Sunday, 31 January 2010
Billy Elliot the musical has played an important part in my life, it was the first thing I ever saw on stage where I cried, it was the first story where parts of it resounded true to my life, and so it was the first time I realised the deep power that art can have on you. Billy Elliot is about so many things, the power of dreams and being inspired; the challenge of frustration and the burning desire within each of us to achieve. This is tied into such a beautiful and yet tragic story of the Durham Minors. I first saw this musical in 2005, and since then I have seen it every year, and not just in this country! I saw it in Sydney Australia! It was amazing to see the musical translate to the other end of the world. Yes, the importance of the minors strike was perhaps a little lost, but the true power of the story – the boy who wanted to dance, still digested itself into the audience like a footprint in newly fallen snow, where the feeling is familiar and yet still excitingly new.
Every year three new Billy Elliot’s take to the stage and begin a journey that, for them must be incredible. They are living the very dream they are conveying, which unlike any other musical means the performance really does come straight from the heart.
You don’t need to want to dance for the story to affect you. Deep within all of us, is a dream of us being who we were born to be. The song Electricity hits a deep chord with me and perhaps is the moment where the very words collide with such a powerful melody and crash into the audience:
“It’s a bit like being angry, it’s a bit like being scared….. and then I feel a change like a burning deep inside, something bursting me wide open, impossible to hide, and suddenly I’m flying, flying like the stars, like electricity… sparks inside of me, and I’m free, I’m free”
Has anyone asked you to describe what happens when you do something that you love; really love? When everything in your life disappears and you become whole in a such a way it is like you have nothing else in your life that makes you feel so complete. Those moments are like our electricity.
We should never stop believing in those dreams, and never fail to enjoy every single moment when we can, for a second do what it is we love to do. And so back to the arts in general. I love them, and I will always love what it can do! It can inspire you and it can transform lives. Art can make you look at life in way you never have before, and it can take you places beyond your wildest dreams.
Friday, 29 January 2010
I undoubtedly will get responses to this accusing me of sounding like I have a slightly pince-nez view of the modern world, and to write to young people in such a way is superfluous. But I have words to fill and a deadline to meet, and so I ponder further.
I have just finished reading a book by Adam Shand called “Big Shots”. It describes what occurred during the recent gangland wars in the city of Melbourne, where I spent nearly three months last year. In the prologue he writes: “Those intending to embark on a career in the underworld would do well to sit down and watch an old James Cagney movie “The Roaring Twenties”. The moral is not that crime doesn’t pay – it pays well, extraordinary well if you get it right – but that eventually death takes it whack”.
On the surface of this almost precocious warning lies something quite outstanding. Of course this coming from a book on gangland wars makes it harder to connect to, but it is the very same principle that for example Harry Potter is based on, that Spooks and Desperate Housewives, 24, House etc all these epic pieces of modern television drama rock quite easily on a base of good over evil and choice over talent.
Very often we are placed in situations, which demand a decision of catch 22, the proverbial phrase where one bad situation lessons a potentially devastating one.
We are just out of a recession, we are now officially poor yet to cut the deficit, money needs to be found elsewhere, so something has to go, to quit, and so imaginably to suffer. The problem with these 22 moments is that they need a 24 person.
Yes President Palmer and Jack Bauer, even under torture and pressure still have the courage to make a decision, even if it proves to be the wrong one. Thus bringing back into the forecourt the idea that so often choice wins over talent. I have a bomb I know will detonate, do I explode it in a hospital where there are over 1000 patients, or in a children’s nursery where there are 15 infants? Death will occur in both cases and I have sixty seconds to decide.
Yet deep within most of is that 24 character. Thankfully we are not placed in situations where other lives are at stake, but there does come such a time for all of us where our choices will define us, when beauty no longer cuts it like power and pride, both of which in us as humans so often fail to rise to anything more then a froth. But we need to be waves. Power and pride have for so long been beaten and thrown to us as corrupt assets in a human. Yet humility and a coy soul have seemingly led us to be an aggressive nation where we replace insecurity with a lack of motivation and self-limitation with violence. “Power Corrupts” said Winston Churchill. It shouldn’t any more; we should be empowered as young people more then ever. Power corrupts when we mistake it for an immediate pathway to self-perfection. When we expect ourselves to be perfect, and it goes wrong it is one thousand times more catastrophic. But the time is now where young people must cling to every opportunity they have to make decisions for themselves and begin to see potential within. We all have to realise that failure comes to visit us once in a while. But failure isn’t defeat!
Even Jack Bauer gets it wrong, and like Jack we need that scene where we look in the mirror and say clearly that we have got it wrong. And with that, we must go back to the enormous blank canvas being painted with our lives.
When we have the courage to face our problems and make decisions in spite of consequences that may be difficult, we are renewed with a certain creative energy. Fear, shame and guilt often make us stay in isolation. It is by showing our wounds, by allowing ourselves to touch and be touched by the sometimes-forceful hand of life itself, that we are challenged yet graced with some contentment.
Now is the time to play hero, just be ready to think what happens when the bomb is in your hands.
Sunday, 28 June 2009
POSTAL workers have staged a protest in Westminster as the row grows over plans to sell off 30 per cent of RoyalMail. There would have been more of them at the rally but most of them turned up late, got lost or went to the wrong address.
