Monthly Archives: May 2006

Ego Surfing

I would just like to clarify some identity issues. Searching for my name on Google produces a number of results which are not me. I don’t understand how this can happen. A friend tells me that there may be other people on the planet with the same name as me. Yeah right.

So, to clear this up once and for all, and not as an egotistical exercise in self-linking, because that wouldn’t be like me, here’s clarification of Google’s results.

  • Ansible – “oh, how appropriate a surname” – not me, although yes, it is appropriate.
  • Disturbed – Not me. A shame really, cos his free fonts are allll over the place.
  • NTK – Yep, that’s me
  • Blogger – Definitely not me. I mean.
  • The Pettys – This isn’t me either. I think this is the font guy.
  • Athletics – Sport, so can’t be me
  • More Athletics – Sport again, near Wales this time. Not me. Same Petty?
  • Tennis – First Welsh athletics, now American tennis. Stop with the sport, already.
  • ‘Parky’ – That’ll be me again
  • MUDsMUDs? – That takes me back. Not me though.
  • Tea bloke – Him again. Damn!
  • Diner – This sounds cool. Retro diner in the US, managed by another namesake.
  • Rowing – Rowing now! Fer gosh sakes!
  • Film – Ooh look that was me. Blimey!
  • Friends – I get this a lot
  • Carlton – This is definitely me
  • School – Me me me yadda yadda
  • Wrestling – And finally, wrestling. Mmmmm, lycra

I Sit Corrected

It has been brought to my attention by one of my readers (the one on the left) that this post contains an error. It turns out that the men will be kicking a ball around in Germany, and not Greece as previously stated. Greece hosted the Eurovision Song Contest. Whatever My bad.

Confusing these two events is completely justified. One is a competition where countries come together to compete in a flamboyant but ultimately meaningless contest of non-marketable skills, airing ancient international rivalries and favouritisms, where “we was robbed” every time except once many years ago.

The other one is the same.

Didn’t really work, that, did it? Oh, and something about silly costumes, dance routines and amusing commentary.

I have to say that I am with Charlie Brooker and Stewart Lee* when it comes to foopball.

In other words,


* On his DVD ‘Standup Comedian’ he describes anyone involved in playing, organising, or managing foopball, and anyone who watches it, as “filthy reactionary scum”

And Up Again

It’s like a bleedin’ rollercoaster round ‘ere. Only on Tuesday I was whingeing about a bad rehearsal, and now I’m telling you that last night was a lot better. Well, a bit better. We were rehearsing scenes which I’m a lot more confident with, so it went pretty smoothly.

We also rehearsed the dance scene, where KC and I glide round the floor like glidey things, except I don’t cos I can’t dance [ref: this blog passim]. I’m assured this will be presentable by curtain up.

The Court Scene rehearsal gave me the opportunity to slip into the Amazing Line Learning Kitchen and put it through its paces. And once again, it worked! I now know nearly all of my characters final triumphant speech. There’s hope yet.

Of course, there’s no point telling you all of this if you don’t have a ticket already, because every performance except the Saturday Matinee and Evening is completely sold out! Apparently some men are kicking a ball around in Greece that afternoon, and that’s more interesting than the play, so there are still tickets available for those performances. Snap them up while you can!

My Beloved Director told me last night in the snug of the Horse and Groom blarey-sport-music-TV-hell of the Hand & Racquet that one scene requires me to take my clothes off. The script requires it; I will do it. That is all.

I’m already being screamed at, pummelled, and slapped, why not go the whole fucking hog.

A Word From Rehearsal


That pretty much sums it up. We rehearsed the whole second half last night, which I should know 100%. Instead, I know about 15%. KMcG tried to help me, in the Amazing Line Learning Kitchen, with little success. The speech I tried to learn was one of those where, instead of a flow of speech with a clear order, it’s a series of single statements. And I, of course, get them in the wrong order. Heavens, I got so frustrated I threw a coin at the wall!

I know, I know, I’ll do it in the end. I did it for Marat/Sade, and Much Ado. My friends are all being very supportive, and I know all it takes is patience and work, and time spent just actively learning the lines, instead of staring blankly at the page with all the green highlighter.

So once again, out come the MD player, the pad, the pencil, the mirror, the guarana, the suspension-upside-down-to-get-blood-to-the-brain ankle harnesses. I’ll nail this.

These posts are getting a bit self-pitying aren’t they? Tough.

My Dads House is For Sale

As you can imagine, since my Dad died in July, various things have been happening. I’ve not really been able to go into too much detail here, but it’s been a case of sorting through all his papers, and the stuff in his house, which was my family home for 30 years.

