It’s in his Kiss (shoop shoop)

•January 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Cher is being a dick in that song! “Does he love me, I wanna know, how can I tell if he loves me so?” she asks, pleading with her friends for help. Then each time they offer help and try to answer, she barks back at them “OOH NOOOO THAT’S NOT THE WAY!” and then proceeds to, smugly with great volume, show off that the she knew the answer all along!

“If you wanna know, if he loves you so it’s in his kiss”

YOU WERE THE ONE ASKING, CHER! NOT THEM! I don’t show up at your house asking you how to make an umbrella and then when you answer I go “SHUT THE FUCK UP THIS IS HOW!” and then make you say “ooh yes” every few minutes while I complain at you for not listening. Of course they’re not listening to your lunatic ramblings!

The fuck are you playing at, Cher?! Nobody is impressed!

Mr. Clever

•January 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I recently had a short play I wrote on at the Bush Theatre, and while I was waiting for the show to come down though, I took a book out of the library. It’s called Mr. Clever by Roger Hargreaves.

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In this book, Mr. Clever is the cleverest man in the world, and he lives in Clevertown where everything is very clever. But one day he accidentally wanders away from Clevertown, where he meets many new people, and they all have questions.

“Mr. Clever, why am I so short?” Asks Mr. Small. “Mr. Clever, why am I so hungry?” Asks Mr. Jelly. Mr. Clever doesn’t know! He doesn’t know the answers!

Mr. Clever undergoes an existential crisis, and begins to doubt how clever he really is. Is his whole life a lie? What does he truly know about himself?

In the climactic scene, Mr. Clever is so distracted by his self doubt that he forgets where he lives, and the other characters all laugh at him.

AND THEN THE BOOK JUST ENDS! They just leave him there! No happy ending, no lesson in personal growth. No “he learns he is still clever but that it’s not good to be smug” or anything like that. They just laugh at him for being thick and then it’s over.

Tough book.

The inscription reads “To Jimmy, I thought you might like this book because you are clever at everything. Love Jasmine.”

Has Jasmine read this book? Jimmy is going to freak out when he reads it! What is she trying to say? That he’s not as clever as he thinks? That people are secretly laughing at him?!

Fuck her, Jimmy! She doesn’t know what she’s talking about! You’re doing fine!

To that woman in Camden who bought me chicken noodles (shouting back, everyday sexism)

•June 20, 2013 • 3 Comments

Here’s a specific one for you

To the guy asleep in the park wearing a plastic subway bag like a boxing glove,
I’m sorry.

It was us who took your empty coke can,
filled it from the fountain and placed it
like gyroscopes or jenga on the flat of your forehead.

I wasn’t around to watch you wake up and spill it,
but I’m sorry for how much I would have laughed.

To the dog who walked past  us,
I’m sorry I said the line on your head made you look like a shit zebra
(she called you a wank badger, which is better, but she can apologise for herself).

To the boy playing with his friend, he was in fucking bushes! Couldn’t you see his feet?
To the girl watching the boy, your shoes were untied.
And to the wobbly paving stone I used to see-saw on years ago,
I know that was you! And fuck you for getting fixed!

To the two women who got wolf whistled by that guy who announced he wanted to
“dip his wet in you both”.
I’m sorry that I thought you shouldn’t have left.
I’m sorry that I just thought you should have laughed at him,
or thrown something,
or taught bees to hate the sound of his voice.

But then the woman who bought me chicken noodles told me what it’s like.
That it polices her sometimes.
It decides where she can go at what time.
And that when she’s out in town and a guy walks up to her…

And here’s the thing, I’m still trying to flirt with her.
I’m that totally inappropriate guy,
I haven’t given up.

I said “you must feel like you’re watching dice walk a tightrope,
hoping he’ll be worth talking to but needing a double six.”
And she said “No.”

I said “you must feel like you’re playing musical chairs
with all the nearby women and
just praying it won’t stop during your favourite bit of monster mash.
‘I don’t want to sit down yet. Let some other girl sit down,
I’m doing the fucking monster mash!”
And she said “No.”

