London violence

Shortly after I walked through Borough Market and over London Bridge, it appears that once again some improperly socialised cocks have caused horrible chaos. Problem is the papers will big them up and give them powerful names.

I’ve been celebrating love, at the wedding party of two unutterably brilliant hearts. I did As You Like It in Yorkshire with Alan many years ago, and Janey is a writer and actress that I admire hugely. They’re a beautiful couple and nothing but goodness is going to come from that union. I was very happy to be there, as the helicopters scrambled overhead and sirens howled.

I’m walking home now, through the mobilised streets. I’ve been told that the white van is still at large, “trying to kill people.” Some idiot with a messy ideology. I hope, for once, they take him alive so his powerless morinicism can be paraded. We need to stop calling these vacuous idiots “terrorists.” That’s how to make more, by empowering slugs.

Today I’ve been working. I didn’t want to, but it seemed the best idea. I went back to the Dodgems to keep myself busy for the day. To prevent circular thinking. Best to be busy. It was lovely, and I brought people together and shared joy and made laughter. Then they all went back to their lives. I hope all those people are okay – we were right by London Bridge. My final group was two women who arrived just at the deadline. One of them had just experienced heartbreak. I ended up in accidental group therapy with two strangers. I sent them on their crazy Dodgem ride and afterwards they stuck around for a drink and a chat. “This is the first time I’ve laughed for days,” one of them said. That was about an hour before the shitstorm.

Meanwhile London is totally unchanged. The same melting pot of language and culture. The same casual thoughtless space-taking. This city still belongs to that confused aggressive human mess of bravado and love that means business as usual. But again people have died. Unstoppably. Who can predict that a virgin with a driving licence will feel small enough to try and make some adjectives in the tabloids.

Is extreme Islam the given reason for this? That’s the assumption, but it might not be. The reason is simply idiocy and hate, whatever frame the hateful idiots seek. But the more legitimate their hatewank is made, the more powerful these shitbeetles appear. And they’re nothing. Like that pathetic little turd killing kids in Manchester.

I have no eloquent conclusions here. I’m angry that once again, just before our election, people have died while going about their business. I don’t want it to drive people apart further and make them think that isolationism is the correct vote. If the timing has been orchestrated, it’s been orchestrated by people that understand that the more legitimate it is to isolate and make factions, the easier it is to peel off idiotic young men (always men) and use their bad social skills to radicalise them. Tomorrow morning the papers will all be shouting horrors about these idiots, and empowering them with adjectives. They need to change their style. “Pathetic loser attempts to make a splash by killing people.”

Thank God I had such an evening of love. I feel buoyed up and optimistic as I cross town. London has weathered worse storms than this and will continue to.

I’m not going to schedule this. I’ll post it now so I don’t need to tell everyone I’m fine. This is my photo on Southwark Bridge today, past Cannon Street rail bridge to London and Tower.






Sandal Horse

It’s the first time I’ve worn shorts and sandals since I’ve been back in London so of course the heavens have opened. There’s thunder, lightning, sheets of rain, I’m hoping for fish. Although that might slow the buses down. I’m trying to get across town.

Having spent the glorious part of the day in a dark church hall talking about regicide, now I’m stamping through the damp gloaming on my way to a caravan in London Bridge, where I’m going to watch a short play. I’m already cold and wet. You forget that the action of putting on shorts in London actively summons The Rain God to come punish you for hubris. Still it’s good to have some skywater. The sense that water is coming from the heavens to wash away the sadness. If I was alone, I’d take all my clothes off and run around in the rain howling. I was doing that once in Italy on the veranda of our digs, when some friends unexpectedly got back and, to their credit immediately joined in. Matt and Dean. Somewhere there exists a photo (Sarah). It’s great fun if there’s enough rain. I heartily recommend it.

These “Caravan Shorts” are the brainchild of my friend Robin. She’s repurposed a caravan as a performance space and it’s been parked in Southwark for the month. Very small audiences get a very short show. Last week I went to see my friend Olivia do a beautiful piece she’d written about Lizzie Barton, The Mad Maid of Kent. I know it’s only a matter of time before I end up in there, in drag talking about death or something. Now I’m hoping to get there in time to see whatever is the 6.15 show.

