Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Day I Lost All Respect for Andy Peters.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Up until that point, Andy Peters was a legend. Between him and Ed the Duck, my role models had been established (I was determined to grow up to be a squeaking, friendly, mohican styled, black duck). Andy Peters was every childs hero. He was cool. He was charming. He even managed to get a cameo part in Toy Story 2. In my young and impressionable eyes, Andy Peters could do no wrong.

Until that one fateful day.

It must have been 5 or 6 years ago at least. Andy Peters was presenting some kind of celebrity gossip show with Emma Bunton. Things were going well as they disclosed the latest in pre-watershed gossip. He told a joke, she laughed, they introduced the next story, she commented, he nodded in agreement - the same old same old. But then towards the end of the show, Andy Peters asked Ms Bunton about an award ceremony she had just attended (I can't remember which - let's call them the Gandalf Awards).

"You were at the Gandies weren't you Emma?" asked an inquisitive Andy Peters.

"Why yes I was Andy" said Emma Bunton in reply.

"And how was that?" (Andy Peters again)

"Oh it was fantastic" gushed Emma Bunton "it was so glamorous. It was such an amazing atmosphere and everyone genuinely seemed so supportive of one another. I met a lot of really nice celebrities and... yeah... just a really really nice evening. I'd highly recommend it if you ever get the chance"

"Alright alright" smirked the more experienced of the two presenters, "a simple yes would have done"

Poor Emma Bunton, looking red and embarrassed, giggled nervously and, now worried that she would once again go off on an unnecessarily long monologue were she not to carefully consider everything that entered her head before it left her mouth, timidly announced the next item. No one, however, seemed to pick up on the fact that this was in fact the conversation Mr Peters was hoping for:

Andy Peters: You were at the Gandies weren't you Emma?

Emma Bunton: Why yes I was Andy.

Andy Peters: And how was that?

Emma Bunton: Yes.

And that was the day I lost all respect for Andy Peters.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Access Website

Ok, check this out. Daniel's been working pretty hard on a website for Access (partly for us but mostly for his school coursework) and this is what he's produced so far. It's extremely slow at the moment (apparently a fixable problem to do with images and gigawotsits) but it looks amazing. Check it out:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Challenge! - Day 15

So my challenge came to a successful conclusion yesterday with a letter being published by a Ms Nadia Emela, revealing that Condoleezza actually comes from the Italian Con Dolcezza (meaning "with sweetness") and that my letter was simply my "effort in trying to make the US secretary of state's name 'less silly and a tad more mysterious' by adding a very unlikely Aramaic background to it". A lot of people seem to have reacted negatively towards this. People have either said something to the effect of "Aww, well never mind. Still it was good while it lasted eh?" or "Ha! You've been busted - idiot" (see Andy's comment in my last blog).

What these people don't seem to realise is that the truth is an essential aspect of the lie. If you refer to my Ground-Rules of Lying points (4) and (6) (see The Challenge! Friday May 05), you will see that the lie is not complete until it has been revealed as such. I was therefore delighted to see my name in print yet again only this time unmasked as the imaginative young scally-wag whose comments on Condoleezza Rice's name was simply a fun little story that had people going about their everday lives trying to sound more intelligent by getting the word "condolisi" into their conversations (e.g. "The great thing about Geoffrey is that he seems to revel in trying out new things. He has a real sense of condolisi about him. Oh how silly of me, you don't speak Aramaic do you? It means love of the unknown darling")

And Nadia's letter wasn't the first comment I've had concerning my letter. On Monday a Mr Roland Finch from Newcastle wrote in. Now I'm going to have to write this out word for word as I have no idea what he was actually talking about:

"So Condoleezza Rice's first name means 'a love of the unknown' in Aramaic. Do you suppose that's a known unknown or an unknown unknown."

I have a feeling that it might be a political joke and as reluctant as I am to say it as it also comes off the back of my lie, I don't get it. If anyone could fill me in, I'd appreciate it.

So all in all, I've been quite successful. Or at least that's how I would be feeling were it not for the cold slap of realism that was delivered to me by Miss AJ Bayliss last Friday.

