Tuesday, 28 September 2010

falling down

I'm doing stand-up tonight. for the first time ever. there's still time to come and watch if you rush.

the miller
near London bridge
starts at 8pm

come on. support your local idiots.

Monday, 27 September 2010

no pretence

you should look up louise golbey if you like good soul music. that's a given.

look who's talking

I don't see my family enough. this I am guilty of. if they moved an hour or two closer this would change. I'm surprised they haven't really, I am pretty cool and worth uprooting your life for.

this is a picture of my new nephew getting christened by my grandpa this weekend. I like them both, they are excellent in very different ways. for example, grandpa is intelligent and witty and selfless. Oscar is the opposite, but really very cute.

Friday, 24 September 2010

the adjustment bureau

our review finally came out! hurrah! feel free to read it here, if you like.

or here:

obviously i slid down a big ramp of disappointment as i read it. i know for a fact that our show wasn't a 2-star unfulfillment, and other independent reviews prove my theory is not misled self-awareness.

i thought i'd check out other reviews by the same reviewer, and - good for her - she's managed to write six reviews for the edinburgh fringe. that's a lot of work. they're each at least 120 words each. that works out more than ONE HUNDRED words every week since the beginning of the fringe. that's a lot for a student on summer break. phew. i wish i had that pace when i was writing Slides of Chaos, then i'd still be doing it. and i loved the process of writing it. it was amazing. i was working with some brilliant people, making something brilliant happen.

and then we came to actually do the show, which was met with a resounding thunderstorm of positivity. for a free show that the audience could have wandered in and out of, we had regular audience members who stood (we often ran out of chairs) and stayed standing for the entire show. even ones who had to eventually be tugged out of the room by their partners because they had expensive tickets for another show starting somewhere else.

this happened more than once.

so i read some other reviews by 'georgina evenden' - our prolific ThreeWeeks.co.uk wordsmith. this one was my favourite:

or - in short - "eerily pretentious"

please feel free to have a read of her other reviews. i did. if you want a summary, basically she doesn't like comedy that much. except for a night of comedy that had different stand-ups on every night including Robin Ince and Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up of all time), which she gave a whole-hearted 3-stars-out-of-five. it seems a bit odd that someone who doesn't like comedy is asked to review comedy (a genre that requires audience members to have wholly generous, giving spirits). if you're going to do that, you need to send someone who can view the performance in an educated, unprejudiced and erudite way. and do it with a degree of conviction.

our reviewer used the term "tits up" and then happily put her name at the bottom.

so be it.

that's our review. that's how some review websites have to work. ThreeWeeks attempted to review two-thousand shows in a short time, and had to make do with some of the people who volunteered as "budding young journos."

i'll continue to base the opinions of the audience on the opinions of the actual audience. which looked something like this:
“that was the best free show i saw at the fringe, and one of the best shows over all.”
- audience member 22/08/10

"i loved the unashamed geeky references."
- dylan emery of Showstopper!: the improvised musical 28/08/10

“a massive two fingers to the world of suited, booted city slickers. too good to miss.”
- impro-junk 22/08/10

“better than a lot of stuff you have to pay for. very clever, very funny, with excellent timing.”
-mark duqueno 24/08/10

“very slick and humourous.”
- matthew somerville 24/08/10

“original and excellent.” 5-stars
- online audience review 27/08/10

“i thought this was a fantastic show, especially as it's free. a clever script, slick and endearing performances and incredibly creative use of technical wizardry all make for a very funny and very entertaining show.” 5-stars
- online audience review 27/08/10
of course, i'm only bitter because it was a bad review. i wouldn't have to've spent the last hour collating all those nice things people said into one place if Georgina Evendon (a student reviewer who only likes Dance and Glee shows and simply has to keep mentioning Italia Conti in much of her work, and even if a show is "occasionally stale" or "verges on the pretentious" she'll give it 4/5 if it's dance) had written "this was very slick, inventive and must've taken ages to produce and rehearse due to all the incredibly difficult technical aspects of the piece. audience members around me were commenting on how close the parody of a terrible place to work is, compared to their own working environment. impressive and dedicated work, 4-stars"...

