518 – The 104 Days Of Christmas

Thank goodness this is all over for now...

Thank goodness this is all over for now…

Quite some time ago (around four months ago), I wrote a post called “The 105 Days Of Christmas”. Wow that seems like a long time ago. In that post was a lie.

I started this thinking that Mrs. Faint was going to be working away from October 21st until February 2nd. Well, it turns out that her last show is today, which makes it one hundred and four days, not one hundred and five. Well, I said I’d write until she got back and she’s back today, so sod this, I’m not bothering anymore thanks very much. A hundred and four posts in a hundred and four days has pretty much finished me off, as every single person reading the last dozen or so posts is abundantly aware.

I sort of wish I hadn’t started it. It’s wasted so many mornings over the last four months I can’t tell you. Day after day I’ve pretty much written off the entire morning staring at this laptop screen and wondering what the hell I’m going to write. This won’t happen any more and I can’t help but feel I’ll be considerably more productive as a consequence. Instead of writing all this shit, I’m going to actually do some paid work. Yes, I know. Work. And there actually is a little bit of work to do, which is something of a miracle in these dark times of work dribbling in. Continue reading

517 – An old story…

Keep it closed, and wait for the band...

Keep it closed, and wait for the band…

Just remembered a story I’ve often told about a show I did. If you type ‘am dram hell’ into the search engine on this page, you’ll get the full three parts, but this is the best bit. This is taking you back to 2011, and I’ve been true to my word since then. Oh, I love this, by the way!

So it’s the interval, and all the talk is of near-death set catastrophes, but true to form, the band disappear back to their smelly little dressing room and start whinging. After we’d had our gentlemanly cup of tea, we decided to have a stab at the age-old band room staple, “Kick The Coke Bottle Into The Bin Then Cheer Hysterically If Anyone Gets It In”, which has served us well for a number of years.

This was a particularly disappointing version of the game with only one freak member of the band able to get anywhere near a consistent level of success. Still, we persevered. After an inordinately long amount of time, it was pointed out that things had gone rather quiet. Quiet outside in the corridor, especially quiet on the relay speaker in the dressing room. I wasn’t bothered about this. I was waiting for my poorly delivered call to start and that was that.

A few more minutes passed and we decided to have a look out into what it became clear was an empty corridor, normally full of giddy am dram people being giddy. A solitary member of the crew came bounding down the corridor saying, “Where’s the band, where’s the band?” We’re here, we helpfully suggested, waiting for our call. “We’ve started! You need to go to the pit!”  Well, no my dear, we hadn’t started. I was the MD, and I was the one who started the Entr’acte, so of course we hadn’t started if I wasn’t in the pit.

Except that somehow they had started. From what I can gather from my Coke bottle based fun, was that in the drama of re-setting the over ambitious arch piece of set (read the previous entry) someone had forgotten to tell people that we’d started. Except all the cast were floating about being giddy/concerned, depending on how much they’d seen of the incident, so they were all ready. We’d been forgotten about (after all, it’s only the band, in a musical, no big deal). Front of house clearance had happened. As I’ve mentioned, there were no comms in the pit, so nobody could communicate in a normal theatrical way to ascertain that the band were in place. All the people sat down, the house lights went down, and no music happened. After an amount of time that I’m not aware of, rather than try and find out where the band were and perhaps get them into position, they decided to put the house lights up and the first few people in the first scene came on stage.

This is an interesting approach, but one which ultimately would fail, no matter what happened. At some point, there would be a song, and the music for that song wouldn’t start. Were they planning to do the second half as a play?

I’m not sure, but it didn’t come to that. The next person with a line, one of the ‘leads’, only left her dressing room when she heard the Entr’acte, which of course she didn’t hear. Therefore, with house lights down and stage lights on, three people with no lines came on and started doing some background acting. Then carried on. Nothing happened. Then they did it a bit more. To be honest, I don’t know how long they were there. It may have only been a few seconds.

When it became clear that we ought to go into the pit, we left the dressing room. Unfortunately, for reasons I won’t bore you with, two of the band had to walk into the pit through the auditorium. In silence. And darkness. Then there were various checks we needed to do, switch things on, put on headphones etc., all of which was done in complete silence and pitch black. The background actors on stage were still background acting, as they had been when they walked on to silence.

I then thought that we would be short changing the audience if they didn’t get to hear the Entr’acte, so we played it in full. Rather than take the stage lights down and give the actors a break, they stayed on, and throughout the two minute opening, they stayed and carried on doing their background acting. At the end of that, the scene started up and the lead came on as if nothing had happened. The audience were bewildered, didn’t react to the Entr’acte at all, and I suspect some thought it was all part of the ‘comedy’. It wasn’t.

Still, they all clapped at the end, and nobody was blamed. I suppose I could have not played the Entr’acte, but there was nobody to tell that to (have I mentioned there were no comms in the pit?) so I don’t think I had any choice. It could have been an interesting stalemate though, I wonder what would have happened?

Still, as somebody said pertinently afterwards, “it’s all good fodder for the blog”. Yes, indeed it is.

The week as a whole had quite a profound effect on me, and I shall no longer be involving myself in something of this nature. I don’t think I quite worded it in that way at the end of the run, but that’s essentially it. For the foreseeable future, I’m afraid I won’t be able to regale you with storied of Am Dram hell.

It’s better for the integrity of my skull. And the pit wall.

516 – Runner’s Knee (Part Six)

Yes, this picture again, because I'm so annoyed I can't be bothered to find another picture.

Yes, this picture again, because I’m so annoyed I can’t be bothered to find another picture.

Yes, it goes on. This really is the sixth time I’ve written about my stupid running injury. As you’ll gather by the tone of those first two sentences, it’s still going on and it’s not better yet. As I mentioned last time, I decided after my previous physio visit that I couldn’t walk properly, or indeed run properly and that I had a wonky leg.

