Sunday, November 15, 2020

Robert Nelson/Alchemy/Laughter


Here is something Robert Nelson wrote that I think is important.
Some of my friends are not performers and might not know who Robert was. He was a famous curmudgeon of a street performer.
He was also underneith that quite kind and generous.
Also a friend. He's dead now.
"Once upon a time, there were no universities or colleges. 
Men mostly had to gather all kinds of information (old texts/books/journals) and study on their own. These men wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know... how everything worked.
In fact, that’s what they called their work: The Great Work.
They all looked for the same thing, “the secret of life”.
Along their path, these self-educated men saw some of their brethren excel while others failed. 
They all asked, “WHY”? And they learned a lot.
Now, here’s where it gets sticky. 
Science wasn’t neatly divided into subcategories of Physics and Chemistry in those days. 
Mathematics and Philosophy were still joined at the hip. 
Everybody knew only a piece of the puzzle, so they looked around and this is what they found.
Some experiments with the same conditions give the same results.
Others did not. No matter the same conditions. The results differed.
Here’s the split.
Those who wanted to always have the same conditions yield the same results, invented Chemistry.
Those who wanted to know “Why” the same conditions did not yield the same results, invented Alchemy. 
Ok, broken down again, just to be simple. 
Chemistry is: certain conditions applied=same results. 
Alchemy the study of why things work or don’t. Beyond the science, that’s it, “How to make things work”.
Unlike chemistry, alchemy focused on the chemist (INDIVIDUAL) himself to provide the missing piece of the equation. They looked inwards while others looked outwards.
This is what happened.
Two groups of alchemy emerged. 
1) Those who hid "the answer" beneath symbolism and said no individual was capable of attaining it on their own so “the answer” was unattainable. 
The second group also hid the answer under symbolism but said, while feasible, "the answer" was different for everyone and therefore unattainable as well.
This made alchemy almost disappear. Only a few studied on their own. 
I am going to 1st tell anyone familiar with chemistry very simply what is going on during transmutation of base metals into gold: 
3 things are added, mixed, heated, evaporated and finally purified (doesn’t get simpler than that). I’ll go into details later.
What is really going on here is not the ferrous (Au/gold) mineral added to the “another metal” and adding a "salt" liquid allows you to merge metals when you melt them with fire………
……….IT IS THE PROCESS THAT ONE MUST PUT HIMSELF THROUGH to accomplish this task successfully that is more important than accomplishing the task itself. 
This is a difficult concept, I know, but think of alchemy to be more like agriculture than chemistry.
Some people have a "green thumb" and do better... why? ... Here’s the answer.
Those of you out there, and you all know exactly who you are. You look around you and are amazed. You have money and love and people are just blown away when you do a show. Others love what you are doing and applaud and offer you gigs. Most of you really appreciate this success, I know.
You have (and you don't have to be a magician or juggler, any profession will do) a "KNACK" for what you do. 
You are the ones I'm talking to here. The others are not ready. You, the reader, are ready for the last step. This is the "YOU" side of the equation. Yes, “the philosopher's stone” is what I am here to help you find.
Any practicing alchemist will be horrified to know I am about to reveal the secret. 
In the Mutus Liber, Canseliet quotes Pierre Dujols warning, 
“don’t gave way to the temptation to reveal the secret.” 
Well, too bad, those guys are dead and I will be soon and no one else knows this crap, so fuck ‘em.
All I ask is you too give it freely once you come into the knowledge. We are all amateurs here, so everyone needs our help.
The answer lies in laughter. 
First thing, what is laughter?
Laughter is surprise… that’s the catalyst, if you will…. Surprise!
Then, one of two things happens… you think it matters or it doesn’t.
If “it doesn’t matter” …you laugh.
If “it matters”… you feel anxiety.
That’s it.
Ok, now let’s look at WHY people laugh.
Two things are immediately clear. First, laughter is not instinctive… you don’t come out of the womb laughing.
Laughter is CONDITIONAL … you learn what to laugh at from those around you.
Second, and here is the secret: Laughter makes us feel SAFE with those we laugh with.
You see it all the time. A girl meets a guy for the first time … she laughs to make him feel safe. He laughs to make her feel safe. They feel safe together.
Now look at your audience. One person laughing alongside the next. What happens?
Say, two people that don’t even know each other laugh at the same thing that one show they saw of yours and later on that day they meet again somewhere else and recognize each other… they will look at that other person completely different than a stranger.
Think about it… they still don’t know anything about each other yet they shared laughter earlier that day.
What happens?
That’s right … they trust each other.
And guess what else?
That’s right… they give each other respect."

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Catamarans and personal sovereignty. The Roaring 20's. Upmarket Refugees.

 Been thinking about this for a couple of years.

This decade will be one of systemic collapse and  climate refugees. [The Roaring Twenties]

On one hand you've got your cabin in the woods. Will the woods burn? Will you have to evacuate and if so where too? How do you defend your personal fiefdom from roving speculators? How does the movie end making a last stand on shifting sand?

Bollocks. You need a platform that provides flexibility. you need a platform that creates it's own water supply, you need a platform that you can transport via free energy towards hope rather than pretending TV tropes are based in reality.

