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The people we are vs the people we will be

Well why not?

This is a subject I’ve avoided for a while, out of fear of not finding the things I wanted under the surface or out of sheer indifference to the subject, for sometimes it is better to live life rather than reflect on it. If forwards is where we are walking then why look back?

Well… it’s been a difficult week over on the island, the group of friends I was in in school, we are still technically a group of friends but are scattered around the UK and don’t ever really see each other all together, the only times I have seen all of them in one place for the past 7 years has been at funerals, at my mothers, and this week, two of them lost a parent. It is good to see good friends, but never good under those circumstances, and they have both looked to me now to help them through this time…

How do you help a friend weather the storm which they’ll rain down on themselves?… who knows…

To answer a different question, we look back to calculate trajectory, if the person I am is a result of the places I’ve been then the person I will be is a result of the sum of both of those things.

I realised some things when looking back… and that is that I’m not entirely satisfied with the person I’m going to be, so I thought fuck it, let’s change it, and it’s easier than you think.

Put an obstacle in your way and it’ll throw you off course, I was in a direction that was good and upwards for my career, finally directing, finally full time, finally paid for it! no more lifting steel deck for me (woohoo!). That is all good, and what I wanted but the person I would become by chasing it so hotly is simply not the kind of person I would want to have a conversation with let alone inflict on anyone else.

So I booked myself a flight, to a faraway place, several days after my last show (and looking like it’s my best show yet) of this incredible year closes. This gives me no time to squeeze in any extra work, no opportunity to do anything but spend my days now directing and packing, getting all the right injections (and some of the wrong ones apparently), try out the right shoes, the right bags, the right compasses etc, but most importantly it gives me the ability to say no.

To say no when I was offered to direct a musical, to say no when asked to go and assist at the RSC, to say no when asked to develop a new play. The ability to say no is important,  and I needed to put an obstacle in my own way, else I wouldn’t have had the strength to be the obstacle myself.

Like a river all of a sudden blocked on a bend, and bursting it’s banks and spilling over plans, flooding, and draining away I have created purposeful chaos in my own life, and very much intend to embrace every unexpected turn that it takes me.


EmbracIng the Chaos

The wheels on the bus

My body is a temple, I’ve heard that said before, but I’ve always thought of my body as a machine, a fragile machine, which can endure some hardship, and if treated well and maintained properly will endure further for longer, this isn’t altogether true, but it’s close enough for the analogy.

The mind is not so simple, some scars remain forever, some fondness too, while other details which in their time seemed so important are erased forever. Is it the curse of having a mind which can appreciate beauty that it should forget the very thing it came to love, or is it a blessing that a mind which was hurt so badly is able to heal, forget and continue.

Today would have been a day, a normal day in the running of all days but a year ago I deemed it to be a celebration, and I find myself today wishing I hadn’t because the doing so immortalised it in my mind, a mind which returns to reopen past scars and packs them with fondness so that they may never heal again.

So I suppose it’s time to say something festive…

Eat cake, because without it all we would have was bread, and what sort of a life is a life with only bread as a companion.

Merry Christmas.


The end is here for some…

This week has been an interesting one politically.

I’ll be honest, I have been working some crazy shifts lately, awake at night, asleep through the day so I feel like I’ve been in a perpetual state of limbo, not quite awake, not quite asleep but drifting between the two. Today I woke up, and found my country in a mess, our genius of a Prime Minister thinks that it’s better to got it alone than to stick with Europe. apparently he has put the importance of the city ahead of businesses and industry.

Sarkozy today said in an interview that “there are now two Europes”

It seems that not only has Cameron severed our relations with the EU, but by doing so has weakend our position with Beijing, and the US, as Britain is now not sitting in a decision making seat in Europe, we are of significantly less use to them.

It seems that Europe is split, and that the UK itself is splitting in two, one side who want to stay with our European brothers and one who do not.

I know nothing about politics, but I know about people, and I know that when people work together they get further than if they work alone.

