Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Anastasia is leaving

The jerk. :( This is the blog posting that I am writing whilst at Anastasia's house and listening to sad music about how she's leaving. I love this jerk so much. So bad to love a jerk who moves to New York. And also so good.

Anastasia says she didn't know that was coming. Oh, wait she said she did know. How depressing. In fact, the first song on the cd that Anastasia made me when she left is actually called... Track 01. But I'm told that it's by an excellent band called Aurevoir Simone. Which for Pee Wee's Big Adventure fans is actually a quote direct from after the faked sex in the dinosaur. Anyway, a few Bruce Springstein fans are currently singing along to the Streets of Philadelphia and it's just one of those moments where people are drinking away their sadness over a good friend leaving. No one better to sing out the night then our good friend the Bruce. On the streets of Philadelphia. What a melancholy place.

Dmitri the Lover

Yes and lover lover lover lover lover lover lover come back to me.

Number one on my list of top ten things not to do in Toronto? Let's see, that would have to be go to any of the night clubs featured on the television show Keys to the VIP. Pourquoi, you dare ask? Bloggy readers may be well aware of the only reason that a literary nut would picket for book burning - a little book called The Game by Neil Strauss, which purports to penetrating the world of pick up artists, but can double as an instructional manual for the lonely or sex deprived. And putting my hometown on the map, famous Pick Up Artists live in Toronto - which they have been quoted as saying is "The Hardest place to pick up women in the world" (I assume they are excluding cities where women wear the veil) - where some of them act as a panel on the television show "Keys to the VIP", The Iron Chef of pick up artists. An experienced PUA is staked against an amateur and we see how many phone numbers they can get in an hour. I'm amused by this quantity versus quality policy - sleeping with a girl, I suppose, is far inferior to the endless telemarketing possibilities.

But in any subculture, there is always one man who hangs out on the margins... not quite fitting in... praying for the day that "Keys to the VIP" finally ask him for his number so that he can show them a thing or two about his unconventional (not always successful) techniques. This man is Dmitri the Lover. The worst PUA in Toronto. But before you get all weepy on me, listen to this:

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Speaking of the staggeringly fantastic...

I may have single handedly helped ruin Daniel Kitson's attempt at making a dvd by being sat directly in front of him front row when he filmed his last night of "It's the Fireworks Talking" at the Stand last Fringe, and being so tired that I kept falling asleep. Before you hate me for this, I had been running around since 8am at Forest, and desperately wanted to stay awake, but the harder I struggled the harder it got, until in the middle of the show Kitson just stopped and said, "You've fallen asleep about five times. I've seen you do it." And I opened my eyes, looked up at him, and having lost my inner monologue said the first groggy but truthful argument I could think of:

"Every time I wake up I'm happy."

To my confused and sleepy delight, he seemed charmed and told the audience, while I was cured of my narcolepsy and wide eyed awake for the rest of the show. But I later read an email he sent to his mailing list where he said that he wasn't going to release the video of that show because that performance was "unbearably disastrous." It was actually unbearably wonderful, but there you go, the guy's a perfectionist.

Anyway, in reference to my last post, here's a little taste of the greatest guy I think is working in theatre/comedy/story telling today. When theatre is this great and I can show you why rather than tell you, why the heck not?

Why I hardly ever write about theatre...

So very recently one of you bloggy readers (who also happens to be my partner in crime AND crime fighting) asked me oh so innocently where the PLAYWRIGHTING has gone to in a blog entitled "Confessions of a Playwright?" Scroll through recent posts and probably None of them are actually about what the blog purports to be about. Okay, you want to know, you want to know where all the theatre has gone? Or why I've avoided any sort of theatrical discussion? It comes down to a couple of reasons:

I mean, reason number one has just got to be Fear. There is a whole network of London theatre blogs that write about it well or not so well to varying degrees and to be honest I do get nervous about having to take a stand among them. Mostly because I rarely read them unless I like the writers style/am friends with them (both could be said of Craig and Andy's blogs) or have gone to see a show and would like to place it within the ever widening context of Internet Opinion. I am happy that other people are doing it but I just don't want to get involved unless I loved something, and even then I rarely feel my bloggy attempt would do it any sort of justice. Is this terribly horrible? This is just, maddeningly, how I feel.