I did. It was the wonderful “dame” Helen Ryan (she’s not a dame. We just call her one.) At 77 she’s still up for doing a piece in a caravan about, as it turns out, how old people might be treated in 2080. It’s called “Citizen Recall: Mrs Helen Stridgen.” There’s free cake. And it’s about extreme socialism. It’s a thought provoking piece, and the third of these caravan shorts I’ve seen. It was a dark future piece, where people who are too old are forced into a “pleasant” euthanasia. Told of course from the perspective of someone who was avoiding the machine and trying to die naturally. It was presenting a socialist hell where living beyond 100 makes you redundant to the state, and you are humanely disposed of. I found it interesting to contemplate. And also rare to watch Tory theatre, even if I’m not sure it was intended as such.

Flipside I’m scared that, being on sporadic income but never signing on, the self employed will be victims when they kill the NHS. There are already many forums where my lack of a guarantee of regular payment queers my chance of being taken seriously. If I had health insurance, I couldn’t make my monthly payments month in month out, but then suddenly I could downpay for the whole year. By which time they’d have already cancelled. I’d need to be lucky about when I got sick.

All that aside, as someone said “It’s great to hear an old lady swear.” And Helen was brilliant. As it turns out, it was the last caravan short of the season. So muggins here ended up taking the caravan back home. I was a horse for a while. I make a good horse. Right now I kind of wish I was a horse. Far less complicated. Neigh.


Words words words

138 now, of these days where I’ve needed to carry something into a frame and share it. Some days I’ve really not wanted to write anything because it’s been a vulnerable day and we are so used to only sharing the shiny days. Other days I’ve been unbelievably tired, lying in bed with one eye open watching the word count.

The process of putting these days into words has got me thinking about the whole process of writing things down. They change their nature a little when you capture them. It’s like the cultures and individuals that dislike having their photograph taken because they fear a tiny shred of their soul will be torn out and put into the photo. If that’s true most of us would be nothing but tatters now. But my job here is to capture my every day, but make it consumable. Like on Instagram I’m cropping it and filtering. “Hmm this day looks better from this angle.” “Let’s just crop that bit out, and enhance the colour there.”

But then as soon as something is written down it assumes some form of authority. Again like with a picture. Pictures affect our memory of events we attended, and people we knew. Sometimes when I think of my mother I picture her how she looked on her wedding day, in black and white, because my brother has a picture of the wedding in his home. Obviously I never knew her then. Similarly when I look back over previous posts I think “That’s exactly how it happened,” but it’s not.

The written word assumes some form of authority beyond its purpose in the moment it’s made. Often when someone wants to support a conspiracy theory or a piece of hateful thinking they link to an item much like this blog, that has been scratched onto the screen of someone’s phone on the tube from place to place and shoved out into the world. These scribbles seem to assume an equal weight with a multi Pulitzer winning journalist’s year of work honed to a single article. “Yeah sure professor Flibble says that, but this guy on says he’s lying, and I choose to believe him.”

On the whole I’ve tried to be as candid as I can here. But today for work I signed an NDA (non disclosure agreement), filming in the morning. It always feels like a ball and chain when they make you do that. I had to sign one in Bangkok once on an exciting job. I almost bit my hand off because I didn’t know what the things were that I couldn’t write so I stopped at “I’m in Bangkok”. Nobody wants to get sued.

Thankfully I wrote early today – got the bulk done on the tube from Hanger Lane to Vauxhall. And just as well. I just had a beautiful evening with someone I adore, but the content will take some time to process. I’m an empath and someone who feels things deeply. All my inner muscles have been flexed and I’m feeling like I’ve run a marathon. I’m wrung out, and I’m glad I wrote the above earlier because sentences are pretty hard right now. I stood and looked at boats for a while.



What are you scared of? It’s one of those questions you get asked a lot as a kid. When I was a child I made arbitrary decisions, as one does, based on a mixture of desire to fit in and lack of self knowledge. At one point I said “heights” in “My Book About Me”. My mother pointed out how I was drawn to edges. I think that I might have been drawn to them because I knew I was scared. But as an adult that fear is gone. Perhaps because I kept looking at it until it went.

