Poland and Berlin and Bethnal Green

Hello you lot,

So it is somehow now March. My sister turned 20 yesterday apparently whilst drinking with the entire England rugby team somewhere near her home of Oxford University. Makes you think about parallels, or it certainly makes me think about them anyway. I, on the other hand, am dreading soon turning 23, but hoping with recent conversations that it will go some way to at least taking the edge off just how young people seem to find me. Realistically, my eyes are on 27 or 28 when people seem to be a ‘normal age’ in the general realm of young theatricals in fringe theatre. Anyhoo… Onto other more interesting things…

I  have accepted a random lighting job in Poland. A friend of mine couldn’t go due to being offered megabucks for a lighting gig, and so I managed to persuade the producer to let me do it. It ties in perfectly with my trip to Germany which now follows immediately. So on the 22nd, which is wonderfully close now, I fly out to Wroclaw in Poland to do followspot for a show, then I get the train to Berlin and stay with a friend for a few days before traveling down to Schwabisch Hall in south Germany for our first DJ gig overseas! Tom calls this the first stop of the a/tt(a)c ‘world tour’. Regardless of what to call it, it’s an all expenses paid trip to Poland on the cards for me, followed by an all expenses (and then some) trip to DJ to lovely smiley, vascular German people! It’s a shame I have no money. None. At all. So I have to raise about £800 in 2 weeks in order to pay rent and enjoy the trip. Any ideas are welcome at this stage…

What other things are happening? I am about to make a phonecall about a mystery job offer to find out the details and the show, which could be exciting. Theatre in A Car paperwork and research is underway with meetings taking place next week. Good things are starting to happen with Curse Of Elizabeth Faulkner also, more to follow in future blogs.

We are now in the final 2 weeks of Company. This show has been an absolute joy to work on. I have met some amazing people, worked with some astonishingly talented people and finally worked on a full-length show in my favorite space in London. With the first large-scale project of the year coming to an end and me suddenly finding myself in March so quickly, I am very grateful that 2011 has gone off with such a strong start. I am especially happy that with all of this going on, I have somehow managed to nail another of my resolutions, to see my friends more. I have spent many evenings after company catching up with people I haven’t seen in a long time, and have managed to fit in parties with the King’s Head lot as well, club nights, 30th birthday parties, huge all nighters, litres and litres of vanilla lattes with friends. A really fucking superb year so far really. But I haven’t made any money. Hmmm.

I have been trying to work out for a while how to hold down a day job which 1. I am qualified for and 2. Is flexible enough for me to continue to pursue my theatre career. It really is a tough one. Barwork would kill my soul to bits as it did before, and the hours just plain don’t fit with theatre, and pretty much anything else I can think of, I’m not qualified for! I want a job in music, but don’t really know where to start…

Anyway, the stand-up show was fun. A great turn out of brilliant people, including the wonderful Abi Titmuss. She, as almost all of the others there, had filthy senses of humor. Good work you’s lot. I’m planning a special event for summer regarding comedy, but it’s top secret. Hopefully I will be able to grab some of the hundreds of people who couldn’t make this last one…

The Dj stuff is going pretty well, a/tt(a)c have a 20 minute megamix going out on Brendan’s show, with an interview from us in a couple of weeks. We have also done the German equivalent of the ‘essential mix’, 2 hours of our musical choices and mixing, only this time, I have done an hour, as has Tom. I highly recommend his blend of psychadelic-indie-disco stuff. All on our soundcloud to download…. All free! I have also put up a comedy mix I did for my friend Keenan using some ancient vocal samples I managed to find. It’s pretty dark but I think it might have made his day.

http://soundcloud.com/a-tt-a-c

So still busy busy busy, managing to fit a lot in, and feeling bewildered by any time off I find myself with. My sleep cycle has shifted severely by about 4 hours, which leaves me just nodding off to sleep at 5a.m or just after. I seem to be waking up at 12. This is really annoying because no-one is on fb chat realistically beyond around 1a.m during the week. I have seen so many Derren Brown hour-specials on 4od this week, I can almost certainly read peoples minds.

This blog’s top 3

Cassius – I love you so (Skream Remix)

A great tune from French producers Cassius. Lovely warm piano mixed with a shuffling amen break beat section form the predictable but reliable Skream. A great way of not quite being dubstep or drum and bass but seemingly capturing both. Lovely vocal as well. This is a staple in my sets at the moment.