The second reason is going to seem like a bit of a rationalization - which it kind of is, and kind of isn't. I haven't been writing a lot. This much is horribly true. I've thought about it, but at this point playwrighting is starting to seem incredibly terrifying for whatever reason - I'm waiting for that moment when I come back to it because I will be needing it desperately. But let's say I *were* massively successful and constantly playwrighting, I'd like to think that via the internet my top priority would always be to approach the medium however I feel it works best. In the case of a blog, I think the best thing you can do is look at it as a fun time wasting experience where we can share whatever culture we are collectively accumulating via the internet. A play *could* work via the internet, and maybe that will be my next bright idea, but as it stands, I think that short forrays into whatever I last did on youtube is as valid a blogging directive as any.

Yesterday I was walking around the bookshop of the Royal Academy of Art when I found the most beautifully printed edition of a smaller volume by Kierkegaard. I turned to Stacey and just said, "Gawd, do I miss philosophy." I truly feel that even if my work ethic were stronger than it actually (no holds barred) isn't, I would be more inspired and have more to offer to playwrighting and theatre through looking at current affairs, philosophy and poetry than I would through focussing on theatre. Theatre to me is a way of funnelling through, of dealing with the fact that we're living and what that means to us. How many playwrights with depression write about characters with inner conflicts? Or playwrights from politically desperate situations write brilliantly about politics? No, no, it's not as simple as writing what you know, but it's working through what you know, reaching for more than you know, for what you almost know or what you need to know, and trying to get at something that maybe has never been expressed in theatre before - and the best place to find that thing could be through poetry, music, science, the news, or watching a delicate video that seems to depricate humanity via youtube.

But I've let myself go on - a cardinal no no of the blog.

I don't write exclusively about theatre because there's more to life - and theatre is our way of working through life. Also, for better or for worse, I can't change the title of this blog. So no matter how far I stray, playwrighting and I are kind of (thankfully) stuck with each other.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Christine Richey is a genius

The Chap - Mega Breakfast

At the shop again (of course, where else do I post?) and of our random musical selection I have been turned on to a blast from the past. About three years ago my dear friend from Antiquated Notions (my flatmate at the time) was indulging her record buying addiction when an attractive record store clerk recommended she buy a record. Now I don't remember much about the record other than the fact that it sounded like extreme Radiohead meets Broadcast meets Extreme Aphex Twin, sure, these are all good things, but in conjunction it was... um, a little much? We had the revelation that record store clerks (much like my latterday career as a video store clerk who would recommend obscure horror and silent movies only) have probably listened to so much music that their ears don't quite work anymore so they often recommend noise. I brought up an anecdote about having bought a similarly strange record called The Horse recommended to me by a record store clerk in Sydney, Australia, the debut album recorded by a London band called The Chap. My boyfriend at the time being a big fan of electronic music, I thought I would surely buy him this record and win the obscure contest forever, but once I was back home and played it for him, we had to agree that it was... for all of its hints of goodness... a bit much.

Now fastforward to today, when our newest shipment of music comes in, and I am listening to a record, quite enjoying it (though asking myself if anyone else I know would, or if it just sounds crazy) only to realize that The Chap have made their way back into my life, this time with an album called "Mega Breakfast." Considering I had a delicious breakfast with Stacey only this morning at the famous east end restaurant Saint John (I thoroughly recommend it, and breakfast cost me no more than four pounds) this seems like an eerily appropriate choice for the album title. But get to the point, Pearson... do you recommend this obscure musical nugget to your friends and the people?

