Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ok, Ok, maybe I was a wee bitty hasty with the billboard sized ARGH! yesterday.

We had another rehearsal tonight and worked on Act 2. It's coming together. We did a run from start to finish with only the occasional break for techie stuff and it ran well. I think the thing is actually going to work. Towards the end of the evening I was beginning to enjoy myself and starting to have fun, trying to do some acting as opposed to merely doing 'Remembering Of Words' which is what I was desperately failing to do yesterday. I wish we had a few more days. But we don't; tomorrow is it.

There is an old theatrical tradition I just made up that says that the greatness of a first night is in direct inverse proprtion to the crapness of a dress rehearsal. If this holds true then judging by this evening's dress rehearsal we are going to be up for Tonies, Baftas, Oliviers, Ralphs, Freds and induction into the Panto Hall of Fame...

There is only one word in English that can sum up this evening. It's 34 letters long and consists of the letters A R G and H in variable quantities. (Though to get the true flavour of the evening reading it in 12 foot high lettering would just about do it.)

I blanked on stage not once - but twice! Total and utter 'what the fuck do I say now?' blank. I know the lines. They are in my head. I wrote the damn things! It's just that we have had so little real rehearsal time on this show spread over such a long time that, yes I know my lines when I'm sitting down or lying in bed, but stand me up and have people standing around me in places different to where I imagined them standing and I'm utterly lost. We have all day tomorrow to bash this thing into my head- and a great deal of Thursday.

And now the last few paragraphs rewritten for the ticket buying population of Lochaber and any potential employers who may be reading:

The Rehearsal went swimmingly. Everyone was on top form. There were a couple of easily solved technical glitches but we ad-libbed out of them brilliantly. We had a few post rehearsal drinkipos in the Eau De Nile Room (I think 'The Green Room' sounds so common, don't you?) and I said to Sir Ralph. "Jolly little number isn't it?" Unfortunatly he thought I was talking about Pinky Warburton who was had just passed the door. As Sir Ralph and he had had a bit of a spat the day before Sir Ralph though I was making a 'certain kind of remark' and dashed his Pimms into my face before bursting into tears. We laughed about it afterwards but I could tell he was upset.

Oh God where is this going? No idea. Bed sounds like an idea. I usually find that's a good place to go when I start typing rubbish.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

There is something fundamentaly weird with my life at the moment - or even fundaweirdly mental.

I spent most of this evening glueing the words to Donald Where's your Troosers onto the back of a roll of wallpaper. (It's a Panto thing.)

Not a long entry tonight. I'm just switching off the pooter and going to bed having set the mouse traps for the night. It's freezing here and that always heralds a sudden influx of the little buggers. Merriol and Sue bought some (useless) 'humane' traps while I was away - and didn't catch a sodding thing.

Now I'm back the real traps have come out. The ones that kill the little shits, then post their heads back to their grieving relatives with a stiff note.

Grrrr! I get all Rambo and macho when it comes to rodents in my house. I'm normaly a pretty placid and gentle soul but rodents chewing my wiring and pooing on my worksurfaces? Out comes the Bambi hunter in me. Current bait is slices of Twix Bars, it comes highly recomended as a bait by a fellow mousehunter. I will let you know how it works... that reminds me, I need to file down the trigger mechanism on the number 2 trap it's just not sensative enough...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

6 hour rehearsal / costume fittings / photo shoot for local newspapers and radio etc. today. Not total chaos but edging on it from time to time. We have 3 days to get this thing together. I feel like Mickey Rooney putting on a show in the barn - Oh Christ no! Not Mickey Rooney! If I have to feel like someone putting on a show in a hurry, let it be James Cagney as Chester Kent in Footlight Parade!

Charlie Bowers:
Is there, is there anything I can do?

Chester Kent:
Yeah. See that window over there?

Charlie Bowers:

Chester Kent:
Take a running jump and I think you can make it.

Footlight Parade is, in my humble opinion, one of the best movies of the 20th century. The final reels are just pure cinema. 3 enormously lavish Busby Berkeley numbers bang bang bang one after the other. It's just the best musical ever. Stop reading this and go watch it. It conveys the sort of desperate panic I'm feeling about all of this a lot better than I can. (Great editing too)

How did I get onto this?

I dunno. I'm tired. 3 days to go and we have only just started on the scenery...