Similarly spiders. Fear of spiders was a pretty acceptable fear at school, although I think I was just paying lip service. I was a kid that spent hours every day lifting up stones to see what was living underneath them. When you do that, there’s a high chance of uncovering a fat spider with a thick tunnel web that has been nesting there for years undisturbed.

Fear of speaking in public? Well we all know where that one went.

I’ve been getting other people to talk about their fears today, in detail. Some people have said things like “I’m scared of losing someone I love.” Others are more generic: “spiders, sharks, death, Trump”. One woman said “rape”. That was an uneasy moment as there’s no way of making light of it. But I thanked her for her honesty and bemoaned a world where that is an honest response. One guy said “nothing”. It didn’t take long to establish that was a lie.

But since I was examining other people’s fear, asking them to be honest, and mocking them if they weren’t I got to thinking about my own fear. As with childhood, so with adulthood, I try to look my fears in the face when I discover them. But the problem with fear is we put it to the side of our consciousness, even as we service it. If you have been fed a constant diet of fear of the other, as many have, it affects how you think of the people you haven’t met but have been told about. You can subscribe to the Daily Mail and still be a generous, kind, loving individual to everyone you know personally irrespective of race or creed. But you’ll probably have assumptions that have dripped on over time about whatever the bête noir of the month is. Currently Muslims and socialists, I think. Although “Freddie from the tennis club is voting Corbyn and he’s lovely.”

So what have I been ignoring? A few people put on the form: “fear of myself”. That’s something I’ve been working through this year. I think – I know – that I’ve been habitually self sabotaging and self negating for years. I treat everyone else’s home better than my own. It’s why I travel so well. This year has been about going after what I want, and accepting that it’s okay to want it. I’m still going two steps forward and one step back. But once you know the name of something then you have power over it. Here’s Marianne Williamson. It’s on the door of millions of loos across the world, and tea towels and painstaking tapestries from Grandma. But as with all these overblown clichés it’s so frequently trotted out because she nailed it. Just change “God” to “God as I understand it” and you’ll be grand.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I’m in Soho. It’s very nearly sunset. Wahoo!



A little over two years ago I was rehearsing for our 2 man Christmas Carol in The Fleeting Arms pub in York. There was a company building a show there at the same time as us. We became friends even though it was cold and space was limited. Their show was joyful and ambitious even if they were building it into a freezing cold pub on Gillygate in December.

Tom, Jack, myself and maybe two other people went to the first open dress rehearsal. It was beautiful back then when they honestly didn’t know what they had or how it was all going to play. And with so few of us we really got to play.

This evening I went to the open dress of the second London run, in a custom built space. Two years later there are 100 people there. It has only deepened, as the company have bedded in and made sense of their arcs and their way with the audience, and where they can be free. It’s a show that rewards audience for engagement. It’s an “immersive” show – and it really is, they’re not just using the word because it’s a buzzword. You’ll have to be mobile and capable of stairs to enjoy it fully. It does not want audiences that like to sit and dissolve. It prefers audiences with agency. If you’re active and play the game you’ll get a deeper experience, see parts of the set that others don’t see, and maybe even get some free shots of gin (no mixers – I wasn’t drinking at the start so I just kept hold of it.) Although it’s still full of set pieces that require a settled audience to land properly. Too excited and you can break the moments, and they only come once.

I started by introducing my friend to Jordan Baker. My friend is American and Jordan is a golfer. My friend was suspicious of Jordan. I mean there are plenty of other American golfers, even if Mar-A-Lago was actually being built in the 1920’s, so Jordan might have played there. And Jordan’s not a dangerous narcissist.

While the main story was moving forward, Gatsby took some of us aside and persuaded us to do some betting for him on a fixed baseball game in exchange for some Copperhead gin and promises. Later on I sought out his contact, who made sure of me, and gave me more gin. I wasn’t drinking but I was glad of the gesture. It seems I will commit to organised crime for free future gin. Clutching it I ended up in a beautiful and thought provoking conversation with Myrtle, who wanted help with romance and life. “If you had to choose between love or money, what would you pick?” I told her I’d already picked love, years ago. She said “There’s a story in that.” Tell me about it.

