Wednesday 30 November 2011

You lucky bastard: pension envy in Life of Brian

Lies, more lies and colossal whoppers brainwashing people who have little to envy those who have little more. Fed up with TV & radio vox pop of private sector workers slating people in the public sector for an average pension of £5,000 per year? The video above will cheer you up.

How about everyone's pensions being decent? What about all those company directors with £4 million pension pots? How about the top ten per cent of earners who haven't been touched by Osborne's attacks on workers?

Government wages war on poor: good luck to the strikers

Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The best of luck to today's public sector workers and their strike. Yesterday's Autumn Statement by George Osborne — an acceleration of misery for most of us — was a declaration of class war on the poorest in society who do all the useful work.

Polly Toynbee lays out the facts in an impassioned piece in the Guardian:
Not one penny more was taken from the top 10% of earners. Every hit fell upon those with less not more. Fat plums ripe for the plucking stayed on the tree as the poorest bore 16% of the brunt of new cuts and the richest only 3%, according to the Resolution Foundation. Over £7bn could be harvested with 40% tax relief on higher pensions, while most earners only get 20% tax relief; £2bn should be nipped from taxing bankers' bonuses, but the bank levy announced was nothing extra. There was no mansion tax on high-value properties, though owners don't even pay their fair share of council tax, and property is greatly undertaxed compared with other countries.

Worse still, two-thirds of properties worth over £1m now change hands while avoiding all their 5% stamp duty, by using offshore company accounts. But not a word passed Osborne's lips on tax avoidance and evasion. Another 12,000 tax collectors are losing their jobs while some £25bn is evaded and £70bn avoided. In a time of national emergency, Osborne had no breath of rebuke about the responsibility of the rich not to dodge taxes, no threat to curb the culture of avoidance. Despite the High Pay Commission report on out-of-control boardroom pay – which even the Institute of Directors has called "unsustainable" – the chancellor said nothing. How adamantly he ruled out the Tobin tax on financial transactions, called for by those dangerous lefties Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

Instead came the great attack on public sector employees on the eve of the biggest strike in memory. This was a declaration of open class war – and war on the pay of women, 73% of the public workforce. After a three-year freeze, public pay rises are pegged at 1% for two years, whatever the inflation rate. That means this government will take at least 16% from their incomes overall. But the plan to abolish Tupe – the rule that ensures public workers are not paid less if their service is privatised – is outrageously unjust, and will lead to mighty resistance to all privatisation from senior as well as junior staff.

Then there are the four myths around today's strike which have been pwned in Left Foot Forward. F'rinstance, that pensions aren't sustainable at the current level:
The assumptions are based on current policies, not government proposals. Confirming earlier findings in the Hutton Report (pdf), they clearly predict the cost of public pensions will fall from 2% of GDP to 1.8% in 2030 and 1.4% in 2060 - without any of the current Hutton proposals.

The reason that public sector pensions are higher? Because so few in the private sector have a pension at all!

As for being the work of "militants", "78 per cent of Unison voted in favour of the strike, 83 per cent of the GMB, 75 per cent of Unite – all mandates which any politician would kill for".
You may remember, of course, that Johnson was elected Mayor of London in 2008. He gained 42.48 per cent of the first preferences in London, on a turnout of 45.33 per cent. So London has a mayor triggered by less than a fifth of the voting population – just 19 per cent.

Faisal Islam of Channel 4 News has ten questions for George Osborne, starting with, "You are announcing unspecified massive spending cuts for the next parliament to meet your target. Isn’t this exactly what you criticised Labour for?"

The BBC says that 60% of the public are supporting the strike so the shameful position of Labour's Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves are not exactly cutting with the electorate.

Neither are the braying banker sympathisers. As one Tweet put it, if you can write an anti-strike rant, thank a teacher.

Politics Home: A Statement that may seal the Chancellor’s fate. "Look at the decision to cut tax credits which will raise rather than reduce child poverty levels – but refusing to repeat the bank bonus tax as Labour suggested. How out of touch can this Chancellor get?"

Paul Mason on Osborne's £30 billion of extra cuts. "There is now no chance of a sustained recovery, either in the real economy or the public finances, by the time we get to the pre-election period."

All this, and yet Rachel Reeves, a Labour frontbencher marked for higher things (with 666 tattooed under her hair, more like), says: "We do not support the strike because a strike is a sign of failure."