I'll say this, I like the Chap more than I did in 2003, but working in a store that sells music does, technically, put me in a category where I would be inclined to.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

If you build it, they will come

Perhaps due to his penchant for Costner-isms, Andy Field so often puts things far better than I ever could, occasionally shedding light on facets of something we've spoken about that I didn't even know were there. This could be no better demonstrated than by his recent William Shatner Karaoke post on the Forest Fringe website. An idea that we came up with after watching the brilliant rendering of Shatner's Taxi Story (we turned to each other, nearly in slow motion, and said, "Shatner's on to something. By Gawd, all this time he's been on to something") and the gauntlet had been thrown. Shatner, in his own, mighty, Youtubey way, had boomed at us to keep the tradition of song monologuing alive. We are honouring his artform and bringing it on a step - I can't effing wait. If you are in Edinburgh, you must join us on the 19th to see Shatner's brainchild honoured as more than a simple novelty act, and inspiring a whole new era of karaoke performance poetry.

Playing us out is my vote for the next "Part of our Heritage" commercial:

Jimmy Silver strikes Internet Gold

At first we all thought it was a famous and often favourited internet nugget, until Jimmy Silver admitted that he had made it himself. Al said, and I QUOTE, "This is the greatest thing a creative friend of mine has produced in a while" with a meaningful look in my direction. I had to quietly agree, Jimmy has raised the bar. This clip is even more incredible keeping in mind that Jimmy can't bend his hands past a 90 degree angle and he did the whole thing in one shot. With a little bit of imagination a simple camera effect can be as or more impressive than CGI. Though Al did comment, "So, you spend a lot of time alone in the dark with your hands?"

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Shameful Canadians

Canadians are consistently rushing to remind anyone who will listen that some famous someone or other shares their heritage - Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Mike Myers, the guy who invented superman, the list goes on - yet for all of the Proud Canadians there are a strange sub category of famous people who we allow to pass under the Canadian radar in quiet shame. For your internet time wasting pleasure, here is my informal list of shameful Canadians:

1. Shameful Canadian Popstar: Shania Twain

Born in Windsor, Ontario, Shania has never impressed me much. What's with that video where she won't let anybody give her a ride in the desert? C'mon, I mean, who is she expecting to come by next? She's in the desert! The carbon miles wasted on all of those guys driving out to get her may make her single handedly responsible for the global warming crisis. Thanks Shania. Next we'll pick you up with your own series of Private jets that continuously grow in size and gas burning propensity until the Polar bears are all gone and it will be your fault. Also, she was responsible for launching Avril Lavigne (another bad Canadian)'s career. It was during some concert in the late 90s where Avril at the evil age of nine won the chance to sing onstage along with Shania while they ritualistically sleighed a monkey. Everyone present was wearing a black cloak and chanting.
There are many other Shameful Canadian pop stars, and I could make a whole other category for shameful Quebecois - that would be dominated by our friend Celine with Roch Voisine as her second in command.

2. Shameful Canadian Film maker: James Cameron

Who was cool when he made T1000 but then he had to become King of the World at sucking.

3. Shameful Canadian not even sure what she's famous for: Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson was born in Ladysmith, British Columbia and despite sucking for many many years has never succeeded at becoming an endearingly ironic figure. Think about this. George W Bush sent thousands of people to Iraq and I'd rather have him over for dinner.

4. Shameful Canadian Tycoon: Sir Conrad Black

I met Conrad Black once. I was working in an independent video store in Toronto and my good friend Mike was serving him. Conrad and Barbara took out ten rare videos, gave us a fake phone number and then never returned them. So to that, your Lordship, I say be you born in Montreal or no, I'd save Ferris before I'd ever save you. OH, and last I checked your late fee at Videoflicks is about 10,000 dollars and counting. Will Hollinger be paying for that?

