Untitled - All The Rage.pdf by xiaoshuogu


									                                                                   4      infiltration - catherine o’flynn

                                                                   6      presentation - jake elliott
                                                                   7      desperate dandy - alistair johnston
                                                                   8      the love boat - peter fletcher

                                                                   10     out of date reviews - transformers
                                                                   12     festivals tried and tested
                                                                   14     james wallis
                                                                   16     my first 60 minute gig - matthew parker

                                                                   18     maus of elliott

                                                                   21     win stuff
                                                                   22     life is a performance - chelsea hilton

                                                                   24     performance envy - tania ahsan
                                               All The Rage        26     giving the piss - rhodri marsden

                                               on Myspace.
                                                                   27     dust to dust - catherine o’flynn

                                                                   cover design by sandy noble
                                                                   write to/for us: lovemaus@gmail.com


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                                rob jones


     6: jake
                                               and get some live
                                               ATR action all

                catherine                      month round.

                o’flynn         james wallis

                  24:            7:            16:                 22:
                  tania ahsan    al johnston   matt parker         chelsea hilton
catherine o’flynn

Nuns have recently discovered the arts centre      lack of stature was
where I work... now we can’t keep them             somehow linked to               “Was it some-
away. We were showing a film called ‘Into          their vocation – and         thing about being
Great Silence (Die Grosse Stille)’ a 3 hour        if so what came         tiny that allowed them
silent documentary about Carthusian monks.         first? Was it some-
How I laughed when I read the description.         thing about being       to hear the voice? Or,
Silent? Three hours? Monks? Who’s going to         tiny that allowed           more sinisterly, did
pay to see that? All showings sold out within      them to hear the           marrying Jesus stunt
hours. I felt I’d entered some alternative uni-    voice? Or, more sinis-
verse where tickets for quiet, contemplative       terly, did marrying             their growth?”
arts performances were fought over on e-Bay        Jesus stunt their growth? I
and Take That concerts had to be subsidised        should add that this isn’t just
by the Arts Council.                               true of my aunties – most nuns are minute.
                                                   Never trust a tall one.
Anyway the vast majority of the audience
turned out to be nuns from different convents      Anyway, sadly my dad’s sisters are no longer
across the city. I was concerned that there        alive and so I’ve lost touch a bit with the
could be a rumble between the different fac-       whole scene in latter years. It was interesting
tions – but I guess they’d brokered some kind      to see how things have changed. The average
of gang truce before coming. In the event no       age still seems to be about 79 and average
knives were confiscated.                           height 5’1’’, but some things are different.

Since then the nun ball has been kept bounc-       I noticed that a lot of them now have mobile
ing with regular, well-spaced sister-pleasers      phones. I found this fascinating. I wondered if
like ‘Miss Potter’ and ‘The Queen’. I’m quite      you could download hymn ringtones. I won-
enjoying this new audience. I’ve always been       dered if they also have their own myspace
on the side that finds nuns very funny rather      pages. They could list Jesus as a friend.
than terrifying. Three of my dad’s sisters were
nuns – they rocked with the Marist massive –       Catherine O’Flynn’s debut novel “What was
sporting French navy. All three of them were       lost” has been long-listed for the Booker prize.
tiny – much shorter than my dad and the rest       This piece is taken from her blog at
of his siblings. I could never work out if their   www.qanik.net.
                                                                                                          alistair (right) and wayne
                                                                                                          paint the town paisley

jake elliot
I went on presentation training last year. I           Eddie Murphy approaches a henchman in the
went into it the same way I approach most              guise of an ambassdor from the Rap Coalition
training opportunities: the chance for getting         of America. ("You like rap music? Then how
out of the office for a jolly. Two whole days of       come you ain't smiling?! Smile real big!").
mid-week work avoidance with a fistful of              Should I mention I listen to hip-hop? Watch
luncheon vouchers for my trouble. How bad              Eddie Murphy films? No. Probably not.
can it be?
                                                       For some reason I choose to spend the last
After the usual round of introductions and the         minute of preparation time messing up my rea-
distribution of handouts, the trainer drops us in      sonably legible bullet points by scoring
it. "Right, guys", she claps her hands together        through excess sentences and covering up use-
with genuine glee. “In five minutes time I want        ful points with massive swirling arrows to help
you all to give a thirty second presentation on        me re-order and tailor the material.
yourselves, and the rest of the group will give
you feedback".                                         I'm okay in the end, but the exercise as a

                                                                                                          desperate dandy
                                                       whole is the real success. Adversity and a
Talking about myself in front of a group of col-       Stockholm syndrome-like desire to placate the
leagues eager to observe and critique my per-          trainer has created a bond between the
formance isn't my worst nightmare, but it is           trainees. Suddenly, everyone is pitching in,
exactly the kind of situation I'd spend a good         asking questions or swapping hints and tips for
deal of time and effort trying to avoid.               presenting with a flip-chart rather than Power-
                                                       Point. Criticism of peers is offered, but only     alistair johnston
'Don't panic' I thought, 'that's just what she's       when it is sandwiched between two bits of pos-
expecting you to do'. I start to scribble down         itive feedback. I am back at school, only now      Last month a work party forced me into 1940s       there was a generous happy hour in full swing.
possible content. But what to say? Should I try        the whole classroom is full of eager spods         fancy dress. I chose smoking jacket, cravat,
for damage limitation and stick mainly to job-         without the restraining influence of sneers from   and a moustache, painted on with eye-liner.        Nearing 30, getting dressed is becoming a
related stuff, or take a risk and add a little         the jocks to hold us back.                         My colleagues met each other with delight –        problem again. Low-slung jeans and an ironic
colour? I decide to keep things pretty bland                                                              everyone hates dressing up before the fact,        t-shirt must be avoided, and a fashion space
and just drop one or two asides about non-             By the afternoon break the air is heavy with       and everyone is delighted by the results – but     away from the Dad-ish, the Russell Brand-ish,
work stuff to boost morale. A few minutes in           esprit de corps. Everyone seems to want to         when they looked at me, mouths primed for          and the Petrides-esque found.
and I've got an outline CV planned, with just a        raise their game and pull together to see if we    mirth, they paused: “actually, that’s not a bad
gentle hint of self deprecating wit. I hope this       can't be just the best darned cohort this train-   look”.                                             I seem to be drifting towards the dandyish
is sufficient to suggest I'm wonderfully droll         ing company has ever seen.                                                                            touch. The pointier, shinier shoe than I’m used
over a pint but a poker-faced professional at                                                             Two weeks later and a visiting friend and I re-    to; the shirt with the tiny flower print; the scarf
the meeting table.                                     I keep delivering steady mid-order perform-        peated the experiment in public, donning cos-      wrapped and tucked around my neck, worn
                                                       ances in each exercise. I am playing the long      tume and going to a nightclub. Men shook our       with a t-shirt like a raffish urban Bedouin.
Pleasingly, my mind doesn't go blank. Rather,          game and keeping my powder dry for day             hands; women made flushed approaches. For          You can take things too far, but while grown
it fills with all sorts of irrelevant bullshit. I've   two.                                               this night at least, we had slipped the horns of   men wear trousers half way down the arse I
sketched a smiley face and the word "SLOW"                                                                affected urbanity and wackiness; we were           live in hope that together we might bring back
in massive letters at the top of my notes to re-                                                          playful, and dressed up. Pretending at mascu-      the cravat.
mind me to pace my delivery and not to look                                                               line through feminine patterned silk and obvi-
too sour-faced. For some reason this makes me                                                             ously drawn-on facial hair, we were drag           It’s surprisingly nice against the neck, but I
think of that bit in Belverly Hills Cop II where                                                          kings, like the onnabe hosts of Tokyo women’s      can’t do it on my own. I can’t do it on
                                                                                                          clubs. Or chicks really dig moustaches, and        my own.
                                                                                                                                               peter fletcher