 Catamarans, ocean going Catamarans seem to be the most elastic way to cope over the next decade.

Single hulls are cheaper and more versatile, granted, but they take more talent to sail and importantly they don't provide the storage of a multi-hull.

When all you own is an object you can steer around the globe with a crew of two space is critical. Think of a Catamaran as a mothership.

The clunkiness of a Catamaran also limits your choices and simplifies the plans you need to make.

You have a watermaker, that changes salt water to fresh, you have solar panels that provide power, you have a small wind generator that does the same and when the wind is pushing you through the water and your idle propellers are turning in the current that is a third source of generated power.

You have the ability to cross oceans relatively quickly, The quicker the safer. 

You have, even on a 40-50ft boat, more usable real estate, comfortable accom for 8 with 4 cabins and indoor/outdoor living areas.

There's an element of personal sovereignty that may be an illusion but as long as it lasts it's real and valuable. The fact that you possess a loaded wagon on a liquid prairie, self quarantined in a world shortly full of desperate people staggering blindly away from calamity at the very least puts you in the upmarket refugee category. The free international transport your vehicle provides is also itself non trivial.

 So many considerations, the faster [more narrow] your boat the less space you have but your ability to outrun other vehicles is an important defense. Counter to that is that with modern communication small networks of seafarers have already formed and are their own multi-national tribes and that sort of politics is going to matter. Along with the advantages of autonomy there are also networks with skills and resource sharing.

The sailing learning curve is less steep with multi-hulls. They have less flexibility but if you are capable of sailing downwind across oceans and then sheltering around coasts and pottering about in your seabourne apartment the skill set you need to do that is rapidly learnable. You may also want to consider retaining a Skipper to aid the transition, start looking sooner rather than later.

It's dangerous though, there are many simple mistakes that could ruin you and lots of moving parts any one of which could break and test your improvisational skills. Layered contingencies will become a new required language.

Life would consist of learning new skills on a daily basis and that's healthier than dooming it in a basement. 

You are going to need a million dollars roughly. Give or take half a million. I'm picking that as an average. With luck you could get it done for 400-000, I'm not going to bicker about entry levels. I'm addressing those who see the 20's as a period of massive upheaval and can throw liquidity at the problem rather than sit waiting to be overwhelmed. 

The Catamaran market has quietly exploded the last few years, new evolved designs have emerged to cater to a rising group of adventurous Mom and Pop empty nesters who want to circumnavigate as a retirement plan.

Easy to operate, creature comfort yachts with built in redundancies, washer/dryers, water catchment systems and network based repair options are now common.

The best of which have high demand and waiting lists. 

One example is the Seawind 1370 which has a two year waiting list at present.

It's the best example of an neo-upper middle class performance cruiser

It's a dream boat but demand being what it is it's more or less unavailable. Good stepping off point though.

Although if you are in the market for the best money can buy here's something to drool over.

Your crew sails it for you, it travels above the waves with no pitch or roll and you get to bask in the collective hate of humanity as you watch the world end in style.



There's a gamut of yachts, more available and all round the million dollar mark. You can buy second hand charters and refit them, bringing the cost back up from your initial saving to around a million or you can buy a fully fitted new yacht.  

Here's some comparative fairly data rich cat-porn


These are upper middle boats. I say this because there's a small class of performance cruisers that are multi million dollar [10/11 million]

The best example of which is the Gunboat. Very light, very very fast, very luxurious.


Very few people will get near you if you don't want them to

 Ok Ok, that's enough of that, back to the real world people! Chop chop! Half of us will be dead in the next decade and the small but dedicated community of international catamaran and single hull western upmarket refugees presently enjoying the shelter of Fiji after the mandatory 2 weeks isolation there while they wait for the cyclone season to end and NZ to relax it's inbound restrictions for certified disease free sailors [americas cup coming up in March].....nothing to see here......unless you have some liquidity and are looking at elastic forms of out of the box insurance.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Musing on potential for NZ community arts using aspects of Australian models.


[Photo Roberto Di Lernia]
We here in New Zealand have a growing responsibility to acknowledge and reflect not only our own potential to exist as a functioning cultural unit but additionally we have a kind of global eye of Mordor fixed upon us as the bruised globe fixates upon us seeking hope in times of progressive cross spectrum degradation.

Who needs it?

Well we do, we can congregate without danger and the onus is on us to fill a gap that imported culture, which as been eradicated has left us and more importantly find ways to express ourselves in artful and uplifting ways. Because life will continue to be hard and it helps when people gather and celebrate themselves.

We are lucky culturally to have a sibling that’s always been slightly more evolved, bigger, more casually cosmopolitan to learn from.

Australia is our friend.

We are stoic, small, used to understated passive aggressive stealth sarcasm as our only weapon of mass destruction. We are creative and imaginative yet also quietly yet dangerously self critical.
We have the Beehive, Australia has the Sydney Opera House. We had Flying Nun, they have 'Triple J’, we had advance NZ, they had indigenous genocide. But I jest…

Australia been our big brother forever but it might be time to recognise that neither of us are teenagers any more.

