Monday, December 29, 2014

This is just recreation, I'm old enough to only really be interested in Geological time....

10 hour day, get online...unwind. A reply online to no-body in particular "So despite the country being technically bankrupt for over a decade, despite automation rendering the less educated unemployable while that increased up the chain. Despite new laws that make it illegal to tell anyone if your govt is doing anything illegal, despite foods being concentrated into a corn syrup love-fest and food itself today being a chemical abomination a couple of laboratories removed [for our own good] from it's original state. Despite the very new and now accepted concept of 'Pre-emptive war' that one Global superpower invented and instigated successfully. [As a voter are you proud?-or possibly merely less scared you poor thing] Despite as an aftermath of perpetual war as state business model your own local police get given play-tanks and politics of the individual, never contemplated by the middle class while it existed, now rendered into a no-win choreography combined with a surveillance state that would excite Goebbels so much his brain would literally pass through his body and exit via his penis. Thankfully the NSA is stronger than that and still lives. ..and you want me to be radiant because your shell of a drugged and culturally bombarded excuse for a country overcomes it's previous blatant and systemic racism for a nanosecond and parades some half black dude to make it all worth while, as the dysfunction accelerates?"

Interesting potential for performance architecture hybridizm. NY.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sony/Korea/Smith Mundt Modernization act.

Alternative hypothesis.
Fact: The entire [un-numbered] technology dept at Sony was sacked last Jan.
LA times Jan article
Supposition: They left one or two doors open for themselves.

"It’s clear from the hard-coded paths and passwords in the malware that whoever wrote it had extensive knowledge of Sony’s internal architecture and access to key passwords. While it’s plausible that an attacker could have built up this knowledge over time and then used it to make the malware, Occam’s razor suggests the simpler explanation of an insider. It also fits with the pure revenge tact that this started out as."

Now to North Korea......

Supposition;
Death of the Smith Mundt Act
More specifically "Smith Mundt Modernization Act, eliminating the domestic dissemination ban." 2013

"The American public will see an unprecedented increase in propaganda, despite the tagline of news agencies claiming network transparency over the new provision."

Interesting to me NY Times is so obviously compromised again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Different Types of Laughter Modulate Connectivity within Distinct Parts of the Laughter Perception Network

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063441

Primary types of laughter..
tickling,
Joyful,
Social,
Taunting,
with lots of other smaller nodes, Schadenfreude, sexual and other variances of social.
Remember kids, laugh and the world laughs with you. Study humor and the world becomes a barren planet...except for new funny.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I met the Pope once.

I met the Pope once. We arrived at his gig, an outdoor mass in a large grassed amphitheater in Auckland NZ at about the same time. He had his Popemobile, I was wearing stilts and leading a phalanx of curious children presumably attracted by my oddness and sense of purpose. I’d gone formal, black pants and tails. His crowd filled half a large grass bowl. His Pope mobile, a vehicle representing an almost satanic lack of faith in divine providence was slithering along one side, making it’s way backstage while I crested the brow of the hill the stage was facing, children strung out beside and behind. These were olden times 86 thereabouts. The social contract was benign. There may have been snipers trained on me but they didn’t make themselves apparent. My temporary underage disciples and I instinctively formed a tactical arrowhead formation. There were 15 of us with a couple of hundred yards to cover and the Popes gang, their backs turned as they craned at a distant stage for a glimpse of an elderly Polish demigod, numbered in the thousands. The under 14’s around me breathed long and deep and stole glances at the sky. It was a good day to die. We halted some distance from the back of the crowd as his Popeness popped and locked his way onstage. [The correlation between geriatric movement and rudimentary breakdancing at extreme slow speeds is INDISPUTABLE.] I don’t know how good his eyesight was but I’m guessing an 11ft man dressed in black surrounded by children standing alone and apart in the outfield about 150 yards away dead center might not have escaped his attention. Which was my purpose that day. I lived nearby and was young and well trained in the art of subjugating public places for comic affect and thought it would be fun to try and catch the Popes eye just as an exercise in social elasticity. There’s a distinguished history of Clowns fucking with Popes and I wanted in. I like to think we peered at each other in a contrived yet nevertheless profound search for meaning before he began warming up his crowd in Latin. I moved closer, right up to the back of the crowd, it would have appeared, on my stilts, that I was standing on their shoulders. They began handing me cameras to take Pope-pics for them. I had become one with the congregation and communed with them in one vast universal love…for Pope-pics. So now the tall dark clown at the back was engaged in a barrage of flash photography. I shot the Pope many times. After about five minutes of popearratzi freelancing I figured both the Pope and I had seen enough of each other, I stopped, turned my back and strode back the way I had come Across a large empty space, up a hill and away.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Funky the Clown

 Funky the Bear was a guy in a bear suit. A cartoonish bear suit, the fancy dress variety rather than the authentic grizzly.

Funky was an artist, in that he created his own reality and projected it. Funky didn’t fit in, the world just had to adapt. Funky was funny and Funky was a clown.

The first time I came across him he got arrested. It was hilarious and I was lucky enough to see it unfold from beginning to end. I was ambling into the city [Perth Australia], passing through a large pedestrian plaza where the Art gallery and Museum reside, there was a fenced off area where one of Perths many variations of Arts festivals was eventing.

As I walked into the area I came up behind two mounted policemen staring intently at an apparently drunk and antisocial bear who over the next few minutes staggered and fell, took wild swings at those who stopped to assist and who at one point began to take waste wood from a construction project and throw it into a public fountain.

Whether it was contrived or not it certainly appeared that this bear was simply out of control.

While we watched another , younger policeman arrived and watched with us, the bear was running amok about 100 meters away. The two mounted cops ordered the unmounted fresh faced cadet to “Go and deal with that.”

The bear had just swung another length of 2x4 into the fountain, over-rotated and fallen on his face then got up again when the Cop, about 20 feet away and approaching yelled. “Hey, stop!”

Funky turned and then did a classic cartoon doubletake, his arms thrown out wide, jumped into the air, spun 180 and landed running away, heading for the art event enclosure. It took only seconds for the policeman to catch up with him, he grabbed Funky by the shoulder but the bear kept running anyway. He ran the short distance up to the fence, missed the entrance point by a wide margin and ran straight into the chain link fence, froze a moment fully spreadeagled then slid dramatically down the fence to lie in a heap. The cop was now standing over him and a crowd was forming. Funky had done his best to make it look like the policeman was overreacting with violence at a poor man in a bear suit.

Trying to wrestle back the initiative the young improvising policeman thought it best to put an end to this antromorphic charade by yanking the bears costume head off. A good idea except the suits entry point was through the crutch and the head was not of the removable type.

The cop strained at yanking the bears head off and the bear milked it by throwing his arms out and exaggerating each attempt made at ripping it’s head off.

The now surrounded young cop had moved on to brandishing his handcuffs only to find they didn’t fit round a bears wrists when the crowd, now surrounded him, began to voice their disapproval, adding to his woes. I presume the mounted cops were spectating stoically from a distance while howling with laughter within.

“You can’t arrest him ! He’s a conceptional artist!” someone barracked.

“You have the right to remain fluffy!” another yelled. [OK I admit it, that was me.]