Let’s hope that Cameron’s decisions do more than just help rejuvenate this blog, but if not then there at least is one positive.

In the spirit of rejuvenation, I have decided to post a video, as seems to be the fashion, that I know you gentlemen will enjoy as much as I did.


From your friEnd in Isolation.

an embarrassing truth

Lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve been having some troubles in England.

I have received many phonecalls and messages from my international friends (I kind of love saying that) asking if we’re alright, if we’ve been affected by the ‘hooligans’ rioting.

First I should say that I am fine and that London is an incredibly large city, so large that until you’ve spent an entire day trying to walk from Shepherd’s Bush to Islington because you forgot your oyster card in your other trousers will you realise just how large this city is.

One week ago on Thursday the 4th of August a 29 year old Father of 4 Mark Duggan was shot by police in Tottenham North East London, shortly following this was a peaceful protest outside the local police station in Tottenham consisting of the victims friends family and community members. Within a few hours, after the peaceful individuals had left and the not so peaceful ones arrived, the protest became a riot, where people broke through the police ranks and stormed the police station.

This is where the trouble seemed to have begun, and although this was the catalyst that started the trouble of the past week, it is not the reason behind it.

We have had in the Capital alone at least 4 nights of major rioting, in over 50 separate locations, where (the latest count) almost 900 people have been arrested, this is a small percentage of the people involved and this is only talking about London, the riots peaked in London three nights ago on Monday, but spread out to the rest of the country following that with rioting groups in Oxford, Reading, Gloucester, Southend, Gillingham, Coventry, Birmingham, Leicester, Huddersfield, Nottingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

I cannot talk about other cities as I have only experienced what is happening in London, but the rioters ran free through the streets with little or no resistance from the police on the first few nights, while we have had two police chiefs resigning over the past few months, both our Prime Minister, Mayor of London and half of the cabinet of Ministers were away on holiday. In short we were caught with our trousers down.

The big question that everyone has been asking over this week is, what do we do about it?

How do we go about and apprehend all of these people, how do we teach them that they cannot just burn down buildings and cars, steal from shops, run people over or beat them up. Yes this is an important question, but the main question should be, why did they not already know this?

Why have we got a generation of children who do not want to work, do not want to improve the world, are happy to destroy their own community at night for an adrenaline high only to find that they are the ones who have to live in it the following morning.

The country has illustrated the reason why they do these things, we described them as ‘human waste’ a term which describes people who were born because their parents needed to have children in order to claim more on living benefits, that they are children who have nothing to contribute to society, who are uneducated, do not have work, nor want any they are the unwanted generation.

This has shown me the problem, their parents? yes, but not just them.

When I was younger, not even much younger if I wasn’t home at night my parents wanted to know why, if my reason wasn’t good enough then I wasn’t allowed out again. That’s not special treatment, that’s just good parenting. Where are the parents of all of the children out on the streets? Why are they not on the streets hauling them back home? What do they ask their children when they finally do get home?

The parents are as much to blame as the children committing these crimes for not instilling morals in their children.

Who else is to blame? Well, we are, society in general, for allowing England to be come a society about rights and not about responsibilities. English people feel like they are owed something, as if by the virtue of their existence they should get homes, food, transportation, welfare, but not have any responsibility to have to repay this back to the community.

Yes it is good to help those who are in need, yes everyone should have a home, but everyone should work for it, whether you’re working to buy one, or working to pay the government back for buying one for you.

The Laws of theft in this country are laughable, or should I say, the convictions of theft.

We have members of parliament claiming all sorts of things as expenses, essentially stealing money from the public sector, and getting off with a slap on the wrist.

Parents are told they cannot be strict on their children (and I’m not talking about beating kids). Police aren’t allowed to even take masks off of people rioting so they can identify them, and then all in all when they are finally sent to court they are let off with a provisional warning.

This is parenting 101, everyone knows that if you tell a child not to eat that ice cream or you’ll lock him in his room. You HAVE to lock him in his room when he does it, otherwise all that child will learn is that he can do whatever he wants and that there will be no consequences.