Australias dedication to the showcasing of the Arts and specifically the efforts made to integrate art throughout its far flung communities is something we might have a squiz at and learn from. We might do well to look at the cohesive models they employ and focus on generating similar projects using the latent talent we have with our own creatives as well as nurturing creative talent for the future not least because in a world of collapsing social, economic, environmental and political systems a sense of fun and finely tuned whimsy may help us maintain our collective sanities and endure cascading collective disappointments that might otherwise collapse us as they are quite self evidently collapsing other countries less fortunate.

I’m a clown prone to flights of fancy and not in fact an omnipotent social engineer so instead I’ll stick to recollections and let the more qualified prospect for applicable resonance.

There's a small town in Western Australia called Kellerberrin, it has a population of 868 last anybody checked, its chosen byline is ‘Kellerberrin…Where life is as rich as the landscape.’

 It’s 205 kilometres (127 mi) east of Perth [Itself one of the most isolated cities in the world] on the Great Eastern Highway.

Kellerberrin is about as much in the middle of nowhere as it’s possible to be. Yet due to the efforts in general of a progressive and muscular Arts council it and many other far communities have vibrant expressive little pockets within them. 

Over two decades ago I took a small part in the opening of an arts exhibition in Kellerberrin and it really opened my eyes to how enthusiastically rural farm folk can digest and discover and play with art and whimsy. It laid bare my hoity-toity pretentions.

The opening, in this small rural agricultural outpost was of work by Umberto Cavenago, an Italian conceptual artist who had been imported for six months as an artist in residence.
He was a small man who wore silk suits and didn’t speak much English.
The opening itself was the culmination of the mysterious efforts he’d been putting in the preceding months. As with any small close knit community the local grapevine was a robust and pre-internet information highway unto itself and he had given them much to chatter about. He was harmless and seemingly incongruous but this is a culture where yahoos, larrikins  and misfits are generally accepted and sometimes celebrated and apparently this guy was a high level eccentric and part of Australias charm is that at quite a deep level there’s really nothing wrong with that.

One story concerning him was that on a long straight road slicing through the wheatbelt he was  sightseeing, driving his rental on the wrong side of the road because in Italy that was his reality, they drove on that side, when in the far distance a local farmer approached driving the other way. As the vehicles approached over an extended distance they slowed, each sticking to their guns, until they almost touched at which point they stopped and the silk suited Italian conceptual artist and the wheat farmer on his way home got out and in basic English tried to work out what was happening. Eventually they worked it out, laughed and order was restored and the beginnings of an eccentric legend was added to the local folklore.

Umberto Cavenago spent a great deal of time walking throughout the town with large bags of grass seed, sewing them on the well packed dirt of the pavements. He would nod cheerfully at passers by and pretend he knew no English at all so he didn’t have to explain himself. This improved the quality of the local scuttlebutt considerably. 

Later he went through a list of local people and set up a video camera face onto them and asked them questions I confess I can no longer remember, recorded the answers and disappeared back into the local Gallery which he’d been provided.
Scuttlebutt intensified.

Still later the grass that he’d sown took root on the pavements and he went round taking painstaking record of that in its entirety.

It all culminated in an art exhibition in which myself and a small group of creatives travelled from Perth to embroider on the evening of the opening.
I’m writing this in Oct 2020 from recollections of the actual event back in 98/99 so apologise I can’t remember specifically the colourful crew. I do remember Marcus Canning had a large inflatable costume and the hot gusty winds that were blasting across the plains on which Kellerberrin resides were so strong that if he had been swept off his feet it would have been miles before they touched earth again. He survived.

Inside the gallery which was two main rooms were the answers to all the strange behaviours. Umberto Cavenago had sown the seeds to have them grow and then his photography was him recording the tracks locals had made through them as they walked the footpaths of their small town. He had then used that data to painstakingly render a scaled down model of the matrix of footpaths in the town in dirt with grass and replicated the paths worn down outside in replicate in his model.
Heady stuff, but not hard to understand.

The other room contained banks of video monitors facing each other from across the room each with looped footage of local answering questions to camera.

The locals were cheerfully milling about inside and taking it all in. It was after all a very interesting interpretation of their community on a couple of different levels. There were the tracks they made through the town and there in the other room were recordings of their local kinsfolk answering questions.

The local agricultural and produce association chairman got up to deliver a speech. He welcomed everybody and thanked Umberto Cavenago for his work and then went on to explain art to weather beaten isolated folk in a really inclusive and homespun and to me quite glorious way. 
He said art was an excuse for people to get together and celebrate their communities. He said you didn’t have to understand it and perhaps part of it’s value was not understanding it gave people something to discuss and that itself was interesting. He said it gave people shared experiences and in a community of hardworking folk that perhaps didn’t get out much shared experiences were gifts. He said that this particular art was reflective of this specific community and that he and the people he represented were grateful to Umberto Cavenago for the unique perspective he’d brought to them From all the way on the other side of the world.

There was applause and then with a certain newfound collective pride after so good a speech the local people milled around the exhibition making conversation til the event concluded.