The typically Australian disdain for authority was given full play, no-one took it that seriously, the fact that the cop carried a sidearm meant nothing. He was embarrassed and stressed and trying to arrest a bear therefor the crowd became bear champions instinctively.

Funky the bear put the policeman out of his misery by standing and head held low in shame offering his hand for the cop to take and lead him away, he shuffled meekly away, being towed by a policeman, the crowd good naturedly booing.

I heard later he was taken to the nearby station and mug-shots were taken with his costume still on before simply being let off with a warning. He was actually that year the official mascot of the festival so prosecuting him would have simply been more trouble than it was worth.

I saw him an hour or too later inside the enclosure and was impressed by the amount of expression he could muster inside that suit. He would dance until he attracted children then run away from them and lead them in a simple game of ‘catch the funny bear’ until he worked out who might be a parent and then he would rush up to them and drop to his knees and clasp his paws together in supplication, begging that the parents take their kids back.

He was funny, he was bitter and antisocial and trapped in a bear suit and that was his character.

Some months later I heard of his hijinks when paid to do roving atmospheric work at the grounds of the main Perth University.

He had thrown a rock at some reticulation pipe and burst it and spent part of his gig being chased around by the gardening staff. He’d run indoors to hide and walked into a full lecture hall mid lecture from a door at the front of the class. The lecturer looked at him and the amassed students looked down to him from their tiered seating. A moment frozen in strangeness as he entered. Funky then walked slowly and slyly towards the blackboard, picked up a piece of chalk in his paw. Turned and wrote slowly and deliberately F..U..C..K on the board, then sprinted from the room.

We became friends when, at a later time I met the man who filled the costume.

Funky was funny and Funky was a Clown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Positive control. Why we're all now guilty unless conformity proves us innocent.

We have flipped social monitoring systems and are simply being introduced to the changes.

Best described by John Robb at Global Guerrillas. http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com

"When something is very dangerous, like nuclear weapons, standard forms of protections and control methodologies aren't sufficient.
Something that potentially dangerous needs something more aggressive.
In the military, that's called positive control.
Positive control is an active form of control where the dangerous item is under 24x7x365 monitoring, checking, patrolling, testing, etc.

In this type of system, no information = danger. Alarm bells sound when the feeds and system checks monitoring the item go dark.

This is the opposite of the type of security and law enforcement we're used to in our daily lives. These systems are best described as negative control systems.

Negative control systems are focused on detecting exceptions. A crime. Good behavior is expected. As a result, this system only takes action when a failure occurs.

Positive security can apply to people too, if they are dangerous enough.

So far, the attempts to apply positive control to complete societies in the past have fallen far short, even with an aggressive application of technology. Bureaucratic forms of dictitorial governance like communism and fascism never reached the level of active surveillance required for true positive control. Further, the process of attempting it undermined their ability to deliver robust growth over the long term.

How quickly things change. We're now actively moving towards a society, and a world, founded on positive control.

Why? Paranoia over terrorism, a massive national security infrastructure, and new technology has made it not only possible, but probable.
So, let me lay it out in simple terms.
Here's a framework that will allow you to put the stuff you read in the news into context.
From hat bans to NSA leaks about surveillance programs.

Problem: Everybody on the planet IS a potential terrorist.
Solution: Put everybody on the planet under positive control.
Positive control means the continuous monitoring.
Location GPS phone. Implied by utility use (smart grid). Car GPS. CCTV. Facial recognition everywhere. Social media data. Network Phone. Social media connections. Proximity. Network analysis.
Behavior Economic activity. Utility use. Content use. Usage monitoring. In the case of positive control, any lack of activity or lapse in data is considered dangerous act.
 Try to hide = something to hide.
Any blocking of monitoring will be made illegal and a major crime.
Multiple systems with overlapping control with provide a complete cradle to grave blanket.
There's no way to avoid this. It's already here and nobody cares. "

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Social injustice causes depression too.

The western worlds stage managed death march masquerading as heartfelt pantomime is maintained by advertising and marketing, etherial spells have been cast this last century in which ‘charisma’ was first amplified and projected conceptually across media to initially the worlds first mass market and then transubstantiated onto inanimate objects and politicians. This theatre is a mind numbing veneer that is the most advanced collective hypnotic state ever attempted and realized. A diversionary post natal full spectrum mental cocoon.

A credit to us all.

Subterranean-ality will always be arguable in cultural or sociological matters.

What lies beneath is debated in times of flux and it’s been a while, the Hindenburg trials and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East were the last time our current civilization held court in any sort of hard core moral broadcast. That’s the subtext of show trials after all.

I would argue it’s hardly subterranean to compile public information enough to conclude that the last centuries major profitable industries are irrefutably those connected with blowing shit and people up and doing shitty repairs afterwards. Those are the heavy industries, the light industries being variants of banking warlockery in which financial instruments are manifest via competitive cynicism and thrown like grenades, each over insured against damage, out into society.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Collated Street Theatre advice.


YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
Forward:
The following are a collection of tips from various threads on P.net (performers.net) in response to questions posed by first timers/ newbies/beginners.
These are some of the responses and are a good collection of simple guidelines given by performers with many years experience from all over the world. You have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any.
 
martinewen.com






So You Want To Be a Street Performer.
Advice I give everyone starting out is that your first hundred (or so) shows are going to SUCK. So just get through them and take notes on what worked and what didn't. After 100 bad shows, you'll still probably have learned something new in each show. With 100 lessons learned, something is bound to click in that 101st show and you'll be off and running. 

Start a notebook of ANY idea you have (tricks, lines, promo ideas, etc). No matter how strange or ridiculous they may seem. Then at the end of each week/month/etc review your ideas and breakdown the ones you might work and pursue them. 

Don't lose heart when a day crashes around you ..

Be respectful.. of the people you share the space with.. performers , other street workers, close by shops.... and any reoccurring fans you might have... 

Work as many different spots as you can [all over the country] this will help you to be adaptable to any situation and not get used to only working one spot. 

Travel,watch street performers with reputations you've heard of,ask them questions about your show,these people know what they are talking about. 

The 3 s's.......Smile,Shave and Slow down [you have to relax when you perform,if you are too high energy,people just leave] 


Good ideas can come anywhere, so be sure to keep your notebook handy. I used to think I would remember it, but I usually forget... 

NOTHING can replace the experience of watching an experienced street performer as she/he (wow, does that phrase sound like the good laugh it ought to be!) builds an audience, entertains that audience and then, after suitable hat lines, garner the rewards from his/her years (or hours) of study and preparation. 

You create a stage in public create an audience
do a show with a
beginning

middle
and end
and ask for money afterwards.


  By placing stuff on the ground (clubs, knives, torches, babies etc.) you get the interest of passerby's. Contact them. Tell them a show is to start. Grab a child and place him or her where you want her. Make a stage out of a rope. Ask the child to hold onto the rope. Her family will stay (hopefully) Run around and get the audience around the rope. Start the show. It helps if you have some really crazy things placed at the ground. A chainsaw do all the talking. Knives work. The best is personality, but few are blessed with that.
Making your tricks flow into routines is also very important. Finding a way to connect them together and connect you with the audience. 