DJ Medhi – Pocket Piano (Joakim Mix)

Another French electro track, with lovely disco feeling to it. This is by far the best remix and is unlikely to creep into my sets because of its annoyingly low B.P.M, which is only 120. Sounds silly and loses its original intention when sped up, so I’d rather not ruin it. The extended piano breakdown in the middle is brilliant. Great track to put on when you’re running late and need music to compliment the sense of urgency in your feet and legs and brain.

Bowski – Leggins (Original Mix)

This new producer is the second one to be signed to Fake Blood’s ‘Blood Music’ label. You can see why. His production style is very similar with lovely, catchy delicate keys and deep rich rounded bass. Simple, sweet minimal house track.

Laters x

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Happy ‘love day’ you smug bunch of bastards.

HI THERE!

I shaved my head just after my last blog, about 3 weeks ago… by accident. I thought the clipper attachment was far, far longer than it was, and in the middle of the night in front of a steamed up bathroom mirror, I ran it confidently across the middle of the top of my head. Turns out it went quite short straight away. This left me with a shaved head and a moustache which is a look I tried for a day but then rushed home when I caught a reflection of myself in a shop window, to shave the moustache. This has left me, as I feared it would, looking like a lesbian. It’s hard to explain, but at least I feel butch for the first time in my life. If anyone has any tips on vitamin supplements which make hair grow quickly, I’m all ears.

Brilliant. The second annoyance was that I lost my cash-card, leaving me totally unable to withdraw money at a time that I seem to be spending a hundred million pounds on transport a day. Obviously my oyster card ran out at the same time, and I also ran out of deodorant, which is somewhat unrelated, but is similarly annoying. While I am ranting, does anyone else feel a little resentful at the fact toiletries aren’t free, or at the very least infinite? Every time I have to buy toothpaste, or shampoo or deodorant I find myself very angry at the fact these items aren’t just free. All of the necessities of hygiene should be provided by the government for free, the quality of such products could be governed by the ministry of hygiene and also linked to transport for London, as from my experience of traveling in rush hour, one in three commuters smells like an onion on their way to work, traveling back this smell has developed into a scent with such potency, it could kill Spartacus.

Since the last blog, Company has opened, and consistently sold out each and every one of its shows for the last 3 weeks, Very Brief Encounters has been performed in Derby and London (on Valentine’s day), and my stand-up show is tomorrow night. No I’m not ready, yes I am nervous. You see as well as losing my cash card I also lost my phone last week. I now have a replacement on the same number and everything seems to have magically restored itself except for the ‘notes’ section. The ‘notes’ section is where I used to put all of my jokes as I came up with them. There was an awful lot of the show on there, so I have had to re-write.

But there are some brilliant things on the horizon! The Canterbury Tales will go up in Southwark Playhouse in late May, I shall be assistant director on that, before then, ‘Theatre In A Car’ finally gets going again, and then later on, ‘The Curse Of Elizabeth Faulkner’. This is a script which has been in development for about two years and is the funniest thing anyone has or will ever seen. Very excited about that.

So Valentines day was absolutely superb. My cast did a phenomenal job with the show, and the theatre was absolutely packed out. A real pleasure to be working with that group of people.

What’s been happening other than this…? I have recorded two mixes for radio, one over here, one for Germany. The first is a ten-minute mash-up, the second is an hour of music I feel Germans would appreciate. Both mixes and all of my other stuff can be downloaded here – http://soundcloud.com/a-tt-a-c – for free!

I got two brilliant phonecalls yesterday as I was at the theatre, the first being from someone I have been thinking about recently (I’m not convinced it was Valentines day that put her back in my head but I’m certainly not ruling it out) who is someone I am not nearly as good as I should be at keeping contact with. She also was just randomly calling, not calling with an agenda as so many do and poorly attempt to shroud their intention in a long lost friendship. So that’s good. She is doing amaaaazing things and I will let you all know about them when I’m allowed to know myself. It’s a really good feeling to know that there are some people out there that you can have barely any contact with for months at a time, but as soon as you talk on the phone, or see them again, it’s like nothing has changed at all since you were last with them.

The second call was from one of my best friends, to say that despite being broke, over-worked and tired would be coming to London from Portsmouth to see my show tomorrow night, and bringing his girlfriend, and also her parents! I hate working so much only for the one reason that I feel I’m neglecting my non-theatre friends. This is certainly true in specific cases, and people reading, to all three of you, I apologise.

Some celebrities have been coming to see company! We have had Miriam Margoyles and Jonathan Ross so far, who is for the record an absolutely lovely bloke. He bought  massive round for all of the cast and production team, came with his family and is apparently coming again!

