Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funky story, edited.

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 who had moved on to brandishing his handcuffs only to find they didn’t fit round a bears wrists when the crowd that now surrounded him gave voice to 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.

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, October 17, 2012

I give away music/art/performance because...

 "I give away music because I want to make music, and I can't make music unless I make money, and I won't make any money unless I get heard, and I won't get heard unless I give away music."

What do I have to give away today? mmmm, as yet unfinished...

"He's essentially cease to be, he's been sucked into a portal.

 Milinia from now it will be remembered that Robert Nelson changed the course of history. He has sent a full measure of machinations forth that will multiply as designed. An almost infinite array of causal dominos, the origins of which, were instances of accumulative commonality in which Robert socially engineered the future. A ricocheting seductive neer-do -well who fulfilled the worlds most critical function, he kept himself amused. All those juggling props sent to Ethiopia, used to club tourists and rob them, none of this is random.
Robert Nelson was one of my favorite people in this sector of the universe, irrasible, cheerfully malevolent, he knew he was an asshole and did his best to make that palatable to the world at large. He succeeded magnificently at this. The world was seduced by the asshole he fashioned from the raw materials at hand. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Golden Circle essence by Simon Sinek. Life stuff you need to know.

This is for all of you who creatively make things and wonder why you seem to be always flowing against the flow of the world.
It appears you know what others don't, 'why' you do what you do.
This video should help you turn your stubborn contrarianism into a streamlined process rather than toiling towards a mere goal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The president meets reddit

 810 points  ago (1001|190)
The president must be so nervous right now...he just got a comment from shitty_watercolour.
 336 points  ago (243|41)
The truest, greatest honor he will ever receive. A SW portrait.
 110 points  ago (123|14)
This thread is now complete.
 267 points  ago (316|55)
Hey Mr President, this guy is kinda a big deal around here. Respect him. Sir.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Latcho Drom

Go fullscreen.

Artfully stylized anthropology. I had to bail after 12 minutes it was so rich, but I'll come back to it in installments.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Public space, common ground, it's function and demise. street theatre

The obvious sceptical  question is , "Who are 'they' ?"

Still; worth looking at what was once recognised and accepted as the public commons.... Just food for thought really. I'd evoke concepts like 'discuss' but that would presume a fuck was given. As is I'm simply bearing public witness, in isolation, to contrary thoughts of others. Soon I will tour, pen in hand and camera on my elongated head, to balance being witnessed and witnessing, around the world.

“Their intent is to target street artists and vendors as a means of regulating and controlling the community’s use of public space, for the benefit of expensive galleries, fancy restaurants and developers. The effect is to better provide the capital-owning business elite with a controlled and sterilized neighborhood full of passive armies of docile workers and obedient shoppers. Their ambition is to redraw urban geography according to profit motives, and convert public and social life into the plaything of the private interests. This amounts to an attempt to rob us of every free and spontaneous aspect of our communities and our lives, and replace each of them with no alternative but submission and the compulsion to consume.” 

and more esoterically ...

In short, approaching life and one's fellows from a mode of mind evincing aspects of the human condition that existed outside the realm of workplace expediency and consumer desire had been diminished to the point of being rendered all but absent. People seemed adrift -- bereft of the ability to cohabit public space. The will towards communal engagement had atrophied.

Essential qualities -- traits that are uniquely human -- had been lost. A wasteland of fragmented discourse and inarticulate rage howled between us.

And the situation has only degraded since that time. Unless communal space can be reclaimed and our innate humanity re-established, to paraphrase Kafka: There is infinite hope but not for us.

"Awake we share the world; sleeping each turns to his private world." -- Heraclitus

Once you have allowed the swindle to permeate your being -- taking back your life must become the driving force of your existence. If you don't recapture the landscape of your own soul, then your life will be comprised of a dance with dust and ash.

In such times, where can sanctuary be sought? Both within and by risking casting oneself towards the beating heart of the soul of life. Human beings contain deep reservoirs of empathy, a capacity for apprehending the sacred, and the ability to love. Deep wells of redemption pool beneath the wasteland. The human heart is a divining rod that helps one locate the source of the healing waters of life.

we have become storm troopers, ourselves, marching in a mindless parade of endless distraction. All as the sky burns and oceans seethe acidity.

Phil Rockstroh 

watching you watch me watching you.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Classic Lano and Woodley, 'Nana's soupy nightie'

Stewart Lee -- Pea Green Boat

There is no payoff, it's just a story. But if you let it, if you let yourself immerse, it's a wonderful story.

It's got a childrens bed-time story quality about it. But it's for grown-ups. That alone is worth 21 minutes of your life.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Archaos, resurfaced film of original punk circus

Archaos were the closest there's ever been to a punk circus. For those with an international street theatre background a young bikeboy can be seen around the 31 minute mark.

Long lost film of Legendary French Circus Archaos filmed in Bristol 1991. Directed by circus legend Pierrot Bidon. This show was called BX-91 and featured many performers and teccies who after Archaos went bankrupt later that year went on to feature and drive the new circus movement all around Europe and the world. You can see films/images and read stories about this amazing circus and its creator Pierrot on the Archaos Circus archive at

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Birthday Dinners, I think too much.

