Monday, 5 November 2012
If I'm honest I rarely use this blog. If I want to chat about stuff it ocassionally ends up here, but you're more likely to find me at Twitter, on Facebook, or on my pages on Tumblr.
If you want to get hold of me you can probably do so at one of those places, and the chances are you'll already be able to find me there through my email address or real name. However, if you've come to this website looking for something vaguely creative you can find some of my written bits and pieces (along with a few pictures, mostly borrowed from other sources, but some photoshopped by myself) at http://deepblueseed.tumblr.com
Monday, 16 April 2012
I'm not going to say too much about the former, although I'm excited, just to respect the privacy of the parents, but I'll say a little about the latter. Although filmed after my debut zombie acting, in forthcoming film Cockneys Versus Zombies, it was a short project, filmed within a day, and edited for Frightfest 2011, a few months later.
It's been pointed out my name isn't in the credits, which is a bit of a bummer, but on the plus side I do get an impressive few seconds of screen time - I'm the zombie towards the end of the five minute clip, face splattered with blood, leaning through the door with a psychotic look in its eyes (there are glimpses of me elsewhere - I'm the zombie in white, so I can frequently be made out in the dark) but that main shot is one I'm quite proud of, if looking amazingly blood splattered and psychotic is something to be proud of.
And with that, here's a link to a zombie apocalypse take on John Carpenter's 'Assault on Precinct 13':
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
The world goes on, and whilst this Blog has been dead to it, my activities have continued elsewhere. You can follow me on Twitter @psibreaker, or follow my Tumblr account (again, it's not seen a lot of attention in recent months) at http://psibreaker.tumblr.com
Also, for your entertainment, there are the Blog I wrote whilst I was single, but looking into online dating (http://simplewhitemale.tumblr.com), and the one I've got where I'm putting my creative writing (http://deepblueseed.tumblr.com). Please feel free to go and visit them, but also please comment. Feedback is incredibly underated.
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
There’s been much discussion on Twitter about dating, by people responding to my tweets about the same. I’ve mentioned Savage Hearts a few time, mentioned previously on this blog, because I’ve been toying with the idea of subscribing for a little while just so I can read what messages have been sent to me, and maybe bounce some back. It seems to me that if I want to find someone with similar interests I should seek people within those circles rather than hoping to cross paths with them elsewhere. At least I’d feel a bit more as if I was on familiar soil. Better the devil you know and all that.
The thing is we all sit in the centre of a Venn Diagram with multiple circles intersecting over the top of us. Like Google + circles, we can be part of all manner of groups that don’t immediately have any connection aside from your own presence. So, for example, I’m part of the Geek circle, specifically circles dedicated to certain comic books, to board games, to a handful of role playing games. I’m also part of the Rock Music circle. I’m a part of the Goth circle (admittedly, right at the edge - my musical tastes are all muddied so that’s true of a lot of circles). I’m part of the Tarot Card Collector circle. I’m part of the Graphic Design circle. I’m part of the Writing circle. I’m part of the Drawing circle. I’m part of the I’ve Got Kids circle. I’m also now part of the Comedy circle.
Where do you begin finding someone who has ‘the same interests’? You can’t expect a perfect overlap, can you? Some common ground and some differences to keep it all fresh then. But where? How?
Let’s touch on comedy again. I was at an Edinburgh preview last night, and saw two acts (and, as a result of joining the ‘Comedy circle’ spent the evening sitting and drinking with Mr Nick Doody - @NickDoody on Twitter - who is a mostly behind the scenes comedy writer). The two acts were two lovely ladies who, in their own way, brought my single simple life to attention.
First up was Tiffany Stevenson, a regular at The Phoenix and currently on ITV’s ‘Show Me The Funny’. I’ve seen her quite a few times, and am quite familiar with her act, so when she was looking around the room for stereotypical geeks I knew what would come next. I wasn’t expecting her to pick me, and she even acknowledged I didn’t look like a typical geek (probably because I didn’t have glasses on). “What do you do” she asked. “I’m a graphic designer,” I said. “Are you single?” she asked. “Yes,” I said. “Good!” she said “Because I don’t want you to get distracted by being in a relationship. I need people like you to deal with my IT problems, to sort things out when they go wrong.” She phrases it better. She’s had longer to work on her act. What I’m saying is she’s a professional (sorry, that’s an in-joke in itself. It may be only me that sees this blog post and gets that).
