I’ve been working with Tristan Beint, who has surprised and challenged me in a ridiculous job. When I first met Tristan I really wasn’t sure about him. He was the boyfriend of my very dear friend Jo, and it wasn’t going well. He’s about my age and about as obsessed as I am about making a living as an actor. We were both young (youngER) and he was in a disfunctional relationship with my best mate. Also he appeared to be aspiring to be “posh” where I am “posh” and aspire not to be. Both things are true and false. Depending on who we are and what you think of us.

This craft we have developed can feel unforgiving sometimes. I have spoken to actors I admire who have said “I feel that I’ve been blacklisted.” They say it because they aren’t getting meetings. It’s no fun telling them “You haven’t been blacklisted. It’s just that there’s a vast crashing indifference in the industry.” But there is. Of course there is. It’s really not personal and we have to remember that. I’ve heard people – far from the industry – say “God I’m fed up of the same actors cropping up again and again.” But proven box office is necessary for a pitch. There’s a lot of money involved. Enough people are going to be happy that Eddie Redmayne is playing that part that you can see a few unknowns but you might also want to try for more proven box office in the supporting cast. So you don’t work unless you’ve worked. It is totally understandable. The eternal question is, how do you get the first one?

I went for a meeting with a good agent last month. She’s brilliant, dedicated, connected and full forward. I found myself thinking “finally, someone who is as driven as I am, has the connections and gets me.” She was why I shaved my beard and took new shots. She then, unexpectedly with no explanation, changed her mind. In the meeting she spoke of the work it would take to “launch me.” She also worried about the fact that I started my career with a “legitimate” job and then had a long period of things that are not saleable. My mum died. I shunted out. I also, perhaps erroneously, believed that a dead mother was not a good excuse for being broken, so I didn’t tell my agent. “Leave it outside the room.” Business should be separate from life – that’s what I had been taught at drama school so I stood by that.

Too many years later I have processed all that and made sense of my various griefs. I’ve settled into an understanding of how I can tick over. I want more, but it’s a start. There are people who love to work with me and I can tick over doing lovely things with them forever. It’s harder to get meetings for “interesting” jobs. Perhaps one day I can get that chance again when I’m not recently bereaved and trying to negate myself. Meantime it’s glorious to play and hone my craft.

We have been on a mirrored journey, Tristan and I. And our mutual desire to work has pushed us on. I’ve always felt that my emotional depth is at odds with my accent. It’s not an accent that speaks of depth. Tristan is a paradox. He picked up the accent from his grandad, and moved towards it as I was moving away. In the end it’s arbitrary and we shouldn’t lose so much time worrying how we come across. I did a little video about voting recently though and three people picked me up for flattening my vowels. I wasn’t even aware of it. But i definitely did it.

I love TristanIMG-20170521-WA0001His new agent was in my year at drama school. Tristan is with me right now trying to help sort out emotional tangles. I love my fellowship of actors, those of us that are eaten by it, and I wish I wasn’t utterly exhausted as I write, and very very drunk because otherwise I’d conclude this better.

Time to be Late

I have been completely unable to dress myself for work over the last couple of days. I’m a robot. Yes I hear you say “So are we all.” But I’m an old fashioned robot. I’ve been a tin man, encouraging commuters to help me learn what it is to be human. It’s back to Oz. “Help me have a heart.” It takes a few people to get me into the costume, which strongly reminds me of a suit of full plate mail. It makes me think that the early cybernetic engineers might have had armour in their minds when they thought about how a metal man might look.