Anthony Hilton, former City Ed for the Evening Standard, on the myth of public-pension Sir Humphreys.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Big business turns TV toxic

My latest NEW INTERNATIONALIST magazine column December 2011

Big business turns TV toxic

The ghost of Milton Friedman must be breaking out the bubbly in whatever Circle of Hell he now inhabits.

Across the globe, his Satanic little helpers have been sucking the wealth out of the system like a parasitic alien virus to feed the plutocrats at the top as public services are 'liberalised'. And now, in the Mother of all Parliaments, the Houses of both Commons and Lords have handed over Britain's glorious National Health Service to the forces of capital.

You know it's a bad thing when Cherie Blair sets up a company to profit from pillaging the NHS. Private clinics in supermarkets, no less. Croesus wept!

The October vote on NHS "reform" represents a massive seismic shift in our society ... but where have the media been in all of this?

It wasn't until the day after that some of the media happened to mention the colossal conflict of interest among those dismantling our national treasure. The TV outlets came to bury the news, not ring out a warning or a danger, or analyse what this would mean for their viewers. So while we were all watching Strictly Come Dancing, the Sopranos were making their major play. It's like the last reel in The Godfather where Michael Corleone attends his son's baptism while his enemies are bumped off.

Business is now more powerful than our democratic institutions, and to prove it, they're all over the media like a poisonous rash.

The Apprentice, Dragons' Den, Secret Millionaire ... All those toxic shows where hatchet-faced middle-managers with thousand-yard stares tell desperate losers which part of their souls they have to hack away in order to be a winner. Noticed how our entertainment is wall-to-wall with Wall Street wannabees naturalising this nightmare? If there was any fairness in the world, we'd be screening They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) on a 24-hour loop as a warning to dem yoot.

It's not like we can wait for them to die out. Their well-fed spoilt children, like little emperors, are forming a queue, assuming privilege and telling-off rights over the rest of us. Ye gods, when did we last see the child of a sleb actually studying and doing something even two stages away from commerce, where success isn't measured in share-prices?

We're entering the Heart of Darkness as the delicate cultural superstructure is sucked back into Mordor and all the little Orcs start running things, while we're dragged into the 10th century.

Kids, you won't remember this, but there was actually a time when we had the beancounters on the run. When company directors earned only 50 times what their lowest-paid workers received.

Good luck to the protesters in Greece, Spain, America, Britain ... everywhere. We need you.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Brilliant scary alpine-coaster video



GAUCHE: A LEFT TAKE ON THE EURO CRISIS: by Paul Anderson, Tribune column, 24 November 2011

Eurosceptics crowing about how they have been vindicated by the Eurozone crisis are beginning to drive me nuts. I don’t think they have been vindicated, but that’s for another column. What matters now is this:

1. Like it or not, a calm negotiated dissolution of the euro is not possible
It is true that currency unions have in the past been dismantled without catastrophic economic disruption. In recent years, Britain’s currency union with Ireland ended in 1979 when Ireland joined the European exchange rate mechanism; and Slovakia and the Czech Republic introduced separate currencies in 1993 after Czechoslovakia’s “velvet divorce”.

It is imaginable that at some time in the future the Eurozone could be broken up by mutual consent of its participants without precipitating disaster (whether that is a desirable outcome is another matter). This is, however, utterly implausible in the near future. The bond markets are in a state of panic and smell blood, and not even the smallest reduction in Eurozone membership – a Greek exit – could take place without triggering further panic that forced Italy, Portugal and Spain out too. The only plausible scenario for ending the euro as we know it in the foreseeable future is a chaotic collapse.

2. The collapse of the euro would be a disaster for Britain
Such a collapse would be ruinous for every country that was forced out. In the run-up to exit, they would experience catastrophic capital flight. Their banks would implode and credit would disappear. As businesses failed, unemployment would rocket – and people left in work would find their living standards and purchasing power slashed as a result of the devaluation that euro exit would inevitably bring.

The impact would be felt throughout the world. Germany and other countries still in the Eurozone would go into deep recession as their banks took the hit of defaults on loans to the leaver countries and as their exports to those countries slumped. Britain would take an economic hammering. The Eurozone is Britain’s biggest export market, responsible for nearly half of British export revenues, and British banks are massively exposed to Eurozone debt. The disintegration of the Eurozone, and the consequent wider economic downturn, would be a calamity for Britain.

3. The euro must be saved
It follows that it is in everyone’s interests, including Britain’s, for the euro to be rescued. The key question is how. This, of course, is what the European political class has been arguing about for months – without providing a credible answer, which in turn has exacerbated the crisis as the markets have factored in the possibility of meltdown.

