Friday, 31 December 2010

don't let go

this is barry. he drives a crane. for some reason, he has painted his credit card pin number on it.

"hey barry."

barry once used the website
they gave him a tiny amount of money for his immaculate 2002 nissan micra. barry felt like this wasn't enough, but the people on the helpline told him he should have read the small print better.

Monday, 27 December 2010

four lions

i like to go to theatre workshops.

that sounds a bit gay and rubbish.

I'm sorry you think that. what do you like to do in your spare time?

oh, I like to watch 22 men run around a field with shorts on.

oh, right. what else do they do?

sometimes they kick a ball into a net. and every time they do they get a point. the more points they get, the better their chance of winning.

that sounds brilliant. so I guess that happens a lot then.

normally about 2 or 3 times in a game.

but you don't have to wait long, right?

sometimes ninety minutes can pass by without a point. and then no-one wins.

that's like fishing and not catching anything.

but when someone does get a point, loads of people cheer. and the players celebrate by having a little tumble. it's really great.

do you get your money back if no-one does a point?


so, do the players get paid less if they don't do their job properly?

nope. sometimes they get given £50,000 for a week.

for what?

for trying really hard.

so, if your team doesn't win any points, do they say sorry?

no, normally they blame the quality of the grass or something.

if you watched archery, and none of the archers hit the target, that would be rubbish wouldn't it?

but sometimes there ARE goals. sometimes.

how many on average...?

about two per game.

and how long do they last?

ummm... they're sort of just instant.

so potentially, in an hour and a half, you probably only get a couple of moments of good bits?

sometimes games are longer than that.

it sounds pretty dull.

there are loads of attempts at points. loads.

an attempt isn't an actual achievement though, is it? I mean, if I ATTEMPTED to draw a picture, but ended up not drawing a picture, I might as well have not bothered even picking up the pencil. hey that's a nice t-shirt.

thanks, its the away shirt for my team.

I like it. how much can I buy that t-shirt for?


WHAT?! for a t-shirt?!

yes. my team won a competition last year. they scored 33 points in ten months. I will buy another t-shirt this year.


when my team lose, I get really sad.

oh dear. sometimes in theatre workshops I get to kiss girls, and my girlfriend doesn't mind. in fact she normally watches, and then says how good it was.

sometimes I pay £30 to watch a game where no-one does any goals.


Saturday, 25 December 2010

christmas present #7

my nephew dressed like a christmas idiot.

christmas present #6

a lovely dry bottom.

christmas present #5

shit joke.

christmas present #4

a fine spread.

christmas present #3

a raging fire of heat.

christmas present #2

pyjamas with 'men' and 'mom' written on them.

christmas present #1

the fuck-birds

Monday, 20 December 2010

here comes santa claus

unusual conference set-up this morning. aside from the fact that they've gone with a hawaiian theme for santa's christmas grotto, it's not what you'd normally expect to find on the presentation theatre stage on a Monday morning.

"hello little boy, whats your name?"

"it's ken, santa"

"and have you been a good boy, ken?"

"well, i was the deputy co-team-leader for the investment & adherence focus group on the TODGER project."

"and what would you like for christmas, ken?"

"i'd like to shift any blame for the state of the world economy right away from me."

"oh well, ken, was it your fault?"

"i'd like to think i had nothing to do with it. i was merely a pawn accepting orders and only made a bad decision when it meant i made more money for my bonus pot. some of which i'd spend on my family."

"is there anything else you'd like for christmas, ken?"


"haven't you already got some of that, ken?"

"want more."

"'want' is not a very nice word, ken. the elves and i always say 'i want, doesn't get.'"

"i'd also like a prostitute to sniff cocaine from."

"next child please."

Friday, 17 December 2010

water of life

please enjoy our delicious mulled urine.
nappy rolidays!

give peace a chance

for today, you can get the 4'33" track for FREE!
and to top it off, money still goes to charity and it still affects the music charts.

so lets get this straight: you can make a contribution to some great charities, take an active role in the battle against mediocrity AND send a message of disinterest to simon cowell - without paying any money.

