People Talking Loud

Tilting at windmills requires proper study

Tilting at windmills requires proper study



I went into Banbury today to sit in the warm, as my current abode is a crumbling 300 year old stone edifice that loses heat quicker than a MP submits expense claims.
I settled on the Mill Arts centre as I have a little history with the place and they make decent coffee and set about writing a proposal for my new show. What struck me more than the caffeine and the toasty warmth uncramping my toes and setting them fizzing; was how loud the British public have become. ‘Perhaps it’s just theatricals’ I thought, but no. This was good old Joe Public in full effect. To be fair, groups of people meeting in a theatre bar are probably measurably (scientifically) louder than most. In the same way that people react better to magic when there is a camera on them. I have noticed overall, since my return to the bosom of Albion just how loud we have become as a race. It used to be, that we looked across the pond at our American cousins or to the far flung shores of Oz, and tittered and remarked on the loud nature of the denizens of these places, but now it seems we are no longer the exception (if indeed we ever were). I remember visiting Beijing for the first time. I was so excited, as I had grown up a fervent martial artist on a diet of Water Margin, Monkey and Golden Harvest films. I expected the ‘motherland’ to be a place of repose, meditation and dedicated stoicism. I stood in Tiananmen Square suffering from culture shock assailed on three sides by pedlars of Mao Tse Tung watches and other cheap goods simultaneously shouting at me whilst I searched desperately for a shaolin monk to cling to. I remember thinking then ‘fuck, these guys are loud!’ And now I’m thinking it in Banbury.
So what has prompted the British to turn it up to eleven? Have our upper lips somehow become more supple? Have the timorous masses decided to roar? Are we simply increasing in number and therefore louder or is it a by-product of the growing tendency not to listen rather than to wait for your opportunity to talk?
AA Gill posited that we were the ‘Angry Isle’ and I think he’s got a point, we are aggressive-always have been- as a race. And we don’t have an outlet other than the pub. We don’t fiesta, we don’t have Carnevale, nor do we really go for a knees up on holidays like St. George’s day in the way that other countries do for their national days and/or saint’s holidays.
We are an unsupervised pressure cooker without a properly functioning lid that is occasionally vented by an uncaring chef.
We are the seething nation, busily convincing ourselves that we a still up there in the top countries of the world.
But we know, don’t we, we know deep down that that’s not the case. We eat the partially digested truths our politicians and patriarchs feed us and the bitter fuel hardly sustains us.
But there’s just enough attention to keep us from blowing.
At least in the pressure cooker, we are all in it together, aren’t we? Blitz spirit and all that. We can shout to each other and affirm ourselves by being another voice in the directionless dissent.
The fear of the alternative to the constant squeeze keeps us nicely agitated.
But we’re not really in this together are we?
There’s a whole strata of people who are clearly not in this with us, and they’re not planning on joining us any time soon.

So keep being agitated and keep jostling for room

In a pressure cooker no one can hear you scream.



New Year, New Thoughts, New Show

So it’s been an interesting time relocating to the UK after an absence of over a decade. I had forgotten the joys of bureaucracy, form-filling and admin that Britain revels in. The whole family is in free-fall experiencing serious Asia pangs and this is the first harsh winter we’ve seen in a good wee while. One of the nice things about being back in Albion has been catching up with extended family, friends and meeting folk who I’ve talked to on the net but never met in person. I attended Tabla Mentis, a meeting of The Society of British Mystery Entertainers. A great affair where I got to mix and mingle with people who I respect and have hitherto admired from afar. I also hung around the periphery of Head Hackings training in Derby and helped out where applicable. Grabbing some time to chat with Ant and Kev about the Automatic Imagination Model of hypnosis. If you haven’t heard about it, you can read Kev’s explanations here Thought provoking stuff. It got me thinking in all kinds of directions and specifically about some of the processes behind the creation of character in acting rehearsals. I’m currently investigating a way of crossing over some of the AI model into acting, but more of that later.

I now have a limited company, which I called CAVORT. It is my hope that I can draw together the strands of what I do under the umbrella of this company. My current show Your Place or Mind will continue to tour this year in a slightly changed format. Those of you that have seen it, know that it investigates the notion of coincidence through a series of experiments. I have a new experiment which I am adding to the show, which I am very excited about. I’ve tentatively titled it ‘The Wreck of the Medulla’ and it involves hypnosis and psychometry with some rather special ‘hauntiques’ which are antiques with a certain history to them. One of the delights of this piece is that I genuinely don’t know how it will turn out, it’s real fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentalism and has the potential to be really excellent theatre.

Victor Kiam

“Even if you fall on your face,
you’re still moving forward.”
That has been my kind of day today, not entirely without merit and there is still ten hours left of it, however, there has already been frustration and teeth-grinding going on.
I like the fact that the above quote is attributed to Victor Kiam (It’s also attributed to others, but I say let him have it!). If you are old enough, you may remember Mr. Kiam advertising electric razors with all the zeal of an evangelical. I certainly remember enjoying his adverts because the product wasn’t really important, it was this luminously white-toothed grinning maniac with his battleship steel-grey coiffured hair that made for good telly. The man knew a thing or two about people and the nature of belief. He obviously knew a good shaver when he saw one too. I could discuss so many things using Victor Kiam as a model- sales psychology, mindscripts, hypnotic language and so on, but I think why he sprang to mind today was his sheer force of will and indefatigable nature. Possibly also because I’ve been watching Mad Men of late.
So it’s Ladies Night in the Upper Penang Road tonight, I’ll be there promoting this weekend’s shows. I’ll get my Kiam on and see where it takes me!

Indescribable… Indestructible! Nothing Can Stop It………The Blog.

A formless mass that accrues as it goes and terrorises the masses – sounds about right.

Welcome to my blog. I hope this will be a stream of communication and not merely a series of nattering, yattering comments from me. I’m sure they’ll be in effect but I also hope to have a dialogue and to create a space where people can talk with me about subjects we find mutually interesting. A good friend of mine asked me why I hadn’t blogged before- he stated that he was shocked that I hadn’t already created a veritable mountain of digital prose and I answered that to do this kind of caper I imagine you have to be dedicated to it. I didn’t have the time.

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