Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Nadine Dorries: A Few Words

So, Nadine. Here we are again. After you attempted to pass the atrocity that can only be described as a repulsively sexist bill introducing "just say no" sex education to girls while boys get away scot-free - because we all know getting pregnant is entirely the woman's fault (those bloody sluts) - you're back to your old abortion high jinks. Because the last fifty odd years of feminist sexual campaigning really was just a bunch of silly saucy women trying to convince womankind to kill their children and indulge in witchcraft or something else woefully liberal. It's not like they were merely demanding human rights or the opportunity to be worth more than their wombs. It's a perfectly justified fear that all pregnant women are going to start aborting their babies because by law they are allowed to which, if we're thinking logically, is practically encouragement.

Or is it, Nadine? Your latest bright idea is to ban pro-choice charities like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service or Marie Stopes from offering counselling to pregnant women because you believe they are not able to advise women without bias due to their financial dependency on abortions. You think that charities such as these seek to lead women into abortions for their own selfish gains. Nadine, can you hear yourself? As Zoe Williams aptly states in The Guardian, you are using classically liberal anti-capitalist rhetoric in the vain attempt to convince people that charities are capable of persuading women to abort their children for their own financial gains. I know that you are offensively ignorant but I'm sure it's not news to you that charities are non-profit - that's a charity by definition. Your hideous untruths are not only hugely disrespectful to such groups' exceptional expertise and the priceless help they offer to thousands of struggling females but such wild misinformation is also irreparably harmful to their prestige and the public's perception of them, resulting in a lack of faith in those who really are out to protect us. We don't trust MPs - I cannot fathom why - and now apparently we can't even trust charities. And you wonder why we riot.

Have you ever had an abortion, Nadine? Have you ever been given advice by any of these charities? If such charities were giving women unequally weighted advice or misinforming them, do you not think it would have been flagged up by now? Of course you wouldn't assume such a thing: women seeking abortions are probably unable to decipher such a slant, as foolish and 'vulnerable' as they are. In your eyes, such misled women's eyes probably glaze over with all the pro-abortion propaganda and blindly and in comatose state sign an 'X' on the irreversible contract of death. Or something equally sensational and morbid. But perhaps there are one or two sensible women out there who have had an abortion - maybe even other female MPs? - who you could have consulted on the issue before bringing forward such a shamefully uneducated motion? According to both Marie Stopes and the BPAS, you have not made any attempt at contacting them and you have not once stepped into one of their atheist femi-Nazi brainwashing labs, commonly known as 'clinics'. I hate to say it Nadine but I really don't know if you're the type of woman who should be making such life-altering decisions on behalf of 31 million women in the UK. You just haven't done your research and quite frankly, that is just sloppy.

I really cannot comprehend how or why you have found yourself to be in a position of power and trust, Nadine. You logic is that by removing pro-choice charity advice and care from womens' options, the country will see a decline in abortion figures. If less women are getting abortions but the only variable is the advice, that would surely indicate that there are a number of women keeping children from a lack of expert counselling. The motion did not appear to have any strategy or contingency plan: the charities would be barred but there would be offered no immediate replacement. Perhaps after several weeks of personal research and waiting lists, a hypothetical pregnant woman would have found her own counsellor and would have come to the decision that an abortion is the appropriate decision. But of course, you want to change the legal limit to 22 weeks, or 20 if you're lucky, so maybe by that time it will be too late. Is that the definition of pro-life? The baby lives but the mother's life choice has been ultimately taken from her because she has remained confused, marooned and ignorant to her options? I'm all for 'life', personally; I certainly cherish mine. It would appear however that you do not share my sentiments. You are willing to see me make an uniformed decision that would potentially ruin it, because of your own ungrounded, under-researched, crude, dense, unscientific, irrational and vacuous inexperience. Not to mention your religious leanings. I think that is classed as negligence, Nadine.

The press have been all over this issue in a far more eloquent though no less emotive fashion, peruse their thoughts:

Pro-Choice leanings
Anti-Abortion leanings
... and has David Cameron made a correct decision? GOOD GRIEF. Looks like I'll have to eat my hat.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Post Ed Blues

Hello again, she says in morose tones. I am home after the most marvellous three week Scottish adventure and feeling somewhat flat. After 22 days of early mornings, late nights, mingling with attractive actors ("mingling with" = stalking and giggling over), daily shows, countless warm ups and the occasional funky chicken, it is rather bizarre to plop back into a schedule which holds very little. Wake up, usually mid-morning. Read Lolita a bit - this is usually the highlight of my day. Chat on the phone a bit. Eat whatever tinned good I may happen upon in my larder (yes, my ridiculously old fashioned house has a larder). Do a bit of SUSU stuff. Email a few people. Re-live the glory days, sniffing haggis and crying into my novelty Loch Ness Monster toy. Drink tea. You know the drill. It's exhausting but equally dull. I'm actually looking forward to going back to lectures, merely to give my brain something else to dwell upon. How awful.

