Saturday, November 23, 2013

Feedback Please

God sat...

*Author's Note* God did not sit. Before we start this chapter it is worth me taking the time to explain that none of the characters here are currently in a physical form. So God could not have sat as It had nothing to sit with or on. Also, nothing actually got said as there was no mouth to say it and no ears to hear it; when I say something was 'said' I have to mean 'the idea came into being'. It's like a thought but on a celestial level. In some respects too, there were not quite the separate characters I have sketched out to make things simpler; it was more a wrestling of concepts and energy going back and forth and pulling time and space towards different moral outcomes. You can see how to try and narrate a chapter like this as it actually happened would be lengthy and confusing, so I will try where possible to put it into a "humans having a chat" context. This will help you understand, and also help me convince some other people to make it into a film and make me lots of money. Rest assured though that neither then, here, nor in the film did, do or will God resemble Alanis Morisette.

So, God “sat” and waited patiently for his inevitable company to arrive. Company bustled into the room as though this meeting were just ticking off No 4 in a 25 point To-Do List for the day. God knew this couldn't be true because they had decided not to bring the concept of days to this place; it seemed to help with not boxing in thought processes if there was never a time anything needed doing, even if it did cost them the joy of ever getting that Friday feeling. God also knew it couldn't be true because Itself was the creator of all things and therefore almost always the most important thing on anyones To-Do list.

*Author's Note* This is trickier than I thought. You may have noticed an 'itself' creep into the text back there when referring to God. This is because, try as I might to fit this into a 'humans having a chat for simplicity and Hollywood dollar signs' format, I just cannot bring myself to give them a gender. They had no bodies and therefore no “anatomy” (wink wink) and couldn’t be labelled as any species let alone a gender. As I find the notion of gender consigning you to be anything more specific than simply in possession of a certain set of reproductive organs I cannot even begin to speculate what gender these existences could be given. I will use 'it' for the purposes of non specificity and still narrating for you, and when we come to the casting discussions I'll bring the following 3 ideas for the casting of God to the table:
1. A series of ever changing famous cameos (exc. Alanis Morissette) to boost the celebrity of the film.
2. One of those androgynous actors that often do weird stuff like Johnny Depp or Cate Blanchett.
3. The Eurythmics

Company bustled in with sweaty confidence; cross about the circumstances but always pleased to have an argument.
“I thought I would have heard from you...” It let the partial question hang in the air; being intentionally blunt to try and catch God off guard.
God eyed the Devil with care. Theirs was a tempestuous relationship. They gave each other purpose; a deity without a purpose is prone to wild eccentricity. If you have any desire to see it in microcosm take a moment to research Lord Bath of Wiltshire.

*Author's Note* While I am enjoying watching these two bash it out as people like characters, I am worried I've dumbed it down to an extent where you won't believe what an accurate narrative this really is. I would hate to miss out on any credit due my way, so it might be worth scraping below the surface to see what's going on. Just in case anyone from a Literary Prize judging panel is reading.
 To understand God and the Devil is to understand everything, so if the next few paragraphs makes sense to you then treat yourself to a cup of tea, a pat on the back, and go ahead and ignore the next piece of criticism your mother throws your way.
To believe that God created everything is to believe that God must have created the Devil, which is difficult as God is the hero and the Devil is an out and out bad guy best imagined with a level of disdain only Alan Rickman can properly manage. Why would God create the Devil? That's like being a fly and inventing the swatter. The tricky bit is understanding that God did not intend to create the Devil; that the Devil came in to being as a biproduct of the sheer magnitude of the power of God.
Remember that God and the Devil are not things or people; they are every concept and every physical and philosophical eventuality. The existence of God as a constant production and collection of intentions and ideas allows the Devil to exist in opposition. In scientific terms; for every action there is a reaction. It's the same with God and the Devil, here is an example:
God thinking he could create the Earth as an eternal paradise gave life to the following related concepts:
The Earth could end. There could be something better than the Earth.
Each time God's thoughts create a new concept, It must decide if It is in favour of the thought and going to make use of it. The thoughts God does not want to continue with are pushed away, but they cannot be destroyed. God does not keep them to become part of itself and over time they caught momentum, like an enormous tumble weed, and became a formation fundamentally antithetical to God; the Devil.
So, what with God keeping all the thoughts relating to his project Earth prospering, and pushing away those that might harm it, it is easy to see how in human terms the Devil is evil because the Devil does contain an awful lot of negative aspirations for the human race. But it is wrong to say the Devil is evil incarnate; it is only opposite to God. As an example, It also holds within It the concept that there could be a paradise better than Earth, and so should It ever succeed in tumbling Earth then there might be something truly remarkable to behold. Not evil, just opposite to God, and certainly bad news for the human race.
To summarise, God did, and did not, create the Devil; God and the Devil are one and the same thing. Brothers from another mother, if you will.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Researchers Discover Cause of Economic Downfall

As the economic crisis starts to lie its tired head back down on the rug of England's history, researchers have finally been able to pinpoint the cause of the consumer spending shrink.