Last Friday was Matt W's birthday party. I say party - it was more a gathering of friends who came together to eat pizza, talk about Big Brother and laugh at internet videos of Dalmations riding bikes (you probably had to be there). A very enjoyable occasion that was to all intents and purposes a party but needs explaining as the word party by itself might be misleading (no jelly, no ice-cream, no throwing up in the street after a night of binge drinking etc). Friday, of course, was the day my lie had been published so I was in very high spirits and had in my back-pack several copies of that day's Metro to share with my friends. Matt W had said he wanted a copy and Matt L, who had shown support and encouragement throughout the course of my challenge would also want to see it I was sure. When I got to Matt and Christina's however, I was greeted by the smiling faces of Mike and AJ (a sight which - as always - truly warmed the cockles of my heart). As I walked in I greeted them and a host of other people who I knew less well, as well or not at all (what is a heart-cockle exactly?). One of the first questions Mike asked was, "so - how's the challenge going?" Ah. He clearly hadn't read my blog that day. This was good. This meant I got to announce it to a group of people, some of whom were strangers who knew me only as the quite clearly excitable young man in a denim jacket who had just come in.

"I did it mate. I flippin' did it"

"You did? That's great. When?"

"Today. I've brought some with me. They're in my bag" (which Christina had just kindly taken from me) "I'll go get it."

AJ, posing what must have seemed the obvious question, asked "what's he talking about?"

Mike filled her in.

"Oh!" exclaimed AJ after having been filled in "he must have got that idea from me and Christine. Glyn" she called out to me as I was rummaging through the small collection of Metros nestled at the bottom of my bag "do you remember when me and Christine did that?"

I stopped dead in my tracks. Could it be true? Had all this been done before? Had AJ and Christine really got there first?

"No!" I called out, determined not to allow my achievement be undermined by accusations of plagiarism.

"Sure you do. Remember that time when me and Christine wrote into the local paper and me and Christine reviewed a film that me and Christine hadn't even seen?"

I stopped dead in my tracks (I realise I'd already done this but this time I stopped even deader and my tracks were even trackier). I still had no idea what she was talking about but already this was sounding more impressive than my meagre effort. I mean sure the Billericay Gazzette was hardly the nationwide publication that would accurately describe the Metro but to have a review published about a film that you've never seen... That was pretty impressive.

"Yeah it was one of the Star Wars movies. Me and Christine wrote in saying something about the lame storyline spoiling some pretty decent special effects. Something like that. Me and Christine couldn't believe it when it got published. It was so funny. Still it wasn't a national paper or anything like that. So come on, let's see it. Which paper is it anyway?"

"The Metro" I said somewhat warily, feeling suddenly that AJ might not be the easiest person to impress, what with her history of printed lies and all.

"Well that's hardly a national paper is it?"

"It is too" I retorted wittily, suddenly hopping into defence. "It's distributed in London and Manchester. That's across the country (aka - national)."

I could tell she wasn't convinced. "Alright then" she said "let's see it".

I slowly (and not with the triumphant flair that I'd hoped to do it with) began to pull the paper out of my bag.

"Oh no!" AJ groaned as a thought suddenly hit her "you haven't just had a letter published in the letter section have you?"

And that was it. My triumph turned to defeat as I realised that it wasn't all that impressive after all. I suddenly felt less like Danny Wallace or Dave Gorman and felt more like Danny Gorman - I guy I used to live with in London who would set himself ridiculous challenges such as eating a marmite and lemon curd sandwich and then demand that we all go out to celebrate when he completed these amazing sense-defying stunts*. And then I realised that this wasn't a challenge at all. It was easy. I did nothing but write into a paper's letters column and get my letter printed. And all it took was one measly try. One attempt and that was it. I'd succeeded after my first shot. That's not a challenge. That's being the type of person who writes into the Metro's letters page. And I don't want to be that guy.

I was completely deflated and despite both Matts' insistence that what I had achieved was nothing short of brilliance (even AJ tried admitting that to have a picture with a caption was pretty impressive), the damage had been done. The victory had been sucked out of me and I realised that my challenge was not yet complete. This sense of failure was increased later on in the evening when I gave Matt W his birthday present. I got him an Electralyte CD - a joke that was somewhat ruined when he took one look at the carefully wrapped gift and asked "it's not an Electralyte CD is it?"

But I'm not giving up. I will have a lie published in a national paper. And I will not rest until I have impressed both AJ and Christine (well, I say I won't rest but that's probably not true - I'll probably rest).

So there you have it. My challenge remains. I'll let you all know of any future developments.

Oh and if you were waiting for those scanned images of the lie, I couldn't work out how to cut out and enlarge images on the computer once I'd scanned it all in. I spent a very frustrated couple of hours on Sunday trying however.

* This sentence was created for effect. Glyn Harries has never actually lived with, known, met or heard of anyone by the name of Danny Gorman.