1) register or log in at mflow
2) click on your name in the top right of the screen
3) on the drop down menu click 'redeem code'
4) Type in XMAS to the redeem code box - it then puts £1 credit in your account
5) Search 'Cage Against The Machine' and then click to buy it with the credit.

say it loud

ME: hello sir, i've just come to put a microphone on you.

HIM: i hate those things. do i need one? i can project.

ME: you have an audio conference call on this event, so you need to speak into a microphone otherwise people calling in won't hear anything.

HIM: can't i just shout?

ME: from london to mumbai?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

let's get retarded

in my last couple of weeks of full-time employment, it's refreshing to know that I've made the right decision.

today a conference I am running has an audio dial in. for those not in the know, this means that I've connected my sound desk to a telephone line and dialled it into a conference call so that bank workers all around the world can log in and listen to the meeting.

there is also a similar facility where people can log into a website to watch the PowerPoint slides I am sending out.

a section of this meeting had a slide show showing the department's achievements for the year, while playing the theme tune from Mission Impossible.

half way through this section, the events girl (who has spent all morning coming back and forth every 2 minutes to ask me questions like "can I dial a normal phone number on a phone?") came and said she'd just had an email from someone listening in on the conference:

HER: the people on the phones are saying they can only hear music.

ME: that's because we're playing music. there's nothing else going on.

HER: but they're saying they can't see anything on the phones.

ME: see?

HER: yes, they can't see anything.

ME: on the phone?

HER: yes.

ME: ....

HER: they can't see anything on the phone. can you make sure it's working?

ME: I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean. do you mean they can't see the slides?

HER: I guess so. hmmm.

ME: have they logged into the slideshow website?

HER: on the phone?

ME: on their computers. they need to do that. they had an email explaining it all to them.

HER: oh. maybe they haven't done that.

ME: I expect so. could you get them to do that, if they look at what I'm broadcasting they might be able to see it.

HER: ... and then they'll be able to see?

ME: yes.

HER: ... the presenter?

ME: the slide show.

HER: oh. so they won't see the presenter?

ME: no. we don't have cameras in this room.

HER: do you need them? can you just put it on the computer?

ME: I'm afraid not. to get a camera shot of the presenter, you need a camera.

HER: so what will they see?

ME: the slides.

HER: but they need to log in to the website for them?

ME: yes. they were all sent log-in details via email.

HER: does that not happen automatically when they dial in on their phone?

ME: no. their phones and their computers are separate pieces of equipment.

[she gets out her blackberry]

HER: oh. I've just had an email saying that some of the others can't hear anything.

ME: are they dialled in on the phone line?

[she goes away and returns a few minutes later]

HER: do they need to do that as well?

ME: yup.

[she disappears again]

while she is away I send an email out to anyone online informing them of the correct phone number.

shortly after I start hearing loads of people dialling into the call.

she returns.

HER: people can hear now.

ME: okay.


these are the people who run your bank. these are the people who're in charge of your money and the world economy.


Monday, 13 December 2010

killing in the name of

dear simon,

i thought i should bring something to your attention. you may already know about it, or your personal assistant army of bikini-clad chavscum may have missed it while they were engulfing your unbelievable manhood with their desperate lips. if you have missed it, it appears that a bunch of nobodies - including suggs (who?) and the kooks (what?) - have got together to record a single in the lame attempt to knock your x-factor single from the much-deserved and arbitrary Christmas Number One slot.

this group of artists that no-one has ever heard of have decided to cover the legendary John Cage's track "4'33"", which is just four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. how silly! who would even want that? i mean, if people didn't want to hear the x-factor single they could just turn the radio off. i'm listening to 4'33" right now, actually. (i bought the album, including all the remixes.) it's so incredible to think that people would rather pay money for silence than listen to your release.

i haven't bought the x-factor single yet, and as such i don't even know what it is. to be honest i missed the x-factor final as i didn't know when it was on. partly this is because i was normally out meeting other humans on a saturday night, and partly it was because someone offered to gouge my eyes out with a dagger. perhaps you should think about spending more money on advertising, or organise some sort of ridiculous media frenzy surrounding all the performers on your "talent" show, then it wouldn't be so easy to avoid miss it.

actually thinking about it, i think i did accidentally catch some of the x-factor show. the television was on while i was getting ready to go to a music gig of music performed by a real-life band of guys who had worked hard on their art and written the songs themselves. we temporarily lost the signal to the channel we were watching and searched for another one that worked. we ended up on ITV (because that button is largely unused and was therefore easy to operate). we saw about 3 or 4 minutes before my girlfriend vomited and i'm pretty sure it was the x-factor even though it looked like an advertisement for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

during that 3-4 minutes we saw a humanoid who looked like cheryl cole spout-forth a classic hit by music historian Jay Zee which is a re-hash of an annoying song from an old musical starring an precocious little drama-school girl. luckily it wasn't cheryl cole, though; otherwise i think i may have shot myself (that awful pikey scumbag is famous only because she is pretty, and no-one seems to have realised how much of a talentless, wretched bottom-feeder she is). i'm so glad you haven't fallen into the media trap so many others have and allowed that racist on your show. no, luckily this spitting image of cheryl was completely different, even her name "cher" was nothing like "cheryl." and instead of miming to an autotuned backing track like (violent offender) tweedy does, cher stood proud in her complete inability to sing. this bravery was astounding, and i hope that she was rewarded by some sort of fix that enabled her to win the x-factor celebration. i can't imagine there was anyone better.

a christmas without the x-factor single being at number one wouldn't be the same. it would be reminiscent of that horrible year some time ago, when half a million people bought 'killin in the name of..' by rage against the machine instead of whatever that song was that whoever won x-factor did. do you remember that? do you? most of those people probably hadn't even heard of rage against the machine, so they might not have even been buying the song 'cause they liked it, only because they didn't like you. that's hardly a reason to buy a single.

why would no-one like you, simon? why?! you're totally rich and you've made your money by your own level of integrity and the integrity of the people who keep telling you how great you are. you remember 'saturday night' by whigfield, right? that song didn't get to number one because it was good, it got to number one because it got into people's lives and was almost impossible to ignore. like an infection. that's like you, simon. you're like an infection. you've slid into consciousness and remained there despite any attempts to remove you.

your magnificent offering to the integrity of british music has some real backing from some significant people. for example, drugged-up fuckhead Pete Doherty didn't even turn up to the 4'33" recording. i think that was probably in support of you and [insert name of x-factor winner here]. billy bragg was so desperate to not be at the recording of 4'33" of absolutely nothing, that he had to provide his contribution from a mobile phone that sat in the recording studio. he probably even had to pay for that phone call.

the chances of this ridiculous behaviour even achieving it's goal are entirely slim. compare it, for example, to the other online cause of over 630,000 people who are backing the track 'surfin bird' to win. loads of those people would be from other countries like america, so if they buy it the sales won't even affect your x-factor single progress. and americans are from a different continent, so they probably haven't even heard of you. therefore it can't possibly be a reaction against your torrent of musical disease.

perhaps if all the people in the world who didn't like (or even despised) the x-factor got together with one plan they would obliterate you from the music scene altogether. ten thousand here, half a million there, six hundred thousand people somewhere else. coo, there's a lot. however lots of those people have wide and varied tastes in music and don't take too kindly to one single command telling them what they are and aren't allowed to like. if only people weren't such free-thinkers, simon, then this would all be much easier. for example, some want to buy 'surfin bird,' some want to buy '4'33"' and some want to throw their own fecal matter at your hair. not a chance of winning there. millions of people who hate you will have no impact whatsoever. ha!

simon, i once heard that you were thinking of doing the same thing to politics that you did to the british music industry. i heard that you were going to attempt to create a television show where the sorts of viewers that watch the x-factor would also have a contribution to the way our country works. is this true? i hope so, that would be hilarious. imagine the x-factor demographic running the country, it would be like a dickhead being given a shotgun. SO funny.

i should tell you that i also bought surfin' bird by the trashmen to see if it was better than the x-factor single that i haven't listened to. you should also know that i am now going to buy all the other tracks suggested by the various different online rages against your machine. i think i can only draw a fair argument against them if i make sure i've listened to them all. i already have most tracks, but i thought i should buy them again just to make sure i have the latest version. i won't need to buy yours as loads of other x-factor fans will (if their dole money is enough). the money i save not buying yours will be used to buy 4'33" again, to make absolutely sure i am totally up to date. i do this in whole-hearted support of you and your manufacturing system.

i have my fingers crossed that you win this year. that way, people will get to hear a new improved version of whatever original song you decide to recycle. and there will be an overwhelming amount of self-satisfaction for anyone who believes that any proceeds will go to a charity. it will also get loads of airplay on radio stations, which would be better than DJs having to play four and a half minutes of dead-air. i stopped listening to the radio ages ago because it seems to be full of shit, so DJs playing silence would be no different to me. however loads of people still buy compilation albums like Now That's What I Call Music, so there must still be a call for mediocre songs performed by mediocre people.

good luck, simon. you may only have a short time left before the nation can't take it any more. i can't wait for that day.

vote dukakis!

lots of love and kisses from
F. House

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


jay rhoderick is an new york based improviser who teaches improv for businesses. he shows them that when people in business collaborate and encourage each other's wide and varied skills, then businesses will flourish and leaders can become inspirational. to you and me it seems obvious that an atmosphere of encouragement and support can lead to people performing better, but i work in a business environment and i see on a day to day basis that business folk are much more comfortable with stifling and self-importance. in my experience, business people tend to be of the 'no but...' culture of negativity and limitation. and most of them are happy in the tiny world they create for themselves and not being seen to think outside their self-inflicted box.

google didn't flourish because it constantly set limits. apple certainly didn't restrict itself to a pre-decided square. innocent smoothies didn't accept it when they were told 100% recycled bottles couldn't be done.

on jay's twitter feed, he recently posted the following quote by american critic walter lippman:
"When all think alike, then no one is thinking"
... and i haven't been able to get it out of my head.
what i think lippman was referring to was the crowd mentality. often when there is a big group of people the ability of that crowd is much lesser than the sum of it's parts. a crowd will stand looking at someone who has fallen over, and no-one will offer to help.
the x-factor is a good example. have you ever watched it? (i did once, it made me want to drive over a child). when someone says something critical in the x-factor (and they have every right to do so) the audience only have one reaction - to make a booing noise - regardless of whether it's a valid opinion. say anything positive, anything, and the audience will go mental with joy.
SCENE 1 [participant sings really really badly.]
judge: "you didn't sing very well."
audience: "BOOOOOOOOOO. what an invalid opinion."

SCENE 2 [participant sings really really badly.]
judge: "you have a nice pair of shoes on."
audience: "WOOOOOOOOO YEEAAAHHH!!!! that was great!"
i think they probably don't even need a studio floor manager to cue the audience on that reaction. i imagine the average x-factor audience member to only have basic responses to stimulus anyway.

the result is that the x-factor continues to churn out unimaginative, mediocre acts that won't be remembered in ten years time. and the people who subscribe to ITV's celebration of mediocrity remain totally happy with that.
no-one strives, no-one achieves, they all remain stagnant.

i attended a jay rhoderick workshop earlier this year. in it we learned that one of the best catalysts for interesting things to happen is when opposing forces meet and are changed by each other. the world expands inexplicably when - rather than sitting still and not standing out - people explore their differences and allow those differences to grow into something new. if everyone just sits in a room and agrees with each other, nothing will ever change.

when fire meets fire, it just makes more of the same destructive force.
when fire meets water, it makes steam.

although when water meets fire, it can put the fire out. so, fire service men are like overbearing managers who put too much control on the flame of creativity, and all you are left with is a sodden mess that's no use to anyone. what you need is a skilled arsonist who can burn down a square building in such a way that it collapses and lands in the tinder box of a steam-train. and sometimes metaphors can go too far.


this blog is a prime example of what happens when i try to write while being distracted by my job every ten minutes. that is: a big fat list of non-sequitous gumpf. i think i'm going to start putting a word limit on my entries. wait... a limit?.... DAMN!

