Monthly Archives: March 2005

Lyrics For The Nokia Ringtone

“I’m annoying,
I’m annoying,
I’m annoying you

I Am The Marquis! (Goo Goo G’joob)

I’m rather pleased and not a little daunted to be able to say that I’ve been cast as the notorious Marquis de Sade in a new production by Carlton Dramatic Society.

The iniquitous Marquis de Sade is imprisoned in the asylum of Charenton for endangering public morals. There he continues to write scandalous novels and plays. He is allowed to stage some of his plays and as a form of therapy the hospital’s patients are encouraged to take part in them. Sade’s scandalous productions provided a delicious outing for the cream of Parisian society.

In Marat/Sade, Sade dramatizes the stabbing of the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, who was murdered in his bath. In his production he uses a cast of narcoleptics, paranoiacs and schizophrenics.

This is a play within a play. It uses all the devices of contemporary theatre and was regarded in the 1960’s as one of the most avant-garde plays of its time. The present adaptation wants to build on that tradition and contemporises the points of discussion of the play. One of the aims of this production is to create an environment where the line between audience and performance is blurred – a total theatre. It is also an opportunity to explore new areas in theatre production and acting. Actors will have to act someone acting in a play – i.e. they will have to act to act!

We’ve had a couple of rehearsals already, and far in the first scene I have to imagine (and vocalise) what I would like to do to all my fellow actors. I do this all the time anyway, but being forced to do it is slightly unnerving. A fellow cast member has suggested the cast all go and get drunk together, to break the ice a bit. Well worth it.

I’ll post my rehearsal experiences here, and during the show week, post a performance diary, like I did for Two last November. Something for the cast to look at backstage.

Vinyl Walkman

I was on a train the other day, heading into town. All the seats were full, but I had one, so OK.
A youngish guy dressed in the very heighth of fashion sitting a few seats away delved in his bag, brought out a portable record player (I think it was a Numark PT01) then dragged out his headphones (probably Sony mdrv500‘s) then a 12″, and put it on. He listened intently, barely batting an eyelid as the rocking of the train caused the needle to leap around like a cricket. He listened to just the first minute or so of each track, flipping it halfway.

I was fascinated. Why bother carrying this crap around? What were you expecting to achieve? Are you a DJ doing some research into what to play that night? Are you a glitch-hiphop pioneer, experimenting with the arrhythmic sounds of public transport and melding them into some phat science? Or are you a twat?

I was also annoyed. It’s bad enough with the tinny noise you get from people’s earphones when they have them too loud (especially the cheap plasticky knock-off shite you get with Nokia mobile phones and Apple iPods), but you could hear the sound direct from the needle across the carriage. Some ropey pose fodder for men with beards drawn in marker.

I also saw a guy with a portable DVD player on another train. He was watching ’24’. I know this because of those distorted time-signal pips that infest that TV show, while they do the split-screen-aren’t-we-clever bit. Cheap earbuds for him too.

Also, he kept sniggering at how bad Kiefer Sutherlands acting is. Dead giveaway.

The Bedford Players – A Potted History (Abridged and Unfinished)

Disclaimer

This is all from my own recollections, and harvested from various sites around the net, so if any of it is inaccurate or incorrect, please let me know. My tattered cortex has enough trouble with shopping lists, so be gentle.

Let’s go back in time…

During the early 1980’s, there were a number of theatre groups active in Bedford:

  • The Bradgate Players – Formed from members of the Bradgate Tennis Club
  • The Company – Specialised in musicals, like Cabaret, Some Like It Hot etc.
  • The Bedford Amateur Operatic Society – Went more for the Gilbert & Sullivan side of things.
  • Bedford Dramatic Club – Last but not least, the BDC did straight-down-the-line drama. Orton, Ayckbourn, Coward, you name it.
A very rough map of the layout of the Players Place

A very rough map of the layout of the Players Place

These groups had 2 things in common: Not Much Money, and No Premises.

So they came together and bought a group of portacabins behind the Army Cadet building, by North Wing Hospital. The building was renovated, with new paint, woodwork, a bar (cheapest Red Stripe in Bedford), and one-bar electric heaters to (barely) stave off the winter chill. It was great – 3½ rehearsal rooms, storage for props, costumes, sets and the like, and an address.

This last was very important – a single point of contact for a number of groups. And the fact the groups were all thrown in together meant that a lot of cross-pollination went on (in more ways than one).

Bradgate later became the Swan Theatre Company, and more recently, BAOS became ShowCo, and they both continue to do great shows.

I left Bedford in 1990, so what happened after that is sketchy. The group left the cabins in the mid-1990’s and where they went I don’t know. But then in 2002, The Place opened its doors. This is a new venue and happens to be based at the site of the old Bradgate Tennis Club. The Circle Line of time comes full circle, and opens its doors once more at the Temple of irony.

Click here for a rough-and-ready map of where the cabins used to be. As you can see, the cabins have long since disappeared. Once the groups left, they rapidly deteriorated, and I believe a fire destroyed them in the end. A sad (but inevitable) end to the site of so many memories.

Palm Tungsten E Lego Sync And Charge Cradle

I’ve had my Palm Tungsten E PDA for about 6 months now, and it’s great. I got it 2nd hand off Ebay, and it’s given me no trouble. Here’s what I do with it… (read on, it’ll be worth it!)