Valentines day was a bit of a weird one for me this year, certainly during the day before my mind was on the show in the evening. Traveling on the bus to the venue, going past hundreds of beaming couples, sacks of greenery in their manicured hands, walking through the parks as they have no place to be in particular. All of this coming after leaving my laptop on my bed with facebook up, watching the floods of sentiment gushing from peoples loved-up cerebellums…. I split up with my ex on February 15th last year. The day has bizarre connotations for me. I can honestly say I’m extremely relieved not to be with someone this year. Firstly I can absolutely not afford by any means to spoil a girl as I have done for the last 11 of them, but mainly because I finally get it! I finally know what I want and so I’m pleased to no end that I’m not spoiling a girl who I think is pretty and bright and funny enough to have a relationship with, to use the initial stages to ignore all of the glimpses of incompatibility and just focus on the sex and fresh attraction and excitement. Why bother with all of that? Surely the best way to find someone truly important with whom you’re compatible with is firstly certainly not to look for that, but rather, meet as many people as you possibly can and don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. The way I see it, I’m much more likely to find someone to be with by meeting someone and finding that I cannot shake them from my thoughts, with little explanation as to why. It has also happened to me once before. I am not dreaming up this chance encounter. It does happen, and I know that she will be reading this at some point! Particularly as it happened for her with two different people! It is a crazy thing, and it certainly made me act more than a little strangely, but in the most incredible and exhilarating way.

The words ‘I love you’ can be absolutely meaningless. This is the sad thing, it means that for those instances where it is meant, the brevity of its purpose is somewhat weakened. If those words which once cemented the upper echelon of romantic intention and a solemn bond between two people at the deepest level are now regularly said to me as a ‘aww you’re sweet to think we could have something, or aren’t you a good friend?’ sort-of-phrase then what the fuck am I left with when I want someone to genuinely know that I care very much for them?

This leads me onto a little pet hate of mine. People that say I love you and don’t mean it. Now I don’t mean people who say I love you and think they mean it, this is a different breed entirely. Those who use the word to evoke the response they require from someone, as a form of manipulation. I am really sick of being patronized at the moment, it seems to continually come back to my age. I’m just so frustrated that when I am the age that would allow me to be fucking taken seriously, all of the people that it matters to me will be too old for me to have to worry what they think! Very frustrating. The point is, as much as you don’t believe it, or as little as you care, I with my lack of years could well surprise you given half the chance. But having said all of this, I probably wouldn’t as I would soon realize our incompatibilities and discard you. And being dumped by someone between 3 and 8 years younger than you (working hard here to ensure no identities are revealed, rest assured this is about more than one woman) is probably more than your ego could take. I say this because I’m only interested in older girls who think very highly of themselves, and so therein lies the problem with them being with a younger, also arrogant man.

Fuck it. If I’m single when I’m 30, I’ll settle and have a kid with a fat girl. It shall be my single act of charity.

Wow, where the hell did that all come from? Oh well, i’m too lethargic to mind. So onto happier things, I have been bought the most wonderful gift. An annual oyster card! A whole year without having to top anything up! Amazing! I shall spend much more time traveling now, because I can. I shall stop by stop document the night bus routes until I am a walking stab-wound. I want to find the little boats that you can use your oyster card with, and use them on a regular basis to get from pointless A to unattractive B. I can procrastinate more in my journeys knowing that such behavior won’t amount to spiraling costs. This truly is a momentous day. If only taxi’s took oyster.

What am I excited and enthused about at the moment then? Well, I’ve got a tremendous DJ set prepared whenever I need it! Loads of stunning new tracks from Proxy, Clouds, Tiga and of course Fake Blood’s new track ‘Medieval’ which is amaaaazing. Also I have seen the line-up for this year’s L.E.D. festival, which looks bonkers, looking forward to finally seeing Aphex Twin live. Jack Beats are touring, as are the Chemical Brothers, so those are two gigs I won’t miss. In other news, I am part way through designing and building a new soundsystem, this will mean very little to most of you, but I have located some porn-horns, 2’ high-boxes and am to build two double punisher subs. To explain without sounding like a boring maniac, by summer I will have really big, really loud speakers. So this makes me happy.

Other than all of the music stuff, I’m really looking forward to casting and working with a lot of actors that I’ve wanted to work with for ages. Theatre in A Car requires a cast of around 46, and I know who I want already, this is going to be the most insane project, and the first one I have directed, where I know I will at no point be able to buy my cast a congratulatory round of drinks. After working on some amazing projects this year already, it has reminded me what a pleasure it is to work with solid actors, and to meet new ones. These relationships, although professional, often bleed into the personal in a lovely way, and I’m very lucky that my career is in a sense making new groups of friends every few months. I do want to mention how much I enjoyed re-visiting ‘Very Brief Encounters’. Siteline Productions are a relatively new company, run by a loyal, extremely dedicated team of friends. They are one to watch for the future.