Now that house is up for sale. My brother sent my sister and I the PDF of the estate agents particulars, for us to check and approve. And I have to say it was pretty upsetting, seeing the familiar place laid out like that.

I guess it’s these bits which really bring the whole situation home (as it were). Before we can sell it, we need to clear it out. And it’s full of stuff, memories, the accumulated junk of a family. Photos! Slides! The garage is full of tools and bits of wood, the loft is full of school books and old curtains. It’s going to take some work and weekends to sort it all out. Wish me luck.

They Call Him Shuggie

When walking the mutt, it’s often the case that when you get chatting with other dog owners and people in general, they ask the name of the dog.

Me: “Shuggie.”
Fool: “Shoogie?”
Me: “No, Shuggie.”
Fool: “Shaggy?”
Me: “Shuggie.”
Fool: “What does it mean?”
Me: “In Scotland, men with the first name ‘Hugh’ get the nickname ‘Shuggie’. Like men called Douglas get the nickname Dougie. Or Doogie.”
Fool: “Oh, so it’s Shoogie then?”
Me: “No, it’s Shuggie.”
Fool: “Oh.”

Person wanders off, confused.

I Love People!

That Pain Barrier I Mentioned

I hit it at last night’s rehearsal, but I didn’t quite break through it. A couple of speeches were attempted, with pretty faltering results. I had to give up and grab my script, which was a bit disappointing. But while the rest of the cast rehearsed the court scene (nice and long, a good break for me) I disappeared into the community centre kitchen to thrash through my lines. It worked! I’m now off book for 2 major scenes, which is a relief.

So what is the secret of line learning? Judging by the community centre kitchen, the following things help:

  • Pus-coloured paintwork
  • Extreme damp, leading to heavy flaking in aforesaid paintwork
  • Belfast sink with wooden draining boards
  • Wall-mounted water heater
  • Discarded Alcoholics Anonymous paperwork
  • Fablon

I’d better hit Ebay to put together my own ‘Line Learning Room’ at home. Fablon’s due for a comeback anyway.

Twinkle Toes

As well as singing, it turns out certain scenes also contain what can only be described as ‘movement’. So now I must remember lines, remember to say lines, and remember dance moves in time to music. I fear the West End is not calling. Still, I’ve been here before, so I should be able to manage it again. My character’s not supposed to look dignified, is he?

As for line learning, the nerves are starting to kick in, but I think that with some prompting, I should be able to punch through the pain barrier, bearing in mind it’s not just my pain, it’s everyone listening’s pain as well. And if I don’t, I guess The Beloved Director will punch me. It’s nothing less than I deserve!

We’ve heard a little about costume now as well. It’s suits, basically, which is easy. I can do suits. I can do shabby, I can do smart, I can do drab, but I can’t do plaid, which is a relief. What I also need is the hair. My hair is just getting too long at the moment – floppy and shapeless, and not in a floppy-fringed-indie-kid way. So what’s needed is a trip to the hairdresser to say, “Can you give me a haircut like Adolf Hitler, please”. See how that goes down.

As for the famous moustache, I’m going to have that appear halfway through the play, so it needs to be a fake one, stuck on with spirit gum. This is a relief for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t really want to walk around with a Hitler ‘tache for the show week. Two, it wouldn’t be just the show week anyway. As described before I have a problem growing facial hair – it takes a long time. I’d need to start now, which would either mean walking around with a Hitler ‘tache for a month, or more likely, but no less nauseating, growing a miniature (aka ‘goateeeeee’) beard, and them shaving off the bits I don’t need. But growing one of those is out of the question

I do have some pride.

I Was Grumpy On The Train

Hello fans. Because I was in a bad mood the other day (“No!”, you cry), the utterly banal (pron. ‘bane-ul’) conversation of the two women sitting next to me on the train got right up my nose. They were doing the standard gossip / natter / yammer thing that people do, but it seemed more ridiculous than usual. The key points are reproduced here, with my notes, for your lack of edification.

  • “Oo, why are the trains always late? He he he, *sniff*.” – This one wasn’t.
  • “Oo, it’s all First Class isn’t it? No normal seats. He he he, *sniff*.” – Half a carriage out of 8 was First Class
  • “Oo, there’s never any seats is there? He he he, *sniff*.” – We were sitting down.
  • “Oo, why are we not moving? He he he, *sniff*.” – We were in a station.
  • “Oo, where are we? He he he, *sniff*.” – Said with a sudden look around. We were 5 stations from where they got off.
  • “Oo, you never know if a restaurant is clean do you? He he he, *sniff*.” – No, all restaurants should be closed down.

The “He he he” was a weak giggle. The *sniff* was a nasty, liquid sound that made me ill. Does this post make me sound a bit grumpy? Bah, bumbag, or whatever.