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Saturday, January 31, 2004

I've only just got around to reading last week's edition of 'The Week' magazine, the national news digest mag. Every week they carry two top theatre reviews, gleaned from that week's national press. It turns out that in this particular issue, the reviews chosen are of the new play at the Royal Court, and the new play at the Soho Theatre. I think it could be a sign. Possibly that I'm out of my depth.

Friday, January 30, 2004

You have to wonder about the state of amateur dramatics on the Shotley Peninsula. Chelpin Players (who have shortened the words 'Chelmondiston' and 'Pin Mill' into one media-friendly word, whilst simultaneously, and appropriately, making sure it contains the plea "Help!") are currently advertising their next production - the play "Neville's Island" in April. Now, apart from the fact that the same play is being staged professionally for over three weeks at the Ipswich Wolsey Theatre in March, and therefore come April it will have been seen by everyone and his dog within a fifty mile radius, meaning that no one in their right mind will go and see this amateur production unless they're related to the cast, or are employed making sandwiches to sell at the interval, APART FROM ALL THAT... the Chelpin Players are advertising that the play is written by Tim Firth "of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame".

Now, I'm willing to admit that Tim Firth wrote the film 'Calendar Girls'. And I'm also willing to admit that he wrote Neville's Island when he was 28, thus making me extremely jealous. Although to balance that out, he also wrote a few episodes of 'The Bill', so frankly he should be ashamed of himself. But 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'? I think not.

Unless the Chelpin Players are thinking of COLIN Firth? He wasn't in Four Weddings either, but he has been in just about every other Richard Curtis film, so at least you can give them a point for trying.

I think I'll send them a copy of my new play and tell them I wrote 'Love Actually'...
Ok, I'm not proud of this, but doing that survey last night was actually stoopidly enjoyable. Or maybe I just have an empty life. Whatever. So I've done another one. This time the band I chose was Aqualung. Enjoy.

Are you male or female :: Easier to Lie
Describe yourself :: Gentle
How do some people feel about you :: Strange and Beautiful
How do you feel about yourself :: Tongue-Tied
Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend :: Left Behind
Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend :: Nowhere
Describe where you want to be :: When I Finally Get My Own Place
Describe what you want to be :: Extra Ordinary Thing
Describe how you live :: Just For a Moment
Describe how you love :: Brighter Than Sunshine
Share a few words of wisdom :: Good Times Gonna Come

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I really ought to have better things to do than this...

I came across an online survey which proposed the idea that you choose a band, and then answer every question ONLY in song titles by that band. So in an attempt to prove that online surveys are actually a worthwhile intellectual exercise, and not just something for sad people to do when they're at home alone on a Thursday night, I decided to have a go at this one. The band I chose was The Senators. So here goes...

Are you male or female :: A Man Made of Stone
Describe yourself :: Sentimental
How do some people feel about you :: Strange
How do you feel about yourself :: I Cared
Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend :: Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me
Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend :: I Have No Right
Describe where you want to be :: So Far Away
Describe what you want to be :: Best Friend
Describe how you live :: Quiet Life
Describe how you love :: In My Heart and My House
Share a few words of wisdom :: Forget and Smile
Just when I'd got into a routine of prioritising the important things in my life, and making sure I'm there for the next installment of Kerry McFadden's breakdown at 9pm, ITV go and put the celebs (I use the term loosely) on at 8pm. They could've told me. What, do they expect me to actually check the listings??? I tuned in at 9pm and found myself watching Fat Friends. Do I LOOK like the sort of person who watches Fat Friends??? (Don't answer that). I was reluctantly forced to sort out my personal finances with the BBC instead.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Two snowmen are standing in a field and one turns to the other and says "Can you smell carrots?"

That's a quality joke. This is how we British get through these meteorological crises - with humour. And moaning.
Why does life have to grind to a halt the moment we see a snowflake??? There can't be much more than half an inch of snow out there in Suffolk right now, but I've just heard that Babergh District Council have cancelled my rubbish collection today. Obviously the binmen wanted to go sledging.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

In the next 24 hours we get the long awaited result of the Hutton enquiry, with far reaching implications for both the government and the BBC, while Tony Blair faces a critical commons vote which has the potential to end his political career. But personally I'm more interested in whether John Lydon will beat those emus.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I'm far more excited about the imminent arrival of the new series of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" than is probably wise if I'm to avoid being labelled sad.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

I've finished my story with three hours to spare. No sweat. Piece of cake. But the words "never again" are etched on my brain...
What a way to spend a Saturday night. I'm currently taking part in the 24-Hour Short Story Contest. Five hundred registered participants from around the world (including yours truly) were e-mailed a topic at 6pm British time, and we all have 24 hours to write an original 1100-word short story on that subject, and e-mail it back to the judges for a shot at cash prizes totalling $750.

The organisers describe it as "the ultimate source for creative stress... and tons of fun!". Well I'd agree with the former. The latter might not come until I'm awarded the $300 top prize. But still, it's currently 9 hours down and 15 to go, and I have an unfinished story totalling 950 words. I somehow have to condense half a page of remaining notes into an eloquent 150 word denouement by teatime on Sunday.