It has been lovely how deeply people have engaged with my foamy metal man. It’s for a branch of Merge Festival in Southwark called “Time to be Late.” The point of it is to bring momentary play and joy to people on their ordinary day in rush hour. No more than that. Frequently people just get on with their day despite a huge robot-man trying to be their friend, but often those same people come back later to play, once they realise we aren’t selling anything. When it becomes clear that the purpose is nothing other than to bring joy, even the most guarded London people tend to thaw. Performance art mixes with begging in this town, so people are automatically wary. There are guys I’ve seen with fake blood on their faces or hands, working the same spots week in week out. “Help, I got mugged.” One time, outside my flat, a Glaswegian dude told me he had been “knocked out and robbed by a load of black people” and had woken up in the hospital near my flat with nothing. (It’s a private hospital for orthopaedics, gynaecology, dermatology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology and plastic surgery, there is no ITU). Apparently they had stolen his ticket back to Glasgow. As it happened I was driving to Scotland that day. “Brother, it’s your lucky day. I’m driving to Edinburgh in an hour. I can take you home.” I meant it. I showed him my car. “All I need to do is finish packing my bag and you’ve got a free ride. ” He told me he preferred to take the train, which was only 60 quid but he’d reimburse me three times over because he is very rich and runs his own company. I said the lift was on if he wanted it.

I sat in my car reading for 20 minutes just in case before leaving, despite the implausible story. He didn’t show. I was left with the impression that he was a liar and a racist.

Anyhow, back with today, I wasn’t the only one doing random shit. There were three Charlie Chaplins, keystone cops and Marilyns, some bizarre helmeted cyclists, dancers, silent disco on the streets.

People often forget to play. Having been an actor for years, I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy getting people to have fun when they aren’t expecting it. This whole festival has been joyful for that reason. It’s remarkable to have found multiple outlets in my life where people are willing to pay me to play. I’ll miss Time to be Late now it’s done. Like so many jobs around my skillset it has been a glorious fellowship of delightful people having ridiculous fun. I’m so glad that I agreed to do a 3 page iambic-pentameter monologue in a car park a year ago. Often, saying yes can lead to loveliness. Now I’d like to do some straightforward theatre, but we don’t get to choose. It’s time to make my burlesque drag show, or something.


Robot 1

I woke up in a beautiful flat in Amsterdam. Everything was white so it resonates at the highest frequency. It is filled with lovely things that have been considered. As someone who is still trying to overcome a clutter habit, it’s an inspiration. At home I have to continue to derail thoughts like: “There, you see, if I hadn’t kept that bizarre random thing in a box alongside hundreds of other equally random things then I wouldn’t have put it to it’s random use this random day.” As someone that loves to travel and move base I need to look into why I have so many complicated irrelevancies pulling at my grounding and preventing me from readily uprooting.

Leaving Anne-May’s beautiful house, I worried about getting back home. Last time I left Amsterdam after Heineken, a 7.30 am flight from Schipol ended up being delayed by 12 hours because of unbelievable fog in London. I landed in City Airport at half seven, notionally having to go on stage at 8.20. I rushed to The Globe, and somehow arrived just in time, preventing the producer, my friend Jon, from having to go on and do my work for me with script in hand. It has never been so close before or since. It almost killed me. Jon was getting moment by moment updates from Amsterdam, with so many details he got people to read an abridged version of the entire communication at a company party, in the Fitzrovia Radio Hour style, as entertainment.

Today’s producer won’t fit my robot costume. Although if there was no choice, she’d try to. She is another Guildhall graduate, coincidentally from Holland. I came to a show she produced a couple of years ago and loved it. That evening I went out with her and said “If you’re doing anything else like this, I’d love to be involved.” Her programming felt positive and creative. Two days later she sent me a three page modern iambic-pentameter monologue alongside a big chunk of Sophocles and a flattering explanation of why she thought I should do it in a fortnight and nobody else could. It was a slow patch. I prefer to say yes. I did. It was joyful. My best friend worked on it with me in her living room. I have done so much work with so many friends in so many living rooms. We all try to club together and help the people we love to smash it. I smashed it and Robin has used me ever since. She understands my desire to work, even as she respects my refusal to work for peanuts.