After the rehearsal I asked Ilona (director/producer/half of comedy double-act and remover of most of the obvious knob jokes from the script) how she thought it was going.

"On a scale from 'O mi god' to 'We are so utterly screwed'", I said "Where exactly are we?"
"We're fine." She said,"It's always like this; don't you remember the last time?"

No I don't. I don't remember it being this close to the wire at all.

And I do want whatever medication she is on because it is obviously working...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How Are We Going To Stop Daddy Singing?

I have an audition for the TIE job in March.

I have to sing.

I forgot to put a stamp on the application letter.

I am not going to get the job.

Dikke Whittingtone, A Historical Overview.

(An extract from a conversation on the South Bank Show between Hieronymus Fartwrangler, Emeritus Professor of Medeaval Post-modernist Irony at the University of the Highlands in Onich, and Melvyn Bragg )

Prof. Fartwrangler:
"Class is part of the rubicon of reality," says Lyotard Cameron suggesting, without any meaning, that the works of Baldwin, Pitt et al are postmodern. It could be said therefore that if dialectic precapitalist theory holds, we have to choose between Lyotardist narrative and constructive capitalism which states, like Satre:"Consciousness is fundamentally a legal fiction," However, according to Prinn, it is not so much consciousness that is fundamentally a legal fiction, but rather the defining characteristic, and some would say the futility, of consciousness. The example of Batailleist `powerful communication' depicted in Ballachulish's Dick Whittington is also evident in the act of tying one's own shoe laces in a public place, although in a more mytho-poetical sense. And, in a sense, It leads to the implication that we have to choose between cultural capitalism and precapitalist desituationism."

Melvyn Bragg:
Oh No it isn't!

Prof. Fartwrangler:
Oh yes it is!

Melvyn Bragg:
Oh No it isn't!

Prof. Fartwrangler:
Oh yes it is! And Neo-cartusian pre-raphelistism says I'm right!

Melvyn Bragg:
Well, we don't believe you, do we boys and girls?

Germain Greer, Mark Lawson, and Brian Sewell:
No! Booo! I don't like him, he's nasty! etc.

Melvyn Bragg:
Thank you Professor Fartwrangler - it's nice to see
our ALL our tax money isn't being wasted... Goodnight.

That's it! I'm off to bed; my brain just can't cope with any more of this ...

Prof. Fartwrangler gratefully acknowledges the help of's Postmodernist Generator in formulating some of his theories.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I sang.

Today I called round to Paul's and recorded the songs for the Panto. I had tried to convince the powers that be (Ilona) to let me mime the things as I am such a shite singer. We agreed on this compromise: I can sing along with my pre-recorded self.

This evening was spent trying to get everyone's surnames correct on the programme before I mail it off to Debs who has (foolish woman) agreed to do all the layout and typography and that.

Done that.


I'm running out of displacement activities.

If I don't find any more very soon I'm going to have to learn my lines.

Only a week to go!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It's Hard To Belly Dance On One Leg

This time in two weeks time the Panto will be over and done with. This is a scary thought as we have no scenery, only a few finished costumes, and hardly anyone knows all their lines yet. Even worse - I now have to sing...

How does this happen?

Every year I say:

"I'm not singing. I refuse to sing. There is no way on God's green earth are you going to get me to sing..."

Every time I end up singing.

This time I get to murder four Elvis songs in cold blood in front of witnesses. Sorry Elvis.

This morning I took a long look at the arse end of a Renault Megane regarded by most people as the ugliest arse end of a car of this, or any other century. The megane is almost passable from the front but walk round the back of it and looks like someone did origami with the original drawings before they went into production. It's awful. Ugly Ugly Ugly.

As I was looking at this thing (the one I was looking at had a strange angular two-tone paint job which made it look even more awful than the one in this picture) it occurred to me that the recent riots and unrest in Paris were nothing to do with social deprevation. What was the major target for the rioters? Cars, that's what. They firebombed every vehicle they could find - and if they were all Meganes I don't blame them.

"To 'ell wiz ze social deprevation it eez ze ugly ferking cars we canno stand no more! A bas les voitures de merde Francais*!"

  • Current Listening to Random Breakbeat streaming from here

*Berlingos not included.

I'm home! I'm home! I'm home!

At long last the tour is finished and I can get on with something aproaching real life. If dressing up as a Giant Rat and Fat Elvis counts as real life - but more of that later.