Gordon Brown wants to privatise the RoyalMail and sell them to a Dutch company. What a load of nonsense. Royal mail say the reason for their losses are that so many people now send emails. yes of course that's what it is. I mean I fondly remember the days when offers to enlarge your penis had a stamp on them. YES Royal Mail are losing millions, but I'd have thought the thousands of P45s being sent out every day would mean they're raking it in. RoyalMail are having to do this as they have £9billion missing from the pension fund. I look forward to the episode of Postman Pat where he's reduced to eating Jess the cat for breakfast.
A recent survey has shown that a lot of people still don't understand what's happened with the banking crisis. Here's a simplified version of what's happened. Imagine if you gave your mate a tenner and asked them to look after it for a week, then in a week's time you ask your mate for the tenner back, but instead he tells you he's bet it on Britain to win Eurovision, so instead he craps in your pocket and retires to Barbados.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
British Airways staff are being asked to work for a month without pay. Have you seen those air stewardesses? Max Factor will go bankrupt. You thought that air stewardess hated you before? You can kiss that cushion goodbye. You'd be as well taking a pot noodle on flights. At least for that month the only 'bird strikes' on the runway will be malnourished staff beating them to death with clubs.
A cruise ship in the Caribbean has been quarantined after three people on board were found to have swine flu. There's worse places to find yourself quarantined than on a cruise ship, like anywhere else that's not a cruise ship.
I can't be the only one that suspects what's happened is someone has waited until the last day of their holiday and then started sneezing? This has led to many taking uneccessary time away from work, and records being take by the police who found out that a man dressed as his dead mother for six years to claim her state pension. Everyone was shocked. Especially his father. I'm so surprised no-one got at all suspicious, after all, British pensioners never last six years on a state pension.And finally, they found oil under Mohammed Al Fayed's house. He took the oil company to court, and got £1000 in compensation. How did they ever think they would be able to keep it from him? He's obsessed with things happening in tunnels.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Last week the BNP won two seats in the European elections. They haven't really thought this through. Now they'll be complaining about foreigners in Brussels - where they are foreigners. They'll have to start putting dogs**t through their own letter boxes.
The North of England is now represented in Europe by fascists, which should be interesting. I can't wait to see Manchester United turn up to the Champions League in brown shirts and jackboots.With half the team 'missing'.
The BNP promise they will "behave like proper parliamentarians". They've already submitted invoices for a giant swastika-shaped chandelier. Their leader Nick Griffin had to abandon a press conference after he was pelted by eggs. It should have been bricks.
According to a poll this week, Labour would do better at the next general election if they replaced Gordon Brown with Alan Johnson.
It also found that their fortunes would be improved if Brown was replaced by Jack Straw, David Miliband, Ed Balls or backbencher Jon Cruddas... Joanna Lumley, Esther Rantzen, Howard from the Halifax adverts, Paul Daniels, (but not Debbie McGee), or the former Motherwell stalwart John Philliben.
Indeed the survey finds that Brown's only chance of winning involves the Tories replacing David Cameron with the reanimated corpse of Hitler. Apparently the Tories would then fail to gain an overall majority, but still do quite well up North.
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Susan Boyle had a breakdown after the final of Britain's Got Talent and landed in The Priory. She's amazing. It takes most singers years before they end up there. At this rate, she'll be getting an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award by August. It seems Susan gets upset when she's parted from her cat Pebbles. Which is why she usually wears it on her head.
One of her neighbours said: "It's time for her to come home and get back to some normality." Isn't she's already depressed enough as it is? How is going back to West Lothian supposed to help her? Even the road signs going in say: "Welcome to West Lothian. Please remove your belt and laces." It's the only place in Britain where people list Samaritans in their friends and family phone calls.
The police were called to Susan Boyle's hotel room after she started acting strangely. What they didn't realise was that she was acting normally for someone from West Lothian.
Taking her out of West Lothian was just asking for trouble. It's like taking King Kong from the jungle to New York, but sticking him in a dress. After the show, Susan was admitted to The Priory in London. Doctors did think of treating her at a clinic nearer home, but there's only so much you can do for depression with leeches and a vinegar poultice.
Some people have suggested that people who are emotionally fragile should be stopped from going on Britain's Got Talent but if they did that there'd be no one to take part. So it's a great idea.
Friday, 5 June 2009
Official biographers of Kim Jong-il claim that his birth was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens. Either it was his birth or the beginning of the Teletubbies.
I don't want to scaremonger but, a few weeks ago, every newspaper had at least four pages per day on Swine Flu panic when only eight people had the virus in this country. North Korea has threatened nuclear war and yet, in most papers, the most you'll hear about it is in a fun wordsearch puzzle on page 34. Can you find the words Kim Jong-il, radiation poisoning and armageddon?
Kim Jong-il has claimed that any sanctions against North Korea would be like "throwing a rotten egg at a rock". Which is actually one of Heston Blumenthal's nuclear holocaust recipes alongside "tenderising a dog with a brick" and "making your dead neighbour into nuggets with a shovel".
North Korea has few computers, almost no internet access outside the capital Pyongyang and teaches students about the web by showing them photocopied papers of monitor displays. Amazing really, but still too technical for many of the students at The University of the Highlands and Islands. They have the skull of a ram with the letters www scrawled into it with a sharp stick.
I love the idea of teaching the internet using bits of paper. I'm guessing they do email with an envelope. And Facebook? Pretty sure that's going to be a book.With a face drawn on it.