And the 'topic'? Well it's this...

"She looked behind her once again before she pushed open the largest door in the house. She only had a few seconds to search her employer's office or she risked detection. Her eyes were immediately drawn to a handwritten note sitting in the
middle of the desk..."

I think I might just go to bed...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Intriguingly, I've now had a letter from the Soho Theatre. They're a week behind the Royal Court in the race to stage my new play, so there's obviously some catching up to do, but they've pulled a masterstroke by stating that they now plan to evaluate it in two to three months, beating their previously stated target of four months, and challenging the Royal Court's promise of 12 weeks. In the Soho Theatre's favour is also the fact that Richard "I don't believe it" Wilson, and Lise Mayer (co-writer of 'The Young Ones') are on the development committee. So by this time next year I could be the co-author of a sitcom starring Victor Meldrew as a student punk.

Just as intriguing is the breaking news that not content with being on the honorary council of the Royal Court, Sir Richard Eyre is proving himself to be something of a theatrical slut by allowing himself to be named as patron of the Soho Theatre as well. Right up there alongside Bob Hoskins. Who's probably looking for work now the BT adverts have dried up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Personally I can get through a whole tube of Pringles and a couple of Cornettos whilst watching Celebrity Fit Club. It's these new hour-long episodes. They allow you to pack so much more in.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

extra ordinary thing

cheer up
it might never happen
it might never happen, well we'll see
as I sit here spitting and churning
it's clear it's happening right now to me

make it special
for a loved one, for a stranger
peace is hard to
hard to come by

why not believe in something
something's got to be better than nothing
just because it's the end of the beginning
doesn't mean it's the beginning of the end

falling, fractured
broken, busted, all for nothing
sing my heart out for a stranger
sing my heart out
for a stranger

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The phone rang this morning. I picked it up and a voice said "Am I speaking to the homeowner?". I replied "No, I rent the place". To which he said "Ok then", and put the phone down.

This is what it's come to - people are so keen to speak to me, that they'll find any old excuse to ring up. It was probably like phone sex for him. Which could explain why he left so suddenly.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I've had a letter from the Royal Court this morning, thanking me for sending them my play. I'm very priveleged - I'm sure they don't send out letters like this to everyone. Well ok, maybe they do. But even so, I feel this prompt response has put the Royal Court ahead of the Soho Theatre on points, and I may decide to give them first refusal on my play. ('Refusal' being the operative word). I'm just disappointed the letter wasn't personally signed by Joan Plowright.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Life's weird sometimes. Yesterday, my much loved cat Oscar died suddenly from a heart attack. Today, I find I've won a writing competition, and then get an e-mail from a theatre in America interested in one of my plays.

Is this a good week or a bad week?

Monday, January 12, 2004

As of this morning, my new play is off to the Royal Court and the Soho Theatre, so to celebrate I was planning a trip to the zoo to pick up women (and aardvarks). After all, Kilroy isn't on, so I have nothing to keep me at home. Devastatingly however, it's raining, and you can't stroke Somalian Fat-Tailed Sheep in a downpour. Well you can, but you'll look even more suspicious than you normally do as a 30 year old man alone at a zoo stroking sheep.

So there's nothing else for it - I'll have to hit the Ipswich charity shops.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I went to PC World this morning to buy some good quality paper, in preparation for my imminent assault on the nation's theatres. Whilst there however, I made a startling discovery: you can buy 'tattoo paper' - special paper which enables you to print your own temporary tattoos. For sad people like me, this is fantastic news. I now find myself in the astonishingly exciting position of being able to print anything I like onto my own body.

It has to be said though, this is also a bigamist's charter. Cheating husbands all over Britain can now have the name of any woman they choose tattoed onto their bicep, only to change it every time they go home.

In addition, this paper is ridiculously priced - £14.99 for just three sheets. Frankly I can't afford to go wasting fifteen quid on something as needless as this.

But obviously that didn't stop me buying some. I plan to tattoo my website address across my forehead.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Apparently two thirds of British men are overweight. This news has caused me much consternation. When I got up this morning, I was feeling good about my new year weightloss, and confident that I'll be down to my ideal size in the very near future. Now, however, I discover that the moment I hit my perfect weight, I'll officially be part of a minority, and no doubt subject to prejudice, discrimination, and hate crimes. I could be putting myself at a serious social disadvantage every time I open a pot of cottage cheese. I think I owe it to myself to eat that tube of Pringles I've had since Christmas.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I've only just heard the tragic news that Harold von Braunhut, the man who invented Sea Monkeys, died at the end of November. I'm personally devastated, obviously, because there was a time in my life when my parents were happily committing child abuse by not allowing me to have a puppy, despite much pitiful (and clearly justified) whining on my part, and Sea Monkeys were the only thing which kept me going.

But more than that, I can't help wondering if Mr von Braunhut opted for cremation over burial, because if he went for the latter, surely he'll just come back to life the first time it rains.