Give it a fair chance to see if you really want to do it..
watch other performances and learn from them.. the good .. and

especially the bad... but be your own show... if you copy another performance then you are just a copy ...
Getting out and seeing how the other guys do it, asking questions, and just doing it yourself is really the only way to learn. 

Develop a character,
1/ Get one article of clothing that ‘is’ you, some playful/interesting piece of clothing, hat, jacket,pants doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are comfortable and playful about pushing a stage to just outside your body..
2/ grab a prop, juggling ball, babies rattle, small/big doesn’t matter, any object that gives you some deep playful impulse (resist yourself you double entendre fuckers)
Something that, in any given moment where you feel you’re losing it, you can grab that thing and focus on it and remember that the idea is to enjoy yourself. Choose wisely and personally.
3/ THEN on the pitch
create a stage
Put your props out with focus and intention (builds possible anticipation, its a tension device)
and/or mark out an area with string/rope whatever
and or pace the intended stage
and or (others can put suggestions under numbers ie this is 3) (then we could put it in the library under ‘collective’)
4/
Create an audience

beckon interested people to the edge of what you have defined as your stage.
Use the ‘curious ape’ technique.
(Deeply rooted in the human psyche is a curiosity borne from self preservation. From the time we came down from the trees onward unusual things had the ability to kill. If a person sees an action or a series of actions that make no sense it is a universal human principal that they will halt and focus until they have perceived meaning. If you for example take 5 actions and unusually stop each to continue another nothing will make sense for round two thirds of the process when the objectives become more apparent. In this time a good proportion of people passing will stop to try and make out what you are doing. 

I was lucky enough to have the silly people comedians do a piece I wrote that demonstrated this principle, I was able to stretch ‘making no sense at all but obviously doing something focused’ to a grand total of round 15minutes--before they realised that the dead fish were there to attract flies that each performer was competitively catching.

Promise them a show Create eye contact 

Instigate relationships, be happy, if you try too hard go back to (2-above) then resume. 

I think the first thing any solo performer needs to find out is HOW OTHERS PERCEIVE YOU ...
The only way I know to do that is to take whatever skills you have and present them to an audience ... don't write material (for gawds sake don't steal) just put the things you do in a kind of order on the ground in front of you ... then pick them up (even if they are alive) and see what happens ... THEY (the audience) will tell you what they want from you ... and THEY will write your show for you.
Once you know who you ARE ...you will know your CHARACTER ... your clown.

It might be a little frightening at first ... but you will get it pretty quick ... especially if you are hungry.
Once you know what they want to see ... then it's pretty easy ... just write down everything that you see or hear that is funny ... if you wanna get real good, record your shows on tape ... that's about it. 

There is no failure, just success and not trying. Set your goal and do it. There are tons of business people that are very successful because they're stupid. They don't think about stuff, they just start and figure it will all work out. Hard work is better than hard thinking. This is what I tell myself once a week. 

Do shows and suck and go home rejoicing in your suckness knowing that at least you did shows. The most valuable thing I have been told and what seems to be the recurring theme through all these posts is that the only way to get good at the street is to do the street.
While personal perseverance is a major part of anything creative I think those of us who for various reasons are still performing on the streets after a decade or so could quite easily bring to mind individuals who have taken us under their wing showed us some techniques and probably more importantly given us permission to make our own rules.
Its scary to get out there with your own content and risk failure. That's why generic shows are so plentiful.
  How to create a stage in public, how to create an audience, how to create a show with a beginning a middle and an end, how to ask for money.

There's heaps of ways to do each of these things . It helps to know what some of them are. 

Go to festivals. Catch all the street at the Fringe that you can. Plan your holidays to coincide with streetfests in other cities. Try. Rehearse. Ask quality questions. Fail. Succeed. Laugh at yourself. Don't let the odd cranky reply or brush-off dissuade you. Read. Research all kinds of comedy, of performance, of style, of tempo, of era, of mood. 


Find the skin that fits like a glove.
Beginning, middle, end dude. It's not rocket science.
Beginning: (For a street show) Make some sort of spectacle of your self until you've drawn enough attention from passers by that they are no longer passers by, they are a crowd. (For a stage show) Make an entrance.
Middle: Do something to keep every body interested and entertained enough so they don't want to walk away. That works for both street and stage.
End: It's called a finale', or perhaps a grand finale', your biggest trick, or most visual or funny routine. Also if it is a street show and you want your audience to tip you for the performance, you should communicate that to them at some time during the show. It's called a hat line.
And finally the best way to put together a street show is to do it. Find a pitch somewhere and do at least 100 shows. Paying attention to your audience at all times. The stuff they like, keep. The stuff they don't like, either fix or discard. Have fun and try not to hurt anyone or get arrested.
Just think outside of yourself a little. If you were just a spectator on the sidewalk, what would surprise you, make you laugh, and endear you towards a performer (i.e. want to give him some of your hard earned money). Thinking like an audience member is a huge help towards writing original material, and avoiding being overly masturbatory. And never just deliver, always tease at least a little bit first, otherwise they won't appreciate it, you've got to make people WANT what you've got before you give it to them.


Personally, I tend to try and create a progression that tells some kind of simple story in my show (ex: inept chef struggles to cook a wily lobster) rather than just string tricks together.
But if you do string tricks together, here are some things to think about:
1) transitions between tricks are where you will lose your crowd. Try and link your tricks together some way so people will stay to watch.
2) the arc of your show should be straight up -- build suspense, work the crowd, make 'em want to see your big finish, whatever it is. Don't give your best away at the top of the show.
3) Don't even start your show until you get at least a solid front row of people actively watching you. Before you start your show, you need to do things to attract people's attention, and make them understand that they need to stick around for the show.
More talk, less walk. More show, less stuff.
Work on your patter, your verbal skills, your dialogue and interaction with the audience.
Don't keep on talking about it , do it .
Rehearse. Go to a neutral space, set up a video camera and just jam in front of it. Improvise. Throw out ideas. Create. Even if it's awful. Especially if it's awful. Then watch the tape. Watch it again and then a third time. Note which ideas you liked and chuck everything else.

Go back and rehearse again this time go back to your 'good ideas' and try and take them further. Try new stuff. Watch the tape three times and take notes. Then go back and do it again and again and again and again...
1.THE RIGHT STUFF- combine all your skills.
a) physical...what you can do ... be like Murph.
b) mental ......what you think about ...positive attitude. c) emotional ..how you feel about it ...care about them. d) theatrical...who you are ...impersonations / dialects.

2. MATERIAL- what works for you.
a) “street” is not “stage”...break the 4th wall.
b) the family show....appeal to the masses.
c) the Pizza Hut mentality... everybody gets the joke.
d) the “L” factor...”Likability”...how much they like you. *
e) character & personal style...be unique... you are: who?
f) technique...master your craft.
g) K.I.S.S....keep it simple stupid.
h) standard lines, tired bits....mistakes are stepping stones to

failure.
i) ripping off... give credit where credit is due.
j) Houdini’s Rule: involve the senses...sight and sound together,

+ smell, + touch
k) the hat line...unique to the street...they pay you because

they like you.*
3. DESIGN - your choice.
a) set...the look of your stage...banner / showtime sign. b) props...and proud of it! ...your prop case display.
c) costume....neat & clean & durable ...“nice vest”.
d) sound systems....Mouse vs. Peavey, Anchor Audio.