So the question we are asking of the young people doing the rioting is; Why? And the answer they give us is; Why not?

Why Not, smash up shops for televisions, our parents won’t punish us, we wont get sent to prison and we’ll get a new T.V.

The problem isn’t the riots, the problem is society, English people complain that there are Eastern European workers coming to England and stealing our work, well of course they are, because all we have to offer is a generation of people who want to get paid but don’t want to do any work.

England was caught with it’s trousers down, and in the midst of trying to pull them back up we have discovered that it’s not our belt, but our legs that are broken.

This is sad…



This all reminds me of the famous scene in the 70’s movie, ‘Network’ where the Character Howard Beale, a news reader in the US shouts on live television, “I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore…”

The link to youtube and Quote are below.






“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won’t say anything.” Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being. God Dammit, my life has value.” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Things have got to change my friends. You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”




Im mad as HEll, and I‘m not going to take it anymore.

Singing in the dark times

It’s been a strange few weeks…

How something that started as a shoulder sprained by shaking out the bedsheets, became a sleep defying back ache that couldn’t be quelled by any home medicines, and after one doctor, two doctors, three doctors and finally an ambulance, the proper medicine was administered and the problem hidden by a backache was revealed.

She liked giraffes, they were her favourite animal and when she started getting ill nearly 4 years ago people would start to bring her giraffes of all shapes and sizes; tiny giraffe shaped drink stirrers from restaurants, cuddly toys that could be carried around in your pocket, some that were tall above her waist, some finger puppets, hundreds of pictures and posters and cards of giraffes. Her sister even adopted an actual giraffe for her. We always told her that one day she’d turn into a giraffe.

When I was about 6 years old we went to visit my family in Florida and we all went to Disney World, at the end of one of the days, I remember walking holding my fathers hand, on our way to a ferry to go home, and I looked at this beautiful huge ferry and asked my dad why we weren’t going on that one, and he pointed out the huge crowd of people going to get on it. I was mesmerised by it and without either of us noticing it I slipped out of my fathers grip and walked into the crowd towards the ferry. After who knows how long I realised what had happened and started to call out to my mummy, and as I moved further and further into the crowd I felt lost and scared that I would never see her again and I called out louder and faster and eventually my uncle found me and scooped me up and put my with my mum, who I didn’t let go of for the whole journey home.

When she used to have surgeries or treatments or anything like that she would take something from myself, my brother and my sister to keep her company in the hospital, lately she has taken the three little animals that in some way represent us, a doll of a bear for my brother, a turtle for me, and a sheep for my sister, we used to put the three of those animals close to one of her giraffes and call it a family gathering.

My brother and I took every chance to annoy her, not in a malicious way she was never actually angry at us just fed up with our sillyness. One of the things we did was sneak things into the trolley whenever we went shopping, things like slippers or beer or salami, things we never intended on buying, it wasn’t about the item it was about my mothers reaction when she discovered it. We would disappear in the middle of Tesco when she wasn’t looking and then return wearing waistcoats and fishing hats.

The mysteries of the human body really are remarkable, one thing that I learnt a little bit too late was that the liver sits within a sack of sorts, completely disconnected from the rest of the vital organs, and it shares nerve endings with areas in the lower back and the shoulder blades. If we knew that then we would have probably have done something a little bit sooner, I definitely wouldn’t have joked about how it was a sprain from shaking out the duvet.

From the day she was diagnosed with Cancer… 18th of June 2007 she studied her disease, every single aspect of it, for both a cure and for a prevention, not just for her to never get it again, but so that her kids never will. She knew about every drug she had, or was available to her, she knew about all the side effects and she knew about what to look for to know that it’s getting worse, every morning she woke up and looked in the mirror to see whether her skin and eyes were turning yellow. When your liver begins to fail the first thing that happens is you get jaundiced, it’s something that happens to new born babies before their liver starts to work where some parts of the bile make their way into your blood stream and are then deposited all over your body, the deposits in your skin are what makes it turn yellow. babies recover pretty quickly. I would catch her looking at herself in the mirror quite a few times during the day to check that the whites of her eyes were still white, as if her liver was going to fail while she was watching ‘Escape to the Country’. The other side effect of the bile getting into the blood is that it gets deposited into your brain and makes you confused.