The last few days of the tour was a bit of a bore. The whole thing was a week too long and ended up with me mooching around Inverness, kicking my heels, trying not to spend money. The last show was in Grantown on Spey. Nice little town about an hour and a half from here.

It took me 5 hours to get back home.

First we had to take the hire car back to Inverness (which was, naturaly enough, in the other direction) then I had a long wait for my bus in Inverness, a long trip down the Great Glen, then another long wait for the next bus - which was late etc etc. All of this on the coldest night of the year so far. I was not a happy bunny when I got home.

A very cold, not very happy bunny.

I got to the panto rehearsal about 2 hours after everyone else and didn't get to do a lot but I did try on the Fat Elvis costume Ilona bought for the act 2 opening. It's a cheap, thin nylon, white jump suit with bits of gold trim and a rubber forehead/wig thing. It doesn't look like a lot for what we paid for it. There aren't any mirrors in the hall so I didn't get to see the full effect but, judging from everyone's reaction when I walked into the room, the suit may just turn out to have been worth the money.

I have never had people laughing so hard they are literaly rolling around on the floor just by walking into a room before.

(Actually, now I come to think of it, I haven't really had people rolling around on the floor for real by doing anything before. Not really rolling around on the floor, not lying on the floor in uncontrolable, tears and snot everywhere, laugh till it hurts type rolling around on the floor I mean. People happily text and type LOL and ROTF* when they mean they found something slightly amusing so it was a bit alarming to see people ROTFing in the flesh. I just hope I never see anyone "piss themselves laughing".)

It is now gone 2am and I am going to phone Pheobe and wish her a Happy Birthday and go to bed.

Most of this evening having been spent trying to find the piece of paper I last saw two weeks ago, over there somewhere ------> It's got all the details of who has done what and when and whyfor the Panto. I need it for the program. When I wasn't digging through huge heaps of bills and things that need urgent attention 3 weeks ago I was fixing Firefox after I broke it by crashing the pooter immediatly after telling it it wasn't Firefox at all but that it was Internet Explorer 6 (I forget why). After that it didn't launch at all. A lot of twatting about later it came down to editing one line in a .js file in a folder I'd never seen before. (Doesn't it always?)

  • Currently Listening to: Random CD purchaces from the last 2 weeks of mooching around charity shops with nothing to do. Including 1940s Texas Swing music, Japanese drumming and various Q magazine coverdiscs

  • Currently Reading: The Blind Assasin by Margaret Atwood

* Laughing Out Loud and Rolling On The Floor (as if I really needed to explain...)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Argh! That Tree is Looking at Me!

Too pooped to Blog.

Up till late last night at Nicky and Phil’s wedding dance in the Fort, a long rehearsal for the Panto this afternoon / evening followed by another attempt to apply for another job…

Off on the last leg of the tour tomorrow, so more next week.

  • Currently Listening to: Non-Stop Streaming Techno Trance Tosh from

  • Currently Reading: Some Collection of Ancient Awful SF (the name of which escapes me for the moment). “Eat Ray! You Beatelgusian pond slime!” snarled square jawed Dirk, his nostril quivering with righteous anger, as he blasted the hideous slug-thing to atoms. ‘
Just a couple of photos of Bonfire Night:


One-woman, ground-based, aeronautical display team Morag Calder does impressive fly-by with smoke

Darwin Award attempt...

Me whacking the base of a 12 year out of date, 15,000 candlepower signal flare just to see what happened. (What happened was Merriol took this picture with a flash the exact moment the hammer hit and scared the crap out of me.)

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Back in the bosom (and other bits) of my family at last. I am getting so bored with sitting in bus stations, and on buses and in bus stations again…

It is late I’m tired, so not a huge long entry. Highlights of the week included arriving in Gairloch. A town a long way from anywhere (apart from a few other, equally remote-from-anywherelse, villages).