Friday, May 19, 2006


HEY HEY HEY! I did it. I got a lie published in a national newspaper. This morning the metro published my letter about Condoleezza Rice's name being Aramaic for "love of the unknown". I really didn't think about it at all after yesterday, convinced that as it hadn't been mentioned in Thursday's edition, I'd missed my chance. But on the tube this morning I just happened to look over the shoulder of the person sitting next to me reading their Metro and saw my name underneath a complete fabrication about name translations. Not only that, but a picture was put up next to my letter with the caption: "Condoleezza: An Aramaic name". Woo hoo hoo. Now the whole country thinks that the US Secretary of State has an Aramaic name (well - I say the whole country - I'm not sure if the Metro is distributed anywhere other than London and Manchester but still).

I'm not sure that this'll be the end however. I phoned Matt White as soon as I got off the tube (with an armful of Metros) and he suggested some form of challenge extension involving me, him and Matt Leeder. I'm not sure what this'll involve but after my recent success I'm feeling pretty up for it.

Andy M (work colleague) was less impressed. He insisted that I could've done better and he (never one to be outdone) is now attempting to get his own lie published. It's a variation on a theme really. He's going to write in to the Metro as a professor with a PhD in Aramaic and Hebrew Studies insisting that the chap who had his letter published on Friday was horribly mislead as Condoleeza Rice's first name is actually Aramaic for "egg fried". Hmmm.

But anyway, I'm pretty happy about it. I'll try and scan the page in properly at some point over the weekend but in the mean time, here's a picture taken on my phone.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yeah so we were burgled last night...

I have just had to lock the front door. Usually we just shut it and it locks but from now on we have to turn the key in the lock about 15 times so that the bolts running all the way up the side of the door are locked into place. And then we have to bolt the newly fitted latch at the top of the door so that even if you have the key on the other side of the door, you can't get in. It's our new family security policy. Why? Because last night we were robbed.

It happened at about 2:00 in the morning while the family were in bed. A group of people (male/female, young/old, working class/aristocrats - we just don't know) snuck in through the front door and made off with the laptop, Mum's handbag, Dad's phone and cornet, a bunch of registers for Mums & Tots and all the house and car keys that we keep on the shoe rack by our front door. They then drove off in the car as Dad got out of bed and reached the front door and Lisa looked out of her window to see them speeding away.

Fortunately, it really is no big deal. Everything was insured and is therefore reclaimable, we've had the locksmith round who has fitted a new lock along with the aforementioned extra security latch so they're not getting back in, and nothing was broken or damaged and no one got hurt. All things considered, we are incredibly lucky.

So why do I feel so down about the whole thing?

I'll tell you why.

Because I missed it.

The whole family was up. We had police round twice (once to take a statement and a second time for finger prints). There was noise, drama and excitement. And I slept through the whole flippin' ordeal. Apparently, Daniel snuck into my room a couple of times and "psst"ed at me but got no reaction. Dad came in to check I was alright but got no more from me than "Alright, ok, I know, I'm up, I'm up, I'll do it" (I don't remember this but when I imagine it in my head, I sound like Napoleon Dynamite). Everyone finally got to bed at about 6ish but I was completely out of it for the whole thing. I came whistling down the stairs this morning to be updated by Mum. And it really bugged me. It's like when you're a kid and you wake up after a sleep-over and your friends are telling you all the stories about all the really funny stuff that happened after you drifted off ("oh it was so cool - Malcolm totally covered himself in toothpaste and went running down the street singing the theme to Beverly Hills Cop. We tried to wake you but then Gareth thought it would be funny to draw boobs on your forehead instead").

So here's a warning to any potential future wife. If you're after a dashingly handsome young fellow with piercing blue eyes and a beautiful singing voice, then I'm the guy for you. If, on the other hand, you would rather have a man who will protect you and your children from dangerous attackers and keep his family safe from harm...well I'm afraid I'll be asleep.

The Challenge! - Day 9

Er, no. No it didn't happen. My Aramaic name deciphering lie was deemed either not convincing or not interesting enough to make it to press. I'm not sure if I'll get away with too many more lies as I had to give quite a few details in my email on this one. They wanted my phone number and my post code and stuff. I don't know if they keep the details to make sure that people aren't merely writing in on a daily basis in an attempt to have a lie published in a national newspaper. I even tried to counter this yesterday by setting up a new email account (if anyone wants to send emails that will never get checked send them to - actually scratch that, just send them to any one of my email addresses. I never check them.) as I didn't think that quailman_bogroll was the email address of someone who would know the Aramaic origins of weird names. Maybe I'll just have to keep creating new email accounts with each new lie (maybe it's about time to use Dr Thomwicket III) or maybe I should try another newspaper. The Mail have a whole section in their paper that deals with answers to strange questions. Maybe I should give that a go...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Challenge! - Day 8

Ok so it's day 8 of my challenge and I haven't really done anything other than read the letters page in the Metro and hope that something comes up that I can lie about.