This tiny town and it’s adoption and celebration of an obscure Italian conceptual artist really brought home to me how art and the stubborn promotion of it throughout communities can invigorate and generally enhance the wellbeing of everybody within them.

I hope we can learn from our Australian brothers and sisters in these trying times and foster relationships between the creative and pragmatic within our own communities large and small to benefit us all.

Obviously I’m biased as a clown but I think whimsy's more important than most people give it credit for.



Sunday, September 20, 2020

not all negative, my obscure quiz attempt



How many wives did King Henry the 8th have.

AnswerC6 marriages  although 3 were annulled by the Church of England so 3 but only if you’re a practicing anglican

Q 2
How many wives did King Henry the 7th have?

One  bonus 1000 Elizabeth of York.


Elvis typically performed how may encores?

A 0. B1. C 3
Answer A-0 Elvis never did encores

How old is the table fork? Pick a century between one and ten

Answer..the personal table fork was most likely invented in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, where they were in common use by the 4th century.

How many eyelids do camels have?

Answer, 3


How many Bananas would you have to eat to equal the radiation in a typical chest Xray

A, 70

B 7000

C 70,000 
Answer C 70-000 bananas.

Last week we learned that on average we wee for 21 seconds.
This weeks question is, What is the world record for the longest pee.

 The World Record for the longest pee is 508 seconds.
That's almost 8.5 minutes. However I could not get confirmation of this fact plus there’s a lot of other dubious claims down this particular rabbit hole so the answer is inconclusive and question seven is cancelled.


How many ATM’s are there in Antarctica?

Answer 2, run by Wells Fargo .

Which is wider, Australia or the moon?
Australia is wider than the moon. But only just.
Australia's diameter is 600km wider than the moon's. The moon sits at 3400km in diameter, while Australia's diameter from east to west is almost 4000km.


And finally an easy one
What is the longest word in English with all the letters in alphabetical order.

Answer ‘Almost'

Q11 what’s more dangerous vending machines or sharks?
Answer vending machines.

From Google: The yearly risk in the U.S. of dying from a shark bite is roughly 1 in 250 million. In contrast, the yearly risk of dying from a vending machine accident is roughly 1 in 112 million. Vending machines are roughly twice as deadly as sharks.

True or false, it’s illegal to sleep naked in Minnesota 


 why do divers fall backwards out of the boat?
Answer ;Because if they fell forwards, they would still be in the boat.
What’s older Sharks or trees?
Answer, sharks.
the last gold medal for the tug of war in the Olympics was won by..
A; The City of London police
B; The Belgians
C; The French Navy.

Answer, A; The City of London police

What is a Flaneur?

Answer. someone who walks around not doing anything in particular but watching people and society.


If you clap your hands once, wait one second, and clap again, thanks to the earth's motion in space, you traveled approximately how many miles between the two claps.

30k miles

B 40K miles

C 90K miles

Answer 30k miles

Q 18
Can anyone here tell me anything about  the Hanging of the Hartlepool monkey. Hartlepool is on the Welsh coast and this was said to have happened in the early 19 century.
Legend has it that during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, a shipwrecked monkey was hanged by the people of Hartlepool, believing him to be a French spy! To this day, people from Hartlepool are affectionately known as ‘monkey hangers’.
A French ship was spotted floundering and sinking off the Hartlepool coast. Suspicious of enemy ships and nervous of possible invasion, the good folk of Hartlepool rushed down to the beach, where amongst the wreckage of the ship they found the only survivor, the ship’s monkey which was apparently dressed in a miniature military-style uniform.
Hartlepool is a long way from France and most of the populace had never met, or even seen, a Frenchman. Some satirical cartoons of the time pictured the French as monkey-like creatures with tails and claws, so perhaps the locals could be forgiven for deciding that the monkey, in its uniform, must be a Frenchman, and a French spy at that. There was a trial to ascertain whether the monkey was guilty of spying or not; however, not unsurprisingly, the monkey was unable to answer any of the court’s questions and was found guilty. The townsfolk then dragged him into the town square and hanged him.
There could perhaps be a darker side to the tale – maybe they didn’t actually hang a ‘monkey’ but a small boy or ‘powder-monkey’. Small boys were employed on warships of this time to prime the canons with gunpowder and were known as ‘powder-monkeys’.
What is the most abundant species of animal on earth?
Nematodes outnumber every other species on earth by a 5:1 margin there are   57 billion nematodes for every single human being.

What is a tittle? And how is it part of the alphabet?
Answer The little dot on lower case i’s and j’s is called a tittle.

Which is longer, the wingspan of a Boeing 747, or the first flight of the Wright brothers?

Answer. The Boeing 747 wing-span (195 feet) is longer than the Wright Brothers first flight of 120ft.

What unusual shape is Wombat poo

Answer Cubed.

Question: Which Disney Princess sings “Once Upon a Dream”?

Answer: Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).


Question: Which Disney Princess attended Elsa’s coronation day in Arendelle?

Answer: Rapunzel.

Question: Who serves a Pinocchio’s conscience?
Answer: Jiminy Cricket.


Question: Who said: “Fish are friends not food”?
Answer: Bruce.