Right, that’s probably it from me this time, sorry it’s taken a while to do another one of these. I shall endeavor not to leave too long before the next. Oh, and for the record, this one could have been much funnier, but I am saving all of my funnies for the show tomorrow night, so come then and you will be awash in a sea of elation.

This blog’s musical 3…

Bobby Hebb – Sunny

The original version, covered by Boney M, which was then sampled by Mark ‘I put horns on every fucking thing I do’ Ronson for his track ‘Ooh-Wee’. This is a song to smile too. Amazing arrangement and Hebb has a voice like a 5 year massage, without the unavoidable deep-tissue damage. No cleft-spine from this tune.

The Supremes – You Keep me Hanging On

Everyone knows it, but people sometimes forget it. Best girl group ever. Even better than the corrs.

P.M. Dawn – Set Adrift On Memory Bliss

Classic mid-90’s hip-hop reworking of Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’. Another great example of harmless east-coast hip-hop with tight production and no lyrics about gang-raping and stabbing people.

Laters…

xxx

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Third time busy…

Hi there you lot,

This year is already totally ridiculous. I am working on so many different projects my head is going to explode. At the same time I am also trying to see at least one show a week with my new theatre buddy, Sarah.

I suppose I should begin with Sarah’s party last Saturday, the one at Kensington Roof Gardens. It was amazing to catch up with people I haven’t seen in ages, to meet their friends and to drink copious amounts of free vodka. There were so many beautiful people in this club. More than I’ve sever seen in one place. It was a brilliant night that ended up with some very odd and very funny things happening.

We are now in week 3 of rehearsals for Company, the show is looking superb, I’m really excited to get into the space next week. Also this week I’ve been working on That Weekend At Chartwell, a new piece of writing about Churchill during the war. The cast I’m working with for this are the most accomplished group of actors I have ever worked with, so I’m finding it very exciting. On top of these two I begin rehearsals for the new version of Very Brief Encounters, a show I directed last year with the brilliant theatre company, ‘Siteline Productions’. This is the speed-dating comedy. We are currently looking for a venue on Valentines Day, so for all of you singletons out there, come and get drunk with us after the show. I have also confirmed that the New Red Lion Theatre will be the venue for my stand-up show ‘Why Do You Close Your Eyes When We Make love?’. This will be at 10pm on February 18th. Support from Russ Hope.

I saw a superb show last night at the New Red Lion, Kissing Sid James. It is a brilliant comedy two-hander with an exceptional cast. Everyone should see the show, it’s just been extended so you still have a chance.

It feels like this year is trying to make up for last year but all at the same time. I have turned work down for the first time due to having no time at all, turned down a holiday, will possibly be turning down a further holiday, and can’t even seem to find the time to get my ridiculous hair sorted out. If I had clippers in my room I would surely have shaven my head in a moment of insanity. I looked like an unusual mole when I did this before, so I suppose having a floppy emo swept fringe undercut thing is better in some way than looking like a weird ground dwelling rodent.

I am selling loads of my stuff at the moment in order to buy a HUGE new soundsystem, so if any of you are interested in a massive drum kit, loads of speakers and amplifiers or other stuff that makes lots of noise, do let me know. If you are a speaker nerd like myself I have about 5000 watts to get rid of…

I have begun to eat mini corn a lot. Not the ones in tins, the ones that look like little knobbly yellow carrots. Mmmm, appetizing description… I was looking for a healthy rehearsal snack seeing as I have no idea when I am supposed to eat each day, my proclivity for these baby corns knows no end. I devour them with zeal reflective of the jaded, listless sexual appetite of a fifty year-old colonel. I might go up a step next week to superfoods for the get-in week of Company. Huge hunks of raw broccoli or a whole mint tree thing, those little mint plants you get in big supermarkets. Perhaps chew one of those rather than gum and then after a while move on to rhododendron chasers.

I’m trying to do a lot at once, not just in respect of work. I have a feeling that if I don’t adjust other elements of my life, then this much work will just ruin me. So healthfood, less drinking, earlier nights for earlier mornings, walking not buses if time permits, less smoking, no fizzy drinks and sit-ups and press-ups in the evening before bed. I thought that a combination of all of these things would make getting up in the morning easier. It doesn’t. The journey from my bed to my door, and then from my door to the bathroom is in reality no more than three metres. Upon waking at half-past seven for the sixth day in a row, it looks like a pretty convincing 40 miles. The single movement of sitting up and swinging my legs 90 degrees to my left, standing, and grabbing my towel from the hook on the back of my door requires overcoming more and more cerebral procrastination each time. The snooze feature on my iphone is less constructive to my current lifestyle than having both of my feet broken by a collective works of Shakespeare.

