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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Amanda’s Royal Rejection by Richard Maidley...

Amanda’s Royal Rejection by Richard Maidley
on the Chris Evan’s showSHOCK REVELATION!

Only now can my bleaders (blogreaders) judge for themselves whether my topless poetry deserved to be suppressed by Stepfordian celebrity presenter Richard Maidley on BBC Radio 2.

(Only now because I didn’t have a blog then)

While standing in for irresponsibly absent Radio 2 D.J. Chris Evans in April last year, Richard Maidely suffered a mad fit of artistic zeal. Mr Judy put out a call for creativity of a poetic nature to celebrate the impending nuptials of Willandkate. Bleaders may note that there was no such call in relation to sporty royal later in the year!

Friends who listen to Radio 2 (I’m not judgemental) sent off a four-liner of mine, hardly even a poem just a little itty bitty ditty. Time elapsed as it has a habit of doing and I was accosted in the local library. Had I left my memory stick in the computer again? No. Had they located the DVD of the Japanese version of Macbeth (Throne of Blood)? No. Hey ho. Had hordes of righteously indignant salt-of-the-earth types stormed the building with the literary equivalent of pitchforks demanding that the library authorities stock multiple copies of my books? Strangely - no. The librarian had heard my name in reference to the call for royal nuptial verse. My name and location had been referred to by a giggling Maidley who declared that he liked the poem (high praise indeed!) and found it very funny. He may have said it was the best thing he’d ever read bar nothing or that could also just be in my fantasies. However – and this is the part bleaders may find shocking – he would not, could not read it out on air. WHY? I hear you cry / blog / tweet (actually I’ve never seen a tweet) / e-mail / facebook / carrier pigeon / smoke signal…

Why indeed!

To this day no plausible explanation has been forthcoming. The short piece did not contain sex or violence. O.K. it mentions sex but there is no violence. There is absolutely no bad language. There is no horror or gore or sustained threat. There are no disturbing images – well maybe one. It’s definitely no more than a P.G.

I most humbly lay the piece before my bleaders now. Like me, the piece is without a title. It had one but I didn’t like it so it was decapitated. Here is the body of the piece.

When royals have sex we pay
In deference to the constitution
What an ingenious genteel form
Of privilege prostitution

Next week’s blog will be a blog flog,

“…she sold her accidentally preserved virginity…”

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Please Get a Bigger T.V.

I walked past a house window last week that was filled with a television screen. Probably the T.V. was on the far wall but the quality of modern domestic electric equipment is such that if the T.V. was just a tad larger and turned up fully I could sit on the wall opposite this house and watch it. Then for maybe 10 minutes every month, I would get a free reminder of why I’ve not reverted to telly in 12 years.

Everything is getting SO BIG – like the wheelie suitcases – the ones the size of coffins that are the scourge of railway stations. I’ve never asked but something tells me the people trundling these behemoths behind them, are not actually leaving home for the decade that the size of their luggage suggests.

Once on the train these passengers cannot be parted from their caskets-on-wheels so the rest of us are now investing in mountaineering gear and abseiling paraphernalia in order to get to the loo. WHAT THE HELL IS IN THEM? I didn’t know hair straighteners got that big…

Sorry – back to televisions.

According to Donny Osmond - and he should know - there are 76 million comments about T.V. on social media each week – made while the programmes are airing. He didn’t say who counted. However, what this means is that some people – quite a lot of people – can sit in the presence of these monstrosities and still have brain function enough to connect nerve activity to thumb movement. Now that’s impressive.

Programming and general content, format, style has altered so much in the last dozen years that I have developed Z.T.T (zero telly tolerance). If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment. Keep away from television for a year or even six months then try sitting through a soap opera or a reality T.V. show and see if your insides don’t rupture.

At a friend’s house I was exposed to 3 minutes of X Factor and found myself pressed into the back of the sofa as my whole being revolted against it. Any longer and I think green smoke would have erupted from my nose and ears. I also had the experience of T.V. ‘possession’. Several months ago I viewed Come Dine With Me at my mum’s. Some mad bitch who looked like me, sounded like me and moved like me started uttering comments like,

“That’s the third chicken dish for heaven’s sake…”
“Well… if that’s her idea of an appropriate pudding to serve after risotto!”
“Tut, tut, tut, cold plates!”

I don’t get it - with the exception of  bid T.V. and other shopping shit, which I would highly recommend for the sheer unadulterated comedy value, no seriously – bid T.V. is funnier than any comedy act I’ve seen in recent years, guaranteed to have you – or at least me – rolling off the sofa gasping for breath and screaming for more.

I’ve no scientific basis for what I am about to say but I’ll say it anyway – I’m like that. Staring at the space behind the T.V. for half an hour each day would be more likely to add something to most people’s lives than the (average) 37 hours per week T.V. viewing that people apparently do. The bigger and more domineering the set, the harder it must be for any other sensory intrusion, positive or negative. The ridiculous number of home-improvement shows in the scheduling is surely ironic. Frankly, once a T.V. set reaches a certain size, I’d challenge anyone to notice if the remaining walls were smeared with camel dung.

Last Saturday I spent half an evening at the Star & Shadow in Newcastle, a fab indie venue – with wild, wonderful drummers, a frantic fabulous guitarist, and comedy Marge (!). I then dashed over to Jibba Jabba open mic at The Trent (making the most of a rare Saturday night out). Here, though I didn’t catch it all, there was improvisation, comedy, singer/songwriter music, poetry, and sketch monologue. The showcase performer of the night was a Yorkshire based poet, erudite, interesting, delicious to listen to (even with a hint of a brummie accent!). Not everything would be everyone’s cuppa. Some of the experimental stuff verged on chaotic but the least of it, the most inexperienced performer, the most nervous act, the rawest newcomer was worth a night in front of X Factor any day of the week and this was just one small indie venue on one night in one city.

