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.

510 – Sugar

Mmm... sugar....

Mmm… sugar….

So, apparently it’s not all heroin, smoking and drinking. It’s all about sugar now. Yes, sugar is the new heroin and the big killer that everyone is talking about.  Of course as a former fat person, I’m still kind of obsessed with all things ‘weight’ and ways of stopping fat people being fat. That stretches to anything about diet, about low fat things, ways of getting thinner, ways of staying thinner and so this new obsession with sugar interests me.

It mostly interests me because most ‘new’ things when it comes to food or health are usually bullshit and reported in the Daily Mail with some stupid misleading headline saying we can drink loads of red wine now or we can’t drink loads of red wine now. It’s normally one of those two. It’s pretty clear to all but the most stupid person that any headline which says we can have loads of something which everyone knows is bad for you, is a load of rubbish. Same goes for diets of course. Any diet which includes the line “and then you can eat anything you want” is completely missing the point and nobody on that diet will ever stay thin. Continue reading

508 – Stupid Cough

That'll fix it...

That’ll fix it…

Wow, it’s irritating. It was most irritating at about 5am this morning, when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. You see, I’ve got one of those stupid coughs. Not the awful, coughing fit, phlegm producing big hacking coughs which do something and seem like they’re going somewhere or doing something productive in your body. I mean one of those pathetic stupid irritating little coughs, where you constantly just do a little feeble cough, just one, then another, then another. Never any more than one at a time, never any change in pitch or volume. Just an identical little pathetic unmanly cough, over and over, with little or no resolution.

Yes, I would prefer a much more, shall we say ‘useful’ cough. I just want one that feels like it’s there for a reason, you know? Something which says to me ‘your body is not functioning properly, but if it coughs up all the bad stuff, then you’ll get better’. There’s none of that sort of thing going on here. None at all. Just the relentless persistence of it all. At no time does it produce anything whatsoever. It’s annoying because of the relentless banality of itself. Exactly the same feeble noise every single time. Continue reading

507 – Guest Rant No.8

Tricky.

Tricky.

Except it’s not really a rant, but that seems to be the title of the ongoing series, though a series which hasn’t had an entry of over two years isn’t much of a series really. Anyway, on a day where I have literally nothing to say to you, my dear friend Luke Harrison has come to the rescue.

The reason I reprint it here is partly because he wants me to, but mostly because it’s something we talked about at length the other night and that I’m very interested in. I’m just a couple of steps away from dealing with the fact that I can’t swim and this is probably just the impetus I need. Click here for Luke’s blog but he’s considerably less verbose than me, it would appear (lazy git). And as a regular reader I apologise to Luke for having nothing to read this morning but his own words. Probably for the best… Continue reading

506 – Detox (Again)

I'd rather have a twix.

I’d rather have a twix.

The other day I mentioned some waffle about detox and how rubbish it is. I get reminded about it, well, pretty much any time anyone says anything about detox. Because it’s rubbish. I thought I’d write a little bit about it, then realised I’d probably already written something about it. I have. It’s still relevant, so here it is. Haven’t reblogged anything for a few weeks, so I’m about due!

These are my words from 2012…

It’s cobblers. That really should suffice as a blog post about detox, but there’s always this urge for me to hit a word count and so I’ll carry on. (Incidentally, this morning I haven’t the inclination to hit said word count so things might be a little scant. Or is it scanty? I think they mean roughly the same thing, but there’s also an underwear related version of scanty, so perhaps we’ll stick with scant for now).

I digress. I might have mentioned I’ve been rather busy. That continues this week. I’m off to the land of the oatcakes for a week, whilst of course still fulfilling my duties in deepest Lancashire, but more of that another day. When I’m busy I tend to eat badly. I get a little bit panicky that I might end up being hungry during a difficult show and the distraction of said hunger might put me off. It doesn’t really work like that but I still shovel the food in just in case. I eat nice things which make me happy, not good things which make me healthy. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just a few weeks of busyness and things will calm down I hope. I also really ought to get back in the gym before I go mental, but again, that’s an issue for another day (and one which I probably won’t cover here). Continue reading

505 – Rubbish Weather Forecasts

Dark cloud/white cloud...

Dark cloud/white cloud…

So the picture doesn’t quite do justice to what I hoped but you’ll get the idea. Imagine much heavier rain, that a camera can pick up better, not almost no rain. Either way, you see what I’m getting at and even though it’s hardly raining in the picture, it’s certainly not what we’d perceive as being appropriate for the ‘white cloud’ symbol as used by the BBC and therefore their proprietary weather app.

This has been bothering me rather a lot of late. I think I must be going places but not in my car more than normal as it doesn’t normally affect me a great deal. What I’m going on about is the appallingly bad weather forecasts which seem to be coming our way lately. Let’s remember a couple of months ago the Daily Express (or the Daily Mail, I can’t tell them apart) were going mental about how cold this winter was going to be and what implications the ‘big freeze’ was going to have on Princess Diana or something, I don’t know, I didn’t get much past the front cover to be honest. It didn’t happen did it. Fair enough, there’s been some spectacular weather this winter so far and of course there’s still plenty of winter left but it’s hardly been a big freeze has it? Continue reading

503 – Malteaster

Shit, isn't it?

Shit, isn’t it?

Oh, you know those people who go on and on about Christmas starting earlier every year, when it quite clearly doesn’t? You know those people. Idiots I call them. They’re the same ones who go on about Easter eggs being sold in supermarkets on January 1st. They’re not. I checked. I wanted to buy one as a joke for someone who was going on about that very thing, but I couldn’t buy one, therefore couldn’t make the joke, but thrillingly I was proving him wrong at the same time, which was nice.

So anyway, imagine how disgusted I was the other day when I saw a TV advert for a thing called a Malteaster. For those of you who don’t know (and don’t have the facility to look at the picture which is one inch away from where your eyes are now), it’s basically a massive Malteser, shaped roughly into the shape of a rabbit. For some reason, those disease infested shagaholics are associated with Easter. I don’t know why, but the buffoons who make Maltesers thought they’d try and get in on the whole Easter thing by making their perfectly-acceptable-as-it-is confectionery, somehow not acceptable now (because it’s too big and cumbersome) and somehow Easter related. Continue reading