Blogging Works Best When You Actually Write Things – an Update

Who’d of thunk it, eh?

Many things have changed since I have last updated this page – a new job, a new theatre plan, 3 short plays and a sketch show pilot have been written, and I’ve started running.

Running is completely hellish, but I’ve been told it’s rewarding. I’m yet to see any reward from the running besides a fancy new set of gym kit. If anything, the running has left more of a broken man; I’m continuously sore, broke, and suddenly obsessed by getting some numbers to be slightly smaller numbers. I am fully aware that if I keep going with the exercise I will be healthier – but I really should cut out the rest of the crap out that I am desperately holding on to in a vain attempt to garner superficial happiness from things I eat – I’m looking at you Beer, bread, sugar, etc, etc….

So – let me run through the new things in a greater detail, mostly so that you have a rough idea what I’ve been wasting my life doing, but also so that I can actually see what the bloody hell my life has become.

The New Job – After 2 years with Fl*g*s I decided I was very sick of the top order of middle management acting like swinging dicks, and despite how much I loved the team I worked for and my line manager, the stunningly brilliant Nick Wood, I was offered a way out and had to take it. The way out? Comedy.

Don’t get excited, I’m not performing comedy for a living (although I have also started doing Improv classes which is amazing and I have completely fallen in love with), I’m working for a Production and Media company, Twist and Shout, in Leicester, selling their comedy training series – which are genuinely funny, even though they’re about such “fun” topics as compliance training and information security. Their a bunch a rather odd, creative people who make a very silly product, and they’ve let me join in the madness, which is nice. The owner and boss of the company is very eclectic and excitable – like a puppy that’s been fed all the E numbers under the sun – and watching him go is definitely an experience.

The New Theatre Plan – Ha, “plan”. A friend, the stupidly talented Haley Thornton, and I have “started” – read ‘talked about’ – Penny Gaff Theatre, and written three short plays just to see what we can do. One of them, which Haley had all but written already before we’d even met, has had rehearsed reading at the Arena Theatre and we’ve had amazingly positive feedback. People were laughing, giggling, and actually asking us to expand the 40 minute script into something full length, which is nice. Along with our other two fleshed out, one act plays, both lead by Hayley as she’s actually the writer and I just have ideas and occasionally add in jokes here and there, we’ve been getting a pilot episode for a radio sketch show written. It’s a tad too much like John Finnermore’s Souvenir Programme for my liking, and that can be easily rectified with some basic editing, but I’m happy with it and want to get it recorded and sent out to people to get some full feedback and see what we can get from it. It’s exciting times – if we can get our arses into gear.

That’s all the ‘things’ covered. Personally, what’s new in the world of Adam? Not a lot. Kyra’s moved in completely now, which is making my spacious one bed apartment seem very cramped, and we need to move somewhere bigger. I feel happier than I have for a while, and I can’t complain about that at all.

All things seem to be going well. So now I just wait for the inevitable fall.

 

Throw enough ideas and some stick

I sit here currently, watching a rerun of Louis Theroux’s weird weekends (one of his early ones meeting the right-wing American survivor nuts, like charles Ng and Leonard Lake but with less humour), and enjoying where my life is currently leading. I mean, where it’s going when you remove work and many other serious boring things.

Last time I gave an update I was in an ecstatic mood following 14/48 and bursting at the seams to get going with that. I was there, raring to go and chomping at the bit, all of the overused and tired cliches, desperate to find an outlook for my creativity and general immaturity. And I true to form, I waited and waited and nothing happened. Because that’s not how life works, you idiot.

But, I got up and threw ideas around and had chats with wonderful people, and all but one of my ideas fell flat. But throw enough ideas out and some will stick, and other people will come at you with ideas too. And, believe me, I threw out a crap tonne of ideas. However, the one I did have is developing nicely – a podcast. We’re not sure what it’ll be about, but we have everything else sorted, which might well be the wrong way round of doing it, but I’ve never done things properly.