Bear in mind this is a parody of self pity rather than self pity itself.

I've been invited and will be attending a small dinner party tonight, myself and 7 others and I know I'll be asked to explain or answer 'What I do', you know..."And what do you do?"

These people are very wealthy, very successful and while that doesn't intimidate me in the slightest the question itself does.

Historically the most truthful answer is , "I'm a Clown." But then I define Clown in a personally idiocyncratic way so that pat answer could be a little misleading. They may picture a circus clown  [which I've been] or a birthday clown  [which has happened] however the clown I am is a bitter bleak personage trapped in a convention he cannot understand nor control and who projects this existential quandry by victimizing others for what small amusement and relief that lends him.

All a bit much really and the fact I haven't worked for about a year and have just left a rehab facility I've lived in a year and a half....... I'd be let out for gigs like China which I'd convince staff 'was part of my journey'....well all this creates a bit of a ponderance.

So...What in fact do I do?

* Nothing constructive? I'm a mildly amusing leech. A minor pimple on the acne ravaged face of humanity.

*I'm kinda a self aware renaissance man of dysfunction.

[Having mastered alcoholism, drug addiction, crippling social anxiety, clinical depression and a form of reverse  decathlon where I attempt to squander and destroy every of the many gifts that are native to me and every opportunity offered.]

* I have a select online audience, mostly bots, that, while I can master the delusion, I write for the amusement of.

* I'm a literate slow-mo toy train crash.

* I am professionally misunderstood. In that no-one has yet realised that it is in fact a job being myself.

*Pragmatically, I ingest various, both basic and complex, animal and plant matter and process it to distribute manure on a global scale. This isn't an occupation obviously, it's just a function of being human and in my case I've travelled extensively while doing it

Maybe I'll just stick with clown. 
I have to go now. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Zushi is a small fishing and flower growing village at the end of a railway line an hour or two out of Tokyo. 
I had moved out of the city to try and escape a heartbreak. I tended to try and escape myself by moving away from nodes of my lifes pain. Every mirror I met tattooed the pointlessness of this gambit on my withered soul but stubbornly I stuck to the only flawed gambit I possessed.

Japan sold Beer and Whiskey out of vending machines that had internal timers turning them on and off, usually off by midnight and on again sometime of a morning. I had found a local malfunctioning unit permanently on. That and the slew of self help books I'd bought was my solace as, is my want , I marinated in my self pity, devouring good advice until I lost the capacity to focus.

This desperate foundation had it's small advantages. I had one good NZ friend in Japan, Rob Maclaren, a fellow clown I'd shared years of imaginative misadventures with. He was more or less an adult while I was an arrested child. He's set me up in the beachside apt and would visit and try not to smile too ruefully at the scattered “How to be happy” paperbacks that were scattered about the place with the empty bottles. Rob was one of the first of many to curse me with the unwanted responsibly of being a 'comic genius'. His love for me eclipsed the frustration he and others had felt of my effortlessness talent wasted. My love for him meant I would jump at any mad suggestion he offered. He had suggested I come to Japan in the first place. We went back to our mid teens.

We'd both been in Stalker stilt theatre, a dark pretentious romantically masochistic stilt company that had lasted a couple of years and a couple of national tours before imploding under it's own catholic residue. It took all and gave nothing. We were all on unemployment apart from the director and eventually the collective generosity expired.
But we had stilt-skills out the ying-yang, we had trained in cultural isolation such that our methods and movement vocabs and skillsets were unique. We had copied no-one.
Rob and I had scaled a Cathedral on stilts for a photo-shoot, visited an abandoned mental hospital atop a hill on a pitch black night where you could not see the ground and the driveway dropped off sheer on one side, we had walked through the deserted capital city Wellington [The Windy City] during a ferocious gale, wrestling each step forward so when he visited me in Zushi and we saw the quarter mile seabreak with the lamp-post at it's end we knew we had the afternoon covered.

There was a drop-off either side, 20 ft down to a service road on the inside and a 15 foot drop down to rocks on the outside. The top was 3ft wide with one dogleg kink at the halfway point. Any mistake would mean physical disaster. 
Taking small deliberate steps we set out, staggered so one wouldn't take the other out if anything went sideways. The wind was brisk and gusty and the lone lamp-post seemed impossibly far away. The concentration and focus required to not put a foot wrong while keeping balance and keeping forward momentum to avoid stepping over the sides was of an unknown quantity as there was no going back once committed. We each screamed with excitement and fear and mutual joy as we tottered under grey gusty skies towards our objective. It took a good twenty minutes to make it out. First one then the other made it to the lamp-post where we clung ecstatic. The best of friends celebrating our common madness.
The occasional fishing boat would re-enter the harbor and the crews would gawk at us. Two 12 foot long legged anomalies waving happily from a seemingly impossible position. Pan-cultural oddities.
We both made it back safely, it took longer and our reserves of adrenalin were fully exhausted by journeys end. We took our stilts off, looked back at the wall we'd conquered and shared a profound grin, packed up and slinging our gear over our shoulders casually swaggered back home, another youthful danger milestone invented and past.