I went out for a very long walk a couple of days later, which was rather strange in that I mostly stared at my right leg as I compensated for it being on the wonk. Of course I wasn’t sure whether this was a good thing to do but I went for it anyway. I continued to do the exercised, except the ones I couldn’t do.  All they did was remind me of how sore my knee caps used to be back in the day and how much I compensate for them hurting. There’s certain standing up movements which I just can’t do and half-bending my knees is something which just doesn’t happen and hasn’t for many years.

So, I carried on doing the things I was doing before, didn’t do most of the new things, and booked in again with the physio (this is getting expensive) whilst pondering my wonky leg and how much it’s to do with my wonky pelvis and subsequently how much it’s all got to do with playing the piano. Continue reading

515 – Russia

Russia, innit?

Russia, innit?

Went to Russia, didn’t I? There’s the evidence. It’s me, in front of St. Basil’s Basilica. It’s in Red Square. That’s cool right? Well, actually it’s bloody freezing. It was minus sixteen degrees at the time this picture was taken. That god I bought that hat shortly before I went away. I’m not entirely sure I’d have managed to still be outside at this point without it.

Minus sixteen is really, really cold.

Of course I was working. I don’t go anywhere if I’m not working. We’d been out and about for a bit and gone for dinner somewhere a little bit too far away. Despite doing a bit of strategic warming up shopping on the way back from the too-far-away restaurant we were still pretty cold. As is always the way with trips like this, there’s never really any chance to see much more than the hotel, the gig and the airport but it’s Russia and I’ve never been before and I was determined to get a picture in Red Square. Didn’t get into the Kremlin, didn’t see anything more than the outside of Lenin’s tomb (I think it’s that anyway). It looks pretty relaxed, doesn’t it? I promise we literally ran into Red Square, took a bunch of photos on various people’s phones and got out of there sharpish, back to the five star hotel and into bed to warm up.

That, however, was sufficient. I will forever have the picture of me in a stupid hat, standing outside St. Basil’s Basilica, which was pretty much what I wanted. No, we didn’t really do any proper tourist things, but I did get these:

Russian dolls, innit?

Russian dolls, innit?

which is pretty much what you have to do when you’re in Russia, right? And to be fair, we were working, so it’s kind of fair enough that you don’t get to see everything. Got to see plenty of the hotel bar though, and plenty of the inside of a pint glass. I suppose I ought to mention the gig. It was fine, it passed without consequence in the grand scheme of things. Drank vodka.

That’s all, that’s what we call a photo blog post (or an excuse to write less words than normal). Either that or I’m just using it as an excuse to boast that I went somewhere other than my front room.

514 – Blog Birthday

This is 4. I am 39.

This is 4. I am 39.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of me starting this stupid blog. On this day in 2010 (which sounds like a long time ago to me) I sat at a laptop not dissimilar to this one and typed the following words:

Everyone’s An Idiot…

…well obviously not everyone. I’m not. You reading this probably aren’t either, because I suspect you’re my friend and therefore not an idiot. But I find myself saying this so often, more and more as the years drift by, that I feel I’m drowning in self-parody and becoming exactly what everyone thinks I am, and exactly what I never wanted to be, which is a pathetic characature of Richard Wilson in that stupid “I don’t believe it” sitcom nonsense, whose name escapes me at the moment.

This should not be the case. I am not miserable, which I fear is something I’m going to have to come back to many times over the life of this blog.

I won’t rant for the sake of it. I’ll rant because I’ve got something to say about life surrounded by idiots, both in the normal world and the preposterous show business world within which I spend too much of my time. I’m going to try not to swear too much, but there will be swearing so if you don’t like it, well, I was going to say fuck off, but I don’t want to descend into cliche during the first post. Continue reading

513 – Hair

Me having a slight hair crisis.

Me having a slight hair crisis.

This might seem as though it’s getting silly. First a post about an impending big birthday, then a post about changing the way I dress, now a post about changing my hair. What the hell is going on with me? You mean, apart from me running out of things to write about? Well, it’s another thought that I’ve had for absolutely ages and done nothing about. Maybe I’m doing something about it now.

I’ve had the same hairstyle, near enough, for about fifteen years. In fact the same two gentlemen have been cutting my hair since 1997 and they continue to do so now. Sometimes they cut it a lot, sometime not as often, but no matter how out of hand it gets, it tends to end up back the same way. Exactly the same way. Every now and again I talk to the gentleman about having a change and what I’d do about it, but we always end up back where we started with the same haircut. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great haircut, but maybe it’s time for a change. Why now? Well, why not? Now because I’ve got the time to think about it, probably. Continue reading

512 – Suit You Sir

Just hanging around casually wearing a suit, ain't I?

Just hanging around casually wearing a suit, ain’t I?

Don’t worry, this is nothing to do with the big Four-O, it’s not a mid life crisis, it’s just a thing. In fact it’s something which I’ve toyed with for ages, and have been toying with it a little more since I stopped being a big fat idiot. What I’m getting at is that I’m thinking about wearing suits all the time. Well, not all of the time, just a lot of the time when I go anywhere or do anything.

I look good in a suit. Not particularly good in this particular picture which I’m offering you but certainly better than I used to. I like wearing suits and find them comfortable. They’re conveniently layered, for changing weather conditions, they work in a number of different situations very well and given how many people have to wear them for work stuff, you don’t look like an idiot when you’re out wearing one in pretty much any situation. I also have too many suits at the moment for the amount of time I spend wearing them. Of course I have a dinner suit and a black suit for work purposes, but I also have way more ‘other’ suits than I ought to own. Continue reading