After her back started to hurt so much that she spent most of her time in bed, she said things, silly things like saying that pasta was boring, and asking if something that went out of date in 1995 was still good now. She said some nice things, she told me she loved me and slept better when I sat with her, and when I woke up at 5 in the morning to give her some medicine the day before she went to hospital, the day when she was very confused she called me useless and told me that I didn’t care about her. That was Friday the 28th.

In August of 2007 when she was having her Radiotherapy I was meant to go to Germany to see some friends. I didn’t because she wanted her kids around her.

I don’t regret staying with her, I don’t regret no longer touring round the country with work so that I could be closer to her, I don’t regret going with her to every one of her scans for the last 2 years and making her drink that horrible fluid so that the images have better resolution, I don’t regret making her laugh so much that her stitches hurt after her operations. Or going into her room to give her a kiss and waking her up before I went to work in the mornings, or doing the same thing when I came home, or making jokes that when she died we were going to stuff her and put her on the sofa so that we can still give her hugs, or coming downstairs when I heard her crying on the phone to my aunt and hugging her. I don’t regret forcing her to drink from a sponge dipped in water when she could no longer sit up, long after the doctors and nurses gave up and left her, long after she astounded everyone with how strong she was.

I cannot explain how I felt every time I went to give her water, how much I prayed that she would take it, and how incredibly happy I was every time she did. Until she didn’t anymore.

On the 18th of July 2007, exactly a month after she was diagnosed with Cancer it was her 50th Birthday, and we decided to take her to the Zoo to see the giraffes. I have an image of her standing on the feeding platform with an ice cream in one hand a huge smile on her face and a giraffe a few meters away. I don’t even remember if we had ice cream that day, but I like the memory anyway.

I got to the hospital on Sunday 30th, in the evening, just as my mother was moved from one hospital near where we live, to one in the Center of London. I had been at work on the Saturday and my phone battery had run out so I didn’t get the message till the Sunday. I spoke to my brother who was told not to worry about coming down to London as it was nothing to worry about and that University is much more important, but I told him that it doesn’t matter if it’s nothing, if he wants to be here then he should come. I drove from Kat’s house (where I had been staying the night before) to my grandparents house where I met my brother who had come down on the train and we went to the hospital together.

For a second mother thought that Adam was the doctor as she didn’t expect him to be there. We didn’t think she looked too bad, but in hindsight I suppose that’s because we’re used to seeing her in hospital beds when in truth she only ever looked that weak after an operation when she was getting stronger everyday, not weaker. I’m glad we went on the Sunday as we got to hear her speaking the most on that day. The doctor came in and asked her several questions to test her confusion. She answered most of the questions correctly, she did think that Queen Elisabeth the first was on the Throne, didn’t remember who was on the Prime Minister (just that she didn’t like him), and even though we had told her otherwise, was convinced she wasn’t going yellow, but that may have just been wishful thinking. We left at about 10pm on Sunday the 30th.

Over the next few days news came thicker and faster than we could absorb it, on the Tuesday we were told that she had a couple of weeks to live, then on the Wednesday it was a few hours. The news spread like wildfire amoungst the friends and family. Planes and trains, and cars were booked a mobilised, within hours, and family from America, Malaysia, Israel, and probably one or two places I’ve forgotten descended on the hospital. One or two people didn’t get there in time.

I remember going to work on the Wednesday morning to tell them that I’m cancelling my shifts for the foreseeable future as I would have to be at home taking care of my mother. I then drove to tell my father the news, and then when I was on my way to hospital it hit me that every moment I spent away from her was a moment I had lost and would never get back. That drive was filled with anger, everyone who drove slowly for no good reason was robbing me of precious time, I dropped my car off at my grandparents and took the train the rest of the way.