Then I had Tom Buchanan joshing me about my suit, resonating with the fact that the last few times I’ve run into the actor that plays him I’ve been wearing it. He asks me to find out about Gatsby. I’m tempted to go do so and come back to him to report my findings, but by this time I’ve decided Buchanan is an asshole and I’m already on Gatsby’s side. I love a show where the audience has choices like this. It’s a complete world in there, and everyone is contributing to make it complete. Phil “superman” Granger was there as George, no longer magically fixing boilers with his pokey fingers but instead changing the room utterly towards the end. Superman in more ways than one. Also I got to see a new Daisy Buchanan, while standing next to the old one. She was as on it as if she first did it years ago. And, like the book, it was all held together by a beautifully romantic Nick Carraway, starting and ending it with poetic narrative.

It’s mostly sold out but they keep adding extra dates, and it’s just wonderful to see so many people I care about being so authoritative with a piece of potentially chaotic immersive theatre. It’s very different from your formal theatre, and all the better for it.

As an actor I love to mix my palate. I’m finding myself craving a bit of the formal right now. I auditioned for a lovely bang on bit of casting in some formal work today, and I’d love to convert that into a joyous summer job in an unfamiliar city. Everybody send positive vibes, as then I can get back shortly to writing about being in a foreign country, which has always been my forté in so much as until I committed to this year, travel blogs were the only regular blogs I ever kept.

Meantime, book for Gatsby if you like fun. And if you can get a ticket. My housemate Brian produced it, back in that pub in Yorkshire. He helped guide it all the way to where it is today. I cannot even begin to express how much he rocks for that. We build community. We move forward, we look backward… “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


The Reduced Gods

I just made my first ever pie with pastry. I’m telling you about it because it’s the only thing I did all day other than walk around reading from a play and mumbling to myself. For those periods where I am studying, I expect there are some people who look out of windows all day who have come to think of me as “mumbly book man”. One of my mumbly walks brought me to the Tesco near my house. They have a reduced section where things go down to 17p. Brian and I have taken to calling it “The Gods”. “The Gods” frequently tell us what we are going to be eating. Sometimes the Gods are bountiful, sometimes confused, sometimes angry. When they are angry, they bring nothing, when they are confused they offer nothing but inedible microwave squalor. The first time Brian and I went there, they were bountiful. It’s what started the whole thing off. There was a huge selection of fish – we got about 6 fillets for £1.20. We turned it into a fish curry and ate for two days. Today the bountiful Gods called for pie. There were two punnets of mushrooms, 2 bunches of spring onions, double cream, puff pastry and a packet of organic chicken breasts. I got the lot for under 3 quid. Then used a bit of old wine and turned them into a pie. Turns out it’s easier than I thought. And tastier than I expected. Although it looked shite and I burnt my tongue from wolfing it. That’s annoying as I have to speak unbelievably eloquently tomorrow.


Just as the pie came out of the oven, Phil the boiler magician came over to pick up some stuff. Turns out he didn’t pay a plumber to fix the boiler after all. He just poked it a bit and it turned on. Which is disconcerting, as I poked it for ages and got nothing. Clearly Phil is better at poking than I am.

Now I am waiting for my friend Anne-May to arrive and replace Phil as our regular sofa-tenant. It really is a revolving door at the moment. Which is joyful. But that’s the problem with London. This city is absurdly expensive – although LA is worse. Most of my closest friends are broke artists of various kinds. I’m constantly at war with myself about quality of life versus cashflow, in that I know I could be much smarter about how I use this place. But I love having people over when they’re broke, and I rarely feel that they’re taking the piss. And the things they bring to my flat are never unwelcome. Phil poked my boiler happy, and got me a bag of supplies. Anne-May might not know it yet, but she’s going to help me by running the scenes for tomorrow’s meeting in the morning. There’s no substitute for speaking the lines out loud with someone. I wander around outside mumbling to myself because it ensures that I don’t fall into patterns. I usually disguise the script, so it doesn’t look like I’m hoping everyone notices I’m reading from a script dahling. I’d much sooner they thought I was insane than knew I was an actor.