4.SAFETY - think!
a) personal...if it hurts, don’t do it!
b) audience... “...ever hit a little boy in the face with a knife?”...

... “our client has...”

c) fire... shake those torches! OSHA approved fuel container...to ask or not to ask?
d) security....out of sight..out of mind!
e) travel...don’t fly with fuel, carry-on restrictions... (check those machetes!)... I.N.S.
5. THE SHOW - made up of bits.
a) packing...prop case + casters...two check-in, one carry-on, weight & size limitations.
b) structure....put it all together.
1. set-up, warm up...pre show.
2. crowd gathering...whistles, bells, yells...make a spectacle of

yourself.
3. intro., hat line ...who you are...mention money, be funny. 4. bit...usually one prop or skit about 2-3 minutes long.
5. transition...segué...time between bits.
6. etc....create tension...relax tension.
7. Big Trick set up....what I’m gonna do for you...
8. hat line...what you’re gonna do for me....$
9. Big Trick...wow... “louder” ...WoW!
10. hat pass...laughter turns their money into yours.
11. benediction....thank you..thank you...both of you.
12. cool down, reset...turn around time.
6. CONDITIONAL PROBLEMS - beyond your control.
a) site selection... high traffic flow (people)...sight lines.
b) surfaces & sun... “the sun was in my eyes!...I stepped on a

rock! ...it was the wind!”
c) pollutants: fumes, noise...construction, cars, children. (& the

occasional fountain)
d) legality...Stephen Baird...learn the rules then break some. e) weather... it affects the audience.
Butterfly’s Rule: 92-62.. over 92?... too hot... under 52?...too

cold ......duh.
f) safety first again... re-read #4. ... this time, everything’s wet.

7. HECKLERS - friend or foe?
a) analysis ... listen to what they say.
b) action ...use what they say ... comeback lines. c) resolution...it’s part of the act!
8. FOREIGN LANDS - your backyard.

a) people...loving the differences.
b) places...Waldo says: ”buy a ticket.”
c) things...border crossings, money woes, the best spots, Visa’s

9. SHOW BUSINESS - these days, it’s 1/2 show and all business a) professionalism ...presentation is 90 percent of your act.
b) corporate identity...you, on paper ... your video!
c) public relations ...give them more than they expect...make

those calls!
d) moneymoneymoneymoney...satisfy yourself, make a lot then

use it to help others ... save for the future... don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
Keep a diary for the first month or so at least as you'll find it useful and entertaining later on, audience sizes, particular interactions, problems, hat sizes and shows per day.
Remember, you can do anything, go anywhere, earn as you go. All you need is one unit of performance.
Good luck. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rumple transcript.



I'm getting some old stuff finished, clearing the decks. Here's a transcript of a taped conversation I had while driving Rumple/ Jolly goodfellow where I simply ask him "What's it all about?"

Martin; So Rumple? What’s it all about?

Rumple; Yeah..there's too much out there for anyone to know,

Martin.."so your answer to what's it all about is a question mark."

Rumple; Yeah I think that sort of sums it up [laughs]
I mean…pretty simply…but what's behind the question mark? [laughs]
I mean..yeah..there's so many words that you can come up with that you can try to define it, to sculpture meaning out of it all, but uh yeah the human mind's a fascinating thing you know, there's just so much out there, my mind's wide open, I don't claim to know the meaning of it all, I don't think there's any human alive that can fully encapsulate everything with words, there's so many different levels, you know, there's so many different ways to look at things, or even the same things,so many realities and cultures…space-beings, yeah, planets,[laughs]


I mean [laughs] it’s just so cosmic, you know, it’s just..goes on forever and people claim that they know it, you know, but people on this planet you know they go to universities and read books you know but a lot of our things, initially come from the imagination of the human mind, human perception, human imagery, so we can comprehend you know, in a human context so we can relate to it..but there’s more than meets the eye. 


But I think it is quite fascinating that humans out of all species can modify the environment to such an extent to be able to control it but ah, yeah there’s just a lot going on and when you break it down, the science of everything, there’s just a, Its mind boggling, overwhelming.
Yeah you could read all you like but ah, it’s always going to be a mystery. I mean I think thats the beauty of it you know? keeps us guessing. I mean how can one living entity claim to know everything when you look at the scale of the universe, the stars and everything. Scientifically how could scientists understand everything, but ah, yeah I’m just keeping an open mind, I’m just a fool you know [laughs]


yeah…yeah, you just got to do what you can, enjoy life, make the most of it, you know it’s an array of, a palette of life you've gotta make the most of what there is to offer. I mean it’s quite interesting too, you know, I think, you know like Buddhist monks, you know, can have a completely different outlook but also being an artist is magical too you you can marry the best of both worlds, like you know I think it’s quite beautiful to play music, to juggle, a bit of all, everything. Yeah, I’ve gotta meditate more, I mean oneness, the ultraverse, the alt averse, the universe, yeah it’s all so cosmic and I’m just a goose in inverted commas, I’m on my ‘L’ plates, yeah, how do you figure it out? Through art, through entertainment, through philosophy, meditation, dreams, sometimes you just gotta look at the big picture but you get lost in all the details, [Laughs]


or you break it down to a science. Fuck how detailed is it? Because dillions of mere atoms spinning around in a, you know, like, some strange glue of atoms that binds it all together, all this stuff in the universe, like fuck, what the hell is going on? does anyone really know what’s going on? Yeah it’s all happening, crikey, yeah you know I just think, universe, culture and spirituality, everything has it’s pro’s and cons, but I think love transcends all politics, you know there’s so many barriers, with politics, the people, you know, forget, religions have a different path but they all have a similar goal about Love, but it’s completely different. yeah love is the greatest power of all, I mean it’s just like, if there is God, God must have a pretty strong point [laughs] it’s just a big sex bomb [laughs] love is the bomb. The plan, everything, masculine, feminine, even the french language, I mean, or german they have ah, like you can have a female chair and a male table, [laughs] That’s pretty funny.[garble +Laugh] I’m a androgynous hermaphrodite, I’m a lesbian transvestite, no I’m an asexual, jesters don’t have sex.

Martin : They reproduce through the laughter of others.

Rumple; Yeah, [Laughs chokes] Yeah there’s a species that.. [changes subject] but what I do is just try and ah set things off, spread multiple giggleasms, so things just ah, you know, get creative, laughter of ah..[changes subject]
God this is awesome! check this out, [picks up camera] this is so incredibly beautiful.
[changes subject back]
I mean ah, maybe I mean God is.. Where everything is God I guess, I mean whatever you call God, you know where all a part of..we’re all in this together. It’s good to be a part of it all, our life force, the energies, it’s about energy too, so much energy out there and in a way I think everyone effects each other with all the energy that goes on in the world across the planet you know, the vibrations,of even of you know, Gods or archetypes, yeah I mean there’s many different different levels, ah, cos I guess to a certain extent you know, I mean there’s so many beliefs that, just, just you could go on and talk about it forever, it’s just

Martin; So it would appear.