Today (gone), and tomorrow, the 19th, you will be able to find me in all three rush hours, dressed as a robot in Southwark, joyfully playing with commuters as part of their rush hour. It’s worked out well, being me and my old friend Scott in the team. Scott was in my year at Guildhall and is my “inventor.” I admit I asked to be the robot. I wanted a totally anonymous base to play from. Which defeats the object if I’m telling you lot. Whoever you might be. So yes, come and fuck with me if you’re near Southwark station in the rush hours or lunch hour. We have plenty of space to play with each other. Here’s how I looked:





Up far too early yet not early enough I sprint from the Gatwick express to the check in desk unwashed in my three piece. It was too late to check in online. 7.19. The gate close is at 7.20. I’ve never missed a flight and I don’t intend to start now. I’m off to Amsterdam and you can’t stop me. Thankfully the lovely woman at check in doesn’t. “Better hurry through security.” She says. Like anyone has any determination during that humiliating ritual of passage. “Disciples, you must remove your shoes and divest yourself of your material possessions as you cross the border. Stand to worship. We see you naked. We look into your very being. What are you concealing? Your possessions will be judged. If we find you wanting you will receive the rubber glove of Doom. Tremble before Apsec the God of Modern Borders.”

The God is merciful to me. He wants nothing of mine. This time. He’ll take his tithe in due course. We go up, we go down, and I’m in The Netherlands. I walk out of the gate hoping to see a man with a card that says my name. No such luck. I check my emails. They’ll reimburse me for a cab. Problem is I’m in a cashflow bottleneck. Sheepishly I wander onto the train with no ticket and stare fascinated out the window, ready with an “Oh so I should have got a ticket BEFORE I boarded? *blinkblink*” “oh my card isn’t working? It must have been blocked by my bank when I traveled. *winning smile* *scope out escape route with peripheral vision* ”

Thankfully nobody says anything. The barriers at Amsterdam Central are open and welcoming. I step out into the sunshine and crowds.

Bikes! Bikes everywhere. And kids on bikes. And kids playing with balls. And kids playing with balls on bikes. And adults playing with bikes and kids. And kids playing with adults and balls. And people walking, talking, running, laughing. We learn from what is normal to the adults we know. People are animatedly talking at bus stops. You get the sense that the citizenry of Amsterdam are not just slowly dissolving into sticky puddles of fat in flickering blue light. Maybe I’ve stumbled into the first day of summer. Or maybe it’s always like this here. Where are the phones? They appear to be for calling people, not for vanishing as soon as there’s no direct stimulus. The sun is hot. Strangers smile at strangers. Blossom falls from the trees.

I reckon it’s all that water. Water connects the whole world. That time when you pissed in the ocean when you were six? Molecules of that are in Australia now. Or can it be my perception shifting in a new place? I look again, seeking the phones, the closed bodies and faces, actively searching for the negative. It’s there, sure enough. But far less than in London I feel. There’s less fear here. Less avoidance. Less displacement. Or is that just me? I always feel most at home when I’m not at home. While I’m musing, a helmetless man drives a scooter the wrong way down working tram tracks. Nobody chases him with a big fine for his own safety.

I was given the choice between “communal housing” and a hotel. Obviously being me I chose communal housing, simply because I wasn’t sure what it meant and hotels can be dull. Turns out I have a lovely room for the night in a flat shared by everyone in the estate. They clubbed together and bought it. 69 of them. I’ve also got the price difference in cash between this room and a hotel room. I didn’t expect that. That means budget, which means tram and explore.

I go into town to see what happens. Maybe I’ll go to a museum. Anywhere where I can mutter facts about Heineken under my breath in a “Dickensian London accent.” Lawks a lordy me old mucker.

After hours of wandering, smiling, muttering “bottom fermented beer”, observing and wondering I sit in a tourist trap terrace bar and watch the world go by as the sun drops down. “Cheers,” says the Aussie next to me clinking a glass with his wife. “We’re in Amsterdam.” Yep. Bring it.



Today in 1867, Gerard Adrian Heineken had his sister Anna lay the foundation stone of what would become the first Heineken brewery. It was situated on the outskirts of Amsterdam by blessing of the powers that be, beside the Amstel River. Gerard was an innovative man, who at 22 had borrowed from his mother to purchase the failing Haystack brewery. He very quickly turned it around, pushed out 5000 barrels in a year and needed a larger capacity. This place was his solution. He could custom make it. He brought a bottom fermentation process more familiar in Bavaria over to Amsterdam, was enough of a businessman to make it desirable, and he always had his eye on the international market.