There is so much creativity out there and telly is so all-consuming, how come the two keep missing each other?

My nightmare scenario is that one day I am on a train and someone with one of those trolleys takes out a monster T.V. plugs it into the carriage socket and I’m blasted into a parallel universe by Strictly Come Dine With Coronation Factor On Ice.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Mistaken for Jordan AGAIN!

Amanda Baker, Comedy Performance Poet says she’s dazed and confused (no change there then) as another mix-up occurs.

Ms Baker’s conflicted personal identity can be clearly demonstrated by the fact that, in just one life time, she met with Nelson Mandela (Glasgow October 1993) but also deliberately obtained Aled Jones’ autograph (Morpeth April  2012). Amanda met Nelson Mandela when he toured Britain after his release. She was then a member of Newcastle City Council Race Equality sub-committee. It was a sub-committee of the main committee - Generally-Don’t-Be-an-Arse. There IS no explanation for the autograph. She is currently the subject of an X-file. Scully and Mulder believe Ms Baker to be the genetically spliced offspring of Desmond Dekker, Pam Ayres and a fried egg sandwich.

Courageously putting aside her personal challenges, Amanda will be performing at the Star & Shadow (Stepney Bank Byker, Newcastle) this Saturday 15th Sept as part of the evening’s entertainment following the N.E. Feminist Gathering events. Don’t worry, she will only be doing a 15 minute set and there is other good stuff on…

To celebrate the N.E.F.G event Amanda hopes to be outing a new comedy piece ‘Magazine Misery’

If I get my PC back from the morgue - Next week’s blog may be entitled
Please Get a Bigger T.V.
and when I found out how this blog thing actually works I hope to make it more interactive...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dinosaurs Cured my Performance Angst – it’s true!

Inconsequentiality can be strangely uplifting. I put it to you with the greatest respect that a grasp of personal insignificance may be liberating. More than that, it could be the answer to those whose ludicrous self confidence went down the pan with their random youth. Are you someone who finds yourself gripped by the urge to express yourself creatively but discovers you are not fortified with an ego that would make Attila the Hun seem shy?  Appreciating the utter unimportance of your existence, the sheer nothingness of yourself, the absolute no-point-to-you essence of who/what you are may be the answer. No really - hear me out.

I have form when it comes to cringe-worthy scenarios. I am no stranger to please-let-the-ground-swallow-me-up situations. Having made a total arse of myself on more occasions than I care to mention (and I won’t catalogue them all as this is a blog not a thesis) I feel that my theorem deserves a hearing. For the sake of intellectual rigor – and not just to make you smirk – here are a few examples.

Earlier this year I fell on my face at Northern Stage in Newcastle at a high profile event called ‘Meet the Promoters’. Desperate-for-a-gig critters like me were given 3 minutes to impress a setting full of the key holders to most of the decent venues in the N.E. Mounting the stage from the front meant that as I tumbled forwards – not only did I suffer the ignominy of making it clear I couldn’t get on a stage gracefully – I had my rear end to the audience at quite close quarters. I gave national literary treasure, Harold Pinter, a new first name at The Lamplight Arts Centre in front of people who would notice his first name isn’t Allan. I’ve had to excuse myself mid performance when a programme was running late as I was about to miss the last bus home and I didn’t have taxi fare. In 2010 on the Saturday before the elections, I was walking through Alnwick prior to performing on the experimental People’s Plinth. At a BNP stall were three individuals dressed to resemble humans so obviously I said a few words to them as I passed. Standing on the plinth in the cold, wet, almost empty market place I realised that they were in my line of vision – they were in effect – my audience! In a hotel in Morpeth I once took part in a surreal performance in the round with some Folk types (and they are weirder than poets) while small muscle-bound men in tiny lycra knickers and makeup wandered through the performance area. There was a wrestling match taking place in the adjacent room to raucous applause. I’ve fumbled lines, forgotten lines, muddled characters, realised after leaving the stage that something about my person wasn’t where it should have been. It’s really quite an extensive list but I’ll stop there. The thing is IT DOESN’T MATTER and I learnt this from dinosaurs.

The first dinosaurs were around during the Triassic period when the earth was a single land mass, Pangaea – 220 million years ago. Coelophysis was one of those early ones. So let’s just say that there was a coelophysis who got the urge to scamper about in a meaningful way for her own creative elevation and to entertain other Triassic weirdies. We wont call it dancing because this is an analogy not sentimental anthropomorphism… so anyway – the coelophysis – lets call her Annie – is put off her prancing because she worries she’ll fall or make a Triassic twit of herself by drooling at the wrong moment or rushing off suddenly, mid prance, to claim her share of some nearby carrion or she gets cross with some dung beetles then finds out they are her audience. So she decides it’s all too much and doesn’t do her thing any more. But what is the worst that can happen? And if it does happen – so what? Annie is not only dead she is extinct. The dinosaurs who knew her are dead and extinct as are the dinosaurs who knew them. She doesn’t even exist as a genetic memory. Her lot were succeeded by the dinosaurs of the Jurassic and they were replaced by the leathery bods of the Cretaceous. And you know what – they are all dead and extinct and have been for the past 65 million years. So ok – if you want to hijack my analogy you may conclude, what is the point of anything. But you are just being silly and Nihilistic. Dinosaurs were around for unimaginable lengths of time and even they weren’t the first creatures on our planet. They are not around now because a bit of rock bumped into the earth - apparently. We’ve been around for a measly few thousand years and – let’s face it – we are actively and effectively working towards our own destruction. As a species we are unlikely to enjoy dino-longevity. So – I suppose what I am saying is – if you want to do it get on with it and don’t be held back by any sense that it matters.