The immediate priority is to end the bond market panic to allow the Eurozone debtors to borrow more at reasonable rates of interest. The problem is that this requires the Eurozone as a whole to underwrite their borrowing – which means Germany, as Europe’s biggest creditor nation, taking on responsibility for the debts of southern Europe, either directly or indirectly. Up to now, however, the Germans have refused to do so. The German economic policy establishment, horrified by the prospect of inflation above all else, considers that the priority is for the indebted countries to reduce their debts and has ruled out the European Central Bank acting as lender of last resort. German voters balk at their taxes bailing out what they see as profligate and lazy southern Europeans.

The most likely way out of this impasse is that a deal will be struck whereby the Germans relent on bankrolling the Eurozone, but only on condition that the debtor countries immediately implement draconian austerity budgets and accept tough, intrusive Eurozone-wide budget rules.

That would calm the bond markets, but at great cost:

Austerity would almost certainly strangle what little growth there is in southern Europe, with knock-on effects for everyone else.
Such a regime would place the burden of paying for the sovereign debt crisis – which, lest we forget, is the result of the global banking crisis of 2008 and the ensuing recession, not decades of state profligacy – almost entirely on the shoulders of the working class.
Handing over responsibility for overall economic policy to the Eurozone would mean that the key decisions on taxation and spending would no longer be taken by democratically elected governments – a dramatic erosion of national sovereignty.
So what should democratic socialists do? First, argue for a recasting of the role of the European Central Bank to include pursuit of growth as well as stability. Second, press for a fairer sharing of the pain of austerity by ensuring that the rich pay more, starting with a Tobin tax. And third, demand a massive increase in the powers of the European Parliament, the only Europe-wide democratic institution, to maximise accountability of the new economic policy regime.

It’s hardly a panacea, but it’s a lot better than crowing.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Barbarism 2011 style

Barbarism and utter depravity from the state represented by the university authorities, the police, the bankers and politicians.

Asians Art Museum reports:
UC Davis professor issues Open Letter demanding Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s resignation

“Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

“This is what happened. You are responsible for it. . . .

“I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.”

Read full letter

Also: Katehi’s $400,000 salary (2009) and “corruption charges” (Sfgate, 6/16/09)

Tuesday 22 November 2011

How Tribune would deal with the economic crisis

Paul Anderson shows us how to do it.

There's more sense in his demonstration here than anything we've been offered by politicians in the past three years since the economy imploded in 2008. Well done, that man.

Taken on our seaside trip last week to Southwold and the wonderfully weird Under the Pier Show by genius Tim Hunkin.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Obama in Yo Mama war with China: Pacific Rimmers look out!

"We never liked their noodles, anyway."

Is it my imagination or is cuddly President Barack Obama picking a fight with China?

No sooner has the world begun to heal after the Bush neocon excesses that led to such bloodshed in the Middle east, not to mention an enormous fillip to the arms industry, than Obama announces a tectonic shift in US imperialist policy.

Only a few weeks since Hillary Clinton announced that the new superpower was in the queue not so far along from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Syria, Iran and Korea for whipping into shape, I listened to Obama's speech to the Australian Parliament last night, struck by sabre-rattling out of a bygone age. "The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay." Is he on something?

The Guardian said:
Obama's speech came the day after he announced he would send military aircraft and up to 2,500 marines to northern Australia for a training hub to help allies and protect American interests across Asia. He declared the US was not afraid of China, by far the biggest and most powerful country in the region.

China's sensitive about having gunboats up her Yangtse, and sending in the marines plus warships to the region is like poking a stick at a pitbull. Reminding China of her ignominious past being gang-banged by the West is not the best way to foster good relations, especially if you are seeking her dosh to get you out of our economic crisis. I would suggest less of the, "C'mon if you think you're 'ard enough", and more of the "Gosh, what big mountains of cash you have. May we have some? Please?"

Actually, Barack said: ""Let there be no doubt: in the Asia-Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in." Which is diplomat speak for: "You spilt my pint. Outside!"

He continued:
"With most of the world's nuclear powers and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress. We've seen that China can be a partner, from reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula to preventing proliferation. We'll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation."

Obama held out the threat of the big stick and I understand several horses' heads are now winging their way to Hu, Wen, Hao and Wai.

The cheeky fucka told them: "We will do this, even as continue to speak candidly with Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people."