5. Shameful Canadian I don't remember

Oh man, I actually am so shamed by this fifth one that I blocked out who they were - even though they inspired this post. Seriously, last night we were discussing someone shamefully, and I went "They're Canadian" and everyone quietly pitied me. But the memory of them now is completely gone, making my point perfectly - the best thing to do with shameful Canadians is to forget all about them.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The end of a class (era)

So yesterday was the last of my writing classes with the excellent Stephen Jeffries. The course went on for ten weeks, and weirdly enough I hadn't realized how positively it was affecting both my writing and the way I think about writing until the whole darned thing was over. I also hadn't realized that somewhere along the line the whole group had started to get really comfortable with each other. There were informal awards held and given out and I was awarded "Best Dressed Girl" which made me suitably pleased, but I think I owe that award to Bling Central and Antiquated Notions, my friends and style guides. (Also the ladies who have given me most of my nicest articles of clothing.)

I'm still procrastinating of course, but finding myself more inspired by the general idea of writing than ever before. I feel like there are all sorts of things I know I should be doing, that I've kind of absorbed like a sponge to water, and now it's just about making sure that I use those things when the opportunity comes up. I've also had a bit of a brainflash regarding the show we're devising for Forest Fringe, but more on that later.

The shop is quiet, the music from the cd player nearly sounds like a pleasant hum, and I just sort of want to dissolve into the day very slowly. I've got a lot of work to do - but at least now I feel like I know that, and like that's ever so slightly okay.

Just so everybody is clear on this...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Service Industry and the Finite Theory of Fun

I can't take credit for this - my old floormate in first year university, Jay, told me that in High School he wrote an essay on the Finite Theory of Fun. Basically, he suggested that there is a finite amount of fun to go around in the world - and that when I am having fun I am inadvertently taking it from someone else.

He said sometimes you can see the finite theory of fun - for example, if one person were to punch another person - and you were to use a fun barometer on this show in slow motion, you could see the person about to punch gaining fun through their fist and the person about to be punched losing fun, the fun is redistributing itself. Bruce Lee and a little imagination demonstrate the point quite well I think:

Not sure what that musical track is all about. But here we see Bruce steal fun in the tiny space of an inch. What a man!

Last night I was working serving drinks at a gallery opening, and the theory was working like this:

Energy - Freedom = Alcohol (-Fun + Fun)

Now I don't know much about the maths, but the -Fun is my fun in having expended the energy pouring the alchohol, but the +Fun is the fun of the people at the event provided by my energy and lack of (temporary) freedom. This equation can be applied to any job, from serving coffee to trying on clothing. Energy minus Freedom equals a neutral lack of fun on your part and gain of fun on the customer's part. However, this is occasionally subverted by rebel factors, like service people (think Pretty Woman) who are mean to the people they serve. Then the equation would go:

-Energy + Freedom + Rebellion of Social Mores = Bad service ( - Fun)

The clerk's laziness subverts the equation adding new factors to neutralize their fun (being lazy is neither fun nor unfun) and decrease the clients fun. VERY occasionally the equation looks like this:

Energy + Attraction x Service = Fun x 2

This is of course only true when the service person, for whatever reason (be it social or sexual) is attracted to the person they serve, which usually somewhat neutralizes the situation and can lead to friendship and other dynamics that defy the Finite theory of fun.

And in a perfect world on a perfect day of course the equation can always go this way:

Energy x Fun = Exponential Fun

This is a freak occurrence when service becomes fun and all members have fun - happens most often in fun service jobs like video store clerk on a slow but steady shift - or while working with a friend who makes the Energy social energy and decreases the loss of freedom - but the customer should never assume this to be the case. If you assume the person serving you is having fun and they are not, it will double their negative fun.

(I apologize to Jay and all of scientific endeavor for what has preceded these parentheses. Let us only hope that in the future an alien race does not log onto this post to try and make sense of the history of human mathematics. Because that would equal -Fun)

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Entirely Awesome

Two days ago a very exciting package arrived for me.

The package: 10 Cds sent to me by one Simon Borer of Toronto's country super band Entire Cities

The mission: Get them sold in Londontown.