Testing yourself is a muscular reflex of youth. Most survive but there's always, among your generations youthful peers; those who serve as a warning. Dead or maimed, early suicides, youthful misadventures, diving off bridges, overdoses, paralyzed trying to get in the girlfriends window, falling out of a helicopter deer-hunting. Youth means it's only in those last seconds, if that, a fleeting truth manifests.
“I'm not special.”
For some exceptionism never wanes. Hey Ho.
This is my last story here. My life has been and continues to be a lesson in humility sought while showing off. I was in my own wee world a famous drunken creative. The lessons I learnt are contained here, codified but obvious.
Laughter for me is the key. Make it happen and eventually the smiles of others will bleed across and you'll find some peace. Trust yourself. Close your eyes and face the sun. Say welcome with each indrawn breath and thanks for each exhalation. Eventually you'll get over yourself.

Life is a near death experience.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all share that thought and laugh in spite of it.
I will begin by strangling myself.

Vernon Vortex.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Robert Nelson; Safety First.


In the early ‘70’s, I moved to Nashville. I was supposed to be a doctor (or at least a dentist) … I ended up being a juggler.

My first shows were at a club called the “Exit Inn”. The place was unique in that the original front door was now in the rear of the stage, it made for easier loading and unloading of band equipment.

Every Wednesday on “Writer's Night”, the Exit showcased young up and coming singer-songwriters. Song publishers and music industry people always packed the house.

Owsley, the manager, thought it might be interesting to occasionally put me (and a young comic named Jim Varney) on between the music sets to break up the monotony.

I did this for over a year, always trying some new trick or prop each time. In those days there were no prop-makers so everything was home made. My pins were glued plastic around a wooden dowel. I also painted, glittered and even rhinestoned a whole slew of tennis balls. I carried every thing around with me in a trombone case.

One fateful day, I got a call from Owsley saying he needed an opening act for Tiny Tim (I shit you not).

He needed 30 minutes but I had never done more than 3.

I panicked but I said I’d do it. 

I figured I needed a finale, so I made myself some fire torches.

I was pretty good with clubs already, so after just a couple of days practice with fire, I felt pretty confident. I did learn (quickly) to shake off the excess fuel before lighting; otherwise, I’d get sprayed with gas as they spun around.

The fire didn't last long, only 2 or 3 minutes, so I knew my torches needed to be dipped just before the end of the act. I put the fuel in a giant glass mayonnaise jar; its mouth wide enough to dip all 3 torches at once.

The night of my first show arrived. I remember walking through the crowd with my mayonnaise jar cradled in one hand, my trombone case in the other. 

Nervously, I set the jar down on the side of the stage. I sure didn't want to spill any of that gas. “Safety First”, I thought to myself.

The show went going pretty well, considering I was sweating more than a Congressional page getting instant messages from Florida.

I dipped all 3 torches into the wide mouth jar. The fuel overflows, spills down the sides and onto the rug. I smile weakly at the people in the front row. The smell of leaded gas surrounds us.

Taking no chances now, I screw the top back on the mayonnaise jar real tightly. “Safety First,” I thought!

I didn't want to get gas on anybody in the audience, so I walked to the other side of the stage to shake off the excess fuel. Safety First!

The fuel droplets sweep across the stage behind me.

I light the torches. A burst of flame, the audience cheers. 

I'm think, “Gee, this sure is a lot of smoke, way more than I'm used to!”

I’d never juggled fire indoors before.

The ceiling's too low for double spins, so I yell, “For my 1st trick … under the leg!"

Easy right? … but I drop.

The torch falls, hits the stage. I watch in slow motion as little blue dots of flame travel across the stage towards the mayonnaise jar.

WHOOSH! The jar turns into a huge fireball!

The rug catches fire underneath it ... the audience gasps.

I rush toward a Big Burning Glass Jar of Gas!

As I pick it up, the words “Molotov Cocktail” echo in my brain.

A soundman rushes onstage. For some unexplained reason he picks up my trombone case.

Simultaneously, we both turn towards the door in the back of the stage.

He gets there 1st and opens the door but can't go though … he is carrying the trombone case sideways.

I have no time to think he's an idiot because my hands are burning.

I throw the jar at the door trying to make it over the back of his head but it's just a little too heavy.

The soundman turns around to see a huge burning glass jar of gas flying towards his face. His eyes bulge in fear.

Luckily, he ducks in time, dropping the trombone case.

A flaming mayonnaise jar flies over his head, out through the door.

It hits the pavement, the glass breaks and a lake of fire and glass spill across the sidewalk.

People are screaming all around me.

Total panic ensues when 33 multicolored tennis balls catch fire and start rolling underneath parked cars.

Someone shrieks, "The car's on fire!"

People are diving for cover all around me.

I run away, thinking, next time for sure,