It’s a long way to Gairloch from wherever the hell we were were during the day. (My short-term memory is shot to hell; I have no idea where I was yesterday, let alone the day before that. It has all become one great long blur, get up, do the show, drive to another school, do the show, drive to another town, find the B&B, get some sleep, get up, do the show…etc.) So, after a long night time drive along windy single-track roads that meandered all over the place through a landscape houching with suicidal deer just waiting to wander across the road as we hurtled towards them. We finally arrived at the Highland Lodge (or whatever it was called) only to find the place was shut. A couple of lights on a couple of cars outside but everything was locked and bolted. We pounded we hollered we walked round and found other doors and pounded and hollered at them. Nothing. Before long someone mentioned The Shining and that was it. We were off. We got back in the car and drove towards the only lights we could see. Suddenly the whole episode started looking more and more like the opening sequence of every other cheap bad Horror film you have ever seen. We eventually found our way after a few false turns and backing down dark tree lined dirt tracks to find an inn. As we drew up our headlights picked out a shape, a tall blurry outline off in the near distance. A motionless figure beneath a tree.
“Is that a person?” someone asked.
“No, it’s dummy!”
“No, it’s a real person!”

The figure moved.

All four of us screamed like 12-year-old girls.

The hotel chef flicked his cigarette end into the dark and went back into the inn.

This afternoon, being Friday, things got extremely stupid.

There is a part of the workshop in which Emma plays a girl who has “Unrealistic” ambitions to be a vet. I play her Dad. Then, in a sort of bastardised forum theatre, the kids make suggestions as to how she should change her behaviour and attitude so her plans become more “realistic”. This afternoon the kids were full of TFIF and Chris ended up sadistically lumbering Emma with “Becoming a Jedi Knight” as a possible way to becoming a vet.
She entered going doing light sabre noises, and I came in on my knees doing the worst Yoda Impression the world has ever seen. For the next few minutes, Emma and I tried not to fall into giggling heaps but, as usual, I lost.

I am just so crap at Improv. I laugh at my own jokes and just lose the plot.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yet again I am sitting in Inverness Library trying to resist the temptation to smash the keyboard into a million pieces. I mean what is the f*cking point of having a public access internet system that doesn't allow you to access even your own email without putting up pissy little "forbidden" pages all over the place. Surely there should be some way of having an "I am an adult I promise not to be offended by words like bugger and bollocks let me in you bunch of censoring c*nts!"

The asterixes are there because it won't even allow you to send naughty words. Jesus! Grow up people!

OK Rant over.

Another week of fun and games over, and another 2 hour wait in Inverness before the bus. The wind is howling around scarily. There are things banging and crashing about on the library roof. Doesn't sound very safe. The ride over is going to be wild.

More when I get home, whenever that will be cos it looks like I’ll have to sit around in Ft William for an hour waiting for the next bus.

Oh an actor's life for me...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Ok I give up, I can't find it.

I'm still working on the CV and a couple of years ago I did a bit on a kid's TV show. The one and only time I have been paid to act on British television. I need a few details and I've been searching Google for the last hour or so and I can't find what the show was called or who produced it! This is so annoying.

If I don't find it soon I will just have to go downstairs and watch the bloody thing!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Displacement Behaviour

Displacement Behaviour.

I am supposed to be working on my CV (resume). There is a job I want apply for, another TIE acting job and they want a CV. Never done a CV before and, well, I’m not really doing it now either…

After the big firework display in the quarry on Friday, our display in the schoolyard was less than impressive. A few months ago, I got given a whole pile of stuff from someone who was moving out of the village and was fully aware of my inability to say “No!” when asked the question:

“I am throwing this out. Do you want it?”

So, in addition to all the tools and weird chunks of “this may come in useful one day” stuff, I found a carrier bag with a bundle of Smoke Bombs, Signal Flares, and Distress Flares which had come off his boat.
“Yipee!” said Morag. “Let’s set them off now!” (Which made me wonder is this the sort of thing you really want to hear from your doctor? “Cool! Out of date explosives. Let’s set them off!”).

Anyway, we decided that Saturday night was going to be the best night to do this given that the sky was going to be full of fireworks anyway and the chances of us accidentally sparking off an air sea rescue with a 15,000 candlepower parachute flare were therefore at a minimum. Even then, I succumbed to an attack of the wussiness and phoned the police to warn them to ignore any reports of boats in distress. Especially if these boats in distress were reported to be inland, or in the middle of the village…

So there we were reading the instructions for these things by torchlight… “Aha! I see… Pull this off!...Then twist that… Line up the arrows and strike the base firmly… “
(How the hell anyone was supposed to work out how to do all that in the dark, on a sinking ship, at sea is beyond me - but I guess you learn fast under such circumstances)

Nothing happened.