it's okay, georgina. it's okay that you've only just left university and have no experience of anything referred to in my show. you're only a child, you've never had to do a days work for an arsehole. it's okay that your writing hasn't reached a level of maturity that makes it credible in the public world. you will learn. yes, your review currently says "i didn't like it, then i thought it was good, but i didn't like it." and you released it - pointlessly - three weeks after the thing finished, but don't let that stop you pursuing your dream. this country celebrates mediocrity so you'll fit right in.

i'll rise above the negativity and carry on receiving up-beat commentary, and georgina can work her arse off (100 words a day) to finally get a badly paid job at the daily mail where some coked-up bigot can attempt to moisten her dried up vagina facility.

Friday, 17 September 2010

the hole in 3d

the best thing, the BEST thing, the best thing about my job so far has been watching this go on outside the window.

when I finally move on from my job, my fondest memory will be the warmth I felt while watching boat-cranes and barge-mounted diggers scoop out the riverbed and turn a canal into a dry building site. many a time I've stood staring out of the window at hundreds of little men in fluorescent jackets driving trucks about and moving thousands of tons of earth out from under the water and on to barges. then with glee I'd study every detail of a little tug-boat coming to tow the gunk-filled barge away and replace it with an empty one.

slathering at the lips, I've seen every size and shape of construction plant come and go and bring and take away; slowly and surely turning a little man-made section of the Thames into the underwater foundations of an underground train-station and a seven-level shopping mall.

this bit of my job is awesome.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

nuns on the run

the pope is in the country today. the furore around it has sparked fine conversation between intellectuals, and nonsense from publications such as the daily mail. it put this video in my periphery...

... which spoon-fed a fair amount of chat between me and some of my cohortry.

comments included the quoting of this:
"‎(Religion) With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg

it's a quote that is almost easy to accept in the modern world, if you don't pause for long enough to justify it or think of a counter. lest not ye consider the idea that religion could equally lead evil people to do good things, and has throughout history.

the thing I respect most about the stephen fry video is that he doesn't tar all religion with same brush. he takes pains to distinguish that he doesn't disagree with religion, and that for millions of people it's just a way that helps them understand a complex and mysterious world.

the problem is the imperialism, the self aggrandising, the arrogance of people in power drunk on the power of that power.
this is not limited to religion. bankers didn't fuck up the economy because god (or god's "earthly representative") told them to.
oil companies and governments don't rape and raze countries because of the words of Allah in a book somewhere.
a man doesn't sexually abuse children because Jesus said he should in John Chapter 4 verses 11-19.

some people are evil. some of those people end up in religious organisations. some of them progress high up in those organisations.

for good people to do evil doesn't only take religion. it can also be greed, coercion, desperation, despair, fear, peer pressure, depression, ignorance, mental breakdown. yes, these things appear (far more than they should) in religion, but not exclusively.

religious belief/faith in a god isn't bad. organised religion can be, sometimes, depending on who is running the show. it annoys the fuck out of me when those two get mixed up.

the catholic church isn't evil. a 'church' is a collective of people gathered to worship. the modern catholic church is mostly a vibrant community of good people who gather for coffee mornings and toddler groups. unfortunately their organisation is run by self-righteous self-appointed gods on earth, who would rather cover up unforgivable crimes against humanity than consider the fallibility of human beings. the appointment of a human as god's representative on earth is the problem. it is a joke. especially when he is granted infallibility. that's just screwed up.
and the get-out clause of all sins forgiven and forgotten, whatever they are, after confession is nonsense... but not a far cry from what people get away with under diplomatic immunity.

ramble ramble ramble. hierarchy of humans pisses me off.