Question: Quasimodo was the bell-ringer of which famous cathedral?
Answer: Notre Dame.


Question: Dory from finding nemo suffers from what?
Answer: Short-term memory loss.

Which Disney princess appeared on our screens first? Cinderella, Snow White, or Aurora?

Snow White

Which character in Moana said: "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess.”?



Neo-cretins NZ politics


There’s a distinct difference between expats and immigrants.
The first is in the subjective eye of the beholder. An expat recognises their prior status is advantageous . An immigrant submits to their newfound statuses superiority .
I consider myself a NZ expat. I left when I was 23, spent most of my life in a series of other countries, I have a UK passport I got in my 30’s and had a green card for most of my 40’s.
I only returned to NZ because I was misdiagnosed with stage 4 cancer and a friend suggested it was the done thing to have my parents touch me before I died.
Take it from me after much experimentation, the big Island Hawaii is easily one of the best places on the planet to live.
I didn’t as planned die. The NZ heath system saved my life. I’m still alive and there’s no immediate mortal threat and so I digest my land of birth with a jaundiced and wryly grateful eye.
Elections are coming up and interestingly I have a background in circus.
The clowns of the piece are the ‘New Conservative’ party. Anyone who’s studied semantics will recognise the oxymoronic flavour of the branding.
Imagine oxy = 'completely unselfconscious' and you’re close to the truth.
New Conservatives are basically gentrified Orcs, a simple and uncomplicated breed dedicated to the reactionary and simplistic creed. "BURN ALL THE WITCHES!”
Their answers to complex issues are based on them being undisputed paragons of moral superiority .
I.e. all solo mums need to be billeted with good christian couples [much like themselves] for their own and societies greater good and presumably have chastity belts welded onto them while being locked into basements to avenge the collective guilt new conservatives feel for having ever having masturbated, poor darlings.
There is no god but Jesus Christ and conveniently he’s manifest in the patriarchal Middle Ages with smart-phones that the new conservatives represent.
They are like sulking preteens given adult powers which given their mental retardation must seem to them godlike and aspirational.
They are overlooked geniuses who’s only disadvantage is throughout their lives they’ve been surrounded by people brighter than themselves which combined with their bible studies has put them in a vengeful mood and the best of them can write paragraphs that engorge their friends who can’t.... but feel they could if they weren’t so distracted by people they didn’t know having sex.
If NZ were ever to take them seriously then obviously it would be for them the chosen land.
But it doesn’t and they’re not and it isn’t.
NZ is a charitable small country otherwise these folk would be considered lapsed mennonites and ridiculed for their digital fumblings.
They are evangelically useful while being socially useless and that’s their comic essence in a nutshell.
If you take them seriously or as one of them take yourself seriously you’re a self branding lower end of the bellcurve sub intelligent dipshit.
They don’t deserve the early 20th century definitions of ‘moron’ ‘idiot’ or ‘imbecile’ which were terms given to infantile retardation in adults.
There is no historical background for the kind of stupidity that requires actual intelligence to ignore objective reality and instead cuccoon itself in a shallow puddle of inflated self regard all pointed towards whomever waves a bible and makes otherwise naturally meaningless people feel they are legends in their own sad nuclear families lunchtimes.
It’s a global thing but luckily in NZ generally brittle tryhards are self evident and not taken particularly seriously.
New Conservatives are thus clowns unaware they are their own punchlines.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Maniacal Laughter Required, You too can help fight collective terminal depression.

So check this out,

I'm looking to produce locally a cover of this instrumental as the opening part of a show I'm working on.

I've made inquiries towards a keyboardist, [but might be looking for others if he's not available.]

and I've made inquiries of a sound engineer, [But might be looking at others if he's not available]

Additionally you'll notice there's layers of maniacal laughter involved in the piece.
That's where you come in....

download 'Audacity' [ free, easy audio recording software]

or use what you already have and please record and email me a soundfile of your best evil laughter.

I'll probably distort it beyond recognition but everybody who sends me a file will be included in the credits and in the recording somewhere.

and I'll record the show and send you a copy.

I need your help. Thanks.

Sadly, the keyboardist Dave Greenfield died of Covid on may 3rd this year. I'm hoping he's appreciate you turning your sadness into maniacal laughter.

Further notes, one man show

My Post below is the preamble, a voice over monologue as I’m filmed putting on my makeup and stilts.

There is potential to emphasise by cutting from voice over to speaking to camera for dramatic punctuation.
Parts can be sped up and slowed down however the prime editing criterion is that the length of the preparation footage matches/equals the length of the monologue.

Then intro music, 'Waltz in Black' By the stranglers.

[PRODUCTION NOTE-I’ve started inquiries to have NZ musicians produce a cover of this music to sidestep potential copywrite issues]

[Martin/Lurk enters bare stage, 11 ft white face clown and moves towards abnormally tall mic stand mid centre stage front]

[Grabs mic off stand and begins pacing]

Who the fuck do I think I am?

That’s what some of you are thinking.

You people put yourselves abstractly in other peoples shoes to ask questions. I like that.

Others of you who don’t do that sort of thing automatically are simply asking.