There was also a bit about the ticking biological clock and the need to have kids. Her show ‘Cavewoman’ is all about how mankind has evolved, if indeed it has at all. I suppose now that I’ve got two sons it’s perfectly acceptable for me to no longer get involved in messy relationships. My clock is no longer ticking. In fact as a geek I can now devote my time to fixing clocks, or the many other things I’m able to do to ensure society doesn’t crumble around us.
You can find Tiffany on Twitter - @tiffstevenson – but try to catch her on TV too. The show is an interesting study in how comedians handle crowds and find material to work with. And Tiffany is one of the better acts. I may be slightly biased as I slightly know her, but there you go.
The second act was Roisin Conaty (@Roisinconaty on Twitter). Her act was a little less prepared, and as I’ve not heard it before it hasn’t stuck in my Peroni lubricated brain quite so well. But she spoke about being single. It’s weird, I can’t really quote any of her act, but I remember her words making me smile because of the scenarios I recognised, then gradually feel a bit more melancholic and reflective, the smile sort of slipping slowly from my face. I think that means her observations were pretty much dead on target. Sometimes it’s not always so great to hear, although it’s nice to know there are people going through the same sorts of thing.
There have been a few female acts I’ve seen at The Phoenix recently talking about being single. I suppose hearing a woman, particularly a funny intelligent woman, talking about being single causes a knee jerk reaction somewhere in me, first thinking “Aw, that’s sad…” then “Hey! I’m free!” Hah! I’ve never acted on those sorts of things. Or, you know, that could just be me and any woman. Heh.
It reminds me a little of an advert I saw in the cinema yesterday, for an Anne Hathoway film (‘One Day’?) in which the guy is saying how he was secretly in love with Anne’s character when they were younger and at school together, but then he acknowledges that he was secretly in love with most of the girls at the time. I think that’s kind of accurate in a lot of people’s realities. It’s possible to fall in love every day. There are lots of intelligent, funny, attractive people out there. But ultimately you’ve got to find the one special one who does something the others don’t, who feels the same about you, who you can live with, who you’re not going to be tempted to kill somewhere down the line. The other intelligent, funny, attractive people you get to keep as friends. That’s the deal.
I’m a sucker for a romance story, as long as it’s not too cheesy. I was in the cinema yesterday to watch Beginners before the comedy night out. It features Ewan McGregor as a graphic designer in his late 30s, stumbling into a new relationship. “Falling in love with a girl again,” he explains to his friend, expressing his confusion at how these things all work out. It’s a cool film, and I kind of wish that reality reflected art and that a graphic designer in his late 30s could randomly meet a quirky girl at a party. Although if I wanted to play it exactly by the rules set out in the film I’d have to wait til I was 38, both parents had died, and I was dressed as Sigmund Freud and carrying a dog.
That might be a little excessive, even for me.
(sorry, weird font and spacing issues here - I'll try to sort it out later)
Friday, 8 July 2011
“I’m sorry I’m late,” Daniel apologises as he steps into the apartment. He looks a sorry sight, hair and coat dripping with rain, his glasses steamed up. He becomes aware that he is dripping on the polished wooden floor, and begins to apologise again. I raise a hand to stop him. “Don’t worry,” I explain, “it’s a studio. The floor frequently gets dirty. Art is a dirty business.” Daniel smiles an uneasy smile and allows me to hang his coat up for him. From the hook by the door the coat continues to produce a puddle on the floor.
Daniel Webb is a young journalist working for a local London paper, here to interview me in the run-up to the British Museum’s upcoming ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ exhibition. In particular he is here to speak about the masks I am offering the Museum for the duration of this short exhibition from my private collection. Daniel and I have met just the once before, following a brief phone conversation where I suggested we meet up for a coffee on London’s quiet South Bank. There’s a lovely place that sits directly opposite Cleopatra’s Needle on the north bank of the Thames, an ancient Egyptian monolith that seems both out of place and yet typical of the mish mash of identities contained within this city. This is not my home and yet I love it for it’s cultural diversity, the way it draws in people and influences and stirs them together.
I remember that initial meeting. A sunny day, not at all like today, a golden light filtering through the trees on the South Bank, the laughter and conversations of people sitting nearby, or walking past along the bank of the river. Daniel was early and I found him nervously waiting when I arrived. He rose from his chair, addressed me by my name and eagerly offered me his hand, which I took and shook. His handshake was a little too eager, as if he’d once been told that a firm handshake conveys a strong and confident character. I sat down and we talked a little, and he jotted down numerous notations in a ring-bound notebook. He seemed to relax in my company, seemed to be comforted somewhat by my laughter in response to some of his more insightful questions. But we agreed there and then that he might do better to have some sort of recording device for the purposes of his interview, and that if he were to have his article accompanied by relevant pictures he might as well visit me at my London studio flat. And so here he is.