In typical and frustrating fashion, we've had a whole host of positive reviews now that our Edinburgh show is all over. Each time I read one - re-reading it eight or so times - my chest gets all fluttery and my arms go all goose-pimply and I feel like bursting with pride and joy and nostalgia. It's rather emotionally draining, I must say. You see, we weren't expecting good reviews. Of course I knew the play was bloody brill but I co-wrote and directed the damned thing so that's to be taken for granted. Student productions seem to so infrequently succeed at the Fringe however, bigger budgets, bigger production teams, better preparation and the like always ousting us from recognition or recommendation. We slip below public eyesight and float in medium appreciation, enjoyed by those who see it but ultimately seen by too few. The latter bore true for us again this time, with our audiences dropping to as few as 7. Though this is the average audience size and is not to be sniffed at, when you're playing to a 150 capacity crowd it seems like an appalling meagre amount, most of the laughs provided by myself and the producers to fill the painful silences. If only such reviews had come out sooner! Alas, it wasn't to be, but I am still incredibly overjoyed to receive such praise for our lovely wee spectacle. Better late than never, eh?
To be horribly self-indulgent and smug, I shall post the review links here so you can all revel in our success with us. Or something. And my mother will appreciate the consolidation if nothing else.
... and of course, I must chuck in a crap one for good measure - my favourite bit is when she calls the characters "faintly irritating". That made me chuckle.
Farewell Edinburgh, I shall attempt to stop obsessing now. See you next year hopefully, if my brother's wedding doesn't collide too terribly. Bloody brothers scheduling weddings to coincide with the Fringe... what madness.

For now though, life is hopefully getting a kick start as I've just managed to blag myself a job. How exciting! I had my first shift at The Crown last night and cripes, was I exhausted by the end of it. I've never worked in a pub before and was left to my own devices within half an hour, having never pulled a pint before in the life. It was disastrous, as you can imagine. I tried to do it like how they do it on television but like a lot of things on television, it wasn't that straightforward. An hour in, I was being hailed as a Boddington's pro. I don't know what Boddington's is or what makes me a pro but I shan't ask questions. Another shift tonight then off to Bali's 21st tomorrow with a trip to Notting Hill carnival on Monday to see me through the weekend. I'm terribly excited. Onwards!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Week Two (and three) up North

It is a rare sunny Sunday in Edinburgh and we have found ourselves coming to the end of week two of our Scottish stint. In just seven days' time we'll be mourning the loss of our play, having put it to bed for the last time the previous day. And we'll definitely be hungover.

It's been another mad week, performing every day to crowds ranging from seven to thirty odd (just to give an indication of the success of such numbers, the average Fringe audience is 4) and every single show has been a good'un. Nobody has walked out before the end (phew) and on their appropriate exit, we've had only positive comments. Not that they'd tell us they hated it, but you know, such comments were offered so we shall take them gratefully and say thank you very much. Flyering has been somewhat gnarly as the driving rain makes giving away pieces of paper to wandering people almost impossible: the flyers are sodden and there aren't any wanderers for miles anyway, only locals grumbling to work with their faces impenetrable to our hopeful approaches. Spirits have been less than high, it's safe to say.

(19.08.11) Bloody poor show, Green. After intending to blog several times a week during the Fringe, as something resembling a diary, I have blogged but once and it's our final show tomorrow. Nightmare. Life is just so busy here, it's unreal. I was even offered a job while here and due to business completely neglected to accept it. Massive oops. I have also become completely desensitized to celebrity sightings and apparently I am now unable to even spot a star when he is sitting right next to me on a cushion in a theatre of ten people, watching a one man physical dramatisation of Bombay life. I shall explain and perhaps you can help: tall, sandy-haired male in mid to late 50s, suited with expensive watch was in the queue for said show I was attending and I thought the man next to me was having a small fit, he was so excited by this apparently rather famous man. People were taking sly pictures of him from across the road (I say sly - they were squealing and jumping and pointing), his autograph was asked for twice and the chap on the door did some kind of absurd bow to him as he walked through the door. But who the hell is he?! I couldn't for the life of me think, so asked a gentleman standing next to me. He was Italian, completely misconstrued my frantic whisper in his ear and gave me his card. Leonardo, a 'visual artist'. So I am none the wiser, though I have a saucy Italian backup plan if it all goes tits up with Bali. Winner. I suppose I will never know who the handsome stranger was - I didn't have the breasts (balls equivalent) to ask him who he was, that would have been highly embarrassing and utterly preposterous.