the love boat
                                                                                                                                             writes lots of cool
                                                                                                                                             things like this on

                                                                                                                                                                           “Some of them
                                                                                                                                                                         also have an email
peter fletcher
                                                                                                                                                                        address so you can
                                                                                                                                                                     write to her first and intro-
The other day though I received a message          lucky to get that one I think because you only    money. There’s a divorced man who is tired of      At the top
from somebody and it attracted my attention.       have to watch television to see what busy peo-    American emancipated women. He wants a             of the        duce yourself to get a bit
It started off like this:                          ple chefs are, and that they can have quite a     normal family. He wants his wife to take good      email           of a head start over
                                                   temper if you annoy them, and this one looks      care of him. He hopes this cruise will make him    about this          the other 29
   If you do not want to loose your money          like he might be getting a bit impatient when     happy.                                             cruise it says
and to talk to girls who does not even exist       the photo was taken. He probably wanted to                                                           “Thunderbird           men.”
there is new wonderful opportunity                 get off to shell some prawns and make a           Then when you click on the link to “Girls” you     thinks this message
                                                   Marie Rose sauce. Maybe he had something          get to a page with fifty small photos, one of      might be an email scam.” I don’t know if the
and it went on to talk about a cruise ship with    on the boil.                                      each Russian beauty. When you click on the         email is trying to steal my money or not. The
fifty “Russian beauties who want to meet a for-                                                      photo you get to see a bigger version of the       pictures of the ship and the fifty beauties look
eigner in order to make a family”. Perhaps the     There’s a beauty pageant judging beauty and       photo. Even though the link calls the page         quite real. Maybe they just want me to give
Chernobyl disaster has had an adverse effect       intelligence:                                     “Girls”, I don’t think any of them are actually    them a lot of money to go on the cruise and
on former-Soviet men’s fertility organs. I                                                           girls - I don’t think that would be allowed,       meet the women and enjoy the heavenly
wouldn’t be surprised. In any case, I                      Girls write essays about different for-   even on a special boat in the Black Sea.           cuisine and efficient service. The only thing
continued reading.                                          eign countries. They pick the coun-                                                         that is a bit unusual is that none of the fifty
                                         “The chef             try themselves.                       The photos are laid out very neatly on the         women have the same name. There is one
   All their pictures are placed
on the website. On the ship
                                     looks like he was       There is information about the
                                                                                                     page and each one has the first name of the
                                                                                                     woman underneath so you can understand
                                                                                                                                                        Alena and one Alexandra and one Alina and
                                                                                                                                                        one Alisa and so on in alphabetical order
will be created such an at-        getting a bit impatient on-board entertainments:                  who you are looking at and make a note for         right the way to Yulia and Yuliya. What are
mosphere that will help to          when the photo was                                               when you meet her on the cruise. Some of           the chances of that?
start romantic relations.                                        We have only qualified              them also have an email address, so you can
There will be invited only 30      taken. Maybe he had stuff. There is a nice surprise               maybe write to her first and introduce yourself    Maybe they have lots of cruises through the
foreign men on that cruise.          something on the for our guests. The point is that              to get a bit of a head start over the other        year, and at the end of the cruise the ones

And you can be one of them!                               all stuff except safeguards and            twenty-nine men.                                   that haven’t been chosen can try again next
                                                        the captain consists of pretty girls                                                            time, unless they get fed up talking to the sort
So fifty homemake-hungry ladies and                       who are ready for everything to make       But the interesting thing is that there are so     of men who would pay to go on this sort of
thirty lady-hungry men. That’s one and two         your cruise fun and comfortable.                  many different types of photo. They are all        cruise, and decide to take their chances back
thirds lady to every one man. On the website                                                         different sizes and some of them are holiday       on dry land. But this would mean that up to
there are pictures of the ship and cross-section   And there’s a guestbook with messages from        snaps with the woman sunbathing, and others        thirty vacancies would open up for more Russ-
diagrams so you can see how many rooms it          potential passengers.                             are a little more hair-tossed-back you-know-       ian beauties to take the plunge. There would
has and how they are laid out, and there are                                                         why-you’re-here, and there’s at least one          probably be a waiting list to make it onto the
photos of the rooms, and it says:                  There’s one from a man who likes what he          glossy studio portrait which probably cost a       ship, and so the organisers could pick only
                                                   sees. There’s one from the captain’s cousin       lot of money.                                      those applicants with names that are different
   Then you get into the restaurant. Our chef      who’s going for a second time. There are men      There’s even a photo booth one with a              from the ones they’ve already got. All of the
will offer you heavenly cuisine and the wait-      who have fallen in love with Russian women        pleated brown curtain behind and she’s not         women would be queuing up in lines, with one
resses will serve you quickly.                     over the Internet in the past and lost their      looking at the camera, as if she couldn’t use it   line for each name, and when the one at the
                                                   money. There’s a divorced man who is tired of     for her passport so she thought “that’s OK,        front is taken they all shuffle forward, like an
There’s even a photo of the chef. They were        American emancipated women. He wants a            it’ll do for that website”.                        enormous wife vending machine.
                                                                                                   for you? Well don't worry, the robots            who's played by a woman who appears
            out-of-date reviews #2:                                                                shapeshift a lot too – not to mention the        on the front cover of Maxim in real life –
                                                                                                   camera jumping around like a coked-up            might be interested in him. (Though I did
           Rob Jones                                                                               studio executive. Then there's just                     find myself thinking that she might
                                                                                                   time for a close-up shot of a                               find the special forces guy more
                                                                                                   twenty-year-old model pre-                  “ I was            to her liking. He's played by
                                                                                                   tending to be lonely and in         concerned for the            Josh Duhamel from Vegas
                                                                                                   high-school before some-         robots. The Autobots I who manages to look
                                                                                                   thing else explodes.
                                                                                                                                  mean; I certainly wasn't thoughtful without resorting
                                                                                                                                                                     to Joey Tribbiani fart-act-
                                                                                                   Of course we've all             fretting over the fate of ing).
                                                                                                   learned by now that 'hyper-        those traitorous De-
                                                                                                   kinetic' is not always a good         cepticon scum”           Granted, no one in the movie
                                                                                                   word. Or rather it's a good                                 has an IQ over 105. Not the
                                                                                                   word that gets used to describe                         math geniuses and not the alien
                                                                                                   some very bad movies. Anyone remember robots – some of whom seem like they
                                                                                                   the second Mummy film (The Mummy Re-             might have been auditioning for an Auto-
                                                                                                   turns) from 2001? Frantic nonsense. But          bot remake of Police Academy. But while
                                                                                                   somehow Transformers largely avoids that the characters are not terribly bright, the
                                                                                                   fate. For a start, the movie isn't all action.   movie itself is just clever enough to stay out
                                                                                                   There are some quite long scenes of Sam,         of trouble.
                                                                                                   the teen lead, arguing with his parents as
                                                                                                   he tries at various points to conceal a girl     Michael Bay knows that blockbusters have
                                                                                                   and several hundred tons of mechanical           to be emotionally satisfying or the explo-
                                                                                                   alien shapeshifter from them. But then           sions just become annoying – even the
                                                                                                   again I don't think you could say that part      really, really cool ones – and he gets just
                                                                                                   of the script is what contributes the 'heart'. enough mileage out of his cast's acting
Wait, is this film for children? I can't quite   elite hacker and special forces commando.         It seemed more like someone had aban-            talents to keep the afore-mentioned hyper-
work it out. The old Transformers cartoon        Everyone else is in high school.                  doned their attempt to write a sequel to         kinetic numbness from setting in. And while
was pitched at pre-teens, but they stopped                                                         The Goonies and used the dialogue here           a big part of the film's appeal is watching
making that twenty years ago so the origi-       Initially, I really couldn't believe that some-   instead. No, I'm forced to admit that what       visual effects teams burn through waist-high
nal audience is in middle-management by          one had dusted off a Saturday-morning             made me care was probably concern for            stacks of dollars, you still find yourself
now. My best guess is that it's for those        cartoon from the Eighties as the basis for a      the robots themselves. The Autobots I            absorbed when you see the next level of
fans of the original who have only aged          mega-budget Summer blockbuster... until I         mean; I certainly wasn't fretting over the       CGI for the first time. From time to time,
about four years while two decades have          saw the trailer. And then I realised the          fate of those traitorous Decepticon scum.        even the cinematography shows some
passed for us on Earth. I worked this out        genius of having massive robots opening                                                            sophistication – unlike most of the script.
from the fact that pretty much every shot        up industrial-sized cans of whoop-ass on          Which is not to say that the sub-plot involv- But then I'm not sure the characters' sim-
that doesn't have a robot in it features a       each other while careening through                ing Sam and the girl of his dreams is awful. plicity is a bad thing. It's not every day you
hot-looking girl somewhere in the frame          packed city streets. I know what you're           You're desperate for him to stop stuttering      can see that much carnage, destruction
(and at least once in slow-motion close-up)      thinking – you and director Michael Bay           and flubbing in her presence, mainly so          and sacrifice and call the end product 'in-
so the Transformers' target audience has         both – you're thinking it's not enough of a       you don't have to watch him do it any            nocent'. If the choices are crass Hollywood
definitely hit puberty. But I doubt they're      visual spectacle. Which is why the special        more, and soon enough he does pull it to-        populism or the innocent kind, I think I
grown up yet because no one in the movie         forces guys are firing rocket launchers into      gether, so that by the end he's definitely       could get to quite like the second one.
has a job – unless you count the only two        the melee as battle-tanks pound the sur-          become hero material. Enough so that you
occupations that teenagers approve of:           vivors with artillery shells. Still not enough    could almost believe that his love interest – Amongst other things, Rob writes thrillers.
tried & tested: festivals
1.     The Dour Festival, Belgium
We went in the summer of 2003. It was very hot and we had to walk down several miles of dirt
track in the baking sun to find the place. It was worth it though. I saw Clawfinger, the UK Subs,
Henry Rollins, Andy Fletcher from Depeche Mode doing DM remixes in a giant tent... ah,
there’s nothing more boring than hearing other people’s festival stories is there? Point is, this
was very much a festival of the past. Just as we were drifting off to sleep one night there was a
terrible wail from a nearby tent. A European accent; “Hey man! Get out of my fucking sleeping
bag!” The legend has evolved over time, and now when we quote it, we always add in a camp
German accent “Das ist VERBOTEN!” Plus I picked up an orange vinyl Wreckless Eric record in
the festival market. A highly recommended 9/10.

2.     The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Theatre, comedy, dance, film - oh yes, the fringe is certainly fun. But it’s so... BIG Surely it’s
reaching capacity now? Don’t get any bigger, The Fringe. 7/10.

3.     The Festival of Gas
A bit different, this one. History only knows about The Fest of Gas because of a photo found
and subsequently used, in a song, by the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. 10/10.

4.     The Glastonbury Festival
Scary, big, overwhelming, argh I think I’ve got aspergers, get me out of here get me out get me

5      The Festival of Britain
Now I haven’t actually been to this one, seeing as it happened in 1951 and all. But boy do I
wish I had been. What kind of soulless shite isn’t interested in the Festival of Britain? All that’s
left of those endless days of glorious post-war optimism is, er, the Royal Festival Hall on the
Southbank. I want a Skylon. 10/10.

what the well-dressed young man is wearing
james wallis
                                                                                               "Give us an
In the ongoing debate about the changing             'time shaf ting'. It happens           item of clothing    If this countr y ever star ts teac hing basic        pointed out to them, repeatedly, using shor t
                                                                                                                 probability on the national curriculum then         words, and there are a lot of them. (How
nature of performance, and as ar t and               more than half t he time with       beginning with P. No, an entire sector of industr y will wither away        many? I don’t have to tell you how many idiots
creative enterprise are shaken to their roots by
the continuing tremors of t he digital ear th-
                                                     BBC shows, or at least t he
                                                     BBC shows I watch, and it is
                                                                                         sorr y, we were look- overnight.                                            there are with mobile phones; to a large extent
quake and t he af tershocks of deconstruction-       not a good way to get people          ing for polka-dot                                                         the mobile market is driven by them, but last
                                                                                                               Phone-in quizzes work in one of two ways:             year IT V Play was making £150,000 ever y
ism and other new-millennium schools of              to fall in love wit h your new, un-        codpiece."    either the question is so ludicrously devious or       day. That ’s a lot of idiots.)
criticism, one impor tant fact shines out above      missable, much-trailed program-
                                                                                                                twisted that nobody will get it ("Give us an
all others: the BBC couldn't hit a timeslot if the   ming. In fact it makes me want to
                                                                                                                item of clothing beginning with P. No, sorr y,       We do not need to cosset, coddle, reassure or
timeslot was lying in stic ky post-coital slumber    throw things at t he BBC person responsible,
                                                                                                                we were looking for polka-dot codpiece.") or         refund these fools: we need to be creating our
next to the BBC's life-par tner.                     or at least sleep wit h their life-partner.
                                                                                                                so absurdly simple that ever ybody gets it.          own companies to soon par t them and their
                                                                                                                                                                     money. It just so happens I have a killer idea
Time and again I've settled down to watch a          Yes, I've chec ked the clock on my box. Yes, it's
                                                                                                                All this is so flattering to the kind of viewer      for doing exactly that, and I’m looking for
new, unmissable show that I've recorded, only        right. I'm surprised that this isn't a bigger scan-
                                                                                                                who believes Deal or No Deal is a game of            business par tners. If you’re interested then text
to find that someone has felt the need to run        dal than the whole rigged phone-in competiton
                                                                                                                skill that t hey feel compelled to ring in for the   me on 0909 8790879, repeatedly.
two or three trailers for ot her new, unmissable     fiasco. That nonsense is like the National Lot-
                                                                                                                af firmation of hearing they got the right
shows, the programme starr ts five minutes           ter y: if you're stupid enough to even think
                                                                                                                answer.                                              James Wallis lives in London with too many t-
late, and therefore the recording has cut of f       about taking par t then then you deser ve to
                                                                                                                                                                     shir ts and no cats.
the last five minutes. Watching recorded T V is      have your money taken away and Ric hard
                                                                                                                Clearly these people are idiots, and they don’t
known in the biz as 'time shif ting'. What the       and Judy, far from looking contrite, should
                                                                                                                appear to care t hat other people are taking
BBC does is known in t he Wallis household as        laugh in your face.
                                                                                                                their money and giving nothing back until it is
my first 60 minute show
matthew parker
It was a mix of arrogance and idiocy that            instead writing a list of jokes I had written and          their friends to get me to tell them jokes, and      think people lose too much money at Edin-
made me think I could do a solo 60 minute            then telling them in a fairly random order.                      even tried to get me to perform for them       burgh, and I think that the lack of comedy in
show and find it easy. At this point in time I                                                       “They loved         at a dinner party one of them was           London in August is very sad.
                                                                                                                           having in January. They loved the
had only ever performed open spot length             What was worse that I hadn’t properly
                                                                                                    the bits about          bits about people thinking I’d           I have not been put off performing and can’t
slots and I had performed very few of them           memorised the jokes and so told most
(definitely less than 10), but this didn’t stop me   of them quite badly, this meant that a       people thinking I’d        raped a cat (Apparently zoophilia       wait to get back on the stage to do open spots
from sending off my participation fee and con-       lot of the jokes fizzled out or failed to   raped a cat. Appar- is funnier than I thought).                     (which so far have gone a lot better than my
                                                                                                                                                                     hour show), and even though my confidence
tract to the organisers of the Camden Fringe.        get laughs. To be fair to myself some
                                                                                                    ently zoophilia is         Even though they were the kind of     has definitely been knocked a bit, I have
                                                     bits did go quite well, especially a
The Camden Fringe was set up as an alterna-          running joke about people thinking that          funnier than I          people I generally don’t wish to ap-   learnt a lot and am glad that I did do the hour
tive to the Edinburgh Fringe, where joining in       I’d raped a cat (It was not intended to be         thought“           peal to (i.e. drunken idiots (They may    show. I may do it again some time in the
cost less and so gave a chance for performers        a running joke, but bizarre things happen                         not have been idiots when sober, I only       future, once I have learnt a bit more about
to do a show without losing as much money. I         when you ad-lib), and I think that for live stand            talked to them when they were drunk)) I was        how to put on a good solo show.
don’t know how many people lost money, but           up comedy to be properly appreciated, more                  encouraged by their laughter, especially after
there was at least one. Me.                          than 8 people are required.                                 being a bit discouraged by the poor reception       Matt Parker is a college student and an
                                                                                                                 in the first show, and I am glad that the better    amateur comedian. Why not message him
I did two shows, and eight people turned up to       TWO people turned up to the second show,                    show came second.
                                                                                                                                                                     via his myspace page or friend him up?
the first one (At least 4, possibly 5 had been       they were friends with each other, about my
                                                                                                                                                                     www.myspace.com/hoorayforspeechtherapy. .
admitted for free) and the show did not go           age and both a bit drunk. Bizarrely though,                 Even though I lost money and generally made
well. I made several mistakes, the worst of          this show went down very well indeed. The                   a bit of a dick out of myself, I still think that
which was not actually writing a show, but           two people laughed a lot at my jokes, phoned                the Camden Fringe is a very good idea, as I
maus of elliott
                                                                                                                                                               “Sophie Dahl
Seeing as I’ve never appeared in a show,          plays had, they always ended up with Alistair       At 9, my friends Christina and Melanie and I
                                                                                                                                                               came in and         irony. It is
trained as an actor, sung, danced or told jokes   and I in tissue-paper tutus, standing in front of   went through a phase of reinacting myths and           bought a bottle of     probably
in front of anyone, it would probably be an       a room full of pissed-up elderly relatives, lead-   legends from the big book we found in the              Tango. Not a Diet      available
exaggeration to describe me as a professional     ing an audience sing-song of the incongruously      dining room. The best story by far was about a                                from a large
performer.                                        adult rugby anthem, Father Abraham.                 chap called Jerry Guia Guia Tugo whose
                                                                                                                                                             Tango, she wasn’t wire bin at
                                                                                                      buttocks were eaten by a hawk as punishment             all skinny back     your local One
But there were forays, back in the day. It         For some reason, these pantomimes stopped          for something. Not one to be easily defeated,                 then”       Stop for £1. I
started when I was 4. I’m still not sure how I     before puberty. It’s a shame in a way. I like      he did what any of us would do if we had the                                 was a named extra,
got the part of Angel Gabriel in the playgroup imagining what kind of show Alistair and I             presence of mind, and fashioned himself a         was in two scenes, and had no lines. I still
nativity. Possibly it was my blonde locks that     would put on now. And no one would think it        new pair out of mashed potato. True, I haven’t    haven’t managed to bring myself to watch it,
clinched it. More likely, I was just the most      was weird, because it would just be one of         come across the story in my subsequent studies    although the pain lessens with time. Appar-
masculine looking child in the nursery. I had      those family traditions. Step aside little ones,   of classical literature, and I’m not completely   ently my acting is very bad indeed. But then I
one line. One fucking line. I still re-                 while the Johnston siblings, now both         convinced by “Jerry” as a genuine ancient         do have to cosy up to John Lynch all day, and
member it. I remembered it at the                            knocking 30, insist on doing their an-   Greek name, but that hasn’t stopped me from       I’m only 19. So if you do ever see it, think of
time, too, although apparently              “I never           nual panto in the living room. There   wanting to believe the story is at least based    that Austrian girl who lived in Uri Gellar’s cel-
not quickly enough for Louise           worked out why           could be pyrotechnics, audio-visu-   on fact. And always opting for chips instead.     lar for eight years and go easy on me.
Wyatt, sitting next to me. A                                      als and post-modern asides. And
non-equity angel with an             King Agamemnon               why stop at panto? We could act     These days, nine year olds like ringtones and     It was a fun day though. I was completely kit-
attitude problem who lived           had to be wearing out scenes from serious plays and              The Sims. When I think about the kind of stuff    ted out in authentic 60s wear - right down to
two doors down on the               sunglasses and talk- films. Performances could be 4               we used to do it makes us seem like Beatrix       the nylons. I struggled with the false eyelashes
estate, the bitch took my                                        hours long, or just 5 minutes.       fucking Potter or something. I bet Miss Potter    and lost a contact lens in the young George
dramatic pause as her cue to            ing in a Scottish Shows could end with one of us              didn’t have fight off teenage mutant ninja kids   Best’s pretend bedroom. It rained all day. The
stand up and deliver my only                 accent”         jumping backwards through the patio      on the monkey bars when they were trying to       sports car kept breaking down. Someone ran
line. Anyway, Louise Wyatt, (I hope                     doors and the other one mouthing              out-wit Cerberus and rescue Persephone.           around after me with an umbrella and a pow-
you’re googling yourself, bitch), you might        “NOOOooooooooo!” in slow motion. Are                                                                 der brush. Truly, I felt like a hundred dollars.
have put paid to my acting career forever, but you listening, Alistair? We should definitely do       The trail went cold for a while in secondary
for the fact that I had another trick up my        this. It could go on until we’re too old to        school but picked up again later. I’d just        The day before filming, the astonishingly neu-
sleeve. A frustrated playwright for a mother.      prance about, and even then we could still do      turned 19, and was living on the Isle of Man      rotic director (who shall remain nameless, use
                                                   shadow puppets or something.                       when its ‘movie industry’ was just starting to    your Google) had come into the Spar where
The first ‘pantomime’ happened when I was                                                             take off. A lot of films were being made there    I’d been working and bought a box of tam-
about eight, I think, and there were three or      Then there was school, where everyone’s a          because the land was incredibly cheap to rent.    pons, paying with a cheque. I was back work-
four of them in total, one every year, as a kind fucking actor. Although admittedly not always        Nothing major, at that point. Recently the ex-    ing in the shop the next day when Sophie Dahl
of family tradition. My brother Alistair (see      to the extent that I thought I was. Sometimes I    cellent Stormbreaker used the IoM as its main     came in and bought a bottle of Tango. Not
page 7) and I played all the parts. In ‘Jock       think ‘Jock’ and all those psychadelic early       location, but in those days it was all Waking     Diet Tango, oh no. She wasn’t all skinny back
and the Beanstalk’, for example, Alistair          pantos might have had quite a profound             Ned and The Land Girls. Anyway, I signed up       then. We talked about the film. The late de-
played Jock and I played Nessie, the giant, a      influence over my chosen means of expression.      to the only Manx extras agency.                   signer Isabella Blow, who is reputed to have
fairy and (possibly) Jock’s mother. In Aladdin, “I enjoyed re-enacting the Bible stories in R.E,”                                                       first spotted Dahl's modelling potential once
I played Aladdin, Alistair played the Genie,       my school friend Sophie told me years later,       Within weeks I had a call to be in a film         observed, "No one can keep their hands off
Widow Twanky, the wicked uncle, etc. I often       “but I never did work out why King Agamem-         about George Best. The film is actually called    Sophie." And to my surprise, it turned out she
wonder whether mum wished she’d had more           non had to be wearing sunglasses and talking       “Best” although I always like to put an           was right. No, no, she wasn’t. I didn’t. We
children. Whatever shroom-trip plots these         in a Scottish accent”.                             exclamation mark at the end to add to the         weren’t. It’s not what it looks like. Jesus, what
                                                                                                        win men’s grooming products!
                                                                                                        I told the PRs we were doing an issue themed on
                                                                                                        performance and this is what they came up with.
                                                                                                        Men’s grooming products. Genius really.

                                                                                                        Well I say ‘grooming’ but let’s not be coy. What
                                                                                                        we’re talking about here is finding a way to
                                                                                                        make you smell less bad. And it’s not exclusively
do you take me for? She was lovely though.          fame in the £1 bins of One Stops across the         for men, either. Oh no. In these enlightened times
The next day, I bumped into Stephen Fry in          land! In our own slightly seedy suburban way,       girls can use male sprays and shower gels
Ottakers. “I’m Leila,” I said. “I’m Stephen,” he    we were taking over the world! What would           without fear of being burnt as witches. Even
replied, unnecessarily. “I know”. And again         our next project be? I couldn’t wait to find out!
                                                                                                        straight girls use them sometimes. It’s fine.
we talked about the film. There was a tense         We got our money out of the cash machines,
moment where he looked as though he was             exchanged small embarrassed nods of recog-
trying to remember who I was. Finally he said,      nition, and went our separate ways.                 And they’re all made by Head, you know, the
“Weren’t you in the swimming pool scene?”                                                               guys who make the tennis racquets. If you don’t
I loved him for pretending to believe that I        Last week Tom and were house-sitting for his        believe me, for some demented reason, then
could be in a swimming pool scene, and did          parents. They have an enormous flat-screen          have a looksie here, why don’t you:
not correct him.                                    telly. Well I say ‘enormous’, but by the time
                                                    you read this, massive 3D screens will no
The Isle of Man being the size it is, you bump      doubt be everywhere and you’ll be sarcasti-         g=toiletries.
into pretty much everyone sooner or later.          cally holding up a magnifying glass to my
One afternoon, outside the bank, I noticed the      ‘giant’ telly and squinting. You’re probably        What’s your flava? The new Head body
extra who’d played my ‘boyfriend’ in the            reading this on one of your super-screens now,      spray/deodorant/shower gel sets come in three
scene before I ran off with El Beatle.              flicking your wrist about for some reason, like     varieties: “Ice Cool”; “Match Point” and “No
                                                    Tom Cruise in Minority Report. I bet you even
                                                                                                        Limits”. One for Woody Allen fans, one for
This lad had spent an afternoon on a sofa with      keep a small bald woman in the bath, don’t
his arm around me. True, I was a callow             you? Admit it, you animal.                          Vanilla Ice worshippers, and one for admirers of
youth, and in normal circumstances that sort of                                                         2 Unlimited. I think that covers all bases.
thing wouldn’t have guaranteed him so much          Anyway, where was I future-boy? Oh yes. We
as an acknowledgement down the youth club           channel-hopped until something very familiar        So tell me what you’ve done to deserve a
the following week. But this was different - just   came on the screen. Panic turned immediately        not-yet-in-the-shops. brand new ‘grooming set’
like the Land Girls, we had been united by a        to relief when I realised my scene had passed.
                                                                                                        from Head, and I’ll post you the gear. As you
common experience. Like the lottery winner in       Seems I’m still not sure how I feel about seeing
Waking Ned, one lucky phonecall had given           my vastly magnified face doing “acting”. Even       probably know by now, the email address is
us our big break! We had been propelled to          the 1960s-style, fresh-faced teenaged version.      lovemaus@gmail.com. Smell you later.
                                                                                                                                                                                        “How the hell
                                                                                                                                                                                     am I going to show
                                                                                                                                                                                   up to the first book club