What the fuck is this? And that’s fair enough too.

I can answer both questions at once.

I’m the last clown standing.

Which is a bit of a stretch, I’m guessing Leo Bassi’s still holed up somewhere being an isolated madcap asshole, and Jonathan Freddes who’s the last ancient Ringling Clown is still dodging plague and gaining successive blackbelts at 70 something in Mississippi and there are others alive and I could continue to namedrop like it was an olympic sport

And also I’m not nearly so well known, except to clowns. I’m pretty secure in the fact that most international clowns know me. Heard of me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m well liked generally. I’m like Clown wasabi.
I kept to the streets mainly but I did my share of international festivals and mad private events and a smattering of circuses and international corporate bollocks but I’m the last standing
Here……..[moves] and here, etc etc.

And I’m not sure but I have a suspicion collectively our days are numbered simply because as a species we have less and less to laugh about.

The chuckles are finite. Who knew? Notice how comedies getting darker generally? There’s less and less yucks that can be mined from the human condition.
Our ability to laugh at ourselves is receding into a collapsing bubble of diminishing returns.
And probably making a sound similar to a fart cushion while doing so. Don’t worry, that’s the only fart joke you’ll get from me.
The sound of humanity disappearing up it’s own ass. [Makes fart noise] Moving right along.

Clowns were the mostly insipid fluffy little canaries in the coalmine, Circus based, street theatre festivals, before their ultimate accolade became a residency in Vegas . I suspect Vegas is in the process of drying up and blowing away. Always was a bit of allegorical shitstain in my opinion. I’ve worked there. I’ll get back to Vegas later in the show. But Vegas is a city, in a country, in a western world, in a global interconnected system that’s convulsing in case you hadn’t noticed.

The only Clowns built to survive this convulsion were more like Crows or Ravens to begin with, dark brooding slightly unsafe instruments of humour.
Performers who gained your trust by being untrustworthy towards everything but their audience.
You ever been in a restaurant and some violinist or rose seller is going from table to table.
You know that dread you feel, like your whole nights been ruined as you feel them heading your way?
The clowns I liked used people like aztec sacrifices. It takes great skill to choose who to pick on.
I have picked on tens of thousands of people. I’m not proud, but I’m not embarrassed or ashamed either.
It’s a serious business and I know what needs to be done. I engineered laughs.

Check this out……

[STAGE NOTE, I need to workshop whether for pacing purposes I go straight to this gag or build it using the rule of threes via my one ball juggling anticlimax gag followed by my magic pen gag leading into this bit]

[Pulls out LED Yo Yo, shows it to the crowd, milks reaction, teases anticipated big trick, engages Yoyo but even though he’s on stilts the string is impossibly long and the Yoyo shatters on the stage. Lurk freezes in shock, the tricks ruined. He turns himself so his back faces the audience and frantically begins pulling up the string of the broken Yoyo in small increments. He glances over his shoulder intermittently. When he has fully collected the string there is a little further surreptitious furtive movement before he turns to face the audience with the fingers of both hands supporting a woven doily triumphantly.]

Update from about a month ago.

Saturday, August 1, 2020


I’m what is known, in what passes for academic clown parlance, as a ‘droll’
'amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggish, jocular or witty, full of roguish good humor.’

I’m additionally a white faced pantomime on stilts. I don’t speak and thus have worked many cultures who’s spoken and written languages were unknown to me.
I had no problem communicating.

That worked for almost thirty years until around 2010.
Since then the idea of distracting the already distracted has lost it's romantic appeal. Ecosystems are crashing, parts of the world that didn't used to be are now uninhabitable and migration's already started. Water tables are more or less empty in Africa and southern Europe and the Americas. Globally fish are over 50% depleted and non renewable as of 2016, the worlds convulsing and collapsing systematically in real time as I write and playing my worlds tiniest violin on the deck of humanities Titanic, or even worse, on a cruise ship or whatever real estate development and multi-corp sponsor facade masking as community event I could whore myself out to for yucks ...well I used to think the majority of dumb fucks and their kids about to inherit a barren wasteland before their middle age was darkly amusing. Now I'm more inclined to see clowns as the cruel mother tereasas with serpentine eyes pacing the terminal ward of humanity living off whatever hope the hopeless still radiate.

I’ve had a change of heart. It took a near terminal cancer and two years of recuperation and a global pandemic to reorientate the kind of dark optimism that was my professional trademark.
I’ve decided Clowns can still be useful.

Salman Rushdie in midnights children wrote something that resonated with me as a clown.
I’m paraphrasing but he wrote about Indian street magicians and he said.
“Their hold on reality was so fundamental and strong that they could bend and shape it to their will.”

All performance incapsulates this ambition and street theatre is its most fundamental form.

A public space is bent and shaped and moments are spun from straw into metaphysical gold in that ideally a group of strangers are given focus and access to a joy that is larger than the sum of it’s parts and also practically there’s a transaction borne of collective gratitude that empowers the performer. The performer also benefits in a rare and singular way in that their life actually makes sense for a select period of time. The best of the best [not to be confused with the most commercially successful ] [and this is all just my thoughts and opinion] achieve a kind of profound peace whilst dancing round inside their absurd creations.