150 years later the brewery is “The Heineken Experience”. It’s the second most popular visitor attraction in town after the Rijksmuseum. People from all around the world were congregating there. Heineken, it seems, is massive in Brazil. It’s pretty big in Spain too. And even Taiwan. It’s pretty far down the list in the UK, comparatively. Heineken wanted an experienced confident actor to dress as an 1860’s newspaper barker and jolly up the room for hours and hours and hours without getting fazed, losing positivity or getting tired. Who ‘ya gonna call?


I’m knackered now though. Trying to stick myself back together. Mostly I do that by being alone, and so I’m sitting in my own little bubble on a terrace on this glorious summer evening, letting the world wash past me over a glass of Zinfandel. Every time I swallow it hurts. Patsy Rodenberg or not, 6 hours constant barking over a crowd is going to ravage anyone. If someone stole my wallet right now, I’d let them (if I hadn’t lost it already.) I’m not raising my voice for at least three days.

Over the years I’ve loved and appreciated my work for Heineken. They keep getting me back, I am glad of the work. Being a working actor is about exactly this sort of thing while you hustle for that elusive meeting for “that part” that captures the imagination. I’ll keep getting re-employed in these random high pressure jobs, and doing them well and joyfully. That trust and repeat employment allows me to invest time into building things like Beowulf in a flat in Stoke Newington on week days and still pay off Newlyn Bailiffs before they bring the sledgehammer.

Heading to sleep on a friend’s sofa after work, I’m glad to have built a network of friends and allies in this glorious city. It’s not what teenage Al would’ve expected when he came out here to eat space cakes and drink way too much lager. It looks likely I’ll be out here again before long to do some filming. What with Dubrovnik last summer and these repeating jobs for Heineken and its acquisition brands, I’m worried what the ramifications of our vote last summer will be. Right now it probably makes me cheap, but soon it might make it impossible for me to have such joy overseas.


I woke up this morning and spent ages trying on different combinations of clothes in front of the mirror. I wanted to look like Fagin, but a Fagin that could be modern. A sort of post-retro-punk-arthouse Fagin. Malcolm Maclaren plays Fagin through Al Barclay. The usual stuff. Last night I dreamt I was Fagin. It’s seeped into my imagination. Auditions have always been thin on the ground so I try to think things through when one comes in, which keeps my hit rate high. And then I fall into ideaholes. This isn’t the first time I’ve auditioned for Fagin. Last time it came close but apparently I was too young. Sad. I still remember the song they taught us in the recall. Now I’m older.

Dressed sufficiently absurdly, yet still looking like I might just be a hipster, I wandered to The Royal Court. I DID NOT AUDITION FOR OLIVER TWIST AT THE ROYAL COURT. That was somewhere else. I went there to see my friend Dan and help with a film he is making. He has installed his equipment in the upstairs bar. Last time I was there I stood on the balcony and listened to two people in twinsets and pearls talking loudly about the show I was watching, having gobsmackingly missed what I thought to be the point. But Dan was there, right in the heart of Chelsea, trying to film young sexy people saying direct to camera why they have registered to vote. I feel honourbound to help him avoid getting nothing but slightly mawkish pompous gangly kids who only stopped calling their father “daddy” a year ago. So if you know anyone who is good to come and spend a short time saying something to camera, doesn’t have a trust fund, and can get to Chelsea, send them today (16th May 2017). He’ll be there from 10 to 5. It’s one sentence. I said “If you’ve ever used the NHS, register to vote.”