And that’s not all, he said in the style of an annoying infomercial host, I have also kind of been invited to be part of a band, which I haven’t done in over 5 years. Only this time,I haven’t got access at all to my drum kit. That is residing, gathering dust, in Telford, over 2 hours away. But I can always find a way.

As I said, I’ve never done things properly.

Oh, and I’ve also been cast in a comedy play at the Leicester comedy Festival. Which is nothing if not brilliant. The cast is full of fantastic people, the script is a hilarious cross of python and the Goons, and I am so excited to get rehearsing for it. Plus, if it all goes to plan, it could well see itself going over to the Edinburgh Fringe if all is well.

So, from the end of the last blog to now things seemed to be going the correct way – at least on the creative side of things. But let’s not get into the rest of my life, which is a poo.

 

 

 

Theatre is the best medicine

Yeah, that’s right, laughter can go suck a dick because making theatre is by far and away the greatest form of medicine known to man. And I realised this past weekend just how much I had missed it, and more importantly missed the insane, wonderful, brilliant people that make it with you.

Now, as a forewarning, I have no doubt that the following blog post will be a rambling tale of nice words and feature inconsistent usage of the spelling of theatre. I blame the drugs that I don’t take and so really can’t blame for anything without making myself look suspicious.

First, the background (I recently learnt that the best writers make sure that people know far too much about themselves by adding in copious and unnecessary background information. I much prefer to add in superfluous sentences that just keep going without meaning or point. I like to think I’m an awful Douglas Adams. And it would make sense, saying as I am half of his middle name). I used to be rather large in Leicester University Theatre Society [LUT], and now, due to graduating, getting a real Adult job, and food, I am merely rather large. This has meant that my last foray into the world of performing was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, nearly a whole year and some months ago. As a swansong  performance, there are far worse ways to go, such as being set on fire, or going over a cliff in a white Jaguar. Fringe was a glorious moment, but one tinged with the sadness that this might well be it for doing acting and making people laugh. And then, at the end of our run, we packed up and I immediately tried to be an adult, thinking that was really what I wanted to be.

Whilst in Edinburgh, I worked with the very talented Jade, who after the festival introduced my to all her very talented and slightly mad friends, who occasionally get organise and do the very talented, slightly mad, and brilliant 14/48 Leicester, the fastest theatre festival in the world. Now for those of you who haven’t yet had the experience of a 14/48 festival, this is how it goes:

Day 0

8pm: A theme is plucked from a hat, and 7 writers must dream up a 10-15 play on that theme, and have it submitted by 8am. Around 3-5am the real mad stuff gets written and you get talking duvets conversing with sassy pillows. This actually got performed.

Day 1

8am: Writers hand in scripts and try to sleep if they haven’t gone completely doolally.

9am: 7 directors pick the 7 scripts at random.

9:45am: The Actors (read talent, just to keep our egos at the correct level of inflation) arrive, and the casts are picked at random for the 7 plays.

8:00pm: World premier performance of these 7 plays.

10:00pm: First shows end, new theme picked from a hat. The Writers start drinking coffee.

10:30pm: Closing night performances of these 7 plays. Clever, see, because you get opening night energy and closing night energy on the same night to hide how tired and dead inside you have become.

00:30am: Shows end. Drinking occurs.

“But Adam!” no one cries because this is really obvious, “that’s only 7/24, not 14/48?!” Good question man I made up to make this section even longer and more forced, they do it all again on the second day, only occasionally leading to hallucinations and jet lag.

I was thrilled to be invited to take part this year, and it was everything I hadn’t realised I was missing from Life. Performance, silliness, fun, and that terror of learning your lines, being in the correct spot, being dreadfully funny and also trying to bloody act when you had really forgotten how.

It was a large pile of stress and terror. And I loved it, completely and utterly. I will not forgot what I experienced doing 14/48, and I couldn’t be happier to have rekindled my love for this hobby. I was lucky enough to act in two very well written pieces, directed by two very competent and experimental directors, amongst a cast of far more talented people than I. We made them laugh, we made them cry, and I worked with friends and made some more with some brilliant people.