This is the ideal or the bedrock of the situation as I’ve always seen it. I’ve studied and inhabited and experimented within this conceptual membrane for as long as I could and also studied others in the convergence of Clown and Street theatre artists/engineers.

It’s not enough to simply be a boilerplate narcissist, it’s helpful to know that metaphor and psychology exist in applicable realworld units. As a mime I lacked the luxury of the word being made flesh and dealt primarily with metaphor, psychology, the interpretation of the moment and timing.

It worked for me. Suicidal people in my audiences would puncture their isolated hells to let me know I’d made them laugh. I guess that makes me a generous psychopath given I victimised people for a living.

I look for the bedrock in other performers, I think the essential nature of people who manipulate others for a living is important. I identified mainly and not surprisingly with robust nihilistic contrarians who created incandescent joy because someone had to and life held no meaning otherwise.

I’m fifty fucking seven now. I’ve spent the two years isolated in a room with the luxury of the state paying my rent getting used to the fact I’ve had my stomach removed and just thinking generally.

The difference between being insane and being a clown really comes down to whether you can orchestrate laughter.

As such I’ve been unemployed the last couple of years and while I once wrote of Performer and Clown Anthony Livingspace.

"Figuratively, if you were to imagine the outskirts of society and from there walk a day and a half, then have on hand a very powerful set of binoculars, you may, in the distance make out what looks to be a putrid swamp.
Tony lives just on the other side of that but returns to do shows for the folk.”
I feel myself I have ventured so far away from what constitutes 2020 collective reality that it and I no longer have enough in common to form a collective bond.
I choose to find that liberating because, and I’ve been there before, the alternative is simply to keep to myself and with patience wait to die.
During this period of isolation the world convulsed and itself shrank and isolated.
I got a head start by chance.
Another wise clown once told me that our main responsibility as Clowns is to keep ourselves entertained.
So I’ve decided to once again entertain myself and others and create something larger than myself, an ambitious vehicle, to do it as we all navigate the new global cultural turbulences in search of new sources of bread, [not my business] and circuses, [the wider definition of which being my paddling pool of choice, my business]

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Dott Cotton

One Clown in forging ahead creatively in circumstances of poverty and uncertainty and it warms my heart.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Nothing's Going to Change My World

Narrative Life

Life is a string of moments and as social apes we are predestined pattern recognition units.
The most powerful patterns are narratives, scientific, sociopolitical and personal.
We spend every waking moment of our life asserting and or recompiling our own narratives.
And our societies exist on the scaffolding of collectively held interwoven multi textural narratives.

Sometimes, online I come across ‘news’ ‘information’ reports of pre ported reality and my initial response is to be triggered almost instinctively into feeling strongly, sometimes the elements of a narrative are arranged in such a way that the emotion on the surface that’s triggered is so immediate that further thought seems excess to requirements. I feel angry or outraged or strongly in some way that I am right, that my feeling is undeniably true and because I feel this way and thinking any further would dilute this feeling I’ve learnt that this is an instance, and we all have them, when the power of the narrative uses me and the emotions associated are byproducts of that construct.

Facebook is a wonderful illustration wherein propaganda of all sorts bounces around giving people self important goosebumps. Nothing actually happens other than narratives pay their toll of injecting self righteous flushes of piousness as they multiply throughout the network. Trump, Syria, Oil spills,..placating little squirts of artificial narrative feed into our own, lubricated by cats and sentiment and people falling off skateboards while we stare at screens convinced we are authors of our destinies. when it just as well could be argued that the ultimate sentimentality is to believe we are much more than amplifiers of mostly synthetic and deliberately fostered narratives that serve not ourselves but those who restrict our human experience as the cost of their desires.

Elvis Costello, Gods Comic

Monday, April 6, 2020

Remember Richard Miller.

In these times of adversity remember Richard Miller.

Richard Miller had no arms or legs and grew up and got his very own bus!

People would shower him with cash whenever he attempted to sing about Jesus.

"Take our money Richard" they'd say,

"Get in your bus and fuck off!"

Be kind and sterile


There’s a couple of things I learnt early in my adult life via a curiosity about the human condition and an interest in mythology and theatre.
One is that ritual has always quantified chaos, that’s its function.
Another is that the oldest ritual is the preparing and offering of food.
Another is that the oldest communal narrative is ‘the heros journey’ and every human places themselves centerstage within this narrative.

Having a virus reducing everyone to a victim rather than a hero kinda fucks with our self identity as a species and also having our oldest ritual becoming our greatest weakness erodes the application of our humanity.

But there are ways to be kind and sterile at the same time which need to become our new instinctives. Without elasticity we're fucked. Without kindness we are beyond fucked.

I made a thing

The Auckland Royal Easter Show...A reading.

One potential NZ future.