Then I went off to Warren Street and auditioned for Fagin. The audition was improv with context. Last time I had an improv audition there was no context, which makes for an impossible situation. This dude framed it very well. And with a frame you are free to range. It’s probably unwise to blog about an audition, because then if you don’t get it, you don’t get it publicly. But I am old enough and ugly enough, and have sat on the other side enough, to know that my ability is not in question. Just my suitABILITY. See what I did there…? Not getting the part once you’ve been around this long is about nothing more than being the wrong age, height, face shape, skin tone – whatever – things you can’t affect. I’ve been involved in casting discussions where we’ve said “He was great, but he’s so short next to the girl we’ve already cast… will it look weird?” There are so many things that come into play. Nonetheless, I consider it a win to have got the director and the producer, who were pretending to be children, to sing the “Fuck you coppers” song that I made up on the spot. The frame was modern Fagin getting busted and different choices he might make to let his ship go down.

Fagin is an interesting archetype – he is so familiar to us. A charismatic man who creates a bubble around him, which he maintains with a mixture of psychopathy and strange empathy. He somehow makes people feel happy to take risks for him, and get little by way of reward. He joyfully does unthinkable things, and makes them into songs and fun (if we are fans of the Lionel Bart’s musical.) The world that he came out of with Dickens must have been such a dark place, where the children of poor families would have ended up alone on the streets because their parents were dead of curable diseases. It’s hard to imagine a world like that where the poor were expendable, and the trappings of democracy essentially an inconvenience to be bypassed. Where even the right to vote was restricted to half of the population. How fortunate we are to be in a place where all of us can vote, and where we have recently witnessed that the process of voting can lead to results that are surprising, and divisive and unwelcome to those “in power” who we can start to think of as strong, stable and inevitable. Make sure you’ve all registered in the UK. Wouldn’t it be great to get a good turnout this year.



More dodgems

I am not sure what to write today. It was exhausting. I ended up working a double shift on an art installation in Southwark for Merge Festival. I’m part of the art. It’s the Dodgems​ of the Mind again. I’m not sure if I’m a psychologist or a carnie. I’m not sure I set out to be either.

Thankfully I love meeting new people and encouraging them to play. Which is just as well as I had to do it with hundreds of people today. And because the whole thing is pretty new it wasn’t running as well as it might have been. So I was point of contact for loads of slightly disgruntled people who had waited 2 hours standing for a 5 minute ride. I was in there for 8 hours without a break, and the music is on a half an hour loop. Now I’m on the bus home but it’s like I’m still in ‘nam. I’m getting flashbacks to the lights, and the crazy sounds. It’s like working a store at Christmas but more psychedelic. And today there was a bit of bad energy from people who were fed up of waiting. Even MY smile starts to wear thin when everyone’s got the hump. It’s a great installation but not if you’re waiting hours. It’s why I haven’t posted the details yet. Not until I’m satisfied it’s found a groove and I can get my friends over without them waiting forever. There’s always a breathing time between the theory of something and the practical reality. Right now this piece is breathing, and we will land on the practical part over time. Although I’ll barely be there for the next few weeks. I’m off back into the random. We will see how it goes.

Only one person asked me today “what’s the thinking behind this piece.” I don’t really know. For me it’s to do with childishness lingering into adulthood, and how we are all very similar in the things we do to encourage or berate ourselves. It’s mostly just an excuse to get in a dodgem car and bang around for a bit in an old fire station with a load of weird projections. I asked one of the guys that made it a while ago. He told me it’s to do with Plutchic’s wheel of emotions. Which helps with the “what” but not really the “why.” Maybe I’m being too stringent. But I think “why” is an important question to be able to answer, even if the answer is just “it’s fun.”

I thought I’d be heading home to an empty flat, but it turns out there’s a mate of Brian’s and mine staying over. I’m totally battered though. Not sure I’ll be switching on the good host vibes. It’ll mostly be “hi, here’s your bed. Zzzz” A hot bath would hit the spot now. Damn that exploding boiler.

I’ve been walking home down the river writing this on my phone. It’s such a glorious evening. At last I’m willing to believe we might be moving towards summer. Which will make it way too hot in these jumpsuits. Here’s a picture of me at work, photo credit to Andrew “Tommo” Thompson. Yes that’s my face.