Meanwhile, the US Occupy protesters are being given tea and cakes in the White House and treated to BBQs in New York's Zuccotti Park while sympathetic cops give them foot-massages.

I'm sure the Australian Aboriginal peoples will be most pleased to have the American's using their vast bombing ranges in the north of the continent as well as all the other excercises and "training". Wonder if the School of the Americas will have a chance to shine?

Could the shift in focus to the Pacific be anything to do with the large oil resources in the South China Sea? As George Orwell said, imperialism consists of the cop and the soldier holding down the native while the businessman goes through their pockets. Or as I see it, the school bully is mugging the other kids for their lunch-money. Unfortunately for America, this new kid does kung fu.

Expect proxy wars and monstering of China in the supine media as we all get programmed to cheer World War Three and a Half.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Eurozone Madness: the other story

He may not have been my favourite Celebrity Big Brother contestant, to put it mildly, but George Galloway writes a stunning piece that nails the argument about the Eurozone crisis, little of which has been aired in the mainstream press.

It appeared in the Morning Star and I have it via Socialist Unity but I'm posting the whole thing here as we need to know these things.

This crisis is a time to demand the impossible
Friday 11 November 2011 by George Galloway
Shakespeare would have had little difficulty in relating the drama unfolding on the European and global stage.

The troupe of players from the political class have their "entrances and exits" until they reach this latest scene - a "second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

Toothless, wilfully blind, gaudy and impotent sums up the Cannes summit meeting of the richest 20 countries last week and the ongoing response of political leaders to the crisis engulfing the eurozone and the wider global economy.

Behind the talking heads and cliched headlines lies a barely spoken truth - the whole model of managing global capitalism of the last three decades is breaking down as the financial crisis unleashed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago morphs and mutates from one geographical or economic area to another. There is no end in sight.

In the case of Europe, it is a 60-year project of co-operation among the elites at the expense of the mass of people that is coming unstuck.

Through the fraying seams are poking the heads of monsters from the last century which we were told were safely shrouded and buried.

For while toothless when it comes to halting the crisis itself, the business elites and their acolytes across the Establishment political spectrum have their claws out and sharpened, slashing into every gain working people have made since the hungry '30s.

Half of young people in Spain are unemployed. In Britain, it's already a record at one million and set to rise much further, not least as the decades-long expansion of university education goes into reverse.

Every aspect of life in Greece is already being lopped and squeezed. The predictable result, according to the prestigious medical journal the Lancet, is that people are dying, more of them and earlier.

The bailout of Greece is anything but. It is like a payday loan of the type that more and more people in Britain are being forced into.

Witness the proliferation of loan-shark outfits popping up in abandoned shops on run-down high streets across the country. No sooner is the money received at exorbitant interest rates than it is handed straight to corporate creditors and banks.

According to the plan for Greece - the plan, remember - the debt-burden is to rise to twice economic output as the austerity measures sink the country into deeper slump.

In 10 years it's supposed to fall back to 120 per cent. That's the level now in Italy, which has just plunged into the eye of the storm.

No wonder no-one really believes the austerity plan will work, even in its own terms.

But still, like some demented general in the bloodbath of the first world war, they press on, hurling men, women, children and the social fabric over the top to be shredded by murderous machine-gun fire.

Perhaps in years to come they'll concoct an equivalent of the poppy to mark another fallen generation. The hypocrites and hirelings can wear it ever larger - maybe chrysanthemums would suit them.

And with the pain inflicted on the millions by the millionaires, come all the old elitism, scapegoating and chauvinism.

Instead of German soldiers bayoneting Belgian nuns, we have the despicable lie that the common people of southern Europe are feckless scroungers who have brought this all on themselves.

Murdoch may be on the ropes, but Channel 4 stepped in, like a tag-team partner, to beat up on the suffering people of Greece this week.

"Greek for a Week" could have bubbled up straight from the Wapping sewer.

Its premise, never questioned, was that the average Greek is lazy, coddled by generous state provision and expecting handouts from the rest of us. Another devious Johnny-foreigner.

In truth, Greeks are at the top of the league table for working hours in Europe and at the bottom when it comes to pay.

The people protected by the state are the oligarchs, the shipping magnates, media barons and associated bankers. Just like here really.

