Punch me drunk you drowned idiot man

maskIt’s just over a week since I saw the PunchDrunk performance of The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable at Temple Studios near Paddington, and I just can’t contain my excitement any longer and have to write about it. Now I’ve spent £37.50 on a lot worse things, such as an amalgamation of Megabus tickets left unused over the past few months when I chicken out and get the train, and also plenty of ‘necessary’ shopping trips for ‘integral’ wardrobe items, so spending £37.50 on a theatre ticket, when you don’t even get to sit down for the whole 3hr performance? Not really my style. But it happened to be my best friend’s 21st birthday, and to say it nicely, she’s into some weird shit.

However, after reading what limited literature I could find online about this certain performance, I decided to give up, and just turn up on Tuesday night with my ticket in hand, and my intrigue at all time high. Queuing at an event like this isn’t the same as standing in a queue for a concert or waiting in line for hours for the latest Apple product (who does that anyway really?) but instead, an experience in itself. You are offered shots whilst you queue (£3 each of course) and urged to read the names of characters displayed on boards on the walls.

I’d watched an episode of Gossip Girl recently where PunchDrunk’s famous show in NYC, ‘Sleep No More’ features as an exciting, all masked ‘who’s-who-let’s-kiss-this-random-person-who-I’ve-‘accidentally’-mistaken-for-someone-else-even-though-they’re-only-wearing-a-mask-and-I-can distinctly-tell-it’s-the-person-I’ve-been-in-love-with-for-the-past-3-seasons’ kind of skit within the episode. So naturally, judging by the reality of Gossip Girl, I still had no idea of what to expect, other than I knew the shape of the mask. Which in itself is hella scary.

Apprehensive about getting into the lift along with our first ‘guide’, a camp Hollywood wannabe ‘studio employee’ reassured us that there would be attendants dressed in black with black masks on who were happy to help us were we were if we got lost, but could not and would not advise or guide us where to go. There was no health and safety talk, and no the emergency exits are ‘here, here and here’, speeches, just reach the designated floor, being forced out of the lift into total darkness and finding your way until you come across your first scene.

Now I’m not going to give you any inclination as to what actually occurs inside the performance areas, which are pretty much everywhere you can and can’t think of in this 4 storey warehouse, but one thing I can tell you was that in order to get the most out of our experience, we were advised to ‘go it alone’ and pretty much in camp Hollywood studio worker’s words ‘Ditch our friends’. Which I can honestly say was great advice for a while, but bumping into my friend again made sure we explored every single crevice and definitely went to some places that others definitely didn’t. But then you leave with the paranoia that perhaps you didn’t see everything, until finally you come to terms with the fact that you most probably didn’t see everything. But does it matter? No. PunchDrunk’s ethos is to give the audience the freedom to participate as much or as little with their performances, going your own path to decide your destiny not only decides what/who/where you come across, it lets you have the decision to get as much out of your £37.50 as you possibly can.

Tears for Peaches

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In light of the recent news that Peaches Geldof had been found dead at her home in Kent last Monday I started to look at patterns in the lives of celebrity children and the trials and tribulations that they face growing up in the limelight. It’s the kind of thing you look at as a child yourself and think ‘it’s just not fair’. Straight away theses children are born into fame and fortune, and have everything they want. They have (most of the time) two beautiful celebrity parents behind their own flawless and perfected DNA, as well as not to mention the coaching for their own stardom way before they’ve even left nappies. But there’s something empty and harrowing about the fact that as much as Peaches Geldof’s sudden death is unsettling…it doesn’t quite come as a shock.

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was himself, brought up as a child in the limelight. So there was really no surprise when he had children with a woman he probably paid a lot of money to do so, and named them Paris, Prince Michael Jackson II and Prince Michael Jackson II aka. Blanket. Although Jackson courted his children through many weird appearances with masks on as an attempt to shield them from paparazzi, he kind of maybe just a little bit brought quite a lot of attention to them when he dangled one of them (Baby Blanket) over the balcony of a hotel in Berlin in 2002. To be blunt, cut to 2009, the king is dead and has left a trail of damaged and chipped ABCs behind him. Paris Jackson (17), who aged 12, gave a really sweet and emotional speech at her father’s memorial service has tried to take her own life several times from aged 15, resulting in constantly being shipped to and fro from rehab, hardly giving the impression that she’s going to be ‘normal’ further on in life.

Miley Cyrus could have a whole essay about how she turned from dream teen American queen to completely and utterly batshit crazy last year, but I really can’t be bothered or care less to comment on her flesh coloured gyrating tongue sticking outing marketing stunted underwear wrecking ball any longer.

