone sitting on a straw hat than this? Any greater pun than "I have given you my awl"? What it reminds me of most is when, very occasionally, you dream a sketch and in your dream it's the funniest thing you've ever seen and you'll be thinking "I wish I'd written this," and then you wake up and go "Brilliant!" And then you realise IT'S THIS FILM.

*update: I have returned. It was not quiet. But it turns out I like that as well. And despite having nothing to do with what's out on I enjoyed passing up and down once again with my baby and a discounted beer in my hand like I was the King of Art.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Signs of Life

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

Of course that should be "recommend" in the last post. I kept the misspelling in to communicate a sense of urgency. How do you think I did?

And where was I?

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Well a year ago now the house caught fire, but nobody died, not even Kato the cat. It was kind of fine. The place has double-glazing now, although you can still make out the scorched paintwork above what used to be my windows, see? I took the above photo when I went round to Morgan's to pick up post. He lives next door. He always has. That was in... August? I had a swimming pool in August, I may have mentioned. I was living here:

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Real twenty-first century stuff. It was called "Osprey Heights". That's my room at the end of the corridor. Then there was Cesar's, but he moved out, and then this room, as seen:

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No permanent occupant, but every two weeks a different Israeli in his early twenties would move in. The first one asked to have a television installed. I was always welcome to watch it. None of them ever unpacked. They never shut the door. They all slept with the light on. I didn't mention the show to them- Hey we also had a gym! And it was eighteen storeys tall. Imagine the view! Don't, it's here!

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Down a bit...

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Down a bit...

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That's your lot. Sorry but the windows are a bit narrow- And we had a sauna! And gates! Big gates! All it lacked was a garden.

So in October the lease ended and I moved out. And into's Morgan. That's really the point of this. I'm in Brixton again. With Morgan and his paints and the sign that says "Sea View" and the little Easter Island statues he sticks into alcoves of the Ritzy. And a nice guy called Ed who makes synthesizers from kits. Oh, and Kato!

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Morgan painted that for me when I moved in. He's out at the moment, working on a totem pole. There's a chain-saw on the spare fridge in the kitchen, what the place lacks in bannisters it makes up for in carnivorous plants, there's never a shortage of crayons and this is my new view if I look down:

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... which I prefer. If I look a little to the right there's a garden with a telly in it and a family and the faces we chalked on the bathroom wall for Fin's birthday, back in - wow... 2000. Yeah. It was time I moved.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Just once a year

(originally posted on myspace here)



Ah! I have one and a half minutes to mark the anniversary of the fire we were in last year. Because that's something people mark, isn't it? This should cover it.
 

The charming original can be viewed here. I do reccomend OH! MISSED IT!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Buzz

(originally posted on myspace here)


Coming up shortly another romantic, police-state-themed anecdote, but first:


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Let me fill you in on Money. So yes we're into our second run. It's January - no it's not it's February, sorry - the snows have departed but Winter's still on us like the knackering corpse of some giant squid and the "houses" (industry term) are smaller as a result, but baby we're nailing it. It's so nearly all there. A-hundred-and-thirtyish shows in, and each one different, and each one - chiefly thanks to Lou who's sat in on about a-hundred-and-twentyish of them - zipping along now with a minimum of anguish (not an absence but a definite minimum). Although the first half takes place in a waiting room I have finally been talked round to the idea that JUST LETTING THE AUDIENCE WAIT does not make for a good show - kills it (industry secret) - nor I now realise does it even lend authenticity: the audience is in a dream, you never wait in dreams. At least I never have, surely that would play havoc with your REM. 

And external validation has come anew from both The New York Times (I know, what? They can make or break a show, bud! "And I mean that as a compliment." The New York Times) and The Independent (again) in the first review to actually acknowledge the writing as anything other than a terrible mistake, which is great because you know, there's words of mine in there and you know, they're doing a job (even if it's the same job Chinese newsprint performs in a cocktail umbrella).

OH! And then, last night, Derren Brown came. Because Neil Patrick Harris had brought him. And they loved it. And it's on twitter. And they lurved me. ("Staggering" Derren Brown... Now where can I take that?) I am using short sentences to try and convey the magnitude of this. Awe. "Hi, I'm Neil." Aw. Yeah you are! And your boyfriend David Burtka's lovely! And - and Derren's first words to me were "Where do I know you from I know you I've seen you it's driving me crazy is it a - a play have you been in a play is it channel four a - a meeting - I've seen you." No. We'd never met. But look, standing here in front of me is Derren Brown WRACKING HIS BRAINS. That was a good night (but no seriously where can I take it?) 

And the Lounge? I don't know. It's opening its doors again to something tomorrow and I'd like to be there to see what. Maybe I'll be a stewardess. Maybe I'll have some kind of tiny show to hang from the title "We Should Sh" (good title eh?) but I doubt it, my baby's sick. I must go to her. I must find something to call her other than my baby...

And this is a while back now, but we thought it might be romantic to go to the fair, my baby and me:

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And she took me on The Waltzer. I'd never been on one. And I thought I'd die. I'm thirty-five, I've been in a fire, I thought I'd die. I went pale and couldn't walk. I was too old and she said sorry. So we left the fair. And as we passed a news-agent she also went pale and said "Ah! Can't you hear that?" The shop had a hypersonic Mosquito "youth crowd dispersal system". No I couldn't hear it. I'm thirty-five. IN YOUR FACE,  YOUTH!

"The 2010 Question" (Spit on your grave, sir?)

"To accuse a serving Prime Minister of lying to Parliament is an incredibly serious allegation." So who better to dispel the gimcrack frivolity surrounding the Chilcot enquiry than TV's Richard "Books" Madeley? Who better? Nobody. Everything about this piece is perfect... Okay Richard, ENTER!




YEAH. Cut through that crap, Madeley, it smells of fish. The parellels with Churchill? Uncanny. For did Churchill not also believe or not believe in weapons that weren't or were in the possession of a country with whom we were at war or were not or actually, Richard, what? But anyway NOBODY HAULED CHURCHILL up before an enquiry in 1946. Or '47. OR '48. I could go on. And "you know what?" I ALSO have not heard a single one of Tony Blair's critics employ a spuriously hypothesized parallel universe in their arguments either. WHAT ARE THEY RUNNING FROM? Oh, so the so-called 2010 question doesn't fit your exclusively fact-based narrative eh, The Critics? Have you forgotten the atmosphere? THE ATMOSPHERE! WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THE ATMOSPHERE! How could we have forgotten the atmosphere? 

Perhaps though, if Britain hadn't gone to War in 2003... as I walked through an unlit St. James Park arm in arm with my baby on the evening of January 29th, 2010, we wouldn't have had to shout over the helicopters as we checked out the swans, we wouldn't have had to make our way silently and joylessly past the blockade of empty vans and mounted police all stationed to guard Blair's sorry ass from the human resources that had once been his, as this ass now passed through the most recently erected of barriers. Perhaps there might have been more people about. And Brian Haw might go to sleep in his own little room again.