Day two of this job at Courtyard Festival. My friend and long time collaborator Mel Cook came to help out and hang out.  She’s a real-ale enthusiast, and this is a beer festival, so it made sense to make use of my plus one.

Five years ago I embarked on a tour with FanSHEN, going all over the country with a boomchackashow, powered by bicycle, about energy and sustainability and dogs and vegetables. Just another joyful leaf in The Book of Random. The FanSHEN lot are friends, and a big part of my community now. If I hadn’t done that show I almost certainly wouldn’t be attaching socks to people at a beer festival for money. And I know that my tendency towards vegetarianism was normalised by them and that show. Plus by my father. The people you care for – they affect what you care about. I’m moving that way because loads of the people I feel connection with are there already, or have been at some time in their lives.

I wish the festival was longer. By the end of today I had already found and built a community. Loads of the staff and security had been messing about with me in their lunch breaks attaching socks etc. They were such fun I didn’t give myself a lunch break, but if I’m enjoying it I might as well keep working. By the time I got my dinner at sunset I was lucky that Vicky from Shawarmarama (I had been targeting people in her queue) refused to let either me or Mel pay, even when I tried to insist.

Then Mel and I went to look at beer. My relationship with alcohol is as odd as my one with meat. I’ve seen people killed by it, and it’s hard to be uncomplicated once you’re aware of how quickly the body goes once the liver goes. But the beer was the point of the festival. They had huge lines of kegs from different breweries. I was surprised by how few of the people I saw today were the traditional CAMRA type. Yes, sure – there were some middle aged men in old fashioned suits with beards and pocket watches. But mostly they were just a cross section of London. The thing that bound then together is that not one person I spoke to for the whole weekend shot negative energy at me. And I was invading their space and attaching things to their backs without their knowing. It really surprised me how playful and positive everybody was, there in King’s Cross, London. All they needed to do was walk through a gate that said “Festival” it seems.

And they were all talking about beer in the way that some people talk about wine. Encouraged by Mel I tried it. But I was shit at it. “I’m getting … I’m getting beer.”

I was told I should try harder, despite being clueless, and so here are my tasting notes from the three beers I sampled:

Brecon Brewing : “The Physicians of Myddfai” – Lemongrassy, like that boyo that punched the bully on the first day of term and never let you talk about it. Don’t use it to wash your cat, but on a hot day it’ll massage your feet.

Mantle Brewery: “Dis-Mantle” – That little amber minx wants you to fly blindfolded in a helicopter to an unknown destination, with your toe dipped into a vat of honey.

Glamorgan: “Jemima’s Pitchfork” – Do you feel small? Get a pitchfork.. This is the beer you should have before setting fire to that bloody castle again.

Arriving at the huge bar carrying all these choices, I was flattered to find that the woman we ordered from was one of the women I had attached a sock to earlier in the day. She had come to the stall on her break and spoken to us all, learnt about the new lateral flow test model and llama antibodies etc, and then, on her break, made llama ears with the price of the beer on – that’s commitment. She told us that her friend was off to New Zealand with one of our socks and was going to send her a photo. I asked if I could snap her with ears and sock for my blog. She obliged “I’m famous somewhere!” Legend.


As we had those three beers people kept on coming up to talk about how they connected with or enjoyed the work we had been doing. Good to know, as despite the fun it was a long time on my feet. I’m glad to be home now, and after my three strange beers, not enough food and too long on my feet, I’m ready for sleep. But happy sleep.

Oh – for beery friends: Courtyard Festival in King’s Cross is free all day tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday). They are selling pints for £3 per pint. I won’t be there, but if you understand beer tasting this will be right up your street. Or if you want to hang out with friends and only pay £3 a pint. If you say you’re friends with the llama sock guy once you’re on site it’ll gain you either a bemused look or an ally. The staff are all lovely.

Pegging in the park

Bright sunshine in London, and I’m being paid to be in a park. I’m doing a piece about disease epidemic control and Llamas. I mentioned it a few weeks ago. The subject matter is pretty dry on the surface but it’s fun in the execution. I’ve got tanned deeply, while making money, and mostly it involved having conversations with bemused strangers about llamas and disease control. I can think of worse things to do with a day.