Monday showed some potential with a reader writing in asking if men's swimming briefs are called budgie smugglers because they used to smuggle small pet birds into the country by stuffing them down their pants. I was all set to reply convinced that something would present itself to my waiting imagination but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the work had really already been done for me on this one. Other than writing in as Doctor Thomwicket III with a PhD in budgie history saying "Yes. Yes that's true", I couldn't think of anywhere else to take it.

But today I have written in with a lie. It's not one of my best and I'm not convinced it'll get very far but you never know. For the past couple of days, people have been writing in concerning a lady called Condoleezza Rice. Apparently people find this name amusing. So much so that it has taken up a fair amount of room on the letters page for the past two days. I wrote in this afternoon with the lie that Condoleezza comes from the aramaic condolisi which means "love of the unknown". I think it could get in tomorrows paper as long as no one researches it, questions it or even really reads it properly. Who knows? Only the morning will tell.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My name is Pressure Father...apparently.

I have just discovered the unbridled joy that is the Google translation service. Today, me and Andy M (work colleague) created many wonderful variations on popular sayings, worship songs and the Lord's Prayer. I have just got home and I decided to play some more. I typed in "My name is Glyn Harries and I am 22 years old" and translated it into various different languages and then back into English. Here are the results:

My name is Glyn Harries and I am 22 years old

My name is pressed Glyn and I is 22 years old.

My name is tight Glyn and I east 22 years.

My name is years of the east tightened of Glyn and I 22.

My name is years of the tight east of Glyn and the 22.

My name is years of the pressed east of Glyn and the 22.

Highest years of pressure east of the father and 22.

The father and the year when pressure of east of 22 is highest.

The father and the year when the pressure on east of 22 is highest.

And the father in the East is the highest pressure 22.

So what have we learnt? That if we translate them enough, simple introductions can become surreal yet profound sounding Chinese proverbs. God bless the internet.

The Challenge! - Day 1

Ok so here goes. We're off. The challenge starts today. I've decided my best bet is probably with the letters section in the Metro. I reckon I'll need to write in as some kind of expert in the field of something in response to some question that someone has asked at some point. Vague enough?

Ok so today we have:

A letter concerning Brian Haw's anti-war protests (I feel that any political lie I could conjure up would be immediately seen through)

A section devoted to people's opinions of the BNP (see above)

A section discussing Sinner/Winner (AKA Phil Howard) in Oxford Street (this isn't quite light-hearted enough to lie about (I have ground-rules (see previous post)))

A letter from a gentleman who seems quite upset as he can't find anyone to have sex with him (I'm leaving this one alone)

So today we don't really seem to have any takers. I need to bide my time with this. If I start writing in everyday from the same email address with hackneyed theories as Doctor Thomwicket III, the smart people of MailMetro will begin to get suspicious and bang goes any opportunity for my nationwide lie going public. I need to find just the right topic...

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Challenge!

I have a hobby. That hobby is lying. It may not be the most Christian or morally uplifting hobby but it is a hobby nonetheless and it's mine.

I love to lie.

For example, I am currently sitting at my laptop, writing this blog, on top of my neighbours roof, covered in jam, and they have no idea that I'm here.

Is that true? Of course not. I don't even own a laptop. But I said it anyway. Isn't that crazy?

That's the power of lying. Anything is possible.

Now before all you good honest Salvationists start taking offence and demanding that I hand in my epplets and 2nd baritone tune books you should know that there are certain ground-rules:

1) Lies are not to be malicious.

2) Lies are to be good humoured.

3) Lies are not to start rumours of any person or persons.

4) Only lie if you are certain that the recipient of the lie will respond positively at the discovery of the lie.

5) Be prepared to eventually receive lies after a heavy period of distributing lies.

6) Always unveil a lie if you can see the potential of the lie getting out of hand.

7) Always control the lie. Never let the lie control you.

8) Lie extensively and convincingly to everyone so that no one person may take the lie personally.

9) The more outrageous and yet weirdly convincing the lie, the better.

10) All lies are to be judged by oneself until a suitable outside referee can be acquired.

If you get it right, lying can be one of the most satisfying and socially inclusive past-times available. Which is why I have been disappointed, as of late, with the lack of people prepared to believe anything that passes my lips. As with all good things, it would appear that lying has a sell-by-date. Those who I have previously been able to sucker in with ease are now cautious of anything that departs from my mouth.