And I said “then how does it make you feel.”
And she said “frightened…”

And so to the woman who bought me chicken noodles,
and sat with me in the park, and made fun of that shit dog and those dickhead children
I’m sorry that I saw you and wandered over
I had no idea,
I’d never even considered that I could be frightening.

You were on your own,
and you looked bored,
and I had an hour to kill,
and I thought it would be fun,
and I didn’t think that I could be frightening,
I didn’t think
and I’ve never thought,
and worst of all,
I might not think again.

Because it was fun.
It was fun when you threw that ball
to try to make the dog land on the coke can balance man.
It was fun, watching you remember that “Holy shit, short circuit!”
And yes, I’m now really worried
that you bought me chicken noodles because you were frightened of me,
but more than that, I just really hope you had a good time.

I could tell you that I wasn’t trying to pick you up,
that I wasn’t trying to “dip my wet in”
but I don’t have to.

The reason this isn’t a love story is that
you shouldn’t have to care what my intentions were,
you shouldn’t have to care whether or not I’m just talking,
You shouldn’t have to care.

I want to say that most people aren’t a threat.
And I want to say that trusting people is good.
That there’s fun to be had and that you’re in control,
that you are the don,
and that you don’t have to care whether I mean what they say or not.

But I’m not sure I can say that.

Because I’ll never know what it’s like, really.
I join in with these feminist conversations,
they’re important to me, and they hurt, they do.
What men like that do to women like you makes me absolutely crazy.
But I also have to acknowledge that I’m a man.
And I might even be that kind of man.

I can’t really swim in it.

So I’m sorry that I can’t know what it’s like,
and I hate not knowing that.

But I’m trying.

So I’ll just say thanks.

And I’m not sorry, that I got to know you.

The Umbrella Challenge: Part 2 – Construction

•December 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Over the course of this experiment I have learned many things. You will always forget something critical, some people just won’t get what you’re doing, cork gets EVERYWHERE. I’ve learned that walking from the shop carrying two clothes dryers two brooms and two bags of shopping is harder than any other aspect of the building. I have learned that sellotape is slippery, the joy that comes from getting to say “reverse engineered” and, most controversially of all, that “MORE BLUETAC” is often not the solution. I’ve learned about perseverence, the power of a hackneyed solution, and the power we have to overcome any challenge.

More than that though I have learned how to build an umbrella.

THE EQUIPMENT

Equipment

Where the magic begins

I used:-

2 corks

2 clothes horses

2 shower curtains

1 broom

6 metres of copper wire

superglue

sellotape

My first step was to take one of the corks and drill through them. Only dick’s have drills, so I stuck a knife through the cork then twisted it a bunch until the hole was made. If you’re going to try this, I found it helped to wrap the cork in sellotape first so that the tape absorbed some of the tension and stopped the cork from breaking. I drilled through one of the corks fully, and halfway through the other.

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Snapping the spokes off the clothes horses, I attached wire to the spokes and then threaded another wire through them, and tied this off around the cork, creating the six spokes that would become the dome of the umbrella.

I repeated this process with the fully hollow cork using spokes half the length, and attached these to the main spokes at a poiunt 6 inches from the centre, using sellotape and blutack.

I then thread the broom handle through the two corks and secured the cork dome with superglue, leaving the other cork free to slide up and down the handle and operate the mechanism.

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It’s ok to be impressed

The idea was to attatch the shower curtain tightly enough to not give the spokes room to move from side to side, but I couldn’t manage to get this right with the shower curtain, so I cut the bottom half off a water bottle and cut six strips out of it to act as tracks for the spokes, using more superglue to stick it to the dome cork.

I placed the whole mechanism upside down on the shower curtains, double layered for thickness, and tied the edges around the spokes. A little more superglue and blutack and the the sheets were attached.

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It was then that I realised I’m completely forgotten something. The locking mechanism. I hadn’t planned anything that was going to keep the cork up while the brolly was being used. On the brolly I FUCKING REVERSE ENGINEERED WOOH it was a lock stuck to the pole that slid down and popped out under the cork to keep it in place. I didn’t like my chances of recreating that using my broom handle and cork, so instead I just attached a metal hook to the cork dome that dangled down and hooked onto the spoke. This is inelegent and rubbish but without restarting the whole thing it was the best I could do.