Rough Trade hadn't heard their stuff yet and of course as soon as I brought in the record it took the manager a total of a minute and a half before he wanted many copies. Copies will also probably be for sale at lik+neon on sclater street.

So - for those looking for a new album that all your friends will think you are cool for owning first, check out Entire Cities Deep River in the UK. Since I am low on time today to blog, I'll play you out with this little number. Tamara Hope's voice kills me on this track:

I used to have a CBC iplayer embedded here but it was playing every time you logged in to the blog. Listen to Turbines on www.myspace.com/entirecities for the same effect. I will put the CBC iplayer back up once this entry can only be accessed in the blog archives for July.

Monday, 7 July 2008

All it takes is a little bit of perskeptive

Okay, admit it, in fact, if you don't want to admit it I can admit it first. Count to three, and the first person to say it wins. Okay, one, two, three - Say it -


Often. Is this the internet equivalent of doing something else to yourself? Should I cut off the offending hand that dared type my name into the search box? Surely what could be more of an expression of the ultimate vanity, greed (only seven hits? There have got to be more), envy, (Who is this brain surgeon who shares my name? Surely I'm more interesting than her. Who needs Doctors anyway?), sloth (I'll just check the next five pages instead of writing my dissertation), oh and probably wrath, lust, and that other one, the one I always forget, the one where you get to eat cake a lot - yes of course, gluttony, but let's not beat around the bush here lest that seven deadly sins joke get tiring (too late!):

Googling yourself is the new masturbation.

I want you to think about that.

But hey, it's okay, in a dark corner of your room, late at night, or bored during the day, after you've checked your email one too many times, you know, you do it, I do it - You do do it, right? Because anyway I do it. I mean, I do it if you do it. Or, so, uh, I mean I did it once, but like I had to for a CV, right, it's not like I, actually, anyway, I was just joking anyway. I can't believe you took me seriously. Gawd. Like someone else was there when I googled myself, it was at this sexy party and it was so rock star and.

(don't judge me. I've doubtless already brought you minutes of time wasting pleasure. But not that kind of pleasure. Wow, this just gets worse.)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Lorrya at comcast, is it more than replica watches you're reaching out for?

Is it just me or are SPAM letters becoming more touching all the time? Lorrya at comcast so kindly invited me to a party today via hotmail, which I would have gone to, had her invite included an address, an allusion to a real party, and not been interrupted so rudely by her seemingly tourettic adoration of fine replica watches. I nearly gave up on Lorrya, thinking she was a fairweather friend, interested only in wristwear and worse yet, getting my hopes up about false parties, until she began to quote such beautiful elegaically moving poetry that I reconsidered my judgement. Who could resist the charms of such a deeply patriotic and hospitable woman, even if she does seem uncannily interested in cheap rolexes and Swatch? Maybe I should listen to her advice. Maybe what she really means is that a watch is symbolic of the decay of social interaction via the internet. Time used to pass by slowly, reverently, like a grandfather clock. These days, hotmail ensures that our lives are very quickly offering us Replica Watches and that's about it. Thank you Lorrya, for deepening my day. I'll check out that website about penis enlargement too, although I don't think it will prove all that relevant. And when is that party again? Those young Russian ladies sounded nice.

Lorrya's Actual Email:

If you are going to attend to the party in the weekend, be sure to order one of the rrreplica-rolexs-watch in this store. You will feel the difference in the way how people look at you when they see you have a new rolexs-watch.So change your life without paying thousands of dollars to a real rolexs-watch. Take one for a couple hundred. In the weekend party you will understand what i mean :-) http://www.e-luxuryreplicasonline.com

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show
Raise your hands
From New York to Chicago
Raise your hands
From New Jersey to Tokyo
Raise your hands I -
I've been out on the front line
Where you'll go down if you waste time
They'll walk all over you
But I - I ain't here looking for surrender
I'll raise the flag if you'll defend her
It's up to you