A large part of the time I was “Pegging”. But apparently there’s multiple meanings of the word pegging. When I said to two women if they wanted to do some more pegging for me, they reminded me that perhaps I was using a word that had shifted context. Pegging involves a woman with a strap-on, and a man. So I suppose I could go pegging in a park in the Kings Cross area. This being London it’s bound to have happened before. But that’s not what I meant by pegging. Not today anyway.

Today I had loads of clothes pegs with colourful socks attached to them. The socks tell you that you may have been infected with a disease that turns you into a Llama. You need to report to our tent for testing. I was mostly encouraging people to stealthily attach clothes pegs to the backs of unwary strangers. If someone got infected they’d come over to our tent and ask about the sock. They’d end up meeting a young epidemiologist from UCL, who would demonstrate a large model of a lateral flow test, which is the future of testing for outbreaks. You can have the test sent to your house super quickly and then use it like a pregnancy test. Then you get a diagnosis from a photo of the result online, and you haven’t left the house, gone on public transport, sat in a doctor’s surgery etc. People can be sent to treat you at home.

After they have their diagnosis they can choose to make some llama ears or facepaint themselves to look like llamas, so they can get used to their pending change of life. Then I might come and try and persuade them that perhaps the world would be a simpler and more pleasant place if all the people turned into llamas. If they agree with me they get a sock on a peg to go and infect more people. So it’s combining science with playfulness, and using the game to bring the next players.

I learnt the last time I did it that, on a sunny day outside all you need is two kids of about the right age and the sock distribution engine will go into overdrive. We had so many kids at Green Man that we had to ration the socks, and once again today two kids caught on that it’s fun attaching things to people when they aren’t looking. An hour after I met them, there was virtually nobody in the area that didn’t have a sock on the back of their shirt, hat, bag or trousers. One of the kids said to me as she was demanding more socks and saw me attach one to someone “Well at least you’re doing SOME of the work! More socks please!” For a moment I felt like a sort of reverse Fagin, teaching happy kids to add things to unwary people in London.LLLAMA (2)

By the end of the day, outside covered in wool, I was totally knackered. I’m virtually useless now. I’m off to bed. Saturday night!!

I’m doing it tomorrow (Sunda). Don’t expect me to be great company, but if you’re at The Courtyard Festival come and say hi.


Cosmic Trigger 3 – The Reckonerisationing.

I’m back at Cosmic Trigger, the wonderful mind widening show I saw a few weeks ago. It’s the penultimate night. They asked me to play William Burroughs. I was very happy to oblige. There’s a different actor every night. It involved learning some stuff about 23, heroin, dead captains and cosmic coincidence. As it happens they had not sent me all my lines, so I had to learn some just before going on stage. Thank God I love chaos. Or should I say Eris? Besides, learning lines is nothing new these days. Sponge-Brain.

It’s always weird, getting through a part live the first time though. You’re never totally satisfied you won’t go insane or start randomly quoting Hamlet or drop dead or explode in a sticky mess of plasma. None of those things happened, though, as far as I remember. I did sort of quote Hamlet, but that’s in the script. And now it’s done I’m in the foyer waiting for the interval so I can go in and enjoy the rest of the show.

Problem is, all this adrenaline. I feel like I’ve fallen out of a plane. I’ll be tweaking in the audience. Why do I constantly do this to myself? I’ve spent my whole career actively seeking opportunities to go on stage while not knowing what the hell’s going to happen once I’m there. I’m some complicated variety of masochist. You’d think after years now at The Factory, last minute cover, saying yes to the random that I wouldn’t get fazed jumping off that cliff. But I found it a fright. Weird and beautiful, but unreal. I know how to manage those nerves now thank God. Five years ago I’d have had ticky leg. Suddenly I was IN a show I’d seen, looking at the other characters, pretending to be one of them. All the ritual before going on stage was the same even if I’ve met some of the people I’m in with forty minutes previously. Slap on the back. Hi five. Thumbs up. Cue line. Check eyes. We all there? Walk on. “Where the heck am I? What am I doing? Oh that’s my cue to speak. What am I saying? What a lot of people. Open mouth. Words happen connected to thoughts.” They’ve anticipated calamity, so Burroughs gets a chair. He also gets a piece of paper “a speech he is practicing” AKA crib sheet to prevent dries. Now it’s done I’ll look back on this evening, refer to this blog, and wonder “did that really happen.” Right now the unspent adrenaline is enough proof. And all I had to do was remember words and speak them in a deep drawl. The girl that arrived at the same time as me chose to take all her clothes off at the top of the show. That requires very different cojones. Both figuratively and literally.