Last show tomorrow! Madness. I can't believe 16 shows have passed me by. And I still laugh every time. We have had two four star reviews, two (cough cough) two (cough cough) star reviews, and yesterday we were named The New Current's Best Original Student Production 2011 and awarded 5 stars. Bloody hell! Their review is somewhat rushed but it's rather flattering - I will struggle to get through the door of this internet cafe at this rate - so well worth a gander.

This has been a terrible update, apologies to my two readers. Harri, Mother, I am sorry for such poor content. Better update to come. Promise. For now though, I am off to The Hot Mikado, the jazz years... or some shit. Goodnight.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Burgeoning Love for the ‘Burgh

So here we are again, back in the copse of culture that is the Scottish capital. I so sorely missed the frivolous and giddy lifestyle that I lived for all of three glorious weeks last August: my return is sweet and I feel as though I have flown the nest but arrived resolutely back home. The disinfected gummy smell of Cowgate, our trusty hostel, submerged me with dormant memories on entering but I have had little time to reflect, fresh mental entries attempting to lay claim to the Edinburgh-shaped cavity in my mind. In Edinburgh I long to be a writer, a director, an actor, a playwright, a producer, a poet, a comedian, a mime, an artist, a star. And for a few brief moments (seventeen performances to be exact, plus the minutes I find myself mid-shmooze), I am able to almost replicate such an existence, the Fringe nonexclusive to amateur fantasizers. For this I owe it everything.

The play officially began its run yesterday: it went tremendously. After a somewhat jolted start – our dress rehearsal the previous day was going swimmingly until a freak health and safety check at the venue forced us into a pregnant pause which lasted a good ten minutes – the cast have found their theatrical feet once more and make me prouder than a new mum. Well, maybe not that much but so proud it makes me inarticulately swear under my breath in an outward pant of “fuuuuuuuck me”. Luckily there were several seats between myself and our underage audience, to whom I merely offered an excitable grin. It was returned. Sixteen punters witnessed the popping of our festival cherry, the number decreasing to twelve after a wailing child and her entourage fled just twenty minutes in. She was definitely too young to see our “suitable for all ages” spectacle. Oops. I think it was the moment where Sophia emits a skin-crawling shriek at being swallowed by a cursed dress that pushed her over the edge, unsurprisingly. During the manic get-in where we have to set up our entire show in a meagre and ungenerous five minutes, Emma, our lovely producer, rushed over to tell me that we were to expect a reviewer. Our first nerve-wrecking, knee-trembling show. Yikes, was I shitting a proverbial brick. In the moments I wasn’t in rapture at our sensational tales – if I do say so myself – I was intently staring at the side of the guy’ head, willing him to laugh and smile and think to himself “this is excellent”. And laugh and smile and think to himself “this is excellent” he did! The latter was confirmed post-play when he shared such sentiments with myself and Emma, to our utter glee. Of course, he may have been lying and could have hated it, his hoots of laughter actually derisive and mocking. But I shall remain optimistic. A positive three star review from the renowned Three Weeks would go down an absolute treat right about now. Baited breath and all that.

The Fringe is in full swing finally and in only two days I have seen something astonishing and something atrocious. Ah, the ups and downs! I love it. The something astonishing was A Clockwork Orange at C +1, a fleshy and indigestible horror show that appalled me beyond repair. My jaw remained on the floor as I watched a smutty sensual homosexual banquet of limbs, sweat and wide eyes, all to a soundtrack of twenty-first century indie anthems. It was flawless. I'd have given it 5* even before they all took their shirts off. In light of such a terrific performance, we stuck around to see the same troupe's production of Titus Andronicus. Our expectations were high, to say the least and they certainly didn't let us down. The only thing that did however was the slightly embarrassing dagger incident that occurred twenty minutes before the end when the misplaced implement accidentally stabbed its possessor and we were all evacuated to let in a crew of paramedics. What a faux pas. The atrocious was Pleasance Dome's Fresher: The Musical, a clich├ęd and vapid account of first year university life. Being a fresher just a year ago I expected the script to be rammed with in-jokes that I would relate to and would cringe to collectively with my peers, but no such jokes occurred. All I was presented with were unbelievably two-dimensional characters and uninteresting tunes which I cannot now remember a single one of. Perhaps my personal fresher experience was anomalous but, as Holden Caulfield would say, I found the whole thing horribly corny. It killed me, it did. 

(cont. 7.8.11) The next few days see us meandering to shows including Some Small Love Story at C Eca (tissues at the ready), Potted Potter, Scary Gorgeous (cannot wait) and I'll probably attempt to see Titus again - I know how it ends but I hate to leave a show unfinished. As for the Grinburrell crew, it's our fourth show today. Wish us luck!