Finally I used the trimmings of the shower curtains to make flower petals and made decorative flowers for the outside of the brolly.

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When the time comes to present this, I will describe these flowers as “rustic”.

Of course the whole thing is horribly unstable and will almost definitely implode at a gust of wind, but if you were expecting anything else from this whole thing you were always going to be disappointed. But thank you for thinking I am someone who actually has a skillset that isn’t steeped in the word “ridiculous”.

Final cost of production, £9.34. Order now to avoid disappointment.

The umbrella challenge: Part 1 – The mechanism

•November 7, 2012 • 1 Comment

Recently, someone who TOTALLY GETS ME challenged me to build an umbrella from scratch before Christmas. My guess is that if you’re a reader of this blog and I asked you to come up with five things you’ve learned about me, three of them would be “builds shit, loves umbrellas and responds to challenges”, and the other two would be filthy.

In other words, yes. I will do this.

TERMS OF THE CHALLENGE

1: I do not have to mine the ore or smelt it into shape. HOWEVER, I cannot use any part of another umbrella for any purpose other than research.

2: It must have a working opening and closing mechanism.

3: The challenge must be completed before December 25th 2012.

So first thing’s first, how do umbrellas work? I decided the best way to start it off would be to reverse engineer an umbrella I already own.

Sacrifices must be made

This is an umbrella that was given to me at the press night for a musical written by the guy from Busted. Luckily I was given two, so I can take this one apart without having to cry. Do not attempt to compare your lives to mine, results may be fatal.

It hurt to do this. But not enough.

It’s actually not easy though, they’re pretty solidly put together. My five minutes of attacking the mechanism with a tiny saw left me with cut gums and no results, so I decided instead to use the better look I’d got to make a guess at the inside mechanism.

I wanted to create a prototype of the mechanism. Not a fully working umbrella, but just one of the struts. I took out my box of k’nex (think Lego is better? FIGHT ME, YOU FUCK!) and set to work until I ended up with this.

This is basically just a device that converts the up and down motion of sliding the base, to the opening motion of the spokes. All I would have to do to make a working K’nex umbrella is replicate this model 8 times, once for each spoke, and then fasten them together.

The next step is to recreate this mechanism using real materials. My guess is it’s going to involve a stick of bamboo and loads of wire coathangers. This is where it will likely get fiddley, but now that the groundwork has been done I’m confident I’ll be able to make a prototype and then use that as a model for the real thing.

Keep a look out for PART TWO – THE PROTOTYPE

Alfred Hitchcock lemon (whole)

•October 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

At the Alfred Hitchcock pub, the lake through the window frosted with the moonlight. I clutch in my hand the clues of a treasure hunt never undertaken. Sitting opposite me is the girl. She doesn’t know what she’s about to become part of. But I’m not sorry.

She orders herself a drink, and while the staff away I lean over the bar to take a whole lemon from beside the serrated edge of the knife next to it.

“No! Someone will see!” She cries. “Stop! For the good of us all!”

But we both know I never will. I’m hungry still.

When she stands up a second time to order another drink, she rests her arm on the bar, leaning on it.

The staff turn around once more, and I roll the lemon slowly behind the cover of her arm. Placing the drinks in front of it to cover the view, we smile and pay. When the coast is clear, I quickly roll the lemon off the bar and catch it with my other hand.

One lemon (whole)

Then we must hit the leave, before our souls catch up with us. We’re different now. Our shoes are strung together from songs about roads and desert tongued clay.

We’ll be back for more. Maybe not from here. But we’ll be back for more.

Poimtry – What makes you beautiful

•August 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Morning all!
Some of you may know I’ve been doing a little bit of performance poetry around London, and sometimes I make terrible animations to go along with them. Well the new video is up, right here!

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have any kind of problem with Pop music, the more plastic the better, but really I just don’t like this idea that the head and the heart are, or should be seperate. If anything, it’s your heart that’s afraid of breaking, your head knows that you’ll be fine. Thinking things through is not unromantic.

Anyway, hope you all like it! More coming in a week or so!

Sandy