Monday, 6 December 2010

as you like it

sometimes comedy just gets you right there. you click with it or you don't.
as any fine regular readers are unavoidably aware, stand-up doesn't usually do it for me.
but these guys do:

the beta males picnic (great name) played the hoopla christmas cabaret last night; a gig that i was running tech-stuff for. and they were brilliant. they sat really well with me and i easily found their level of humour. it was playful and silly, but wrought with intelligence. they defied preconceptions, had some fantastically dark sketches and were fundamentally hilarious throughout.

best of all, each one of them came independently to thank me after the show, for doing the technical bits. it's a very simple and easy thing to do, but it makes a huge difference. i hope they are recognised for the brilliant sketch comedy they perform, because they are lovely chaps and totally deserve it.

the good, the bad and the ugly

a new impro show is coming to your screens in the very near future, and it's pretty blaardy exciting. fast & loose looks to be a short-form show, similar to whose line is it anyway?. ace.

improv hasn't really been in the world of mainstream entertainment in about 15 years or something, so this is a fresh and exciting time. it's pretty darn marvelous actually, because not only will it bring improv back into the forefront of people's minds and give us all a little bit more exposure, but it will be fricken funny to watch - judging by some of the acts that are on it:
pippa evans
humphrey ker
marek larwood
ruth bratt

all brilliant. brilliant. brilliant.

i'm slightly worried about how impro will translate to our TV screens, and it totally depends on the bravery of some TV executives. Fast & Loose is from the creators of Mock the Week, which was a show that suggested that it was off-the-cuff but was so transparent you knew it was all lies.
Mock the Week was partly created by Dan Patterson, however Dan was also a big genius-hand in putting Whose Line is It Anyway? on our screens. hmm.
hopefully he is allowed to do actual impro this time, like in the heydays of Ryan Stiles (consistently hilarious) and Josie Lawrence (impro singing master) and not the annoyance of Andy Parsons (just has a weird delivery) and Gina Yashere (just does african accents).
thankfully the cast members suggest actual impro, as the ones i know are very talented improvisers and not stand-up comedians. huzzarp!

from the press release:
Suzanne Gilfillan, Executive Editor for the BBC, comments: "Fast And Loose is warm comedy entertainment with a modern twist, with a rich mix of established performers and new comedy stars in the making, reflecting the wealth of new and exciting improv talent on the stand-up comedy circuit."
... improv is not fucking stand-up!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

lilac wine

in tribute to my recent blog about The Canton Arms in stockwell, I had a Sunday roast in their style.

you see before you "le dessert de la yorkshyre with a black pepper dressing, winter vegetable jus, and a rouge chili and parted garlic accompaniment."

it's CONCEPT food, yah. I had it with an ironic mug of sainsbury citrus cordial with a freshly pumped hydrogen/oxygen solution.

it was dee-licious.

waiting for guffman

"change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same, for the NSPCC. until Monday (december 6th), there should be no human faces on facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories. this is a campaign to stop violence against children."

... is what i read on facebook today.

oh for pity's sake. talk about following the crowd and not questioning the reason. like blind religious faith/idiocy or voting on the x-factor.

so I'm told that by uploading a picture of Top Cat i would be taking a valid stance against child abusers. phew, i'm glad that's all i have to do. what a powerful force this social networking site is; that if people do something with completely no social impact, violent abuse will end. you don't even have to donate any money or anything. or consider the logistics. or invest any thought whatsoever.

a while ago it was suggested that not logging into facebook for a WHOLE day was enough to support anyone with autism. and remember when telling everyone the colour of your bra would cure breast cancer?

brilliant. now doing absolutely nothing for those in need has extended to ACTIVELY doing nothing for those in need on a website. thank god.

y'know, if that's the case why stop at child abuse and mental illness? here's my suggestion:
replace your profile picture with your favourite military assault vehicle. do this until 12th December and we can stop wars. by the 12th, facebook shouldn't have any human faces, but be an invasion of aggressive battle weaponry. spread it around your friends, or we'll all die...