It was when I got to the hospital on Wednesday the 2nd that I was told she only had a few hours left. I went into the hospital at about 1pm on Wednesday I was whole, and I left 24 hours later completely broken.

I remember being a young child and waking up early in the morning, before my parents were awake, and crawling into bed in between them, and slowly my brother and sister would join us until the three of us were in the middle taking up most of the bed and my parents were banished to the edges. Over recent months I’ve spent a lot of time in my mothers bed, giving her food when she couldn’t get out, or sitting and talking to her when she was sad or just lying there and waiting for her to go to sleep because she slept better when one of us was there with her. She hated the idea of being alone. In recent years it had become completely natural to walk into the house and if no one was in the lounge to go straight to my mothers room, because that’s probably where everyone was. I can’t recount the amount of times the three of us have been upstairs giggling about some stupid thing or another while my mother was trying to go to sleep until she eventually threw all of us out.

Wednesday was a bit of a surreal day, when we heard that my mother probably only had a few hours in the early afternoon everyone went a bit crazy, my grandfather couldn’t handle the news and started pacing around the hospital and my great-uncle (his brother) had to go and calm him down, my sister couldn’t stop crying, my brother and I cried a lot when we heard the news but managed to pull it together enough to be organisational, my Aunts Shelley and Stella were phenomenally strong. my grandma was just very quiet…

Hours after the initial shock wore off we were all in surprisingly good humour, after all the peripheral friends and relatives had come and gone there was a fairly large group of my mums closest people in the room, my grandparents, Shelley Stella, Me, Gal, Adam, Kat (my girlfriend), Madelaine Gal’s Girlfriend), Danny (my uncle), Ilan (my uncle), and my mum’s best friends Denise and Janet, and my mother of course, she was still there. My uncles and my brother were quoting the Simpsons and laughing obnoxiously, Gal, Madz and Kat were in the corner giggling about something. There were only 4 chairs so most of us were sitting on the floor with pillows and blankets that my grandparents had brought previously, the rest of us were chatting about various things taking it in turns to make sure my mother was drinking. By this point her veins had shrunk so much that they could no longer put a needle in her arm to give her fluids so if we weren’t there physically feeding her water a couple of drops at a time through the sponge, then she would have just dehydrated.

My grandparents were the first to leave at about 10pm, it was too late for them to be up and about, then at 11 Denise and Janet went home, Ilan left at midnight and Danny at about 1am. At 3 Gal, Madelaine and Adam went to the visitors room with the pillows and blankets to try and get some sleep. Kat stayed but was sleeping on the floor. Shelley, Stella and I were talking for a few hours and then, Stella started to sing, a Mauri song that I didn’t understand the words to but seemed very sad but beautiful and melodic, She moved on from mauri tunes to a lullaby that my Grandma sang to my mum and to us as kids to send us off to sleep, Shelley and I joined in and the music genre changed from lullaby’s to Showtunes from cabaret, to songs I first heard in my mum’s teenage record collection, Elton John’s Your Song, and Don Maclean’s American Pie, a song about they day that Buddy Holly Died.

As we sang the line ‘And February made me shiver’, we all found the irony that it was indeed February.

It was about 5 in the morning, while we were singing when my mother didn’t drink any more water, and rolled over for the last time, for the rest of the time she was in hospital she was agitated and uncomfortable, constantly tossing and turning and pulling at her sheets and her gown. Banging her arms and legs on the sides of the bed that stopped her from falling out, and because of all the bile in her blood and skin she had gotten a lot of large brown bruises.

at about 6 I sent Kat to sleep in the Visitors room so I could lie down without leaving, I was exhausted but couldn’t bring myself to sleep, I just lay there listening to my mothers breathing which had slowly gotten quicker and shallower over the day.