The sad thing about Peaches, is that the 25 year old daughter of pop turned business mogul Bob Geldof and TV presenter Paula Yates, had seemed to turn her life around. She was no longer smoking crack cocaine and flashing her knickers out of limos in LA. She was happily married to Tom Cohen on the band S.C.U.M (don’t worry no one knows who they are either) and had two little boys barely 13 months apart in age. She had a lovely house in Kent, and two lovely dogs , recently appearing with one on a TV show for Sport Relief, where she was in fact really rather lovely. She had lost weight in 2011 after really focusing on her diet, and now received jibes from the press for being ‘too thin’, and ultimately, despite the baby blip of chucking her baby out of the pram a year ago whilst still managing to text, the nation had forgiven her and more so forgiven her damaged soul that is the result of having a mother such as Paula Yates. Surely a difficult task in itself. Now I don’t care much for Bob Geldof, I think he’s alright, Band Aid and that, but since learning of what an arse, Paula Yates must have been to be around, I really sympathise and actually admire him for being such a rock in the Geldof family. Not only has he taken on the daughter of the late (debatable as great?) Michael Hutchence of INXS- whom of which had a very public affair with Geldof’s wife Paula towards the end of their marriage- he adopted Tiger Lily Watercress and cous cous salad or whatever daft name she got given from the tradition after it all too, to make sure she grew up around her half sisters Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie and of course the late (and 75% on the way to being great) Peaches.

So the news of Peaches Geldof is sad, very much so. But it is not a shock. It is a mere reminder that unfortunately, children tend to follow an example of their parents, and judging by the fact that tests from the post mortem came back inconclusive yet we are still waiting for results from a toxicology report, kind of gives a hint towards guessing what might have killed her…

You may delay, but time will not- Benjamin Franklin.

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Moving to London was meant to give me so much freedom. Living in the nation’s capital on my own in my early twenties, I was sure I’d be able to keep down a 9-5 as well as go to all the museums in London three times each by the New Year. And this would definitely be possible, in OPPOSITE LAND. For some reason, London just seems to be this absolute vortex of time. I don’t need to emphasise the amount of people rushing around, bashing in to you, late for their train, when you’re just as late for yours. I get up and go to work, and then before I know it, I’m turning the light out to go to sleep, but then I close my eyes and when I open them, I’m sat at my desk again. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the fast paced lifestyle, I love feeling busy, it keeps me productive in other areas of my life, and the week does go fast even when you’re waiting to see loved ones at the end of it. But before you know it, it’s Monday again, and instead of seeing the Aztec collection at the British Museum, you spent the weekend in front of catch up TV for everything you missed in the week when you were out for someone’s leaving drinks, and the thought of going to the museum a mere 10 minute underground ride away, is stored in the ‘TO DO IN LONDON’ folder that all of us ‘re-locators’ store in our minds; right next to the AUTOMATICALLY SOUND MORE NORTHERN ANYWHERE SOUTH OF MANCHESTER and YOU’RE SKINT AND CAN’T AFFORD LUNCH OUT-EVER folders we keep in there too.

 

So it’s been 7 months since I first pendolino-ed down here, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go and more importantly, raring too also. And then, what happened? London happened. I’m still as enthusiastic as ever with my goals whilst I’m living here, but my attitude towards it has changed, because I’ve realised that living in London is like living inside a ticking time bomb, counting down to each separate event, and you either choose to attend or miss it and wait for the next one, because you simply don’t have the time. “Do you want to meet for lunch?” “I can’t, I only have an hour.” “An hour is plenty!” NO, it really isn’t! Living in London, working in London, going out in London, shopping in London, sleeping in London, any activity in London, an hour is not enough. I finish work at 6.30pm, if I need to get something from the centre of town, and by town I mean West End, I will be home by 9pm. Nothing is just a quick pop to the shops. You can’t just go for a ‘quick coffee’ after work, you will get home at 9.30pm. Going for a meal after work? You won’t be seated until 9pm, you won’t eat until 10pm, at the earliest.

 

Since working as a Personal Assistant to one of the busiest women I’ve ever known, I almost see the appeal in getting one myself (if free labour wasn’t just…well, slavery) to organise my life so I can get the most done possible, in the littlest amount of time possible. To organise my visit to the National Portrait Gallery, or to organise my lunch and then make sure I’ve still got time to see that friend I haven’t seen in 6 months because I’ve been so busy. Oh, and my family? Yes, make time for them too. I can probably schedule them in around quarter to 4 on the 30th of September? No really. This is London life. You have to schedule, otherwise you might just as well vegetate in your bed in your studio flat in Dalston where you pay twice the amount your friend does up north for a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment in the city centre. Again, I’m not complaining, I’m just stating.

 

The economy of London has expanded since the 2008 financial catastrophe and at a rate of almost twice as fast as the rest of the country. How does it do so much with so little time? But that’s the key to living here, to surviving here. You have an amount of time and you have to stick to it or you miss your slot and have to go to option b. Living in London is like being in your own business.  There’s higher wages for workers in London as the city attracts those with skills in high demand and last year, Londoners earned an average of £41,143 pounds (51% more) than the national average, but the price you pay for it? TIME. You spend 80% of your time at work in London, and I don’t just mean in the office, smartphones have enabled to check our phones on weekends, scrolling through those emails which can realistically wait until Monday, but if you respond now, it will save TIME on Monday, TIME for other things, TIME you otherwise wouldn’t have.

 

It seems it’s only when you get really successful in your career, that TIME becomes more irrelevant, possibly because your time is booked by other people, deciding where your time should go, who it should be spent on and what just gets put on the TO DO LIST for WHEN YOU HAVE TIME. Time is no longer minutes on a clock, time has become a currency. So surely the more time you put in, the more money you get out?

 

I’ll let you know if I ever have time.