... was my offering to the conversation.

a good man called robert suggested this:
"when push comes to shove, the lovely people believe in God, and they believe that the Pope is God's first chosen representative on Earth. If they didn't, they wouldn't be Catholics.
And so, nobody shouts too loudly about their gay friends, or contraception, or child abuse. They just mutter over their cappuccinos, pretend they don't use contraception, keep putting money in the collection box and hope silently that one day it will all change."
i don't know who said it originally, but this reminded me of a hugely important and concise thing i heard once:
the best way for evil to flourish is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

with the papal visit this week, it simply comes down to this:
there are men who raped children, who are now walking around as free men.

dark angel

normally I would consider the idea of printing a load of stickers that say 'fuck' on them and spraying them around town to be bass and uninspired. however, look at the attention to detail - the proximity of colour, the accuracy of the font.

well done folk, well done. I applaud you silently from within an unnamed bank headquarters.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

a funny thing happened on the way to the forum

I'm working on a stand-up routine. it's hard.
the thing that makes it harder is that it's going to be put on in front of an audience in two weeks.
no pressure.

"be funny, Jon"
"okay then"

yup. I'm doing stand-up. Tuesday 28th at 8:00pm at The Miller near London Bridge.
it's a free show.
a whole bunch of us are doing it, all for the first time, so it may well be worth you turning up. you might end up laughing with us, you might end up laughing at us. some routines (certainly mine) will just be laughable, ... but y'know.. screw it. at least you'll be laughing. so that's good.

come along. did I mention the bit where you don't have to pay? and that some of it will be funny?

Monday, 13 September 2010

blackadder goes forth

it must be odd. it must be odd walking from a stage in a prominent theatrical venue with thousands of applauders thanking you for an hour and a half of your time, and an hour and a half of excerpts from a book you have penned about your own life. the level of egotistical spurnings should be debilitating. it should elevate your sense of self-worth to that of a smirking x-factor victim facing a seven digit viewing figure for the first time.
it must be odd.

stephen fry manages to (somehow) withstand that tectonic pressure. despite thousands paying money and making the trip to come and see him, traveling from such distant shores as Newcastle and Gorey (sp?) with the undeniable fan-boy sensibility that can drive people to pay money and travel from distant shores just to watch a man read a book; despite the seismic readings that must occur from that amount of ego polishing, 'Fry Secundus' maintains the warmth, humanity and humility that makes him so deserving of the respect that is offered. Christ alive, that was a long sentence.

I don't do celebrity worship or undeserved gushing as a rule. Michael Schumacher only got a "cheers" when he gave me a Ferrari hat. kanye west was (quite rightly) snubbed and Tony Blair didn't even manage my eye contact. I've got more of a rise for a nice piece of marmite on toast than I got from Cheryl Cole's bare midriff.

yes, there was that unearthly embarrassment I experienced when confronted with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Lucy Davies and Kate Ashfield staring at me from behind a fold-out table and a handful of marker pens, and the subsequent dumbfounded, starstruck burble that discharged from my quivering gob... but let's not go into that.

I will, however, wax lyrical about Stephen John Fry, a man who is more talented, more erudite, more well-read, more witty and more intelligent than you'll ever be. he is aspirational. he is a devout humanist, but in all the positive aspects of the word and none of the negative. he is passionate and brilliant and masterful, a rare national treasure in a country that seems to worship mediocrity.

above all, and I must come back to this, he is humble. this is what makes him likeable. despite declaring at the end of his gig this evening that part of the reason he does what he does is for the praise and recognition of other humans - he also does it with kindness and generosity, and he does it as your equal.

I make no apology for my disgusting release. the man is excellent.

quite remarkable was the excerpt from his book that he read about the forming of his comedy relationship and friendship with Hugh Laurie, of which he described as "falling in non-romantic, comedy love" with. every word of that section resonated with me and my thoughts over the last 15 years of knowing my friend The Troubadour. and if we were to ignore the path that Fry & Laurie took, if Chris and I ignore the work and achievement of Andrew & The Slides of Chaos and not try to work hard on the next project, and the next, and the one after that; we should regard ourselves as feckless and lazy.

see, he does good work that posh-talking, public school educated fop. carry on, mr. fry.
and thanks.

play that funky music, white boy

another idiot called me a DJ.
i am not a damn DJ.

