Tuesday, 28 August 2007


also, because we were at a festival i got a temporary tat (a necessary process for anyone at a festival, methinks). i've wanted a tattoo for ages and can't decide where or what to get.

thoughts please....

(why must i be) a teenager in love?

well, they done it again, they did. the cast of return to the forbidden planet '07 pulled it out of the bag and absolutely blew the minds of everyone around them; the audience's, the organisers' and mine. this bank holiday the faith, hope and gaffertape theatre company kicked ass twice with two more performances of the musical that we put together in 5 days earlier this month.

we'd been asked by greenbelt to perform after wowing the punters and overfilling one of their venues last year. they gave us a venue twice as big this year, and we managed to do the same. 700 people queued and sat for over three hours in scorching heat to fall in love with - what i think are - the greatest, most hardworking, most loving group of people i will ever meet. we had to turn 200 people away there were so many.

and the guys didn't disappoint. i and the other gaffertape leaders will find it hard to accept any responsibility for what happened within that marquee on saturday and monday. it was all the performers. they stormed through the best performance ever seen in the 14-year history of gaffertape, and blew the seams off that tent. i'm so proud.

it's slightly odd declaring that i love a bunch of teenagers and miss them like a mentalist. but i do. they are amazing, and i'll be a-counting down the days until i see them again.

get rich (or die tryin')

i'm not going to make a habit of continuously picking out and commenting on the faults of popular culture. i like doing it, those who've regularly read my blog and/or know me well know that i could quite easily churn out a list of a hundred things that bug me about the falsely named pop-'cultural' world that surrounds us. i do like doing it. it's like a release and helps me get through the day.

and we all like the sound of our own opinions don't we?

but i won't do it every time. the last post was. this post is. sometimes that's just the way things pan out.

and so here's the reason for this post:
kanye west came to my venue yesterday to do a gig organised by vodafone. i'm not a big fan of his music. i liked golddigga, but to be honest the rest sound far too similar; a bit of rap interspersed with some sample from some old track that he's found in some record collection. but while i may not be a huge fan, i expected him to put on a pretty good performance full of energy and spectacle.


pretty much the worst gig i've ever seen. nothing to do with the music, although it sounded pretty awful. this wasn't the fault of kanye, but the fault of his PR guy and sound engineer; an american who - without irony - introduced himself as 'hotdog.' yuh. from that moment on i couldn't take him seriously. he was a dick, but let's not dwell on him other than this conversation between one of the girls from the orchestra and him:

HARPIST: hi, um... hotdog. is it possible we [the orchestra] could have some more light on stage? we can't see our music, and it's just quite dark
HOTDOG: that's hip-hop

what a penis. turns out his first name is brian, which might explain reverting to hotdog.

so to the gig. it was due to start at 8pm. no sign of kanye. not at 8.15, 8.30, 9.00... eventually at 9.20 june sarpong arrives on stage to lull the booing audience. a struggle for her without a personality to rely on. but after an awkward ten minutes she says "now the moment you've all been waiting for, the most exciting thing in music right now, ladies & gents... KANYE WEST!"

the crowd goes wild.

the band kicks in.

the lights go crazy.

... and everything fizzles out.

a few more minutes. apparently he had left the venue at 8 without telling anyone. he never explained why. why should he?.. he's kanye west.

then it all starts up again and on he comes, churning out one of his songs. and the gig has commenced. kind of. he doesn't make it through any song. constantly he stops in the middle of a track and says something to the effect of "i'm going to start again from the second verse." which he does; with the production crew staring in confusion and disbelief at each other. it's being recorded 'as-live' for channel 4. after 3-4 stop/start songs the director is practically pulling clumps of his own hair out.

it was horrible. a masterclass in how not to do a gig.
some things you really shouldn't do (that he did anyway):

  1. attempt a televised gig without really rehearsing
  2. make a big deal about forgetting your own lyrics and restart the song
  3. add new bits that throw off your band
  4. try to improvise with a clearly unprepared 30-piece string orchestra
  5. tell the audience they are "boring" and should "try to look more interested"
  6. suggest that the audience don't recognise a real star when there is one right in front of them
  7. try and do a costume change between songs and when you don't have time, tell everyone to stop over the microphone
  8. stop the gig to have a nonsensical rant about your bitter rival 50 cent
  9. stop doing songs to talk through the process of writing your latest hit single...