I lead him from the slowly forming puddle in the entrance hall through to the lounge, and offer him a drink. Tea? Coffee? “Coffee, please,” he says, his eyes wide as he takes in the details of the studio flat. There is little here to suggest anything comparable to the grandeur of the collection Daniel has come here to see; I have the bare minimum to make myself comfortable here. A glass topped coffee table, a couple of white plastic chairs, and four blank white walls like vast canvasses awaiting their first drop of paint. A large window looks out across the Thames, but it now frames darkness, animated by the pattern of raindrops. The lights of distant buildings dance to the gentle brush of the rain against the glass. By contrast my footsteps sound sharply upon the polished wooden floor as I cross the room to the kitchenette near the window.
“Please, sit down,” I call, as I fetch a jar of instant coffee from the cupboard. “Make yourself comfortable.” Daniel picks one of the not-particularly-comfortable chairs, one where he faces the window and the kitchenette, and begins to empty his bag. One by one he places the contents on the coffee table, as if each needs to be positioned just so: a compact digital camera, a dictaphone, a notebook, a pen, and lastly a book from which protrudes a leaflet for the British Museum. The book I see shares the name of the exhibition and is presumably the book by Joseph Campbell from which it gets its name.To be continued…
EXT: BLACK SCREEN.
Fade in the words “ONCE UPON A TIME…”
Once upon a time…
The ‘O’ of ‘ONCE’ fades into a full moon in a dark sky.
Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Everyone’s heard this one before. It’s only the details that change.
INT: ROSE’S HOME.
We see ROSE’s red mp3 player. A finger with a nail painted bright red presses ‘play’ and the music begins to accompany opening sequence.
EXT: NIGHT SHOTS IN LONDON
The music is the main constant throughout the opening sequence, the images showing London in momentum, as the camera pans past, taking in various snippets. Key to this is ROSE’s journey through London by night, trying to maintain motion, flashes of colour and life. People laughing and chatting, glimpses of adverts and brandings. Trying to maintain the presence of red without making it an obvious focus. ROSE we see only partially, holding a book or magazine with the same red nailed hands, or legs crossed with red shoes. She wears dark colours mixed with brighter reds. The music remains constant, no background noise coming through. ROSE’s journey is uninterrupted by the world beyond her personal theme tune.
We glimpse a few surreal shots, red phone boxes lying like knocked over dominos (as per the art sculpture at Kingston Upon Thames), the traffic light tree at Herons Quay on the Isle of Dogs, red lights flickering in the background.
EXT: NIGHT ON A LONDON STREET
The sequence ends with a shot of the red shoes stepping onto a London pavement. We scroll up to see ROSE’s face for the first time, a twenty something girl with short hair, dyed bright red. Behind her a London UNDERGROUND sign is reflected. Closing in on her face the only visible letters of this sign become the letters DER in reverse. She removes one earphone then the other, replacing the music with street noise.
Across the road a crossing sign displays a red man, ensuring she doesn’t cross. Cut back to ROSE until lights change, then show ROSE crossing whilst red light holds back traffic.
EXT: NIGHT OUTSIDE HOSPITAL
We see ROSE walking towards the entrance of a hospital.
INT: NIGHT HOSPITAL CAFÉ
A man sits at a table, early to mid forties, suit, tie. He sits with a newspaper in front of him, a crossword incomplete. Possible opportunity for other subtle references to Little Red Riding Hood. This is D.I. HUNTER. He is sipping black coffee. There is a general murmur of noise in the background, but it is late and there are few people here. There is soft music playing. We watch HUNTER for a moment struggling with some of the clues.
Do you mind if I sit here?
Pull back to show ROSE standing next to HUNTER’s table, and lots of empty tables around them. ROSE has a bunch of roses in her hands. Posters and signs on the wall make it clear that this café is part of the hospital. A bottle of ketchup sits on a table in the foreground.
HUNTER looks around, then back up at ROSE.
I just thought, you know, it’s a big empty room. No point sitting far away from the only other point of interest.
Point of interest?
ROSE pulls a chair out and sits.
You. These flowers aren’t for you by the way.
You know visiting hours are over?
Yeah, I’m here for my grandmother. She’s ill, she can see visitors out of hours. What’s your story?
I’m here on police business.
HUNTER pulls some ID out of a pocket.
So, what do you make of the coffee?
