Friday, July 28, 2006

My excellent New York friends The Wau Wau Sisters are in London to perform two gigs at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Go See!


















































Judy, Ben, Dan and Malcolm.



Competition. Guess which one of them is not an actor.

I bid farewell to New York and embark on a 1000 mile drive to Wisconsin.

Monday, July 24, 2006

This is Will:



We have been sleeping on Will's floor.

Will is an actor, but, controversially, does not work for the Apple Store.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In an attempt to escape the heatwave, I've gone to New York City, where the weather is much more British:

Whilst here I thought I'd do some warm-up gigs for my forthcoming Edinburgh run of 'Did Priya Pathak Ever Get Her Wallet Back?'. In an attempt to lure you into purchasing tickets from edfringe.com, here a preview of the start of the show:



Pretty compelling, eh?

Despite the wet weather, it's still pretty humid, and so my American hosts have been busy devising novel solutions to the problem of keeping cool. #1 The Frozen T-Shirt, as modelled by Dave, who is an actor and works for the Apple Store:

#2 Sitting in front of powerful fan in Katz' Deli:

Katz' Deli is where Meg Ryan's fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed:

All sorts of famous people have been there:















Evidence that Katz' Deli is a strategic element of the Military Industrial Complex:















Ken
is an actor, and works for the Apple Store too. He has the first Ipod ever released:















What's reassuring is that, even though Great Britain has lost much of it's standing in the world, young New York kids are still listening primarily to crap British music:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I travelled by train to Ipswich recently for the launch of the Pulse Festival 2006.

At Liverpool Street I walked to Coach A, at the front of the 10:30 'one' service to Norwich, to get an empty table with a a forward-facing window seat.

There's only one other person in the carriage.

Two Deutche Bank colleagues get on the train. The lady asks the man which seat he wants. He replies:


'I always sit with my back to the train. Ever since I was in that train crash.'

A chill goes through the carriage.


I smile at the man as if to say: 'Go on, tell us your story'.
He continued to expain to his colleague, possibly his diary secretary, that in 1986 ('you probably weren't alive!') he was at the rear of a train passing through Stafford which crashed on a crossing. The crossing had always given priority to trains from London, but one day they changed it, and they didn't tell the driver, and by the time he realised, it was too late.

The lady sitting opposite him had been flung into the table ('Where you're sitting') and a woman in the toilet came out covered in blood. Three carriages were on top of each other when he got off of the train.


It was quite funny how detatched the man seemed as he recounted his story. I suppose he's had twenty years to mull it over.


Interestingly, no one else in Coach A, myself included, changed seats. I guess we all felt a bit too self-conscious.


You have to balance the increased chance of death with the desire to have a nice view.


It's a bit like a Larry David anecdote I heard once:

"I did once try and stop a woman who was about to get hit by a car. I screamed out, 'Watch out!' And she said, 'Don't you tell me what to do!' I tried to save her life and she screamed at me. That's all it took, I got out of the 'nice' business at that point."


only a bit, though.


Here's a picture of the train crash:


































Further info about the accident can be found here.


I arrived at the venue in Ipswich to find my face plastered all over it:


















(Click to Enlarge)


It was mildly unsettling, a bit like in that episode of I'm Alan Partridge when Alan walks into his obsessive fan's living room to find it covered in pictures of himself.

On the plus side, they'd stretched my face vertically, which made me look rather svelte.

(a method used in the video
for "Promise of a New Day" by Paula Abdul which employed anamorphic lens compression to stretch images of her vertically on the screen, thereby making her appear taller and thinner.)

Let me assure you that such jiggery-pokery is not part of my technical rider. In fact I often supply venues with pictures of me looking quite ugly, so that when people come to the show they're impressed by how fit I look in comparison.

Tricks of the trade.


Here are two potentially conflicting videos pertaining to Belgian escalators:






They've got some pretty good Brutalist architecture in Brussels.



















It's a bit like Birmingham in the mid-nineties in that respect.

And in that respect only.

Go see it now before they knock it all down!




















I feel your scorn and I accept it.


I've been accumilating quite a collection of close-up insect photographs. This is a Belgian fly (Click to enlarge):
















In Brussels we visited the Musical Instrument Museum.

It is housed within a beautiful art-deco building:

























The museum holds one of the most interesting displays of musical instruments in the world. Visitors are provided with infrared headphones. Standing beside an instrument, you can hear music played by the instrument on the headphones:




Me and Luci went to Brussels and visited.. THE ATOMIUM!



It had just been refurbished and looked just as futuristic as strange as it must have done when it was built in 1958.

Here is a video of the restaurant in the uppermost sphere:



We also went to a Belgian themepark, but it was too expensive so we didn't go in. In the themepark's terms and conditions it said:

"We would like to point out that that the freedom of each of us is limited by respect for the freedom of others."


Which I thought was pretty existential for a themepark.

That's Belgium for you.


At the height of the bird-flu scare we threw caution to the wind and entered the bird-flu surveillance zone in Scotland to visit Luci's Friend Hannah, who's parents live in St. Andrews. Hannah lives in Nicaragua. She and her Nicaraguan freedom fighter boyfriend sung us a song:



The next day we went to the beach:



Also to a children's playground:



We listened to revolutionary records:




And talked politics late into the evening.

I noticed that Hannah's parents' biscuit tin had Che Guevara and Fidel Castro on it:



No one else had ever realised this, and, in all the excitement, red wine got spilled on my favourite tshirt:




There's no such thing as a free lunch.

These are the toilets of poncy restaurant Sketch in Conduit Steet, London.



I promise this is the last toilet related video. At least for a while.
I got this counterfeit Teletubby toy from a little chinese shop in Soho for about three quid (including batteries). It broke a couple of days after this video was taken, but with thanks to this blog, it's legend will burn on long after its candle ever did.

The 2nd Most Powerful Handdryer In The World

is at Gordon's Wine Bar.



Here is the most powerful:


I went to the gentlemen's toilet of The Hamilton Hall JD Wetherspoon's pub in Liverpool Street, London and this is what I found:



All I can assume is that the previous occupant had a nosebleed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Karaoke King


If there's one thing I've learnt from my brief stint in the music business, it's that all boyband managers secretly want to be in a boyband themselves.

But most are either too old, too ugly, or too untalented.

Here's a video to illustrate my point:



This footage is from 'Karaoke with Lucifire' in the Caberet Tent at Latitude Festival, last weekend in Suffolk.

It was a really great festival, perhaps a little undercapacity at times:



But I'm sure even the first Glastonbury wasn't crammed.

I did my new lecture 'Did Priya Pathak Ever Get Her Wallet Back?'

Monday, July 17, 2006

As bird flu hit the UK, we found a pelican in the park. I was reticent to get too close.

Never the bridemaid, always the bride.

Went to Luci's sister's wedding in Cambridge. Really rather unconventional in many ways.

But lovely nevertheless.
























It was Luci's job to sing the flower duet with her cousin.




My role was to make a little model of the groom to put on top of the cake.




Uncanny, if you ask me.