I considered pissing on his chair and ripping a dick-shaped hole in his Delegate Pack, but then he asked if I "could play YMCA, ha ha!" and I exploded in fury and punched him through the window.
then I found his address from his driving licence - that I'd slyly lifted while my fist was making contact with his wind-pipe - and traveled to his house, where I put fireworks in his dog and touched his daughters inappropriately. his grandma was visiting, so I filled her with heroin and put her in the basement.
then I re-tuned all the channels on his TV so they were in the wrong order and set his sky box to record every episode of X-factor.
now I'm on my way to the primary school where his wife works with a bucket of goldfish and a funnel.

I also have plans to get in touch with his old school bully and get him barred from Sainsburys.

I am not a pricking DJ.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

shallow grave

I have discovered a new part of London. I love it when that happens.
the rotherhithe tunnel is my new favourite London thing.

I love it for two reasons:
1. it is a much better route to work when I'm riding my customised motorcycle (what i have called Peggy-Jean). it is warm, less congested than my normal route and - if it's raining - dry.

2. it is intensely boring. it has no exciting features. you don't get that heart-leap that happens in other tunnels. there is no relief when you exit, or a gasp for air. it is unremarkable.

I even looked on wikipedia to see if it had an exciting history.


it is 3689 feet long, and was opened in 1908. nowadays it is serving much more traffic than was intended, when it was designed for horses. the speed limit is 20 miles per hour (32 km/h).
during peak hours it gets very busy, although my work hours have led me to avoid this.

the tunnel has turns at right-angles, which were put in to avoid horses seeing daylight too early and making a bolt for the exit (but the Blackwall Tunnel also has this, so it's hardly unique).


but wait! in 2003 a survey found it to be the tenth most dangerous tunnel in Europe! OMG!
now the adrenalin pumps and I loosen my bowels with the thrill that I might use it again. one day.
watch me tap-dance.

there are only NINE more dangerous tunnels in Europe. holy fucking shit. wow. barf.

the rotherhithe tunnel, ladies and gentlemen. the rotherhithe tunnel.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

super mario brothers

well scott pilgrim vs. the world is pretty ace, isn't it? admittedly it's got a weird pace to it, and some bits felt a little out of place with the style of the rest of the film... but no matter, it's great. a total geek-fest with loads of in-jokes for the likes of me and my 30-year-old-mind-clutching-on-to-the-youth-of-my-youth.

see it. or something.

Friday, 3 September 2010

go west

the London transport museum is bloody ace. after a ridiculous week of no-sleep, I found nothing better than sharing an afternoon at gordons wine bar with a a hot girl and a shit-load of cheese... followed by an impromptu trip round the gallery of transportational delights that can be found in covent garden.

highlights included the old london underground trains, from back when they were steam-powered and carved from a single grain of oak. I also planned on buying a vintage bus - to drive around the country spreading improvised comedy to the uninformed masses with a team of impro-genies - after seeing a kelly green 1950's single-decked wonder parked in the main hall.

I'd call it The ImproBus. driving it around dressed in my 1950's bus drivers uniform people will gasp and say things like "wow, he must be the king of all Israel".

but they'd only be half right.

speaking of being half right, the spell check feature on the new iPhone is both brilliant and debilitating. gnnnhhh. although it does recognise the word improv, which is a vast vast improvement on the piece of shit HTC dickhead that I had previously. which reminds me, I was going to make a video of it's demise using my iPhone, but I haven't quite decided the details of the punishment it deserves.

okay, I haven't done a competition for a while. so here's one:
I want to beat the shit out of my old piece-of-sphincter HTC phone and record it. but how should I do it?
answers please.
and bear in mind, this phone made my life a misery for 18 months; way worse than any flood or famine you've ever seen on TV.
I had thought I'd either set fire to it only to urinate on it, or drive a series of increasingly sized nails into it... but see if you can be even more creative.