Thursday, 3 July 2008

When Youtube is about more than watching the comedy crimes of our era

Think of Shakespeare in his day, competing with bear baiting, theatre people considered the lowest of the low in society (how much has that changed) and yet, theatre was gaining speed - it was breaking boundaries - when the drunken crowd in the pit looked up from pick-pocketing and phelandering they saw Hamlet. Several years after the invention of film and countless shots of a man slipping on a banana peel the surrealists cottoned on that celluloid was as valid a canvas as any. It's late at night as I try to make this comparison - but there's something happening and it's happening on youtube. What started as a way to spend fifteen seconds to three minutes laughing at some kid in Romania getting a pen cap stuck to his eyelid (to the best of my knowledge this video does not already exist) has slowly but surely begun to expand. Videos crop up and say "Free Video content does not need to mean mindless video content. This can make more of your experience of life rather than make you feel as though you are wasting it" Fragile beauty like this are all the more startling among the videos of romanian pen caps and remixed movie trailers. So before I keep going, Watch this.

Folka what

Yesterday regailed all spectators present with the goodness of Folkadot an excellent folk music night on the first Wednesday of every month at the Green Note in Camden. I was there for the tunes, and to see my dear friend the VW read poetry while on his visit from Edinburgh. Excited puppy that I am, I feel I should tell you that Ryan has recently landed a job as the Scottish Library's Reader in Residence, which is no surprise considering the goodness of his writing. There are many pages turned down at the corner in the collection of his work that he gave me, but this one is probably my favourite, his poem that stuck with me the most. It's called "Coins":

I watched her put on clothes and then
drifted back to sleep
with my shovel, dirt and old friends

It was not a nightmare,
just a thought,
I am digging graves
I am pulling coins from the eyes
of the dead.

I recognize old college roommates,
coffee shop girls, Sunday friends,
poets, the first vegetarian I ever met, the runner who quit the team,
the pot-bellied boy who helped me steal the beers.

I have buried them all.
I buy high profile stocks and bonds with the currency of
friends who are now dead to me.

When it started, I used to cry. My eyelids were the wings of flies.
I knew, floods would come, like history,
to erase us all.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Pour tous les Canadiens que j'ai parfois aimer

Happy day of the Canadianess. Aujourd'hui, a few um, hundred (coulda been hundred) years ago, out of the rocks emerged a country, covered in dew and wide eyed as the moon - and the country was... Canada? It could have been Canada. It could have been Canada sunbathing on the shores of sunny Lake Superior, when it said, Hey, you know what, now I'll be a country. Oh, I just got a pang of the guilt spirits when I remembered that the only reason we exist as we do is because some french and British people with arrows and nothing to lose went across an ocean and killed a lot of people and stole a lot of land. Not the proudest part of our history - and yet that's the whole first chapter. Downer. Anyway, here is the truth, according to Wikipedia, of our dear Day:

On June 20, 1868, then Governor General Lord Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to "celebrate the anniversary of the confederation."[5] However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act, 1867. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 – the golden anniversary of Confederation – and then none again for a further decade.[6]

This trend declined in the post-World War II era; beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Canada's centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism, and in Canada's maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added, and the fĂȘte became known as Festival Canada; after 1980 the Canadian government began to promote the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

The name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982, a move largely inspired by the adoption of the Canada Act, earlier in the year. However, many Canadians had already been informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day for a number of years before the official name change.[7]

So to revise my hyperbolized opening to this entry:

Aujourd'hui, a few (26) years ago, out of the rocks emerged not much except maybe a can of beer full of nice manners and good intentions, actually it more like washed up on the shores of a country that was already rocky enough, and someone had it in their minds to finally give a name to this beer drinking, fireworks filled, patriotic (but not too patriotic, because that's not our way) day. And then they made it official. Happiness for all ensued.

You're a dear old country, Canadia. Today I especially miss your rocky shores. In fact, for all your faults I love you to high heaven. And I rave about you often. Canada Day is partly to thank for that. Though perhaps not as much as this little government sponsored blast from the past. Enjoy: