You’re having a laugh


Please note this image has been retouched to protect the innocent behind me...

Please note this image has been retouched to protect the innocent behind me...

Today I did something I haven’t done for over 20 years.

I auditioned for a show. With FCT (Forth Children’s Theatre) to be precise.

I was in the first ever cast as a 16 year old, 30 years ago, and the show that FCT is putting on next spring (Easter 2009) is ostensibly a “Now that’s what I call FCT” pick of the last 30 years.

So, all current and past cast and crew were called to Leith Academy at 9.30 this morning where we played a game of zip, zap, boing as a warm up, engaged in some improvisation and then learned a dance, correction, the other 50 learned a dance.

I crashed and bashed about like a fool.

I was surrounded by kids from aged 10 through their teens and a bunch of adults who’d come back for this show and every single one of them picked the dance up more or less effortlessly, so that made my abjectness all the more awful and apparent. And the worst thing was that none of them knew me well enough to jeer, send me home packing or make videos and post it to their friends.

For those of you that had to endure this dreadful experience I unreservedly apologise. (It might have scarred some of them for life.)

To say I had seven left feet would be a huge and unneccessary compliment. I know I was rank. Nevertheless, the dancing was part of the audition. Thereafter we learned a song from The Matchgirls – an FCT classic as the Director, Vic called it – and we then had to both dance and perform the song in small groups of 8 to an X Factor type auditions panel.

Well, the judging panel must have thought someone had cross-bred John Cleese with Mr Magoo and thrown in a bit of Dumbo for good measure. I was utterly rank. I was as graceful as a Hippo giving birth, having just been dropped on a trampoline from the top of a tower block.

I truly underachieved.

But, you know what, I think it went quite well, considering.

My singing was OK, although it felt like I had ingested three packets of Imodium 30 seconds before I was due to sing. I had forgotten quite how stomach-churningly terrifying auditions can be, but hey, it’s the same for everyone I suppose.

Anyway they called me back for a second audition tomorrow.

I think there’s a part for a clown going.

Burn after reading by The Coen Brothers


Even geniuses can have a bad day at the office.

Frankly, the best thing about this movie is the poster.  The rest of it adds up to a whole heap of nothing.  Unquestionably the Coens’ poorest movie; it just never gets going.  The trouble starts with the writing which has its moments, not many of them mind you, and only then if you like the idea of John Malcovitch with Tourettes.  There is an amusing moment with a highly complex sex toy so it’s strange to see them sacrifice the more subtle end of their humour register for fairly crass fare.

It just feels like something the brothers dashed off in their lunch break.  The plot is pretty wooly and the point of it?  Well, I could see no great subliminal message.

Brad Pitt must have gone to the screenings and thought.”OMG what was I thinking of.  I am awful, like A-W-F-U-L.”  He’s not just bad, he’s criminally bad with his truly nauseating campy, gay but not gay, creepy yukky characterisation of a bungling idiot. (I didn’t like him in this).  But, maybe it’s just me, every lady in the audience guffawed every time he appeared on screen, at what I know not.

George Clooney just about passes muster as a paranoid serial womaniser and the best of the ladies (as per usual) is Frances McDormand, but again it’s far from her towering performance in Fargo and Tilda Swinton goes through the motions.

It is such a shame that this, The Coens’ first major league film – as a result of the success of No Country – had to be so poor.