If anyone you know is tempted by this xenophobic drivel, remind them that welfare dependency and pampered public servants are exactly the insults hurled by the government and its friends here in Britain at disabled people, the unemployed, and the nurses, hospital porters, school caretakers and staff who are set to strike later this month against a pensions robbery greater than anything even contemplated by the unlamented Robert Maxwell of 20 years ago.

There are other similarities too which any opposition worthy of the name would be skewering David Cameron on every day.

The Greek oligarchs - the 1 per cent who lord it over us - are not the wealth creators.

They are sucking up everything they can and investing just 7 per cent of output back into the economy.

The rest is being shipped and splashed out in the property market of London's Chelsea and the financial speculation which inflated this crisis in the first place.

That's exactly what the bankers and captains of industry are doing in this country.

Investment in making real things, in infrastructure and in vital services, has plummeted.

Instead, we have more speculation and indulgence on everything from fine wine and property to currencies and lumps of precious metal - as the Christmas bonus bonanza in the City is about to show.

None of the right or centre-left parties, which have in effect converged in a fictitious consensus, are prepared so far to raise the prospect of using the power of government, which after all the bankers all lauded when it came to bailing them out, to force this investment, and therefore economic growth, to take place.

They are not prepared to impinge on the wealth monopoly of big business to invest in the interests of all.

On the contrary, to preserve the system that is failing, they are prepared to restrict the democratic rights of all in the interests of the 1 per cent.

At the time of writing we no longer have an elected prime minister in Greece.

We have a former central banker who has never been elected to anything.

Soon, it seems, we may have a former European Union commissioner as prime minister of Italy.

The Italian president has just appointed Mario Monti a life senator (like a British lord) so he can qualify for the position.

Nero, Caligula and a earlier phase of Roman history spring to mind.

What qualification do these "technocrats" have? They are architects of the order that is collapsing, priests of the god that failed.

They are wedded to the austerity economics and, in the eyes of the IMF/European Central Bank/European Union elite, they are as Thatcher used to say, people like us.

Of course they have no democratic mandate at all. And that's another bonus.

They are not electorally responsive to the people, though the parties that they choose their minister from are.

For the very last thing that the 1 percenters want is for the 99 per cent to have a say over the policies that are ruining the lives of most of them.

That's why outgoing social democrat prime minister George Papandreou came under excoriating pressure for mooting the idea of a referendum on the austerity measures.

He buckled. If ever there was an example of dotage as a second childishness, but without everything, it is the leader of Pasok, a shadow of his father Andreas, who founded the party.

Or as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels observed, all historical personages appear twice, first as tragic giants, second as farcical dwarves - first as the father, then as the son.

The suspension of democratic norms we have become accustomed to should ring alarm bells.

It is social resistance, or the fear of it, that created the political logjam in Greece and Italy.

In that situation, the high priests of globalised capitalism have chosen the most undemocratic of a range of options.

They and others will do so again, unless that resistance can alter the calculus.

They can get away with these manoeuvres, if only temporarily, in part due to the paucity and pusillanimity of traditional social democratic/Labour parties, which have spurned the idea of a big, comprehensive alternative to capitalism red in tooth and claw.

How else can we explain how in Spain next weekend, the sons of Franco in the Tory People's Party are likely to win an election against the outgoing social democrats?

I don't believe it's because the people in Spain want more of the failing capitalist policies.

Many may not see an alternative, but how can they if one is not credibly presented and argued for by those they have historically looked to?

I believe that people are crying out for a big idea, a real one, not bunkum like Cameron's "big society."

That's why the sympathy for the Occupy movement, which goes way beyond the numbers taking part so far, is so great.

It is a sign of people grappling for themselves for a truly democratic and progressive alternative.

And the lack of a radical alternative equal to the scale of the crisis infects everything that Labour says and does.

Just one example - BBC's Question Time this week. On issue after issue Labour's Rachel Reeves failed even to make contact with the ball, let alone put it in the net against a panel that while absurdly right-wing in its composition was hardly fleet of foot, viz the flabby Stephen Pollard at right back.

Forget radicalism, she couldn't even come up with basic social democratic arguments about how private health care is parasitic on the NHS, cherry-picking profitable medical procedures while refusing insurance to the kind of former industrial workers who were doubtless in the Newcastle audience.

The apparent certainties of the age ushered in by Reagan and Thatcher are melting into air.

The left, if we want to have any solidity, has no option but to voice the big alternative and bend every effort to organising around it.

We have resources to draw on. And we have traditions.

As I write, news is breaking of a massive battle at the University of Berkeley in California between occupying students and riot police.