So in short, getting up early is hard. I have never loved anything or anyone even a modicum of the all-encompassing visceral body-hammer that is coffee. I, ashamedly, always go for very sweet ones to get the double kick of both caffeine and sugar. Unfortunately these are always the campest options on offer. I have a penchant for vanilla lattes, but with skimmed milk, so skinny vanilla lattes. Have you ever heard anything more camp? Gay men look at me sympathetically each time I enter a Starbucks.

While we are on this by the way, an awful lot of people seem to assume I’m gay when they first meet me. Although I have joked about my camp dress sense ever since I began my obsession with the colour purple (and over-using words like ‘obsession’), only recently have I learned of my friends first impressions of me. I’m not really sure what I can do about this, I don’t really mind but I think it’s an unusual assumption to make. I almost always have some sort of very scruffy facial hair arrangement, I have no skincare routine to speak of, I smell much more of cigarettes than my cologne and yes my hair doesn’t make any sense, but not in an avant garde stylish way. Any help with this would be appreciated.

While we’re on help, anyone who wants to help me with my tax return would also be appreciated.

I wish to put a question to you all. If you could pick one artist or band to soundtrack your life, who would you choose? Are you someone deeply disturbed with a seemingly insatiable appetite for Ketamine, and would choose Aphex Twin? Are you a mellow, chilled out kind of person who would rather watch the sun set with a glass of wine than hear the beat of electronic drums? A fleet Foxes kind of person? The bloke I would choose is called RJD2. If you know his work without being an avid follower it’s likely you will have heard his track ‘Ghostwriter’ in a bar or pub in the background. I urge you to hunt down his albums. He is a god. The albums ‘Dead Ringer’ and ‘Since we last spoke’ should be in every music lovers collection. If you’re too lazy to do this, then just youtube ‘Smoke and mirrors’ this track should get you excited in the guy.

This blog’s musical thrice;

 

Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm – Getting Nasty

The wife-beating wonder records another slice of fried gold. You will know this as the hook sample in Jurassic 5’s ‘Concrete Schoolyard’. This is the glorious original. Funkier than James Brown and Chromeo body-popping in a giant afro with Prince doing the Charleston whilst looking on, sweating.

 

Breakbot – Baby I’m Yours

The happiest track ever recorded ? You decide. Gives such ‘happy track’ classics as Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ a run for their money, although it is in no way like Otis Redding.

 

Kraak & Smaak – Squeeze Me

A funky, horn-driven hip-hop funk number, great vocals and catchy hook. The kind of track you can imagine breakdancers jive to in a new york subway in the late 1980’s. But you wouldn’t, as its much more recent than that.

 

In a bit… x

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Back so soon?

Hi there.

So on Thursday morning on my daily commute at around half eight I had to squeeze myself onto the central line at Bethnal Green. It was insanely tight in there and I was squished up against a tiny Indian man who had locked his arms in front of him with a copy of metro hiding his body from torso to forehead. Then it began. An awful smell began to spread in my immediate vicinity. Commuters around me began to look around them, subtly at first and then with a greater sense of urgency. Who was creating this fetid stench? The little man peered surreptitiously over the top of his paper for a brief moment to see if he’d got away with it. I can’t help but feel that for the first one, he had. But then he kept doing it with no reverence to the pitiful amount of air available to us in this carriage. It came with such regularity that I hypothesized that the poor guy had been born sans anus. Either way, he kept doing them, kept peering over the top of his paper, and I imagined his horrible smug grin hiding beyond the reach of my vision. I hoped desperately he would leave at Liverpool Street but alas he did not, this made me inordinately agitated. My eyes were stinging, and the smell was becoming one of such power it almost had a texture to it. I began to resent him and his cleft arse to such an extent that when I dismounted at Bank to make the unfathomably long journey on foot to the northern line, I echoed the sentiment of the others on the carriage and rather loudly said to this little man “we all know it was you”. For the record, I also did that gesture where you lean in slightly, widen your eyes, and end the sentence with a solemn single nod of the head, eyes closed. I say ‘that gesture’, it may be a gesture only I do. In fact, I suppose it may not even qualify as a gesture at all, merely a set of movements. Anyhow, just to give you a richer visual image, that’s how it went.