Babies and Cat

Babies. Little incompetent people. Over the years, various friends and family members have expectorated them, and then they’ve grown. Some of them have transformed into creatures that I speak with about things. A few of them are on Facebook making their first few posts. But most of the ones I know are more concerned with shitting themselves and howling. I look forward to their music recommendations in years to come. And their political arguments. But for now they are exist-machines.

My best friend is germinating one of these monsters. It’s burgeoning within her. Every time I see her she is noticeably bigger. It’s remarkable and fascinating. She’s been putting up with weird moods, cravings and sicknesses. Something inside her has been trying to make sense of what it wants. This evening the dad turned 30. A load of people came to celebrate.

Since I was early I blew up some balloons.:


It was great to see Rhys. We raised a glass, even though, of course, she isn’t drinking. A whole new human being is growing in her body, and we were celebrating both that and his decade. Today I got to hang out with loads of people who are important to me. It was a good, and varied day.

It began with Brian’s birthday breakfast. He’s in New York by now, I hope, after a long flight. Rebecca came round, and since breakfast is a tradition in the BarclayHook household, I tried to make a special breakfast. I hope it sent him on his way to America well. I found myself thinking again how lucky I’ve been to spend this year living alongside him. Friendship comes in many forms. Ours is positive and nurturing. We want each other to do well. That’s how all friendships thrive, and it’s a proper joy. It’s great to think that he is taking his show Rotterdam to New York. It’s a beautiful piece, and will be coming to The Arts Theatre in June.

After Brian got on his flight I met up with Hannah – another creative who is very important to me. We hung in Greenwich, and even though it’s been a while since we saw one another it was like no time had passed. She’s living in Eastbourne at the moment and I have to work in town tomorrow, otherwise I would’ve been tempted to just hang out with her in the countryside. But I need to be back in my red jumpsuit tomorrow, doing ridiculous random stuff.

Right now I have the cat on my lap. She is making odd persistent noises, and paddling her feet into my leg. I think she’s on heat, and so did the vet. She is now a permanent fixture here, for better or for worse. I took her to the Blue Cross and she’s not chipped. The posters in the area yielded no results. Right now she is actively trying to have sex with my arm. It’s encouraging, as the Blue Cross told me she might be pregnant and surely if you already are pregnant you wouldn’t think that a human arm is the best source of satisfaction and babies. Time will tell… Goodnight all. I’m knackered.

The memory of cock

15 years ago I was at The Latchmere, a pub theatre in Battersea now called Theatre 503. As I was getting ready to go in, a man slapped me on the back. “I’ve seen your cock,” he said, enthusiastically. By the time I recovered, he was gone. I never got to ask him what he thought of it.

Shortly after leaving Guildhall I came upon a lovely piece of writing by Moira Buffini. The show was called Loveplay. Equal parts male and female without feeling arbitrary. A story about the changing nature of the process of looking for love. It was just before internet dating took over. The final scene would be very different nowadays. It was set in an old school dating agency.

I put the show on at The Finborough, and then for two nights at Soho. Flavia (blogs passim) co-produced it, and I assembled a fantastic cast including my best friend Minnie. One of the characters had to get their kit off. Because I couldn’t pay my actors, I felt I couldn’t ask them to do it, so I did it. At the time it never occurred to me that people would think “He’s the producer. He’s got his cock out. That’s why the show’s on.” But inevitably, some people did. Also I realised I can’t justify producing a show without paying my artists ever again. It’s not ethical. Even if they were my friends in this instance. It sets a bad precedent.

To be honest, it WAS liberating, getting stark naked on stage. It’s a very intimate theatre, The Finborough, so some people were uncomfortably close. Someone could’ve been blinded if I’d got aroused. I’m not in a hurry to strip again (although it did happen in an Odyssey at Wilderness Festival) but it served the scene and it helped me unpick fear very early on in my career.

This evening, I went to what I understand is the first play Moira Buffini’s ever wrote -Gabriel – performed at The Greenwich Theatre. It’s set in The Channel Islands during the German occupation. I lived in Jersey so I’m well versed in the stories of those times. Back when I lived in Jersey getting my cock out in public was a normal day. I was a very small child. Similar to the man in the theatre, people from those times would approach me well into my adult life, slap me on the back and say “I changed your shitty nappy.” We all get that.