"It turns out people think there is absolutely nothing worth buying on the high street." said Professor Staton Thobvious, 56, of the University of Media Studies Degrees. "Have you been in a shop lately? Was there a single item in there that didn't ask you to Calm Down and Do Something Irrelevant? Why would anyone purchase these items? The fact that Britain has seen a sharp decline in consumer spending is a testament to the good taste of the British people. Thank God no one went so far as to start putting slogans on bread packaging or we'd all have starved to death."

"I first began to hypothesise on the subject when a car drove past me a few months ago with a bumper sticker that read, Keep Calm and Adopt a Greyhound." continues Professor Staton Thobvious, 5'8", who was born and raised on a playground in Philadelphia. "I immediately began to wonder exactly how soothing adopting a greyhound could possibly be for a person who must have been suffering a certain degree of panic to have been asked to calm down in the first place. One wonders the knock on effect of these actions when the poor person, now calmed and in possession of a greyhound, returns home to find their baffled partner standing at the door asking, "Whose is that greyhound?" It seemed to me that stress levels would begin to soar at that point as the poor person desperately tried to explain that once calm, he had been instructed to adopt a greyhound. Should the argument escalate, one has to assume the panicked person would have to adopt another greyhound to calm down again, leading to an infinite cycle of fear and greyhound adoption."

"What happens if one should need to calm down, and one happens to already be a greyhound? And not in a stable relationship with a dependable career? Starting an adopted family when you're already a single, unemployed greyhound seems morally reprehensible and not in the least bit sensible to someone trying to calm down."

According to Professor Staton Thobvious, 10st 5, who trained in from his home in Kent rather than taking the bus this morning, the economy has been kept vaguely afloat through this tricky period of tat solely by female relations who are unsure of what to buy family members for upcoming celebrations.

"A mother or aunty who is struggling to know what to buy a relative for their upcoming birthday or Christmas present feels very at home with the Keep Calm or similar products that one sees on the High Street these days. She will think, 'Ooh, my nephew David has a moustache. And that helpful Thermos flask there says Keep Calm and Look at a Moustache on it. David must love it and David will carry it on the train with him.' and she will innocently buy the item not realising the damage she is causing to the economic environment."

Sadly, Professor Staton Thobvious, 01273 227765, thinks there is worse still to come in the forecast for the British Population. "Whilst we will see a return to products fit for human purchase in stores in the coming months, too little has been done to stem the tide of unwanted Christmas gifts that twentysomethings can expect this year." January will be a month of many people trying to lose knitwear, shrinking tea towels, and burning down houses that have been affected by this gift taste abyss. Even charity shops will be unlikely to want the stick on moustache finger tattoos that seemed like such a good idea on Christmas Eve when your Aunt May wrapped them up for you.

"It's clear that this period of history is going to be very hard to decipher for historians in years to come. They will think we were a panicked nation, very jumpy, who needed constant reminders to go about our day without throwing ourselves under something sharp."

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by nuisance tat in anyway, remember, it's important to cut off these so called friends who are buying it and show them that you in no way wish to be affiliated with their limited intelligence behaviours. All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to continue hanging out with a friend despite them wearing a hoodie that combines a Big Bang Theory quote with a 1940s war poster.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Rant About Porn

Well, I was in my seat and all set for a nice peaceful journey from Liverpool to Brighton but then the Daily Mail made me cross and now I'm here on my keyboard being the ragey blogger that everyone hopes would just read all the other blogs that have already been much more eloquently written on their chosen subject.

This is what made me angry:

A horrible story about two children with ruined lives. That made me angry. Then this ridiculous bit made me angry:

"The Daily Mail’s fight to force the web industry to clean up the internet through its Block Online Porn campaign has led to concerted pressure on service providers, such as BT and TalkTalk."

And then their sodding "side bar of shame" masquerading as a bit for women tipped me over the sodding edge.

So, some things I really need to get off my chest to the Daily Mail:

1. The boy, 13, did not "escape" custodial services... he is 13 and has clearly been so totally messed up in his life that he is in need of severe help. Escape makes it sound like you think he was lucky to do it.

2. Saying things like "The web industry" makes you sound as stupid as you are misogynist. Who are you talking about?

3. I'll tell you who you are talking about: yourselves. Why is porn getting more and more graphic? Because everyday life is getting more and more graphic. Here's a simple breakdown for you:

You are supposed to be a news outlet and yet you have pictures of boobs right there on the same page as a story condemning a child for not knowing porn and rape were wrong. So, a child could read that article and think to themselves... porn is wrong, but looking at these boobs is fine. How are children and young adults supposed to know what kind of boobs are fine to look at?

If a news outlet is showing boobs and stories about women being spoilt by their husbands and pouring their curves into dresses, and that is supposed to be the feminist section, then why shouldn't porn be allowed to go too far as well?