go on, you're fine people with imaginations that could fist a dragon.

good luck.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

ebony & ivory

so, yeah. I've been in a bit of a mood lately. you may've noticed. my last few posts have been about as bi-polar as a hippy running auschwitz. the culture shock of retarding ... retiring ... returning to work without a project as big as "Andrew" to keep my mind occupied or the prospect of impending comedy festival slathering my lips has been unbearable.
that and the fact my eczema returned about an hour after walking back into my work.

never fear, though. new projects rear their pretty little heads. I have at least 3 exciting things that are beginning their lives; some improv stuff, some graphic design stuff, other stuff. actually, hang that '3' on the wall and walk away from it tutting. on further thought I have about 6 things. no, seven. whatever. I have a bunch of stuff that I'm going to do.
I can tell you about some of them. others are currently top secret.

one that isn't top secret is a magazine I've been asked to produce. all hand drawn. that's taking up some time, especially as my deadline is the 17th of this month. crokey, I should get on with that or the client will start being a dick or something.

there's talk of an improv podcast. that'll be node. I had an idea to do this a whole while ago, but other stuff happened and I became busy. it's coming back though, with the interest of some bloody great folk.

puppetry-based improv is somewhat something that held my brain at ransom for a while. I might re-loom it in my forethoughts. I already have a name for it. The Improper Tree. I can't explain why I like it, I just fucking do.

there's other stuff. stuff to do with Chicago, the American one. both going to it, and bringing some of it here.
there's an amazing project by a good friend of mine that I'm really bloody shitting excited about, unfortunately that's one of the highly top secret, classified stuffs... so I'm not telling you, so shut-up.

Alan Marriott is coming back to this country. that'll be good.

talking to the remarkable Dylan Emery of Crunchy Frog at Edinburgh, very exciting things are afoot in the Frog-Crunch world.

I'm going to Hoopla tonight, which will be the first time since I started making Andrew. and the masterful Steve "the imp" Roe is teaching tonight, so it will be a muthafucking riot.

so I should stop moaning shouldn't I?

yeah. okay.

bye bye Edinburgh. hello shiploads of fun-business.

what, shut-up.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

the inevitable return of the great white dope

there is a likely future where some of the people I work for get to reading this blog. word is out that I made a show based on my experiences as an AV engineer and the bizarre conclusion is that i'd be stupid enough to use it to publicly ridicule the company I work for. well that's just the paranoid idiocy that I would take the piss out of in a show, but would I do it while naming the company and revealing its trade secrets?

no. of course not. it is literally moronic to jump to that assumption and immediately puts them at a lower level of intelligence than me and all the people that read this.
at the very thought of it I shake my head with bemusement. I gaze into the middle distance and wonder how some people manage to get to the position they do.

the company I work for has very brilliant people right at the very top and skilful people at the bottom... but in the middle exists a plateau of nonsense. like the mental equivalent of the beep you get when a heart monitor flatlines.

there's an occasional fluctuation of that rule. in all honesty, I quite like the chap I work directly under. he's a guy who seems about as trapped as me; with 11 tonnes of pressure exerted on him on a daily basis, but very limited resources to make any kind of beneficial change. he also deals with a load of pricks with little understanding of his job and even less understanding of basic social contact. I worry about him. I worry that he's going to burst a heart-valve or his head will eventually fly off with blood pressure. he's a pretty good bloke and has always been pleasant to me, despite a tyrannical reputation.
he doesn't suffer fools. I don't suffer fools.
(maybe the tyrannical reputation comes from the fools)
anyway, he's alright by me.

its the rest that are nonsense.

ode to joy

despite all the wank we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, there is wonder in the world. there is brilliance and vibrancy and light.
for every timesheet you have to fill in there is a bowl of porridge with golden syrup on it.
for every journey to work, there is a journey fro.
for every T4 presenter, there is a song by Fleetwood Mac.
for every person you meet who's obsessed with money, there is a wildlife documentary about pandas.

it's not all bad.