It is a resounding echo of the 1960s movements that were the well-spring of so much that is progressive.

A historical event appearing twice - but this time with all the vigour of its infancy.

It's time again to be realistic and to demand what they tell us is impossible.

Monday 14 November 2011

Anna May Wong Must Die! great pix by Jan Jefferies

We played the final show last night at the New Diorama Theatre (Saturday 12th November 2011) in front of a lively audience.

There was a quantum improvement from Thursday with most tec glitches sorted, the lads louder and rockier now that the awe of the theeayter had abated somewhat. Confidence was up all round and we are looking at ways to take the show further.

Produced by True Heart Theatre as part of the In The Mirror season at the New Diorama Theatre, London NW1, and directed by Wing Hong Li. With legendary music writer Charles Shaar Murray and The Plague’s Marc Jefferies. Jan Jefferies looked after us and took the pix on Anna’s Lumix TZ20.

Some more pix here.

Photo copyright Anna Chen

Saturday 12 November 2011

Surfer takes on record 90 foot wave: video

Ooooh! Almost as exciting as performing Anna May Wong Must Die! at the New Diorama Theatre.

Last night tonight.

Friday 11 November 2011

First night Anna May Wong Must Die! pix

First night done.

Tec hitches aplenty but all performed with great gusto and fun by myself and the wonderful Charles Shaar Murray and The Plague's Marc Jefferies, rockin' the show on guitar and bass.

I'm still making last minute changes to the script which is now at the stage where I can start cutting like a surgeon on speed. Plus the emergence of Tinglan Hong — Hugh Grant's squeeze and mother of Bamboo, or "Happy Accident", as "Ting Ting" mischievously claims is the baby's Chinese name — now doubles the number of Chinese women who can be named by audiences. (The other being a certain custard-pie kung-fu minder for geriatric billionaires.)

I'll be pleased when I'm off-script. But, for now, my baby's growing. Just like Bamboo.

One more show tomorrow then the great uphill task of memorising all 70 minutes of it. Wish I could plug in and upload in my sleep.


Written and performed by Anna Chen
Live music from Charles Shaar Murray and Marc Jefferies
Saturday 12th November 20:30
There will be a Q&A after the Saturday performance
Presented by Wing Hong Li for True Heart Theatre at the New Diorama Theatre, NW1
More info here

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Anna May Wong Must Die! opens tomorrow: satire, crudity and politics

OK, this is it, guys and gals. Anna May Wong Must Die! gets its first London theatrical outing tomorrow night (Thursday 10th) at the New Diorama Theatre, followed by another on Saturday.

Legendary cultural writer Charles Shaar Murray and The Plague's Marc Jefferies will be providing live music.

I'm performing the show as a "work-in-progress" at the New Diorama Theatre as part of True Heart's In The Mirror season. Also performing during the week: Lucy Sheen and Veronica Needa. (Details on the webpage.)

I'll be on-script as it's still early days in the life of this piece (so no press), but I hope to come out of the week with the play nailed. I look forward to to hearing some solid feedback, especially from the Saturday Q&A session where the three of us will be chatting to the audience.

It's unusual, maybe even unique, to get three Chinese diaspora writers and performers together like this in one venue in one week so please do try to make it as we might never get this chance again.

Written and performed by Anna Chen
Live music accompaniment from Charles Shaar Murray and Marc Jefferies
Thursday 10th November 19:30
Saturday 12th November 20:30
(There will be a Q&A after the Saturday performance)
Presented by True Heart Theatre at the New Diorama Theatre, NW1
More info here


"Charming, witty and sophisticated ... I am entranced, won over."
The Sunday Times

"Hard hitting and often hilarious ... arresting ... engrossing and provoking."
The Scotsman

"... sensitive, intelligent ... insistent and illuminating."
The Herald

"It's the stuff of brilliant satire ... riveting."
The List

"Very witty."
Graham Norton

"I'm taking you shoplifting."
Jenny Eclair

“Cutting edge …”
Stewart Lee

More press here

Thursday 3 November 2011

Tony Blair loves Gordon Brown: infantile disrespect video

An immature mash-up of Tony Blair of the most scurrilous kind, entirely disrespectful of this great man. It shouldn't be allowed.

Poor Tony.

Actually, not poor. Quite wealthy, I hear. Which bank did best out of the Iraq war? His wife's doing WHAT with our National Health Service? Placing private clinics WHERE? Surely an ugly rumour.