Here's one potential NZ future.
We are presently engaged in not a mitigation strategy but a unique and ambitious strategy of eradication.
Under lockdown to prevent spread we are attempting to identify all carriers, via testing around known clusters and also the symptomatic.
It might work. It might not, asymptomatics might create clusters that multiply too quickly to be contained. But at the moment we are poised between success and failure. Our daily newly identified infected are not growing explosively.
If this fails we’ll switch to mitigation and be like every other model.
If it succeeds it’s going to be really interesting.
We’ll be an isolated country without the virus, the only one.
Public gatherings will not be dangerous, concerts, movies, daily life etc.
It will be like that one thing NZ had, always being slightly behind the rest of the world [in our minds and in our general culture] will be our jewel.
Tourism will be surreal. There may have to be two week initial compulsory quarantine options involving being shepherded between exclusive isolated places, perhaps staffed by some of the couple of hundred recovered who have it is presumed some degree of immunity before inclusion into NZ public life is allowed.
How exclusive would that make us as a destination!
It’s not nearly over and it’s not decided as to whether success or failure of this current strategy will prevail.
It’s so very balanced between success or failure at this point. Holding out with 89 new cases one day, 71 the next, 82 the next.
Will it bend up or down?
So much in the balance.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

We're grieving the old normal.

Yep, there will be a new normal and to some degree the world has changed irrevocably and people will need assistance coping with the unknown being, if not an ok thing, at least a manageable thing and at very best an opportunity to reimagine what personally and potentially collectively the important elements of the near future could be.

At the moment, driven by our need for information we're marinating in toxic media, I know I am. We may as well be shitting in paper bags and putting it outside our own front doors and lighting it on fire for all the good it does us.

My limited and unqualified experience as someone who's never really trusted my own mind and examines it constantly and certainly never trusted the ridiculous death cult we call a civilisation with it's built in expiry date given it's fallacy of infinite growth founded on finite resources and someone who examines anthropology and other ologies for clues and someone who's trusted the best in people to the degree that I spent 30 years internationally being comically despondent in public and lived off the coins generated by people who could identify and appreciated the opportunity to laugh at the same time, as that person, that Martin, my only practical advice is that if you can, earth yourself. Plant something you can eat. Also share something. The more you can celebrate eating something you fashioned and the more you can offer anyone something, anything. Find a street person and give them the smallest thing you can spare on your now rare trip to the supermarket for example.I don't know but I suspect creating some relationship with dirt is probably mentally healthy and being kind is always empowering.

Just watch those flaming bags cos they're everywhere.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Letter to Wellington City council

I would like to arrange if convenient a short sit-down meeting to discuss a potential solo street theatre project that I’m looking at producing over a month long period later in the summer/autumn.
NZ’r Martin Ewen.
International Clown soloist
I last spent time performing in NZ in the first decade of the Christchurch and Auckland and intermittent Wellington Street theatre festivals, [so 1995-2005ish] I performed the Ch-ch festival 6 times in it’s first 10 years as part of a commitment I had to help develop viable street theatre options within NZ and also as an informal ambassador within my international communities of, clown and street theatre and circus
I was working internationally and based in Perth Australia the early 90’s as I had a wonderful relationship with their City Council which involved annual performance commissions of street and other site specific productions and a principle role in a multi-media marketing campaign they produced with a 'See You in the City.’ Promotion that ran over a number of years.
I then became an American resident and for 15 years, up until a year and a half ago was based in Hawaii while still working widely internationally.
I have only recently returned to NZ after more than a decade away.
I have performed and studied, produced, taught and written about street theatre and clown for over 30 years.
I have successfully completed a two day Cirque du Soleil audition in NY that started with 58 people and finished with me being the only clown that entered the potential employment pool out of only 8 people that made it through.
I have a deep respect of the art form of street theatre in it’s widest applications and in it’s cultural viability.
I’ve done the mandatory 10 000 shows to attain mastery of my chosen craft.
Link to a couple of books below.
Well this is where it gets interesting and I’ll try to keep it short.
Just under 2 years ago in Hawaii I was diagnosed, [misdiagnosed as it happens] with inoperable stage 4 cancer of the esophagus and given less than a year to live. My green card was coming up for renewal at the time but I thought the best idea was to come back to NZ and give my parents some closure. NZ health services were quickly involved and after exploratory surgery, chemo and then a further huge operation and a few months in hospital I was pronounced cancer and 2/3rds of my stomach free.
Less than a year ago I was still self feeding via a tube. I’ve spent the last year recuperating in isolation, I’ve had a new lightweight pair of stilts made and spent the last 6 months staring at then at the end of my bed trying to work out how best to proceed with the rest of my life.
I specialise in a strong character based, slow audience build structured improvisational type of performance.
It’s pantomime and I use no amplification.
I like developing new pitches using the dynamics of a self made stage area, some kind of pedestrian flow and an audience catchment area at a distance my audience finds comfortable to observe me and to my mind there’s an area at one of the entrances to Civic square that very well suits the experiment I’d like to embark on.
My costume arrives via courier tomorrow and I’d like the opportunity to meet with someone from your dept/division to discuss the viability of working for no more than an hour a day, 3 or 4 days a week, at lunchtimes to experiment with growing an audience over an initial month.
As I do that thing I’m best at where I eat time and space as a comic function.
My ph number is -----------
or you could simply reply to this email.
Martin Ewen