I didn't even realise how much I missed it until earlier today when I managed to have a whole phone conversation with a woman* who was convinced that I was her husband**.

So I have set myself a challenge - To have an outrageous lie printed in a national newspaper.

I'm not exactly sure how this will work but I'm certain I can do it (the letter pages are probably a good start).

And that's it. There's really nothing more to it in terms of rules and conditions. I just want a lie that I have constructed to appear in a publication that will be seen by people across the UK. And then I'll have scratched that particular itch.

So here goes. If my friends won't believe me, then maybe the nation will.

*Rachel - My deputy manager's wife
**Mike - My deputy manager.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Great Man! Rubbish Tribute!

Yesterday I found out that Rob Lacey died. For some reason this had a real effect on me. I can't say why or even what kind of an effect it had (if that makes any sense at all) but I just found myself thinking about it the whole day. I never knew or met him and apart from a couple of times at ROOTS I never even saw him perform. So why do I feel such a great sense of loss at his death?

I think that it's probably a professional thing. As a dramatist I often despair at the very thought of Christian drama. It's not good. I often think that as Christians we should have the monopoly on art (art reflects beauty, Christians should know more about beauty than anyone else etc etc - I could go on like this for hours (and often have done) so I'll stop myself now before it's too late). Christian drama should be the best kind of drama there is but instead it is often sub-par at best and shockingly awful at worst.

They are a few Christian artists, however, who do us proud. The theatre of Riding Lights and Rhema have been a great inspiration to me over the years. The poems, writings and sketches of Adrian Plass have been a source of aspiration since I was 10. And within all that I think I have always esteemed Rob Lacey as being one of the best writer/performers we have.

Unfortunately though, I can't even substantiate that last statement with very much as I'm basing it almost entirely on the very little of his work that I have read or seen him perform and the rest is probably on reputation. But based on the work that I did see, hear, read or perform (I performed one of his poems for a friend's final practical project while I was at Central), Rob Lacey did genuinely become somewhat of a hero of mine. His performance was passionate and his writing stood up to secular scrutiny. And I don't think we have anyone else who does what he did nearly as well as he did it.

When I think about the sort of person I'd like to be and how I'd like to be used and the sort of things I'd like to be known for, I would often look at Rob Lacey and think "yeah - something like that". And if I'm entirely honest, I had hoped to one day get to a point in my career where I would have had the opportunity to meet the man and maybe even work with him. And even if not (coz let's face it - not all that likely) then just the hope to have seen more of him and more of his work will be something that I will miss.

So maybe that's the reason for my sense of loss. But I also thank God for his career, his legacy and for giving the rest of us struggling theatre types something to live up to. May the Christian drama world be better off for his contribution.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Back From Roots!

Just got back from Roots 2006 and thought I'd publish a quick post before going to bed.

Roots was flipping excellent for a lot of reasons. And it was not so flipping excellent for others:

Flipping excellent bits of Roots:

1) Having the opportunity to write and perform for the first time since Spring Harvest with Rhema last year (I've created links to the stuff that I wrote and performed on the right under "Stuff I've Written" if anyone's interested).

2) Getting to spend time with and work with people I genuinely love and respect.

3) Danielle Strickland.

4) Being part of an amazing team of people and not feeling completely out of my depth.

Not so flipping excellent bits of Roots:

1) Nearly dying in my tent last night from the cold (and generally not getting any sleep at all for the whole weekend as a result of being in a tent in the cold)

2) Barely getting to Roots this year due to ticket weirdness:

Customer Helpline Lady Thank you for ringing the ticket collection helpline - how may I help you?

ME Yes I wander if you can. I ordered a ticket online and was told to collect it at Enfield Town Station but when I got there the lady told me that she couldn't print it out for me because it has been deferred. She said to ring you to find out what happened to it.

CHL I see. So you're saying that you've been told that the ticket date was changed for the third of March?

ME No. I was just told that it was deferred.

CHL Yes but da fird of what? Da fird of March? Da fird of April?

ME Da fird of nothing. Deferred. D-E-F-E-R-R-E-D. Deferred.


CHL What does that mean?

3) Matt Leeder telling me to sing the waily bit of In the Jungle (only it was the words of Amazing Grace) in front of a large gathering of teenagers and me spectacularly managing to perform the whole thing at a consistent semi-tone below the required pitch.

But despite everything, it's been an amazing week and I have been inspired by so much that has happened.

But for now I have to go because my brother has work to do and has been breathing down my neck for the past 20 minutes.