life is a performance and i’m a shitty actor
                                                                                                                                                                                   meeting and totally reject
                                                                                                                                                                                     the book? Are they
chelsea hilton                                                                                                                                                                      going to throw eggs at
                                                                                                                                                                                      me? Can I wear a
Within the past two years, my life has taken a           lar voodoo self-help book claiming that there is     I begrudgingly forked over the money for the       because I don’t            mask?”
dramatic turn. I have willingly traded in my             a scientific law called “the law of attraction”      book and dug in. It was, of course, ridiculous     know how to do it. My
urban hipster status for the bliss that comes            wherein humans can think hard about what             nonsense. It did, however, spark up some inter-    next idea was to get very drunk which would
with settling down and having a family. I                they want in life and the universe will deliver.     esting conversation with my friends and my         basically prevent me from being held account-
moved to the ‘burbs, I drive a mini-van, and I           Want a new car? Just think hard on it and            husband. I found all kinds of hilarious websites   able for anything I might say. But, I’m preg-
joined a book club (the latter being the most            soon it will come to you. It’s probably in your      disputing The Secret and it turned into a bit of   nant, so that’s out.
grievous of sins among my still-raging-hipster           garage right now. But, be careful – don’t use        good, clean, suburban-living fun.
friends in the city). But hell, I like to read. I like   negatives – the universe doesn’t understand                                                             The only thing that seemed reasonable (albeit
getting out of the house. I like wine and                negatives. If you think, “I don’t want to get        The problem I began to face was this: how the      not easy and not all that winning) was to act
cheese. Does joining a book club really mean             cancer, “ you’re asking for cancer. And since        HELL do I show up for my first real “we’re-        like I saw a lot of positives in this book and to-
I’m one step away from wearing mom jeans?                it’s apparently a proven scientific law, it works    here-to-discuss-a-book” book club meeting and      tally and whole-heartedly focus on those, and
                                                         every time (think gravity) so you just bought        totally reject the book and the people there       then quickly change the subject. It wouldn’t be
My first book club meeting was a “member-                yourself some abnormal cells, my friend.             who believe in it? Are they going to throw         a total lie. I do feel I can get behind about
ship drive” – a friend of mine belonged to this          Watch out!!                                          eggs at me? Can I wear a mask? No chance           .06% of the ideas in the book.
book club and its numbers were dwindling.                                                                     I’ll have the guts to say, “This book is com-
Accordingly, there wasn’t a book for that                As getting older and moving to the ‘burbs has        plete and utter crap. Pass the duck liver pate,    Unfortunately, small talk doesn’t come all that
month; it was just a meeting for fun to lure in          shown me, sometimes an open mind is a good           darling.” I’m screwed. Not only because I          easily to me, either, so I’ll have to act like I
some new members. There were a number of                 thing to have, or so that parachute/open-mind        know I’ll be a dissenter, but because I know       can do that, too. But acting? Ugh, not a
women there – all perfectly nice and surpris-            bumper sticker claims. There are a lot of            the woman who chose this book lost her             strength. What am I going to say? “Yeah, grat-
ingly interesting (most of the 50-somethings             bumper stickers in Kansas. That and vanity           husband a few months ago and clearly finds         itude, that’s the good stuff. Do I taste sun-
were all over my friend Tobi about taking her            license plates (SOCRMOM2, BLT or PHD                 some kind of hope in this book. Misguided,         dried tomatoes in this dip?” “Positive thinking
pole-dancing class – good sign). All was well            DOOD). Horrible. But that’s another story.           dangerous hope of the “will-come-back-to-bite-     – sure! So, you’re a nurse, huh?” “I do think
until the woman hosting the next meeting de-                                                                  you-in-the-ass” variety, but still. And who can    focusing on someone’s good characteristics
clared that the next book would be “The Se-              I tried to get myself thinking along the lines of,   bear to disagree about ANYTHING with some-         will do wonders…speaking of wonders, did
cret” by Rhonda Byrne. My heart sank. My                 “I cannot dispute the malarkey that is The Se-       one who just lost a loved one? Hell, if she        you hear that Fred Savage from “The Wonder
inner hipster clawed at me. The Secret, are              cret without knowing the damn thing inside           asked me to swear off sex for the next ten         Years” just had a baby? God, that’ll make you
you kidding me? In my head, the book club                and out.” Just like the hard-core atheists MUST      years, I’d probably agree to it.                   feel old.”
quickly turned from book club to “lets get to-           read the bible or they don’t have a leg to
gether and show each other our hemorrhoids”              stand on in a debate with a religious person.        Aside from magic, I couldn’t really come up        Clearly needs work. Head spinning. Book club
club. I cannot join this club.                           Just discarding The Secret won’t do me any           with any ideas as to how I was going to pull       is in a few weeks. Please email acting spells
                                                         good. I have to study it to be able to tell the      this off. After more thought, magic didn’t         and recipes for potions to:
Unfamiliar with The Secret? It’s a wildly popu-          book club that it’s all just a bunch of horseshit.   actually seem all that brilliant either. Mostly    thechelseahilton@yahoo.com.
performance envy
tania ahsan

                                                                                    “I glared at the
                                                                               perfect ballerina with
                                                                              open envy, and said ‘So
                                                                                                         beautiful ballet dancer. Her hair was up in a     smoky bar at 3am, everyone’s voice like
                                                                                 have your periods       tight chignon and everything about her was        gravel, a plaintive sax in the background and
                                                                              stopped yet?’ She burst    just… perfect. I glared at her, with open envy,   the beginnings of a whisky headache.
Tania Ahsan wants to hurt dancers.                 sort, then the best           into tears. It was a   and said ‘So, have your periods stopped yet?’      That’s jazz, man. Tap? Yeah, right, tap this
                                                                                                        She burst into tears. It was a beautiful moment.   [flips the finger]. I do have time for a lot of the
Just a little bit, not enough to                                                beautiful moment.”
                                                   place to get that is in
                                                   dance studios.                                                                                          South American dances but not when they’re
hobble them or anything…                           Most dance studios have got                          I think my animosity toward dancers began          being done by white elderly folk from Shrop-
                                                   wise to the idea of having a                         when I was forced to cover performance arts        shire who wear too many sequins.
‘Bastard dancers,’ I thought, uncharitably as I    massage or complementary health specialist           for a magazine I worked on several years
wheezed my way up the stairs, holding up a         on site to deal with dancers’ aches and pains.       ago. I once took my fiancé to a performance        The only dance performances I rate are the
line of extras from Fame behind me. ‘Just stew     Since I’ve never let skinny people hog any-          of some experimental modern Indian dance.          acrobatic ones, perhaps because I always
in your poxy legwarmers and wait.’ As soon         thing good (except maybe those size 6 hot-           What felt like 60 years later, we emerged from     wanted to join the circus. A lot of African
as I made it, huffing and puffing to the mid-      pants on sale), I often make my way to a             the theatre and my fiancé broke off our en-        dances become very acrobatic and have the
way bit of the stairs, a (what’s the collective    dance studio or two in London for a bit of a         gagement.                                          energy to make it worth watching. Also,
noun for dancers? A ‘pox’? A ‘sharp-elbowed        pounding (funnily enough, my gay best mate                                                              they’re so pumping that you can’t help but at
bitch-pool’?) conga line of dancers zipped         also says that but I think he means something        Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen quite like         the very least tap your feet.
past me, as though shot prematurely from a         a bit different…).                                   that but I’m sure the performance was one of
teenage dick.                                                                                           the main reasons he broke up with me. The          And I suppose that’s my biggest problem with
                                                   While there I usually take the opportunity to        only redeeming factor in that evening was see-     dance performances – dance is not a specta-
‘I hope you get performance anxiety,’ I yelled     look into a studio or two to see the dancers go      ing Angela Rippon at the bar and going ‘oh,        tor sport, you should be doing it yourself.
after them, in order to extend my dick             through their paces. It is like beautifully chore-   look, there’s Angela Rippon’ and then flashing     As I’m too lazy to do any form of exercise,
metaphor further. So why was I there, torment-     ographed torture. If anyone out there is into a      our tits at her when she looked across at us.      except perhaps lifting weighty pints to my lips,
ing dancers? Well, here’s a little secret. If      bit of sadism, pop down to your local dance                                                             I don’t think dancers and me are ever going to
you’re into really good remedial massage, not      studio and check out the advanced classes;           Most dance I don’t get. I don’t get ballet be-     be friends. However, I promise to try very
the ‘pay me £50 to half-heartedly rub a little     plenty of ideas in there to bring back home for      cause I can stand on my toes but nobody            hard to stop making them cry.
nice-smelling oil onto your back, while thinking   a bit of DIY with your slave. I think I’m about      makes a fuss of me, do they? I don’t get jazz
about supper’ variety, but the proper deep         to be banned though, as last time I went, I          because, well, what the fuck is that? Jazz         For more disturbing opinions and too much
tissue, make-you-want-to-yell-for-your-mama        stood next to an impossibly thin, impossibly         hands? Jazz feet? That’s not jazz. Jazz is a       information, visit www.taniaahsan.com
                                                                                                                                                             dust to dust
                                                                                                                                                                                     catherine o’flynn