Rumple; Huh?

Martin: I said so it would appear.

Rumple; Yeah I mean like, I mean people think, some people think that animals don’t even have a soul. But ah, I think animals, [pats chest] oh shit, sorry, I’m just, my heart just jumped then, caught an irregular beat,
Yeah [uninteligible] spirit

Martin; Don’t die in my car Rumple

Rumple, No I know, my dad had a heart attack, yeah and he was only 2 years and a few weeks older than me.
Yeah , I mean sometimes I’m amazed but other times, you know, when you just think about things, your mind can, you know,, it’s much more of a, I don’t have to talk forever, you have a sense of feeling like your feelings, emotional intelligence. I must meditate a bit more though, be a good thing to do, the inner journey, the outer journey, sometimes I get lost in the kingdom of grammatical sense.
I find it interesting too, words you know, to sculpt someones expression or meaning and I think that’s why a lot of people too, in the world, have conflicts, because of ,um,you know, communication, and expression. There’s a lot of beautiful people out there who can’t express themselves, they get lost in translation. 

But ah, yeah, emotions are a really incredible thing you know, to be a human being, to be alive, it’s just so fascinating, people come and go and you think in the past and the present and future. If only time travel was possible you could hang out in the past and present and future at the same time. What’s the meaning of life? Yeah, ah, pretty out there. I mean you think of a brain and it’s just..I mean if you stretched out all the ah, all the connections in the brain, probably extend to the moon they say..
I don’t know, I’m just a goose inverted commas, I don’t know what’s going on, it’s beyond me,my words, what are they [laughs], I’ve gotta, I’ve gotta go and learn english properly. I still don’t even speak english properly. It is pretty interesting when you think of English the language too because all the blend you know because there’s a bit of french there and Scottish I mean, I don’t know, you could just go on forever, yeah. 
Who am I? Who are you? What are we? We think we know it all, us people, it’s very people based isn’t it, People, it’s all about people, we are it, yeah. I put my faith in people. Nothing else. The universe is only planet earth, the universe, there’s no other life forms, we’re the only life form…naah

There are... I believe there are many other life forms.

Martin; I think you are one.

Rumple; Yeah,..Do you think there’s a higher intelligence than us?

Martin, Well I know I’m not the brightest person in the world.

Rumple, Do you think that you’re not bright? You read a lot of books.

Martin; I’m above average but that’s meaningless.

Rumple, But you read a lot of books, you must know it all Martin.

Martin, They’re not mutually inclusive statements, I read a lot of books, there’s a lot of books I haven’t read.

Rumple; Yeah I mean you can just get lost in the world of information.
Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it, I mean when you speak about the concept of God, no matter what religion, you know, I mean some people are closed minded, they don’t like to talk about new age topics or anything outside of the philosophy of christianity or the bible or whatever but everything has a bit of truth in it, beautiful art, philosophical art, ideas, but ah, yeah, I can’t believe in any one particular thing, of religion, I think it’s total integration of everything put together, all the elements, you can’t divide anything fully or separate, it has to be a complete oneness, even though it’s hard, like, something like, it’s not good to have any enemies at all, anyone in the world but ah, it’s not easy sometimes in this world .

 I mean, you know It’d be so wonderful if everyone could love each other and there was no begrudgement , but I guess, it’s kind of bizarre when you think, I mean you think of a John Lennon song ‘imagine’ but in a way it probably would be a bit boring if every country was the same country and there was no France, no Italy, no Spain, because you know it gives a bit of character, but, I don’t know if it’d be ideal or I mean it would be very beautiful if everyone could live together in peace and harmony and you know, just share the love and laughter and..but it’s hard to imagine what the world would be like if it were all the same because then there wouldn’t be different languages would there? I don’t know, Yeah, there’s..every subject, you know is, [Laughs]

Martin, Come on! Only 47 hours to go!

Rumple; Oh no! geez, help. I need help I need to see a psychologist to tell me who I am, I need professional help, I’m only a fool, don’t listen to me. I don’t know what’s going on. You know, go in, go to church or if you haven’t time have a personality test with scientology, they’ll tell you what the real deal of, what the universe is I mean sitting in an office under a fluorescent light, all day, on a busy urban street I mean they must know what’s going on, I mean, I could believe in nature too, I mean, it's good, and love, I mean I think love is the true meaning of life. 

Oh fuck, look at this, Jesus christ [grabs camera and shoots out window] fuck, my camera, could’t get it. Jesus, fuck a duck, That was, that was, if only I could have shown you what I just missed, then you would understand, [laughs] ah criky. I’m back to square one. I think martins knows what it all is, what it’s all about. I think martin ewen is God,I mean, I’m sorry to disappoint everyone [laughs] [laughs a lot] yeah,


Monday, April 14, 2014

Busking-youtube, a case study

This is an interesting developing story, [sorry the music recording quality's not that good ]

This guy's being playing in Brighton for years, he rocks. A local guitar bigwig came across him, filmed him playing, put it on youtube and it got a squidillion hit's.

So the bigwig went back and gave this busker about 80-100 quid which was what the hit's on his blog had generated.




Filmed that, put it on youtube, rinse -repeat.

Then took Andrew Niel [the busker] back to his place and gave him a choice of about 6 guitars to try out and have one as a gift, filmed-youtube, rinse repeat.



Then set him up with his own youtube channel and he's just starting out on the busking-youtube adventure. He doesn't have huge numbers but he's attracting heavy hitters, Muddy Waters has subscribed.

I hope it goes well for him. As you can see he's just giving his camera to people to film him at this early stage and his helper stuck a finger over the mike at some points but it's early days.




check out his channel.

http://www.youtube.com/user/NellySlideGuitar

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cheap and affordable open source virtual reality, it has begun

Mark my words. This is going to take off. Why? Look at the reactions of first time users. It uses your iphone as it's graphics driver. It's open source so you can 3d print all the parts or have them printed locally, and it's cheap.
http://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20140404/16155026805/awesome-stuff-mainstreaming-augmented-virtual-reality.shtml

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Having arrived.

I've been pondering this week and I'm pleased to say I have something to show for it.

I watched a couple of times the video of the 66 year old who gave up his old life and now skates along beach paths on one leg at a time celebrating his equilibrium blissing out as a form of meditation as he's done for 15 years now.

At first people thought he was just strange but after time his consistency eroded their critical opinions and now he's a fixture and the public celebrates him with smiles and high fives.

I think it's because on a very deep level that alludes most but they can still recognise he's arrived.

----------------

Clown structure typically involves creating problems that are approached with a childish innocence and overcome in unique, non typical, unorthodox ways.

When they get to that solution you could say they have 'arrived' and that arrival is what the audience celebrates.

A clown show like Rob Torres's, because it's a show, uses innovation and narrative and is structured in a linear wave form with multi-layered subtext, call-backs, fail fail succeed gambits etc but it occurs to me that the peaks of his waveform structure are 'arrivals'.

As performers we structure moments where we arrive at bliss because sharing that is our jobs.

Beyond that, behind that, under that, not always but sometimes, we ourselves, despite the structures, despite the disciplines we pseudo-casually exhibit, during our shows, we ourselves 'arrive'.