  • I keep all my contacts, calendar, and tasks synced with my home PC, and backed up on my work laptop. For both I use the included Palm Desktop. I don’t want to mess up my work stuff, and I don’t want Outlook on my home PC.
  • I’ve used IR to connect it to my work Nokia 6810, by using the included software. I had to select ‘Nokia 6610’ from the available phone settings to make it work, but it works fine.
  • I play a few games: GG’s Blocks, Yahdice, Dope Wars, iLarn, iRogue, kMoria.
  • For a while I used the included VersaMail to keep track of my email, but I’ve stopped now.
  • I use DiddleBug, a Note Pad replacement for everyday notes and jottings. It’s better than the built-in app because it makes it very easy to attach an alarm to the note. I tend to scribble a note in DiddleBug, then attach an alarm to remind me to transfer it to a proper to-do or calendar item.
  • I use Plucker and Sunrise to grab web newsfeeds to read later.
  • I’ve got loads of texts from Project Gutenberg and Memoware to read on the daily commute, especially H P Lovecraft and H G Wells.
  • I use VD Image Viewer to view images like the tube map, as well as Palm Photos to keep a few personal pics on board.
  • Z’Catalog, Mass Transit and FileZ are all very useful.
  • … and finally, I use the included RealOne player to play mp3 files off a 512MB SD card. I remapped the Notepad hard button to switch to the player, and the Navigator pad performs the Volume and FF/RW controls. This way I can slip it in my pocket, and reach in to play and navigate my mp3s. Great stuff. The RealOne player is pretty good, considering how atrocious their Windows player is.

But there is a problem with the TE. It doesn’t come with a charge/sync cradle, and because it doesn’t use the Palm standard Universal Connector, you can’t buy one. No-one makes a TE-compatible cradle.

Until now.

Visiting my father over Easter, and getting some boxes out of his loft to put in my loft (books we’ll never read, vinyl we have on CD, CD’s we have more than one copy of, for example Joy Division Substance, etc), I thought I’d check out the big Lego box, and see what I could make.

I got pretty far too, but pressures of time, and the realisation that my nieces and nephews play with the Lego when they visit, and may resent Uncle Matt stealing it for his own geeky uses, forced me to give up for the time being.

It gave me some ideas though, so I’ll be figuring something out. I want

  • simple ‘drop-in’ action
  • connect to Sync and Charge
  • ability to easily remove cables for travelling

Watch this space…

Carlton Dramatic Society present…

A Gala Evening With The Stars
Drake House, 44 St George’s Road, Wimbledon
8pm, doors open 7.30pm

£10, includes catered food, an evening’s entertainment and dancing!

a large wodge of the proceeds goes to charity – to be decided, but very worthy

The entertainment consists of the members of the Society giving their renditions of some musical classics. I myself will be co-compering, and also performing the song ‘Jackie’, as written by Jacques Brel, and then covered by Scott Walker. Book your tickets now, by clicking on the links below. I look forward to seeing you and entertaining you!

Map | Carlton Dramatic Society info | Full Details

FTPSync 2.06

FTPSync is a really handy bit of software. Because I edit files on this site both at home and on the web via WWW2FTP, sometimes the files on my local copy of the site are newer than the remote versions, and sometimes the remote versions are newer than the local versions. So I need to keep them synchronised, and that’s where FTPSync comes in.It compares a specified FTP folder to a specified local folder, and checks to see if any files have been updated. If they have, it marks them and allows you to up- or download them accordingly. There are various features to deal with time differences, and it all works really well. So well, I bought the software.

Shareware, $15

WEB2FTP

WEB2FTP is an online FTP client. It allows all the usual FTP functions, in a simple web-based interface.

The great thing about this tool is that if your FTP client won’t work, due to firewall restrictions for example, you can still edit your files. And it’s in English.

Blosxom

This page is no longer relevant, because I now use WordPress. But have a read anyway, it’s interesting.

~

Blosxom is the basis for most of this site. It’s essentially a Content Management System, in the same vein as Movable Type, Pivot, WordPress and so on.

It can be used as a weblog, or for many other things. It’s free of course, as are most tools used to create this site, and it’s very well supported by the author, Rael Dornfest, and an active support group.

But it’s overriding advantage to me is its size and simplicity. The code is tiny, less than 50K including plugins. Oh yeah, plugins. While many features are built-in, such as RSS-compatible syndication, weblog-style date and time stamping, support for style templates (‘flavors’ – US spelling), many more features are available by adding plugins, which are simply tiny bits of code you drop in the plugin folder.

It’s based around the folder structure itself – a folder holds all your entries/posts/articles. Each entry is a simple text file. Sub-(and sub-sub-)folders divide them into categories (and subcategories). For example, all my arts entries are under arts/, while the theatre entries are under arts/theatre/, and the entries for the 2004 production of Two are under arts/theatre/two2004. Simple and very effective. No PHP or MySQl required! (just Perl CGI support).

[the site doesn’t run on this software any more, so I’ve broken several links]

Look, I’m just paraphrasing the official site, just read this review of Blosxom 2.0. That rhymes.

Amaztype – Typographic Book Search

This is way cool. Head on over here, select your locale (.co.uk for me), select your media type (I’ve been doing music), enter some search terms, select author/artist or title, and off you go.

What happens then is that this nifty little page goes off to the Amazon database, grabs all the images that match your search terms, for example all of The Frogs’ CD covers, and writes the name in a collage of those images. It works equally well with music as with books, or even videos.

Now, all I need to do is create something, and I’ll see my name in images