Yeah, the coffee. In your official capacity as an officer of the law.
I’m thinking of picking something up to take upstairs. A drink and a snack.
It’s ah… it’s okay, I suppose. Hot. Black. Does the trick.
Eight across. German brothers and storytellers.
Oh, the Brothers Grimm.
Got it in one.
One hour perhaps. Not really my thing.
I suppose not. Not many wolves to catch in London.
No. Not as such.
HUNTER checks his watch, reminded of the man he’s keeping an eye on upstairs.
You know what? I never understood why there was just a big bad wolf in those stories.
You know, a solitary wolf. They’re pack animals, they hunt in packs.
It’s an analogy, isn’t it? The tall dark stranger your mother always warns you of?
Not my mum. (laughs) You off?
HUNTER is climbing to his feet. He picks up his coffee, but leaves the paper.
Er… yeah. Nice to meet you…
ROSE watches HUNTER wander off.
(to the empty room) See you later then.
To be continued...
Late Night Review...
Last night was the Harry Potter film premiere. A big spectacle. Lots of people were there. Many famous ones.
I didn’t go myself, but did see the crowds during the day. Crazy!
The day had been a little hectic. I needed to sort out some tickets at Victoria coach station, and so had headed out in torrential rain. I’d dressed for rain, with my jacket and boots. Still, it turns out it is actually summer, and horribly warm. Whilst I thought it’d be quite cool to hang around London for a little while (after heading to a few shops and deciding not to spend money on a few things I really liked), five or six hours in a coat exhausted me. The evening I decided would be spent doing some sorting out at my parents’ place. Fortunately I decided not to inform them, as I stumbled across a Tweet en route that made me change direction.
Someone was offering a spare ticket to anyone interested, to a comedy show at the Soho Theatre. I figured that other people might jump at the chance but that, if not, I could probably do so. When it appears noone else has offered to take the ticket I grab a tube to Oxford Circus.
Let’s be honest. The title Gimp Fight doesn’t immediately make you think ‘Hmmmm… that sounds like a fun night out…’ Well, perhaps one or two of you are raising an eyebrow and trying not to be excited by the idea. But the fact is I’d read a little bit about it before, possibly through the Twitterfeed of the person who was offering the ticket, and knew it was a comedy show, albeit it a dark comedy show. And sometimes it’s the random opportunities in life that turn into bigger opportunities and introduce you to a larger world of experiences.
ComedyNerd, or Carol as she is known in real life, is apparently a bit of a Late Night Gimp Fight groupie, having spent much of the week seeing the show multiple times already, having claimed the same seat in the front row as her own. She was so familiar with the material that she’d previously been noted as laughing prior to the jokes, and disrupting a reviewer’s viewing of it. I didn’t know what to expect, and the flyers all show a gimp masked man cradling a baby. Or perhaps it’s more the mask of a Mexican wrestler, but in a tasteful sombre black. Either way, it didn’t quite prepare me for the show. Nor did the signs warning of full frontal nudity.
Carol, and the friend she’d been waiting with (and whose name I’ve completely forgotten now because I tend to forget names I don’t see written down or hear repeated – sorry!) are big fans of the comedy circuit, and regular visitors to the Edinburgh Festival. Carol has a list of MUST SEE acts, and a list of prices. The total at the bottom was just under £200. That’s commitment to comedy! Her friend said she usually avoided spending more than a tenner to see an act. That said Late Night Gimp Fight tickets were £15. But absolutely well worth it.
We were the first to enter the theatre, and claimed our seats in the front row. The set looked amazing (a little like the sort of thing I’m trying to conjure up for my own play at the moment), being what appeared to be some sort of small flat, a room consisting of a kitchen and lounge area with doorway off either side, presumably to a bedroom (through a bead curtain) and bathroom (with a door). A front door stage left faced the audience, as did a couch in front of it, positioned so that it was lined up with a TV on the far left of the stage. There was an Apocalypse Now poster on the wall, and a selection of boardgames, books, DVDs and CDs on the shelves (notably a Never Mind The Buzzcocks game and a couple of book by Howard ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Marks). Cuttlery lined the kitchen counter draining board. All in all it looked like a bit of a student flat, but like one where the students did actually make a point of tidying up.