And it’s really pissed me off. Because now I want more.

So I’m going to do my damnedest to find it. Even if that means that I try writing stand up again, the adrenaline rush of getting back on stage, the terror when a line falls flat, the pure elation when you get the audience laugh, are all things I’m truly addicted to.

Theatre is the best medicine. It is my cure all. It’s love, hate, fear, and friendship, all in a split second.

Thank you 14/48, and thank you to the people that gave me the opportunity to take part.  See you next time.

My Week – From North Korea to John Wayne Gacy

I am fairly used to having odd weeks – when you are an Unwin you find that the weird is very common and needs embracing, otherwise it kills you in hilariously embarrassing ways. But this week was something different, and because I’m a very kind and giving chap, I thought I’d let you know why it was so bizarre.

Monday: Weirdness Rating – 3

Nothing of real note occurred on Monday, outside or work that is. Not too out of the ordinary, just lots of little silly things happening added to a general sense of “what sweet fresh hell is this?” which isn’t too strange when you work in a call centre. They don’t call it a call centre, of course, but it is. Obviously. We’re trapped in a big open plan room, sat in cubicles, answering calls. Or, a call centre if you will. Only ours is a horribly faded leaf green and beige.

Tuesday: Weirdness Rating – 7

Tuesday was completely normal, after 11:30. Before then, Life did everything it could think of to conspire against me. Firstly, my alarm didn’t go off. This isn’t at all odd, just annoying. Then without a doubt the weird highlight of the day occurred, and it can fuck right off. I have my keys looped on a Fallout 3 lanyard, because I like people to know that I’m both organised and a twat.

I left my apartment, my lanyard happily flapping outside my coat pocket. Seeing an opportunity to fuck up my life, it decided to grab hold of the door handle, lurching my keys from my pocket and swinging them around my closing door and locking them on the inside. Leaving me stood, open mouthed in my porch, unable to progress forward and unable to get back into my house. I called my door a git wizard and summoned a locksmith. 3 hours, a locksmith, and £102.86 later, I was seriously contemplating throwing in the towel and just staying home till a passing murderer came in to put me out of my misery. Luckily though, the weirdness would only get worse later in the week.

Wednesday: Weirdness Rating – 1

Nah it was fine. Ignore this one.

Thursday: Weirdness Rating – 9

It isn’t every day that you get personally insulted by the State News of a modern dictatorship. It’s even more confusing when they only half insult you, and then just send a scary giggling sound to your instagram account.

North Korea aren’t known for taking criticism well, although now I think of it I’d love to see the North Korean version of Question Time or Points of View. However, when they posted a picture on Instagram of their “new” deisel locomotive that is in no way a French loco from the early ’80s that they bought in an attempt to look like they’re modernising , I felt like it was only right to point out the likeness to the 30 year old piece of crap French chugger.

I quickly got a reply simply saying “[My] beard looks awfully like… I couldn’t say gnihihihih”. This from the official account of North Korea Today. That would be like the BBC calling you a shitstain for tweeting them that Andrew Marr looks like the FA Cup.

What made this positively perplexing and an excuse to use unnecessary alliteration is their choice of insult, or rather lack of insult. They sort of stop half way though and then typed the weirdest representation of laughing since the second Matrix movie.

Because it was North Korea, I shall not be opening my door to any hungry looking Asians for a while for fear of disappearing.

Rest of the Week: Weirdness Rating – 3

The following days were relatively okay, except for bad news about my Grandma’s health, but the oddness seemed to die down. Except for Saturday night when I was poked in the back in town by a man dressed a John Wayne Gacy asking if I had any balloons.

I’m sad to say I had no balloons. I also really hope that he wasn’t a copycat murderer, or I’ll have one weird ass anecdote to tell in the future.