You cannot take it for granted and it's a personal thing but it's strong enough to carry us through times where our shows are more or less acts of generosity. We don't always make it, we don't always arrive ourselves but our shows are designed to make sure that hopefully the audience does.

Because arriving ourselves is quite simply the best feeling there is. I know because I've experimented over 50 years with people, chemicals, commercial success, philosophies, affiliations, solitude, pride, self pity and applause among other things and can tell you that from my experiments that there is no terrestrial sensation larger than a feeling of having arrived.

-------------
Another living narrative I was reminded of after watching the ex-doctor skating along blissfully in his twilight years was Dublins Diceman, who died in 95 but started out as a sitting statue who would wink in response to donations, then stood, then grew crowds so large he'd get moved on so adapted to walking in ultra-slow motion the length of Grafton st.

He admitted that fear made him reduce himself down to stillness and then to moving very slowly. It wasn't easy, he would be attacked sometimes, other times, at least once, part of his costume was set on fire as he moved slowly down the pedestrian street. But he never broke character, on the occasion he was set alight others nearby put him out, he kept plodding forward.

He kept plodding forward because he wasn't going anywhere, he kept plodding forward because he'd already 'arrived' and that stuff is deep and somehow resonates between us on some level. He became legendary among the Dublin public. They loved him and when he died they celebrated him by carrying a coffin down Grafton street slowly, many hundreds of them, as a tribute I feel to both him and the sense of arrival he shared.



-----------

I say this because for the last year or so I've simply been waiting to die.
That might sound dramatic but I can assure you it's not. It's quite hollow and tedious.
I had rent paid for over a year in advance, enough left over for food, the sun shone every day, I had a therapist who shadowed me and I spent most of my time waiting in isolation for either a revelation or cancer.

Which in itself is unusual, an uncommon indulgence, I had lived my life, I'd had my stories, for reasons I can only speculate over I had become inert, without even the momentum to feed myself at worst. I can relate that I am indeed one hardy fucker because externally I am again fit and healthy.

I want something.
I want to arrive. I'm going to walk into my local council tomorrow and I can't do anything about my funny accent but I can try to communicate in simple terms that I want to select a public place where I can put my clown character and simply 'be' for a couple of hours a couple of times a week.

Because I know that will allow me to again arrive, and no-one likes a quitter.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Perspectives - What's Wrong with TED Talks? Benjamin Bratton at TEDx...

Slomo, a considered eccentric who bathes in the moment. Quite profound.

Street theatre past...The Diceman, Dublin's adopted son.

When I moved to Dublin for a season I was approached many times and asked if I knew 'the Diceman'.

There was an unmistakeable pride and ownership in those who asked. This Diceman character was Dublins own street theatre eccentric and had not a cult following but a warm affectionate everman kind of love.

I hadn't met him or even heard of him and at the time I was there I guess he was dieing of aids and so not performing any more.

Google didn't exist, the internet was in it's infancy or non existent so it's taken a while for his legacy to become explorable to all.

What impressed me most, as a perpetual outsider who existed to make strangers laugh at life, was the unfathomable, unthinkable concept that a community would love this energy enough to simply cradle and support it. To own, support and love it like a parent would a forevermore amusing child.



Here's some background



http://www.diceman.ie/about/diceman.html

Friday, March 28, 2014

Boy with tape on his face

It's invigorating to see his approach.
The film-maker has his own good game, showing via editing the frustration a variety performer feels backstage sometimes.
The boy himself kinda leaves himself bare.
He's just a prop comic from Oamaru, a tiny town in the south island, who went to the circus skills school in Christchurch at the polytec and had a show he knew he sucked at and then put tape over his mouth to shut him the fuck up one day and now he's a big deal in what he admits is a small circle, even after a Royal performance slot.
As he says,
"That one moment when the audience is watching your show, is the most honest normality of the whole thing.

 'It's not important',..."Yeah It's incredibly important but it doesn't matter. It's incredibly important but nobody cares except you."
It's a great video. I can relate.



 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRv0mzur9zM&list=UUAhv9OHBVYmchyCbsuFLy-Q

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When people tell me they don't like Clowns I remember this Poem I call Belgium Bitters.

Sometimes the crash after a festival run can be hard, imagine after Halifax, sharing a plane then train, both providing alcohol and about 20+ hours in total having interrupted the wrap party at the departure end and then a further weeks debauch in Portsmouth all in the company of invisible circus john. A man who blows bubbles in Canada and at home has the keys to the Portsmouth Kings Theatre and lives beside it and is it's stage manager. Overseeing all.
Then John and I go to Belgium until finally I am left on my own again about lunchtime. Begin the crash, work every day while staying at the seamans hotel in the red light district. Barely cover rent and beer and newspapers. Searching for corners, working three.

One advantage of depression and it's innate self absorption is that it becomes an ideal soil from which righteous indignation can grow.
When people tell me they don't like Clowns I remember this Poem I call
Belgium Bitters.


I’m a clown and I’m sick of people.
-Blank-Instinctive laugh-Back to blank-drones
Idle minds numbed by choices made years ago
Adrift on a conveyer of soul rotting routine assignments.
Calm husks about their shopping.
Stupid mono-mental morons with wives , husbands, children in tow.
Designer label dipshits
whose only ambition is to upgrade
to a slightly more expensive vacuousness.
Children-
sugar saturated runamoc brats, who
like their parents
know nothing more than their immediate needs
The only tool they’re issued - emotional blackmail

I hate teenagers en mass
premasticated pap formulas of sentiment without substance.
Teenage males
egos enormous brittle and facile
all covering their transparent fear
Teenage females preprogrammed for collective hysteria as sexual cul de sac

I see them every day
I entertain them
I make them laugh at others
unaware that they themselves have been exposed
I hate them
and I’m going to do it all again tomorrow

Their insipid blank bovine faces will lift themselves
as they strain to identify my relevance
while their naked humanity
balloons outward
in tears of laughter
Dumb Fucks

-------
I was a prince among men was I not?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi...Clown

Few biographers have proved so reluctant, but when the raw materials that would become *The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi* reached Charles Dickens’ desk in the autumn of 1837, he was far from impressed. “I have thought the matter over, and looked it over, too,” he told his publisher, Richard Bentley, “it is very badly done, and so redolent of twaddle that I fear I cannot take it up on any conditions.”

What he saw had begun life as a sprawling manuscript of some 400 “childlike and simple” pages written by the pantomime clown, Joseph Grimaldi, in the course of his long retirement from the stage. When a publisher proved hard to find, Grimaldi contracted with a theatrical journalist, Thomas Egerton Wilks to help him revise the entire manuscript, but died before it was completed. Wilks sold the unfinished project on to Bentley, who considered Dickens perfect for the job – not only had he idolized Grimaldi as a child, fondly recalling trips to Covent Garden “to behold the splendour of Christmas Pantomimes and the humour of Joe,” but his own Sketches By Boz (1836) had been widely commended for displaying “the spirit of Grimaldi.”

Having finally relented, Dickens saw it off in a matter of weeks, subjecting it to “a double and most comprehensive process of abridgement,” resetting the narrative from the first person to the third, and not even bothering to write it down, preferring to dictate it to his father, who could be found “in exulted enjoyment of the office of amanuensis.”