At 7:30 Stella went home to get a change of clothes for Shelley and get some rest and Shelley started to Doze on the comfy chair. By 8 the hospital had woken up again and a nurse came in to check my mum’s vitals, she spoke to Shelley about if my mother had any children and Shelley said, ‘one’s there on the floor and the other two are in the visitors room’, the nurse nodded with approval and said ‘Good family’.

I went to the Visitors room after the nurse had left to wake up everyone, as if it was a normal day my brother and sister asked for 10 more minutes sleep, which (like a normal day) I didn’t give them. They came back to the room and Kat and Madelaine went home to shower and get us a change of clothes and my Uncle Ilan came to drop us off some tea and coffee before he went to work.

We sat and talked about how much sleep we didn’t get and how uncomfortable the sofas in the visitors room were. It was at half past 9 that my mothers breathing started to change, it became gasping rather than breathing, we all started to panic again, we tried to call my grandparents to tell them to come to the hospital quickly but their line was busy, so we called Danny to go and pick them up and take them there, it was 9:40 and while Shelley was trying to talk to Danny, and I was trying to reach my grandparents and my sister was trying to call Kat and Madelaine, and we were all trying to function while trying our hardest not to cry. My brother went quiet and said, almost whining ‘Shelley, she’s stopped breathing’. We all stopped talking and crying and calling and went silent, listening. after a few seconds, she inhaled one loud deep breath and then went silent, I hit the buzzer for the nurse to come, as she inhaled again, this time not so deeply.

It was 9:42 and a half and that was when she stopped breathing.

As my mother lay there perfectly still, after having lost so much weight, her neck looked long and thin, her skin was yellow and she was covered in bruises I couldn’t help thinking that my mother hadn’t died, she had just finally turned into a giraffe.

Those last two and a half silent minutes are all I have been able to think about for the past month, but today I was thinking about Thursday the 27th of January, one week previously. My mother was in bed in a lot of pain but we had just given her some painkillers that seemed to work for a very short amount of time. Gal and I were in her bed and it was about 11pm. My mother had hiccups that were so loud that she said ‘for once we’re keeping the neighbours up!’ we were joking about my mother’s bad back and about my mother calling my brother Allison accidentally, so we decided to call my brother so my mum could speak to him, and my brother, who never answers his phone, decided to pick up and have a long conversation with us.

That was the last time I felt like I was part of a real family.

My sister has gone back to living with Madelaine and my brother is back at university. I feel like the little boy who’d gotten lost in Disney World, I don’t want to get on the ferry, I don’t want to go on the rides or to have ice cream.

I just want my mummy.

Creeping time

It always seems at this time of year that the future is catching up with us, that tomorrow is a whole year in the future and that we said we would have achieved ‘who knows what’ by then, thinking it far away.
Time doesn’t in fact make massive jumps forwards, it creeps forwards so slowly that we pay no attention to its passing, while we’re brushing our teeth, deciding what to have for dinner, smiling to ourselves about a joke that ceased to be funny long ago. Time creeps on unaffected and unappreciated.

Life is full of “It’s been too long since” and “I only just” and “how long till”s that we find ourselves living outside if the moment, constantly looking forward or back.

Our present was our future once and we were looked forward to it.  We exist only in the present, so why not spend some time here?

Happy New Year Brookfield bloggers, the party is at the lodge and entrance is by imagination only.


P.s. was reading this a good use of your time?

Ad Idem


This time of year comes too often for my liking. As much as I like Christmas, it makes me feel like the time in-between has passed too quickly.

I hope the writers and readers of this blog have a truly happy, passionate, safe, loving and unforgettable Christmas.

Each passing year makes the next more precious.

A very cheesy musical once said “it wasn’t the year I made the most money, or had the most friends, it wasn’t when I was the most successful, but it definitely was My Favourite Year.”

In response to this one of the wise gentlemen is this blog said “I hope to never look back in my life and decide which was my favourite year, I wish to constantly say ‘next year shall be my favourite year'”.

Merry Christmas.