It’s a good show. I couldn’t make it in time for the first half, but the second half was tight and considering it must have been written 20 years ago it’s great that it feels completely natural to have more female parts than male. It’s a ratio that’s still rare. Afterwards we went to the pub and sat with Paul McGann, who was in it playing a Nazi.

Paul is a true working actor. An actor’s actor. He’s brilliant, and has weathered storms. When I was at school he played “I” in the iconic movie “Withnail and I”. He played Doctor Who in the Who movie with my dear friend Emma as his companion. Emma was the reason I was there tonight. Moira Buffini was in the pub too. I understood the “Seen your cock” man better when presented with the chance to say to McGann “You’ve taken your clothes off in my bedroom”. I didn’t. But he has. He did “A Little Place off the Edgware Road” and the director was my old mate Tim. My flat was a location.

We had a lovely chat. Apparently his parents had a place in the seventies round the corner, before the prices went crazy. There were people queuing up in the pub with Withnail scripts for signing. Fuck that, it’s been 20 years! It’s funny how some parts stick in people’s minds. Thankfully nobody has slapped my back and said “I’ve seen your cock” for long enough for me to know I’m out of danger. Although I’m sure they still dream about it.

I didn’t have the opportunity to go up to Moira and talk to her. Maybe I could’ve said “Everyone saw my cock because of you.” Probably for the best that I didn’t. Although I would like to have said I admire her work. But so would eveyone. It was pleasant enough to see a lovely show with good friends and to meet a fellow practitioner whose work I admire. As ever I have no photo. I probably should post a cock shot:



Health and Safety was a lovely thing when it first came into existence. It came out of a world where your sofa was made out of explosives, and everybody was actively trying to set fire to it while you were sleeping. Beanbags were designed to kill people with death fumes. Everything was designed with nothing other than mass slaughter in mind. Thank God Health and Safety took our liberties to protect us from… bad things. Yes  the everywhere bad things. And the killer sofas.

Sofas and the world have both changed since then.

London has been shaped by fire. Arguably it was the Great Fire of 1666 that burnt out the bubonic plague. The Globe burnt down, and Westminster Palace, and most of the landmarks have some history with fire.

Nowadays, Health and Safety is a bigger plague than fire. It feels like H&S completed the work it had to do (don’t make your clothes out of firelighters and then light loads of candles). In so doing it made loads of jobs. Gotta keep ’em. Now like all offices everywhere, it’s people making work for people making work for etc etc etc ad nauseam with only about 20% of the work being relevant.

I’ve spent the evening in one of the many disused fire stations in London. This one is in Borough. A load of people have built an installation upstairs. It’s called “Drive Dead Slow: Dodgems of your Own Mind.” That’s got to be better than luxury flats for Saudi billionaires to rent to our friend’s landlords. This evening was the launch of a bonkers thing and I was glad to be part of it.

It involves some beautiful old 1960’s dodgems. They’ve been refitted with batteries instead of the power line connected to the ceiling. There is a different actor’s voice in each car. It’s based on the plutchic wheel of emotion  You get into a bumper car and you go on a short journey through the inside of your own mind. You zoom around for a few minutes and eventually vomit out through a great big mouth. It’s trippy.

I am working as part facilitator, part MC, making sure everyone comes back intact from this journey into their own psyche. This evening it was packed out. But it’s running for the whole month and, even if I’m doing a lot of other stuff, I’m hoping to be there for most of it. I thrive in this sort of thing. I’ve done it enough that it comes naturally to me. Come play if you’re ever near borough. I’ll try to publish my working hours on Facebook in the near future so if you’re near, you can come play. Right now I’m writing with one eye open after using every spot of energy I had on “press night” for the festival. I’m sure I’m going to write more about it in due course. Right now I’m off to sleep, leaving you with this alluring picture of myself and a charging dodgem. Here’s the link:

Hope to see some of you there.