it was at that point that the audience realised they were bored and began leaving. without exaggeration, at least a quarter of the audience had left well before the end of the set. about 500 people.

it was like watching a car crash happen in slow-motion. it was terrible. the organisers and i stared together in disbelief as the entire event slowly ground to an expensive mess. i thought it was very funny, myself. tammy, the production manager didn't seem to agree. maybe she was thinking how they were going to turn about 20 minutes of good footage into an hour long special for t4, to be broadcast on the 2nd september. gulp.

man, it was embarrassing. but not surprising when you attempt to work with someone who is clearly
98% ego and
2% tasteless expensive clothing.

i was reminded of this video. not only is the final revelation a piece of brilliance, but the angry indecipherable rambling leading up to it is quite something.

and i'm not the only one who agrees:
and i'm sure there are plenty of others...

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

the x-files

csi: crime scene investigation is a popular show watched by over 100 people around the world. despite never being bothered before, there was nothing good on telly this evening so i thought i'd give it a shot.

i will now add it to the list of "nothing good on telly," on a par with casualty, but with a bigger budget. and slightly more predictable. with more stereotypical characters, cliched script, rushed ending, cheesey story and dull, long, wordy scenes.

but that was just one episode.

the theme tune is good though, "who are you" by The Who. good choice. you don't get many of them from jerry bruckheimer.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

do you wanna be in my gang?

through the Power Of Facebook, i've just come back from a birthday party of someone who i haven't see since a-levels. 10 years ago. which was nice.

very amusingly, it turns out that there has been a rumour amongst all my old school friends that i'd disappeared and joined a cult, and i wasn't allowed to contact my friends or family. how that came about i have no idea. but i find it very funny.


Thursday, 9 August 2007

space oddity

it feels a little bit like all the energy has been removed from my body. for the last few days, every time i've turned up at work the first comment has been something to the effect of "goodness me young fellow-me-lad, every day you look worse than the last, young fellow-me-lad." or something very similar.

there is a very good reason. it's the same reason that i haven't really blogged anything for a good while.

i bin busy.

but doing awesome stuff is way better than writing about awesome stuff, so .. um, yep, totally okay with it y'know.

last week i done a thing that makes the tiredness worthwhile.

some of you may remember last year i worked with some kids doing a show at the greenbelt festival. well, it was a long time in preparation, but we done another show.

about 40 of us gathered together a week ago last sunday, 7 leaders and 30 odd young people aged between 15-22. our task: to prepare, produce and perform return to the forbidden planet in a... week.

auditions on the sunday evening. we casted overnight. then rehearsals began first thing on monday and from then on it was an intensive week of crazy spacedoods, rockin' spacechoons, dancin, singin, playin, buildin, not-sleepin and all things you can think of relevant to musicals and space.

and after 5 days, we put on a show. saturday and sunday. and i've never been more proud of anything i've done, or anyone i've known, than the 3 hours of sunday afternoon spent behind my tech-desk driving the show and trying to concentrate on what i was doing, when in front of me a bunch of my favourite people knocked the socks off the audience. an audience who i think expected very little. who had gone to a show thinking that all you could produce in a week would be someone on a piano and 30 young people singing songs together. if this is true, then they must've been blown completely away.

physically, we had an amazing set, staging, lighting, sound, big projected graphics, incredible costumes and a props list as long as mr. tickle's arm. but all that was just decoration. within all this fancy looking stuff were a full rock 'n roll band with brass section, and the hardest working musicians you'd ever meet (i've worked with professional musicians - they are lay-zeeee). then on stage, a selection of the finest people you'd ever be lucky enough to meet. they pulled it out of the bag, put on a jawdropping performance. i'm still amazed they did it to such a standard. brilliant singing, absolutely hilarious comic acting, full-on dance routines, with a shakespearian script no less! especially when i spent most of the wednesday before the show thinking "we might not pull this one off."

but by golly we did. and a tear of pride did reach mine eye.

to the guys of faith, hope and gaffertape 2007 theatre week: you rule. you absolutely rule. you rule, you rule, you rule. each of you made for one of the best weeks i've ever had. you worked so hard and ended up with an undeniably flappin awesome show, way way more superb than anyone could've expected. i miss you all. you rule. you absolutely rule.

and the BBC said this