I felt liberated at such an honest outburst and thought the man ought to have been punished for his stinky crimes via public humiliation but in hindsight I feel a bit bad about it. We all make mistakes. What if the poor bloke (who obviously had an incredibly poor diet) had IBS, or even worse Crohn’s? Who am I to berate his medical condition? Or even worse, what if he had been a maverick and taken a risk on a fart, which turned into a gamble, risked too far? Surely his rectal bravery should in some way be commended? If only I was enough of an ‘alpha male’ to make such commendations.

Still, little bastard should have gone for a safety wipe before embarking on his journey on the already horrible underground network. Where is he now I wonder? Possibly dead.  Maybe he pushed again and lost some vital organs.

On Thursday night I went to the current theatre delicatessen building to see their final production in this space. Knowing the building inside out having worked on the last two shows there, I had suspicions that I wouldn’t fall prey to the immersive spell cast by half-cut, the team working in tandem who undertook much of the design and dressing. I was wrong.

Greeted on the door by my good friend Carl, who was playing a florist, he warmly welcomed all audience members into the space. From the main entrance into the building, it was entirely different to when I had last been in, at the end of December. Walking into the main space itself revealed a stunning transformation, once again the room had completely changed. Now in traverse, the stage itself is echoed in a false ceiling which brings an even greater intimacy into an already personal space.

The show was superb. The cast is brilliant, direction is spot-on from one of the artistic directors of Theatre Delicatessen, Frances Loy.

It is also worth noting the superb sound design, undertaken by theatre deli stalwart, Fergus Waldron. I was pleased to hear Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th’ as the closing music for the show, one of my old favourites which was also used in the credits for the latest escapade by my all time comedy hero Chris Morris in his film ‘Four Lions’.

The show has clearly benefited from the Arts Council funding it received, and I look forward eagerly to see what they have up their sleeves next.

I got a phone call from someone who shall not be named who has an acute understanding of my emotional vulnerability. I knew her for barely 6 weeks. I want to know how people keep seeing this. Must tell more jokes.

So the stand-up show is coming on well, I keep re-writing bits and it’s regularly changing beyond recognition of what I originally wanted to talk about. It seems that funny things keep popping up on the horizon of my periphery and I am powerless to resist them. I could do a 5-hour show, if only people wanted to see it. I also keep thinking of much better titles, I’ve now totally convinced myself that it should be called ‘Clown’s Syndrome’. Not that I have any material on clowns, in fact my recent experience of a clown was extremely pleasant and I imagine deeply disturbing to any children should they have witnessed it. Only 2 people will know what this means and I feel that either are unlikely to be reading it, so this bit is just for me.

Tonight I am off to see ‘Kissing Sid James’ at the New Red Lion. Catching up with an old friend who leads the most bizarre life. I have known him for about ten years now and he is easily one of the most intelligent, talented people I know, but notoriously difficult to contact. Basically when he decides he wants to see you, he will get in touch and he will keep his word, but if you want to see him, you can only wait. He is currently planning to start his own brewery. He is an enigma. I’m almost certain he is the most unusual guy I know. He is definitely the most unusual guy I like. The kind of guy that will one day, out of nowhere, suddenly be one of the most famous people in the country for something you never would have expected. He is also more muscular than Ving Rhames on bull hormones. So at the very least, he could fight his way to the top. I am still persuading him to become an actor or a comedy writer so I can exploit his talents for my own personal gain ‘ahem’ …collaborate with him.

Years ago we used to write comedy sketches at school for an end of year spectacle inventively titled ‘The Christmas Show’. We would usually write around ten sketches, and hope that one would be deemed suitable. Occasionally none were and so we begrudgingly had to tone down our themes or content. The sketches ranged from extremely leftfield character comedy featuring parodies of a special needs teacher shaving her face with a knife (these sketches were perhaps the most popular and ran for five consecutive years) to outright copies of sketches from family guy (‘remember that time you forgot how to sit in a chair?’) and an appalling portrayal of the classic one-legged Tarzan sketch, the silence of the room remaining to be the most deafening emptiness in my living memory.

One day we both hope that we find the time and energy to sit in a room full of beer for a week and write our own sketch show. Seeing as he is starting a brewery, he can supply the beer. I am currently looking for a room big enough for all of the beer we need.