Here's how it is:

News outlet: boobs, vaginas, lots of skin, women as objects to be appraised.
Porn: See above + some men too.

Here's how it should be:

News outlet: No boobs, no vaginas, some skin, no women as objects to be appraised.
Porn: Boobs, vaginas, lots of skin, women enjoying sex.

If you took all the boobs, and curves, and flashes of 'getting out of a car' thigh and vagina off your website and all the other websites that are meant to be about other stuff, then you could leave porn alone because it wouldn't need to go to extreme lengths. If young boys and girls have seen boobs and vaginas from the age of 6 in their newspapers and adverts and music videos then of course they are going to be numb to it and need a little bit more to get them off as and when.

I would far rather allow my children to watch two consenting adults enjoy sex in some well made and well paid porn, then let them look at your summary appraisals of women based on what they look like, what they're wearing and who they married. Grow up Daily Mail. You're not anti-porn you just want to monopolise it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bumble Heginnings

My first memory of being in a play is at Norton Fitzwarren Primary School at about 6 I suppose playing a buxom cook in a winter production. I have no idea what the play was about, what my character did or whether it was any good. What I do remember is my costume: it was a voluminous black jumper with two of the school PE footballs shoved down the front. My mum says she nearly died when I walked out on stage but then was greeted by other parents in the break telling her I was hilarious. My poor mum wasn't so sure I was hilarious but I think we probably both knew it was best I get this sort of thing out of my system on stage.

I did a lot of amateur dramatics at school. I was never exactly what you might call 'leading lady' material; much more prone to a shepherdly casting than a Mary. But, as my mum said then and has been proved right; "Pretty girls will get the romantic roles, but you'll get all the interesting ones.".

And I did, in the course of my primary school career I played Monty The Python, a snake being charmed by my then crush, the mighty 10 year old Sam. Looking back, I probably only got the part because I was small and light enough to be put in a basket and carried on stage by two other people so I could come out when the music started and deliver my hilarious monologue in a camouflage tube that acted as my snake costume.

I was also lucky enough to play Willy Wonka in a later production, presumably the recent OFSTED slating had revealed that none of the boys at my school had the capacity to read at the time and so I was dressed in my Dad's chinese silk dressing gown, a purple hat and a massive grin and churned out as Mr Wonka himself. That production was a technical feat, much improved by the casting of twins to play Violet Beauregarde; one pre accident, one post. Magic.

Other smaller bit parts included "Learner Angel" and "Citizen" in some productions I have swept from my memory as the teachers, ever more concerned with fairness than theatrical quality, decided it would be best to let someone else have a go. No wonder I got into stand up, an ego like this has no place in a chorus.

In my final production as a Norton Fitzwarren minor I played a variety of roles in Rolling Back The Years, an epic production that spanned the 20th Century looking at major events. Roles I inhabited included Ginger Rogers, a Jarrow marcher and Madonna. See that casting directors? I am nothing if not versatile.

After Norton Fitzwarren I moved on to Bishop Fox's Community School, where I continued to pursue  an acting career despite there now being boys capable of playing boy roles and girls who looked much more like girls than I did. I looked a bit like Neville Longbottom but very malnourished.

Nevertheless, I joined an Am Dram club and played Eric the Thief (as part of the famous Wilson, Kepple, Betty & Eric. Methinks the caster took pity and added an extra role, no?). In a brillinat turn of events, a small play I did at the, sadly now closed down, Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, led to me being cast in The Turn of the Screw by Henry James where I played a creepy little kid named Flora. No idea what the play was about but I got a costume and I was in a theatre and none of my friends were. Winning!

Back down to earth with a bump at the end of the production, I was "chorus member" in the 2002 production of Return to the Forbidden Planet. Chorus member? What?! Were they kidding?! Did they know who I was? Of course they did. You were a terrible singer and still are. Return to the Forbidden PLanet for me consisted of wearing a blue boiler suit and hanging about with a girl called Rachel saying things like Rhubarb and Crumble to look professional.

Luckily the year after was the famous 2003 Grease the Musical production in which I had the all singing, all dancing role of Frenchie. Except that Frenchie is the only main character in Grease that does not sing. So it was mainly dancing for me.

And I am not a great dancer. So I just sat about.

Leaving school meant college. 2003 saw me join Richard Huish College and commit myself to being a SERIOUS ACTRESS doing plays about issues and badly misinterpreting Pinter so I could wear a wedding dress on stage. If this is not what your college years are for, then what?

At the end of my college years, the faithful old Brewhouse Theatre put on a school's production of Les Miserables and yours truly was offered a role! A real role! Can you guess who I was playing? Eponine, given my stature? Cossette perhaps? Fantine? Madame Thenardier even? No. I was "Old Woman Who Buys Fantine's Hair" but I was delighted. Probably the best time of my life pre University.

Tune in next week for The University Years and a Step Into Comedy.
Or, if you found this intensely tedious, don't bother because it'll be similar.