                                                                                                        The burning of effigies is one of those things      expose their perilously low stock of the one

 giving the piss
                                                                                                        that I’m only aware of through news stories.        man they thought was a safe bet. That’s how it
                                                                                                        I’ve never done it myself, or seen it done, but     should be, and that’s how lazy BBC journalism
                                                                                                        it seems to go on somewhere out there. I don’t      tries to fool me into thinking it might be, but I
                                                                                                        really dislike anyone enough to want to burn a      bet it’s not.
 rhodri marsden
                                                                                                        3D representation of them. To be honest the
                                                                                                        people that seem to inspire my fiercest hatred,     I bet the effigy was just some crudely con-
                                                                                                        are the people that I tend to have the most         torted pillow – with not even the gender, let
Have you ever chucked something at a band?        however, soldiered on amid the torrent of             fleeting contact with – drivers who don’t give      alone the distinctive Derek Hattonesque ratty
God knows we’ve all wanted to, but have you human waste.                                                the courtesy thank-you wave, or people who          features of Mr Gere - clearly defined. I bet it
actually done it? Gig-going folk these days       Maybe today's performers are mollycoddled,            walk in front of me and then stop – and I           was so bad that the men burning it had to
seem generally a lot better behaved than the      terrified children, willing to walk offstage if so    rarely get a very good look these people. So        keep saying things like ‘Down with Richard
preceding generation, who stamped their           much as a paper aeroplane hurtles towards             even if I knew where to get effigies from, there    Gere.’ Maybe even resorting to scrawling
mark on the 1980s by chucking items such as                    them. But then again, My Chemical        would be the worry that the effigy wasn’t a         ‘Richard Gere’ on the malformed head of the
pints, bottles, coins and, memorably, a dead                         Romance, would you believe,        good likeness of the person that I hated so         doll. Another beautiful dream bites the dust.
bat onstage in order to liven up the
                                                “There's only thanked the crowd at last                 much. I mean I’m not sure how much burning
evening.                                                                  year's Reading festival for
                                             one thing more po- "all the bottles, all the               a very accurate effigy would really assuage         Catherine O’Flynn’s debut novel “What was
                                                                                                        my feelings of anger and contempt, but I’d          lost” has been long-listed for the Booker prize.
Of course, there's a great Victorian        tent than big, warm, piss, all the golf balls,              imagine burning a bad one – basically a big         This piece is taken from her blog at
tradition for this kind of thing – the
                                             yellow bottles, and all the apples and all                 anonymous doll - could possibly make me feel        www.qanik.net.
end of a night of music hall entertain-                                     the sticky shit." Golf
ment in the East End of London bore a         that's big, warm,            balls! Fantastic.
                                                                                                        even angrier at the hopelessness of the world
                                                                                                        and my place in it.
striking similarity to the aftermath            brown plastic
of a Saturday vegetable market – but the
                                                    bags.”             In my days of standing at        Anyway I see it’s been happening in India this
motivation that drives most people to lob a                         the front of a stage and            week, with demonstrators in Mumbai setting
pie at a bass player isn’t “staying true to                  singing a load of crap to disinter-        light to effigies of Richard Gere. But I wonder
British tradition”. They do it because the band   ested punters, I used to have dreams at night         about the accuracy of the BBC news report.
are shit, and the smack of pastry on a fret-      of someone lobbing a bottle at me, but thanks         Were they really effigies of Richard Gere? The
board sounds far better than slap bass.           to my superb reflexes I would grab said drink         realities of the effigy vending business make
                                                  with an outstretched arm, take a long, satisfy-       me sceptical. I could just about imagine a 24
When I started pondering this, the first person ing swig before saying "thanks for the drink,           hour turnaround on your key range product
I thought of was Bonnie Tyler, of “Total Eclipse mate" and putting the bottle down by the mic           (I’m thinking back to my days as a buyer at
Of The Heart” fame. Bonnie had bottles of piss stand.                                                   HMV here) – Bush, Blair, Uncle Sam etc – but
thrown at her at the 1986 Reading Festival.                                                             surely Richard Gere – outspoken though he
Big, warm, yellow bottles. There's only one       Of course, Bonnie Tyler was sensible enough           can be about Tibet – would not be in your
statement more potent and meaningful than         not to attempt this feat at the 1986 Reading          core range. I like the idea of a vast warehouse
big, warm, yellow bottles, and that's big,        Festival. Thank god. That would have just             somewhere in the middle of a desert with
warm, brown plastic bags. But a quick web         added injury to insult.                               miles and miles of shelving and every single
search for current tales of gig-lobbing turned                                                          person in the public eye represented in effigy
up pathetic stories such as the Arctic Monkeys Rhodri Marsden is a blogger and columnist for            form. The staff constantly fearing that Michael
frontman being hit by a SOCK thrown onstage The Independent and The Radio Times. He                     Palin will insult the followers of Islam and thus
– and he actually stopped the song. Bonnie,       plays keyboards in Scritti Politti.
Published by Snowbooks. Written (mostly) by the editor of All The
              Rage and founder of Worryfriends.com.
                      Published October 2007.
       Check out uk.youtube.com/lovemaus for repetitive,
      self-indulgent promotional clips featuring my big face.
                       Pre-order on Amazon.

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