Saturday night is my friend Sarah’s 23rd birthday party at uuuuuurgh…. Kensington Roof Gardens. I was out with Sarah on Thursday to see ‘Dolls House’ and she is a brilliant girl. I have been to the venue once before, Sarah’s 18th, and it is like walking into another world. A world where drinks cost more than fellatio from the pope. A world where the men are all footballers and the women are all Russian. That kind of place. However, on Saturday I am to be treated to being at the same party as (drum roll) …N-Dubz, Chelsea football players, and a super-secret mystery guest that Sarah has told me, but alas I am sworn to secrecy until Sunday. As well as the comic relief of being at the same social gathering as the upper echelon of contemporary music (N-Dubz) I am very excited about seeing lots of people that I trained as an actor with years ago. This is how I know Sarah. I feel very out of place at Kensington Roof Gardens, and it makes me a bit socially awkward, my dear friend James feels very out of place there also, but uses it to be really threatening to anyone who dares to look at him funny. I can’t wait to see James again. The fact that there’s free vodka all night at this party guarantees me that James will get hammered and threaten someone wearing Jack Wills, Hackett, or Abercrombie. I love that Sarah has such an eclectic friend group.

I also briefly want to mention two music producers who provided me with some of the best tracks and remixes I’ve ever wrapped my grubby little ears around in the latest quarter of 2010. They are ‘Clouds’ and ‘Zeds Dead’. If you like house music, particularly fidget house or basically if you like the kid of music Tom and I DJ as a/tt(a)c, then you will love every track they ever make. They are growing in popularity very quickly having been championed by Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell-Out (Zeds Dead just finished a U.K. tour with Kissy) and I predict that both will be huge by the end of the year. In other news, both Jack Beats and The Chemical Brothers are on tour for the next few months. If you know the squelchy deliciousness of Jack Beats then I highly recommend them live. As far as I’m concerned, for their kind of music they are the best producers out there, bar none. As for Tom and Ed Chemical, when these guys put on a show, they pull out all the stops. One of the best gigs of my life was seeing them at Olympia in 2009. Their visuals, light show and tour soundsystems are a full-on assault to the senses, their latest album was superb and this is a gig not to miss.

This blog’s magic 3 –

Justice – Fabric Rejected Mix a.k.a (Christmas Special Mix)

This is not at all what you would expect from the French electro giants. This 45 minute mix was rejected by Fabric for being too eclectic, and not representative of the music these boys produce. It is a spellbinding journey through French disco, punk, rock, electro-pop and many other genres. It really grows on you and I can’t find a time when I don’t want to listen to the whole thing. As it was rejected, it is officially unreleased but you can find it on the web if you look hard enough.

Handsome Boy Modeling School – The Truth (Feat. Roisin Of Moloko)

I love this woman’s vocals. This is a really smooth jazz-influenced hip-hop track as all of the best ones are. Quite similar to some stuff by Tribe Called Quest, it’s just an extremely well produced track with a great hook.

Holly Walker – I Need Cash

This is a track by my wonderful friend Holly. She has done loads of them now, but this is still in my top 3. I have remixed it many times… She writes all of her own stuff, and did a brilliant thing last year where she wrote, performed and recorded a new song every day for a month, the videos can all be found on youtube. She is stupidly talented, and the loveliest person in the world. I also recommend the Halloween version of ‘Baddies’, The Angel Islington’ (my favorite) and ‘My Heart Is A Scrunchy’.

She gigs all the time and I believe is still currently unsigned. Buy her music, go to her gigs. She will be famous.

See you all around… x

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Hello World!

Well here we go.

It’s the second week of 2011, so happy new year to all of you. I hope it’s a better year than the last one for many reasons. I can’t complain about my rubbish 2010 too much as it was much worse for many people I know. My oldest friend got cancer (and has now fully recovered after the awful treatment they are subjected to) and one of my newest and closest friends lost his father to the same disease. So, thought I’d start on a nice cheery note then.

This is my first ever blog. It is one of my many new years resolutions. Here are the others for those of you who are interested…

  1. No more actresses.
  2. Stop smoking by or on April 20th (My Birthday)
  3. Write my first play (‘Joshua’ – more details to follow…)
  4. See more of my friends (A classic new years resolution)
  5. Get a few regular club nights.
  6. Do my best to find ‘the one’. (Such predictable sentiment)
  7. Perform my best stand-up show to date (18th Feb 10pm)
  8. Lose 2010’s weight. I was in good shape once…
  9. Save some money.
  10. No more actresses.*
  • And yes I meant to write that twice. I’m reminding myself as I seem to forget it far too easily.

The reason I so vehemently ram home this point on actresses is not because I intend only to work with male actors in the future, far from it. I am of course referring to actresses in a romantic sense, as I seem to keep falling for their overtly apparent charms (whatever they decide they want you to fall for). I won’t rant for too long here, as the best stuff is in my stand-up show but what I will say is one must draw the line when one finds oneself in the position of being the rebound of a rebound. If only for the sake of self-preservation. The less said about this, the better.