“What was that last bit again?”
“Strike the base firmly…”
“I wonder how firmly ‘firmly’ is?... I’ll go get a hammer…”

I am delivering the third mighty whack to the base of this thing (I am holding it in my left hand and hitting the bottom of it with a hammer) when it occurs to me that I am heading towards a potential Darwin Award at speed. Anyway, nothing happened and it didn’t stop me doing exactly the same thing with 3 others. None of the flares went off but we did have great fun with the smoke.

  • Current listening: Philip Glass’ Dancepieces and the 90mph winds ripping the leaves and smaller branches off the trees outside…

  • Current Reading: Still reading Kinflicks. I manage about 3 pages then fall asleep. It’s not boring, I’m just knackered.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another week on the road out of the way.

Monday was a day of re-rehearsal. Trying to remember what the hell it was we were doing 3 weeks ago. We got there pretty quickly. Then, it was back out to the schools...

The low point of the week for me was on Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday, I should write all this down as I go along not try to remember it days later). During one of the shows Emma and I both woke up in the middle of a scene knowing that one of us had just said something and one of us should now say something else but neither of us knew what the hell it was supposed to be.

When I say "woke up" I don't mean that literally but after 4 weeks of doing the show we sometimes, inevitably, slip into autopilot and forget to do any acting. It's a weird experience doing a performance and not really being aware that you are doing it. What's even weirder is when someone says "You were good" when you have just sleepwalked your way through it. (Brian Eno famously decided it was time to quit Roxy Music when he realised he was thinking about his laundry halfway through a show) but (as normal) I am digressing...

Where was I?

Oh yes,

Emma and I were stood there staring at each other doing our now world famous Educationally Challenged Goldfish impersonations while time went all weird and slow around us. The eighty or so people staring at us ceased to exist. The room we were standing in ceased to exist. All thoughts of anything other than "What do I do?????" ceased to exist. All I could see was Emma's face looking at me with well-disguised terror on her face. The same, I hope well-disguised, terror that I was feeling.

One of us had to do something but what?

If I was making a film of that moment - he said digressing yet again, I would have used a "Push in Zoom out" shot (aka the "Jaws Shot") at this point. It's the shot that gets that strange distended background thing going on. It's usualy used, as in Jaws, for a moment of horrified realisation. A character sits or slumps, his eyes widen, a look of sudden revelation spreads across his face and suddenly the background behind him does this THING, it moves outwards from his head in a very unatural way - you can't quite work out what just happened, but you know it is very unsettling.

Anyway, after about 20 of so minutes of helpless piscatorial gasping Emma had the wit to grab the front of my shirt and drag me off the stage. This was how the scene is supposed to end. We had lost a couple of good jokes but at least we knew where we were. Thanks Emma.

Talking to Lorna and Chris afterwards it turned out that the whole time-dilated 20 minutes actually only lasted about 2 seconds in real time.

I'm spending a lot of time in strange toilets around the country at the moment. (I think I should rephrase that last sentence but it's late so I won't.)

In a pub in Inverness I saw a notice on the door to the men's toilet:

Please Do Not Write on the Walls

This is a Family Pub

Children Can Read!

Inside the toilet of this children-friendly family pub is a vending machine selling (and I kid you not) not only condoms in various flavours but vibrators, inflatable sheep "with orifice" (This is Scotland after all) and handcuffs - amongst other delights.

Some not very joined-up thinking going on there I think.

I got off the bus in Ballachulish just in time to meet the entire family walking down to the local fireworks display held, for the first time, in the quarry. It was terrific. Loved it. Holly was dressed up, and wrapped up, and had a balaclava, and earmuffs. The first time she saw a fireworks display she screamed and shook and was terrified. She is still is very wary of them and doesn't like the bangs at all so all the wrapping up and padding was more of a comfort and security thing that any pretection against what is a reletivly mild night.

Daisy, on the other hand, gurgled pointed and clapped all the way through it. She loved every second of it. This was her first firework display. I still can't figure out how they are so different.

When we got home Holly had a lolly for being so brave and good at the display. Daisy saw the lolly and wanted it too - but instead of screaming and shouting, or trying to grab it she carefully and deliberatly dressed herself up in Holly's, now discarded, street clothes and, I guess, became Holly and was therefore entitled to have the lolly. Only when she had Holly's coat and boots on did she try to get the lolly off her big sister (who by then, just to confuse things, was wearing Daisy's cast off outer coat and was "Being Daisy") .

We dug out another lolly.

18 months old and she's into method acting...

And so to bed...

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

eXTReMe Tracker