Despite all its evident haste, The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi remains unmistakably “Dickensian,” recalling passages from Nicholas Nickleby, Hard Times and others. Without doubt, his most important decision was to place the biographical details of Grimaldi’s life within a strict economy of pleasure and pain that draws stark contrasts between the tinsel of the stage and the shabby reality of his many hardships. Laughter and misery becomes the balance-beam on which Grimaldi’s existence is constantly weighed as every career triumph is paid for with a proportionate personal agony, and every moment of joy countered by grief.

more......

http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/11/14/the-memoirs-of-joseph-grimaldi/

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Yellow Wallpaper- Madness

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper" (1913)

 

This article originally appeared in the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner.


Many and many a reader has asked that. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest in The Transcript. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it.
        Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and--begging my pardon--had I been there?
        Now the story of the story is this:
        For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still-good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as I lived. This was in 1887.
        I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over.
        Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again--work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite--ultimately recovering some measure of power.
        Being naturally moved to rejoicing by this narrow escape, I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper, with its embellishments and additions, to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad. He never acknowledged it.
        The little book is valued by alienists and as a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate--so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered.
        But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.
        It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper (1899)

 

It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
        A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate!
        Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.
        Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?
        John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.
        John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
        John is a physician, and perhaps--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.
        You see he does not believe I am sick!
        And what can one do?
        If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression--a slight hysterical tendency-- what is one to do?
        My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.
        So I take phosphates or phosphites--whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again.
        Personally, I disagree with their ideas.
        Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.
        But what is one to do?
        I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal--having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.
        I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.
        So I will let it alone and talk about the house.
        The most beautiful place! It is quite alone standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village. It makes me think of English places that you read about, for there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people.
        There is a delicious garden! I never saw such a garden--large and shady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them.
        There were greenhouses, too, but they are all broken now.
        There was some legal trouble, I believe, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years.
        That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don't care--there is something strange about the house--I can feel it.
        I even said so to John one moonlight evening but he said what I felt was a draught, and shut the window.
        I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition.
        But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself-- before him, at least, and that makes me very tired.
        I don't like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! but John would not hear of it.
        He said there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him if he took another.
        He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.
        I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.
        He said we came here solely on my account, that I was to have perfect rest and all the air I could get. "Your exercise depends on your strength, my dear," said he, "and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time. ' So we took the nursery at the top of the house.
        It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.
        The paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it. It is stripped off--the paper in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life.
        One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
        It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
        The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
        It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
        No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long.
        There comes John, and I must put this away,--he hates to have me write a word.


----------
        We have been here two weeks, and I haven't felt like writing before, since that first day.
        I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength.
        John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious.
        I am glad my case is not serious!
        But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing.
        John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.
        Of course it is only nervousness. It does weigh on me so not to do my duty in any way!
        I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already!
        Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able,--to dress and entertain, and order things.
        It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby!
        And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous.
        I suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me so about this wall-paper!
        At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies.
        He said that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on.
        "You know the place is doing you good," he said, "and really, dear, I don't care to renovate the house just for a three months' rental."
        "Then do let us go downstairs," I said, "there are such pretty rooms there."
        Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose, and said he would go down to the cellar, if I wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain.
        But he is right enough about the beds and windows and things.
        It is an airy and comfortable room as any one need wish, and, of course, I would not be so silly as to make him uncomfortable just for a whim.
        I'm really getting quite fond of the big room, all but that horrid paper.
        Out of one window I can see the garden, those mysterious deepshaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.
        Out of another I get a lovely view of the bay and a little private wharf belonging to the estate. There is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house. I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.
        I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me.
        But I find I get pretty tired when I try.
        It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work. When I get really well, John says we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now.
        I wish I could get well faster.
        But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!
        There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
        I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere There is one place where two breaths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.
        I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.
        I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big, old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend.
        I used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce I could always hop into that chair and be safe.
        The furniture in this room is no worse than inharmonious, however, for we had to bring it all from downstairs. I suppose when this was used as a playroom they had to take the nursery things out, and no wonder! I never saw such ravages as the children have made here.
        The wall-paper, as I said before, is torn off in spots, and it sticketh closer than a brother--they must have had perseverance as well as hatred.
        Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.
        But I don't mind it a bit--only the paper.
        There comes John's sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful of me! I must not let her find me writing.
        She is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession. I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!
        But I can write when she is out, and see her a long way off from these windows.
        There is one that commands the road, a lovely shaded winding road, and one that just looks off over the country. A lovely country, too, full of great elms and velvet meadows.
        This wall-paper has a kind of sub-pattern in a, different shade, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then.
        But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so--I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.
        There's sister on the stairs!

----------
        Well, the Fourth of July is over! The people are all gone and I am tired out. John thought it might do me good to see a little company, so we just had mother and Nellie and the children down for a week.
        Of course I didn't do a thing. Jennie sees to everything now.
        But it tired me all the same.
        John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall.
        But I don't want to go there at all. I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so!
        Besides, it is such an undertaking to go so far.
        I don't feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I'm getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.
        I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.
        Of course I don't when John is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone.
        And I am alone a good deal just now. John is kept in town very often by serious cases, and Jennie is good and lets me alone when I want her to.
        So I walk a little in the garden or down that lovely lane, sit on the porch under the roses, and lie down up here a good deal.
        I'm getting really fond of the room in spite of the wall-paper. Perhaps because of the wall-paper.
        It dwells in my mind so!
        I lie here on this great immovable bed--it is nailed down, I believe--and follow that pattern about by the hour. It is as good as gymnastics, I assure you. I start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion.
        I know a little of the principle of design, and I know this thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of.
        It is repeated, of course, by the breadths, but not otherwise.
        Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes--a kind of "debased Romanesque" with delirium tremens--go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.
        But, on the other hand, they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting waves of optic horror, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase.
        The whole thing goes horizontally, too, at least it seems so, and I exhaust myself in trying to distinguish the order of its going in that direction.
        They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that adds wonderfully to the confusion.
        There is one end of the room where it is almost intact, and there, when the crosslights fade and the low sun shines directly upon it, I can almost fancy radiation after all,--the interminable grotesques seem to form around a common centre and rush off in headlong plunges of equal distraction.
        It makes me tired to follow it. I will take a nap I guess.

----------
        I don't know why I should write this.
        I don't want to.
        I don't feel able. And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way--it is such a relief!
        But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief.
        Half the time now I am awfully lazy, and lie down ever so much.
        John says I mustn't lose my strength, and has me take cod liver oil and lots of tonics and things, to say nothing of ale and wine and rare meat.
        Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day, and tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia.
        But he said I wasn't able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished .
        It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight. Just this nervous weakness I suppose.
        And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried me upstairs and laid me on the bed, and sat by me and read to me till it tired my head.
        He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I must take care of myself for his sake, and keep well.
        He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.
        There's one comfort, the baby is well and happy, and does not have to occupy this nursery with the horrid wall-paper.
        If we had not used it, that blessed child would have! What a fortunate escape! Why, I wouldn't have a child of mine, an impressionable little thing, live in such a room for worlds.
        I never thought of it before, but it is lucky that John kept me here after all, I can stand it so much easier than a baby, you see.
        Of course I never mention it to them any more--I am too wise,--but I keep watch of it all the same.
        There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.
        Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day.
        It is always the same shape, only very numerous.
        And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don't like it a bit. I wonder--I begin to think--I wish John would take me away from here!