So I begin this year single, once again. Seemingly unable to meet anybody outside the world of theatre. This has many ramifications. It means you have to get up early for rehearsals, stay up late to run shows, drink heavily throughout, and process more emails than Bill Gates on cheap speed. Having said this, I wouldn’t change it for all the money, time or money in the world, and whilst continually being unlucky in love, I have lots of brilliant theatre jobs lined up to focus my energies more usefully elsewhere.

The first of these is Sondheim’s ‘Company’, which we are currently in week 2 of rehearsals for. I have wanted to work with the production team for years, since meeting them at a theatre I used to work at. They are MokitaGrit, and they are superb. This show is looking very good indeed already. It is the first musical ever to be staged at Southwark Playhouse, which is one of my favorite venues in London. You should all come and see it. I am assistant director on this one, assisting the brilliant Joe Fredericks.

The second of which falls next week and is a rehearsed reading of a new play. It is a brilliantly written script with some very big name actors and I am greatly looking forward to this. I’m also assistant director on this one.

The third is the latest incarnation of ‘Very Brief Encounters’. This is a show which I directed last year, we performed it in Derby and around London to sold-out audiences. It’s a site-specific comedy about speed-dating, and I will be up in Derby with it on the long weekend leading up to Valentine’s day this year. A day I am dreading as I have always had someone to spoil on this day since I was 12, but this year I will probably be sitting alone writing a blog, most likely an angry one, most likely hungover.

It’s going to be in London soon, and we may well have a few special events (we held a speed-dating evening to promote it and to give the actors some practice in character, I have never seen fear like it in peoples eyes) so you should all come and see it.

The fourth one is still a bit uncertain, but I plan to do ‘Theatre In A Car’. I won’t go into this at this stage, but for those who know what it is, the latest scripts by the superlative Tim Downie are the funniest collections of words on paper I have ever read in my life. You will laugh until you make all of those around you feel uncomfortable. I have also written one of the cars as I did last year. The comedy is colder than a widow’s stare.

So, yes… Busy for the time being. I have also decided to write a play (working title – ‘Joshua’) which is a true story about my closest friend who has lived more of life than almost anyone, and he’s still not 23. I couldn’t not write this, it is an unbelievable true story, so hopefully this will be produced later this year. I also hope I do it justice…

As I type this I am waiting for a phone call from a friend who works in the New Red Lion theatre about my booking of it on February the 18th. I am hoping to secure this as the venue for my all-new stand-up show for 2011 ‘Why Do You Close Your Eyes When We Make Love’ the title is stolen from someone, but I can’t remember who. So apologies to whoever that is.

I’m feeling really good about this one. It’s just as honest as the last one but much funnier. I also have support form my good friend Russ Hope who is the loveliest man anyone has ever met. He will no-doubt be much better than me, but his stuff is different, so much like a mother invariably has a favorite child, you can choose your favorite comic that night.

I have to be very careful when I write material. I write my best stuff when I’m angry and I usually have to heavily blur identities of whom I am speaking about, mainly due to the fact that pretty much the only people who come to my gigs are people I know, and am indeed facebook friends with, as I only promote them via this method. In fact, everyone reading this is also a facebook friend, so to both of you, thank you. You will be spared form my comedic wrath.

2010 may have been an appalling year for me, but it’s let to some great comedy material, so, swings and roundabouts and all that.

This has probably been long enough; I have only ever read one blog before, so I’m not hot on blog etiquette. I feel that if I commit a blogging faux pas such as writing a blog with a length akin to ‘War and Peace’ then no one will read it. But oddly it feels like I’m writing this only for me as yet another exercise in the depravity of egotism. Either way, if you’re reading this, then yeah! I’m awesome!

Oh, there’s one more thing I’m going to do in all of my blogs… I am going to mention 3 tracks I’m listening to at the moment. The easiest way to listen to these is probably youtube which seems to have every sound anyone’s ever made somewhere in its bowels. If you like them you can use video to mp3 converter which is a website that means you will never need to buy a song again. Controversial. My favorite songs change daily, so you might find a few gems, or you might lose all respect for my musical palette. This blog’s magic 3 are;

Surkin ft. Chromeo – Chrome Knight

This is an old track now, but Chromeo are consistently excellent and I have an addiction to this as a commuting track.

Mirwais – Miss You (Thin White Duke Mix)

The sexiest the rolling stones have ever sounded.

Marlena Shaw – California Soul

You all know this obviously, but I urge you to listen again. This woman wrote the book on soul. She makes Otis Redding seem like Margaret Thatcher.

See you all soon. x

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