The wonderful news is that I can return home and have a bath if I choose. An actor friend from York, the recently rechristened “Superman” Granger has been staying on the sofa rehearsing an immersive Gatsby into London which I saw in York and loved. He secretly fixed the boiler when he got his first paycheck.

This evening. What an evening. I had a wonderful welcoming connected evening. And Phil “superman’s” generosity… I’m floored.

Thinking in the frame of Cosmic Trigger I could argue that some of this joy manifested as a result of the active brain change I’ve been doing on myself. I’ve been looking at my own navel so I can see yours with more context. I’ve been sorting my negative patterns, turning on, tuning in, finding the others. I gave this month to work – any work with people and money. Whatever came. Yes yes yes was all I had. The work I’ve done has been surprising and diverse. I’ve collaborated with old friends like Brian, Scott, Maureen and Robin, and with new people I admire, like Jimmy Cauty and Daisy Eris Campbell. Today a psychofinancially troublesome boiler issue was solved by kindness, and I got the chance to go on stage and speak the words of William Burroughs via Daisy’s script. Among them: “The dogma of science is that the will cannot possibly affect external forces. I think that’s just ridiculous. It’s as bad as the church. My viewpoint is the exact contrary of the scientific viewpoint.”

I like that idea. That the will can effect external forces. That there is a third way. Faith, Science or Jzzztsqw. Not that we are forced to choose. But as a spiritually inclined human who is simultaneously open hearted and pig headed, it strikes a chord.

Things have been manifesting like crazy today. Long may it continue for me and the good people in my life. Thank you Jethro. Keep moving forward friends. Keep believing. Find the joy. Find the others.

Call me a hippy all you like. I’ve just played Burroughs to a full house in a play I think is wonderful. Here’s a dressing room shot.


Last night of this incarnation is Saturday night. You won’t get a ticket. But it might be worth a shot.

A punch in the RIB

An old friend of my father and I today suggested on Facebook that I get “a full time job” for a few months, based on my recent public musings. Today was my last day on the dodgems. There are more days, but I am not going to do them. Two people came in to learn from me. My teachings were obscure and random, as is only right. It’s a facilitation job, but it’s performance related. I tried to encourage them that their instinct was the best thing to follow. They could try and copy-paste what I do, but then it wouldn’t be theirs. I only do what I do because before my first shift I asked everybody what they needed and none of them knew so I just DID SOMETHING. Then everyone took it as the standard, because I accidentally created the role.

I’ve done so many things for money over the years. I think there is no shame in an actor doing part time work outside of acting to pay the bills. Our job is to play people. How are we supposed to play people if we don’t hang out with people who aren’t actors? I have been told, with great enthusiasm :

“Gordon Twat has left the office – we have a full time place available. We’d love you to take it.”

“A full time position – no – no that’s no good for me – I’m good with part time work.”

“Yes, but this is full time! You’d join us in the office! *noises about bonuses and ladders etc*”

“Thanks – but honestly I can’t. It has to be part time. I’m here because you need me part time.”

“What do you mean? Don’t you care about Mumphit Mumphit Hasbox & Cock?”

“That’s not even a real question. I care about the fact that I work hard, and then there’s a cheque. I am very very happy to work hard in exchange for a cheque. As long as I can take time off for auditions.”

“Oh… Um… auditions um… But – our company values? Mumphit Mumphit Hasbox and Cock….?”

I’ve had variations of that conversation twice, and that’s effectively been the end of two lovely day-jobs. Because I prefer honesty to party line. I always make it clear that my acting is primary, from the outset. But people miss the point. I will work very hard for you. But I will always prioritise my craft. Some people get it, thank God. You’re getting a very highly skilled temporary worker.