The scene is set when one of the five man troupe, a young bearded gentleman, walks onto the stage through the front door, throwing his keys across the kitchen counter. He switches lights on, slumps onto the couch, and picks up a remote control. We are then introduced to an element of the show that runs throughout – a TV screen is projected onto the back wall of the set to show us various Late Night Gimp Fight adverts. Usually these brief scenes, usually doctored adverts or song videos that end with the words Late Night Gimp Fight, offer a few seconds distraction whilst the lights are down and the comedians are running into position for their next sketch. This first time though, which sets the scene, has an advert for a charity. The two gentlemen explain how there are people out there being physically and mentally tortured. And that it is up to them to help look after such people when their masters and mistresses die. They are the Prevention of Prevention of Cruelty To Gimps. “Give a gimp a fish,” explains one man, “and he’ll shove it up his arse. But give a gimp a rod…” The man pauses, then continues… “and he’ll probably shove it up his arse too…”
Once the advert finishes the stage the comedians all appear for introductions, all wearing gimp masks (and including the young bearded man who has had a mask yanked over his head). They sing “Late Night Gimp Show” to the tune of Don’t Stop Believing, one of them on stage in a wheel chair as a special nod to Glee. After the song they introduce themselves to the audience and then announce the new female member of the group who we’ve yet to see. Which proves to be something of a disaster.
There are so many very funny sketches throughout, some of which I’ll try to recall because as a ‘Worst of’ compilation this is old material they’re performing before they go on to do their new stuff at Edinburgh.
There’s a sketch about the father of a four year old who is visited by his tactless friend. After this initial meeting where he casually mentions that his son has been killed they later reappear throughout the show, with the friend displaying his lack of tact a couple of times more.
There’s a sketch where a jock gets bullied by nerds, picked on as he begins to eat an apple. Which is a lot funnier than it sounds.
There’s Jesus being crucified on the cross, delivering his great speech about being delivered into his Father’s hands… before being interrupted by one of the thieves being crucified alongside him, who’s just remembered something he’s forgotten to do…
There’s the jolly doctor who announces to his patient that he’s got nothing to worry about, and that he just has hives. “Hives? Phew! But isn’t that like an itchy rash? I haven’t got an itchy rash…” “Oh! Let’s see. Oh, my mistake, you’ve got A hive. Just the one.” “Phew! Well, that’s a relief!” “Yes, nothing to worry about… hmmmm… I thought ‘hive’ was spelt with an ‘e’ on the end…” Patient’s face drops. “Oh! I see! My mistake! It’s HIV! That’s make perfect sense!” Laughing aloud at his silly mistake, then sees how the patient is reacting. “Oh… I suppose that’s worse, isn’t it?”
There’s a sketch about how Sleeping Beauty could only be woken by a kiss of true love. Nothing else. So, essentially, the narrator explains to the prince, you could do whatever you wanted and she wouldn’t wake up. Which it then cuts back to later revealing that Sleeping Beauty was sleeping next door, and a hysterical Cinderella is shrieking at the prince “What was that? What the hell was that?” before sobbing to herself “That was nothing like Disney!”
There are few great moments where they sing. There’s a wonderful scene where a pervert in a trenchcoat is encouraging Bonnie Tyler to “turn around, Bright Eyes!” There’s a song they’ve written themselves about Making Love With The TV On, that lists various amusing shows to do so to. There’s their beat box version of some Dizzee Rascal (that is paired with another sketch which has its ‘big twist’ ruined). There’s their version of the Full Monty striptease that changes to the All the Single Ladies dance routine midway through (hilarious, and that’s before the big reveal at the end of the striptease!). And finally there are couple of songs performed by the comedians lying on their backs, wearing hoodies over their legs and manipulating them like puppets. Incredible stuff.
Very very funny. If their new stuff is anything like their old stuff, I encourage you go see them.
I went home to where my two of my flatmates were very drunk. My story about how Twitter had presented me with a really cool and unexpected opportunity was derailed by one of them, the comedy writer, saying how I only do stuff in order to write about it on Twitter, and how wouldn’t that be a great idea for a comedy character, or someone that apparently has all the answers and can be reached directly on Twitter? Or wouldn’t it be hilarious if you created a Twitter account and just came across as elusive and vague and difficult to actually Follow? Which, to anyone who is on Twitter, probably sounds like the dullest bunch of ideas you’ve heard for a while, since there are hundreds of accounts out there like that already. And which was a bit of a dampener on a great night out because I think he’d have probably preferred hearing about the great comedy than trying to string together a few terrible ideas and then, being drunk and stoned, lose his thread of thought several times.
But there you go. Too much alcohol makes dicks of us all. Or makes us too honest. Perhaps that’s the same thing.
Late Night Gimp Fight can be found here: http://www.latenightgimpfight.com