----------
        It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so.
        But I tried it last night.
        It was moonlight. The moon shines in all around just as the sun does.
        I hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so slowly, and always comes in by one window or another.
        John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating wall-paper till I felt creepy.
        The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out.
        I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and when I came back John was awake.
        "What is it, little girl?" he said. "Don't go walking about like that--you'll get cold."
        I thought it was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away.
        "Why darling!" said he, "our lease will be up in three weeks, and I can't see how to leave before.
        "The repairs are not done at home, and I cannot possibly leave town just now. Of course if you were in any danger, I could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better, I feel really much easier about you."
        "I don't weigh a bit more," said 1, "nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away!"
        "Bless her little heart!" said he with a big hug, "she shall be as sick as she pleases! But now let's improve the shining hours by going to sleep, and talk about it in the morning!"
        "And you won't go away?" I asked gloomily.
        "Why, how can 1, dear? It is only three weeks more and then we will take a nice little trip of a few days while Jennie is getting the house ready. Really dear you are better!"
        "Better in body perhaps--" I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word.
        "My darling," said he, "I beg of you, for my sake and for our child's sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?"
        So of course I said no more on that score, and we went to sleep before long. He thought I was asleep first, but I wasn't, and lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately.

----------
        On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.
        The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.
        You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.
        The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions--why, that is something like it.
        That is, sometimes!
        There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.
        When the sun shoots in through the east window--I always watch for that first long, straight ray--it changes so quickly that I never can quite believe it.
        That is why I watch it always.
        By moonlight--the moon shines in all night when there is a moon--I wouldn't know it was the same paper.
        At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.
        I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman.
        By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour.
        I lie down ever so much now. John says it is good for me, and to sleep all I can.
        Indeed he started the habit by making me lie down for an hour after each meal.
        It is a very bad habit I am convinced, for you see I don't sleep.
        And that cultivates deceit, for I don't tell them I'm awake--O no!
        The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John.
        He seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look.
        It strikes me occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis,--that perhaps it is the paper!
        I have watched John when he did not know I was looking, and come into the room suddenly on the most innocent excuses, and I've caught him several times looking at the paper! And Jennie too. I caught Jennie with her hand on it once.
        She didn't know I was in the room, and when I asked her in a quiet, a very quiet voice, with the most restrained manner possible, what she was doing with the paper--she turned around as if she had been caught stealing, and looked quite angry-- asked me why I should frighten her so!
        Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all my clothes and John's, and she wished we would be more careful!
        Did not that sound innocent? But I know she was studying that pattern, and I am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself!

----------
 
 
        Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was.

John is so pleased to see me improve ! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wall-paper.
        I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wall-paper--he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away.
        I don't want to leave now until I have found it out. There is a week more, and I think that will be enough.

----------
        I'm feeling ever so much better! I don't sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal in the daytime.
        In the daytime it is tiresome and perplexing.
        There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over it. I cannot keep count of them, though I have tried conscientiously.
        It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw--not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.
        But there is something else about that paper-- the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.
        It creeps all over the house.
        I find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs.
        It gets into my hair.
        Even when I go to ride, if I turn my head suddenly and surprise it--there is that smell!
        Such a peculiar odor, too! I have spent hours in trying to analyze it, to find what it smelled like.
        It is not bad--at first, and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odor I ever met.
        In this damp weather it is awful, I wake up in the night and find it hanging over me.
        It used to disturb me at first. I thought seriously of burning the house--to reach the smell.
        But now I am used to it. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.
        There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as if it had been rubbed over and over.
        I wonder how it was done and who did it, and what they did it for. Round and round and round--round and round and round--it makes me dizzy!

----------
        I really have discovered something at last.
        Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.
        The front pattern does move--and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!
        Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.
        Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.
        And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern--it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads.
        They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!
        If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.

----------
        I think that woman gets out in the daytime!
        And I'll tell you why--privately--I've seen her!
        I can see her out of every one of my windows!
        It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
        I see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines.
        I don't blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!
        I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I can't do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once.
        And John is so queer now, that I don't want to irritate him. I wish he would take another room! Besides, I don't want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself.
        I often wonder if I could see her out of all the windows at once.
        But, turn as fast as I can, I can only see out of one at one time.
        And though I always see her, she may be able to creep faster than I can turn!
        I have watched her sometimes away off in the open country, creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind.

----------
        If only that top pattern could be gotten off from the under one! I mean to try it, little by little.
        I have found out another funny thing, but I shan't tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much.
        There are only two more days to get this paper off, and I believe John is beginning to notice. I don't like the look in his eyes.
        And I heard him ask Jennie a lot of professional questions about me. She had a very good report to give.
        She said I slept a good deal in the daytime.
        John knows I don't sleep very well at night, for all I'm so quiet!
        He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind.
        As if I couldn't see through him!
        Still, I don't wonder he acts so, sleeping under this paper for three months.
        It only interests me, but I feel sure John and Jennie are secretly affected by it.

----------
        Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John to stay in town over night, and won't be out until this evening.
        Jennie wanted to sleep with me--the sly thing! but I told her I should undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone.
        That was clever, for really I wasn't alone a bit! As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her.
        I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper.
        A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.
        And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh at me, I declared I would finish it to-day!
        We go away to-morrow, and they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before.
        Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her merrily that I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing.
        She laughed and said she wouldn't mind doing it herself, but I must not get tired.
        How she betrayed herself that time!
        But I am here, and no person touches this paper but me,--not alive !
        She tried to get me out of the room--it was too patent! But I said it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I believed I would lie down again and sleep all I could; and not to wake me even for dinner--I would call when I woke.
        So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things are gone, and there is nothing left but that great bedstead nailed down, with the canvas mattress we found on it.
        We shall sleep downstairs to-night, and take the boat home to-morrow.
        I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.
        How those children did tear about here!
        This bedstead is fairly gnawed!
        But I must get to work.
        I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path.
        I don't want to go out, and I don't want to have anybody come in, till John comes.
        I want to astonish him.
        I've got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her!
        But I forgot I could not reach far without anything to stand on!
        This bed will not move!
        I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner--but it hurt my teeth.
        Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!
        I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.
        Besides I wouldn't do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.
        I don't like to look out of the windows even-- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.
        I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?
        But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope--you don't get me out in the road there !
        I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!
        It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please!
        I don't want to go outside. I won't, even if Jennie asks me to.
        For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow.
        But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way.
        Why there's John at the door!
        It is no use, young man, you can't open it!
        How he does call and pound!
        Now he's crying for an axe.
        It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!
        "John dear!" said I in the gentlest voice, "the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!"
        That silenced him for a few moments.
        Then he said--very quietly indeed, "Open the door, my darling!"
        "I can't," said I. "The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!"
        And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in. He stopped short by the door.
        "What is the matter?" he cried. "For God's sake, what are you doing!"
        I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder.
        "I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"
        Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!