And then there’s the boats. The happiest day job I ever had was working for a tour company on the Thames. Many of you would’ve heard me enthusing about the company constantly when I worked for them. They’re great. I loved it. It’s the best way to see the city, from an open top boat. There are only 12 people per boat. At this time of year it’s glorious. I was guiding people down the Thames, sharing my encyclopedic brain and my improvisation and facilitation skills. I utterly utterly loved it. I was one of the only guides that didn’t mysteriously become unavailable in the winter, so I worked all the hardest shifts through the ice and rain, cheerfully and joyfully. Then when summer came I went to my regular summer Shakespeare at Sprite and didn’t mind missing the warm toasty shifts. Unfortunately, I often fail to notice when people don’t like me. Particularly when I like them and they don’t reciprocate. I remember telling one of the guides as I went past my flat in Chelsea “I live there.” He responded “Why do you work here then?” As if having the post code also meant having the money. As if somehow if I lived in Chelsea everything was made out of gold.

The same guy eventually became “head guide”. First among equals, I thought. Until he almost immediately sacked me for a four star review on Tripadvisor which said that I had my lunch. Which I did. She was a regular customer who had always come on a different tide direction. She expected to be guided immediately, but the tide was the other way so I just did the safety brief and then said I’d have my lunch, knowing I would guide on the way home. That is standard. She wrote a hatchet job on her phone, while we fought the inward tide because she thought I was bunking off the guiding to have my lunch – (Once again I’m too honest – I told the boat I was having my lunch – I can’t deal with poisonous people. I constantly refuse to admit they exist.) Then when I guided on the inward tide (The engines don’t have to work as hard and we aren’t miked), she had ALREADY WRITTEN HER REVIEW and she appended a paragraph and changed the star rating to four. Reading it, and her previous reviews for the same company it’s really clear. And then reading her other reviews for other holidays it was clear that she is a monster – (I vanished down that “should” hole. Someone had to. Not that it made the blindest bit of difference to the guy.) He wasn’t interested in engaging with his staff member. He had his own opinions. And he spun it. Oh he spun it. He was looking for an excuse.

I have since been told by another guide it was because “I turned up drunk for work” (Another sacked guide, – not me. “Fake News”.) Also more recently because “I swore in front of children” (I described City Hall as a gonad in front of the same woman’s 12 year old, and she was looking for any crack she could for her review. I work with kids all the time. I have never sworn at the front of the boat, nor would I.) It’s all just guyface trying to make his distaste for me legitimate, and justify the fact he didn’t like me. He disliked the idea of me, for his own reasons, that I’ll never properly understand. I try to rationalise them, because I have always been deeply upset about what he took from me, so unexpectedly and perniciously. I foolishly liked him, as well. I cared a little bit about him. I was looking forward to years of joyful work, doing something I both loved and was good at. I thought he was part of my community. Pfft.

He never knew the me of me. But I have to make peace with this, and I have tried to, even if old pain comes out in this blog. It is old enough now that it is processed. It was so unexpected, unnecessary, unwarranted. His action, though – it’s human behaviour and I must remember that. If I don’t like someone it’s because they make me uncomfortable in some way. I’ll never know how I made him or the Skipper uncomfortable outside of having a flat in Chelsea they both knew about. I’m certain they have their reasons beyond that. If me having a flat in Chelsea was the reason it would be an absurdity, but I know they are both more evolved than that.

They gave me the only two panic attacks I’ve ever had, and taught me an important lesson. That how much you love something, and how good you are at it – neither of these things mean anything compared to people’s own shit towards themselves. I’d still go back  to work there like a shot. But that’ll never be possible while the guy is “First among equals”. Which is fine because these jobs are short term, and strangely I was loving it too much. Casting directors were asking “How are the boats.” I’m an actor, dammit. The boats are irrelevant.

I didn’t know where I was going tonight with this, as is often the case. I’ve laid a huge amount of pain open to you. Some of my friends will remember me in the wake of getting the almost ridiculously callous email sacking. Thank you to those friends of mine who helped stick me back together in that period – particularly my business partner Jack. And the guy… No. I have nothing to say to him. I hope he’s well.

Be kind, people.