feel free to join me and tens of others in this pointless and nonsensical task. i have chosen a SCUD missile because it reminds me of the war that was on when i was a child.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

another dick with no balls

the canton arms in stockwell used to be a pub with a welcoming hug and a friendly smile. run by some cheery Australians it was 'your local' where you could stretch yourself out on a sofa and enjoy your evening. now, however, it's run by an owl who likes to masturbate into his own face. long gone are the days when you could pop round for a heartwarming plate of chips and leave with a friendly wave. no, now you'd be lucky to even find a member of the bar staff as they're more likely to be up their own rectum searching for new desserts for 'The Most Pretentious Menu In London'.

i tried to eat there a little while ago. i tried, but instead of what you'd expect from a pleasant little pub that used to be a glimmer of class in a dubious area, instead of a nice gastropub burger and chips with a sticky toffee pudding, my choice was rabbit shins or something written in french.

if i wanted a menu that came from the sphincter of a hunting jacket and get it served by an elitist member of the hipster scumniverse, i'd go to shoreditch. i want a pub. a real one. with a menu that doesn't make me feel like a dick just from reading it.

aside from that, if i go to a pub i don't want the pub staff to talk to me like i'm a piece of fecal regret.

yesterday evening i tried the place again. i thought they might, by now, have realised the folly of their shallowness.
the place was busy and i didn't immediately log the genre of clientele.
"hi, we'd just like a drink please." i asked. being a pub i considered this an ordinary request, although momentarily i thought it slightly abnormal that i felt i'd had to justify my attendance to a public house, but...

there were plenty of seats available.

"this is the FOOD area, please go over THERE," blurted a 'trendy' waiter. the boy's beard was not as good as mine. ah, thought i, that's another reason why i stopped coming here; because the staff are rude and cunty. and rude.

i was with my lady-girl. we paused for a moment to consider whether to get a dessert to justify us being allowed to sit in a public house. maybe they'd be serving something resembling food this time, and not kitten-licked chocolate clouds.

"are you waiting for friends?" another member of the staff interjected. he had an ironic moustache.
"um, no, we're just decidi_.."
"well could you move, i'm working here," he expunged from an ironic sneer.

my instinct was to tell the pretentious prick to fuck off, but despite being in the presence of a moron with an over-inflated sense of himself i was still able to retain basic social abilities.
my second instinct was to suggest that his job is not dissimilar to working in a Wimpy bar, but instead my lady-part simply said (with just the right level of sarcastic venom for me to find it pleasurable) "actually, we'll just be leaving thanks."

part of me would like to suggest that you should avoid the canton arms, but i'm aware of the chance that some of you are total wankers. some of you would really LIKE to see sheep-cheeks and garlic foam on a pub menu. some of you are dickish media types who'd actually enjoy being in the company of other dickish media types, even if those dickish media types run a badly conceived gastropub filled with old semen.

the cunton arms: obnoxious and awful.

within ten minutes walk of the canton arms - if you want a pub with a good atmosphere and a pleasant environment - are The Cavendish Arms and The Fentiman Arms. both of them are non-pretentious, warm, friendly and great. the staff don't talk down to you and you don't feel your soul being drained when you read their specials board.

the cunton arms: as my non-pretentious and beautifully human lady-hand said, "worse than having no local at all, is having a local that you just wish would burn down every day."


Friday, 3 December 2010


there is a kind of inexplicable aura that when you first meet someone you can tell if they aren't completely there. when you first meet someone a 'little bit special' there's a strange knowledge that they aren't necessarily firing on all pistons. I think it's a human empathy thing, dating back from the days where people actually cared about each other. without knowing exactly why or how, you can see when someone has mental illness and this leads to immediately feeling sorry for them and wanting to help them with simple day-to-day tasks like filling a bowl with cereal or tying their shoelaces.

it's found in a slight vacancy or dullness behind the eyes, like all processes end at the cornea and behind only a slowly swirling void exists. it's sometimes a look of constant surprise that they have managed to remember to breathe. it can also be a real determined concentration on any very basic motor function.

JLS stands for 'Jack the Lad Swing'